TL;DR: Oxygen and diet and mindfulness make me feel powerful. The preliminary results are in…
I feel fine: A common response given by most human beings following a quick self-analysis when asked how you feel by a doctor, a loved one, or your inner voice after reading a health article or watching a wellness documentary.
But do you, though? Do you feel fine? Compared to what?
I felt ‘fine’ throughout my 20+ years of heavy drinking and smoking cigarettes. I felt ‘fine’ eating pounds of sugar, wheat, and processed food. I felt ‘fine’ without a single minute of exercise other than a trip to the grocery store to pick up more cheap sausages and an extra pack of chocolate muffins.
I felt ‘fine’.
But I wasn’t ‘fine’ at all–and I had no idea how unhealthy I was. I had three massive problems.
I know what you must be thinking; “Not another health blog. Who cares? I’m fine.”
Well, this isn’t a health blog–this is my personal blog which I receive no money to operate… yet–and chances are, if you often feel angry or sad or just the victim of bad luck, you’re not ‘fine’. Instead, your inner happiness-meter that tells you your current state of being has been slowly recalibrated over many years to filter out regular-occurring ailments and general malaise. People get used to feeling terrible and attribute moods and sadness to outside factors. In fact, it’s really easy to find scapegoats to blame as you lie to yourself daily: “Melissa said something today that bothered me. I guess that’s what’s wrong.” or, “I really wanted that new house/boat/thing, but I’ll never afford it. If I could just get it somehow, everything will be fine.” or, “I just need a boyfriend.” or, “I just need to get out of the house and do something fun. That’ll cheer me up.”
Doing or getting any of these things will definitely cheer you up, but only for a very short time. And then you will revert right back to the state of wanting and needing external things to regulate your mood and sense of well-being again.
True and lasting happiness comes from within. I can hardly believe it but it’s true.
People live their entire lives this way. I did. I still do to some extent. The difference is that I am now aware of it and am making slow and steady progress rectifying it. So instead of writing a blog about what you should be doing with your health (because that’s your business), I’m going to tell you what I’ve been doing. Maybe you’ll want to look into some of it. I’ve made some of these words clickable for further information. They’ll be the words in blue. I am paid nothing from any site I link. Now, where was I?
I’ll start by letting you know that there is an undeniable link between body health and mind/mood health. In my experiments this last year, I have found personal correlations between the two–and it’s glaringly obvious to me now. It’s alarming how much I was living in denial–again.
As I have covered in previous blogs, I was a fat, alcoholic chain-smoker with the worst diet imaginable. I felt fine, though–except for all that crapping my pants business and the flesh-eating infections I was getting on my inner thighs and beyond. And then there was the problematic skin issues and complexion troubles; the extremely high blood pressure that I was put on a diuretic blood pressure pill to manage; the terrible moods I was having; the anxiety and panic attacks that would completely disable me; blaming others and luck for my constant misfortunes, etc. But all that had nothing to do with anything other than plain bad luck… or so I told myself and others every day. Being the victim seems to be a regular human response to unfortunate events.
On May 6 of 2018, I took my last drink of alcohol. I then went through a few weeks of an acute pancreatitis attack brought on from years of drinking the equivalent of 60 ounces of hard liquor per day, and the withdrawals that ensued. I promised my pancreas during that hellish time that if we can get out of this deadly and painful situation unscathed, I will never drink again. It was a promise I’ve kept ever since. Problem one: solved.
On June 3, I smoked my last cigarette. I switched to vaping. I learned everything about vaping and soon learned how to make my own healthier e-liquids at home for a fraction of the price. I made vaping an obsession (because I am obsessive about things and I know that about myself), and I learned everything there was to know about it. I never smoked again and slowly reduced the nicotine I was vaping until it was almost nonexistent. Problem two: solved.
Soon, in the absence of smoking and alcohol, I became addicted to sugar and carbs and gained 50 pounds alarmingly fast. I realized I was gaining weight and monitored it constantly. As I climbed up in pounds, muffin after muffin, I would plateau at certain weights: 225 for a while, then 238, then 246, and then I hit 256. I’ll be honest, I’ve always been a chubby guy ever since a few years after I got my driver’s licence in 1992. Fast forward to 2019 and I am a total fat guy.
But I felt ‘fine’.
The horrible back pains, the inability to move around easily or tie my own shoes, the unrelenting infections, thinning hair, lack of sleep, foul moods and anger, the constant low-grade headache that I never knew I had–all of this and I was positive I felt ‘fine’. How else should I feel? Ah… right. With nothing in recent memory to compare it to, I felt… well, like myself. All of that other stuff was just bad luck and I blamed life itself and how unfair it all was.
A month ago, while researching the correlation between biocentrism, quantum theory, and DMT, I came upon a breathing method on YouTube that can (with great effort and persistence), induce a natural dimethyltriptamine state. In the video they called it Wim Hof breathing (deep diaphragm hyperventilation with breath retention). I tried it with limited results and then could barely move for a few days. It seemed breathing with my diaphragm was new to my body and my muscles weren’t prepared to perform that action. I could barely move for almost a week. Really? So I stopped doing that after one go.
After finally being diagnosed in May of 2019 with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (an autoimmune disease), I was told by two HS specialists that diet had nothing to do with it. Their sentiment was that all of that diet stuff was anecdotal and had no scientific basis in reality. The first doctor wanted to put me on a nasty injectable biologic drug called Humira. The next doctor told me to try different antibiotic combinations before Humira. The antibiotics are anti-inflammatory in nature and thus can help treat the fiery inflammation in my body. So far, they’ve done nothing but upset my stomach and turn my urine orange.
So I spent the last couple of months researching inflammation and autoimmune disease causes and treatments. Autoimmune Protocol diet (AIP) came up everywhere, including TED Talks, but I gave it little attention: Denial.
No matter what, I was never going to eat like a bird. I’m a foodie. What’s the point of life if not to enjoy it? Food gives me the most enjoyment of all things. Or so I thought.
In my searches for a cure to this HS nightmare, I came upon an unlikely new hero of mine: Wim Hof. As it turned out, it wasn’t some esoteric ancient Chinese breathing technique but instead an actual man named Wim Hof from the Netherlands who climbed Mount Everest in shorts, swam almost a football field under the ice in the Arctic Circle, and performed many more astounding feats. He offers online and in-person workshops around the world teaching his superman course called The Wim Hof Method, and it is backed by a lot of hard science. Basically, you do these deep breathing techniques, stretches, pushups, meditation, yoga, and then a plunge into ice water for up to 8 minutes. It sounds deliciously terrible.
The reason I became re-interested in trying this breathing again, and adding ice dips and all the rest, was because the science shows excellent results for those who are suffering from autoimmune diseases.
So I started. On day 1, after just a few short rounds of the breathing, I felt like Neo in The Matrix just after he begins to believe. I felt like I could bend the walls around me using only my mind, will, and my vast, untapped internal energy. What is this sorcery?!
That feeling–that high… it got me up off my ass. I did pushups immediately and did made-up yoga stretches for a while. Man, that feels great. So I began doing the course, and the cold showers, and the meditation, and the positive mindset, and more physical activity. I was sore for a while and then not at all. Suddenly, I cared about what I ate. Perhaps it was the inability to even slightly clasp my hands behind my back or even bend over to pick up my socks. Maybe it was all this new found oxygen I have been depriving my body of all these years with shallow, unconscious breathing. It might have been the cold, hard realization of just how fat and inflexible I am. Or maybe it was because I was finally thinking with a clearer head. (NOTE: if there is one thing I would tell younger people, it would be to stay flexible. You’re going to need it.)
So, then I started monitoring what I was eating–monitoring sweets and breads and junk food. Wheat gluten and sugar are incredibly bad, as it turns out. I stopped drinking pop except when I visited my parents (I love ginger ale). I looked into intermittent fasting and blue-light blockers. I meditated (which is as easy as being as still as you possibly can and letting thoughts come and go). I watched as I lost 5 pounds right off the hop. I began actually using my Fitbit to monitor sleep, exercise, heart rate, food intake, and hydration. Then I started looking into the Paleo AIP diet and somewhat adopting it–at first it was only to try out a little bit.
The results of all of this over a month have been monumental. I’ve lost close to 15 pounds, I feel more energized in the day, and I am just starting to actually feel ‘fine’.
The contrast between how I felt more than a year ago and how I feel today (still a fat guy) is astounding. I’m only a month in to being health-conscious and only under a week with the Paleo AIP diet. My skin problems have begun to recede. My HS flares have been markedly reducing. My sleep is improving (it will be even better when my new pair of Swannie blue blocking glasses arrive tomorrow). I feel far more positive. I feel almost high all the time. But, as Wim says, “I’m getting high on my own supply.”
This whole thing has been a motivator and wake-up call. I was the least motivated person on this side of the Milky Way. Now I want to do things; move around; breathe deeper; park farther away at the grocery store and bring back the cart. I feel like I can see the matrix… just a little. All this while still being a fat guy.
I aim to lose 80 pounds casually. I’m 18.75% of the way there already.
So, to sum this all up, if you have been eating terribly (wheat, sugar, milk, etc.); drinking alcohol; consuming pop and other sugary things; smoking cigarettes; living a sedentary existence; blaming external things for your unhappiness; having panic attacks or extreme anxiety or mood swings; sleeping horribly; coughing; getting headaches; feeling generally low-energy; or any combination of these things, I recommend you wake up and get out of your denial. The energy comes back to you at least three-fold when you spend a just little bit of that in the right ways. You can recalibrate your inner happiness-meter and begin to see the matrix for what it is. You can begin to believe.
I have begun to believe… and it’s only just the beginning.
Problem three (the final problem): in progress…
So… how are you actually feeling?
P.S. I baked this crusty bread out of coconut flour and plantains last night.