You may be wondering why I haven't been writing much lately on Renegade Health.
The truth is I spent most of last year writing a book to be published by Hay Housein just a few weeks.
The book is about my incredible journey in the world of alternatives and all of the controversies, big mistakes and "ah-ah" moments I encountered along the way.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting a few excerpts of the book. I'm limited by the publisher to a certain number of words in each excerpt, but I welcome all of your comments and questions on the book below: "Sick From Health Food"
My extreme diet was so “healthy” that I made myself sick. About three years in, I started to notice that I was increasingly lethargic and was having trouble getting out of bed. In fact, I would wake up in the morning and stare at the ceiling, wondering if I was seriously ill: chronic fatigue, maybe, or multiple sclerosis, or cancer. After wondering for a while, I’d turn over and go back to sleep, not waking up again until 10 or 11 or even noon.
A few friends and family members suggested that the fatigue might be related to what I was eating, but I was so deeply indoctrinated in the cult of dietary purity that I wasn’t willing to entertain their theories. It wasn’t until I met a renaissance man of sorts, Dr. James E. Williams, that I listened to advice I didn’t want to hear.
James is doctor of oriental medicine, board certified in naturopathic medicine, with a practice in Sarasota, Florida. He and I became close during the RV trip, and Annmarie and I spent time with him in Peru and at his home in Florida. James is the type of guy who can explain in fascinating detail how a viral infection can change your DNA, then follow with a story about dancing all night at a club in Havana, Cuba, while drinking brown rum and smoking local cigars.
I remember the day when he gave me the news that no vegan ever wants to hear: “Your adrenals are in deep fatigue. It’s because of your diet. You might consider eating some animal protein”—meat, fish, fowl, dairy.
In the silence after he spoke, I imagined that I heard a cow’s sad moo off in the distance. Another vegan was being coaxed off the wagon. But what James said wasn’t just an opinion: he had tested dozens of my blood markers. Unlike my friends and family who had warned me about my vegan diet, James believed in science. He didn’t advise on a hunch.
The numbers on half a dozen pages of lab reports didn’t lie. As James ran through his own internal checklist, based on 30 years of practice, he read me in detail. I was shocked he could know so much about how I felt.
“I’m guessing you feel pretty lethargic, yes? Low drive? How about aggression? Do you have feelings of anxiety? Do you lash out with anger at things that you never did before?”
He nailed some two dozen more symptoms, but he only scratched the surface of what I was feeling emotionally. I was scared. My father died of brain cancer when I was two years old. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was just out of high school. She survived, but two out of two parents with cancer aren’t great odds. You could say I got into this health thing because of what my parents went through. I wondered if feeling this way and continuing to eat this way would lead to a similar diagnosis.
What I had learned clearly wasn’t working. All the lessons about superfoods, supplements, food combining, macronutrient balance, and more that I had picked up from numerous health gurus had produced the opposite results from what they were supposed to. Instead of being a superman, I had hormone levels lower than most men 50 years my senior. I wasn’t working properly.
I also felt like a fake. Everything I had taught our blog readers and YouTube viewers had brought me here. Had they followed my advice, and were they feeling the same way? I was terrified that everything I had published on the Internet was ridiculously wrong.
So what did I do?
I did what any person would do who felt duped and scared after starting a diet he couldn’t maintain. I quit. I quit raw food. I quit being a vegan. I gave up on everything. I destricted my diet and set myself free.