You Can Feel 18 Again

28 02 2012

For those that are new to this blog, up until last week I’d spent over 5 months on antibiotics for a nasty staph infection. Staph is something that many of us naturally carry on our body and in our noses. Most of the time we are immune to it, but on occasion it does find a way into our systems and it can be very stubborn to get rid of. I happen to live in an area with many, many hospitals. It’s the medical capital of the northeastern United States. Because staph originally comes from hospital settings and has now found its way out into communities, this part of the country has seen dramatic increases in people becoming infected. It is an exponentially growing problem and you are now more likely to get it at the gym or while pushing your shopping cart than you are at a hospital.

I’ve never been a big fan of meds, always preferring to let my body try to fight things off naturally if possible. I don’t even use pain relievers, unless I’m burning up from a fever. But when I became sick with staph, my body was in no condition to do any serious fighting. Lack of sleep, lack of exercise and a horrendous diet left a gaping hole in my body’s natural defenses. My immune system was left weakened and susceptible. With the severity of my staph infection, I was happy to be on antibiotics and to eventually find a medicine that would do a good job in fighting it off, as I had tried a number of different ones that really didn’t do the trick. What I never expected was to be on meds for so long. At my last doctor’s appointment just before Christmas, I fully expected to be given the green light to forgo the meds, but was instead told to continue on for two more months as a precaution. At times the dosages were so high that several times a day I was suffering from “medicine gut” a term I coined to describe the fire in my belly that would rise up my esophagus. The ironic thing about being on meds for so long though, is that I eventually started to somehow believe that I wouldn’t be well without them. I was literally scared to go off of them. I had become sort of psychologically dependent on them. Being off of them for a week now has definitely raised my confidence level that things are going to be alright. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still nervous but am feeling better.

Before I got sick, I was so completely exhausted. My life was a vicious circle of poor choices leading to worse health leading to worse choices. At times I have been over 400 pounds. I don’t even no how much over 400 because even the scale in my doctor’s office wouldn’t go higher then that. It’s hard to carry that much weight around all day long. I’d get home and just want to get horizontal. I was eating poorly which also sapped my energy. Then I would turn to sugar to get an energy bump. When that rush wore off, I’d up the amounts of sugar. One day I actually totaled up my sugar intake and found out that often times I was consuming hundreds of grams of sugar daily. I was doing nothing to improve my situation and physically and emotionally I began sinking deeper and deeper.

When I did get sick with staph, I slept for days. I couldn’t even eat. I was nearly bedridden due to exhaustion. I lost 17 pounds in two weeks (some of which I would later gain back). It was a miserable time. And as overdramatic as it probably sounds, there were times that I wondered if I was going to even make it. I felt that bad.

Twenty two weeks on antibiotics gives a person a long time to mull over their situation. I researched ways to fight staph naturally and began using a variety of supplements. I began looking at my diet. Some blood-work confirmed that I would need to make some serious lifestyle changes if I was going to get well and get off meds. Shortly after switching to a plant based diet, I began to feel energized like I hadn’t been in so long. I never crashed. Some nights I had to tell myself it was time to go to sleep because I still had energy. I couldn’t imagine feeling much better. But after being antibiotic free for three days last week, I actually felt the best I have in 18 years. It’s not an exaggeration. I literally felt 18 years old again. The fog lifted and I felt so good – physically and emotionally. For two days I wanted to pinch myself. I felt like I had found the fountain of youth.

With a plant based diet that has been modified to also assist with my other health issues, there are a lot of things that I find myself missing. I do miss meat. I do really miss cheese. I miss bread. I miss Snyder’s hard pretzels (with sharp cheddar cheese). I miss fried foods. Sometimes I think of how nice it would be to have a coca cola on ice. Today, I broke down and bought three small peppers stuffed with prosciutto, hard provolone cheese and marinated in olive oil. Three no no’s. But I felt like a little bit of this stuff might actually do my system a favor as I’ve been eating nothing but fruits, veggies and beans lately. They were so good. It was the taste of my grandmother’s kitchen growing up. But afterwards, I felt rundown. And that’s what I don’t miss. And that’s why I will never go back to how I used to eat. Sure I’ll be less militant when I’m healthy and I know I will eat meat and cheese again, but I’ll never go back to having such an unbalanced diet. I feel too good to ever go back to that. It is worth the trade off. It is worth missing these things.

You really can put lightening back in a bottle. You really can feel 18 again. It’s not bullshit. If you want to feel young again put good gas in your tank. If you want to lose weight, cut out the things that the body has difficulty processing and eat more naturally. Go plant based for two weeks and tell me if you don’t feel absolutely incredible. I’m not telling you its gonna be easy. It’s gonna be very hard but everything that is worth something in life comes with a price.

Some people have asked how to make the switch to a plant based diet easier and I have said get really, really sick and see how easy it is. Because short of that, I doubt I would ever have found this path. In a few weeks, I hope to put together a daily menu for people who want to try a plant based diet out for a couple of weeks. If you are already on the path, consider leaving me some of your favorite plant based recipes below in the comment section or email them to me at Keep them easy. Remember what it was like when you first started. how overwhelming it can be.

If you aren’t yet on the path but suffer from fatigue, want to lose weight, etc. – consider going plant based just for a few weeks and see what a difference it can make. Even smaller steps like cutting out sugar, or processed foods could allow you to feel and see some real noticeable results. Learn from my mistakes, if you are unhealthy, don’t wait until you are so sick that you have no other options.

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