I was born by caesarean section, two months premature as my mother had developed toxaemia. I was a very weak and sick little boy. The policy in those days was to leave all smaller babies at hospital until they weighed at least six pounds (which in my case, took six weeks) so my mum would express milk every day and dad would drive it to the hospital to feed me.
When they took me home I was still so small that Mum and Dad wrapped me up in a shopping basket designed to carry two pounds of butter! I developed asthma, hay fever, digestive and bowel problems, constipation, weight gain, poor skin, fatigue and I caught every cold, flu, bug and virus that went around. This continued right through until I cured myself in my mid-20s.
I was told I was ‘incurable’. As a child and teenager I can clearly remember my doctor telling me many times, “You are an asthmatic and you will be for life. The best thing we can offer is medication. Keep taking the drugs”.
I was given a Ventolin inhaler and an Intal puffer and told that I should take two puffs when I got an asthma attack; every four hours as needed. The only dietary advice I was given was not to drink cow’s milk during an attack. Years later, when researching my illness, I discovered that the chest is one of the last parts of the human body to develop fully in the womb; reaching maturation during the eighth and ninth month of pregnancy which, for premature babies like me, meant stunted lung development.
Still Sick 21 Years Later
At 18, I woke up one morning (after one too many all-night drinking sessions with my two oldest friends – Dave and Kerry), crawled out of bed and stumbled onto the bus to work. As the bus moved and swayed I could not hold it back. I vomited all over the bus floor with Kerry watching in hysterics. This was indeed a low point for me. I realised that day that I actually never enjoyed the drinking. It made me bloated and I always suffered badly the next day. I was only drinking because everyone else was. I was an insecure sheep following everyone else. I gave up drinking right then.
Three years after that, aged 21, I was still getting multiple colds, flu and coughs every year as they went around. I would be in bed for up to a week at a time coughing, nose dribbling and feeling foul all over. I also had long-term throbbing lower back pain; a non-stop deep aching, which would leave me in tears. It was always there in the background, even when the acute pain died down.
Asthma is Scary!
At that point, I was still a bad asthmatic; the most frightening and debilitating thing that I have ever experienced. Generally whenever you hurt yourself or you are in pain, you know that you will be ok. With an asthma attack, it attacks you at the core as it is your very breath that is taken away. I could not count the times that I would be crying in despair in the middle of the night, praying for sleep, but not being able to even lie down for fear of not breathing and dying. The panic starts to set in and the overwhelming fear is that you may die soon if you can’t get any more air into your lungs. When you lose your breath the best thing to do is to calm down and relax but of course when you can’t seem to get enough air, then the opposite happens. You become stressed and upset and sometimes (particularly with children) you start to cry, which limits your air intake even further. It is a devastating, scary and humbling experience. I was terrified for my life many, many times during long dark nights of breathlessness. All my concentration had to go on just getting air into my lungs; just breathing, just breathing, just breathing…
Hitting a Crossroads
The asthma was stifling my whole life and stopping me from living fully in so many ways. I was taking 16-20 shots of Ventolin most days for many years. No amount of medical potions or creams ever worked to get rid of the bad skin issues with pimples and bumps all over my face and body, the oily skin, bad digestion, bloating, long-term constipation, fatigue, tiredness, and substantial weight gain.
To be blunt, I was a real mess.
My girlfriend at the time was studying to become a naturopath (a natural doctor). Out of love and pure frustration she challenged my thinking in a moment of brutal honesty. She said, “You are pathetic. You take drugs all the time for your sickness and yet you do nothing about it. Do something about it. Take some responsibility; change your life and stop eating all the crap food. You are not going to be an effective father if you are sick all the time. Go see a naturopath and get healthy. Stop the complaining and the drug-taking and get to the real cause of the problems instead; your diet.”
What?! I thought my sickness was just ‘genetics’ or ‘bad luck’. I felt insulted by her comments and took them rather badly and personally. I had never considered there was a connection between my diet and my sickness! Or any illness for that matter! At least no one had ever told ME that before. I thought that food was just fuel for the body (the TV had told me to eat meat and to drink cow’s milk every day to get strong bones). And yet, after sitting on my bed thinking in the darkness for a few hours, I got over myself and I realised something. I did want to cure my asthma and all my health problems. I did want more energy, vitality and strength. I wanted to feel young, alive and 100% free of illness. I wanted to be fit, healthy, and energetic, free from pain and to be able to breathe and run around with my kids.
I wanted a better life and I wanted to be in full control of it. I wanted to rid myself of the sickness that was dominating my life.
The ‘Aha’ Moment
It dawned on me that what she had pointed out was quite simply the truth. I knew nothing about food or illness at all. This was a really powerful turning point for me because it meant I had to admit that I had no idea of what to do and that the medical establishment could not help me. I had to open my mind to different ways of doing things. I had been doing nothing; I had handed over my power and responsibility to doctors who told me I was incurable. I realised that I had to ask for help in different places and I had to start “unlearning all that I had learnt” as the great Yoda would say.
And so began my journey of life transformation. I took responsibility for my health and opened my mind to new ideas. I became totally focused on curing my body of all illness and I realised that I was willing to do whatever it took. The questions I started asking and the answers I got initially went against my thinking in so many ways. I had thought that my genes were obviously prone to asthma and illness and that all I could do was take the medicine prescribed to me. This, I learned, is called The Local Theory of Disease. It suggests that illness is caused by a single agent acting at a single site in the body, then treating this single agent with drugs.
The very first new thing I discovered was another completely different and more holistic view; The Constitutional Nature of Disease. This theory states that illness and disease are the result of multiple systems throughout the body breaking down. If I followed this line of thinking it meant that I could cure my illnesses; but it would mean rebuilding my body from scratch.
Asking for Help
I went to a naturopath who suggested I take up swimming as it was good for training the breathing process. Swimming was very helpful. I read the Louise Hay book You Can Heal Your Life and she said that asthma’s colour was yellow. I dyed all my clothes and shoes yellow and only wore yellow for 6 months. Did wearing yellow help? I have no idea, but it certainly made lots of people laugh at my really bad taste yellow outfits – laughter is medicinal, that’s for sure! In those early days I didn’t know the best path, but I was willing to change, willing to do the work to get well and willing to admit I knew nothing about what was going to be required. I had absolutely zero knowledge on nutrition or how the body worked. However, I did not care about what I had to do just as long as I could reclaim my health and my life back.
Study, Learn, Research, Change
So I researched: food, diet, fasting, the world’s longest lived and healthiest people and cultures (the Centenarians), exercise, flexibility, calories, acid vs. alkaline, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, how the body works, traditional diets, the bowels, vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, the internal organs, intolerances, food ingredients, additives . . . The list goes on and on and on; you name it, when it came to health, I studied it. What became very clear to me was that if I really wanted to get well, to get to a level of exceptional health, then I was going to have to change my behaviour.
One of the hardest things for a human being to do is to change and then remain consistent with that change. Change does not always happen as we envision and it can be very hard to adjust to. Nevertheless, I needed to change. The big shift in thinking for me came when I realised that the pain of remaining the same was greater for me than the pain of changing. The pain of having no energy, no breath, regular pain, cold sores, constipation and bad skin was bad enough for me to change my life.
I was learning at an astronomical rate. I slowly started making progress with my health. Step by step I learned little gems that gave me instant benefits. I went to seminars, I asked healthy people for advice on what they did, I devoured books, I tried different eating regimes; macrobiotic, vegan, fasting, raw foods, elimination diets and more, and I found GOLDEN rules in each one. Over six years of dedicated research and practice a miracle happened; I cured my body and totally transformed my health and my life.
Was it Worth it?
Absolutely. Now, after nearly 30 years of personal research and trial and error, I am 100% cured. I am almost 50 years old and I have been clear of asthma and off all medical drugs for 25 years. I am now the healthiest I have ever been. I have not had a cold, flu, cough, bug or virus for over 25 years and I did it the natural way, through changing my diet, lifestyle, environment, attitude and habits.
I just hated being sick badly enough to do something radical about it. I have spent 30 years researching health; 26 years raising four healthy kids into adults (and one granddaughter!); 20 years travelling, teaching and presenting seminars about food, lifestyle, nutrition, environment and health. I now find myself teaching naturopaths and having intelligent, highly-trained doctors, dieticians, pharmacists, herbalists and clinical nutritionists asking me for my opinion on health matters and participating in our programmes.
When I began this journey I could never have imagined being healthy, well and free to engage in life fully as I am now. Transforming my health changed the course of my life and I am so grateful to be where I am today.
Health is a gift – a gift I am committed to sharing with you.
When my wife Tracey and I founded Exceptional Health in 2011, we were responding to the sheer demand in our community to learn how to live a healthier, more vital life. Since then, thousands of people around the world have completed our health programmes with extraordinary and transformational results. This has been both humbling and inspiring for us and fuels us to persevere in our quest to empower people to live well. Our passion is to educate, motivate and inspire change that will transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world. We are now a buzzing, growing team of naturopaths, nutritionists, nurses, medical herbalists, wholefood chefs and health nuts – all fully committed to helping you get well and stay well – for life!