My Sad, Sick Story
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 and many other health problems as I grew and this continued right through until I cured myself in my mid-20s.
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 attack; every four hours as needed. I was also once told not to drink cow’s milk when I was having an attack. This was the only advice given. Years later when learning about asthma, I discovered that the chest is one of the last parts of the human body that develops fully in the womb (in the eighth and ninth month – which I didn't have). Funny that.
Still Sick 21 Years Later
Reaching 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 and doing drugs (dope) because everyone else was. I was an insecure sheep following everyone else. I gave up drink and drugs 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 lower back pain which used to just throb and would leave me in tears due to the long deep aching that went on and on. 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 and it is 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 shots of Ventolin most days for many years. I had also developed bad skin issues with pimples and bumps all over my face and body with no seeming rhyme or reason. No amount of medical potions or creams ever worked to get rid of them. To add to all this, I suffered from oily skin, bad digestion, bloating, long-term constipation, fatigue, tiredness, and I had allowed myself to get rather chunky. At one stage my weight grew to a chubby 80kg (I now weigh a lean and healthy 69kg).
To be blunt, I was a real mess.
My girlfriend at the time was studying to become a naturopath (a natural doctor). She slapped my face one day and 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’
As you can imagine I was highly insulted by these comments and took them rather badly and personally. There was no 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 that 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.
So, 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... if I rebuilt my body from scratch.
Asking for Help
I went to a naturopath who suggested swimming as it was good for training the breathing process. Swimming was very helpful. I also read the Louise Hay book You Can Heal Your Life and she said that the asthma colour was yellow so 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 which is a good thing I guess... The point is that 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 studied: food, diet, fasting, 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. 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 but 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.
A Buddhist monk went into a Zen shop and bought a loaf of bread. He gave the shopkeeper $20, which the guy pocketed. “Hey, where’s my change?” asked the monk. “Change must come from within,” replied the shopkeeper.
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 I found golden rules in each one. And then, over six years, a miracle happened: I cured my body and totally transformed my health and my life.
People have been asking me to write a book, set up a website and teach people what I did and learned ever since.
Was it Worth it?
Absolutely. Now, after 25 years of personal research and trial and error, I am 100% cured. I am 46 years old and I have been clear of asthma and off all medical drugs for 20 years. I am now the healthiest I have ever been. I have not had a cold, flu, cough, bug or virus for around 20 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 25 years raising four healthy kids into adults; 20 years travelling, teaching and appearing on TV and radio; and 15 years presenting seminars about foods, nutrition and health. I now find myself training naturopaths and having intelligent, highly-trained doctors, dieticians, pharmacists, herbalists and clinical nutritionists asking me for my opinion on health matters and participating in thelifeplan.
I have lost count of how many times I have been asked “What did you do to cure all your health problems?” That is why I have spent the last five years researching and writing my book in every spare moment. And that is why I have made thelifeplan available through this website. My commitment is to share everything I did and everything I know about health. It is my story and my personal lessons from the real school of experience, not theory. It could be your story as well.