Fit But Not Healthy
Up until my mid thirties, I had raced professionally as a duathlete (run-bike-run) and an adventure racer. I participated in five dualthon world championships, numerous national championships in both sports, and in world-class events all over the world. I ate what I thought was a healthy diet and thought I was doing it all right to live long and functional. My professional career was in full swing as a pilot in the Air Force requiring me to travel all over the world.
Five weeks before the last national championships I would participate in, I caught a viral infection. I was working a lot, traveling and getting ready for a full base inspection I was in charge of. I continued to train and work, and thought I would cut things back a bit and push through this like always. Over the next five weeks, I didn’t recover and went on a rollercoaster ride with this viral infection. I had all the classic symptoms of a viral infection. I didn’t ever get over it and went and raced the US Adventure Racing National Championships.
It is a three-person team event and consists of paddling, mountain biking, and running all by map and compass navigation. I knew I was not going to be 100%, but thought I could still do my job. I was wrong. Over the 30 hours and 140 miles of racing, I fought virtually every step of the way to keep going. My team knew I was in trouble two hours into it. I finished the race, and paid the price over the next six weeks.
My viral infection progressed to pre-mature ventricular contractions (PVC’s) or irregular heart rhythms, severe fatigue, light headiness, and slurred speech. Scary stuff and I was worried about my career status as a pilot. I was eventually diagnosed with Epstein Bar, which is the virus that causes mononucleosis and chronic fatigue. My healthcare team believes I had a brain stroke, at some level, while racing. I was lying flat on my back for four weeks with zero energy trying to get my health back. I had a hard time speaking without slurring my speech for the few hours a day I was awake. In the end, I did get better but it was how that is important.
I initially took antibiotics in the beginning of the illness, which of course won’t do anything for a viral infection. Along the way, I took the naturopathic approach with herbs, supplements, and adaptagens to heal my body. The journey was long and slow, but I learned about the human body and how to feed its biological demand allowing it to heal. I made the change to a whole food diet shopping at local farms and farmers markets. No more food from a box, bag, or a can. My supplement regiment grew from just a daily multivitamin to an array of immune, digestive and endocrine system enhancing herbs, vitamins, and minerals. I am in bed by 10:30pm every night and at least eight-and-a-half hours in length. I can on and on about the changes I made over the next few years. It was the turning point in my life and led me down the road to become a holistic nutritionist.
Since that illness, I have healed myself from the chronic fatigue, the PVC’s are limited to when I burn the candle on both ends, and at 50 years old my overall health is 100% better than it ever was.
This journey started without my permission, but it is the best thing that has happened to me. I have helped myself live a functional, happy, and disease free life, along with being able to help many people do the same. I have been working with a close family member for the last few years and recently they were clinically cleared of lupus. All I did was transition them from the standard American diet (SAD) to a whole food diet. The food fixed them. It may not do that for you, but it will make things better.