Taking a short walk today is better than no walk at all 

I’ve learned over the last 30 years of dealing with multiple complicated chronic health issues is that – 

A small effort taken to improve my health today is infinitely better than taking no action at all. 

One of the small ways I seek to improve my health is by taking a walk at least 5x per week. Walking is something that helps the body in a lot of positive ways and it’s a great inexpensive, zero side, effect way to improve mood as well.

Today I only took a ten minute walk. That’s a lot shorter than I like to go but it’s better than not walking at all. I didn’t go as far as usual because of the time of day I went and because of how I was feeling. 

Before I went on the walk I thought for a moment that I shouldn’t go because it’s too hot and that I was too tired.  And that I won’t be able to go as far as I normally do and if I do go I’ll feel terrible and I’ll only be able to go for a short walk. I asked myself “What would be the use of that?”.

I’m glad I answered that a short walk is better than no walk at all.  I overcame that resistance and went. 

Too often it can be overwhelming dealing with chronic health issues to justify doing the small things that seem trivial in light of the amount of pain or the fatigue that one feels. 

But it’s these small choices each day that I make over time have a big positive impact on improving the quality of my life. Today I only walked ten minutes but that is still a small win in the pursuit of healthier me. 

Don’t discount the small wins. They can add up over time to produce amazing results. 

Brad 

Yerba Mate, Inflammation Brain and Flow State     

  
I’ve taken a ton of supplements, vitamins and nootropics in my life to help me develop a cleaer, more calm, and focused mind. Almost all of the stuff I’ve taken hasn’t had any discernible effects. One of the substances that has bucked the trend and has actually helped my mental state greatly is Yerba Mate tea. This powerful elixir from South America has positive noticeable effects on my brain and body almost as soon as the warm earthy green liquid crosses my lips. 

What is Yerba Mate?
The first time I drank Yerba Mate I couldn’t believe how it effected me. It provided mental and physical energy without the jitteriness of just caffeine, plus a level of focus and mental clarity which most of the time escapes me. For the last 30 years I’ve been dealing with autoimmune conditions, chronic pain and chronic inflammation. And these issues create what I call inflammation brain and when I’m under its spell entering into a flow state or simply getting through the day is extremely difficult. 

I’m obsessed currently with getting into, maintaining and living within a flow state as much as I can. Along with helping with forgetting oneself, time dialation and just feeling good, the flow-state produces positive physiological changes which are thought to help with autoimmune conditions and chronic pain. 

Yerba Mate’s unique composition of chemicals produces a similar feeling in me comparable to a low level or micro-flow state. And it also produces the mental jumping off point in which I can enter into a deeper flow state more easily.  When I’m tired and don’t feel well my brain is filled with a sludge or a fog . My mental processes are slowed, motivation evaporates, solution and novelty seeking are dramatically reduced and I just feel stuck.  I chalk this up to my autoimmune and inflammatory issues. This inflamed brain state  makes thinking difficult and making decisions even harder. When I drink Yerba Mate all of these symptoms are greatly reduced or even totally eliminated for up to four hours. 

After downing a cup of the Yerba Mate tea my mind clears and my thoughts are light and move without much effort, instead of being stuck in the mental sludge as usual.  The powerful chemical mix contained within the Mate include caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine along with tons of vitamins and minerals.

Caffeine is familiar to us all and most are familiar with its effects. Theophylline and theobromine are not as well known. Theophylline has anti-inflammatory effects and it is a vasodiallator which helps lower blood pressure and can help improve breathing. Theobromine effects the vagus nerve, the heart  and also is a vasodiallator. These compounds work synergistically to create positive changes to the body and brain. 

This means that when I drink Yerba Mate my fatigue is less noticeable, I can focus on one thing at a time, I can switch to another task or idea seemlessly, my body and mind are more relaxed and energized, and the perceived resistance to starting a task, which I am normally paralyzed by,  is greatly reduced. Also I’m less bothered by interruptions or issues that crop up during the day which, without the Mate, would easily trigger disappointment or feelings of anxiety. 

I’ve wasted hundreds of dollars on supplements, vitamins and nootropics in order to relieve my inflammatory induced brain state. Now for less than two cents a day I can banish the brain fog, gain mental clarity, ignore distractions, more easily, and clear away mental and physical fatigue. By reducing or eliminating these symptoms of inflamed brain I’m able to to enter into, achieve, and  maintain  mental flow states more easily throughout the day. And this makes living a hell of a lot more enjoyable. 

One of my favorite sayings is “Enjoy what you can and endure what you must”. I’m on a perpetual quest for ideas, substances and practices that help me to be able to do this more in life.  A warm mug of Yerba Mate in the morning is a good way for me to ensure that I’m able to enjoy and endure a little more each day. 

Brad 

FYI:

Even though Yerba Mate is stimulating ai don’t just drink it in the morning , I also drink in the evening if I’m finding it hard to relax my inflamed mind and body. It calms and clears my mind and relaxes my body. Instead of keeping me up it actually and helps me to fall asleep. 

Bone broth, hospitals and bad memories 

  
When I’m in the hospital one of the things I hate the most (besides the dehumanization, pain, misery and zero sleep) is the food. And the one food that has turned my stomach more by its mere presence than any other food, was beef broth. The smell always produced the physical preparations for vomiting as soon as the smell hit my nose. That is why I was shocked today when I drank a full cup of bone beef broth and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I was very anxious as I cut open the package of Kettle and Fire’s grassfed beef bone broth today  and waited to have my nose assaulted by the noxious nauseating  odor of beef broth but that never happened. In fact as I took the initial first whiff of the golden elixir it was not offensive in the least. Feeling a little more confident,  I poured the contents into a sauce pan and began to simmer it. I thought surely as it heated the unpleasant aroma would be released and assault my nostrils just as the disgusting beef broth had always done when I was in hospital.

Again my nose was spared. The aroma was mild but very pleasant. I poured a mug of the clear golden  brown liquid, girded my loins and tentaviley took a sip. I waited for my tongue and stomach to immediately revolt but they did not. I took another sip and another. It took my brain a few seconds to catch up and realize,  that it was not in the least revolting, and yes it was truly delicious.

No off flavors, no tinny taste and most surprisingly I found hints of maple syrup notes in the broth. The more I drank it the more I enjoyed it. Not only was it extremely tasty and satisfying it left my cracked lips moisturized. With each sip a pleasant and tasty glossy residue was left on my lips as a reminder of the reported healing properties it contains.  

I’ve had bone broth sitting in my pantry for six months now. Every time I would see it on the shelf I would say to myself “I’ll try it tomorrow” because I dreaded taking a sip. But the fear was unfounded. Kettle and Fire has produced an amazing product that is something I am going to incorporate into my morning and evening routine. 

Bone broth’s reported health benefits are legion. I am most interested in its reported ability to help heal the GI tract and also help with skin issues such as psoriasis. And on top of all the health benefits it’s also delicious. I plan on having a cup tonight before dinner. 

If you are interested in more of the health benefits visit Kettle and Fire’s website: https://www.kettleandfire.com

Their ingredient list is impressive which includes grassfed beef bones along with veggies and herbs. For me drinking the bone broth not only nourished my body but also helped me to mentally overcome a past negative memory and by doing so enjoy a new positive experience that will hopefully lead to improved health over the long haul. 

How many other things do I avoid today that could be potentially good for me because of the negative memories that I still hold on to from the past? That is a question I will ponder tonight as I enjoy a steaming mug of Kettle and Fire’s grassfed beef bone broth. 

Brad 

FYI: In 2013 there was a study done showing high lead levels in chicken bone broth. The study was severely flawed. You can read a full write up about it here: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/soy-alert/bone-broth-and-lead-contamination-a-very-flawed-study-in-medical-hypotheses/

Roles Reversed

I’ve been chronically unwell for the last 30 years. During that time I’ve endured 20 surgeries, 40 bowel obstructions, a permanent ileostomy and for the last few years pancreatitis attacks. Through all of it from my search for a diagnosis at age 11 through to my last stint in the hospital in May of this year, my mom has been there for me. Now I’m getting to repay a small amount of the debt that I owe her. Our roles have been reversed.

In September she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, has had a mastectomy, a removal of her reconstructed breast, tens of doctors appointments, a port put in and had her first chemo treatment last week. Her surgeries, her chemo treatment and her doctors are in a hospital that’s right across the street from the hospital I’ve gone to since I was 11. Now I’m the one driving her up north to some of her appointments to north of Atlanta so she can get well.

Helping mom heal has been just as healing for me.  Over the years mom has invested so much of her time and energy into my mere survival that I’m grateful I’m able to help her now in her time of need. One of my biggest fears when she was first diagnosed was that I wouldn’t be of any help, and I would be unable to step up and be at least a partial care giver. I was struggling horribly with debilitating pain when she was first diagnosed. I was in the midst of months of pain due to pancreatitis caused by a gallstone.

My GI doctor during this time wanted me to have surgery but I refused. Instead I started a course of cannabis capsules and in about ten days the pain was gone. I’d had that horrible pain for at least two months straight. Before I started the cannabis, I would sleep in the bathtub  at night because the hot water along with oxycodone was the only way I could find some relief. Then one Saturday it just stopped. And this was a couple weeks out from mom’s surgery. I knew if i had surgery I’d been unable to help her. I’m glad I made that call.

I owe my life to my mom not only for giving birth to me but for helping keep me alive through all the trials of surgery and chronic pain over the last 30 years. This year I became a Primal Health Coach and mom was my first client. I live with mom and I do most of the grocery shopping and I’ve cooked the majority of the meals since I’ve moved in. Mom has lost nearly 100 pounds in a year. Her doctor told her that for women who are overweight it’s harder to detect small tumors in a mammogram.

Her cancer was super aggressive and if they hadn’t caught the tumors when they did it could have been a whole different outcome. Her doctor said that losing the weight could have saved her life.  I’m grateful I’ve been able to play a small part in helping get her cancer detected as well with her recovery and ongoing journey now with getting through chemo.

Love isn’t about a scale to be balanced. It’s not about clearing up a “debt”. Mom taught us all that love is unconditional and that it’s not a word, it’s an action. During her recent bout with cancer all of our family have been able to show mom how much we all love her by helping take her to the doctor, sit with her during chemo, cook for her and help her get through the nights of bone pain and nausea. We are doing nothing more than merely acting as a mirror reflecting back a small amount of the love she’s always shown us.

Experiencing the care giver role recently has given me a new respect for what mom and what my family have gone through during these many years of my surgeries, illness and all the uncertainty that goes along with it. In the end we do what we must in the midst of the uncertainty of illness and pain, and we are able to endure because of those that love us most.

Using Belief and Breathing to Change Reality

When I read a book I look for at least one thing to take away and incorporate into my life. If I can find that one thing then it makes purchasing and reading the book worth it. In “Liminal Thinking” by David Gray I did get the one thing and it has greatly influenced how I think about what I think. The big take away for me is not to conflate belief with reality and that I have the power to interrogate and change the “I believe” ideas that govern my behavior.

Liminal Thinking is the art of creating change by understanding, shaping and reframing beliefs according to the author. Nothing in the book is ground breaking or has not been said before. Even the author admits to borrowing heavily from other people’s work. And some of the stories he uses are one’s I’ve heard before and the rest are corporate “turn around” stories about the rebel who helped changed a company’s culture. Not really what I’m interested in reading about.

But the book does have some useful exercises that helped me identify, challenge and begin to change how I look at the “governing beliefs” which I have. Here is one the first exercises: “think about something in your life that is problematic, but you don’t think will ever change. Consider the connection between how you see the problem and how you see yourself. What if you saw yourself differently? If you were the kind of person who should change this situation, what you be like? How would you act?”.

This is a powerful tool just by itself especially for someone who is dealing with chronic pain and chronic illness. In the past I saw myself as chronically ill or suffering from an autoimmune disorder or was cursed with severe unpredictable chronic pain that would always torment me. This is a very limiting belief and it’s kept me from living life. It’s prevented me from making real connections with others, because I believed that my illness prevented me from entering into the dating pool because of my flawed DNA and my current inconsistent behavior and I always felt never good enough to be loved. And I also held onto the belief that I would never be able to contribute anything of importance to the world. Needless to say I was living in misery.

After reading the book I thought its not real useful. How could these simple exercises help me? Then the idea began to soak in, my thoughts about myself aren’t concrete. There are merely a belief. The first step I took to distance and begin to change this view of myself was to say “I believe that I am chronically ill and limited physically, emotionally and socially because of it.” That does reframe the whole issue for me. It was if I took a crowbar to this huge megalithic structures that had become my internal world and the huge almost immovable doors labeled “You are sick and never will be better”, “You’re not good enough to be loved” and “You will never contribute anything useful to others” were now easily unlocked and effortless opened. With these megalithic beliefs I had constructed an almost impenetrable wall with massive heavy doors locked from the inside, that separated me from the outside world. This fortress of belief had become my dungeon and if I didn’t change things soon it was going to be my tomb.

Once I placed the simple term belief in front of these thoughts that I’ve thought a million times it took away their concreteness, they became weightless. They no longer were concrete, immovable, megalithic stones and horrendously heavy locked doors. Reality is a funny thing. We limit ourselves greatly by what we believe. I now believe that I am mostly well, most of the trillions of my cells have no defects and are working just as they should. I believe now that I have now and will in the future have more and more control over my pain and my inflammatory response and that I can live a life with a calm, enthusiastic, curious, loving, open mental state. Once the heavy negative stones of thought became weightless with merely the words “I believe”, I can now consciously shape new “I believe statements” that create my inner and outer world.

I’m done spending any more time in the dungeon. My inner world is no longer dark and protected like a medieval keep, or a dungeon and especially no longer a tomb. It is open and airy. The internal thoughts are full of hope, love and curiosity about the future. My new beliefs are now based on scientific and anecdotal evidence that I can have control over my nervous system and my immune system a This may sound ludicrous but it has been scientifically proven that through mental and physical training this can be done. Wim Hof is an amazing man and has been studied extensively for his ability to control his autonomic nervous system, pain response and immune response. He has done this with many other people as well and his claims have been proven time and time again. I’m starting up again the Wim Hof program along with studying the effects of Flow on Chronic Illness.

http://www.wimhofmethod.com

Flow is the state in which all thoughts flow from one to another without anxiety or the perception of passage of time and your body and brain are working harmoniously at peak performance. It is mostly associated by those in the sports world and its often referred to as being in the “zone”. I recently listened to a Joe Rogan Podcast with Author and Science Reporter Steven Kotler. He suffered from Lyme disease for three years and was so sick he almost killed himself. He has since dedicated his life to studying “flow”. He became fascinated with the concept of flow and credits this state of mind for helping him to heal his Lyme disease and saving his life. He achieved the flow state by surfing. His theory is that the flow state releases positive neurochemicals that reduce stress and help the body to heal.This further strengthens my belief that another proof that my belief that I’ll be able to control and heal my body more and more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNobzrnSRMc
Along with Wim Hof and Steven Kotler I listened to Alan Watkins TEdx talk recently about using breathing to be brilliant everyday. This guy seems to want to be a corporate guru and even bragged about spending time with top CEO’s blah blah blah. I shut off when I hear that. But later on in his talk he got to the good stuff. In simple terms our prefrontal or advanced cognitive skills are shut down under stress. The brain receives signals from the heart and if it becomes elevated due to stress there are only two options as the brain sees it, Fight or Flight or play dead. This made perfect sense to me. When I feel my worst I don’t feel like myself at all. I can feel these higher levels of thought being stripped away – and since my source of stress is my own body causing me pain and torment Fighting it or Fleeing from it are useless. That is why I play dead. I disconnect form the world into my dungeon with and seal the heavy doors and hope by playing dead long enough my body and brain will get tired of tormenting me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q06YIWCR2Js
But there is hope and I believe now the tormenting has ended. Through changing my beliefs about who I am and the outside world I no longer see myself and social situations as threats. Yes no matter where I go I carry with me a possible threat (my adhesion filled abdomen, my three major kinks in my small intensive and a gall bladder that likes to lodge stones in my billiard tract plus an immune system that likes to attack my skin and other organs of my body) but this threat is manageable and I believe I soon will be able to completely eliminate it. Yes to completely eliminate what I’ve been told all my life is incurable or that there is nothing anyone can do for me. I reject that thinking. In Alan Watkin’s talk he stresses about the importance of controlling your heart rate with simple breathing techniques to quiet this flight, fight or feign death response.

In fact there have been amazing new imaging studies on people who have practiced meditation and breathing exercises that have created structural changes in their brains simply by breathing and thinking differently. It was done by scientists and doctors at Harvard. This is not woo-woo hippie dippie stuff this is real science, measurable and repeatable. I believe that if Wim Hof and these folks in this study, and Steven Kotler can achieve real measurable positive results in their physiology so can I.

Now I believe that I have more control over my mental state and that I believe life is worth living. I’ve been filled for so many years of self-loafing and self-hatred because I had stuck myself inside this dungeon and all I could do was wait to die. Through first prefacing my thoughts with “I believe” I was able to change some fundamental beliefs I had about myself and see the world and myself no longer as threats. I believe now that I can live a life full of love, adventure, peace, excitement, and accomplishment. I am done being miserable. I do have the power to change myself for the better.

Having a lot of abdominal scarring and pain causes me to take a lot of shallow breathes throughout the day and have to force myself to take deep breathes. But this is critical for me to relax and reduce the amount of stress chemicals throughout my body and brain. I believe now that I have an amazing future ahead of me, that social interactions are not threats, my body is not the enemy, and that I can create a sense of calm, sereneness free from anxiety any time I choose and that one day I will be able to have total control over my nervous system through breath work, exercise and mediation. This is my new reality.
In the past my problem was that my flight or fight mechanism was constantly being triggered by my body. Constant pain, fear of the pain worsening, and the ever present fear that the pain I felt everyday could at any time lead to a hospital stay kept my body in a perpetual state of fight or flight. The issue being I was the source of the threat, I couldn’t fight or flee from myself so I would spiral into depression and cut off all social ties and be absolutely miserable. I hated vacations and traveling because no matter where I went there I would be. I carried around the greatest threat to my emotional wellbeing inside my body.

This constant level of stress takes a toll on a person. I’ve lost 40 pounds, I’m currently not working, and I’ve almost cut out all social ties to the outside world. But I’m done living this way. In the past I believed this would be my fate for the remainder of my life, but that has changed. This is not delusional thinking. I am aware that pain will return, I’ll probably end up in the hospital again in the future, but I will not be held captive by the pain any longer.

My mental state and not the state of my body is what I’m focused on for the rest of my life. Creating a flourishing mind unperturbed by fortune or by pain. That is the goal. I’m reading Seneca’s Letters on the Shortness of life and he wrote to a friend “What is greater than a man who is above fortune?” Stoicism and Buddhism both seek to reduce or eliminate suffering for individuals. My mental state is something I now believe that I can have a greater and greater command over. I believe that through different breathing techniques, different natural medicines, continually challenging and updating the way I perceive myself and the outside world, I can become an ocean of calm in the midst of the storm of life.

That is my task and that is my journey. To create calmness, clarity and peace where there was once hate, fear and pain. I used to believe that I could never love myself or that I would never be good enough to be loved because of my health and my financial and social status. That belief is no more. I now believe that the past is gone, there is only now, and I can take steps to increase the flow experiences in my life, change what I believe and in the process change my reality and love others and want them to be happy and at peace as well.

I am a big fan of Wim Hof and I’m also staring up his program again. He has been able to take conscious control over his immune response and pain response. That is what I believe I can do as well. I want to end the tyranny of pain and be at peace with being me no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I’ve struggled most of my life with trying to avoid conflict and maintain an emotional equilibrium but that is a false hope for happiness because it relies on others. The Stoic and the Buddhist relies on his or her own mind to create calmness despite the chaos of the physical and emotional world around them. Though I will never fully eliminate pain or emotional distress I can greatly reduce its influence over my wellbeing.

I believe now that my chronic pain, autoimmune conditions are not a life sentence. I believe that fundamental amazing change is possible and is happening now. I believe there are ways to create positive mental states in the midst of the storms of illness and all I need to do is to breathe to make that happen. I’m on that journey now and I believe that my trillions of healthy cells are ready to assist me in this endeavor and to aide the few cells that are having some malfunctions so that I can create more flow states in my life and a produce a calmer and more peaceful mind and a body that is strong, vibrant, capable and able to rest. My mental state is all that I have. I am not my scars. I’m not my ileostomy. I’m not my psoriasis. I’m not my adhesions or my pain. I’m excited to see who I will become with the dungeon walls now destroyed and the doors between me and the world are like the automatic glass doors that open merely with me walking up to them. And all this has occurred because of believing and breathing.

Podcasts that inspire: The Joe Rogan Experience

The Joe Rogan Experience has changed my life for the better. My older brother turned me on to the podcast about five years ago and I still look forward to the new ones when they come out. He has over 800 episodes now. Even if you are not an mma fan, a fan of his comedy or if you hated “Fear Factor” you can still get a lot out of listening to his 3 hour long conversations with some of the most fascinating, positive, informative people alive.  I’ve learned a ton of helpful information from him and his guests. He has had people on  from Mark Sisson the Primal Blueprint Author to Neil Degrasse Tyson the famous scientist to Joey Diaz a stand up comedian (who in my opinion is the funniest man alive). Joe Rogan’s podcast is unique because it’s a three hour conversation in which there is time for guests to reveal who they truly are and share their knowledge on a vast variety of topics which include a lot on health and human performance. I’ve gotten a ton of inspiration from the most unlikely of guests as well as helpful information. Here are three podcast guests that I’ve found incredibly helpful in my life, plus a bonus one at the end.

Joe is an athlete with a high level martial arts background. He is all about human optimization and because of this he has a lot of guests on that are investigating how to maximize human potential, and most are involved with working with top athletes. The one thing that chronic illness sufferers and top athletes have in common is how to manage chronic inflammation. Dr. Rhonda Patrick focuses a lot on ways to mitigate and lower inflammation with a focus on nutrition. Autoimmune diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are just some of the disease  that cause chronic inflammation and maybe are caused by it. She is always a great guest and appears on Episode #459, #672 and #773.

Another guest I recommend listening to is Justin Wren AKA “The Big Pygmy”. This guy is amazing. A current MMA fighter in the Bellator organization, he suffers from recurrent Malaria, and has devoted his life to helping build wells in Africa. His appearance on the JRE podcast blew me away not just because of his work in Africa, but because he went into detail about being bullied when he was younger which led him to struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. He retells how he overcame these dark feelings by finding a purpose beyond himself. His organization he founded is “Fight For The Forgotten”. They help dig wells in Africa so villages can have clean water. I was struggling mentally because of feeling terrible,  like I usual am, when I heard his story and it immediately turned my attitude around. It’s amazing how you can change your neurochemistry and your thought patterns by hearing another person tell about how they’ve gone through similar struggles in life. I highly recommend anyone who needs some inspiration to listen to JRE episode #826.

http://www.water4.org/fightfortheforgotten

The third guest in which I’ve gotten a lot from is Wim Hof. He’s also known as “The Iceman” for his amazing feats withstanding cold. He holds 20 World Records including longest time in an ice bath. He is able to accomplish these amazing feats because he uses a specific breathing technique (which he teaches in The Wim Hof Method) to gain control over his autonomic systems in the body. Scientific studies on him have confirmed that he is able to influence his immune and other once thought purely automatic responses through breathing and cold exposure. His story is truly amazing. He went on a search for truth after his wife committed suicide leaving him with his boys to raise. From this tragedy he rediscovered (according to him) the amazing benefits of cold exposure as well as the ability to control his body through manipulating his breath Even if you don’t try his breathing technique, just listening to him talk (especially in his first appearance) is inspirational. He has been on the podcast twice now. I recommend you watch Episode #712 before Episode #865,

 http://www.icemanwimhof.com/innerfire

This is Wim’s program. There is a lot of free information on the site but its mainly a portal to his program.  I’ve actually completed his breathing, cold exposure, and exercise program up to the tenth week and had some great results. I’ve used the breathing technique to help me deal with severe pain and to even get a bowel obstruction to pass, which saved me a trip to the emergency room. The breathing technique is simple and can be done by just about anyone. The exercises and cold exposure were challenging for me. My adhesions and abdominal pain stopped me from fully completing the program last year. Now I’m starting up the program tomorrow. I’ve gotten a ton more value out of the program than the $199 price tag.  I’ll be chronically my experience with my second stab at completing the program. My biggest advice to anyone who has abdominal issues or other limitations is to start slow and do as much as you can. The great thing about the program is that once you buy it, you can access it at any time on any device.

There is one guest which is by far my all time favorite. That is Joey “Coco” Diaz. He is one of Joe’s best friends, who is also a stand up comedian,  and in my opinion the funniest guy on the planet. When I want to laugh I listen to one of the podcasts he’s on. What I like the most is when Joey gets going with a rant about something and Joe will be giggling uncontrollably. It’s not just the laughs that draw me to the Diaz episodes, but its also his words of wisdom. Behind the cursing and the outrageous stories that sometimes include reminiscing about committing felonies, are nuggets of true wisdom.  In just about every podcast he’s been on there will be something that he says that sticks with me. Either it will be something extremely motivating or something so funny, every time I think of it I almost laugh out loud. I quit my stressful, unfulfilling, health damaging job at a bank because of the conversations Joe and Joey had on the JRE Podcast. I’m forever grateful for those guys and what they are doing.  They are both individualistic, hard working, empathetic, intelligent, loyal, strong, family men who have blazed their own trail.

Joey Diaz has been on too many Episodes to list so I’ve linked to volume one of his best clips on the JRE. It is a good introduction of his humor and what he likes to talk about. And after you go through all four volumes of the best of Joey Diaz go to JRE Episode #803 which is his most recent conversation with Joe.

The JRE podcast has greatly improved my life. I became a Primal Health Coach because of it, I quit my job I hated because of it, I started doing kettle bells because of it, I did a 30 day Yoga program last year because of it, I signed up for the Wim Hof program because of it. Most importantly I’ve become a better friend and brother because of it. It’s brought me closer together with my brothers because we all listen to it, we’ve gone to see Joe live because of it, we all listen to Joey Diaz’s “Savage Dad” because of it.  The JRE podcast isn’t preachy, pretentious or overly produced. It’s simply Joe talking to his friends or people who he wants to learn from. It is always full of positive energy, laughs, great information, and amazing individuals who share their life experiences and how they’ve overcome life’s challenges.

The JRE podcast has been and continues to be my main source for motivation, inspiration, and cutting edge information concerning nutrition, health, and human optimization.

Brad Miller

 

Ostomy Odor Control – Three Solutions that work for me

Shit stinks. That’s a fact. And the fact I have an ileosotmy makes me even more aware of this non-negotiable truth of life. But I do believe that ever problem in the world has a solution. I’ve found three solutions for controlling and even eliminating my ostomy odor > I use a three prong strategy of eating certain foods and avoiding others, and having with me at all times, a biological odor eliminator spray and biological eliminator drops.

1. Parsley, green leafy veggies, sweet potatoes, and Tea 

Food has become almost an obsession in my life. Food is truly an amazing tool for health and for specifically for odor control. Parsley is my number one food for controlling odor. I’ve even sat in a Publix parking lot (before I started boycotting them) stuffing my face full of parsley because I was meeting a woman for dinner. That day at work my output was atrocious and I didn’t have my drops with me.  My diet was basically Chickfila and Zaxbys back then so its not surprising  I was having issues. I had to drive an hour through Atlanta traffic to meet her and by the time we sat down to eat the parsley was already doing its job. After I had a full bag the odor was completely neutral. Now if you do try this I must warn you that it took me a good ten minutes to get all the small parsley bits out from in between my teeth.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035599_parsley_superfood_blood.html

Now my diet is much better. I follow mostly the Primal diet and have become a Primal Health Coach this year. By avoiding sugar, wheat, vegetable oils,  and fried foods I have less issues with output odor. I do still have issues on certain days and by eating green leafy veggies, sweet potatoes and herbs, especially parsley, I’m able to control it to a large degree. I have also had a great deal of success incorporating different teas into my diet as well. Green Tea, Yerba Mate, and especially Roobios all have a positive impact on the odor level as well. Food is a powerful tool that is my first line of defense against offensive odors. I do avoid fish the day before and the day of being out of the house and around other people. Fish oil capsules are another thing I avoid. Instead I’ve had a lot better luck with Krill oil. With them I have almost no fishy output odor and have all the omega 3 benefits.

This is the Roobios tea I really like. It also settles the stomach when I’m nauseated.

https://www.amazon.com/ROOIBOS-Delicious-African-Caffeine-Unbleached/dp/B00F2GW4J2/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1477883160&sr=8-1&keywords=rooibos+queen+tea

2.  Biologic Sprays

I rarely leave the home without a small 10,20 or 30 ml spray bottle full of biologic odor eliminator. Even if I use a public restroom I normally spray before I empty my pouch. I think that is the right thing to do. I’ve tried many different brands and right now I’m using April Fresh Biological Odor Eliminator. It works great. In the past I’ve used Medi-Aire products and Hollister M9 and was happy with both of them. The problem with these products is that the smallest bottles they come in is 1 ounce. For me thats way to big to fit into my pocket. That is why I use 10/20/30 ml small spray bottles from Amazon. I usually fill up the 20ml or the 10ml with odor eliminator and put it in my pocket. No one even knows I have it. They have been a lifesaver.  It is a powerful feeling knowing I can use the restroom somewhere and not be embarrassed. The smallest bottle is 10ml and it holds enough biological odor eliminator to cover me for a few days. If you do try different biological eliminators test them at home first. I’ve found some that have left a sticky residue on the bathroom floor after spraying.

These are the small spray bottle I use everyday.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CL6QE92/ref=crt_ewc_img_srh_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2M3901IWS8OJU

3. Drops

This is an option I don’t use a whole lot  any more but I do carry a small 20 or 10ml spray bottle in my pocket which is filled with the drops. It’s nice to have them as a backup. I don’t think they have ever worked 100% for me. Even when I used five to ten times the recommended amount there was still an lingering presence that I couldn’t get rid of. I’ve used Holister M9 drops and found them as good as any others. If my skin is particularly bad around my stoma I do avoid the drops because if they make contact with the excoriated skin it can burn. Still they are great to have if I’m out and about and due to dinner my output odor changes in a big way. Sometimes the odor is so bad it can leak through the plastic of the bag. This is when the drops especially come in handy.

https://www.amazon.com/507715-Hollister-Odor-Eliminator-Drops/dp/B0013UANSA/ref=sr_1_4_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1477882977&sr=1-4&keywords=m9+odor+eliminator

I’ve almost conquered my fear of ostomy odor. It still plagues my mind and I’m always super sensitive to any slight change of the surrounding smells. I’m always monitoring to see if I’m the cause of a bad smell. I think I’ll always have that anxiety. But through a few lifestyle changes and a couple spray bottles filled with chemicals, I’m able to go to another person’s house and not be overwhelmed by the fear that their guest bathroom is beside the kitchen. Living with an ostomy is fraught with fear. Any time I can eliminate one of these fears my life expands in a positive direction.

If you have any tips on eliminating ostomy odor please leave a comment.

Wishing you an expanding life,

Brad Miller