While on vacation 14 years ago, I woke up without any feeling in my left leg. I remember sticking a fork in it and was amazed I could feel no pain. I could walk just fine — so naturally I assumed I was slowly turning into an X-Man. After a few calls to my doctor friends, I was on the next plane back to Seattle, where a team of doctors quickly diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis.
For those who don’t know, M.S. is a pretty scary disease namely because it’s so unpredictable. One day you can be fine, the next day your vision goes haywire; or you go from running a marathon to stumbling when taking a walk in your house. But the most insidious unknown of M.S. is the disease progression that can range from asymptomatic to debilitating — and no one is quite sure why.
At the time, I was a relatively new father and had teams on four continents working to build software the world uses every day. I couldn’t just slow down or let the disease hold me back from being the leader, father and friend that I needed to be. So I jumped in with both feet on aggressive treatments designed to keep the disease at bay — and they did work.
Unfortunately, the side effects ranged from feeling like I had the flu for seven years, depression, and eventually skin cancer. I was popping 2,000 mg of painkillers a day to keep up my high-paced lifestyle, often clocking in 150,000 miles a year in the air and 100 nights in hotels across the world.
Today there are objectively over a billion sites, books, Instagram accounts, and apps telling you how to live better. I don’t know about you, but when I have too many choices, I usually don’t make one.
So while I was prolonging the duration of my life, I certainly wasn’t enhancing the quality. Something had to change.
With a background in engineering and science, I dove into the research around functional medicine, systems biology, and immunomodulation, and convinced some of the world’s greatest doctors, like Mark Hyman, to take me on. After hundreds of hours of work, over 200 tests, and a significant cash outlay later, I built a protocol that literally stopped the pain and other side effects within three weeks. I developed an aggressive regimen — exercise, a strict diet, fasting, the right supplements that had scientific backing, social and emotional work, and life hacks that run the gamut from automation to assistants.
They may seem basic, but there are four simple, yet effective, things you can start doing today to change your life for the healthier:
- Water: Try and drink half your body weight in ounces every day. I’m 165 pounds, so I’m 80ish oz of H2O a day.
- Greens: Dark, leafy greens are best. Focus on getting AT LEAST 2 servings a day — kale, spinach, arugula, watercress, microgreens. Avoid iceberg and romaine.
- Sleep: 7 hours a day AT LEAST. If you don’t believe me, watch this year’s TED talk.
- Get outside: Even if cardio isn’t your thing, the act of being outside even 20 minutes a day has radical mental health benefits.
As a result, I have gone from ghost-walking through the pain haze every day, acting as though I was an invincible hustler to someone who has literally never felt or performed better — despite my disease! I still take on too much, I still am on too many airplanes and sleep in far too many hotels, but at least now I am in control.
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