I remember when it started.
I was in Atlanta, speaking at two conferences over two days in the summer of 2017. Even while on the road, I still wanted to stick to my disciplines as best I could — one of those disciplines being my daily consumption of raw Organic Girl spinach, straight out of the box.
I found a Whole Foods in downtown Atlanta, bought two 10oz boxes and was good to go.
The thought of my digestive system, which runs automatically in us humans so we don’t have to think about it, occurred to me about 30 minutes before the first speaking gig.
My stomach was bubbling badly. And I was too far from the hotel to go back. I had to use one of the public bathrooms in the crowded venue.
I don’t know about you, but I NEVER take a shit in a public bathroom unless it’s an emergency. Well, this was an emergency.
I found a stall in a bathroom that was very busy, and my stomach emptied out. I felt a lot better after that, and delivered a great speech. Hopefully, I thought, I won’t have to consciously consider my digestion anymore.
My stomach again bubbling badly the afternoon of the second day.
About an hour away from my scheduled stage time, I had to take the emergency ten-minute walk back to my hotel room (I was closer to the hotel for this second speaking gig) to use the bathroom. From what I could feel in my stomach, I knew I couldn’t use the bathroom at the event venue: I needed privacy for this one.
I “emptied out” again, and again was fine on stage.
Things were bad from then on.
I had eaten a bunch of other stuff over my days in the ATL, so I can’t blame the spinach. I just remember shitting all the spinach I’d eaten that day out on those two emergency bathroom trips.
I eat spinach every day, and that never happens. Maybe I’d just had a bad batch.
What I know for sure: my entire digestive system was fucked up after that.
For the next TWO YEARS, I had all of the following:
- Frustrating constipation: 2-3 day spurts of no #2 bowel movements — followed by large “dumps” of feces that had apparently been sitting in my colon for days, unable to leave my body. It smelled like rotten food, but worse
- Terrible smelling gas
- A colonic that had no effect on the situation (the pleasant woman there, upon hearing of my issues, accurately diagnosed the gas issue by asking me if the farts smelled like “something died in Denmark”)
- An empathetic but frustrated girlfriend who eventually stopped commenting on the terrible lingering smells throughout our home. She’d just quietly open the windows and balcony doors to air the place out
Here’s some baseline info on me and my habits, so you can understand why I was so perplexed by this situation.
- I was 35 years old when this happened
- I’m a former professional athlete who still works out every day. I lift weights, have completed two marathons and still run ~20 miles per week
- I drink my bodyweight in ounces of water every day (I’m 6’4” and 180-185lbs; that’s 6 liters of water) plus a protein shake
- I’ve been the same size and weight all my adult life. The only people I know who are in similar or better shape than me are fellow athletes and people who work at fitness facilities
- I sleep 7-8 hours per night
- I meditate and do yoga every morning
- I’m vegan* (I do eat meat when eating out or when traveling) and eat two meals per day
- I don’t smoke or drink at all
- While I do enjoy candy, chips and other random sweets, I’ve always liked that stuff — and it’s never been an issue for me
- I eat fruits daily — bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, plums, pears, peaches — daily, whatever’s in season.
Basically, I’m quite “healthy” when it comes to taking care of my body.
Specifically when it comes to my water intake, I couldn’t understand why my body isn’t “flushing out” the feces that seemed to be stuck in my large intestine for days at a time. I was peeing just fine (my urine was/is always colored clear or close to it), but the constipated poop and smelly gas was not only frustrating but detrimental to my quality of living.
All through this two-year period, I still drank the water, ate vegan, worked out, did yoga and meditation. And ate spinach.
Nothing about the digestion changed though.
I had my vegan meal delivery service swap out some foods that I thought might be the culprits.
I called the colonic place, 3 months after I’d been there, and told the woman how my situation had not improved. She told me that the next step was for me to submit a stool sample and they’d have it sent “to the lab” for testing to find out what was really going on.
I thought that was my only resort. Then her assistant told me that the stool sample kit was $650.
While I am all for spending what I need to spend for the one body I’m blessed with, I wanted to make sure, before spending $650, that I’d done everything I could do to address the situation on my own.
I recalled a TED Talk I had seen 6-7 years before, back when I first became a vegetarian.
A woman explained how she had been diagnosed with an incurable terminal disease, her doctors telling her that there was nothing they could do to stop its progress. Without any other options, the woman did her own research and decided to try the only thing she had left: Go on a strict vegan diet, consuming a large amount of raw, organic leafy green produce every day.
It worked. She had lived to tell the story on the TED stage.
My life wasn’t in danger, but I figured I could give that strategy a shot.
I remember the day I decided on my plan — so simple in concept that I wasn’t sure it could actually be called a “plan.” But try it, I would.
For two weeks, I would consume ONLY the following:
- My delivery-service vegan meals (2/day)
- Organic Spinach
And I would exclude the following “sometimes” foods:
- Packaged goods (pretzels, chips, tortillas, etc)
- Sweets (cakes, sticky buns etc)
I didn’t think I ate too much of the “sometimes” foods as it was. But, being that the foundation of my business is teaching people discipline, I owed it to myself to at least know that I’d tried a strict diet before going the doctor-and-medicine route to fix my issue.
Two weeks. Strict.
And what do you know: it worked!
Within ONE WEEK:
- The gas was gone
- I started having regular #2 bowel movements — that didn’t smell like dead people
- My #2s went from once every 2-3 days to once/day, then to twice per day (which is what I read is normal for most adults)
- No more bubbly stomach
- We can live in our home with the windows and doors closed, if we wish, and everyone loves to talk about it.
What you should learn from all of this:
- Your diet may not be as strict as you think it is, even if you’re “healthy”
- Before going to the doctor / medicine route to handle a physical ailment, try going perfectly STRICT for two weeks (maybe more, maybe less) and see what happens — you may be surprised by the results
- Try the strict system now, even if you don’t have any digestive “problems” — you may feel better and have more energy because of it.
The Discipline you need to put this plan in place, you can get from the 30 Days To Discipline Course. Get started here: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/30