My friend, Ross is a 38 year-old “man” whose parents, who are not rich, (upper middle like most of the people I knew) gave him most everything he’s ever “owned”. I use scare quotes around that word because Ross’s idea of owning something means to use until it breaks without any kind of maintenance or cleaning. This includes his own body. Now, whatever may be said about Ross, he’s always kept himself relatively clean, however, he’s neglected his teeth so much, when he finally went to the dentist, they assumed he was a meth user. As far as I know, Ross never touched the stuff. But Ross is also a petulant child who refuses to brush his teeth because someone told him to. So they have rotted out of his skull. Whenever he gets a tooth infection, he just takes some Tylenol and some antibiotics and “it’s no big deal.” Great.
That’s close, but his are more evenly worn. Chalk it up to spreading his neglect evenly over all his teeth. So he came to me and basically asked for help. But not explicitly, because that would be like actually asking for help, and me telling him would be, well, telling him what to do, and I didn’t want to risk that. Actually telling Ross what to do is a sure-fire way to insure he won’t do it. Instead, I wrote a 6-month prescription that initially attempts to rehydrate his cells and purge his system of impurities and emailed it to him. The theory I wrote this from is general, but based on the idea that proper nutrition can replace the toxin concentrations in his cells and by doing so, his organs can attempt to heal. Our organs have a fantastic ability to heal themselves if we let them. This did not happen. But the following prescription is what I sent him in an effort to get him to live a longer, healthier life.
Every car Ross has ever driven in the 17-18 years we’ve known each other has been a mobile trash can filled with fast food bags that layer the floor board like the strata of a canyon–older at the bottom. Ross supplements his nutrition with bottles of Dr. Pepper and Camels. Ross doesn’t usually smoke just one cigarette during a cigarette break. So his lungs are struggling to exchange gases, which in turn causes every cell in his body to run short on it’s ability to move waste out an nutrition in. Couple this with a near constant intake of carbonic acid and processed sugar, his teeth never stood a chance. It’s too late for his teeth, but it’s not too late to let his body heal itself.
This prescription is based on the sponge metaphor: the human body is like a sponge: it accumulates water and impurities in the porosities of the cells and interstitial spaces in proportion to absorption rates and usage: left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF—the heart), glomerular filtration rate (GFR—the kidneys), passive filtration through the lymph glands and overall vascular health. Here are the major prescriptions:
Stop all soda intake immediately! Do not touch another drop of it, not until you’ve reached a normal nutrient-water balance at least—which will take around 3 months if you do exactly what I say here. If you don’t touch another drop, you will be giving yourself a huge advantage. Take fish oil, glucosamine-chondroitin, and a multivitamin to start. Drink nothing but water, low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice. Cut all excess sugar out of your diet. The list of things that have sugar in them is immense, but know this: if it’s in a package at the store, it probably has sugar in it. Stop eating processed sugar. And worse: artificial sweetener. Do not touch anything with artificial sweetener in it. That means anything with “Light” or “diet” in it.
Try to eat a vegetable. Just buy a carrot or some celery, and here’s the key: eat it. Then do it again. And again. You need to retrain your intestines to digest food in the lower parts of your intestines. For years your body has been getting the vast majority of its nutrition from the upper intestinal tract: your stomach and small intestines. That’s not good for a number of reasons, but the point here is that you’re not eating much fiber. Fiber acts like a strainer over the surface of your intestines allowing nutrients from your other foods to be digested along the whole tract. This increases the efficiency of your digestive process, and thus your overall health. It is fundamental to your survival. You will shit strange matter for a few months. You will have to use more toilet paper to clean yourself. But if you do this, AND you eat nutrient-rich foods, you WILL FEEL BETTER. You will have more energy, you will sleep deeper, your sex drive will ramp up, and you whole outlook on life will improve immeasurably. This almost ensures that your creative abilities will multiply. Don’t take my word for it: DO IT!
If you do all these things I’m telling you, you will probably gain some weight too. This is good. Don’t worry about weight—not yet. The idea here is that your body is in a malnutritioned state. The moment your body has the opportunity to avoid that state (by storing concentrated energy in the form of fat), it will. Weight gain at this point is a marker of success. Weight gain becomes a problem only if you do NO exercise and your body is allowed to store fat without constraints. Right now, we are just interested in making your intestines more efficient at absorbing nutrients and pulling out waste and toxins.
Cut down on cigarettes. Ultimately you should quit smoking altogether—except occasional marijuana, but just cut down to start.
Walk around the block. Do NOT smoke a cigarette when you walk. This bears repeating: DO NOT SMOKE A CIGARETTE WHILE WALKING. If you spark it up afterwards, well, that’s not good either, but if you must… Try to get some sun too—walk around in the daytime. Sunlight makes us produce vitamin D which helps with a number of things.
The theory here is to flush your sponge. You’ve got to replace lost fluids and flush toxins that have built up over years of neglect. At this point, add a calcium supplement or a multivitamin with calcium in it, and a B-complex. (More on your supplement schedule below.)
Always try to get supplementals in gel-liquid form because they absorb more completely—you piss less of it out, thereby each swallow is more useful. This is not possible (as far as I know) with glucosamine-chondroitin, but most others it is.
I’m not sure if you can grow your teeth back, but this prescription will at least allow your mouth (and the rest of your body) to kick infections. Ultimately, antibiotics make our bodies weaker—allowing lab-formulated molecules to do the work our bodies have been doing for millions of years. If your body doesn’t have to use energy to fight disease, it won’t—it will always take the path of least resistance, of least energy usage. So, if you don’t take antibiotics, you force your body to engage the natural defense mechanisms of your immune system. The immune system is a fantastically complex series of cascading effects that “learn” how to beat new diseases as they evolve and find new ways to eat us. Keep in mind, we are constantly being eaten by tiny bugs. At a certain point, our bodies are not strong enough to fight them off, and our organs fail—usually kidneys and heart are the first to go. And the bugs feast on us. But don’t give the bugs any advantage over you.
Once your body has sufficiently recovered, begin walking farther. Walk to destinations: the store, the park, whatever. Pick a destination and walk to it. Walk back. Repeat. Make it a habit. And DO NOT SMOKE while you walk. If you do, you’re making it very hard to kick that habit. You need to replace that habit, but do not ENFORCE that habit by walking and smoking.
Let’s talk a little more about what you should and shouldn’t be eating . First and foremost, no more soda. It has no nutritional value, it works your kidneys very hard, and it depletes calcium straight from your bloodstream.
Calcium: your body can’t really process more than 2000 mg of calcium per day, so supplements are only useful to a point. More than that can lead to kidney stones, which your are already prone to. That’s why I didn’t recommend calcium supplements until you’ve reached a point of normal body hydration and normal kidney function.
Salt: Hold your salt intake. Too much salt takes calcium out of your bloodstream and out into the toilet via the dickhole. So do antacids. And so does soda. Here’s a quick list of good foods for you:
Soup: eat soup as often as it is on the menu. Canned soup generally has a high salt content, so try to get low-sodium options as often as possible. Soup is basically salt water with some other ingredients. Eating more soup allows you to get nutrients and water at the same time. The benefits of this should be clear by now. Clear soup will always be better than cream soups, however, cream soups are still a very good food option. The more “vegetable based” soups you have, the better. Here are some of my favorites:
- Vietnamese pho, hold the noodles: usually I get chicken, but they have beef, beef tendon (very good for your situation, but hard to stomach if you’ve never had it before), tofu (I’m not holding my breath on this one), and seafood (my favorite). Pho is packed with fresh onions, however, it usually comes with a ton of veggies on the side. Put them all in: rip the basil up and put it in, same with the cilantro. Then drop in the sprouts. Squeeze lime to taste. Eat ALL the veggies and broth before you get to the meat.
- Pozole: Mexican pork soup. Comes with chopped radishes, cabbage, onions and cilantro on the side. Put ALL of that goodness in the bowl and eat it ALL. Under that layer of fresh veggies is the pork and hominy. Eat that after you’ve set the stage for proper digestion with the veggies and broth.
- Corn chowder: Sounds nasty, but every time I get it, I LOVE this shit! It’s just so damned satisfying. Strange but true.
- Any other soup that happens to be available.
Berries: any kind. Blue, straw, ras, boisen, whatever. Eat more berries. Unfortunately, they are expensive.
Nuts: unsalted, un-sugared. Roasted is ok. Raw is best.
Fish: eat fish every chance you get. This includes both fresh and canned fish. Any grocery store sells canned fish: tuna, sardines, mackerel in various sauces, and the more expensive canned herring (Bar Harbor is my favorite, but it’s like $3/can). Great source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and other minerals, as well as a super-rich source of protein. In fact, if you make canned fish your primary source of protein, you can eliminate fast food from your diet completely.
Milk: low fat. A glass or so a day will be about right. A bowl of cereal will do the trick too.
Vegetables: eat as much as you can stomach. Raw is best, but if you get them from a can, that’s better than nothing, however, canned veggies will always have a high salt content, so that works against your calcium program.
Fruits: fresh fruit only. Do not eat ANY fruit from a package if you can avoid it. Any processed fruit will inevitably have added processed sugar. You want to avoid processed sugar AT ALL COSTS. Processed sugar will kill you by providing bacteria with a catalyst and making your kidneys work overtime.
Leafy greens: Kale, bok choy and spinach. Eat them. They contain calcium and other nutrients we don’t get in other places and they serve to help us digest other food.
Foods to avoid:
- Soda (any kind, any time)
- Processed sugar: you are high risk for diabetes (if you don’t already have it). Avoid all foods with processed sugar. This includes:
- BBQ sauce
- Fruit “cocktails” that are less than 100% juice
- Canned fruit
- Candy (of course)
- Packaged sweet breads (little Debbie, etc)
- Fried foods: there is NOTHING nutritionally beneficial to eating fried food. This includes:
- French fries
- Onion rings
- “apple pies”
- most anything covered in bread crumbs
- Bread: you don’t need any excess sugar in your diet right now. Eliminate all bread until further notice.
- Pasta: same with pasta—it just turns into sugar. You don’t need any.
Here’s a condensed timeline so you can make sense of all this info:
A. First few months (between 1 and 3 months):
1. Liquids: From here on out, drink ONLY water, milk and 100% fruit juices.
2. Foods: Soups, nuts, berries, veggies, fish (canned and fresh).
3. Food to avoid: Soda. Not a drop more. Cut out processed sugar, artificial sweeteners, bread, pasta, fried foods, fast food, and almost anything from a convenience store.
4. Supplements: Fish oil (2 pills a day), glucosamine-chondroitin (2-3 pills/day), a multivitamin (1/day).
5. Walk a bit every day—to the store, around the block, anything to get your lymph nodes working properly and moving toxins out of your body.
B. After your body has reached a re-hydration equilibrium (somewhere between 2-6 months):
1. Continue eating soup every day
2. Try to add some fresh vegetables to your diet
3. Continue all food prohibitions: soda, bread, fried foods, processed sugar and excess salt.
4. Supplements: continue Fish oil, glucosamine, add a calcium supplement (no more than 500mg/day) and a vitamin B complex.
5. Continue walking every day.
6. TRY to quit smoking. I’m not asking for a miracle here, but at least cut down your intake—try to make a single cigarette last the course of a day. You need to give your lungs time to heal themselves.
7. A moderate amount of alcohol is fine. Beer has the most sugar in it, so drink it less than hard liquor. If you drink liquor, try to mix it with 100% fruit juice.
This is the basic outline. If you can stick to this regimen, you will feel immensely better, your brain will work better, your dick will work better, you will crap faster, like a minute or two—everything about your body will work better. You will find that you don’t have time to read anymore when you take a shit. That’s good news. It means your digestive system is working properly.
Take heed: if you actually do what I recommend here, you will probably have the shits a few times over the course of these months. Fret not! That is exactly what we want to happen. Your intestines are so used to soaking up every last bit of water, that when you get properly hydrated, your body will let a large amount of water pass through you. That is a GOOD THING! Let it happen and don’t worry about it. The color of your shit will change. Take notice of all the changes your body is undergoing.
Lastly: start using some kind of antiseptic mouth wash. Generic is just as good as Listerine. Use it every time you brush your teeth. Keep your gums as healthy as possible and don’t overbrush. Overbrushing can open your gums to more infection, which is the last thing we want. Always use a “SOFT” brush. Never a medium or hard brush.
Stick to this and you can reverse a lot of damage and get your body back to normal. I can’t check up on you every day, you’ve just got to take this on as a personal quest. No one can make you want to live.
So, this did NOT happen.
Ross got frustrated because he couldn’t remember the password to his email account, which meant he couldn’t see if anyone emailed him back from the online dating site. So he took it out on my computer. Then he let it accidentally fall and hit the ground. I lost my temper. He kicked himself out. I conceded and added “and don’t EVER COME BACK.”