Why would I bother putting time into a web site like this? Looking back, I should have started figuring out what was happening a full decade ago. Instead, I can trace my wakeup call to October of 2012. I don't want you to wait for your wakeup call.
That weekend in 2012, my extended family took a weekend away at a hotel for fun. That is worrisome enough to many of you. But that Sunday I had quite a bit of food, including a hotel breakfast, a chain restaurant lunch, and PB&J for dinner with flavored chips, followed by a flavored beer.
That evening after dinner, the heart palpitations started. I'd had pain in my arm, constipation, indigestion, and a generally messed up digestive system for YEARS. I'd been avoiding things like bacon, coffee creamer, and other known irritants that I'd singled out over the years, but when your heart skips on 1 out of every 4 beats, it gets your attention in a new way. I lay awake that night in desperate fear. I spent many many subsequent nights in a similar fear as the palpitations would not ease. That affected every single part of life, sucking my energy, and affecting my work and my family.
I visited my doctor a few times. I saw a cardiologist a few times and had numerous tests. Everyone confirmed it but couldn't figure it out. They didn't seem to take it seriously, and I was told that I'd just have to live with it. NO WAY. It was time for more research online. I started cutting out the common things to see what might be causing the issue - dairy, gluten, carbs and refined sugars, alcohol. Nothing worked. I finally found that I could sleep on a combination of Advil and Melatonin. Why? Time for more research. Advil acts as an anti-inflammatory. Melatonin makes you sleepy. So when I reduced some inflammation enough, I could sleep. Then I thought back to what I'd eaten that fateful day and started researching what might have been in the food. I found a likely common element I hadn't considered before - MSG. I watched for it over the next month and it helped, but it didn't fix everything. Still more research was needed.
Thanks to my wife's amazing diligence, we found commonality between MSG and many other items like Carageenan, Autolyzed Yeast, Hydrolyzed Protein, and other related ingredients. Avoiding a long list of additives definitely helped notably. In the end, I found that there were other triggers - processed items affect me heavily. Whether that was MSG, Nitrates, or even hydrogenated oils - it's the processed items that were getting me every time. It seems that the processing, particularly for ingredients that are bubbled through acid or other chemicals and then added in powder form to my food - that stuff irritates my entire digestive system to the point it affects my heart. The result? Avoiding food chemicals eliminated the palpitations virtually completely. It was not instantaneous, but I certainly knew when my digestive system was on the mend - the changes were immediate. Unfortunately, this discovery also left me without some favorites, such as ice cream, pepperoni pizza, soda, Thanksgiving stuffing, or a piece of cake. I have had to find new, better things to eat to satisfy my desire for sweet and savory. You can find some of those things on this site! For instance, instead of ice cream or box pudding, I now reach for an avacado, a banana, honey, and a food processor (and it's wonderful)!
On the plus side, the other health benefits have been incredible. I'm literally a more positive person now. My outlook on life has improved, and people have told me so. I'm a smaller person now - 20lbs fell off and stayed off. I'm a healthier person and I get sick less. My upset stomach TUMS habit died - when you are not constantly irritating your stomach each time you snack or eat a meal, the need for those products goes away. I stopped losing my hair. My constipation slowly went away. I have more mental focus. This is no short list, and these are pretty big claims, but it's been a great experience. My family, friends, and co-workers can tell you I'm a better person for the change.
All this led me on a journey to figure out WHY these processed additives affect me so negatively. I've found books, articles, and studies that are very concerning. Some of them have made me downright angry. I've found many known effects of these chemicals aligned perfectly to my symptoms. The generic term for most of these items is Excitotoxins. They make us eat more. They make food taste better. They make us crave. They mess with your brain's interpretation of food. They affect your brain and damage your body! They make me sick. Learn more and join me on my quest to eat healthier while still absolutely enjoying food!