Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be your food. —Hippocrates
This quote by Hippocrates has to be one of my favorites. It is this very thought that continues to inspire me to live my best and healthiest life. As a native to Bulgaria, I was raised living off the land. We grew our own food, raised our own animals and had fresh goat milk and eggs every morning in the small village that I was from. There was simplicity to life then. Community was huge and stress levels were pretty low. I did not know then that the foods and way of life I was used to would actually end up being something I would have to fight to “re-learn” later in life.
At the age of 12, I moved to the United States with my parents. We held this excitement for our new life and new country! I can still remember the energy as if it were yesterday. It was during this sensitive time in my teenage years that I began to adopt new ways. I began to eat processed foods and adopted the “hurried” lifestyle that most Americans have. I was subjected to “keeping up with the Jones” and remember a time where I constantly felt myself “comparing” myself to others. This was a feeling I had never known in Bulgaria.
Being immigrants at the time, I had the extra pressure of having to “perform” at my best. My parents uprooted themselves to offer me a better life and schooling opportunities in the land of the free. This was something not to be taken lightly.
I quickly settled in and began to adapt to my new culture and country pretty quickly. Ever since I was a child I was always drawn to physical culturism or what is more commonly known as the bodybuilding lifestyle. Originally, this was the reflection of optimal physical health and longevity.
For me, this is where I really started to lose sight of what true health and longevity was. As I watched “Arnold” and many other idols that I had as a young boy, I began to adopt some very unhealthy patterns thinking I was doing the right thing.
I would spend hours in the gym hitting the weights but I would eat highly processed unhealthy foods in larges amounts in order to compensate for my exhaustive workouts.
By trying to duplicate my idols and to become like them I became imbalanced. For example, I was ingesting a tremendous amount of inorganic pasteurized commercial dairy full of hormones, anti-biotic residues, pesticides and other drugs. Not to mention the GMO feed the cows were ingesting. This was a far cry from the fresh raw goat/cow milk that I was raised on.
Not knowing better and thinking that we were in the “land of plenty” my parents purchased low cost, highly processed foods that became a part of my daily nutrition (or lack thereof). I remember at times, being so ravenous and hungry that I could polish off almost an entire loaf of white bread at a time thinking that I was doing good and becoming big and strong. The more I ate, the more I was praised for just this.
These things all started to reach a bottleneck when I was about 19 years old. I started to experience extreme gastro-intestinal issues particularly gas, bloating, indigestion and constipation which I was led to believe was normal because of high protein consumption. Around the same time I experienced my first severe panic attack and I started to experience pretty severe anxiety and mood swings. What transpired was the next phase of the debilitation of my health at the time. I became dependent on psychiatric medications (Lexapro, Celexa, Lamictal and Zanax) and was told by numerous psychiatrists over the years that these were medicines I would have to be on the rest of my life.
At the time, I was in school and stressed out heavily. I became dependent on stimulates and coffee to stay awake and to get through my studies, I was pursuing a degree and a career path that I didn’t even want for myself. I began to pursue becoming an Orthopedic Physician to please my parents and family. I felt in some strange way, that I owed them for their years of sacrifice. How many of us do this? How common has it become to just do things for others or simply for the financial stability that comes with them?
Fast forward to today and the very purpose of this blog. There was always something inside of me telling me that this was not the right path. I knew that I wanted more for myself and I certainly wanted more out of life. I was determined to get off of my medications and to live a healthy vibrant life. I met my wife Ashley who helped me to follow my true passion in life and encouraged me to step out and follow my dreams. I laid down my need to please others and took the first step by focusing on myself.
I have always had a deep passion for nutrition and health. Helping others to achieve healthy lifestyles through balanced nutrition became my focus. For the past 16 plus years I have made my living doing this.
I began to help my wife with her own journey to health and wellness. Ashley started at 208 pounds and successfully lost 80 pounds. I was able to teach her how to eat and help her to overcome severe food addictions. She is one of the most motivating people I know and her firsthand experience with this extreme weight loss has helped her to encourage many.
We went on to start our own very successful Wellness program and have in turn helped hundreds of people achieve true optimal health through nutrition.
Today, I am off ALL of my medicines that I was told I would have to be dependent on and I enjoy anxiety free living. I am in school to pursue my N.D. Degree and my wife and I enjoy optimal stress free living doing what we love.
Through our experiences and studies over the years, Ashley and I have stepped out to learn more about food. We have a desire to learn more about how food is grown and how we can play a part in giving back to the Earth that has given so many resources to us. We are both living in ATL now and are embarking on the next phase of our adventure. We are taking baby steps towards our future dream of living self sustainably.
In our blog we will detail my journey towards obtaining my N.D. Degree as well as tips/tools for living off the land and giving back. We will take you with us as we embark on this new adventure in ATL and will include many of our fun “projects’ and things that YOU can do to start taking control of your health.
We love to take weekend trips and visit local farms and farmers markets. We will take you with us on our journey and teach you what we know! Ashley and I are so excited to be blogging and sharing our journey with you. Please feel free to reach out and leave questions/comments and get involved!