Note: This post is part of a 5-part series, where we will share progress about and information specific to each of the Eating to Live levels.
My husband has been utilizing the Eating to Live protocol for 4 months now. It’s been an amazing, life-changing transformation. Let me tell you how it happened.
First, a little background on his Eating to Live journey…
Hi there. My name is Kristin McQuivey. I’ve been the writer for the Eating to Live book project for the past 18+ months. Working with David and Carla Meine on this project, I have gained a profound respect for what they are doing. I’ve listened to their story and learned so much from them. I read all the books and every functional nutrition intensive. I have also done hours of my own additional research, chapter by chapter, and am completely convinced that what they are so passionate about sharing with others through Eating to Live really, really works.
Eating to Live hits close to home
My husband Jason has always been pretty healthy. As a child he rarely got sick. Thankfully that has held true as an adult as well, but he’s taken that health for granted, and maybe even abused it a bit. In the last few years, it’s started to catch up with him.
This good husband of mine works crazy long hours. He works in IT, which means he can work from anywhere. Before his office was permanently moved to our basement (thank you, Covid), he would come home from a long day and plug right back in. His work has stressful, worldwide deployments that have him working crazy hours around the clock and frequently interrupt his sleep. He rarely takes a vacation where he doesn’t connect online and get stuff done at least part of the time. And, he sits. All day. Every day. He sits in front of multiple computer screens and forgets to come up for air. It’s a lot of sitting!
He’s never loved to exercise, and he also doesn’t love having a wife who constantly nags him about it. Plus, he’s a super picky eater. No salads. Very few veggies. Lots of eating on the go and late-night ice cream binging. All of this started adding up to a pretty unhealthy lifestyle and quite a bit of denial about it.
Eventually, ‘living to eat’ catches up with you.
Then, he turned 50. David and Carla teach that you can get away with a lot of less-than-healthy choices when you’re younger, but eventually, it all catches up to you. This seems to be the case for us. Over the years the sedentary lifestyle added up to extra pounds on his regularly medium-sized build. He was diagnosed with high blood pressure and went on medication to control it. Under duress from his ornery and sleep-deprived wife, he finally went to a sleep specialist and did an overnight sleep test, resulting in a sleep apnea diagnosis.
He started having some fairly serious back pain. We’d go play pickleball with friends, and he’d come home and barely be able to move. He went to chiropractors, massage therapists, and doctors. He tried oils and creams, ice packs and heating pads, but the pain only got worse. Finally, he had an MRI. It was not good.
“Your back looks like that of a much older man,” the specialist said, holding up the x-ray. “I hate to tell you, but I think surgery will be inevitable.” The official diagnosis included spinal stenosis and a couple of bulging disks. We were both pretty bummed out by the news.
The bad news didn’t help.
Needless to say, living with fairly constant pain did not mean a positive change in lifestyle choices. It’s a lot harder to be motivated to exercise when your back hurts and you aren’t sleeping well. It’s a lot easier to cave to bad food choices when you’re tired and feeling sorry for yourself; meanwhile, NSAIDs like ibuprofen became a regular part of his diet.
Somewhere in the middle of all this I had started working with David and Carla Meine and the Eating to Live company. The more I learned, the more I was convinced there were significant answers here for my husband. It all made sense. He was a textbook case of someone experiencing chronic pain due to inflammation in his body. I was pretty certain he had a leaky gut, which was likely the underlying cause of all his health problems. But, the more I pushed it, the more he pushed back. He simply wasn’t ready to make the changes he needed to make.
But then, things got worse.
The pain became so bad it affected his ability to live normal life. We went on a trip to Hawaii with our kids, and by the end of the long flight there, he could barely walk. He couldn’t even stand up straight. He spent the whole time in that island paradise totally suffering through it, watching as we did all the hikes and snorkeled all the beach coves. I became a little depressed, wondering and worrying if this was our new normal? Was this how our future was going to look? It seemed my husband was truly growing old before his time.
Things did not improve when we returned home, especially after another long flight. His pain was worse than ever. I felt desperate about the situation, especially knowing that Eating to Live potentially had answers for him. Answers that he didn’t seem to want.
David’s Eating to Live story made the difference.
A few days later David Meine stopped by to give me something for work. Jason happened to be in the kitchen getting something to eat, and David saw how he was walking, totally stooped and crooked with pain. “Oh my gosh!” David exclaimed. “You’re in serious pain! You’ve got back problems-–I can tell, I’ve lived that pain!” David went on to share a short version of his own story, the same story I’d been trying to get my husband to read for months. The story that explained David’s years and years of severe back pain, multiple unhelpful surgeries, and how he finally connected the dots and solved the underlying issue. Gratefully, my husband was ready to listen, and David’s story really resonated with him.
This was the turning point I’d been hoping and praying for. Everything finally came together: because David had lived through and healed similar back pain, he had instant credibility with my husband. And, because the pain had become bad enough, Jason’s WHY had become strong enough to finally– finally!–do something about it.
David sent Jason an unfinished manuscript of the book* we were still writing and asked him to read the chapter on ‘Finding your Why’ in Level 1. They went to lunch a few days later (where my husband ordered and ate an actual salad!), and he officially started his Eating to Live journey in Level 1 of the program.
I was thrilled, but also skeptical. That’s because I knew what it was going to take, and I also knew how hard it was to get Jason to eat a vegetable with his dinner. I knew all the bad habits, and I knew I had played a role in them for sure (my own story might make the blog later; I’ve got plenty of room for healthy improvements myself), and I just wasn’t sure he could stick with it.
Happily, I can report that HE HAS DONE IT! And he is still doing it! After his salad lunch date with David, Jason immediately started a full-fledged elimination diet. He began tracking everything he was eating and drinking through the Eating to Live Food Journal, and Carla would give him feedback each week. The calls and videos were immensely helpful. Jason has stuck with the Eating to Live program through a stressful pandemic, multiple family vacations, a couple of holidays so far, and all the ups and downs of life. And the results? We both totally agree that it’s been so very, very worth it!
How does he do it? It’s actually been easier than I expected, because any time he eats one of the ‘aggravators,’ if he accidentally has some gluten or sneaks some sugar, the pain returns. It’s undeniably connected. This immediate ‘cause and effect’ has kept him right on track. I believed in it before, but now I’ve seen in action how directly the foods we eat are connected to pain and inflammation.
The Eating to Live story continues
In the next posts in this series, I will be detailing the specifics of his progress through each level of the Eating to Live program. I’ll interview him and share what has helped him the most. We’ll share some tricks on how even a picky eater can stick to a strict elimination diet. And then I’ll keep you updated on how he’s doing and how it’s going, as we navigate the journey together.
I knew from the beginning of this writing project that it was going to be a great fit for me. I have loved working with the Meines and helping to bring their important book to fruition. What I didn’t know was that this project would have life-changing ramifications in my own family’s health and wellness. What an amazing work-life perk! Thank you, Eating to Live!
*You can read David’s whole story and learn about the Meine’s Eating to Live program in their best-selling book, Eating to Live: Unlocking the Leaky Gut Code: A Customized Journey to Optimal Health, now available for purchase.
Be sure to stay tuned for the next post in this series: Eating to Live, Level 1: This Writer’s Personal Journey.