I have a strange story to tell you about Bob. I’m calling him Bob because he was down for the count. But he is back up on his feet again. In fact, he went down two more times. But he kept ‘Bobbing’ back up. So let’s call him ‘Bob’.

It was early 2010. Bob thought he had the flu. He was tired. He was kind of feverish and he was definitely not feeling his old self.

It turns out he had kidney problems. It doesn’t matter what kind because with all kidney problems the blood gets infected. When the blood gets infected everything else gets infected too. The heart. The lungs. The pancreas. The prostate. Because the blood touches everything, everything gets infected.

Remember how when you were a kid and you didn’t like it when your peas mixed with the mashed potatoes AND the gravy? Yeah. It was like that. You didn’t like it either.

Bob had a lot of mixing going on. All kinds of peas were touching gravy in the bloodstream when the kidneys weren’t doing their job. The kidneys got angry because they didn’t know how to clean the bad blood that the heart kept sending back. It was a mess. So messy he flatlined in the ER. Yeah. A mess.

The doctors said the blood infection was bacterial. But the antibiotics weren’t doing anything against this one. They tried them all. Bob kept getting sicker. And sicker. The doctors tried more antibiotics. They tried the ones you can’t pronounce without a medical degree. Bob kept getting sicker.

Then the doctors said the bacterial blood infection was antibiotic resistant. The blood infection was becoming aggressive. Even tho Bob had already beaten the odds, the odds were not in Bob’s favor. He was going to stroke out or his oversized heart was going to stop working. The doctors told Bob it was time to get his affairs in order.

Bob didn’t like that very much. So he checked himself out. Hospitals are never a good place to get healthy anyway. And they smell funny too.

Bob went to see his doctor. A very thoughtful man, Bob’s regular doctor said these other doctors are pretty smart and “we should listen to them. But I’ll run some tests.” Bob liked his doctor. He was an open-minded man who had a lot of initials after his name on that paper on the wall. Bob knew he could trust him.

But then the results came back. Bob’s regular doctor had looked at the charts. Bob’s regular doctor had read the results. Bob’s regular doctor also said Bob should get his affairs in order. He was going to stroke out or his oversized heart was going to stop working.

Bob didn’t like that opinion either. He was still young. He had just turned fifty. He’d never been to the Caribbean or Europe. He wanted to be a songwriter instead of an insurance salesman. He wanted to find out what it felt like to be a Grampa bounce his grandkids on his knee. Bob was going to have live if he wanted to know what that felt like.

So Bob went to see a woman he heard about from a good friend. This woman was good at making people healthy with food. She was a licensed nutritionist. He’d heard she cured cancer with food. “A little grandiose”, he thought. But he also heard she helped people with heart problems and diabetes. She got them turned around and moved them into the right direction. Bob made an appointment to see Cynthia the nutritionist.

Cynthia was all about combining the right foods. She was all about the organics. She was all about minimal amounts of meats and eggs but only the good kinds. Small amounts but not the mass produced stuff. Locally grown meats and grains. No GMOs. That was a No-No for sure. No steroids in the chicken either. Bad stuff those steroids. They grow chickens fast. But they also demolish antibiotics.

The organic grains took effect. The organic nuts cleaned the blood. The organic mushrooms and beets did something too. Bob wasn’t sure what exactly. Somehow the chemical reactions of the right foods, in the right combinations got things moving in the right direction.

So please don’t ask Bob exactly what Cynthia did when you see him. He’s not able to tell you. Even if Cynthia explained it to him, (and she can) Bob wouldn’t be able to repeat any of it with any sense of knowledgeable confidence. Bob knows it has everything to do with combining the right foods at the right time.

Bob can tell you what he did. He followed a knowledgeable and reputable nutritionist’s advice. He stayed with the menus she prescribed – even when they contained vegetables he didn’t think he liked. Vegetables like brussel sprouts. Beets. Kale. I don’t think Bob even knew what kale was when he started with Cynthia’s menus.

Bob didn’t know he liked brussel sprouts either. He thought that just because he didn’t like brussel sprouts once when he was a kid and had to eat ’em to join the ‘Clean Plate Club’ so his Mom would give him his slice of Apple Brown Betty for dessert, doesn’t mean he can’t figure out to make them tasty enough to eat tonight to cure his illness. (The trick is to put them in a food processor and chop them up so fine you can blend them with any recipe you want. Pretty cool, huh?)

No, Bob can’t tell you what Cynthia did medically. But he can tell you food cures. He knows she used food to get him to gain weight and put muscle back on his body that the fevers took off. Bob started off pre-illness hanging around 210 lbs. By the time he entered the ER, he was down below 160. That was in less than a month by the way. Not the best weight loss program. Effective. But definitely not the best.

In her prescribed menus there was some meat, but mostly chicken and fish. There were some eggs, but not every day. There was some yogurt and oils, but mostly grains, fruits, and vegetables. Bob’s nutritionist considered his specific needs. She knew that Bob wasn’t like anyone fad diet that the whole world gets excited about and then changes their collective minds a year later because someone figured out it wasn’t good for us in the first place.

Nutritional advisers have been added to hospital staffs. Some are paid with insurance programs. Check yours. You might be pleasantly surprised. Bob was. He’s feeling much better now.

It’s been almost a decade since he was first diagnosed with whatever he was diagnosed with. Bob is feeling strong and viable again. He rides his bike in the warm weather. He practices yoga at least once a week. There’s a rumor he does it more than that. He goes for daily walks. 30 minutes. Nothing fancy. He brings headphones and listens to good music or podcasts if he goes alone. Mostly he likes going with his wife or with a friend on these walks. He’s maintaining his weight right around 180. Bob feels good. He looks good too.

Bob doesn’t have any grandchildren yet. But in the Spring of 2018, his first kid got married to a wonderful young woman. His heart is strong enough to bounce a couple of those young ones on his knee whenever they get here.