Dr. Ben Benulis | Is the Body Capable of Healing From Chronic Diseases?

An Interview with Kat Mische Elle

Dr. Ben, can you tell us what brought you to your profession today?

I loved science and technology as a kid.  I remember when I was 10 years old, I was also into video games and science fiction like Star Wars. At that age, the first thing I wanted to be was a doctor who put bionic parts on people. I was playing a game that was similar to Dungeons and Dragons, but it was called Heroes Unlimited. In this game, you could have bionic arms that shot out laser beams, and I thought, “Okay, that would be a really cool job to make the bionic arms and put them on people.”

So that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up. Then I realized one day that was not really a thing. I then thought maybe by the time I’m 25, that will be a thing. I was always interested in improving the human condition. 

As I got older, I went to college and bounced around in different science and technology majors and eventually earned a mechanical engineering degree. After I graduated, I went to work at horrible corporate jobs in cubicle farms. I was helping companies develop microchips that went into TVs in foreign countries and not really doing anything of serious value. I was making good money, and I had a prestigious job, so I didn’t have reason to complain, but I felt that this wasn’t really what I was meant to be doing.

And since the bionic engineering jobs were just non-existent at the time, I stayed the course. In my late twenties, I got really sick, and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I came down with a bunch of chronic health conditions. I had severe digestive issues, skin issues, chronic fatigue, and chronic muscle pain. At first, just like any red-blooded American guy in his late 20s, I didn’t do anything about it. It was late 2009 was when I first picked up the inklings of feeling off, and then by early 2010, I realized I’m not doing very good. Then by late 2010, I was really bad.

I kept getting worse and worse. I finally decided to go to the doctor. I was given a list of labeled conditions and referrals to visit many places. I was told, “You have gastrointestinal issues, we must send you to the gastroenterologist. You have skin issues; we need to send you to the dermatologist. You’re suffering from chronic pain issues. We must send you to the rheumatologist.” I was being sent to see all these different doctors, who were running different labs and checking on things and putting me on different medications, yet I was not feeling any better. I was told by the specialists, “You know, everything comes up normal, nothing’s wrong with you.” I had multiple conversations that ended with, “Well, the piece of paper says that you’re not sick. So, you must not be. There is nothing we can do for you, bye.”

I realized that these doctors worked from the assumption that they knew everything. And if my issue was not inside of their ‘everything,’ then it must not be real. It was a very frustrating experience, and I was still not getting any better.   

Up to this point, I had always been someone who trusted the medical system, especially since I was coming from having a science background. But it was experiences like those which eventually set me on the path to change careers and see if I could find something they hadn’t been able to figure out.

I felt isolated in this experience, believing that I was the only one suffering like this. My condition kept getting worse. I couldn’t work, I had no social life, I was horribly chronically fatigued and in pain. I never wanted to go out and do anything fun with my friends, and then they started fading away. I told myself something has got to change. I was really motivated to address my digestion because that was the most painful thing. I needed to find food that I could eat without me feeling like I was dying. 

And that was all I really wanted to do. I started making smoothies, because I was trying to use fruits and vegetables as an alternative to my regular diet.

I had no concept of reading a nutrition book or anything like that. It was about going back to the basics like when they taught me in kindergarten that fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods, and I should eat them. I started throwing whatever I could together. From the fridge into the blender. Sometimes it would taste good, but most of the time it would taste bad. But I felt better drinking it, so I would just knock it back. I realized that if I wanted this to be something sustainable, then I needed to look up some actual recipes. 

I was reflecting over my situation, and I found it interesting that, because I had been thin and in good shape my whole life, it was very hard for me to acknowledge that I was unhealthy. I just ate whatever I wanted. I lived on a steady diet of pizza, burritos, and cheeseburgers. 

I remembered people would say to me, “Oh, that’s going to catch up with you when you’re older.” My usual response was, “No, it won’t. I have good genes.” And the irony is that it did catch up to me, just not in the way that anybody anticipated. 

I used to think it was crazy talk when I would hear people speak about trying to heal things naturally. At first, that wasn’t what I was in pursuit of, I just wanted to find some food that I could eat! But I got really immersed in it, and it became a thing for me. 

Out there in the real world, everybody was eating the standard American diet, getting standard American results. When I shifted my diet, I started feeling better, which motivated me to get more into it. I started reading books and reading articles educating myself on nutrition since this was the reason why I was feeling better. I had tried so many other avenues and attempts to feel this way and had gotten nowhere. 

In the summer of 2011, I decided that I going to eat nothing but raw fruits and vegetables for 30 days and see what happens. And that was life-changing. Every symptom that I was dealing with disappeared. I noticed that I felt even better than I ever had before I got sick.

dr benjamin benulis

So, you were able to discover a new point of reference for yourself?

Yes! I didn’t know that it was possible to feel this good and to have this much energy. I became very evangelical about it. People thought I was crazy before when I was talking about how I didn’t feel good but didn’t show it on the outside. Then, people were hearing me flip the script on how amazing I felt, yet I still looked the same on the outside in that feeling better mode as well.

After going through that whole transformative experience, I hit age 30 and realized what I was doing in my life wasn’t serving me. I had this new passion for healing through nutrition. I wanted to apply it somewhere. I really started soul searching about how I should do this. Then, this movie came out called Forks Over Knives. And it was about doctors who put people on healthy diets, and they reverse these incurable diseases. I thought to myself, “Wow! That’s a job? That’s a thing that you can do? Okay, well, sign me up, where do I sign on?” That movie helped put into action a big turning point for me and sent me on the path that I’m on now. That was about 10 years ago, and I haven’t looked back.

Have you noticed a pattern where the better you felt with your physical body, your emotions and faith/spiritual connection improved? 

Oh, that’s a great question! What I did notice was that once I started working on my physical body—and basically cleaned house there—that a lot of suppressed emotions and past traumas and things came up to be dealt with. Things that I had left unresolved in myself for 30 years started coming to the surface. Problems and issues I thought I really had hidden away started presenting themselves for me to look at. It was an emotional experience. I was forced to work through it and heal all that as well, for sure, and when I began to truly heal those things emotionally, it also added to my physical health improvement.

So, you began to realize for the first time that the physical body, emotional body, and spiritual body, although separate houses, all intersect with one another and can affect each other?

Before this whole experience, I was a mechanical engineer. I was very left-brain, ones and zeros, atheist, you know, and I thought anything having to do with spirituality or religion or God or any of that stuff was just nonsense. I was really cut off from it.

It would be nice if we could compartmentalize and say that these three systems don’t affect each other. But that’s not how nature works. It’s all interconnected, and you can’t affect one without affecting the others. And they’re always going to be interacting with each other. So, we might as well just get over that fact and acknowledge it and start treating/healing people that way. 

I remember when I was a week into doing the 30 days of raw food, I started to notice that I had never really dealt with my problem with anxiety before. I was becoming anxious and fearful of very inconsequential things. Such as, “Okay, did I buy enough dog food this week? What if the dogs run out of food?” And then I’d become anxious about why I was worrying. I would cycle and move through moments like this for a while, and then it would level out the longer I was eating clean.

I noticed that I was having this richer experience of life. I realized that, to this point, I had been tuning off a lot of things that I wasn’t aware of. 

How long from when you started your new food journey did you start to create your new career? 

About a year and a half into it. I looked at my options. The first choices were going to medical school, but then I would have to learn about a bunch of drugs and surgery that I’m not going to want to do. The next option that matched my interests was becoming a naturopathic doctor, and at the time, I was living in Texas, and they weren’t licensed there for naturopathic practices. I decided to move in the direction of becoming a chiropractor, focusing on nutrition. Today in my practice, I split my time about 50-50 between coaching people with diet nutrition and adjustments. 

Do you have book with diet guidelines and recipes based off your experiences? 

I do have my own book. It’s called Create Health: How to Heal from Autoimmune Disease without Drugs or Their Side Effects. It will be coming out in April of 2022. 

createhealthbook.com is the is the website. 

What are the five best ways to celebrate, heal, and maintain our bodies through immune challenges and live a normal flow of life? 

Number one, eat a ton of fruits and vegetables as much as you can. As much as you want, as much as you can stuff in your face. 

Number two, get ample amounts of sleep. Go to bed early, get up early. The body heals when it rests. 

Three, exercise! Get movement in the body, in whatever way is fun for you. Whatever is fun! Don’t do things you don’t like to do to get fit. Fun is key to healing. If you like to ride bikes, ride bikes. If you like to dance, dance. If you like to play baseball, do that. Do you like to hike out in nature? Go! If you like to lift weights, do it. If yoga is your thing, do yoga! But if you don’t like doing it, don’t do it! If you don’t know what you like to do, think about when you were a kid and what was fun for you then, and just go back and do that as an adult. 

Four, have some sort of mindfulness, like breath work, meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong types of practice where you’re shutting off all distractions, and you are just spending time with yourself with your own thoughts. Tapping into the awareness of your own self. Because there are a lot of things that your mind and body have been trying to tell you that you’ve distracted yourself from. Making that a daily practice is huge. 

And five, I would say find a creative endeavor. Whether that’s music, dance, painting, drawing, or learning an instrument. The goal shouldn’t be to get good at it. The goal should just be to do it for its own sake for fun. In our culture, we consume a lot of information in media, and we watch videos, and we listen to songs and listen to everybody else creating and get swallowed up in living vicariously thru others’ experiences and we don’t spend enough time creating for ourselves. Individual creativity is super important! 

Share with us how the health of our body builds our personal power and puts us in a leadership role over our own lives. 

I love this question. One of the lessons that I learned and why my book is called Create Health is that health is an inside-out job.

I watched my body heal itself from all these conditions that doctors said that they couldn’t help me with. I saw it happen with my own eyes. And when you go through the experience of watching your body heal itself, when it’s given the right conditions to do so, like we talked about, then you realize that you have a lot more power than you thought you had. You don’t need piles of pills, different medications, different doctors, (for the most part), you don’t really need any of that. And you realize that you have autonomy and control over your health. All I had to do was take the right actions. Those right actions will spill over into other areas of your life. When you take the right actions, you can see how powerful you are. 

Despite what you may have been told, healing and getting well and experiencing vibrant health is possible!

Who would you thank for being the inspirational influence in your life for where you are today? 

Dan McDonald, the life regenerator, he was the first person whose videos I found for smoothies. I owe a lot to him for just putting the message out there and in a way that I resonated with at the time. Dr. Alan Alan Goldhamer at True North Health Center where I interned. A brilliant person ahead of his time, he had a big influence on me. My chiropractic mentor, Dr. Christopher George. There are so many people, but those are the major ones. 

What is the best way for people to reach you? 

Drbenjaminbenulis.com 

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