It’s important to give people options and some things to explore for them to take control of their health beyond what they know and beyond what they’re told by Western medicine. We’re all in that place where we want to be constantly learning about what we can do and how we can approach our health in many different ways than we thought we could. Open up your minds as former CBS News anchor Elsa Ramon introduces Sean Entin and Taylor Smith’s new show, Adventures in Health. Be a part of this movement where you have choices when it comes to your health.
Listen to the podcast here:
Welcome To Adventures In Health with Elsa Ramon
This is Taylor Smith and I’m with Sean Entin. How are you doing?
I feel good. I’m alive. This is gratitude.
The significance of you being alive, for those who don’t know your story is years ago, you went through a challenging stroke. You nearly died. You came back to life and you were on top of the world before that. Living in San Diego, on the beach, working as an entrepreneur, building big businesses and building sustainable energy companies. You had a moment of falling from grace.
I got shook by God. As you know me or like anyone does, I don’t accept defeat and I don’t want to be complacent. The doctor said, “You’re paralyzed on the left side. You’re paraplegic.” I was like, “What does that even mean? My left arm is weak and my left hip is weak, but I’m not going to sit back and wait. I want to find solutions out there.” What I realized is the Western culture can’t give me any more than what I have now. I’m on this journey with Taylor who’s a biohacker, who knows more about the modern health world than most others out there do. Being the Millennial he is, we’re going to go out there and travel the world and journey throughout things and tell stories of people who have made full recovery on their comeback and see what they’re doing and provide those opportunities to our audience.
What struck me most about Sean is that he’s willing to try and go for just about anything that might be able to help him. Starting with stuff as simple as nutrition, water, meditation and going into some of the more esoteric stuff out there such as spiritual healing and energy healing. It’s not because everything is 100% accurate, but because he’s willing to step out of his comfort zone and explore all the options and avenues because the healing we’re trying to do is extraordinary healing. You told me when we first met that you wanted to do a Tough Mudder.
I still do and we will do it.
We’re going to do it. We’re on the adventure together to figure out how we can tap into this powerful healing for you post-stroke and how can we get to the point where running a Tough Mudder becomes reality.If your body is in peak performance, it’s craving food. It's craving energy. Click To Tweet
Thank you for showing up as you do. Our tagline for the show is just show up. If you just show up and you try it and get up to the batter’s box, you’re going to swing and you can get back on base. That’s all I want to do is I want to provide an opportunity for those out there who are stuck in a rut from a traumatic experience. I’m so excited because our guest is Elsa Ramon who is a two-time Emmy award winner. She was on the network on ABC, Fox and CBS as a journalist and as an anchor. She left her spot at CBS LA to do her own show. She’s coming on here because she loves to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. She’s a mom, she’s successful, she’s an entrepreneur, she’s funny and she’s going to be here with us just talking and having a great conversation.
It’s an important show because we’re going to give people options. We’re going to give people some things to explore and to take control of their health beyond what they know and beyond what they’re told here in Western medicine. I’m not saying Western medicine is bad but we need alternatives. We need to open our minds. That’s why I’m here with you. I want to be part of this movement for people here and anywhere that you have choices when it comes to your health like natural, homeopathic, Western medicine, Eastern medicine. I’m so glad to be a part of it. I want to be here and I want to learn too. I’m right along the lines of the audience here and that I will have a ton of questions too just like everybody else. We’re all learning. We’re all in that place where we’re going to be constantly learning about what we can do and how we can approach our health in many different ways than we thought we could. I’m here with you to learn. Sean, everybody meets somebody that makes a difference in their lives. Hopefully, the person they meet exposes them to new worlds and ideas. That’s what you did for me on many levels, on health in particular. Your journey started before we met at a life event. Tell us what that was.
In 2011, I was in San Diego. I moved my family from LA to San Diego to start a new company. We started up a couple of them and I was immortal. I was working out. I met a whole bunch of the military people in San Diego. We lived on the beach and it was gorgeous. I was on vacation every day and I worked from my office, but the community was something special. They had Navy SEALs, Department of Justice, retired FBI, retired CIA. San Diego was such a place for us. It’s a community where we laughed and we enjoyed but most importantly, we were focused on our health. It came on naturally because I started to train with the Navy SEALs. I realized that these guys, besides being hot shots and mercenaries so-called, they’re normal like us but they were trained to defend our country. I looked at them and I’m in awe. These are my heroes. They’re my celebrities and I took to them. They came over and we shared some meals. They had kids which were my kid’s age and the community just grew.
As we got to know each other, I had my connections with the MMA world. Dan Henderson is one of them. As everybody knows, he’s a UFC champion and pride and Strike Force. These Navy SEALs were all into the UFC and then on to the MMA but what I realized is that these Navy SEALs didn’t have too much hand-to-hand combat. They were trained to collect intel and be snipers or medics. We started to train every day just doing jiujitsu. We were running hills. I was doing stuff I’ve never done before in my life and on practice days, we were training some jiujitsu. Believe it or not, I got choked out. In jiujitsu, you learn to do submission moves, you learn to do chokes. There’s no hand-to-hand combat. It was to get in shape. One day I got choked out a little bit too hard. Over time the next couple of weeks, I felt this lump in my neck and the lump just kept getting worse and worse. I thought it was a virus. I thought I just had a swelling gland. I traveled to Dan Henderson’s fight in Chicago with some of my team from my company and some of the military. From Chicago, we went to San Jose where Dan fought again.
In San Jose, I was ringside while watching Dan Henderson and on my right of me was a big celebrity, a big guy who I followed my whole life, Junior Seau. We all know him. He played for UFC, for the Patriots, for the Chargers. He is a Hall of Famer. During that event, I kept feeling this lump in my neck getting bigger and bigger and I started feeling weakness in my left arm. It turns out five days post this fight in San Jose on Black Friday and Thanksgiving in 2011, I woke up and the room was spinning and I had a massive stroke. My carotid artery dissected. I didn’t know what a stroke was. I didn’t know what was going on. I was supposed to wake up that morning and go do a 5k in San Luis Obispo with my friends. For Thanksgiving, we drink too much wine. We’re with the kids, we’re celebrating. It was a time off. I drove my family from San Diego to San Luis Obispo and the whole time, I had these nasty symptoms. The lump in my neck kept getting worse and my arm started to get worse. I didn’t think anything of it because I trained so often. The bruises may bleed a little bit but nothing big.
I was not a professional fighter. I was just an average everyday guy who enjoyed the Navy SEALs and enjoyed the camaraderie of being around people and enjoyed Dan Henderson. Believe it or not, I woke up that night and the room was spinning and I thought I was hungover. I thought I just had too much wine. I’ll get rid of it. We’re going into town that day to see Santa. The kids were all excited. I sat on the couch and I couldn’t get up. I walked into the bathroom and I looked in the mirror. I saw my face was ash grey. I couldn’t lift my left arm and the left side of my face was drooping. I couldn’t even move my tongue. I went to go touch my face with my right hand and I didn’t have control over my right hand either. I had no left-hand movement and I felt like I was heavily sedated. The next thing you know, I called for Stephanie who is my ex-wife and I said, “Call my dad. I think I’m dying.” My dad evaluates the situation and said to Stephanie, “Get the phone right now and I want you to call 911. I think my son is having a stroke.” When she told me that, I’m like, “This is impossible. I’m immortal. I always call myself Spartacus. I can beat all this.” The next thing I knew, the medics came and they took me to one hospital. They ran some nasty tests. They catheterized me awake because I couldn’t urinate. I couldn’t pee. They needed blood samples and urine samples.
It turns out that that hospital didn’t have the right technology or the right infrastructure to diagnose me and to start operating. I didn’t know any of this because I keep coming in and out of consciousness. They called Santa Barbara, which was the closest stroke center and the neurosurgeon who is on call in that morning, which is Black Friday and nobody was around, immediately called a helicopter. They sent a chopper from Santa Barbara because I was in San Luis Obispo and that’s probably about a 45-minute flight. Had we driven there, I would have died in the ambulance. What started happening was the carotid artery was dissecting so it clots to my brain. There’s no blood and oxygen coming in my brain for several hours and I didn’t know any of this. I just kept coming out. Everything hurt, sensitively to light, I couldn’t move anything. I was fully paralyzed and I was scared out of my mind because part of me was awake and part of me just could move. They transferred me to Santa Barbara and they ran me through several tests. They realized they found that carotid artery which was dissected. The neurosurgeon later told me that it looked as bad as if I got shot in the neck or if I got stabbed by a knife.
Stephanie had to sign a release form and he took me into surgery. What they had to do first was he had to send a catheter, like a fish up through my groin and he sent this wire up my body. He did an x-ray for eight hours and he fished from my groin all the way up to my carotid artery, which was in my neck and put a shunt in to stop the clots from going up. He had to stop that first. That was the easy part. My brain was dying and at any second, I was going to shut off because the brain connects to the the nervous system. It keeps the heart beating. He knew that I was in great shape because he saw my body. I was all lean. I was as healthy as anyone could be. I was training for something. Little did I know, I was training for the fight of my life. What that neurosurgeon did was he repaired the carotid artery, put in a shunt but my brain was swelling so bad that he didn’t like what he saw with my symptoms that they tried to freeze me awake, which was horrific.
They put me on a cold bed with ice everywhere from what I can recall to reducing the swelling and inflammation. That didn’t work because I was awake then. All I kept saying myself, “Let me get back into my yoga. Let me get back to my hot yoga. I can heal myself.” What I didn’t know is I was going in and out of consciousness and my brain was protecting me because it was dying. I was seconds away from death and so he tried to freeze me. That did not work. Then he said to my family and to me, but I didn’t understand a lot because I was on heavy doses of pain meds and everything else that he was going to have to induce a coma to slow down everything, to stop me from doing everything I went to sleep for ten days and that was where the rough. I had a ten-day exploration that we’ll talk about in another episode. He induced the coma and believe it or not, that did not work either. In the coma, my brain kept swelling and kept getting worse. He had to do what’s called a craniectomy. He had to remove a piece of my skull off my brain to allow the swelling to evolve or just decrease. Not only did he do a craniectomy and took a piece of my bone off my skull, but he also stored the piece of my skull in my abdomen tissue.
That makes people understand the severity of this. You barely hear of that.
Had I had been awake, I would have said, “Don’t you dare touch me. I don’t want the medicine. I don’t want the surgeries. I can heal myself. I’m going to go run hills. I’m going to go swim. I’ve got Dan Henderson ready to start to teach me some more.” I thought to myself Tough Mudder or a Spartan Race with my Navy SEALs and with my team. I said, “This cannot be happening.” I’ve got responsibilities. I’ve got two young kids. I’ve got a wife at the time. I’ve got to get back to my company. I was involved with Shaquille O’Neal at the time with the tequila company called Shaquila that we built and another company as well. I kept coming in and out of consciousness. When I came through after the ten days, I remembered some of it but I didn’t remember much. I remember looking at my good friend, Chris Ursitti, and my dad. I said, “What happened?” I had the worst headache. I started scratching my belly because it started to itch and they said, “Don’t scratch your stomach because they put your skull in the abdomen.” I’m like, “They put my brains in my belly? I don’t understand. Get me out of here.” My doctor goes, “You’re paralyzed on your left side and you’re in diapers.”
It was tough. I hadn’t had any food in ten days. I was hungry and yet I was on a respirator for ten days as well, which means your lungs are unable to breathe on their own. They were ready to put a tracheotomy inside of me, which they had a scalpel right next to me ready to cut me open underneath my throat and drive tubes down my lungs because after ten full days, you cannot breathe. The respiratory therapist started yelling at me and said, “You better breath right now. We’re putting on a trache.” I’m like, “Can we stop for a second? Can we slow down? Where have I been the last couple of weeks?” Slowly but surely, the neurosurgeon appeared and he says, “You’re talking.” He looked at me and he goes, “We thought you’re going to be a vegetable,” because no human being could sustain several hours of no oxygen and blood to the brain. That point in time, my journey started to begin.
It’s an extremely compelling story, even right now. After all these years, it still makes you emotional. That was just the beginning of the journey. You’re in the hospital. You’re brought up to speed with what’s going on. You’re recovering in the ICU and you find out what’s going on. The work there at the hospital was just beginning as far as your recovery. Tell us what that was like in immediate day and hours after, so people can understand and want to know if they have a loved one who’s gone through this or maybe themselves.
I woke up and it was in November. I had signed up to do the No-Shave November charity, which means you don’t shave your mustache or your beard for about a month. I had a beard going and it started to itch my face and then immediately they shaved me after. I remember certain parts and times and it hurt me bad because I wanted to pick up Shiloh who’s only seventeen months and I had no left arm. Shiloh is my youngest. She’s now nine and Savannah was four years old and she’s now eleven. I didn’t want to be like this. Just to get moved to a bed to another bed or a chair, they had to put me in a Hoyer lift. I’ll never forget these two girls, a therapist lifting this body which was flaccid into a Hoyer lift. I had gone from 170 pounds to about 125 pounds. Nothing worked. Sitting on the chair, I lost so much weight that it hurt to sit on my bum because it was all bones and nothing was working.It’s not about, Why me? It's about, What's next? Click To Tweet
The neurosurgeon’s like, “We need to start you on therapy immediately.” I’m like, “Physical therapy, where’s the weight room? Let’s go. I’m excited. I’ll do some pulldowns. I’ll do some legs. I’ll do some pushups.” They’re like, “We’re going to get you just to chew food and swallow.” I said, “When was the last time I eat?” They said, “Ten days ago.” They had to put me through a series of swallowing tests because if you swallow food, it can go into your lungs but not go in your stomach. Through that, I met the occupational therapist, speech therapist, physical therapist and a team of people who immediately took me on in neurotherapy. The brain doesn’t heal all by itself like a wrist or shoulder or any of the bones in the body. It’s like a computer that needs to be rebooted and returned on and reconnected.
You’re finding out recovery isn’t what you would call a recovery. What did the recovery entail? What did you have to do? What was it like when these doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists and all these people were telling you what your life is going to be like, what your recovery is going to be like and what it actually was?
I was so out of place that I thought the hospital was down the street from my parents and I didn’t understand that I was in Santa Barbara. I went to college up there. I thought I was within ten minutes of San Diego still or two hours but I was four hours from my home. As they started to explain all this, I started to get to wake up faster than normal and the depression head in. I was getting angry. I was getting mad. I was being independent to being dependent. I was paralyzed on my left side completely. I couldn’t see, couldn’t hear. They took all electronics away from me and none of my friends were allowed to visit me because I was on lockdown. I had a room that was locked up. There were signs everywhere because at any given time, I could induce a seizure. They didn’t know. Nothing was working in my body as far as the brain.
You’re going through recovery. What was the therapy like?
In the ICU, it was speech. It was swallowing. It was getting acclimated back to having a conversation with anybody because I didn’t even remember my name at times.
It was back to the very basics. Would you say like a child or something?
My daughter that time who’s fifteen months knew more than me. I had nothing.
At some point, you had to be scared about that.
What were the things that they were doing to try to help you get that speech back? The physical therapy, what did they do to get you out of that wheelchair? What did you do?
They can’t do much as far as the PT goes. All they can do what’s called a bobath technique. They stand me up and they transfer me. They put weight on my feet. They had three people move me from the chair back to the bed or move anywhere. I wanted to go outside during one of the days just to have lunch and I remember seeing that sunlight. It was so bright. It was like having the sun next to me. Everything still hurt because I understand they had to open up my skull. During that time, they had to put my skull back on my head. I wore a helmet. I couldn’t even start doing any therapy because I had my skull my abdomen, which to me still thinking back is crazy. It’s ridiculous.
I’ve heard this story a number of times at this point. Every time I’m still almost brought to tears just because it’s so much for a human body to go through.
Not only that, I had a skull in my abdomen. I had two feeding tubes in. A G-tube went into my stomach and a J-tube that went into my intestines. I was losing so much weight they couldn’t get enough food. If your body is in peak performance, it’s craving food. It’s craving energy and I was not a muscle-bound. I was in shape-bound and I wasn’t getting any of the right liquids. I was all dependent. Then I had a PICC line in my left arm that sent a five-foot tube into my heart, which was to drop in meds into my heart directly. I felt like R2D2 or C3PO. I had to urinate and poop in diapers. That was even harder to do because everything was clogged up. I was on so much morphine and Demerol that I couldn’t digest properly. I couldn’t do it. That was probably the worst pain. I had like baseball or golf ball stuck in my intestines for ten days. Then from there, they said, “We’ve done as much as we can. You need to go to an inpatient acute rehab.” I didn’t know what that means and I didn’t understand that I had to get down to San Diego. I was like, “Let me just do rehab up here. Let me get into rehab.” I knew in my brain, something that turned on and said, “If I do my therapy, I’m going to walk again.”
At this point, you’re in a wheelchair. You are told that you’re going to be in a wheelchair and that you’re not going to walk again and you’re not going to be able to drive.There's no such thing as coincidence. The timing all works out. Click To Tweet
They didn’t know what because my therapist said to me, “What do you want to do today?” I said, “I want to do push-ups and go run an eight-minute mile.” She started laughing at me and I want to grab and say, “Don’t you dare laugh me. I’m going to do it.” Right then and there, I knew I had to turn on the intensity to start to heal.
Speaking of healing, during all this recovery they’re pumping you with all kinds of meds and they had to. They had to do what they had to do to save you, but you felt there was more. You felt that there was a lot more that you could do than what you were being told. This started your journey on discovering alternative healing.
In San Diego, I was moved because they had to put the skull back on my head. I had to go for a second surgery, which means they had to put me back on a respirator. They had to reinsert the catheter. They had to reinsert the rectal tubes and they had to keep all these wires and tubes in me. I knew I had to get through it. It was horrific. I remember getting wheeled out of surgery and being in the most pain ever. They just finished and they want me up in about. The pain was feeling like someone put the jaws of life in my head. It was opening me up with an axe. Nothing was working and I couldn’t make sense of my words. My speech was not good and all I was always being told to do was start to breathe. Slowly but surely, they incorporated some ice and some water into my body. My lips were all dry and my face was crackling because I had no liquid. They were putting liquids in me but not the way I know how to do it. That journey lasted from November the 25th until January the 5th, until I turned 40 in the hospital. They moved me on the date of my birthday to San Diego in a four-hour ambulance ride on another Friday and the journey just kept going.
The alternative healing though did not exist at that point. Would you say that this was the thing that’s spurred you to start learning about alternative therapy and healing or was it when you and I met Taylor?
In San Diego, I was there for four months and I was eating hospital food. I learned quickly that I didn’t like what I was being fed, what I was being given and everything in there. If I wanted to bring any kind of vitamins or supplements, they had to be tested. They had to run through their biochemistry lab. It was such a hardship to get anything I wanted to be done, a massage, acupuncture. Nothing was allowed because it’s not FDA approved and they were going right by the book and rightfully so. In San Diego, I kept saying “When can I get into PT? When can I start? Where’s this gym of yours? Where is this pool of yours?” The first neuropsychiatrist who came down to see me that next day did field vision tests on me and said, “I want you to know that you’re brain dead and you may never walk again. You’re never going to get back to work.” I’ll never forget looking at this woman and I want to kill her. I looked at her and I said, “You’re fired.” She goes, “What?” I said, “You’re fired and get out of my room. Get me people in here who can will this to make it possible because I’m walking out of here.” I told her that time in three weeks I want her out of there for at least eight or nine weeks.
She was removed and I got a team of people in there who encouraged me, who inspired me and got me what I needed. That was brutal. That was tough. That was for six months. I watched the seasons change. I could not move. I could not use the bathroom. I’m still urinating in a diaper or in a water bottle and I had to poop in a bedpan. I was naked all the time. I had no independence and I had someone always next to me because they were always unsure, if I was going to seizure or if I was going to get a stroke again. I was on all these blood thinners. I was on all these stuff. I found out that I have feeding tubes in me and I start to pull them out myself and my PICC line. I got pissed off. I said, “I’m getting these tubes out now.” They go, “You can’t do that.” Then they got a GI in there to remove the feeding tubes and they got someone in there to take out the PICC line. Then I said, “What’s next?” They said, “You have a horseshoe on your head.” I said, “I have a what?” They said, “You have 30 some stitches staples in your head. We need to get those done too.” The smart ass who I was, I was waking up faster and I said, “Give me a mirror so I can start taking them out myself.” They came in with the pliers and started to cut these things out.
I was getting blood drawn. I was getting everything done and I wasn’t getting the answers I wanted. Then all I knew is I was doing the ritual of what they wanted and rightfully so. I was a product of them and I know I was under their care. I started to go through some major depression. I would lash out. A bit of Tourette’s would sink in here and there because my brain was still firing on all different cylinders. It was like a car that was trying to start up and the engine didn’t work or the oil filter wouldn’t work. There were different parts of my body that weren’t up to speed. They brought in certain things that I start watching and my brain would go in certain directions and I couldn’t keep up.
The speech therapist who came in, we got into some major arguments because they would say, “Let’s do the ABCs. Let’s count to ten. Let’s do some simple math.” I could do it. Everything out of my mouth was, “Screw you. You’re this.” It wasn’t because I was mad at them, I was mad at myself. I’m 39. I was very successful and I want to get back to work. I want to get back home with my family. I want to drive again. I’ll never forget this story. I remember I learned to walk with a walker and a major cane and a pole. I started to take a couple of steps and I remember looking at this woman who was probably in her 60s who was clapping for me. She had on the shirt that said, “I shall, I can, I will. I can, I will, I must.” I started to think to myself, “I’ve got to believe in myself and I can, I shall, I will.” I caused myself these mantras. I had some experience with going inside and working on myself, but I didn’t have enough alternative meditations, the mantras.
Did you start exploring some alternative healing?
Not in the hospital. I wasn’t allowed to. I knew I can heal myself in other ways. Stephanie was sneaking me in stuff because I wanted probiotics. I couldn’t poop and I knew that probiotics in my system but the probiotics to get in the hospital, it would take days for them to run the test down because they want to make sure that I’m not doing heroin or cocaine or anything that’s nasty. I was on drugs 24 hours a day, blood work, blood tests.
All the stuff you expect in the hospital. At what point did you start thinking, “I need more options. I need some alternative therapies?” All Western medicine at that point saved you. Admittedly, these doctors saved your life the way they know how but when was it that you knew you needed to start exploring beyond that?
My mental health was decreasing and my ability to cope was horrible. I could not cope with people. How do you deal with a therapist who comes into your room? I graduated from pooping in a pan to pooping in a toilet. She came in and put a sign on my door that said, “Sean can now poop by himself without someone next to him.” My friends come in and look at me go, “You graduated to the toilets.”
Which is what we do to our kids when we’re potty training them.You have to have an open mind. There can be a harmonious balance between Western and Eastern medicine. Click To Tweet
At one time, I threw a water bottle at somebody and one time my urinary dispensary towards them. I was like, “No, this is not fear. I don’t want this,” and then I was very much stuck in my own head.
That’s got to wreak havoc on your mental health and happiness and all of that. Over all these years since you’ve had the stroke, you slowly started down the road to alternative therapies and healings.
Talking to you and talking about your recovery process, you tell me that these therapies got you where you needed to get, back home, back to your independence. Beyond that, it’s been Sean Entin’s Adventures in Health and Sean Entin going out in the world and exploring new options and new territory.
Once I can be independent, I couldn’t leave my house. They brought me back home. They had to get a therapist and show me how to use the stairs, how to use my bed, how to turn on the shower. I didn’t know my left or my right. I couldn’t spell and I couldn’t read. I started to read a little bit here and there, but my brain slowly began to wake up the further depressed I got. I started to spiral down this nasty road of depression and anxiety because my dog was a Lab. It wanted me. She wanted me and she would bark and every time she barked, I’ve got a headache. I started to cry. Shiloh who was fifteen months will start to yell for me or my daughter. It was horrific. I couldn’t shower myself. I had a caregiver who came to me, literally undress me and put me in the shower on a shower stool. I have no independence.
Or privacy. Modesty is out of the window. You completely let down all your barriers.
It was horrible. Talking about this is giving me the shakes and is making me upset. This is some of the stuff that I’m talking about, going raw and doing the deep dive. Thinking about it, it’s nasty. My heart rate is up just talking about all that. Then the home health started, which was fine. These therapists came to me and they wanted to put me back into rehab. It was called Outpatient Community Re-entry. I had to go into a group outside and get acclimated back into society. I couldn’t walk yet. I was in my chair. I got wheeled and pushed everywhere and I was eating. I started to bring my own foods. I knew I had to get off my gluten. I had to get off the breads. I had to get off the wheats and I know deep down inside, I got to start to train myself now of what I know how to do. I wasn’t a soldier, but I was getting ready to do a Spartan Race. You’re not going to eat terrible foods. You eat healthily I wanted more juice. I started to look in herbs. I started looking on the internet when I could start to read and I said, “I’m going to find my own solutions out here. Acupuncture, Chinese medicine herbs and stuff that I wanted to start to do.”
I did that in San Diego and then in June of 2012, it’s been literally about seven years almost. I couldn’t live with my ex-wife and my kids because it was too much. The noise, the light and Stephanie couldn’t take care of me and two younger kids. I had to move back in with my parents with my mom. She said to me something interesting. She said she had to raise me twice once at birth and once again at 39. It was harder on her than it was on me. My dad takes me from my bed to the toilet into the shower. He’s 68. I’m 125 pounds, 130 pounds and I couldn’t shower myself. I couldn’t walk in my house ten feet without getting exhausted and wanting just to fall asleep. I have no endurance. I started to look at my meds. I start to talk to a psychiatrist and my therapist, Sylvia Arellano who is amazing, took me on and she’s a healer of sorts but she’s in 25 years of therapy. She started to introduce me to simple protein shakes and getting vegetables in my body, things that I had been depleted of for seven months. I started at that time to take it into my own hands.
The things that you were doing would you say were considered alternative therapies. Did you start to say to yourself, “I don’t care what people say I’m going to try all these things? I’m going to start researching all these things.”
I know you’ve done interesting things like CBD and different supplements. You, Sean, are always looking for solutions beyond what’s being offered to your research when you’re investigating. You’re asking alternative healers for answers beyond the normal standard of care because you saw value in these alternative ways to heal the brain and heal the body and you’ve seen a tremendous benefit by going down this road.
The veterans that I was in the rehab with, that’s what turned me on too. The veterans I saw in my rehab in San Diego. They went home early because they didn’t have insurance, the money and the fund. These young kids were being sent home with traumatic brain injuries and the loss of a limb going back to their wives and kids where they needed months and months of therapy and healing. At that point, something clicked in me and I started saying to myself, “It’s not about why me, it’s about what’s next. I can deal with my pain.” I’m learning to walk. My limbs are intact. My brain will get there because I was reading, I was studying. I was watching anything I could and again, things took so long for me because I couldn’t figure out. In the beginning, I couldn’t find my mouth with a glass of water. I was spilling it on my right side. I had no left side. I couldn’t sit up straight. I had no midline and from there, I need to rest. I needed sleep. I needed quietness and I needed the juices. When I started to drive again which was probably in 2014, that’s when I’d spent hours in Whole Foods in the herb section and asking and looking and researching. I live with my father who is a doctor, a very successful surgeon and he didn’t believe in any of the herbs. Everything I put my body, he regulated. It was tough because I want to start implementing organic. I want to start implementing turmeric, anything that was anti-inflammatory but I wasn’t allowed yet by my dad. As soon as I could sneak it in my house, I was doing it.
Over all the years that you’ve been recovering and doing therapy and starting to incorporate more of these alternative therapies, the natural ingredients like turmeric and those things that reduce inflammation and all those other things, along this journey you and I meet. At this point, you’re already invested in alternative healing, therapies, plant-based stuff, natural products and all of these things. You created an entire company using CBD to help people heal and deal with pain and open their minds to alternative therapies. You and I meet and I jump into this journey with you to help you try to start healing and doing what we can. You and I both meet Taylor Smith and at the time, he was working out Bulletproof Labs. For those of you who aren’t familiar, if you’ve ever heard of Bulletproof Coffee, look it up.
Dave Asprey who’s behind the whole concept, look him up online. He’s considered to be a biohacker, meaning experimenting with all those food and natural substances to help you heal and lose weight and just be overall healthier. Taylor worked at Bulletproof Labs, which was part of Bulletproof Coffee which had these incredible futuristic machines based on alternative healing to help people find better health in very non-traditional ways. We meet Taylor at Bulletproof Labs and you knew very early on that Taylor was somebody who was going to be part of this alternative healing world and was a very smart guy. You felt like he was going to go somewhere and you immediately said, “I need to work with you.”
Let me take a step back. In-between being at home and starting the adventure to health, I had to become a neuro geek. I had to research the brain. I had a research, “Where did this affect me in the brain? Why is my left side not connected?” The more I understood about my symptoms, the easier I felt the less pain and the less anxiety I had because I knew that there were solutions. One of the best days of my life besides meeting you and my coach is a gentleman, a young kid named Taylor Smith who took me on. I looked at him and the first thing he said, “What do you want to do?” I said, “I want to complete a Spartan Race or a Tough Mudder.” He goes, “We’re going to do it.” I was like “Do you have any idea what I’m going through?” He was like “I don’t care, we’re going to figure this out.” I looked at him and I said with confidence, “You got me.” I want to hug this guy with both arms and looked toward my shoulder and go do a fireman carry and run-down Venice Beach.
That was the old me. My frustration and my endurance were still weak. I did a couple of things and then I had to leave the lab. What I found fascinating about you is you’re a culinary cook chef. You know all about the foods. You can geek out on anything there is on what I put into my body and you started to give me some golden nuggets, which I took. After the third session of just being there with you, I said, “Elsa, he’s not sticking around. He’s too big for this.” He looked at me and he goes, “They just spend $5 million on machines.” I said, “It’s not about the machines. It’s about the people.” As we started to get to know each other, you came down to your station and watched you on the air on the network, he started telling me about the supplements, about what he’s doing and when he was introduced to me. I looked at him and I said, “You got me. I trust you. Let’s go.” We started doing this journey together of water, supplements and of putting stuff in my body that it’s miracle stuff.There are other ways to heal. There are other ways to treat in addition to what you're doing now. Click To Tweet
We learned very quickly that Taylor is deeply invested in alternative healing and recovery from the inside out. Taylor’s got his own story of how he arrived at this type of lifestyle. It will all make sense when it all weaves together how we were all on this cosmic collision course. Tay had his own epiphany too when it came to health.
My health journey started when I moved to LA. Before LA, I had been a culinary chef as Sean mentioned. I had gone to the University of Texas with a degree in film and television. I decided after my time in Austin, I didn’t want to do any of that anymore.
You just decided that you’re going along this road down this career path and just said, “This isn’t right for me.”
Honestly, I didn’t want to be around the people in those industries because it felt toxic. It felt uncomfortable. After spending four years and feeling let down by the system, I didn’t know what to do with my life. I just started thinking, “If I don’t know what to do. Where do I start?” The idea that popped into my head at that moment was, “If I don’t know what to do, I’m at least going to take care of my body. I’m at least going to be healthy.” In my mind, I could do no wrong if that was my objective because I was going to be healthy. It didn’t matter what I was doing. That’s where it started.
I moved to LA. I had some money saved, I had some time and I started going to yoga classes every day. I didn’t have a plan at the time. About two weeks into going to yoga classes every day, before this I had done about five to ten yoga classes in my life. I didn’t really know any of the poses. Didn’t understand the practice but I started showing up every single day at yoga. Two weeks in the yoga studio, Veda Yoga, they go, “We’re doing teacher training. Have you ever thought about it?” It was the spark that started the fire. I showed up to the owner’s class one night just to ask more. I showed up and I asked her, “I’m on the fence. I’m thinking about doing this training, but I don’t have a deep practice. I don’t know how any of the poses work. I can’t even do X Y Z.” She smiles, she laughs and she tells me, “It’s okay. You don’t need to know right now because you’re going to learn everything like the first time.” I threw my credit card at her and said, “Let’s go.”
With no money in the bank. You spent everything you had left over on that class or that’s what you told me.
For the most part. I had a little bit of money saved up but not a lot. I went through most of it on the table at that moment.
That was a pivotal point in your life.
It was a two-month training. Immediately after the two-month training, I started teaching three classes a week and it was scary. It was intimidating. I walked into a room with twenty adults looking at me asking for answers. “Guide me. Instruct me.” I was 22 at the time, 23 maybe. It was just this moment of, “These people were looking at me for guidance.” I remember I got to the end of my first class, all the lights were on I didn’t turn the lights off. The music was on some hip-hop track and I didn’t stick the landing, but I showed up. I did it and I started working on improving from there. From yoga, I started building on that and teaching four or five classes a week.
During my time at yoga, I was also working for a company called Instacart. Instacart is a company that does grocery delivery. What they do doesn’t matter so much as I was showing up at Instacart four days a week and working 30 hours a week just to pay the bills, just to get by. What was amazing about Instacart is they let me wear headphones all day and they let me drop into my own world. I ran with that. I started listening to eight hours of health podcasts and books a day for two years while I was working for Instacart and while I was teaching yoga. I learned the body inside it now nutrition, mindset, how to motivate yourself to get up in the morning and meditate and run and read. It kicked me off on this epic quest for personal development.
You’re learning while you’re working at Instacart. You’re putting yourself through school, through learning through podcasts and everything else.
I call it Instacart University. It was brilliant too because I just got out of a system that was forcing me to pay for something. The university says I’m paying to learn and I reversed it. Now I have a company paying me while I learn everything I’ve wanted to learn.
Your knowledge and learning land you at Bulletproof.
That was a synchronous moment where I showed up to Instacart one day a little bit early before work. One of the things that I had started doing at Whole Foods is I started reading the books in the health section in between shifts on my lunch break before work. I didn’t have the money to buy all the books. I thought I’ll just sit here in the store and read them all here. It was at that time when Dave Asprey, the CEO and owner of Bulletproof, had come out with a new book called Head Strong. I remember I picked up the book one day and I read the introduction. Like lightning in my head, “That sounds like an awesome company to work for. Let me look up what jobs they have available.” It happened that I pulled up the website and they have a brand-new biohacker position. It’s not three blocks down the road from the Whole Foods I was at. It was a brand-new high-tech training facility. I was like, “This is perfect.” This is everything I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s three blocks away and not even open yet. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t even open yet at the time. The facility hadn’t even opened. They were opening a month from the moment when I first learned about them.If you want to heal whatever it is you're dealing with, you’d want to know all your options. Click To Tweet
You came in the right place at the right time. You could call it that or a coincidence but we know there’s no such thing as coincidence. You were meant to be there. The timing all worked out and you ended up getting a job there.
I literally did the application the next day. I was on the phone interviewing the next week. I did two in-person interviews and I was on the team. We started it with six trainers. I was one of the first six trainers on Dave Asprey’s hand-selected team of biohackers at the facility. It felt like such a powerful and special moment. I was nerding out to the max walking into that facility.
While you’re there at Bulletproof Labs, you’re also learning a lot too. You’re adding to your knowledge on how the body works inside and out, how it works at a cellular level. Then Sean and I are coming in together trying to find some routes to healing for him and we end up at Bulletproof. We meet you. You’re assigned to Sean by Bulletproof to try to help him out.
Before you showed up, my intro to you was, “There’s this CBS guy coming in. You’re going to work with him.” I was like, “This sounds cool. I get to talk to these people from CBS and show them the facility and train with them.” Sean walks in limping and said, “Is this the guy? Is this who I’m working with?” I remember thinking to myself, “This is way more interesting. This is going to be way more challenging than I had anticipated,” which I like. I do like a good challenge.
You meet Sean. When did you realize that you wanted to work with him and see what you could do?
We were working together regardless. I had a moment within the first week where I went to my manager and regarding Sean, I said, “I think I’m supposed to help this guy.” I had no idea the depth of that statement at that moment. You say something in a moment and you look back on it and you realize that that statement had so much power. It’s still unraveling itself.
You realized it was beyond just helping him with the machines in Bulletproof Labs. Fast forward to our journey, we’ve all been working together now for close to a year.
We first met February of 2018. I left Bulletproof in June and started working full-time with Sean and with you. Since June, we’ve been diving a little bit deeper into what we can do in terms of alternative healing for Sean. In a way, Sean and I have begun this adventure together. What’s so amazing about Sean is his willingness to one, show up and two, try anything I tell him to try. I show up and I tell him, “I’ve discovered this today. This might help you. Let’s go try this,” and he’s down.
You do have to have an open mind. All of us have been raised with Western medicine in mind and it’s a little scary to open your mind up and try something that you’re being told is natural and might work or help you heal because we’re used to thinking one way. There’s only one way to heal, only the doctors and hospitals know. It can be a harmonious balance between the two. Western and Eastern medicine alternative medicines.
If I’m in a car crash and my leg is broken, I want to go to a hospital. I want to have a Western facility treat my trauma.
You want your leg to be put in a cast and properly set and be in your journey to heal that leg.
If I want to go beyond that as Sean has done, I want to start exploring these other avenues. I want to piece together what does the body need to be its best possible self. That’s what I learned through Bulletproof. The way they break it down is on a cellular level. If we give the cells in the body all the components, they need to be healthy, you’re going to be healthy.
This is based on my stories and things I’ve done. I do not recommend this to you. Consult your physician, your MDs, your friends. Do your own research because everything we’re talking about, I’m going to go raw. I’m going to talk about everything that I’ve been through from the mental journey to the physical one. These are things I’ve chosen to do and introduced to myself. As far as what you are concerned, please by all means research it and talk to your MDs. There’s no way that I’m saying it’s going to heal you or make you better. These are things that I’m doing. Please consult your physician.
I want to open a pathway to start exploring and researching and letting you know that there are other ways to heal. There are other ways to treat. In addition to what you’re doing now that we just don’t know about here in this country because it’s either not FDA approved or kept from people here in the United States for various reasons.
What you’re touching is a lot of times we’re just not taught a lot of these practices. We’re not taught how to give your body proper nutrition. We’re not taught about just the simple things growing up. We lose touch with what the body needs to be healthy and happy.
That’s what you’re hoping to achieve here in Adventures in Health. This podcast is totally about opening our minds to all ways of healing. You should be given all options: Western, Eastern, Alternative. You should be able to make that choice. What would you say is the mission of Adventures in Health?
I would say our mission is to educate and inspire. Educate people about the possibilities that exist in the world to take care of your body and inspire people through Sean’s story and the stories of people working to have on the show to overcome any obstacle. If you’ve had a stroke and you’ve died and come back to life, you can fight your way back. Sean’s going to show you the way. Believe in yourself. I’m going to show you everything I know about healing the body, supplements, nutrition, breathing, meditation, mindset. The list goes on and on.
Body work, arm work, yoga, all of it.
All of it combined with maybe what you’re doing now. Why not open your mind and your heart to try anything? I would think that’s the goal. If you want to heal whatever it is you’re dealing with, you want to know all your options.
Some mindset too. You’ve got to put yourself in the right. You’ve got to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in this, don’t even start. It’s hard because depression will sink in and it paralyzes you and traps. We’re going to talk about that and how to get through all of that as well.
Sean, you’ve made it very clear. You’re not perfect. You push and push, but you have your days too.
I’ve got a nugget here for anyone about exploring new avenues for your health. It comes from one of my good friends who’s a yoga instructor and he leads retreats here in LA. He said, “Be as skeptical as you want to be.” I encourage you to be skeptical but don’t let that stop you from trying something from committing to something with 100% of your heart because you never know what you might find.
You are going to have guests also on the show. We’re going to open up the show to so many people who are in this realm and in this space to talk about the experiences they’ve had with people like Sean or others and themselves. You’re going to have everyone from chiropractors to physical therapists.
To military men and women, wives, husbands, kids, anybody who is going through something. Everyone has a story. Everyone’s been through a traumatic event. It could be a heart attack. It could be a stroke. It could be a car accident. It could be the loss of a loved one. It could be your wife picking up taking your kids and your dog in your house and you go home and there’s no one there. Everyone’s got a story and we’re going to help you to get through all that. We’re going to go into some days I had to get through it. There are 22 deaths or dying a day, one every 45 minutes. “You’re going to go off to war and if you don’t come back from the war, it could be you’re killed over there or you’re going to come back and kill yourself here.” That’s too tough for me to go through. I’ve watched these and I have a big heart for them.
That’s PTSD. It’s just one of the things we’ll be talking about. Everything, nothing is off limits. That’s going to be talked about when it comes to health, mental health, mind body and soul to tie them all together and to find ways to heal and cope.
With having guests on to share these tough stories for people to talk about. Sean has illustrated these are conversations that need to happen because when people start to open up and they start to share these stories, people who are going through something similar like Sean, it makes them feel less alone and less secluded. It helps them understand other people who are going through these challenges and it’s okay to have the feelings that you’re having. We’re going to help you acknowledge those feelings. We’re also going to come in with health experts and health-focused companies and start giving you real solutions
Opportunities to explore other ways that you were never told about, which is why you are calling it Adventures in Health because for many people, it’s going to be an adventure going down this road and trying all kinds of things that they’ve never been exposed to before. The adventure is just beginning for you right here in Adventures in Health. This podcast is going to be a bit of everything and nothing is going to be held back. We’re going to talk about everything. Like Sean said coming back from a stroke and what it’s like to go to the bathroom for the first time. What’s it still like to go to the bathroom eight years later, what sex is like at post-stroke. We’re going to talk about everything, things you want to ask but you won’t. You know you want to ask the doctor you don’t want to know or you don’t want to expose yourself like that. Hopefully, the things that we talk about on this show are going to make people feel less alone and go, “They’re having that problem too. I’m not the only person. I’m not the only one who has this issue.” We want to make sure everybody knows that they have a welcome place to come on their adventure to health.
About Elsa Ramon
Elsa Ramon, reporter and anchor for CBS and KCAL is a native to California and role model to the community. She has years of experience, awards, and consistent journalism. Most recently she won two Emmy’s and is the host of her new show Adventures in Crypto.