Pain affects us all. As far back as I remember, I have always been in pain. I played high school football, but I always had problems with my hips. I was so strong in high school that my coach let me play, but I didn’t have to run laps with the team because I couldn’t. The rest of the team hated me for that, but I’d always lay someone out to make up for it. I never knew what was wrong with me until I went to the doctor at 33 years old and he told me to walk across the room. I did, and immediately he told me “you need two new hips.” He could just tell. Long story short, I have genetic osteo arthritis and don’t have much cartilage in my body.
As a teenager I was one of the strongest kids in the country. I was a competitive powerlifter at the highest level and I was beating grown men on drugs in every competition. I thought I was going to have a career in powerlifting. I know there was no money in it, but I always thought I could turn it into that (ironically my younger brother did).
At 33 years old and in the middle of making my first documentary Bigger Stronger Faster, I had a double hip replacement surgery due to my genetic arthritis.
I was already addicted to the painkillers that the doctors gave me. I was addicted to them for 2 years before my doctor realized that they screwed up my surgery and that’s why I was still in pain and on drugs. I had a revision to my hip surgery and continued to suck down painkillers like it was my job. A month later my older brother Mad Dog died in a sober living facility after being sober for 62 days. This sent me on a downward spiral. I started consuming more drugs than ever, I had easy access to them. I had a lot of friends who sold them. A year after my brother died, two of those friends took their own life in the same week. I lost 2 good friends and no longer had access to pills. I found a doctor and got on suboxone, but instead of being on it for 2 weeks, I was on it for 2 years. I spent several days in the ER trying to get off of suboxone.
Finally I got off of suboxone, but I became an alcoholic in the process. I always felt like I needed something to get me through the pain. While making my film Prescription Thugs, I had a really loose understanding of sobriety. I was off drugs, but I had been drinking every day. Everything happens for a reason and my drinking sent me to rehab. While in rehab, I realized that a lot of people are doing drugs simply because they are in pain either physically or mentally and they don’t know how to get out. So we mask it with drugs.
In Prescription Thugs, I tell the story of my friend Luther Reigns who wrestled for the WWE. He was on 90 pain pills a day until he suffered a massive stroke. He got sober and started taking this plant called Kratom to help deal with the aftermath of the stroke. It was amazing to see him go from re-learning how to walk and talk to being totally functional. He told me that I had to try kratom. He even suggested that I make a documentary about it. I thought he was crazy. I’m not going to risk my reputation to make a film about some weird plant from Indonesia. I thought it was weird, but I wasn’t above trying it. 3 weeks later, I called my friend back. “We have to make a documentary about this shit!” I said. It made all of my pain go away, but it also got me inspired.
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of biohacking. My obsession started with who I consider to be the first biohacker, the original steroid guru Dan Duchaine. Duchaine has done more to educate people on steroids than anyone in the world. He was a rebel and renegade. The things in his books that he talked about 30 years ago are all happening today. He was way ahead of his time. Dan was famous for finding some herb that was used in the 40s and using it now for a totally different purpose. He took the run off from cheese production and gave the world whey protein. There’s an element of Dan Duchaine in everything I do. I like to completely go against the grain to try to see if we were really right or wrong about something.
With all of this in mind, I jumped into Kratom full bore. I started playing around with dosages and doing a bunch of research. At first, all of my research was wrong. Everything I read was negative. It was all looking really bad…until I found Dr Christopher McCurdy. Buried in all of the articles of kratom deaths I found a quote from this doctor who’s been studying kratom for 12 years. “When we looked at this under a microscope it was like holy cow, we have something here that could resolve opioid withdrawal in one shot.”
I don’t know why, but maybe because I tried it, I put my faith in him and started finding more and more real research. I hired a researcher to find me all of the negative stuff on kratom and then check the sources. Nothing checked out. This was all straight up propaganda. I partnered with a company I trusted; Urban Ice Organics and we decided to make a documentary. It’s a big risk. It’s expensive and there is no guarantee it’ll ever get seen. I was willing to take the risk. I really think that this film will go on to become the most important thing I’ve ever done.
Kratom does wonders for many people for pain, anxiety, depression, ptsd and many other issues. We just aren’t allowed to say that because of all of the strange FDA laws that only favor drugs.
Kratom has been used safely in Asia for over 200 years with no known deaths or illness arising from it. It is simply a crushed up tea type leaf that is either consumed as powder, capsules, or extracts. It’s currently legal in 45 states, but 5 states have banned it. Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Vermont, and Wisconsin: all states with major opioid problems.
Kratom can help people get right off of heroin. I have the emails to prove it. I get emails every day from people who have gotten off of opioid drugs, heroin, alcohol, fixed their social anxiety, got rid of migraines, and for me it’s really helped me stick to my diet.
Since taking kratom, it’s changed my life in so many other ways. I was never able to stick to my diet. I always knew that ketogenic style diets work for me. When I was powerlifting all the way back in 1995, I used what’s now called The Carnivore Diet without even know it. I ate red meat and water for most of the month of my competitions to get my weight down. My weight would plummet and I would get stronger. I loved it, but there was no evidence that this could be sustained healthfully. After being on kratom for a little while I was listening to Joe Rogan talk about sugar. I always thought sugar in excess was bad, but didn’t know much about it. This sent me down a rabbit hole.
In 2015 I went back on a ketogenic diet. I started talking to all of the experts. I started interviewing them. My brother Mark and I are currently in production on a documentary about the ketogenic diet. This will not be a fan boy movie that tells everyone that they need to do keto. It will be a truthful dive into this diet to show what it can do and what the limitations are, while offering explanations of other tools like intermittent fasting, fasting mimicking, carnivore, and fat fasts. Through the use of these tools I’ve gone from 30% body fat to under 14%.
My first venture back into keto included re reading The Bulletproof Diet and using the Bulletproof roadmap. This evolved into me learning more about keto. Eventually after talking to Dr Shawn Baker, I decided to get back on the carnivore diet. That’s where I am right now and I feel great, but I know that it’s not where I’ll be forever. Diet and nutrition is an ever evolving process as our lives and goals change.
As I take people on this journey of my films and my life, there are important life lessons that came out of all of them. I think the most relevant things to people’s lives right now will be the use of kratom, diet, training and other tools to alleviate pain, anxiety, and depression.