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In an ideal world, no-one would suffer from the anguish of mental illnesses like Depression, Bipolar etc. But we do not live in an ideal world – and the prevalence of these debilitating and life-destroying illnesses has exploded upwards over the past half-century. There is no magic fix by any means but some like Brett Lloyd are taking control of their own destiny, and implementing unusual fixes which have delivered amazing relief for them personally. By no means will all sufferers experience the same degree of relief – but if you don’t try, you certainly have no hope of success.
I hope that today is a happy Friday for you all; but regardless prepare to be uplifted by Brett’s inspirational journey: “the darkest hour, is just before the dawn…”
Ivor Cummins 01:19 Today I’m going to be speaking with Brett Lloyd, who has a fascinating story with actually a 40-year history of challenges, which were resolved in a relatively unusual way. So we’ll go into detail now. Hey, Brett, great to meet you virtually finally.
Brett Lloyd 01:38 Ivor, it’s a real pleasure to be here. Thank you so much for having me. I look forward to share my story and experience with your audience and let’s put some good out into the world.
Ivor Cummins 01:49 Excellent, Brett. That’s what we’re all about. Bit of science and a lot of good. So yeah, I’ve done a few interviews now with people who are going on a more extreme, shall we say diet, which is kind of carnivores, it’s nearly all meat and water. And, you know, anecdotal data, like n equals one has limitations. Now for low carb, we have hundreds of thousands of n equals ones and so many trials that you can tell that it’s an amazing intervention for better health. But for carnivores, there’s quite a lot of n equals ones, but again, not quite as much and you found that it made a huge difference to your health. So maybe give a bit of your backstory and challenges you had health wise over many decades.
Brett Lloyd 02:38 Well, growing up I was blessed in many ways. We had a large vegetable garden. We had fresh vegetables year round. We also ate plenty of meat. But out of that household, my mother, father, sister and I, my father had cancer and he suffers from type 2 diabetes today. He’s not doing very well as a result. My mom’s had a myriad of health issues. My sister suffers from ulcerative colitis. And as you mentioned, I suffered from over 40 years worth of mental illnesses that we now know has been related directly to diet.
03:17 I was first diagnosed with depression and 1990 exactly in a place called River Park Hospital in West Virginia. And they put me on Prozac, which I took off and on until 1995, when I had my first real hardcore panic attack. I thought I was having a heart attack to the point where I went to the ER and they hooked me up and there was nothing wrong with my heart. A physician put me on Prozac and I stuck with it then. And from 1995 to January 2015, I was on some kind of prescribed brain altering medication for my mood. Prozac was beneficial in the beginning for the first couple of three years, but then things started slowly spiraling downward, I would have mood crashes for inexplicable reasons and it would take me longer to recover from them. The periods of wellness shortened and the periods of illness grew to the point where my doctor started changing medications and adding things trying, different combinations.
04:38 And throughout this my diet was really bad, the standard American diet. I eat a lot of sugar and enormous amount of grains and as my depression worsened, my diet worsened along with it. Because I didn’t realize I had a sugar addiction. So I was craving fruits in addition to the cakes and pies and I thought granola was healthy so I tons of that nonsense. And these medicines cause you to gain a lot of weight. And the next thing I knew it’s 2006 some way in around 250 and I have an old fashioned textbook nervous breakdown due to a familiar event that I don’t talk about and got to survive going two months with no more than hour or two hour worth of sleep, which is you probably are aware if you go without sleep long enough, bad things start to happen to you.
Ivor Cummins 05:40 Yeah. I don’t get into medications too much but I mean once the doctors for neurological issues get into the kind of medication roulette or medication bingo, you know, you’re you’re pretty much in a bit of trouble because they’re kind of searching and grasping for something that might help and the science kind of falls away. But certainly sleep, once you get into major sleep deprivation, I mean, even someone who’s healthy and doesn’t have any depression type issues, a lack of sleep for several days or weeks will leave you in tatters. I know, it’s a major effect. Adding junk food with a lack of sleep and any underlying condition and you’re in a terrible situation as you clearly were, you how to break down yeah.
Brett Lloyd 06:33 It only got worse because what you described very well with regard to managing that cycle of, I use “a cycle destruction” in my opinion, because they’re just slinging man’s at you. You’re basically throwing stuff up at the wall and hoping something sticks because it doesn’t appear that they really need to know that much about how these medicines work. But what occurred to me was, they put me on a rumor on med and they got me to sleep for three weeks, but then I had another six weeks of only one or two hours worth of sleep. And they took Trazadone, they put me on an Ativan because my anxiety was off the chain by that point. I was a mess.
07:14 It was a horrible year, a couple of years there, 2006, 2008. And then from 2008 to 2009 it got worse. My doctor finally stopped my free fall, or the medicine called [Inaudible 00:07:30]. But that had me sleeping 10 hours a night and taking 2-hour naps during the day. It wasn’t much of a life; it was more just an existence. But fast forward, I came to terms in my head with some of the things that had happened and thought, “Okay, I don’t need this anymore. I can just Prozac, Ativan, and the Trazadone for sleep. Will get better.” And I did for a time, and my mood did improve. And then I realized I was overweight. And I did a little research and talk with my wife. She said, “Why don’t you look at this Atkins diet, but you can eat all the things you like on?”
08:13 So, I went on the Atkins diet, and I lost a lot of weight. And my mood got better, but at no time Ivor did we make a connection between the two. My doctor, he was overweight and doing Atkins around the same time and he was sharing recipes back with me for snacks and things. But never was there any discussion that my dietary change to be remotely responsible for my improvement and mood.
Ivor Cummins 08:42 You know, there’s a few things in medicine if it’s cardiovascular disease, they accept diets and pork and obesity. They of course, say diet’s important but they give you the wrong diet. But neurological issues, there’s a huge resistance out there to allow diet to be linked. And cancer is the other big one. They will allow that diet can connect to obesity and obesity increases risk for cancer. But there’s a massive pushback against diet, importance and counts are all around the world. So it just resonates with me, yeah. No one wants diet to connect to particular types of diseases. So that’s interesting.,
Brett Lloyd 09:22 Yeah. It’s not like, you know… and this doctor, I had him for 16 years. He was a really good man. I mean, he gave me his best effort. He gave me his personal cell phone number, he would get so concerned about me, he would ask me to call him on weekends to let me know how I was doing. Especially if he started a med change. He just apparently wasn’t knowledgeable, because he was a genuinely good, caring, sincere person who really gave his best effort.
Ivor Cummins 09:50 I think he’s more probably a product of the system he’s in because the attitudes and the system kind of influence everyone in it and they may never get to find out connections because they live in a system that doesn’t want to really go there. Sounds like a great guy.
Brett Lloyd 10:08 He’s a really, really nice man. And I recently was able to get in touch with him via email and sending links to some of the other interviews I’ve done and some of the experiences that I’ve had. And he was very happy to see that I was doing well and that I gotten in touch with him. But I don’t know if you’ll employ anything that any of that information into his practice I’m hopeful because like I said, he’s a good guy and he genuinely wanted to help people. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed the connection is made for him.
10:41 But 2009 through July of 2010, I had an amazing year. I lost the weight, my mood improved, I was able to go to my 30-year high school reunion. Things were going pretty good. I still knew the Depression was there; the medicines only kind of masking. It never really makes it go away. It’s just kind of like, it’s not obtrusive, let’s say for lack of a better way of explaining it.
11:11 Then I foolishly one day decided I want to start eating some things that I like again because hey, if I can wait, well, I can go on Atkins, again. What could go wrong? Fast forward to a night in July, a Sunday evening, I’m at mass, I myself. We’re in the middle of prayer, right before consecration, and I get one of those fight or flight alerts in my head that says, “You don’t get out of here. We’ll go home. Something really bad is about to happen.” And extremely uncharacteristic of me, I jumped up and literally ran out of the church. And 15 minutes later, I was curled up on my couch at home, bawling like a baby and had no idea why.
Ivor Cummins 12:05 That’s a severe panic attack effectively.
Brett Lloyd 12:08 Oh big time, big time! And the depression came back full force. My mood cratered like never before. And then from 2010 to 2015, it was just a nightmare. We had to move my wife’s job. I’m a musician. I worked all over the southeast United States and my wife’s the one with the real working job. And our position got moved here in Florida and we had to move and I had to leave the doctor I knew, I didn’t have any family or friends here, didn’t know anybody. So trying to find a doctor was a nightmare. When I did, I found a nurse practitioner who tried her best but she started adding things like Seroquel and Abilify and all these other meds. They changed my diagnosis from major depression and major depression with psychotic features. And then after they tried every anti depressing combination and other stuff, will then they change the diagnosis to bipolar too which I never really bought into. But the medicines they gave me for that didn’t really do much good.
13:24 I want to explain to people what depression was like for me because this is I think one of the most important things that I’ve learned as I’ve looked back. The further I get away from being sick clearer, I’m able to see the dynamics of what I experienced. And for me, depression was an extreme dissatisfaction with everything. Nothing was ever good enough. I wasn’t good enough. Whatever I was trying to use to accomplish any given task wasn’t the right tool. It wasn’t built to my preference, whatever. And then underneath that there was this enormous sense of sadness. I was not a crying depressed person. Most of the time I was an angry, scowling, depressed person. And nobody would understand. Well, nobody really wanted to be my friend after a while.
14:21 I isolated myself greatly because of this. And the worst part was it became a mental illness in my opinion. This is my theory. I’m not a trained medical professional here. This is just my theory. Mental Illness alters everything. For me, it altered everything I saw, everything I touched, everything I felt, heard or thought and never did so in my favor. It might be just a little nudge. It might be something as benign sounding as my wife saying one Sunday morning, “Hey, it’s a beautiful sunny day!” But the Illness we twist that and alter it, nudge it to where what I heard with my ears in my head was, “Oh, yes. You know, it’s a beautiful day.”
15:14 And as somebody who loved what loves their wife, you know, I would hear that and I would be like, “Huh, have What do you mean? That doesn’t make any sense. What’s wrong?” And as you can imagine, my wife would look at me like, “What in the world did you just say?” And this conflict would start, and it was becoming greater and more difficult. She couldn’t understand why I wasn’t making sense. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t making sense. And we were all we had in a town where we knew nobody. Only just grinds and grinds, minds on you as an individual, on your marriage on your loved ones around you.
16:00 This way I could describe what depression was like when I was sick. Imagine you’ve got a 50-pound Anvil on your head 24/7. It’s there when you wake up. It never leaves. It’s there when you go to bed and it’s constantly wearing you down negativity.
Ivor Cummins 16:21 That’s pure, corrosive. Pure pressure all the time on you. And like you said there, it affects all your senses, your perceptions, so everything is colored. Even something good is no longer good. There’s a smell off of. Everything is kind of ruined, essentially.
Brett Lloyd 16:42 Exactly right. And you’re not aware of it at the time. I was not remotely aware. I mean, I have a background, I worked in the mental health field before I became a patient in the mental health field. I understood a lot of the dynamics that helped up to a point but there became the communication issue. I mean, if I thought I was right Ivor, I would argue with you until the sun fell out of the sky before I would relent. I became delusional, obsessive. And through it all, I was still writing and recording music because no bands wanted to work with me. I would get calls and, “You’re just too hard to get along with. Stay home.”
Ivor Cummins 17:30 So your income then is also impacted, which makes life harder, which makes everything worse. And it’s a cycle. It’s a spiral, which some people go down the spiral and they don’t come back out. I mean, obviously, you know, suicide and everything becomes a real thought when you get deep enough. I often say to people that depression if you want to try and understand it, if you don’t have depression, you can’t understand it and you think it might be partially the person’s fault. But I say imagine you drink a huge amount of alcohol, and you do something really stupid, terrible, stupid things, and you wake up the next morning with a burning hangover and realizing you’ve made an absolute fool of yourself. Think how you feel at that moment? Well, that’s what it’s like for someone with real depression all the time.
Brett Lloyd 18:25 I don’t really think it’s possible for somebody who’s not felt depression to understand it. It’s like trying to understand what a broken bones like when you’ve never had one. You can’t. You just can’t. And I think that’s one of the reasons why we do such a poor job generally at treating our mentally ill because we don’t know that we can communicate with them. Because we tried to communicate with them like they’re rational people and they’re not. You cannot communicate with somebody who is irrational in an irrational way and expect to get very far.
19:00 I don’t know what the solution to that is. I’m a guitar player. But for me, it was horrible. And you talk about suicide, I never wanted to end my life. Ever. I never wanted to do that. But the illness constantly kept bringing the notion in front of my mind against what I wanted. I’m thankful Catholic convert, I have some personal beliefs about suicide that I hold strongly. I wasn’t interested in fooling with risking that on any level, but the illness would just keep, “Okay, if you’re going to do it, how are you going to do it?” “I don’t want to think about that.” “Well, if you’re going to do it, how would you do it? I mean, seriously, how would you do it?” These kinds of things would come into my mind and there was not much I could do about. Take a [Inaudible 00:19:52] in and put myself out for a couple of hours. That was fun. And then you wake up feeling horrible and it’s all still right there waiting on you.
Ivor Cummins 20:02 Yeah. And in fact, those thoughts then just further add to the depression because they’re inherently depressing thoughts to think about that. So the spiral keeps continually, remorselessly pushing. And this whole thing basically you say from, I think it was all nine to 15 was this whole long, terrible period roughly?
Brett Lloyd 20:24 2010 to 2015. From the middle of July 2010 to January of 2015, it was this [Inaudible 00:20:34] cycle circular nightmare spiraled downward into a darkness that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
Ivor Cummins 20:41 Yes, absolutely atrocious. And you know, you’re right. You know, No one who’s not depressed can understand it. If you have periods of intense pressure in your life and challenges, you might get an inkling of what it’s like when you feel like essentially kind of just acutely depressed, relating to serious life issues. It gives you a little glimmer, but it’s never going to be the same as that long term, dreadful existence.
21:09 Now, you said January 2015 was a very specific point at the end of this long proven period of intractable depression. So what changed then?
Brett Lloyd 21:23 Well, let me set the scene appropriately. By January 2015, my psychiatrist, the last psychologist I will ever have, not named Georgia E. said that I should seriously consider electroshock therapy and/or a long term hospitalization.
Ivor Cummins 21:44 Wow!
Brett Lloyd 21:44 Well, I observed with patients after they’d had electroshock therapy and I knew right then that wasn’t going to happen for any reason. Never. Didn’t have [Inaudible 00:21:55] so there wasn’t going to be a long term hospitalization, but that’s how desperate… they didn’t know what else to try. And the only reason why I hadn’t been committed was because I wasn’t verbalizing any suicidal ideation. Because I knew the minute I started saying anything about that, my ability to make decisions for myself would be immediately taken away from me and I’m like, never get back.
22:22 Musician friend of mine, a lady because I still make writing songs, I’m releasing albums on the internet under different monitors. And this lady who sings lead vocals for a project, our Dark Hearts Blues project. I’m going to use her name because without her none of this happened. Name is Kimi Wade. And God bless you, Kimi. I’ll never appreciate her enough. She’s watching all this. She’s seen all this and she finally one day says, “Have you ever looked at or researched or thought about medical cannabis?” And as a musician, cannabis was around me everywhere. But I had a bad experience with it when I was young, I didn’t want it. I didn’t have anything to do with it. I passed it left, passed it right before gigs at rehearsals. It just wasn’t my thing. And beer was legal. Why did I need it?
23:20 I’m like, “Well at this point, you know, I need rocks if I thought it had a chance.” And I did some research and watched some YouTube videos, and there was a lot of anecdotal evidence that people were doing better with it. And after talking with my wife, we’re at the point like, “What do we have to lose?” What do we have to lose? So we secured four grams of flour, which is just a minute amount of cannabis. And my wife made some Ghana butter and from that she made these little oatmeal raisin cookies that are about the size of a quarter. They were probably keto cookies. They didn’t have any sugar. They were definitely not low carb. And Ivor, I was so afraid of this stuff. The first one, I broke it in half and I ate half of it. And 10 minutes later, I felt like a 1000 suns lifted off of me. Wasn’t high, it just didn’t feel like crapping. And when you haven’t felt like crap for so long, it’s an amazing event. And then 40 minutes later, the high kick in and it treated all the symptoms. All of them. I wasn’t angry. My wife didn’t know how to talk to me for weeks after I started using this because she was so used to me being unpredictable.
24:45 It treated everything. It didn’t eliminate it. You know, we learned that the hard way too a few weeks after that. But I was able to start seeing things bit by bit accurately. And 10 days into this Ivor, I’m tying my shoe. My belly is suddenly in the way. And I realized like this is not supposed to be this way. And my heart started racing, I have a mini panic attack as cold sweat. And I go and look at myself in the mirror with clear eyes for the first time in years. And I’m horrified.
25:30 I’m a little over six foot tall. I weighed 289 pounds. Damn! And I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is unacceptable on every level,” and told my wife that morning and said, “Atkins, tonight.” And so as I understood it, I went on back on Atkins, low carb and didn’t really educate myself any further on and I really wasn’t doing it very well, but I was doing it well enough. And I knew I had to increase my physical activity. I started walking, walking the dog. And over the next three and a half years, I walked off 94 pounds. By the end of 2015 I was off the antidepressants. By the end of 2016, I was off the Ativan. And by the end of 2017, I was off the Trazadone. I was free of that shit. Free! I haven’t taken any pharmaceutical since and God willing, I never were again. It was just cannabis.
Ivor Cummins 26:44 Wow, Brett. So all medications gone by like say the end of ‘16, and all you’re maintaining besides the Atkins diet, which lost you 90 pounds, three years, all you’re maintaining is the low level effectively off of cannabis.
Brett Lloyd 27:03 Like I said, it treated my symptoms. It did not eliminate the illness. I had to go out of town occasionally to where cannabis wasn’t legal or available, and had to go a few days without it. I was able to get through it, but only just barely. And it would take me like six weeks to get my when I called it that time, my “calm back” for me to get back to level and smiling and enjoying life again.
Ivor Cummins 27:30 So you had a certain amount of cannabis sustained like pretty much daily. If you dropped it for a few days or a week, the effect would go and you’d get into a dodgy place and then you needed a few weeks of the same level to just level back out again. Right. So you did need it.
Brett Lloyd 27:55 It was like the Prozac was supposed to be, literally. You know, the Prozac was used to level my mood out and do all these things and I wouldn’t be depressed anymore. The cannabis actually did those things. I still use it today which I’ll get into later for behavioral reasons. That’s what’s going on until May, April of 2018. When the same Kimi Wade messages me, “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh, you have to go watch every video by this guy named Dr. Jordan Peterson has ever made.”
Ivor Cummins 28:35 Wow!
Brett Lloyd 28:36 First, he sent me a link to one of the famous Jordan Peterson destroys videos. And I became a fan because he’s, I believe he’s a great advocate of honesty and putting good out into the world and I find him to have incredible integrity.
Ivor Cummins 28:56 Yes.
Brett Lloyd 28:58 If you ever read “12 Rules For Life” do so. Just do it.
Ivor Cummins 29:02 I have that book actually at the moment sent to me by a good friend. And I’ve been so busy, I haven’t got to it yet but I will be reading it.
Brett Lloyd 29:11 It’s an outstanding read. Anyway, I become a fan and I started, you know, searching for videos every day at lunchtime. Watch, because they were entertaining and they gave me pause for thought. And I came across this 30-minute cut out of one of his visits to Joe Rogan, where he describes how his daughter Mikhaila figures out the hard way. I’m not going to recant alternative story here, but she figured out she could eliminate her arthritis and depression symptoms with meat salt water. And then Jordan Peterson talks about how he suffered from depression, which I had no idea. I mean for him to perform at the level he was performing that thinking wise with a mental illness, can you imagine? I can’t comprehend that.
30:04 So I’m paying attention, and he starts describing how it eliminated his symptoms. My jaws on the floor. No doctor told me this was possible. How can this be true? Someone’s been lying to me. And I don’t think it’s Jordan Peterson.
Ivor Cummins 30:20 Well, I think you’re right. Viva La Revolution.
Brett Lloyd 30:24 Yeah. It was just mind boggling. But then the little voice in my head was still there, the little black cloud that never 1,000% went away at that time was like, “Well, this could be too good to be true. So let’s be sure and do some research. So I started, I’m still on YouTube, where my next thing was carnivore diet. And who popped up but one Dr. Shawn Baker on Joe Rogan. And I’ve [Inaudible 00:30:53] Shawn news. I watched that episode, the dietary part of that episode at least 50 times. Because, you know, here you’ve got another man with incredible integrity, an Air Force combat surgeon and there’s no flaws in his logic at all. But I’m just, “This is just too good to be true.”
31:18 But my search continued, and I found this amazing talk that Amber O’Hearn gave in 2018, 2017 at Keto Fest, or she describes in a way that a guitar player could understand how we literally came down out of the trees, grew these larger brain stronger, bigger bones by eating me. You know, I didn’t even know what you’re seeking was, I didn’t know we had one. But she explained it in a way to where I look at my wife and I kind of do this. Sink or swim, I have to do this. July 16, 2018, I began a carnivorous diet and I’ve had nothing but animal source food since then. Nothing but water since then. 10 days into my experience, I woke up with no joint pain. Now I’m 57 at this time, I’m 58 now, I had aches and pains. I’ve never been diagnosed with arthritis. But you know, you live that long you fall down, you break a few bones, you know, things hurt. But I was ambulatory; everything was still mostly functional. And when you wake up without joint pain, I felt like a 10-year-old kid, I’m taking my my six in the morning walks, skipping down the street giggling like a child, because it doesn’t hurt. Who knew? I had no idea.
Ivor Cummins 32:46 I hear, Brett. And again there’s a lot of anecdotal; the science has yet to catch up, but amber has some superb science. And Jordan, obviously someone of the caliber of Jordan Peterson and I interviewed Mikhaila in person a few months ago, on this fascinating story, incredible problem solving from a non tech head that she did, especially when she’s under the pall of depression, which is limiting our ability to be as logical, incredibly logical as she was to diagnose herself. And you’ve got Shawn Baker, who’s hugely impressive. So you’ve got all these amazing people who have clearly dramatically transformed their health with this. Doesn’t mean everyone will, but I find that the neurological issues, the arthritic issues, the joint tissues, I recently interviewed a lady I’m releasing shortly whose son has Angelman syndrome, which is a profound genetic problem, and they have a massive risk reduction in his symptoms and he’s way out at the extreme end of healthy for his condition, based on a very strong keto diet with meats and organ meats. So, I find the area fascinating. But sorry, back to your story, you achieved the same thing in ‘18. And within 10 days, you’re even fixing things you didn’t know were broken.
Brett Lloyd 34:17 Exactly. It hasn’t really stopped. I’ll give you a list as we go along. And I remember from one Mikhaila’s early videos where she said it was like around 15 or 16 days that she felt her depressing getting better. Well, on day 15, mine hadn’t gotten better yet. And I was like, “Ahhh, it’s getting a little antsy.” But starting on day 23, I was just like, didn’t have to use cannabis to like 4 o’clock that day. It’s just such a good mood. But I’m still being real cautious. But then the 24th morning, and I’m taking six in the morning, do my walks 6 AM then. And I’m on this walk and I’m in a great mood and then suddenly this beautiful thing happens where I switch. It’s like something clicked. It was like I lost weight all over again. And I didn’t see lights or anything. There was nothing, you know? No glowing, floating anything. But I just felt infused with light or happiness and joy. And it was so beautiful. And I’m never going to stop telling people about it because you don’t have to be on track anymore. I was free of this horrible illness that just stole life for me by a handful every day. And we don’t have to be like that anymore. We just don’t.
35:58 There’s alternatives. It doesn’t work for everybody, but my God, if you’ve suffered from mental illness today, at least look into it. Because there’s nothing like it. I mean, every day now, since then, I mean, I don’t have bad days, life still throws challenges. The car will start. You know, the car needs repairs, there’s no money for it. What do you do? Those kinds of challenges still happen. But a bad day. Are you serious? The car breaks down, that’s nothing compared to being depressed.
36:33 That’s one of the things that Mikhaila said once her dad asked her, “Okay kid, you can get rid of one but you got to keep the other. What you doing?” She said, “Well, I’m getting rid of the depression. I keep the arthritis.” My wife is in there and like, “That’s the right answer.” That’s the only answer. Because depression is horrible. And to be free from it, my God is a beautiful thing. And everybody should take the opportunity to find out that this works for them, because it’s well worth the effort.
Ivor Cummins 37:05 I agree Brett, neurological issues especially and depression is way worse than nearly any other thing that you can think of. I’ve never experienced it fully, obviously, but I just know from you and people like you who I’ve discussed it with.
37:23 So 40 years, roughly speaking, you had existed to a greater or lesser extent with this pain. And now after 24 days, you actually not only removed most of it, but you have what you so beautifully described there, you felt suddenly like a happy person feels and takes for granted.
Brett Lloyd 37:46 Yeah. Somebody said to me, and I agree with him, I hope one day I get to discuss this with him at length. It’s a profound thing. I mean, I’m still coming to terms with it. It’s been 10 months. And one thing I’ve learned is, immediately is you don’t come out of that with a toolbox full of happy skills. The 40 plus years thing I made a little look back, was pretty much with good certainty that I started experiencing [Inaudible 00:38:19] symptoms around the age of 15. That’s when I started having sleep disruptions. And I’m a believer that sleep disruptions are like the first warning sign that there’s a major systemic issue going on. But at the time, who knew? And the way we were raised if you had a little physical thing, I was an athlete and a jock, well, we were trained and brainwashed into were working through that was a sign of toughness with all sorts of bad coping mechanisms for these kinds of things, which didn’t help at all.
38:56 That’s one of the reasons why I still use cannabis today because even though my mood is spectacular, what we find is, if I don’t use cannabis, I become the happiest, most obnoxious, hypercritical human being you could ever want to run away from. But with cannabis, that behavior melts away. I would love for somebody to study me to figure out why because it doesn’t make any sense to me based on what I’ve read and looked at, but that’s what happens. And I can articulate, I’m not spaced out walking around looking at flowers in the sky. For me, it’s medicine. It’s not recreation, it’s medicine.
Ivor Cummins 39:42 And you could certainly articulate at crystal clear, not a single slip. And I’ve just noticed that in the background, even though it’s not related to the topic, I noticed that in the first few minutes. Your articulateless and perfect choice of words, repeatedly and continuously I noticed that kind of stuff.
40:04 But as you say, you know, your mood goes up and down all the time even someone who’s not depressed. It’s like a sinusoidal curve. Little good thing happens subconsciously you think, “Oh, that’s good,” and it goes up a little and then a little while later it might overshoot and go down a little and you kind of feel not so happy and you’re not sure why. That’s a normal person and a bipolar then it’s extreme right? But maybe when you fixed your problem, you’re not only not depressed, you’re not only happy nearly all the time, but maybe there’s enormous giddiness. You know, an over energy to be critical. Are you overly effusive and then the cannabis just allows you to slightly dampen that, just slightly dampen?
Brett Lloyd 40:53 don’t know. I can’t explain it well enough. It’s hard to put into words because when I become hypercritical, and what I’m not trying to be that way, I believe it’s a learned behavior thing. I think it’s probably what all… you know, you take all the meds and take everything else away, you know, the years of sickness and whatnot. Well, this is what you had left. Maybe there’s behavioral therapy that I can go through that might take care some of that, I don’t know.
41:28 I know what I’m doing is working. I’m blessed to live in a state where cannabis is legal. I’m a legal patient here in the state of Florida. It’s not a problem. Now, I would dearly love to not need to use that because it’s expensive. Legal cannabis is not cheap. So I would love to one day to be able to get free of it, but it’s working right now. I have no complaints whatsoever, and I’m low to tinker with success. And there’s a good reason for that. I was able to go back to work. I was actually able to go back and get a real job again.
Ivor Cummins 42:05 That’ll pay for your cannabis.
Brett Lloyd 42:08 Yeah. Who knew? Who knew that would happen? I had anxiety issues. The anxiety stucked and stayed around for about five and a half, six months before I finally kicked it to the curb. Now the only time I get anxious is what I call an appropriate time, you know, a loved ones in the hospital type kind of thing. You’re naturally going to be anxious there. That’s really the only kind of anxiety I experience now. And I’m so grateful for that. But it’s not, you know, for you folks to think that, “Oh, I can eat meat and drink water and this will be done in a month.” No. It’s very specific to the individual. how old you are, how sick you were when you started? How long you poisoned yourself and what did you poison yourself with all plays a role. And we all heal at different rates of speed. So don’t think this is going to be a quick instant fix because it’s not. And even at 10 months in, you know, if you go back and listen to some of my earlier interviews Ivor, my cognitive health is improved dramatically. I did the first interview in December with Scott Milenski on the Carnivore cast. I listened to that now and I kind of set her because what would happen is I would have the thought and the feeling and they would come together, but there would be this space before the code reach my mouth. There’d be these pauses. And it was really hard to carry on and keep a train of thought going because I was thinking it but it wasn’t coming out my mouth at the same rate I was thinking it. That’s improved dramatically, especially these last couple of months.
Ivor Cummins 43:52 Yeah. There’s a couple of things there, Brett. You’ve obviously got 40 years of neurological challenge and poisoning to repair. That’s one thing. But the other thing is confidence as you get established and you realized, “Wow, I’ve made it,” and you’re more confident. Confidence as well makes the natural articulateness flow. A lot of the pauses and gaps are when we are hesitant and trying to make sure we’re saying the right thing whereas you’re so, so healthy now, you can just let yourself flow and the natural ability comes out. I love this stuff. Sorry. This is fantastic, yeah.
Brett Lloyd 44:28 It’s your show, Ivor. You jump in whenever you want to, buddy. I won’t complain a minute. It’s also because when you’re depressed, everything is negative. Everything is negative. Even a wonderful event becomes a negative in some fashion. My kids converted to Catholicism. It was a joyful evening. I was happy for them but yet I still wasn’t. It was still wasn’t. There was that tall, that depression thing that just pulled down and made dark everything that was light, for lack of a better way of explaining.
45:09 Amy Berger told me once, depression is a lifestealer. And man, it’s so true. It takes good things away from you like that all the time. And when you’re free of it, well, the reverse seems to happen. I only focus now on positive things. I don’t waste time on negativity. I don’t spend time, “Whoa, look what happened to me, what was me, all it. No, I wouldn learn from it so that I can a) make sure in other ways it never happens again and b) share what I’ve learned with people who are searching for hope just like I was at one time. It’s why I do these. It’s not because the walk down memory lane is a lot of fun because it’s not. But there’s people out there desperately looking for hope just like I was. And it’s not been that long ago. I mean 2015, 4 years, that’s not a long time. It’s a blink. Again, without the symptoms is a blink. Our stories are moving the needle though.
Ivor 46:14 It’s all about getting the message out with no barriers, no limits, no censorship, no barriers to entry because some of the most afflicted people with depression, neurological issues, obesity, huge amounts of them are actually not particularly wealthy. In many cases, the wealthy have some of the best advice and care. Ordinary people are the most affected, and they need to get all of the solutions pretty much for free, they need to get them out there. Now, obviously, I work for Irish Heart Disease Awareness. And our primary message is to get knowledge around the calcification scan. You know, all those non obese, non smokers who are within months could die and leave behind a family in their 50s or 60s. You know if they know about the scan they can find out maybe that they have huge disease and then they will like you and like all the others will go and search and say, “Well I ate the polyunsaturated vegetable oils, I ate the high carb healthy diet and I stayed slim, I didn’t smoke, how did I get huge disease?” So they’re going to become searchers to find out why and they’re going to find this. They’re going to find low carb, they’re going to find keto they’re going to find insulin, hyper insulin, insulin resistance, they’re gonna find out the real root causes. So I agree, we have a huge onus to get the message out on all the major issues in the world and the internet is enabling that. If there was no internet Brett, you would never have found any of this.
Brett Lloyd 47:51 Exactly right. I wouldn’t have found it. None of this would happen to people who reached out to me and would not have been reaching out. It’s just the whole thing. The cycle of goodness would not exist. And, you know, if you take away our stories, and what do we have to share?
48:12 I do want to share a couple of other things. It hasn’t all been flowers and roses. I learned a real important lesson that I want to share with everybody recently. I took a job that was a big step up in money, and it was actually an easier job and I was rather good at it. But they had some lunch rules that prevented me from eating when I was hungry. And in many cases, lunch might be scheduled for me at 3:00 that day, so I would prepare and eat accordingly before I went to work, hoping to say to be satiated until my lunch break that day. But a customer might come up to me at five minutes before my lunch break and I would have to spend an hour and a half or two hours, helping them before I could eat. And what we learned was meat is not just my nutrition, it’s also my medicine. And if I am late taking my medicine over a period of time, there is a very serious negative, accumulative effect. After that second weekend of working that job, my wife and I are talking and there’s a minor, what I thought was going to be just a minor disagreement sparked up because even when you love each other, there’s gonna be disagreements.
49:40 Anyway, it’s swiftly turned into this. But I just remember thinking we’re really arguing really hard about nothing. I don’t understand. If I’ll leave my wife Danielle this is, “You sounded just exactly like old Brett did.” And I was like, “Ohhh, whoa, that’s not good. We need to figure this out.” And the only thing that was different, I wasn’t eating different. I have not put anything in my mouth except… there was one man and I’ll tell that story in a second. I literally became unhinged again. But she was able to make me aware of it. And again, she was trying to talk to me like I was a rational person, when for that period of time, I was definitely not rational. And we’re like, “No job is worth this. No job is worth this. I had to resign the position.” But it’s all working out. So me is my medicine.
50:43 The other event that occurred, it was about six weeks into carnivory, and we’re out hunting on our weekend shopping meat run. And we stopped by a store we hadn’t been before because my wife’s looking for pork grind that didn’t have garbage in it. And there was this [Inaudible 00:51:02] of mints. Now I was a mint junkie. I mean my mouth was dry all the time when I was taking the meds. Drymouth is a common side effect. I combated that by eating altoids which fed my sugar addiction, you see how that works. Anyway, into my mind, there’s still a [Inaudible vestige? 00:51:21] of me thinking, “You know if there would be a day where I could eat a mint, that would be a wonderful thing.” And this mints say, “Sugar free.” I’m like, “Yeah, right!” Now, I start looking through it. Now there really is zero sugar on it. Hmm. Okay. I bought them and I had one. And these things, they were like a third the size of a dime. It was xylitol, the flavoring ingredient. And I didn’t think to do a search for it right then before I tried it. I put that in my mouth from the register to the car in the parking lot. My behavior deteriorated so swiftly that five minutes after that my wife’s looking at me saying, “You’re not being very nice right now and I don’t appreciate it.” Uh ohh. And so I just research on it. Well that xylitol has come from the bark of a tree. Makes you wonder who licked the tree to find out that flavor was there and it’s treated with sugar and alcohol. You cannot ever intelligently put anything but meat or water into my mouth.
Ivor Cummins 52:40 And I think to any listener, that will sound kind of extreme. But again, they may be missing that what you went through for 40 years was extreme.
Brett Lloyd 52:55 Yeah. It’s, to me the whole notion. I hear people and I’m not singling anybody out, I hear people all the time saying, “I wish I could eat X.” For me, that’s laughable. Because if I eat anything I used to, I put it at risk. And as we know, from Mikhaila’s own, when you interviewed her, she lost a level of happiness because she kept experimenting. I don’t want to lose any of it. I don’t want to risk it going away. I don’t want to risk it being diminished. And for me, it’s not restrictive. It’s liberating. You want to try restriction, be depressed. Stay, have, don’t have the will or the desire or the energy to do anything but sit in a computer chair for 14 hours a day. That’s restricted.
Ivor Cummins 53:57 That is a central point because Culture now tells everyone moderation have a little of what you like. It’s all about balance. And anyone who restricts foods that cause them major issues, almost gets attacked by society. And I know industry and a lot of bad influences are behind that behavior as well as cultural but it’s also cultural. In Ireland we have a phrase about you know, I forget the exact phrase, but it’s about the lobster who tries to crawl out of the basket and the other lobsters drag them back in. There’s almost a resentment of someone apparently achieving something great by doing something that makes society a bit uncomfortable.
54:42 Now, another thing that is beginning to arise and I think I talked to Amber Hearn about it. I’m not sure we covered this, but Mikhaila I think it came up but a Jordan Peterson may have mentioned it, that if you take away all the problematic foods for a long period and achieve an enormous remission, which they did and which are thousands are, it’s arguable possibly that if you bring back in small amounts of those foods, you may be even more sensitive to them than when you originally were eating quite a lot of them. So you will achieve relief by eliminating all of the troublesome plant world foods. But the amount, you can put them back in maybe even much lower than would have been the case before. And I think my wife as well no longer takes any gluten or gliadin, or wheat products. She’s not celiac, but she found such benefits from removing them. But certainly she’s perceived the same that even smaller amounts now, she’s nearly hyper sensitized. So it may make a lot of mechanistic sense as well, that very small amounts of compounds could be a trigger. And now and I agree with you, why not keep all of the wonderful new life you have and not yearn for little treats from the old days? The price is too high.
Brett Lloyd 56:05 The price is too high and it’s just not worth it. It’s just for a moment’s worth of mouth pleasure. It’s the equivalent of the married guy going out with his buddies and getting drunk and having an affair. There’s no intelligence in the decision on any level at that point. It’s just a basic I want. And as we know, there’s no more dangerous words in the human phrase in human language than “I want.” Because we’ll just [Inaudible 00:56:35] to ourselves, because we want something. We want to.
Ivor Cummins 56:39 Exactly, you want to be happy and often for some people who are in terribly bad marriages, you know, you can understand affairs, but sometimes it’s just an instinct and it doesn’t make any logic because it’s a momentary thing. But the instinct is towards that. But if you actually think about it with our rational brain, it makes no sense, the risk, the complexity, for what? So I agree. We have to rise above our basic instinct and think like humans have evolved to be able to think.
Brett Lloyd 57:13 Your lobster saying has a lot of truth to it because when I first started talking on Facebook amongst my friends, I mean, I wasn’t talking publicly like I do now at that time, about what I was doing, all this is dangerous, it’s too extreme. Being in ketosis all the time is hazardous to your health. I had a nurse tell me, “You’re risking your life.” And I just got better. And even now, this two months into my wonderful experience, a lady that I had grown up with and going to school with, she was a few years older than me, started writing to me and saying, you know, she described she had a primary progressive multiple sclerosis. And her doctor told her to prepare to spend most of the rest of her life in a wheelchair. And so she started asking me about carnovory and I sent her to Meal Heals, so zeroing in on health on carnivore tribe. And four months into it, her symptoms are all gone. All gone. Multiple sclerosis. Her doctor told her her type would never ever go into remission. And she’s symptom free.
Brett Lloyd 58:28 Now, once that happened, I’m shouting from the rooftops every day of my life. Every time I do an opportunity to share my experience and what carnivory he’s done for me because of what happened to her, I’m willing to take it because it’s just too important for people to know. She doesn’t have to be in a wheelchair for most of the rest of your life. She just stopped putting toxins into her mouth.
Ivor Cummins 58:52 Yeah, and I will say Brett, certainly there are these extraordinary anecdotes. They are factual. They happen. They’re not a randomized control trial. We probably got to be careful in a sense, these stories must be told and discussed. I really hate the pressure that is put on to not discuss, because that’s censorship, and I’ve had lots of fights online. Okay, we won’t prescribe something. We won’t go beyond our remit, but discussing stories for people who have achieved benefits is so important for the human condition, like you say. And yes, another person with a similar problem may see no result or a partial result. That doesn’t matter. Everyone needs to have hope and needs to have the best knowledge around potential solutions for their problems. You know, may not be miraculous for one, may be miraculous for another person, depending on the person, their makeup, their history, the extent of damage, etc. But to discuss the potential solutions is crucial. And in my world of engineering, of course, we could always discuss the potential solutions. What kind of annoys me now is, there’s a kind of a thought police out there trying to stop discussing these things. And I think in the sense the lobsters is natural human tendency to drag the lobster back in. But imagine you would all the lobsters, but they’re being trained by lots of food companies to enhance and exaggerate that behavior of the lobster to make them even worse. And I think that’s what we’ve got in society.
Brett Lloyd 01:00:40 I see that so much since II began actively promoting this way of eating. It’s an alternative. I never sell it. If you can eat and thrive on a Whole Foods plant based diet, God bless you. Have a happy life. It’s none of my business. You might sell them. You shouldn’t do that. If somebody is eating Paleo and thriving on it, good for them. It’s beautiful. I’m not a zealot, this is what works for me. But I’ve run into this and since I’ve become a promoter of this way of eating, I had to bring into discussions last week on Twitter with people. We just want everyone to follow the recommended daily allowance. It’s not like, well, that’s almost killed me. That’s what done to me. You know, look what happened to me when I stopped following these things. You know, if it works for you, following the recommended daily allowances, God bless you. Enjoy your life. Be happy. Because it worked for the majority of us. Look at the obesity, epidemic we see around us everywhere we look in Western society today. It’s obscene, but they don’t want us talking about it. They would really rather we just shut up and go away. I’m not shutting up. I don’t believe you are. I know Shawn Baker’s not.
Ivor Cummins 01:02:04 I think it’s fair to say that Shawn Baker is quite outspoken, shall we say. I’m careful with my words because well, I’ve 30 years of corporate history and in management, and I know words can be twisted against you so I’m quite careful with my wording. But still I will say something that fundamentally has to be said. Like, there is [Inaudible 01:02:28] or of censorship out there that goes beyond simply wanting to give a certain message. It tries to stop discussion, and I will always rebel against that. I think it is an absolute disgrace to try and shut down discussion. It may be appropriate to stop people selling quack cures, like selling cures for cancer or something, making money. Fine, and I absolutely agree with you. We have a vegan doctor in our group in Ireland, many vegetarian friends. They’re all fine though. They do it because of their own ideological choices and they don’t try and force it on anyone. So great stuff. Delighted. But trying to censor, trying to cut down the conversation, trying to force solutions, that’ll get my backup.
Brett Lloyd 01:03:24 In a heartbeat sir. And I only present you know, I’m explain to me I want to know why there’s not a line of registered dietitians, researchers and physicians lined up at my door to take my blood? They’re not even curious. They don’t even, “Why aren’t you dead?” “You’ve not had fiber for 310 days? How are you walking around?” I mean, I defy. Living this way defies everything you and I were taught about what we should eat, I expect. It was definitely what I was taught. And we [Inaudible 01:04:04] by our own existence that these things are not true for everybody.
Ivor Cummins 01:04:11 Yeah. And I think to be honest, my low carb, healthy fats, meat and some veg for most people, especially people who have no particular issue and want to stay healthy, an omnivore diet is just probably the best average option. And then if you’ve got particular challenges, I discussed this with Mikhaila and with Amber, and with Shawn actually over dinner in Seattle a couple of weeks ago, that the carnivore diet is extreme elimination diet. And it removes all potential plant world sources off of an issue or an autoimmune or triggering. And then when you do that, if you have an extreme condition, we’ll do the extreme elimination diet. And I agree with you four to six weeks. You must do it to adapt, to get rid of side effects and maybe to see if there’s benefit or not. And then if you get a benefit, you can reintroduce things very carefully. You got to be really careful at reintroducing because you might get xylitol in five minutes. You sense a problem. But Michaela made it clear and many others, it may take a week for a problem food to start showing up.
01:05:25 So I think that’s kind of summarizes carnivore for me, and it’s great to discuss it openly. But of course, we will be criticized for discussing it, but we’ve been through that. So what would be a way you’d wrap up then. I know we both have to go to other appointments, but how would you sum up the whole experience in some sentences for people out there and you kind of have, but maybe again.
Brett Lloyd 01:05:53 Never give up. No matter how bad you feel, there is light if you’re facing the right direction. I was blessed to learn about this way of eating in time. Don’t ever give up. You don’t have to be sick. If you’ve been seeing your doctor and you’ve been taking medicine, you’ve been a compliant patient, you’ve done the workbooks, you did your therapy, but you’re still getting worse and it’s been 2, 6, 8, 10, 12 years, maybe it’s time to consider something different. Look at your diet as a source of your problem.
01:06:35 Never give up. Never surrender. Ivor Cummins, thank you so much. Meat Heals. Let’s all be good to each other and be thankful, folks.
Ivor Cummins 01:06:44 Thank you so much. I’m delighted to have this conversation. Excellent. So Brett Lloyd, and you can get him on Twitter and I’ll put links in afterwards and everything. Have a fantastic day, Brett.
Brett Lloyd 01:06:58 Thank you so much, Ivor. Right back at you.
Ivor Cummins 01:07:00 Good man. Bye now. Take care.