This Entrepreneur Was Going Blind — But Reversed It Through Nutrition
We know lifestyle changes such as better nutrition, more movement, and less stress can make a big difference in our health. No one knows this better than Jason Karp, the chairman and co-founder of Hu Kitchen and founder and CEO of HumanCo who reversed what was deemed an incurable condition through nutrition. He joined me on the mbg podcast to talk about his transformative health journey and share what we can do today for better health. At the age of 23, Jason started having double vision, brain fog, and hair loss, and an ophthalmologist told him he would likely go blind from what was diagnosed as a degenerative corneal disease.
From there, he went to another doctor (that he credits with saving his life) who tested his blood and found his cortisol levels were some of the highest he'd ever seen. He told Jason he wouldn't live to the age of 40 unless he changed what he was doing.
After an elimination diet for three months in which he gave up packaged food, caffeine, and alcohol, paired with more exercise, much to the doctor's surprise, his degenerative eye disease had reversed.
While Jason is much healthier today, he still struggles with autoimmune issues and discovered he's sensitive to stress and doesn't detoxify environmental toxins and chemicals in products well: "I find stress to be much more potent of an inflammatory agent than anything else, including sleep and food." Here are four of the ways Jason supports his mind and body and recommends to anyone struggling with health conditions or hoping to boost their health:
1. Start exercising.
While it may seem straightforward, Jason noticed how detrimental lack of exercise could be to his health once he stopped exercising after college. He had been an athlete in college, and once he started working, he stopped exercising altogether. After hitting rock bottom in terms of his health, he began incorporating exercise back into his routine and saw dramatic improvements in his health outcomes.
2. Get enough sleep.
Out of college, Jason was working a demanding job and living an unhealthy lifestyle, staying up late and relying on caffeine to stay awake. He believed lack of sleep contributed significantly to the negative toll on his body and mind. Over three months, he started consistently trying to sleep more than seven hours a night and noticed improvements in his health.
3. Practice breathing techniques.
Before he knew about formal meditation practices, he taught himself breathing exercises to bring down his cortisol levels. About six or seven years ago, he started formally meditating doing transcendental meditation and other breathwork practices and noticed it helped him come into a present state of awareness, which he says has been significant in managing his stress.
4. Build supportive relationships.
"I think community and having loving relationships around you is probably one of the single most important things you can do to keep stress at bay," he said. Jason talked about his incredible relationship with his wife and kids and the incredible support system he has around him. He also pointed out the difference in happiness between people in the U.S. and in France and believes it may have to do with their focus on family and relationships as opposed to productivity and money.
Eating more or less a paleo diet while avoiding food additives and refined sugar, reducing stress, and exercising have made all the difference for Jason. While it's always an ongoing process, he credits much of his health today to these changes and urges others to give them a try.
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