Welcome to Reanderthal

Well hello there. It’s been a long time coming, but this may soon look a little more like a blog. I’ll start things off with the video I posted last February:

For those of you who’d prefer to read, here’s what I said:

Hi, My name is Charlie Hudson and the best medical advice I ever received was from a bit of graffiti on a bathroom wall. Stick around – I’ll tell you the story.

I was 20 years old when my digestive issues started. In retrospect it seems clear that many of my childhood health issues stemmed from gut problems, but in 2003 these problems surfaced in a way that could not be ignored.

It started in August a week or two before I was to head back to school for my sophomore year. I’ll spare you the details, but it began with rumbling and mucus, and continued to pick up steam right up until my colonoscopy at St. Francis Hospital in October.

Colonoscopy preparation, and irritable bowl in general, provide ample time for the contemplation of restroom decor. The restroom I found myself in in St. Francis was about what you’d expect.

It was largish, and handicapped accessible. The walls were white and brightly illuminated with unnatural fluorescent light.

Hanging on the walls were a few posters which had been thoughtfully provided by a pharmaceutical company.

As I sat dejectedly trying to contort the unpleasantness out of my bowels I contemplated one of these posters. I think it was structured around a meandering brick path running from top to bottom. Or maybe it was a cutaway of the human digestive system. I honestly don’t remember.

On the sides of the poster were happy images of people enjoying themselves. Maybe there was a sun. Perhaps a smiling family. Probably someone playing badminton. There must have been a dog and probably a butterfly.

But it wasn’t all pictures. The poster gave advice, too.

Things like, eat a healthy, balanced diet, get 30-60 minutes of exercise every day, maybe even find ways to reduce stress in your life.

And, of course, be sure to take the medications your doctor has prescribed you every day.

On the bottom of that poster a hard-hearted vandal had cynically scrawled:

Just stop eating wheat!

It changed my life.

Now this was not my first introduction to the gluten-free concept. An uncle, I knew, had dropped gluten some years back because of reoccurring bronchitis. An aunt and her family were always doing some crazy hippie diet or other.

I scoffed at these things. My brother was the picky eater in our family. My identity involved eating anything and everything put in front of me.

But this scribbled message spoke to me. I may have been vaguely aware of gluten-free or lactose-free diets, but not once in my three-month tour of waiting rooms had anyone ever suggested that I try one.

– Until now. –

The cynicism and the subversiveness of that message struck a chord somewhere deep inside me, and it set me on a path of self-discovery that I remain on to this day.

Over the past 9 and a half years I’ve done a lot of thinking, reading, and experimenting with diet and health in general.

Now I want to share some of this with you.

I’m no lawyer, but I think I’m supposed to tell you that I’m not a doctor, either.

I want to do many things on this blog, but none of it should be mistaken for medical advice.

Rather, like that bit of graffiti in St. Francis hospital, I want this blog to get you thinking, and perhaps inspire you to take ownership of your health.

Stay tuned.

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