[05:35] About JJ Virgin
[09:01] What Happened With JJ's Son Grant
[20:20] The Frustrations JJ Faced With Grant's Medical Treatment
[29:33] How Lavender Helped Grant
[31:43] Why JJ Used Progesterone Cream
[34:18] Quick Commercial Break/Nature CBD
[35:42] Art of Charm
[41:15] Non-Medical, Invisible Therapies That May Have Worked
[45:09] The Superfood Smoothies JJ Gave Grant
[48:54] The Top Three Things JJ Did For Trauma Recovery
[59:38] Grant's Recovery
[1:10:44] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, what’s up? It’s Ben Greenfield. Hey, have you ever heard that old Raffi song, I used to listen this one when I was a kid, while brushing your teeth? “You brush your teeth [brushing sounds]. You brush your teeth [brushing sounds].” Well, the reason I’m singing you that wonderful song for absolutely free is because this podcast is brought to you by one of the coolest freaking toothbrushes on the face of the planet. It looks like it was designed by Apple. It comes with this wireless mirror mounts that declutters your bathroom and that allows you to have complete access to one of the most advanced toothbrushes on the face of the planet. It’s called a Quip. Q-U-I-P. Seriously, it looks like Apple designed a toothbrush. It’s this electric toothbrush that has this vibration built into it, and then a timer that reminds you when to switch to a different part of your mouth as you’re brushing your teeth. Time Magazine named it one of the Best Inventions of 2016. This thing won a 2016 GQ Grooming Award. It was on Oprah’s New Year’s list. Apparently, Oprah’s into toothbrushes. It’s been called the Apple, Warby Parker, and Tesla of toothbrushes. That’s right, you too can have the Tesla of toothbrushes. And they have a toothpaste, and their toothpaste also tastes fresh, and it doesn’t have a bunch of nasty artificial ingredients in it, and it actually has things that help to strengthen your teeth, and leave your mouth that perfect clean feeling. It will be love at first brush. Anyways, you can go to quip.com/ben. That’s QUIP.com/ben to get your first refill pack free when you get a Quip electric toothbrush. So getquip.com, getQUIP.com/ben.
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In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“What they did was unbelievable. But, once they got through that part, they didn't know how to give him a life back. Like they could save his life, but then the next part was really where my heavy lifting started.” “Bryce walks up and goes, ‘Dude, you look really ugly right now. But if anyone can pull through this, you can.’ Like, I’m looking at Bryce, I’m like, ‘Where did this kid come from?' My ex-husband and I are just like in a state of shock and Bryce is just holding it together.”
Ben: Hey folks! It’s Ben Greenfield, and my guest on today’s show, JJ Virgin, is one potentially intimidating woman. No, seriously. I’ve had the chance to hang out with her on numerous occasions over the past several years, and she’s I think over 6 feet tall, she’s strikingly beautiful, she’s fit, she’s muscular, she’s got sharp, keen wit, and she’s one of those women who’d probably would have been like a queen or like an Amazonian warrior if she were born at some other time in history, but instead she’s actually an author. She’s a celebrity nutritionist and she’s a fitness expert. And she’s written not one, not two, not three, but count ‘em I believe, four New York Times bestselling books such as “The Virgin Diet”, and “The Virgin Diet Cookbook”, and “JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet”, and “The Sugar Impact Diet Cookbook”. But she has this new book, and I’ve read all of her books, and I think this new book is perhaps the most life-changing and powerful, and it’s called “Miracle Mindset: A Mother, Her Son, and Life's Hardest Lessons”. And in it, she talks about her son, Grant, and how he was a victim of a brutal hit-and-run accident. And I’m gonna let her fill you in more on the details of that as we talk today.
But, one of my biggest takeaways from the book was the enormous number of frustrations that JJ had while she was trying to navigate the modern medical system and to keep her son from dying, and to keep her son from not recovering properly or being seriously harmed by modern medicine. And she had this extreme willingness and stubbornness that she gets into the book when it came to incorporating all these different aspects of alternative health and natural medicine into like a modern medical care setting. And there were some pretty shocking results that ensued that I wanna delve into with JJ today.
And so, if you yourself are listening in, you have a loved one who you want to be fully equipped to deal with a trauma that might land you in a modern medical system, or in a hospital, or having to deal with what might potentially be closed-minded physicians and caretakers, this podcast is a must-listen for you. You’re also going to get a ton of advice on some of the more advanced nutritional concepts that JJ knows, how to heal the body. We’ll talk about energy medicine and emotions a little bit, physical therapy, possibly a little bit of biohacking. But JJ is a wealth of knowledge. She has been basically to hell and back with the modern medical industry and what she went to with Grant and has an amazing story. So, as we talk you can access the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/miracle, that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/miracle. And JJ, welcome to the show.
JJ: Good to be here.
Ben: Yeah. So obviously, I’ve alluded to what happened to your son, to Grant, which by the way is my middle name. Did I ever tell you that?
JJ: Ah! It’s a great name. Strong.
Ben: Thank you. Yeah. I was a…
JJ: Turns out that means warrior, by the way.
Ben: Yeah. Well, my first name “Benjamin” apparently means “son of my right hand”, let your mind know where it came from with that. But “Grant”, meaning warrior. I like the meaning of that just a bit better. Tell me the story of what happened with Grant.
JJ: So Grant was my challenging kid. I've got two kids, and it always blows my mind how you can have two kids and they’re polar opposites of each other. I don’t know if you’ve got that same situation.
Ben: I have twins and they were born like 9 seconds apart, and they’re complete opposites. Like one’s right-handed, one’s left-handed. One’s Type A, one’s Type B. Yeah, completely.
JJ: It’s crazy. So mine are Irish twins, they were born a year apart, and this all happened when they were 15 and 16. And my 16 year old, Grant, was one of those kids who was born and just kind of like was hard to soothe, hard to settle. He would wake up in the morning and look at me and go, “I don’t like you.” And I’m like,
“What?” The other, Bryce would wake up in the morning and go, “Mommy, you’re so pretty. I can’t believe it.” I was like, “How are these two related?” And so you know, he’s just was one of those kids that like just, he was determined to make life as hard for himself as possible. But finally at age 16, he’d settled into school well, he had friends, like everything was going pretty well and he was kind of learning how to manage his brain. He has the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I don’t really care ‘bout diagnoses, but he had a brain that was short attention span, easily frustrated, all that stuff. But he was getting it together.
So things were finally looking up. And he goes, leaves the house one night at dusk to go to a friend’s house. And while crossing the street, now no one saw this. The only thing my neighbor saw was my son in the street, and then a woman getting out of her car gasping, getting back in her car, and driving off. And he pulled up, luckily it was a big street, pulled up to block Grant and called 911, and the paramedics came and he was air-lifted to the local hospital. Now he didn’t have anything with him, he was a total John Doe. But fortunately, my ex-husband and my 15 year old drove past the scene, knew my son had been out walking, and asked what had happened. And one of the cops saw my 15 year old Bryce, said, “Well, a kid was hit and he looked just like him,” ‘cause Bryce and Grant look like twins. So we rushed to the hospital and we get there, they make us sit out in this waiting room, telling us nothing. And then they usher us into a conference room. Now we know he was air-lifted, we’re now ushered into a conference room. Like, bad, right? You know it’s bad. And the doctor says, “Your son has a torn aorta. That kills 90% of people on scene, and sometime in the next 24 hours, it’s an onion-skin right now. It’s gonna rupture unless it’s repaired. But we can’t repair it here because we’d have to use a blood thinner and he’s got multiple brain bleeds. He’s got all this diffuse axonal injuries, and he is in deep coma.”
Ben: Right. And by the way, for people who weren’t aware, the aorta is the main branch out from the heart. It’s like the blood for the entire [0:12:03] ______ body.
JJ: No aorta, no nothing. Game ends really quickly. That’s what killed Princess Diana. When that ruptures, it’s like your heart just blew up. So you don’t have that, you can’t get blood supply anywhere. So, it’s hanging on literally by an onion skin. They said, “But we can’t do it here because we only do that surgery here with a blood thinner. His brain would bleed out. Basically you can have his heart or his brain, but you can’t have both.” And then he said, “He’d never survive an air-lift to another hospital. Even if he did, he wouldn’t survive that surgery. And even if he did, he’d be so brain damaged, it wouldn’t be worth it.” And my 15 year old, and this is why as parents it is so critical to model bad-assery, I guess I would say, because my 15 year old’s looking at this doctor, we’re all sitting there thinking of the same thing. “Well, he has no chance here, so why wouldn’t you take the chance?” And my 15 year old goes, “So maybe a .25% chance he’d make it?” And doctor says “Yep. That sounds that right.” He goes, “Well, we’ll take those odds.”
JJ: Yeah. And the doctor, I think, was like so shocked that people wouldn’t dare to overrule him, ‘cause I was like, “We’re overruling you. And doesn’t time matter?” And he’s like “Yes.” I go, “Then why are you standing here? We need to get on this.” And so the doctor went and got him set up for this air-lift to this other hospital, and fortunately we were a three hour drive and a half hour air-lift to the number two trauma center in the country who happened to have a doctor, who, this is what he goes around the country and teaches, how to do this specific surgery. So we've been fortunate there. So we drive to the hospital at 3 in the morning. Grant’s air-lifted, we literally have no idea if we’re going to pick up a body or not. We got to see him before he got air-lifted. He was in a coma, he was covered with road rash, he had bones sticking through his skin.
Ben: Oh my gosh.
JJ: I remember just looking, going, “Are those bones?” I mean, they were sticking through his skin. He looked like the Incredible Hulk. He was swollen. I mean, you can’t, I can never unsee this. And I remember just thinking it was like I was watching a movie. ‘Cause you protect yourself, like there’s no way this could be real, right? I’m like, “This couldn’t be real.” Meanwhile, my 15 year old walks up to him, literally covered, there is glass sticking out of his body. He is covered with stuff, and tubes out of his brain, a mess. And Bryce walks up to him and goes, “Dude, you look really ugly right now. But if anyone can pull through this, you can.” Like, I’m looking at Bryce and I’m like, “Where did this kid come from?” My ex-husband and I are just like, in a state of shock and Bryce is just holding it together.
JJ: You know, ‘cause I’m doing the would’ve, should’ve, “Oh my gosh, I should have just let him go. He wanted to go to a martial arts class and I’m the whole mom thing. I should’ve just let him go.”
Ben: It’s so amazing. ‘Cause I’ve always thought about what would happen if one of my kids were injured, and one of my twins were injured, and the other twin had to put up with that, or deal with that somehow. And I’ve always wondered if it’d be some traumatic experience for one of the boys, or if they’d be like Bryce and just kind of be there to carry your mom and dad through. It sounds like Bryce was the latter.
JJ: Bryce was like the adult holding it together in this situation. And, hey, we all went through a lot of trauma with this, but Bryce, and Grant at this point, which I know we’ll talk about like, “If it doesn’t kill it you, it makes you stronger.” My son Bryce is now at college, and I think one of the challenges now is like he’s been through so much in his life, it’s some very hard to throw him. So the typical things that maybe a high school or college kid gets upset about, Bryce is like “No one’s dying here, right?” That’s the new litmus test for “Is this a problem?” But he was really quite amazing at how well he handled. He also got some severe migraines while we were going through this. He internalized it, but he was amazing, held us together that night. ‘Cause I kind of was in a dream state that night, and we drove to the hospital again at 3 in the morning. Bryce stayed home. He went to school next day, crazy enough. And John and I drove to the hospital. We get there and we walk into the hospital at Harbor-UCLA, totally different experience than the one at Desert Hospital. We walk in and the doctor who headed up the whole thing and recruited five surgical teams at three in the morning found a stint that’s no longer even available. It was part of the special trial and not supposed to be used in kids. Either he goes, “I fear I’d ask for forgiveness,” after the fact. We walk in, he goes, “Hey,” he goes, “You the mom?” Of course, I looked totally shell shocked. He goes, “You don’t need to worry. I totally got this. I do this all the time. I can fix this.”
JJ: Like this is what mom wants to hear? I’m like, “Okay!” I literally went upstairs to the waiting room and wrote a blog post for this Discovery TV show I was on. I was like “Okay, I’m just going to take my mind off this. He said he had it, he had it.”
JJ: And, I went up there. He came up a couple of hours later. He goes, “Okay. It’s fixed. Aorta’s totally repaired, he’s totally fine”. He goes, “Now I’m just a plumber. I’ve no idea about his brain. You'll have to ask the neurosurgeons about that piece.”
So I was like, “Okay, great.” So we go down to see him, and he is in a deep coma, he’s got a ventilator breathing for him, he's on all the sort of life support beeps, everything else, tube out of his brain managing the pressure on his brain, and I mean literally everything’s bandaged. He’d had two orthopedic teams working on him. One's put rods in his femurs, both his femurs were snapped in half. He had 13 fractures, I could hold three fingers, everything else was bandaged. And I’m looking at him and I’m thinking this kid always knew, like I knew when I was pregnant with him, the morning after, I have such a big bond with him and I thought, “I cannot show fear because if I show fear, he'll be afraid.” So, I just said, “Grant, we’ve got this. You do not need to worry. You’re gonna be better than before.” Which was a ridiculous thing, but I go, “Your name means warrior. You’re gonna be 110%. I just need you to fight. I’m gonna get everybody I need to help here. We totally have this. Don’t worry.” And I just started going like, I was holding his fingers, and here they said, “He’s in a deep coma, he won’t respond.” And then I said, “You know your brother loves you,” and he grabbed my fingers and squeezed them. Then I said another name I knew he wouldn’t care about and he didn't react. And then I said, “Your girlfriend loves you so much,” and he picked his hand up with my hand off the bed, and I went, “He’s in there.” So yeah, and that’s like, you just to have some little bit of hope, right?
Ben: Yeah. So…
JJ: That’s all he needed.
Ben: You begin to run into a lot of, kind of like, frustrations though. I mean, the extent of my frustrations with the modern medical system are me, after my wife and I, really my wife slightly more than me, laboring for about 10 hours while attempting a home birth winding up in the hospital after we really realized my wife would have been one of those little ladies who died like in the Wild Wild West trying to give birth at home with two twins coming out of her tiny narrow hips. So we went into the hospital, we did the C-section and kind of have to navigate the whole system there where, for example, I put my foot down and insisted on breastfeeding, and we’d wake up in the middle of the night and the nurses would’ve taken both boys out of the room and they were in the nurse’s chamber feeding them soy formula, and putting on glucose strips, and I’d take 'em back into room, and then I’d wake up later on, they’d be back in there, shoving sugar into the blood stream via IV. So I ran into those issues, but they kind of paled in comparison to the kind of things that you ran into with Grant’s. What were some of the frustrations that you encountered when navigating the modern medical system with Grant?
JJ: So here’s the thing, and I think we have to look at it two ways. Grant is only alive today because of the modern medical system. The fact that they could take someone who is basically dead on the street, he died several times, he told us later, I mean he went the other side. He had the whole near-death experience. The fact that he could get through that, we had one amazing doctor who stayed for 24 hours straight after his shift was over to monitors his kidney function. What they did was unbelievable. But, once they got through that part, they didn't know how to give him a life back. Like they could save his life, but then the next part was really where my heavy lifting started. Like our work really has been over the last 5 years. The hospital was one piece, but to bring someone out of a severe traumatic brain injury is a massive amount of work, both for them and for their loved ones. It impacts everybody. And so right from the start, I put an SOS out to my entire community, all my friends. I put it on Facebook, I sent an email out to my list, I go, “Listen. I don't want your sympathy. Here’s what’s going on. I need you support. What’s new. What’s going on.” I was fortunate, massively fortunate for couple of things. Number one, Grant, I’m good friends with Dr. Daniel Amen. Grant was already his patient. We had SPECT scans before the accident ever happened. He was already on high-dose fish oil before the accident. This is a very important point.
Ben: Yeah, and by the way, for those of you listening in, Dr. Daniel Amen, he’s also, he’s like a 10-times New York Times bestselling author and he’s like this amazing psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist who’s, I’ve written about him before on my podcast, and reviewed his book. But amazing guy when it comes to neuroperformance.
JJ: Phenomenal. And it was great that we could actually have a way to look at the brain and monitor progress after the fact. But one of the things, and this is really important, that probably saved his brain, in fact I would bank on it, was the fact that he was on fish oil before the accident. Because fish oil protects your brain. And we all have brains and we don’t know when we’re going to hit them. And most likely, it’s like you can sit around a table and go, “Well, who hasn’t hit their head at some point?” And if you hit your head, you hurt your brain. And so, it is one of the key most important things to do is to make sure that you are taking fish oil and protecting your brain 'cause you never know when you’re going to hit it.
Ben: Now when it comes to fish oil, are you specifically referring to like the DHA in fish oil? Is it the anti-inflammatory action, the Omega-3s? Is it…
JJ: No, no, no. It’s really both. So I do a blend of EPA and DHA.
JJ: Because I think it’s critical to have both in there. And by the way, I’ve seen studies showing, “Oh, it should be high DHA,” “No, it should actually be,” so I was like, “You know what? Let’s just cover our basis and why don’t we do what nature did?” ‘Cause she probably knew best. So I do EPA-DHA blend.
Ben: Right. Meaning, when you say “what nature did”, that’s how you’re gonna find it in fish, an EPA-DHA blend?
Ben: Yeah. Fish and also phytoplankton as well.
JJ: Yes. Although, not most people are not eating a whole lot of phytoplankton.
Ben: Hard to get [0:23:32] ______.
JJ: Yeah. Didn’t have it for dinner last night. Luckily he was on it before. It was funny. It was something he started to crave as he came out of the coma. He wanted sushi, sushi, sushi. I was bringing him lots of wild salmon. Yeah, it was pretty cool. One of the first words he said as he was coming out of the coma was, “Disgusting,” to point at the hospital food. Just like you were talking, I had a big sign up there that said “No hospital food, no Ensure, no Crystal Light.” I literally had to put a sign that said no Crystal Light…
Ben: You actually had a sign, like in his room?
JJ: I brought his food in and they thought I was crazy.
Ben: Why Crystal Light?
JJ: Why on Earth would anyone wanna serve a brain, first of all, any human being, why would you wanna give them artificial sweeteners? But you wanna give aspartame to a kid with an unstable brain? Because one of the things that happens when you have a brain injury is you have high risk of seizure activity. And as we know, aspartame can trigger seizures. So, let’s look at one of the worst ideas ever: Give your kid, give a brain injured person, Crystal Light. I actually, they wanted it, it was on the hospital drinks list. They’re like, “What will you drink?” I go, I’m like, “Water? I don’t know, why not?”
JJ: Why do you have soda, and artificial sweeteners, and juice on here? Like he’ll just have just water. Thanks. It'll be great. But yes, I had to put that down. I brought his own food in. I did a lot of smoothies. They thought I was pretty crazy for doing all that. But I'd say the biggest…
Ben: Now, how were you getting him high-dose fish oil? Was this just like a capsule or, like my kids for example, they do it every night and that’s one of the few supplements they do is like a fermented cod liver oil, and they have like the cinnamon flavor and they do it from a little dropper at night. But how were you doing it for Grant in a hospital?
JJ: Well, so what happened first, he was in a coma first. Now this is when things were the most problematic because we were smack dab in the middle of the pediatric ICU. Like he was front and center, and there was always, 24/7, people right there. So, there was not a lot I can pull off, right? So the first thing that we did was we started doing some essential oils, I didn’t know anything about this. I literally put the SOS out to all my friends, and my friends started showing up. And I remember the hospital, they’re like, “Who are you? Why are all these doctors showing up here and doing all of these stuff?” I had a girlfriend who does a lot of energy medicine coming in, I had an acupuncturist who was doing acupressure, I had my doctor who works at Cedars-Sinai in Brain Trauma coming in doing essential oils, I had another doc who came in to help me with the progesterone stuff. So we just started doing stuff.
The first part that I wanted to do was fish oil because there’s so much great research about fish oil healing brain injuries. If you read Dr. Michael Lewis’ book, “When Brains Collide”, he was one of the guys who helped me with this along with Dr. Barry Sears. Dr. Barry Sears sent me all of the information that they had used to help, that he and Julian Bailes had used, and I took it to the staff, and I had a friend on the inside who was best friends with the head of the whole heath care system at UCLA, a doc. And he’ll say, “Okay,” then we’ll do it. He wouldn’t say okay ‘cause he was afraid of the increase in bleed times. But there’s no research, ever, anywhere to show that.
Ben: You mean because of like the blood thinning effect of fish oil?
JJ: Yeah. But there’s nothing to show it. So what I did was I got them to give him two grams, which is basically a Dixie cup of water on a forest fire. It’s ridiculous. If you're trying to put out the inflammation and help with rebuilding, you need to flood the brain with like 10 to 20 grams. So they were doing 2 grams, he’d been on 5 grams before the accident. The minute he spit out his feeding tube, I started in. And I was giving him liquid fish oil, and I would watch, and I knew when they were gonna check his bleed times, and when I knew they were checking his bleed times, I’d hit him with a dose, and never did it impact bleed times. So I was able to take his fish oil up as soon as he’s basically spit his own feeding tube out. ‘Cause when he came out of the coma, he had this feeding tube [00:27:50] ______ wanted in, and he kept pointing at it, and couldn’t really talk yet. But I told him, “Listen we’ll get the nurse to take it out on Monday. It’s Sunday. We have to wait ‘til the doctors come back in.” And he just hacked it up himself. I’m like, “Or we’ll gonna take it out now, Grant.” Very stubborn kid.
Ben: I’m curious by the way, ‘cause everybody listening in, like they love to get resources and things like that. And with the high dose fish oil, you said 10 to 20 grams. He was doing 5 before that. So you were using 10 to 20 therapeutically. Did you have like a specific, ‘cause I know fish oil these days, some fish oil’s worse than not taking fish oil at all when it comes to rancidity, or lack of antioxidants, or things like that.
JJ: Yeah, but I’m dialed in here. So, what happened was I actually had KD Pharma and marine ingredients, and they have whole supply chain from like the boats all the way out, and very clean source, and they just ship me cases of it into the hospital. So I was dialed in.
Ben: Okay. I just wanted to make sure we put that out there for people. Don’t shove [00:28:53] ______ fish oil into your kids if you decided you have to put them on high dose fish oil. Keep it refrigerated and get the good stuff that’s well sourced.
Ben: So you also did. I thought this was really interesting in terms of the interplay between the limbic system. I’ve been reading up quite a bit on this, there’s a book called, it’s kind of an older book by Dr. Jerry Tennant called “Healing Is Voltage”. And towards the end of that book, he gets into specific frequencies that are naturally embedded in many different essential oils, and one of the ones that he get into is one that you talked about in the book that you use with Grant, and that is lavender. Can you tell me what you found out about lavender and how you used lavender to help him?
JJ: So, here’s where I was very fortunate. I’ve been teaching courses to doctors for years, and years, and years. And so I put this message out and everybody just starts flowing in. And one of the gals who flowed in is this woman, Ann Myers, who, she's a doc out at Cedars-Sinai in their Brain Trauma Unit and she uses essential oils. I knew nothing about this. To me, you use lavender at night go to sleep. Right?
JJ: I mean, you put it in your bath, you put it in your pillow. That’s it. That was the extent of what I knew. She comes in and starts telling me about a variety of essential oils and what they can all do, and she starts rubbing them on Grant, and fortunately the hospital thought this was silly and so they could care less, right? So, it was one of the first things that we did after a couple of days in and it was one of the first times I started really see him respond. We put it up by his nose and he started to twitch his nose, he started to flutter his eyelids, and he was in a deep coma. I mean, he wasn’t really responsive. He'd start to wiggle his toes, and I was like, “Wow.” So lavender, besides that calming effect that we know is really great for healing, both topical and internal, so that was one of the reasons were using…
Ben: Yeah, it’s one of the more powerful essential oils, especially for neural performance. And I know you get in to this in the book in a little bit more detail, but you talk about how the actual oil goes up into the nasal passages and triggers the limbic system. And so in terms of really activating neuronal activity in the brain, very similarly, like people these days will wear these TDS devices on their head and things like that. But essential oils can act very similarly through nasal passages. Like right now even as we’re talking, I have rosemary, I diffuse rosemary in my office, and it's amazing for neural performance during a work day. But you use lavender, you use fish oil, and another thing that you had in the book that kind of was out of ordinary was this idea of progesterone cream. You actually were rubbing progesterone cream into him. What was the deal with that?
JJ: So one of my girlfriends went to Emory, doc at Emory, and there’s a researcher there, Dr. Donald Stein, who was studying brain injuries and trying to understand why women at certain times weren’t getting concussing as much as they should have. And what they found was that progesterone can be protective and also quickly help reduce inflammation. So we actually rubbing progesterone cream ‘cause it was another thing we could sneak in easily, right? We started doing that that first weekend and we did that for 6 months.
Ben: And so when you rub progesterone cream into a kid like that, it doesn’t affect hormones or anything along those lines? Is that a concern or is this a pretty safe therapy for TBIs?
JJ: I was looking at everything as a risk-reward ratio, and at that point we’re trying to save his life.
JJ: And one of the things that happens with the traumatic brain injury is that for the rest of his life we’ll have to monitor his hormones. I’m working with this super cool Navy Seal doc now who was a Navy Seal, then he became a doc, and now he helps Navy Seals recover from their brain injuries. You probably know him. Doc Parsley?
Ben: Yeah. He’s been on the show before. Actually, every night I take his sleep supplement. Yeah.
JJ: So he is amazing and I was in there going, “God, I've got to find someone.” Because what I started to see with Grant now is that his hormones went [0:33:10] ______ and his thyroid tanked, his testosterone tanked, his estrogen started going up, his insulin started going up. I’m like, “Crap.” And I heard really on from some of my endocrinology docs that we were gonna have to watch him for life, that this ends up messing up your whole HPTA axis and it’s just something that you have to monitor. And so like his pituitary is off, et cetera. And I was like, “I have no idea what to do with this. I understand what to do with like a 57 year old andropausal male, but I don’t know what to do with a 20 year old whose testosterone is tanking. What do you do? And so that’s where I’ve been working with Doc Parsley on that. But at the time, all the way through this whole thing, I had so many friends helping me and I was going through and going, “Okay, what’s the risk? What’s the reward?” What’s the risk, what’s the reward?” And so maybe he lowered his testosterone a little bit for the 6 months that he was taking it in the hospital. It didn’t matter.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah.
Ben: I wanted to mention this Nature CBD stuff. A lot of people have been asking me why I don’t talk about the CBD so much anymore, and where it went to. And basically I’ve got a whole new website for this cannabidiol. Completely legal to order anywhere on the freakin’ planet. It’s got ashwagandha, it’s got lemon balm, it’s got curcumin, which means you gotta take about one-tenth the dose and you get like 10 times the effect ‘cause it makes it water soluble. It’s called Nature CBD. You blend all this stuff together. Now what I do is I take 3 or 4 before bed and I sleep like a baby. If you take one during the day, it knocks stress completely away. And it's amazing. It’s like smoking weed without the high, and without the psychoactivity, and without the paranoia. And I mean, my dog is freaking taking it right now, to settle my dog down ‘cause he’s a little bit hyperactive. Anyways though, Nature CBD. So you go to getnatureblend.com. That’s getnatureblend.com. You’ll get 10% off a bottle right off the bat. You just put your e-mail address over there that will send you discount, but that’s getnatureblend.com to get you some CBD. If you haven’t tried CBD before, you have to. And this is like some of the most potent CBD in the face of the freakin’ planet. So check it out. And now on to today’s show.
Ben: Hey, you guys. One of the things that fascinates me is how many professional athletes who seem so good at their sport wind up finishing their sport and being like a rep for a shoe company, or selling wet suits, or doing something that is related to the industry that they were in, but in a way that definitely shorts themselves compared to their athletic career. But there is one dude that comes to mind who I think kind of rises above many other professional athletes when it comes to being a guy who has completely killed it in his career post-professional sports, and that is the man you may know as Shaq or Shaquille O'Neal. It’s not often that I get a chance to hear Shaq interviewed in a way that is as entertaining as my friend from the Art of Charm Podcast, Jordan Harbinger, actually interviewed him. But I would highly recommend that you take a listen to this episode because, dude, Jordan and by the way folks, I have Jordan right here with me.
Ben: He covers superheroes, and law enforcements, and business, and sports, and podcasting. I mean, fill me in on a.) how you get a guy like Shaq on the show and b.) one of the highlights of that discussion.
Jordan: Sure. So Shaq took two plus years of me bugging mutual friends who knew Shaq’s manager, and then finally one day, it was like Friday, and this guy called and was like, “Hey, can you get to LA on a Wednesday and interview Shaq?” And I was like, “Thanks for the notice,” and I was like mad for 5 seconds and then I realized I’m going to interview Shaq. So I booked a flight down to LA and did it, and it was well worth it. Shaq is super cool. He sat with me for, I think, like an hour and 15 minutes, which he never does. He doesn’t even do his own shows for that long. And I got to ask him literally anything, and so I asked him all about how he makes tough decisions, how he knows who to trust because he’s been famous since he was like 18 years old and everybody’s trying to screw those people over. He had this great idea called “The Panel”, which is like a system of making decisions that involves other people that he vets very well and he detailed all that. And we talked a lot about him managing his emotions, or not managing his emotions, on and off the court, and everything from how he travels, to how he freaking fit in a smart car, but we really got down to brass tacks with Shaq. It was very cool. And even his manager who was there said that he had not been interviewed that way in as long as he can remember. So it’s a very one-of-a-kind interview with Shaq, even if I do say so myself.
Ben: And now his feet is big as they say?
Jordan: Actually, it’s funny you should ask. He was wearing Toms shoes, those little almost cloth–ish shoes that are flat, and I said, “Wow! They make Toms in size 29?” Apparently he made Blake Mycoskie from Toms shoes make him shoes. And I thought, “Oh, they just make one custom pair?” And he goes, “No, I had to buy like a whole case because they don’t have foot molds that size.” So he goes, “The only way it’s profitable for me to make a foot mold in your size is to make a thousand pairs.” So Shaq bought a thousand pairs of Toms. He owns a thousand pairs of Toms and they’re all red. They’re all bright red. They did the same color. Ridiculous.
Ben: That’s hilarious. Hilarious. So if you guys wanna listen to Jordan interview Shaq, it’s episode 602 over at theartofcharm.com, or really anywhere including iTunes and beyond, or as they say, Apple podcast now, where you can get podcasts. So check out episode 602 of theartofcharm.com. One of the few podcast that I personally listen to.
Ben: I had interviewed just recently Dr. Dan Angle who wrote a new book, it actually doesn’t come out 'til October, called “The Concussion Repair Manual”, and even in that he didn’t talk much about this idea of progesterone cream. It was in your book that I first came across this idea that you actually cite some research by Dr. Stein in the book that show that when you inject it within 48 hours of a brain injury, you get dramatically lower rates of brain swelling and better neurological outcome. This is one of those reasons I actually have in the glove compartment of both of my cars, MSM, this sulfur-based compound that if you consume it after a head injury, it can drastically reduce swelling and improve outcome. And I actually have it in the cars just in case we’re in some kind of a motor vehicle accident, and someone gets hurt and gets a head injury so that we can just like start into that right away.
JJ: Yeah. Well, yourself have some big fish oil and add some CBD.
Ben: Yeah. Sounds like progesterone falls into that category.
JJ: And possibly, I don’t know that the research is really clear yet, but I also knew that it wasn’t gonna hurt. And the big thing that you, when your son is, basically everyday is like, “Is he’s gonna make it through today,” you do whatever you possibly can. It’s like what do you do, you have every religion represented praying for him, it's someone sent me holy water, we’re using that. We have Tibetan scrolls up. I mean, I was like, “What are we doing? Everything.”
Ben: Actually, I wanted to ask you about that. When you say Tibetan scrolls and holy water, I don’t wanna go too far into woo-woo land, but at the same time I’m curious when it comes to anything from energy medicine to perhaps some of these more invisible therapies, was there anything that you found really moved the dial when it came to things along those lines?
JJ: What’s so interesting is like you’ll never know what really moved the dial. I can tell you now if I had to pick three things, what the three things would be now. But at the time, one of my girlfriends, Dr. Suzanne Bennett, who's a chiropractor and energy medicine doc, she walked into the hospital the second day. I’m not like responding to, my text stream on my phone is blowing up, my voice mail's full. I’m only responding to Facebook. I’m posting on Facebook. That’s it. That's all I can handle. But she walks in and she’s waiting for us because she knew we weren’t the hospital ‘cause she couldn't feel us there. I’m like, “Okay”. And she walked up and she would tell us what was going on with Grant, and what we need to check, and what we need to have the doctors check, and then she would do some stuff and help lower his blood pressure. I'm like, “Perfect. Thank you.” So she would just do checks in like that.
And then Dr. Stephen Sinatra, the Cardiologist sent this healer guy. Now I never met this guy, he would call me in the mornings, I’d drive to the hospital around 5:30 in the morning, he would call me and tell me what to expect, what was going on with Grant. And then I keep him on the phone, I walk in, whatever he told me, it was crazy. The nurses would go, “Yeah, this is what happen during the night,” which is what he just told me. He would do some blowing in the phones, some weird stuff, and the next thing I know, Grant’s blood pressure is coming down, things would start to normalize. Honestly Ben, before I would say, “That’s ridiculous”. At this point, I was like, “Hey, dude. Whatever. This is totally working.” I mean between Suzanne, who could tell me what was going on, and Tommy could tell me what was going on, I'm like, “Hm.” One of the things that happens when you are faced with a situation, a life and death situation, is I became very, very open to all possibilities. And again, I was going from a pathway science background of like, what’s the risk and what’s the reward? But like what’s the risk with energy medicine? What would be the risk of them telling me things that were absolutely then documented by the doctors when I’d walked in and they tell me, “Oh, his blood pressure is this,” and I’d walk and they go, “Oh! his blood pressure is this.” I’m like, “Huh?” And they go, “Put the phone over here, I’ll lower it”, I put it down and they'd lower it. I'm like, “Great!”
JJ: So I can’t explain those things. We were using something from sound [0:43:33] ______.
Ben: If you look at like Bruce Lipton’s book, “Biology of Belief”, where he talks a little bit about movement of protons, and quantum physics, and how electrical energy can in fact be transmitted across distances and change things like protein expression, which again I notice some people who are listening in right now, it sounds completely insane. But at the same time, if you read the book, there is some compelling evidence and even some ideas behind the way the physics work and protons work that you can actually influence change via something as simple as sending energies from afar. And again, I know that I’m diving off a deep end here when it comes to straying away from evidence-based medicine, but at the same time I think there is something to be said for that.
JJ: Well, it was pretty crazy to see this, to have someone tell me what I was gonna walk into, walk into that exact thing with them having described it perfectly, and then have them say, “I can do this,” and then through the phone do it. I'm like, “Huh.” So can’t explain that. And then I also have, the guys from Sound Vitality came in and we were using their machine on Grant as well. And truthfully the doctors were like, “Hey, we’re letting to do these silly little things.” I’m like, “Okay, thanks.” I was like, “That’s great.” And then as soon as Grant spit out his feeding tube, I had a Nutribullet in there, and I was like, “Game On. Now, I can really do my thing.”
Ben: Yeah. Tell me about the superfoods smoothie that you were making him. You say you give him super powered smoothies when his feeding tube came out. What were you putting into his super powered smoothies?
JJ: I looked at the whole thing kind of like when you have a kid and your baby, and you’re making all these cool things, and what can you shove in a smoothie. That’s why I love smoothies, you can hide so much in ‘em. But the big things that I knew that I had to do was get the fish oil up. I made one mistake that was a big mistake, and that I gave him vitamin D but I didn’t add the K with it. The liquid I had didn’t have K in it. And he thrown out so many calcium deposits because of 13 fractures, your body just throws out calcium. And without K to direct it were it needed to be, it was going to every place where it saw some healing needed, right? So all those broken bones. But when the doctor went and fixed his torn aorta, it actually went to the site where it went up through the artery and we got a pseudo aneurysm that nearly killed him. And I don’t know if the K would have helped there or not but you know, I kinda looked later, I'm like, “Ugh! You know they do vitamin D with K. Why did you do that?”
Ben: Which a lot of people, that’s one of the first things I look for when someone ask me if a multivitamin is good, is I look at not only the levels of vitamin D, but whether or not they have vitamin K too, 100 to 200 micrograms of vitamin K too. Like two warning signs for me in a multi is if vitamin D is there and vitamin K isn’t for the reason that you just described, calcification.
JJ: Yeah. Super critical.
Ben: And then also folic acid. There’s whole bunch of folate and folic acid and it's in the wrong form. It’s not the methyltetrahydrofolate. Those are two signs that your multivitamin probably isn’t all that’s crack up to be. But anyways, so you did, in these super powered smoothies, you were doing and vitamin D, and what else?
JJ: So, I did probiotics. I mean, obviously one of the big things, he was such a massive infection risk. I mean, he had tube coming out of his brain, he was central lining a feeding tube, and so I had a lot of gut microbiome repair to do. So we were doing fermented foods beyond. And I was throwing in full-fat dairy yogurt into there and kefirs, but we were also throwing probiotics into it as well. I had that, I forget what brand, I think it’s Bio-K yogurt.
Ben: Yeah. Is that that little tiny package of yogurt?
JJ: Yeah. Those little tiny ones.
Ben: It’s like little green package, yeah.
JJ: Yeah. Those are what we were using ‘cause they gave him, I mean literally everyone’s giving me stuff. I’m like, “Perfect. Cool. I’ll do that.” Branched chain amino acids and a really cool amino acid blend that I got from Italy that was designed for sarcopenia, because he was so cachexic. He was losing so much muscle. He was down, he’s 6’1 and he was down to 145 pounds. So I was trying to do everything I could to help keep the muscle back on him. So those were the key critical things. And of course magnesium, and I was also rubbing magnesium cream on him.
Ben: Yeah. Like a transdermal magnesium?
JJ: Yes. I mean, we had a lot of challenges with it. And great minerals ‘cause he was repairing. But we had a lot of challenges with constipation. They were not paying attention. I went away for a week and he did not go to the bathroom. And I come back, I’m like, I went away for a week, my ex-husband was there, he just didn't think about it, I guess. And I come back, I’m like, “What the hell?” So these were the things that you don’t realize that you need to monitor these things. And I was like, “How could you miss that one guys? Come on.”
Ben: Yeah. You mentioned something a little bit ago that I wanted to not gloss over and that was, you said that if they’re like three things that you could choose, the top things that you did for his recovery from trauma, that it would be those three things. What were those three things?
JJ: So, fish oil, CBD. CBD is amazing.
Ben: Were you doing CBD then or was this something you discovered later?
JJ: No, I discovered it later 'cause it really wasn’t a thing, I mean, this is 5 years ago and I didn’t really figure this one out until about three years ago, four years ago. Maybe it was four years ago. But we’ve been using it regularly since ‘cause one of the things that happens with the brain injury is, and I think people don’t realize that concussions are traumatic brain injuries, that if you hit your head, you don’t actually have to go into a coma or lose consciousness to hurt your brain. So ringing your bell is a brain injury, right? And I think we just don’t, because we can’t see it, we don’t realize the effects of these things. And the effects are cumulative. So this is hugely problematic. But one of the things that happens is your brain gets unstable. And so CBD helps with, obviously inflammation pain, but it helps stabilize.
Ben: Oh. yeah. I mentioned that Dr. Kirk Parsley’s stuff, I use that every night. I use that and I use CBD every night before bed. And it helps with relaxation, it helps shut down inflammation, hormonal balance, but it’s also amazing for injuries. My dog's taking it right now because he has some tumors and a whole bunch of inflammation from those, and it’s helping him tremendously relax and kind of brought his personality back. But CBD is pretty amazing stuff.
JJ: Yeah. Fantastic. And CBD taken with fish oil, actually it's going to be better absorbed and better used when you take it with fish oil. And then the biggest game changer, because again when you ask the right questions, and I think this is such a key point, is from day one, when I got through that first night, I sit there in the hospital the next day and I went, “You're going to be 110%.” So my question has been, everyday since then, “How do I get you to be 110%? How do we get you to be 110%?” And it’s been challenging when 25% of people with traumatic brain injuries become suicidal, and Grant was one of that 25%. It has not been an easy thing. He's, thankfully, now appears to be totally through that window. And what got him through that window was doing intrathecal stem cell. That means stem cells injected straight into his spine. And what we did, when he came out of the hospital, I was fortunate in that one of my friends launch this thing called Stem Cell Revolution. So he was always fascinated with stem cells, he was early, and he researched, and he launched them. He has now become nationwide network of docs doing stem cell therapy.
So when we came out of the hospital, he harvested Grant’s stem cells and he did an IV. Who knows what works then. But back then, you couldn’t put them into the spine. And that’s what I was really wondering about was like how, 'cause I didn't know if they would even cross the blood-brain barrier, and plus, it's like when you’re an adult, which he basically is, as soon as you’re not a little baby anymore, your stem cell concentration drops dramatically. So what I started to look at was how do we get those stem cells into a spine. And fortunately now, as part of a trial, what we’re able to do with harvest his stem cells, and grow his stem cells, and then inject his stem cells. And the first time that we did it was very, very scary.
When Grant started to wake up from the coma in the hospital, it was not what you see in the movies. And I literally thought, I remember the doctor said, “When he comes out of the coma, it will be ugly.” That’s what they told me. To prepare. Thankfully I had Dr. Ann Myer coming every Friday evening to tell me what I should really expect. But I thought that it would be like the movie, you know that movie “While You Were Sleeping”? I thought that he would wake up, look at me, smile at me, and say “I love you mom.”
JJ: Not what happened. He woke up, he looked off into space, he didn’t say a word. He looked to the side and started to move an arm, it was the only thing that wasn’t in a cast, repetitively back and forth for days. And I thought, “Oh my gosh,” like, “What have we done?” And he couldn’t make any eye contact. And we didn’t know at that time if he could hear, if he could see, if he’ll ever able to talk. I was trying to wake up all of his senses. I was doing touch, and taste, and smell, and everything I could, sound, but we had no idea what and where he was at that time with any of that stuff. But he didn’t, he came out of a coma over time. And one of the things that happens with people as they're coming through brain injury is they lose their filter, their internal editor that says, “Hey, don’t say that. Don’t hit that person.” They just do whatever. It’s like having a big, big baby. And in this case, it was like having a big, big angry baby. And he would get scary. It looked like he was the Incredible Hulk. And so when he got this little, he’d get a little thing between his eyebrows, and we would have to literally inject him with a cocktail of Haldol, Ativan, and Benadryl, which would drop either of us to the floor. We’d be curled up in a little fetal position sucking our thumb and sleeping. And for him, it would just calm him down. And we have to be careful how much we did this, ‘cause if we were doing this and his brain couldn't heal, but we also couldn’t have him, we had a 24-hour security guard over at children’s hospital, he was in a zip-up bed, because if he started to go sideways, he’s dangerous to himself and to everybody else.
JJ: And we had to just slowly help him get through this and not be dangerous. But when we did the stem cells, he’d been through this, and he basically got through this, and then we did the stem cells, and it happened again. As we started to do these stem cells, there’s no protocol. There’s no protocol saying, “Okay, this is what to expect,” there’s no protocol to say, “Okay, you need to do it again in a month, two months.” There’s nothing, right? I mean, he's a lab rat. And I told him, I got, “You’re gonna be a lab rat here,” right? He’s like, “Alright.” But that first 24 hours we actually had to hospitalize him because we taught he was gonna try to kill us or himself.
JJ: And it was frightening. It was absolutely frightening. And so the next time we did it, but then as he got through that, all of a sudden his language was improving. ‘Cause the biggest thing we saw was memory issues, massive, and easy frustration there [0:55:23] ______ started to just, he started to get better language and more memory. And so we did another round, and this time we were ready.
Ben: Of stem cells?
JJ: Yes. And it really didn’t happen this time. It happened minimally. And we just did another round, and it didn’t happen at all.
Ben: So each time that you do this round of stem cells, are you needing to harvest them and then reinject them? Or have they already been harvested and now you’re just injecting them?
JJ: So what we did and when you think about this, I did this too. This makes so much sense. I have my stem cells harvested, and they’re grown, and they're in a bank.
Ben: And where'd you harvest them? From your bone or your fat?
JJ: No, from fat. That was actually the worst part. They took an ounce of fat on my hip, and I swear it was like the worst experience ever. I don’t know how people do liposuction. I’m like, “This is the worst. Oh my god.”
Ben: Yeah. It hurts a lot. I did the study at Jeff Volek’s University of Connecticut Lab when they did that faster study in ketogenic athletes, and they did a double fat biopsy on both hips, and then had me run on a treadmill for three hours afterwards. So I had to run on a treadmill with these two holes like poking from both my butt cheeks. It hurt like hell. So they take the stem cell from the fat, and then you've basically banked that for him, and you banked it for yourself as well?
JJ: So they took his and they took mine. Right now you’re not allowed to use yours for someone else. However, if something were to happen to my other son, like both Grant and I now have stem cells that would be okay for him to use. But they haven’t gotten to that point yet. Right now, you’re supposed to use your own. But what they do is they harvest your stem cells, they take 'em to this, they send them out to this facility that grows them, has them there. Think how cool this is. I mean, I did it to inject into my knee and hip. But now I’ve got stem cells sitting there. If anything happens to me, because Grant had a knee surgery done, and we had them inject it right after the knee surgery. We had it ready and we had him injected. We took ‘em straight over and had him done. The orthopedic surgeon who did this knee surgery goes, “Yeah, we're in a clinical trial right now. We’re putting stem cells in after surgery.” I’m like, “Thanks for not telling me that, but we are doing it anyway.” But I think this is gonna become just the standard thing. It seems like the standard, like if you’re in a car accident, my gosh!
Ben: Yeah. That’s why I’m actually headed down to Florida in a few weeks, to bank some of mine. And you had mentioned a website I believe, was it stem cell, was it foundation?
JJ: My doctor is Dr. Elliot Lander. I just gonna make sure. I think it's Stem Cell Revolution.
Ben: Stem Cell Revolution. That’s right. Okay.
Ben: Is it stemcellrevolution.com? Something like that? I just wanna make sure I put the link in the show notes for people who wanna look into this. This concept of banking.
JJ: I’m checkin’ it. Yeah, I think, honestly, to me this makes so much, oh, stemcellrevolution.com. Yes.
Ben: Okay, cool. I’ll link to that in the show notes for those of you listening in.
JJ: But I mean it has been just game changer. It’s a great for Grant, that he has, I mean he had 13 orthopedic injuries complete with a crushed heel where they told him he’d never walk again. I’m like, “Of course he's going to,” he’s an athlete. But we’ve been using that, he was supposed to have a massive heel surgery that would have been, he would've been non-weight bearing for 6 months, and now he’s been fine. So, yeah.
Ben: Now there's obviously, I mean I know you’re very well connected. I’m actually going to be, for those of you listening in, I’m going down to JJ who does this thing called a Mindshare Summit each year, and I’m going down there in August in San Diego, to attend JJ’s Mindshare Summit. She’s very well connected with a lot of different biohackers, and obviously alternative medical physicians, functional medicine practitioners, et cetera. And so JJ, this next question, kind of taking stem cells to the next level, in terms of like additional, I guess what you would call like biohacks, or technology, or physical therapy modalities, are there things that you’ve implemented into Grant’s recovery since he’s come out of the hospital? And kind of as a follow up question to that, I would love to hear where he’s at right now and how his recovery's come along.
JJ: So, my son’s now is a biohacker. So my son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and what I learned, having him as he came out of this whole accident, my first instinct, and you’ll get this as a parent, was to protect him. I mean, I was absolutely, he had so much PTSD around him getting hit or anything like this. It was like he'd cross the street and I'd go into a panic. And then I realized that this was not helping him at all. And so what started to do was like, “No one told you it was going to be easy. But look what you just went through. You’ve got this.” So what we’ve been working on now is him to really been able to manage his brain chemistry. Because he’s absolutely brilliant, but then he goes through this periods of manic behavior and depression. I’m like, “Honey, look what you went through. You basically brought yourself back from dead. You can totally manage your brain chemistry. This is up to you. You got this.” And you know the minute I threw it back on him, that he’s gonna need to do this, that he’s never better than when he's challenged. He has been so much better about it. And one of things he did was, and this is not, my son prior to the accident, this is why I say he’s better than he was before the accident. I could not have imagined him doing this. He has been meditating. He got one of those things that you can wear around your head that can measure brainwaves, and then he bought some Tesla coils, and he set up this system where he gets the energy from Tesla coils and he uses that, and gets to the meditative state, and he basically modifies his brainwaves. It’s crazy cool.
Ben: Now, is he using a hacked together with the device to monitor brainwaves, or is he using one of these things like Think, or Muse, or one of these headband devices?
JJ: He’s using one of those headband devices. So he’s got that going on his computer, and he hacked together this Tesla coil thing, and then he gets in front of that, and then he puts the other thing on and he monitors his brain waves, and he can modify his brain waves using the Tesla coils.
JJ: It’s so cool! I’m like going, “Wow”. And then, here’s the other…
Ben: So it’s like he’s doing neurofeedback, but rather than simply allowing the neurofeedback to alter his subconscious patterns, he’s actually got another device attached to his head that he's using to actively almost like shock his brainwaves into the pattern that he wants from them to be in.
JJ: Yes. And he literally has been able to, things used to irritate him. He wasn’t able to manage himself before, and he now uses meditation, he uses this Tesla machine, he also has been using, it’s like he intuitively knew what he needed. He’s been outside in the dirt. And it’s interesting, I just did a podcast with Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein, he wrote the “Dirt Cure” who talks about how we all need to be out in the dirt. I go, “It's kind of one of the first things that my son did when he got home is he started building hydrophonic gardens.” I'm like, “I don’t know where this came from. I’d never heard of it.” And now the entire backyard of my desert house is torn up and it’s become this massive hydrophonic garden with a pond. I'm like, “Okay!” So he’s done amazing with that. So he’s been doing all the grounding stuff. We did neurofeedback, we’d still do it off and on. Like we did a big series of it, and then we'll just go in periodically. We did hyperbaric, and we do that off and on. He does medical marijuana, that's helped him tremendously. So if he gets anxious, he’ll do some of that as well.
And then early on, with the physical therapy, we started working with my buddy who owns this place called Kinetix, Mike Butler, who is like a C.H.E.K. practitioner and a CA. He’s amazing and done a lot of balance work so that he was really challenging himself. And of the things that Dr. Amon said was, “Get a pingpong table.” So we start doing pingpong, and we really just started focusing on all the stuff that they said he had a deficits in. He was diagnosed as deaf in one ear. That happened just as we’re leaving the final hospital. They go, “He can’t hear in that one ear.” We go to the audiologist and they say he’s deaf in this and he'll never regain it. He’s driving home with me and he goes, “That’s ridiculous. Of course, I’ll be out to hear again”. I’m like, “Okay.” And he has. He's gotten a lot of hearing back in that ear. And worked a lot on the balance. I mean normally if you've got a hearing deficit in one ear, you'd have balance problems. He has got nothing. It's really like now, he's never been a victim. He never talks about like the woman who hit him and he's a victim of a hit-and-run. He doesn't ever say that. And he doesn't like to really want people to feel sorry for him for what happens. He knows that he's better because of it. My other son, same thing. Like the whole family, we know we're all better because of it. But Grant especially. I mean to know that you could come through something like that and be better because of it is pretty…
Ben: Yeah. And you don't see a lot of physical therapists using things like pingpong, and earthing, and grounding, and gardening, and neurofeedback. But honestly, I think it would be fascinating to see, I know you're busy enough as it is, but like a follow-up book where you go into all these little therapies that you've done since then. Because it sounds like you've accomplished some amazing things.
JJ: Well we wrote a book for, my biggest goal with this, I'll tell you what's been so upsetting, Ben, is you think of that first night in the hospital, they told us to let him go. And what's upsetting is how many people would've listened. And I'm hopeful that most parents would be like, “Oh, hell no. Not on my watch.” And what I've found since then is this network of, I call them the Warrior Moms that are out there going, “Alright, what do I need to do for my kid?” But this information largely is underground, it's poo-pooed, and the idea that my son could be better than before the accident, the doctors thought I was a nutjob. I had someone tell me, “This is as far as you can expect to go.” I'm like, “The minute you tell me that, I'm completely discounting you at this point and we'll be going elsewhere.” I just think that when you ask the right questions and you stay open to possibility, it's incredible. I haven't even come close to exhausting the opportunities out there for Grant to improve. And so I've been documenting it all. I actually created a website for him and an e-book that documents all of what we've done for him 'cause that's…
Ben: Oh, you did?
JJ: Yeah. It's on grantvirgin.com. But I wanted to make sure…
JJ: Yeah. That everything that we did for him, that I knew, I know I was fortunate in the access that I have. Like all my friends are docs doing cutting edge stuff. And so I had incredible resources, but I figure if I had those resources, everybody can then have those resources because I don't want to keep this a secret. I documented it all on Facebook as we were going through it, but we get e-mails and posts pretty much every week going, “Alright. This happened, what do I do?” This information needs to be out there, but the bigger message of, there's so many things out there that you can do. Again, we haven't even done Ted Carrick's stuff yet, which I want to do. And there's still more to do. There's still plant medicine stuff with him I think would be helpful. I'm open to every possibility out there.
Ben: Yeah. Wow. Well I was going to ask you about a good resource for people to learn how to navigate the modern medical system and incorporate some of the things that you learned along the way, and it sounds like the grantvirgin.com would be a good place for people to go.
JJ: Yeah. I think that's a good start. At least we'll give you what stuff we did. I think the biggest thing though to help you navigate anything in life is the right mindset. And where I was fortunate with all of this, I already had that mindset going in. If I didn't have it going in, I wouldn't have a son now. I mean my mindset was anything is possible. Question authority, take personal responsibility for everything. I wasn't turning it over to anybody. And ask the right questions is such a key one here.
Ben: Yeah. Well I've been taking notes furiously as we've talking, and for those of you listening in who want to read this book, and I would highly recommend it. It's an extremely inspirational book and it's amazing what JJ did with Grant, I'll put all the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/miracle. I'll also put links to some of the other things that JJ and I talked about, like this book “When Brains Collide” and the book “Biology of Belief”, along with the link over to grantvirgin.com so you guys can take a deeper dive if you want. When you're over there, you can also ask questions or leave your comments and I'll try and reply as much as I can to each and every one of them. So go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/miracle if you want more from JJ or to access the show notes from today's show. JJ, thanks so much for coming on, and sharing this stuff with us, and also for doing all that hard work to navigate the modern medical system and show that you actually can effect change that goes far above and beyond what medicine might expect in a situation like this.
JJ: I actually think we're in the best situation ever because there's some incredible things happening in medicine. And it's really about being open to everything out there. And some of it's going to come from the tradition things. Again, that's what saved my son, but that's not what brought him his life back. So be open to all of it.
Ben: Word. I love it. Well JJ, I'm looking forward to seeing you in August, and thank you so much for coming on the show.
JJ: Thank you. I super appreciate you.
Ben: Alright, folks. Well I'm Ben Greenfield along with JJ Virgin signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy and amazing week.
JJ Virgin is one intimidating, yet amazing, woman.
I've had a chance to hang with JJ on numerous occasions over the past several years, and, at over 6 feet tall, strikingly beautiful, fit, muscular and with a sharp, keen intelligence and wit, she's one of those women who probably would have been a queen or, perhaps, an Amazonian warrior were she born at some other time in history.
But, in fact, JJ is actually a celebrity nutrition and fitness expert and author of 4 New York Times bestselling books: The Virgin Diet, The Virgin Diet Cookbook, JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet, and JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet Cookbook.
But her recent memoir, Miracle Mindset: A Mother, Her Son, and Life’s Hardest Lessons, in which she explores the powerful lessons in strength and positivity that she learned after her son Grant was the victim of a brutal hit-and-run accident, is perhaps the most meaningful and life-changing of all her titles.
One of my biggest takeaways from the book was the enormous number of frustrations that JJ encountered while attempting to navigate the modern medical system, and to keep her son from dying, not recovering properly, or being seriously harmed by modern medicine, along with her extreme willingness and stubbornness in incorporating every aspect of alternative health and natural medicine into a modern hospital setting…with shocking results.
If you want to be fully equipped to deal with any trauma that might land you in a modern hospital industry or having to deal with close-minded physicians and caretakers, this podcast is a must-listen for you.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-The shocking story of the hit-and-run with Grant…[8:50]
-The biggest frustrations JJ ran into at the hospital, and with Grant's physicians and nurses…[19:05]
-How JJ got 10-20 grams of fish oil each day into Grant…[25:10]
-What JJ did with essential oils…[29:20]
-Why JJ would rub progesterone cream into Grant over and over again during his recovery…[31:20]
-The superpowered smoothies JJ gave to Grant when his feeding tubes came out…[45:00]
-How JJ used stem cell harvesting and stem cell IV's in Grant's therapy…[51:20]
–The advanced biohack therapies JJ has used in combination with physical therapy, from ping pong to earthing, grounding, gardening, neurofeedback and more…[59:20]
-For people who wind up being in the modern medical system having to deal with the trauma, where you can find the biggest pieces of advice from JJ…[64:55]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
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