Categories super nutrition academy health class
Aaron Kennard’s shocking transformation will inspire you to make each and every day amazing.
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Yuri: Hey, guys, Yuri Elkaim here. Welcome to another episode of The Super Nutrition Academy Health Class. Today’s episode we’re going to be changing pace a little bit.
This is going to be a really insightful episode. I’ve got my good friend Aaron Kennard on the line with me. I’m just going to give you a quick rundown of who Aaron is.
He runs a great Web site called TrulyAmazingLife.com, and he is the author of the Amazon best-seller The Positive-Thinking Secret. We connected a couple weeks ago, depending on when you’re listening to this, a little while ago at Awesomeness Fest, which is an amazing, probably one of the best events that I’ve been to, on so many different levels.
It was just amazing to get to know Aaron and share some really deep stuff with each other and kind of get to know each other on a business level and personal level, and we just really hit it off. He’s such a great guy, so I’m really excited to have him with me on this episode. Without any further ado, welcome, Aaron.
Aaron: Hey, thanks for having me, Yuri. I’m stoked to be on your show. I’ve listened to your podcast, and I just love what you’re doing, so thank you so much for having me on your show. It’s fantastic to know you and have met you recently in person.
Yuri: Yeah, thank you and likewise. I’m really excited to share some of the stuff. For those of you listening, Aaron is not some kind of nutrition or health expert, but he’s gone through a pretty epic health journey himself. I’ll let him share that in a second, but I think what you’re going to discover in this episode are some really fundamental takeaways that can improve pretty much any area of your life, specifically, obviously, your health as well.
Aaron, why don’t we start off by sharing with our listeners the journey that you shared with me in terms of your health challenges recently?
Aaron: All right, let’s do it. I’ve got to brace myself for where to start, where do I start in this whole story. Let me share that briefly. I’ll give the journey and feel free to jump in with any questions to clarify here as I go along, but I’ll try to give it as succinct as possible here.
In 2011 I was kind of feeling mediocre about life, wasn’t feeling that enthused or that fulfilled. I had this experience one day that shifted everything for me, an experience with gratitude when I felt the desire to be grateful for this sore throat that I had rather than just being bummed about it. I thought, Every time I’m going to swallow, I’m going to say ‘Thank you for this pain’ and see how that works.
All of a sudden I started feeling really good. And this is a sore throat that was persisting for, like, a month. I was wondering how this was going to benefit me. I believed that every adversity brings an equal and opposite advantage.
One night after about three weeks into this, I said thank you when I swallowed. I said that five times, and all of a sudden, it shifted my energy. I did it again and I just started feeling amazing. It hit me that night, this was this epiphany moment that night where I realized that I was in control.
I knew that we control our thoughts and things before this, but I realized how personally and how deeply I’m in control of my thinking and it shifted everything. The next day I woke up on cloud nine. Even though I was in physical pain, I looked in the mirror. I was so grateful for the pain, and I was just grinning ear to ear.
From that day on, I stopped having bad days. I just felt really high on life after that point. I felt really empowered, and I felt like I knew that I could control my outcomes despite my circumstances, that I could control my feelings.
That’s kind of what started me. It was a big shift for my life in 2011. I started feeling the desire to teach that to people, to teach people that your mind-set can really affect your whole life, how you feel and everything, so I started teaching that.
It turned in to me asking why I felt so amazing, which turned in to this poster that I created, which is called The 12 Pillars of a Truly Amazing Life. I started teaching these things about how to live amazingly despite your circumstances and how to really be happy.
But then one day, in July—it was actually last year, 2012—the day after my fourth child was born, my body shut down on me. Within a matter of three months—immediately, I started having massive pain, and over the course of the next month seeing doctors, nobody was able to tell me what was going on, but I was having massive bowel pain and pain in my butt and stuff, just really, really intense pain.
Nobody could figure it out for a while. My body was deteriorating. I was pretty quickly laid up. I couldn’t walk. I was in bed half the day; really, really quickly. Here I was teaching people that this is a truly amazing life, that everything is conspiring for your benefit and how to really have a positive mind-set and I had this poster on my wall and all of a sudden, my body was in just massive pain daily. It started to throw the question: Is this really true?
I took it to the next level, this level of pain, of “Can I really find joy despite this now intense pain?” Well, to fast-forward, what happened was, I found out, I got diagnosed with Crohn’s colitis, ulcerative colitis. Over the course of three months, my body basically deteriorated. I lost, like, 50 pounds. I’m 6’2″ and I got down from 180 down to in the 120s and I couldn’t walk.
My wife had a newborn and three other kids at home, young kids, and she was pretty much going crazy. The kids started experiencing emotional trauma as they’re watching me go through this really, really traumatic situation, watching their dad die before them, and I couldn’t do anything.
I had all these questions of: How am I supposed to teach people that this is a truly amazing life when life is crumbling around me? The reason why I share this story—and this is the subject of the book, The Positive-Thinking Secret, I’m giving you kind of the short version—is that throughout that process, I never really believed that it was a bad day.
I had made the decision that there was no bad day. Even though I was now in pain and in bed and fearing death, I believed that it was all happening for my good. In fact, I believed all throughout that time that the more challenging the circumstance, the more benefit is coming my way. That belief really just pulled me through, and it gave me some amazing experiences with joy through that experience with pain that are really hard to describe but really just mind-blowing how I could be in such intense pain and experiencing joy at the same time.
Fast-forwarding again, three months of deterioration, I finally had to get rushed off to the emergency room, had emergency surgery removal of my colon because it had been destroyed by this disease. Luckily, that saved my life in November, but I was in the hospital for almost a month after that, just dealing with emotional trauma and depression because, seeing how my life was so good before, now it seemed to be crumbling. But that belief that it was all happening for my good, it really pulled me through that time, and it proved to me that because of the many experiences of joy that I experienced through all of this pain that I absolutely am in control of my thoughts and that my circumstances don’t dictate my happiness.
What happened then is that I was led to a naturopathic doctor who told me what to eat. He basically led me to the Paleo diet, not exactly, but a mix between the Paleo and the SCD diet, which you’ve talked about on previous calls. Within two days of me changing my diet, all of my pain went away. I had this surgery but I wasn’t healed.
And in the hospitals, all the doctors were telling me, “Food has nothing to do with your issue.” Literally, it was crazy, five different medical doctors telling me that food had nothing to do with my bowel pain. It’s really crazy that the medical system is set up in a way that…there’s a lot of amazing things about it, but there are some issues with it, as I know from personal experience.
What I found was that as soon as I had changed my diet according to the way the naturopathic doctor had told me to, two days later all the pain and bloating went away. Within six weeks, I’d gained back all of my weight, and I ran to the top of this mountain by my house, whereas I couldn’t walk eight weeks earlier across the hospital room.
Since then, my life went right back on track. I’m healed from this supposedly chronic disease, meaning I don’t have any drugs, no pain at all, and no symptoms, and it’s because I’ve learned the truth about nutrition and health, which is just amazing.
I wish I could tell the listeners more about the specifics of that. Like you said, I’m not the expert on the health aspect of things, but what I am the expert at, I guess what I am known for is how to think about our challenges and how to find joy despite pain and how that leads us, how the way we think about things and our attitude, I firmly believe that my attitude about that was a huge factor in the healing process because it allowed me to remain positive rather than getting sucked in to the depression and negative thinking, which has such a massive impact.
Nutrition is one really important thing, but the way we think and our positive energy has such a huge factor on our healing and on our ability to find joy and happiness in life. That’s my brief story.
I published a book on that since then, and I’ve been blown away by the response from people, how it’s just impacted their life since, so I’m super grateful to be able to share that with people and be able to share that with you now. Any questions anybody has I’d love to answer them or share.
Yuri: That’s awesome; that’s such a great story. You talked about the universe conspiring to help you or to be on your side. For you, what do you think was the greater good, the bigger meaning out of this whole situation for you?
Aaron: There were probably many, many great meanings, but…are you talking about getting this major illness and recovery?
Yuri: Yeah, because you have a very unique ability to kind of take that in stride and be very empowered about it, whereas other people might be more victimized or constantly, the story is always like I’ve got this condition and blah, blah, blah, and it’s part of who they become. It’s really cool to see how you’re completely at the other side of the spectrum with this.
Aaron: Yeah, I think one of the main reasons I have it and one of the benefits in my perspective of why this happened to me and why I got this intense trial to test these beliefs was to really help the masses of people that are suffering out there, that are going through pain, because in life, it’s not just autoimmune disease, but we’ve got such health issues in our world right now.
That’s why I love talking to you, because you’re on the forefront of this health revolution, really, which is teaching people about natural health. That’s why I love the fact that I could be on your show, and I’m honored to because I totally support what you’re doing here in teaching people. The reason I’m bringing that up is, I’m in the position with this story to show people how to deal with this because the issue’s not going away. You’re over here teaching them how to be healthy.
The problem is, this stuff is just rampant. The state of our food system and the fact that we’re getting these types of diseases, it’s just super common. I’m getting e-mails from people daily, literally, that are suffering through depression and illness and cancer and all of these things now that I’ve published this book and heard these things.
I know for a fact that I got that experience in order to bless people and help people and to give them a perspective while they’re working through it, because it’s important to get the health, it’s important to take your advice, Yuri, and to do the things to get yourself healthy, but there’s this other aspect of it, the mental suffering and the perspective that people really need to hear as well as that, because the pain doesn’t just necessarily go away immediately from the effects that are heaped upon us from the unhealthiness of our society. Does that make sense?
Yuri: Yeah, for sure. It’s always amazing because I’m a huge believer of the power of the mind and attitude. If you think something’s going to be painful, it’s obviously going to be painful. If you think it’s not going to be as painful, it probably won’t be as painful.
How do you approach somebody who’s going through or is about to go through a certain amount of pain, whether it be a pregnancy or surgery or some kind of condition, and get them to the level of mental peace of mind that you’ve had in terms of being grateful for the situation or being able to get in a position where you can kind of just be at peace with the pain and kind of move through that? How do you get somebody to get to that level without being condescending about it?
Aaron: That’s a great question. I think that’s probably different for every person, so that’s my life’s work is to how do to do that really, trying to figure that out. I don’t necessarily know how to help every person with that, but here’s what I’ve done for me that I’ve gotten testimonials from people responding back saying it’s helped, from what I write in the book. It’s basically helping people reframe the way they think about pain.
The tendency is that we don’t want pain, we want to push pain away, we hate pain. We have this mind-set that pain is bad. What I really try to help people emphasize is that pain is not bad. In fact, pain is very good in the sense that you need pain or you would die.
If you didn’t feel pain, if you didn’t have these nerve endings in your hand, for example, and you stuck your hand on a burning-hot stove, your hand would burn and your cells would die because you didn’t have any feedback. Pain is simply feedback telling us…saying you hate pain is like saying, “I hate the gas light in my car. It just keeps going off,” and you want to kill the gas light. Well, then you’re out of gas and you’re stuck and you’re dead.
That’s the same thing with pain. Pain is amazing. I love pain. That’s what I want to help people reframe. You’ve got to reframe your whole mind around it first off. Embrace pain as an amazing gift, because it is an amazing gift, and if you didn’t have it, you literally would die.
That’s the first thing I would say: Embrace it. What I mean by that too is not to say I want to be in pain all the time. No, I don’t love being in pain all the time, but I do love pain for what it does for me, because I know that it’s essential, and I trust that when I have pain, it’s happening for a reason, so I can learn and so that I can change and so that I can do something. It’s an indicator that’s helping me do something; we should embrace it.
The second thing is: Once you realize pain is fine, pain is okay, it’s a good thing, it’s helping you, you need to take what you’re learning from it. The thing that’s helped me the most is just to believe and trust and to make the decision to believe that everything is conspiring for my benefit. You don’t have to prove that that’s true or false; it’s not like some doctrine or something that you have to agree with or disagree with.
It’s one of those things you can test out. You can say, “I’m just going to decide that everything that happens to me is absolutely going to benefit me, and I’m going to find a way somehow.” It doesn’t have to be more complex than that, but if you can get yourself to really make that decision, then it doesn’t matter what happens.
When the hard things happen, you look at them through that lens like, “Normally, I would’ve thought this was horrible for me.” Me getting a disease and getting knocked out and almost dying, that looks really, really bad. Nobody wants that and that looks like it’s detrimental. But because I asked, the whole entire time I was like, “This looks really detrimental but I know that it’s for my benefit.”
Just me choosing to believe that, making that decision changes the way that I think about everything and it changes the way that I approach everything and it relieves the suffering, because now I’m not looking at how everything is so bad. It’s like I’ve chosen to focus on only looking for how I’m going to find the good.
Yuri: Yeah, that’s awesome. It remains me of the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
Aaron: Yeah, amazing book.
Yuri: Incredible. For anyone who hasn’t read it, absolutely must read it. Basically, he’s an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate and a survivor, and the whole book is about how no matter what the Nazis did to him, they could not take away the meaning that he gave to those situations. Just incredible.
Aaron: I like that you brought that up. Four or five years ago, when I read that book, it was transformational for me. It probably was the thing that got me on the path of believing this way. I credit my ability to handle that situation and to help people now largely to Victor Frankl. Amazing book; definitely recommend that.
Yuri: And that’s the power of a book. That’s why I’m so happy for you to have your book out on Amazon doing so well.
There are probably, even if there’s just one person that it changes the life for, it’s worth it. There are people that you’re probably affecting on the other side of the planet that you’ll never meet, but something in your book, something in your message resonates with them and completely transforms the trajectory of their life based on a simple choice of, “Hey, you know what? I can actually think about this a little bit differently.”
Everything is choice and it’s so amazing when you have that awareness, because you understand that you are in control of your life.
Aaron: Yeah, books are absolutely impactful that way.
Yuri: We’ve got a couple minutes left here, but before…I could talk about this stuff all day. I love it, it’s awesome. I remember getting your business card, and I was like, “This is awesome.” On the back of it, you have your 12 pillars of a truly amazing life, which is just so really nicely designed and laid out.
Let’s look at two of these. Let’s talk about celebration, kind of celebrating things in life, and let’s look at love. Let’s look at celebration and love, and let’s talk about those two pillars.
Aaron: Sounds great. For people that aren’t aware, if you go to TrulyAmazingLife.com, you can get a free download of this poster. I give it away and, in fact, I actually ship the 18-by-24 inch version of these posters for free. If you go to my Web site, you just pay for shipping and handling.
I just want to share this message. This is the basis of what I feel makes life truly amazing, these 12 pillars. The first one you said, you want to talk about celebrate, and the other one was what?
Aaron: Love, okay. It’s kind of like the top and the bottom.
Yuri: That’s right.
Aaron: For me, when I was asking myself: Why is life so amazing? Celebrating life came to the forefront of that. It kind of led the charge for me on why that is, because before I was, there were times when I found myself going through the motions. I’d go to work and I just wasn’t really fulfilled and passionate, so when I found myself living happily and finding fulfillment, I found that what I was doing was celebrating life and helping others find joy and that my joy was directly proportionate to the joy that I brought others.
That can take on so many meanings for people, celebrating life, and I kind of like that it’s open that way because it allows for people to interpret and find that however it means for them. I think celebrating life is different for everybody, but for me, that’s just being grateful. It’s like waking up thrilled to be alive, about what’s happening today. It’s celebrating each moment and being grateful for each moment and seeking to bring others joy in each moment. I guess that’s the basis of it for me on that one.
Yuri: I just want to jump in there because I think a lot of times, myself included, especially when I was younger, playing soccer professionally, as well as amateurly, I was very critical of myself. It was always about, “Oh, this performance was a nine out of ten, but there’re one or two things that I didn’t do properly.”
I think a lot of people are probably like this too, where they tend to berate their shortcomings as opposed to celebrating all the amazing things they’ve accomplished or done or who they are. Over the last couple years, this is something that’s really been a bigger component of my life, because it’s very easy to be depressed all the time if you focus on what you haven’t done, and it’s very easy to feel better by focusing on the things that you can celebrate and that you’re grateful for and stuff, so that’s really cool.
Aaron: Yeah, exactly. Choosing what you focus on, that’s celebration. You can either choose to celebrate or condemn the moment. This choice to celebrate and to make it a practice.
The reason I put these 12 pillars on my wall was for a reminder to myself. I had this ominous feeling before that sickness happened that I felt so amazing. I was like, “I need to remember this somehow.” I just felt like, “I know there’s going to come a point in life where I just get knocked upside the head by something.”
I just kind of felt that because life has its ups and downs. I was like, “I’ve got to remember this somehow,” and that’s why I compiled all of these over the month. They just kind of came out. But that whole celebrating thing is the choice, and every single one of these pillars is all a choice that you can do regardless of your circumstances.
Regardless of whatever is happening in your life, the pain that you’re in—and I tested this out, by the way, as I explained, through massive amounts of pain. You can still celebrate; you can still choose to look at that day, that moment, whatever it is, and find something to be grateful for and something to celebrate, no matter how hard and no matter how painful it is. I can tell you that now from a place of experience, whereas before I think people listening to me might have been like, “Well, yeah, that’s easy for you to say.”
Well, I can tell you now, I’ve practiced that; I know that it’s possible. I wasn’t perfect at it. In the moment when it’s hard, it’s hard and I get that. I suffered through some depression in the midst of that, even believing these things, but what pulled me out of that depression was holding on to the truth that I could take action on these things no matter what my circumstances were.
That’s why I just wanted to reemphasize that. That goes the same for all these pillars. If we move over to love, like you were talking about, that one is probably at the base of the 12 pillars. The poster says, “Love unconditionally. Show compassion. What matters more?”
And I asked that question to myself at the end of that because there’s nothing. For me, that is the ultimate answer in life. That’s the ultimate reason why I have joy and why I’m happy and why I don’t experience suffering despite the pain and the physical challenges, why I’m able to overcome those, because of giving love unconditionally.
An example of that that I’ll just tell you that I do for myself to live that pillar, this is what I do that anybody can do in any circumstance, no matter how much pain you’re in. It’s an amazingly healing thing to do emotionally and, I believe, physically. That is just sitting wherever you are and thinking thoughts of love toward anybody and everybody.
If I’m in a public place, just the people around me, instead of just looking around and seeing them or thinking about what pain I’m in or whatever, when I’m in the hospital and the nurse walks in, I think, I love you. You are amazing. I think that thought toward the other person, and then I think it toward anybody else that walks in.
Again, I wasn’t always perfect in doing this, but this was the action, and when I would do that, within moments, my heart would start to shift, my feelings would start to get better, and the energy would just change. It changed my whole perspective, changed my whole mood.
There’s something about the energy of your thoughts. When you just think these loving thoughts toward yourself or toward other people, it just does amazing things. I don’t know how to explain it.
I know there’s scientific evidence based upon all this stuff. If you looked at quantum physics and all these other movies and things that have been presented, I’m not the expert in telling you why; I just know that it works amazingly. That’s my thought on that one.
Yuri: That’s something that I’ve started to adopt recently. One of the things that I’ve found with that is automatically suspends judgment of other people.
Aaron: Exactly. How can you be thinking, if I think to you right now, Yuri, I love you, first of all, I’m not thinking about myself. I’m not caught up and consumed in myself; I’m thinking about you. And how can I judge you, thinking, Man, you have so many problems, if I’m thinking that I love you in my head?
Yuri: Yeah, that’s probably the most compelling thing for me. If I’m walking down a street and there’re a lot of people and it’s really busy, instead of being annoyed with all the busyness and people bumping in to you and stuff, just a quick shift of thought and just saying I love you or those types of thoughts, it’s amazing what that does. I’m happy you brought that up because it’s so easy to do and it’s choice.
For whatever reason, if people don’t choose to do that, then that’s obviously their choice, but I would interested in figuring out why they wouldn’t be open to doing that. It’s not like you have to go out and vocally express your love to other people. You could if you want to but…
Aaron: That’s what I think a lot of people think when they see that pillar, “love unconditionally.” I don’t think it’s natural for people to think how do I love unconditionally.
It starts with the way you’re thinking, and it can be as simple as that. I think for me in the past, before I realized this stuff, I kind of didn’t feel like that loving of a person. I didn’t feel like I was that good at serving people. I kind of felt insecure about my ability to love. When it came down to realizing I don’t have to do anything to be loving unconditionally, because it starts with just thinking; actions will flow out of that naturally. I think it’s an important distinction right there.
Yuri: One of the first times I heard that or something similar to this was from Louise Hay and her book How You Can Heal Your Life. She talked about just looking in the mirror and looking yourself in the eyes in the mirror and just saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you” and just doing that several times a day to the point where you actually believe it.
She’s worked, I guess her specialty is working with people on that kind of spiritual level and kind of deeper emotional stuff, and she found that, consistently, people who developed cancer and all these other conditions had specific emotions attached to them, whether they be resentment or guilt or anger or whatever. Across the board, the number one thing is simply love. If you just express or say “I love you” internally, it just dissolves everything over time.
Aaron: Yes. And I want to bring up a point on that because it reminded me from the healing standpoint, if people were to watch the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? it highlights this study that was done on the water, which kind of impacted my thinking about this whole love thing and how impactful it is on our health.
This is where I really think it applies to your audience, when we’re talking about health and nutrition. That gives an example where they did this study where these people would think thoughts of love toward water, and then they froze it and sliced it after it was frozen.
And the water that had loving thought toward it—because thought is energy; that’s a proven fact, thought is energy and it’s proven largely by this experiment. They looked at the frozen water molecules, and it turned in to this beautiful crystal. And then they had other water where they had people specifically thinking thoughts of hate toward the water, and when they froze it and sliced it, it showed this massive, jumbled mess of lines. It was so striking a difference.
They give the example of how your body’s made up of however huge percentage of water, and you’re thinking hateful thoughts toward yourself. What effect are you literally having physically by thinking hate on those cells versus thinking love upon yourself physically? I think it’s a fascinating thing to be aware of.
Yuri: Yeah, totally. I don’t know if you read the book The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto. He, very similarly, it actually may have come out of the same…
Aaron: It might be that same study that was referred to in that movie. What is it?
Yuri: He basically was saying you could put just a little label, just “I love you” or “Love” at the bottom of a water bottle. What’s cool is that I have that on one of my water bottles. It’s completely glass, so when I drink the water, I’m actually looking at this thing that says “I love you.” It’s interesting because, I guess energetically, the water is kind of blessed from that perspective, but also looking at that as you’re drinking it is pretty cool.
Aaron: Yeah, this stuff is really fascinating because it’s not so cut-and-dry like you take a pill and this thing happens, but there’s so much to the energy of thought and stuff and the power of self-healing, like our other friend Fab wrote about. There’s so much to this stuff.
Yuri: Yeah, and I really do believe that this is the stuff that does make the biggest difference, and it’s the stuff you’ll get the most flack for from the medical community. Even your friends. Some friends might be like, “I don’t believe in that woo-woo stuff,” or your doctor might be like, “There’s no scientific evidence for this.” I would respond by saying, “Yet.”
Aaron: Yeah, exactly.
Yuri: Yet. We didn’t know a lot of the stuff we know now a hundred years ago. We’re moving pretty exponentially in the right direction technologically with all these innovations. I’m happy that our audience that listens to this is very open-minded to a lot of this stuff because, again, we could talk about food all day, we could talk about exercise, but this, I really do believe that the mind-set and the emotions and all this stuff is probably more powerful.
It’s the invisible, I believe, that’s more powerful than the visible. I want to thank you, Aaron, for raking the time to come on here and share your story and your wisdom with us. It’s been really awesome.
Aaron: Yeah, my pleasure. Anytime, anytime. Thank you for having me.
Yuri: Yeah, definitely. Once again, for everyone listening, if you want to learn more about what Aaron’s up to, at the very minimum, get the poster. I think I’m actually going to get the poster as well, because it’s awesome.
Aaron: Don’t order it; I’ll send you one over as a thanks for hosting me.
Yuri: Well, thank you. But for everyone else, go to TrulyAmazingLife.com, and there’s a link at the top that says “Poster.” Who would not benefit from having this in the room? It would be just truly awesome.
And then, obviously, you can grab a copy of his book on Amazon; it’s Positive-Thinking Secret. And if you’ve enjoyed what we’ve been discussing, you’ll probably want to go a lot deeper with it, so you can learn more about Aaron and what he’s up to.
There we go. Thank you once again, everyone listening, thank you, Aaron, for joining me, and I look forward to seeing you guys on the next episode.
Aaron: Talk to you soon.
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