Yesterday, I told you I had an exceptional episode for you today…
Well, I didn’t fib.
You see, we have a special guest joining us today for an exclusive LFT interview.
His name is Steve Cooksey.
He’s the pioneer behind the Diabetes Warrior blog. A blog that Steve started to share his incredible story with the world.
He’s known and revered for two reasons:
One, he’s learned how to “slaughter” diabetes by… literally… going against the grain.
Two, the state of North Carolina tried to shut him down for ‘administering health advice without a license’… and he fought the law…
And, with the helping hand of one libertarian law firm, he won.
If you haven’t heard of this incredible man or his incredible blog, well, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
More on that in a moment…
First, I should tell you that the clock is winding down. We’re getting close, dear LFT reader, to the BIG reveal…
I’m talking about, of course, the “Grand Plan” I’ve been harping on about all week…
This secret project — with Brad Lemley at the helm — is humming along nicely. And it’s almost time for us to pull back the curtains.
Tomorrow, on top of Luke’s weekender issue, you’ll receive an email from our Director, Doug Hill.
Keep your eyes peeled.
Don’t miss it.
OK. We’re almost ready. Our interview with Steve Cooksey will begin in a few moments.
First, a little background is needed. A colleague has graciously agreed to give you the lowdown…
“Mr. Cooksey,” Dave Gonigam of 5 Min. Forecast fame reported last Thursday, “is a Type 2 diabetic who got off insulin and medication by following a low-carbohydrate paleo diet.
“He blogged frequently about his experience, complete with meal plans and recipes, at his Diabetes Warrior website.”
Dave has been tracking Steve for three years — when his story first hit the news feeds.
That’s when, Dave recalls, “Cooksey’s site incurred the wrath of the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition.
“The board notified him he was providing dietary and nutritional advice without a license. The bureaucrats even helpfully sent printouts of his blog entries with the offending portions red-lined.
“Cooksey went to court. Three years later, the following appears on his site…
Two weeks ago, says Dave, “the matter ended in a whimper, as the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition voted to adopt new guidelines allowing bloggers to blog freely.”
So that’s the story about Cooksey’s legal triumph.
But let’s take a deeper look into Steve’s health transformation, which is equally as impressive.
Before Cooksey’s metamorphosis, he ate a typically American diet…
“I was an obese, sedentary, recently-diagnosed diabetic when I began this journey,” Steve writes on his blog.
“I was on diabetes, cholesterol, and hypertension drugs, as well as taking four insulin shots per day.
“I was eating ALL the wrong foods.
“I thought I knew how to eat… you know… whole grains, lean meats, milk, juices, fruits and vegetables.
“Only… it was not unusual for me to eat all those things… in addition to french fries, “BO-rounds,” buns, bread, cakes, cookies, granola bars, “protein bars,” sweet tea, gatorades, pepsi.
“And usually, I had a couple of beers at the end of the day… just to calm my nerves.”
“Not only did my old lifestyle produce an abundance of fat,” Steve goes on, “it also produced, not surprisingly, an abundance of health problems.
“In February 2009,” Steve goes on, “after being sick for a week and after several doctor’s appointments, I told my wife to take me to Urgent Care.
“After arrival and a few tests, I was informed that an ambulance was on it’s way to take me to the hospital.
“It turned out that my blood sugar was over 700 and I was suffering from diabetes.
“Later, a nurse told me that when I arrived, I was close to going into a diabetes-induced coma.
“The doctor informed me that I had an A1C that was too high to read and that I was likely a Type-1 Diabetic and would be on Insulin and medications for the rest of my life.”
But Steve didn’t take the news lying down. He used it as a springboard to change his life…
“My transformation actually began Day Two in the hospital,” Steve recalls. “I began curling the large Aquafina water bottles and walking around my room doing lunges.
“That was the day I was told that I was diabetic and that I would likely be on insulin for the rest of my life.
“And that was the day I decided that I would do everything I could to reverse this, so that I would not be chained to the readings and the shots.”
And after much experimentation and research, Steve discovered a way. (He’ll share that with you today in our interview. We’ll begin in a moment.)
As a result of this lifestyle change, Steve lost a whopping 70 pounds.
Today, he’s a new man.
Unlike the old Steve, he now has zero hypertension. Zero indigestion. And, incredibly, he’s been able to stop injecting insulin and taking any medication.
Check out his “before and after” ailment chart…
It didn’t take long for Steve to realize he was onto something.
And he also realized how many people were suffering unnecessarily simply because they didn’t know what he knew.
Things that their doctors weren’t telling them.
So he started his Diabetes Warrior blog.
But with the creation of Diabetes Warrior, Steve also invited trouble…
“When the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition found out,” our own Nate Rifkin explains, “they investigated and harassed him with copies of his own blog posts, complete with warnings scribbled in red ink, threatened him with legal action for the free advice he gave to readers, friends, and family…”
But, once again, Steve didn’t back down.
With the help of the libertarian law firm The Institute for Justice, Steve fought back…
And, yes, he won.
OK. That’s Steve’s quick-and-dirty background…
We’ll let him fill in the details.
CHRIS: First, on behalf of all of us here at Laissez Faire, thanks for sitting down with us today. We really appreciate it.
STEVE: It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
CHRIS: Now… before we get into your legal battle with the state of North Carolina, we’d love to hear about your perception of the typical American diet, as prescribed to us by the medical/nutritional complex.
And, of course, how you overcame it by bucking the “official” recommendations.
I am critical of the medical industry as a whole. And this includes doctors.
I do not question the motives of individual doctors, but their advice typically falls in line with the standard high carb, grain-based diabetes protocol.
The medical industry generally does not treat disease… it treats symptoms, an important distinction.
CHRIS: Right. Very important.
But too many people aren’t aware that this distinction even exists. Which, I suppose, is half the problem.
So, OK. You were diagnosed with diabetes.
And then what happened? How did you discover that a low-carb paleo diet would set you right?
STEVE: Right. Yeah…
Well, my personal general physician helped me on my way by suggesting a ‘glycemic index’ diet book.
I don’t recommend this book, but it did show me that by reducing carbohydrates, I required less insulin and less drugs.
So I thought… hmmm what if I eat even less carbohydrates by cutting out grains and sugars entirely?
Ultimately, I weaned off drugs and insulin, and I maintain truly normal blood sugars.
CHRIS: Amazing. And also a little disturbing, no?
This pretty much goes against what we’re taught about what to eat. It’s a shame that we are still being fed the same tired advice when it’s clearly not making us healthier.
I digress… preaching to the choir, I know.
OK. Next question.
From breakfast to dinner, what is your diet and exercise plan during a typical day?
STEVE: Well… my diet is fatty meats, leafy green vegetables, eggs, coconut oil and butter. I will eat nuts and berries on occasion, usually only in season.
For breakfast, I usually have coffee with coconut oil and butter. I use about 1 tablespoon of each per cup.
CHRIS: Nice. A few of us down at our Baltimore headquarters have the same morning coffee ritual.
I think it was our publisher, Joe Schriefer, who says it’s changed his life.
It’s definitely becoming a thing. OK… so what about lunch?
STEVE: For lunch, I have two to three pork chops or four chicken thighs or a half-pound of hamburger… or five to six soft-boiled eggs with a “handful” of a green vegetable.
Things like spinach, broccoli… or greens I forage myself, such as dandelion leaves.
And for dinner, I have pretty much the same as lunch.
Also, I should add, I drink alcohol about once a month. Unless I’m on vacation. And I normally drink a dry, red wine.
CHRIS: Excellent. And again, mind-blowing.
Because it couldn’t be further from what we’re taught is “good for us.” It pretty much flips the traditional food pyramid on its head.
OK. So what about exercise? What’s your routine?
STEVE: Well, I usually have a chest day of push-ups, and then legs by doing air squats and lunges.
And then a bicep and back day by doing curls and rows.
I normally exercise around lunch time. I’ll do those exercises with dumbbells and throw in Kettle Bell swings as well.
And I’ll add in core workouts too… V-ups, sit ups, planks, the works.
I try to work out outside as much as possible… and barefoot and shirtless.
And once a week, I like to run sprints for 15-30 minutes. Almost daily, I like to walk the dog or ride my bike… or both.
CHRIS: Sounds like a pretty solid routine. Good stuff.
So, OK. You figured out how to regulate your blood sugar without insulin or medication.
And when you discovered how well it works, you started a blog helping other diabetics achieve the same great results. Tell us more about that…
STEVE: I like to educate, motivate and entertain.
The blog is about those things. The education piece is not just about how to reduce blood sugars, but also people need to know that they are being lied to.
If not, they won’t believe an ‘internet blogger’ over their medical industry professional.
So I try to highlight and point out the insanity in the Big Food, Big Pharma and Medical Industry.
CHRIS: Yep. That’s an essential piece. There’s a lot of insanity to cover. And that’s great. People really need to understand what’s going on.
Alright… so you’re writing this blog.
How did the State of North Carolina first contact you, and what did they say you were doing wrong?
STEVE: I received a phone call stating that a complaint had been made about my website and a formal investigation was being conducted.
The lady, the director, said that her personal review highlighted several violations such as giving dietary and nutritional advice, counseling and assessing… all without a license.
Additionally, she said there were several things I could do immediately that would show the board a good faith attempt to comply with state law.
CHRIS: And what were those things?
STEVE: No prominent disclaimer… which I added to the bottom of every page… discontinue the ‘Dear Abby,’ posts and take down the coaching support pages, which I complied with.
CHRIS: OK. So how did the Institute For Justice get involved with helping you?
STEVE: They had several on their staff who were paleo-friendly and heard about it from social media.
Several people referred me to them and I was going to contact them, had they not contacted me.
I voluntarily agreed to dismiss the case, ONLY after the board agreed to revise its guidelines.
The dismissal was conditioned on the board revising its guidelines that would allow me to continue to help people as I had once done… by providing dietary and nutritional advice.
The state doesn’t send out cease and desist letters if the citizens have done nothing wrong… or do they?
CHRIS: Funny thing is, had the state not gotten involved, your blog wouldn’t have blown up like it has.
The “Streisand Effect” strikes again.
So here’s an interesting question… on your blog, you recommend a diet which flies in the face of the government’s asinine food pyramid, or plate, or whatever shape they have it in now.
Do you think the state of North Carolina would have harassed you, and threatened you, if you gave out diet advice…
But, you know, toed the official line and recommended the typical ‘high-carb, trust your doctor, get a prescription’ nonsense?
STEVE: From what I was told, the board heard about my website from a lady who attended a nutritional seminar that I attended.
I was vocal in my opposition to the ADA style diabetes protocol the diabetes educator was promoting.
She was an obese, drug- and insulin-dependent diabetic, like I had been, teaching people to be like her.
I could not sit on my hands.
The board received the complaint about me.
It’s just my opinion, but had I been promoting the standard eat bread, pasta, cereals and bananas… I doubt the board would have given my little blog another thought.
I do know one thing. I know they wish they had not threatened me in attempts to shut me up.
CHRIS: I’m sure of it too. But I’m sure glad it was you they threatened!
Thank you so much, Steve.
You’re doing admirable work and keep it up!
STEVE: Thank you. And thanks for having me!
[Ed. note: If you want to learn more about Steve’s journey, check out his Diabetes Warrior blog at this link.]
Before we go, we have time for one letter from the mailbag…
One reader, Larry W., and his wife have been on a similar journey.
And they came to precisely the same conclusion about nutrition.
“25 years ago,” Larry W. writes, “my wife had an autoimmune implosion and was close to death.
“Conventional medicine was useless, offering only drugs and surgeries aimed at symptoms. These would worsen the underlying problems.
“She stumbled on advice that wheat often was a culprit in these situations. Of course, sugar and alcohol are too.
“To support her challenge of going cold-turkey on those, I went along. There was much social stigma to overcome. It took a decade for her to regain her health. Might have been less if our children had not mutated into teenagers.
“Finally, the books Wheat Belly and Grain Brain have convinced our surviving friends we were not nutcases after all. Alas, many did survive their embrace of the all-American diet.
“I also got turned on to stretching as a young adult, when it was not cool for real or fake men. Advise reading a book or two about orthopedics to anyone interested in stretching, Yoga, etc.
“Finally, I got involved with Race-Walking a couple of years ago. Race walking done right is an aerobic glide across the earth without joint pounding and damage. Getting the technique right is a mental challenge. The associated flexing exercises are super.
“Bottom line: 70 years old, 100/80 blood pressure, 6’2″, 148 lb., run a small company, heading for the Sr. Olympics this summer with my trim and sassy wife.
Thanks for sharing, Larry. That’s awesome.
And thanks again, Steve.
Great stuff all around.
That’s all we have for you today, dear LFT reader.
I’m on my way back to Baltimore. I’ll report in on the things I learned in NYC next week. (A good chunk of it has to do with self-publishing).
Don’t miss it.
Also, as mentioned, the “Grand Plan” will be revealed on Monday. Watch out for Doug’s email about it tomorrow.
Have an amazing weekend. And make it count!
I’ll see you Monday.