We all have pivotal moments in our lives. Something happens, and from then on, nothing is ever the same.
There are of course the beautiful, positive ones like a marriage or the birth of a child…
But there are also the moments that can be much more frightening. The death of a loved one. A diagnosis. An injury.
And as I get older (and hopefully a little wiser) I’ve noticed one thing over and over – what defines people is how they react to these moments.
We can’t always control what happens to us. We get sick. A parent or spouse dies. We fall down. But we can control how we react.
Today, we’re very excited to share the story of our friend Cavin. Cavin fell down and suffered a traumatic brain injury that doctors said should have killed him.
Not only did Cavin not die – he is now thriving in ways he never before thought possible. It all came down to how he reacted to his injury.
The most important thing he did? He changed the way he ate to fuel his brain.
Traumatic brain injuries are something we don’t talk about enough – and something we certainly don’t discuss being connected to nutrition – so I’m overjoyed to have Cavin share in his own words how SCD and diet were integral in his healing process.
It was only six years ago that I was lying in a hospital bed, unable to walk, talk or eat, wondering what my future would hold. Today, I do so much more than anyone dared to hope.
Nutrition has been key in my recovery from the fall that left me in a coma with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and only a 10% chance of ever emerging from a persistent vegetative state. Now, I share my story as a source of hope and inspiration.
I Never Thought I’d Care About Nutrition For The Brain
I grew up eating what you would consider a typical Italian-American diet. My grandma’s lasagna was my favorite comfort food! When I lived in New York City in my early 20s, pizza was a frequent staple of my diet.
I never would have imagined that I would one day write a book about optimal nutrition for brain function and repair. I couldn’t imagine I’d quit eating those foods – let alone that I would be encouraging others to cut out these kinds of gluten-containing comfort foods from their diet, too. I didn’t plan it — I kind of fell into it. Literally.
The Fall That Started It All
In 2011, I fell 20 feet from a rooftop water tower in New York City. My head struck a steel beam on the way down before crashing onto the concrete rooftop below.
I was immediately rushed to the hospital and put on life support. While in a coma, an MRI revealed a severe diffuse axonal injury, which is one of the most devastating types of brain injury.
Statistically, over 90 percent of patients with this injury never regain consciousness, and most that do, often remain in a persistent vegetative state.
I was comatose for weeks and was unable to eat, walk, or talk for months. I was breathing through a tube in my neck, receiving processed liquid hospital formula through a tube in my belly, and my left hand was completely flexed inward.
Before my fall, I was a twenty-seven-year-old musician and entrepreneur making music and sharing it with the world. My future was uncertain to say the least.
A ‘Miraculous’ Recovery
I was not supposed to live through this, but I did.
In fact, my recovery has been called miraculous by some.
Several months after my injury, I made some nutritional changes, cutting out those favorite comfort foods (sorry, grandma!) and adding in foods with brain-supportive nutrients.
Suddenly, I began regaining mental clarity. I then used that clarity to research why nutrition made such a difference and what I could do to give myself the best shot at recovery. This is when I found SCD Lifestyle through the podcasts and all the other great resources on the website.
My New Purpose In Life
Since then, I have devoted my life to studying metabolism, neuro-metabolism, nutrition, neuroscience, neuroplasticity, and related concepts, while reaching out to doctors, researchers, practitioners, and neuroscientists, to learn everything I can to optimize my brain function and recovery.
I started a blog and then a podcast, AdventuresinBrainInjury.com, where I interview doctors, practitioners, researchers, and others involved in neurorehabilitation and brain function.
I founded Feed a Brain as an outlet to share practices to support brain health, including the types of nutritional changes that made such a difference in my recovery.
More Than A Full Recovery
Through everything I have learned, I managed not only to survive, but also to thrive.
I have recovered beyond all expectations. I now drive, ride motorcycles, camp, play guitar, sing, swim, and practice martial arts! I even do back flips off of diving boards!
I truly believe in the mantra “Food is Medicine” and I live true to it. I do not see my nutritional “limitations” as deprivation, but as a mindful choice that allows me to live my best life.
Sharing My Experience With Others
The TBI hit a restart button and led me to my life’s work. Now I’m a podcaster, blogger, coach, speaker, and author, with more big plans to come.
The book I am releasing in December is the culmination of everything I’ve learned about nutrition through this journey. It’s called How to Feed a Brain: Nutrition for Optimal Brain Function and Repair.
I strive to show people the way to making meaningful food choices that will include specific nutrients needed for our brain functions, plus I provide them with helpful tools to make the process easier.
I’m excited to help others find the courage to make powerful changes in their health and change their lives for the better one bite at a time.
That’s a pretty incredible story, right? It truly blew me away and I’m honored to know Cavin.
If you want to get started on SCD yourself, you can get our free SCD Quick Start Guide here.
P.S. – Have you or someone you know had a traumatic brain injury? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.