Aaron's Plant-Based Healing Journey From Alcoholism

If you're struggling with addiction or considering making a switch to a plant-based diet, then this podcast interview with Aaron Calder is a must-listen! As someone who has been through the trenches of alcohol addiction and came out the other side, Aaron provides valuable insights into overcoming addiction. He also shares how switching to a plant-based diet has improved his liver, cholesterol, and blood pressure. But perhaps most importantly, Aaron offers mindset tips for making any transition in life - whether it's quitting alcohol or going vegan. If you're looking for inspiration and practical advice, this interview is definitely worth a listen!
Hosted by
Laurie Marbas
Last updated
October 14, 2022


00:01:36 Introduction
00:02:43 How Aaron became addicted to alcohol
00:16:14 What caused Aaron to decide to stop drinking alcohol
00:20:15 The start of Aaron's plant-based journey
00:23:15 Aaron's doctor's reaction to switching to a plant-based diet
00:34:19 Aaron's advice to others facing addiction

Episode Transcript

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Welcome to the podcast. I'm Dr. Laurie Marbas, and today I'm super excited to welcome Aaron Calder. How are you today?

Aaron Calder:I'm good, thank you. How are you?

Dr. Laurie Marbas: I'm very good. Thank you. So you're joining us from the uk. I appreciate you staying up late for us, <laugh>.

Aaron Calder: Oh, pleasure. Thank you for asking.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Oh, absolutely. So you have a unique story. I, I'm honestly, I'm, I'm thinking about all the interviews that I've done and I haven't spoken to anyone with a particular story like yours surrounding, you know, liver disease and other things, especially with alcoholism and your journey which I find utterly fascinating, especially as you tie it into the diet. But can you tell us a little bit about your history, where you're from and how you grew up, and then kind of how that evolved into where you got sick?

Aaron Calder: Yeah, so, so I live in, in the UK in Brighton. I've lived in Brighton probably for maybe 15 years, maybe longer. But originally I'm from a place called Tum Bridge. But yeah, but basically I had like I dunno if it's different around the world, but in the UK there's sort of like a lot of binge drinking going on with young people. So sort of as soon as I hit 16, 17 going out and things like that, I would binge drink. Just at the weekend,

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Is it legal to drink at 16 in the

Aaron Calder: Uk? No, no, it's, it's 18, but a lot of people, Oh, 18. Yeah, a lot of people drink we could get hold of alcohol or use fake id, things like that. Gotcha. So yeah, I would binge drink a lot. I was very, very shy, very sensitive insecure. So alcohol was a big sort of confidence booster for me. And didn't, you know, I think it was Ty, it was very typical of, of a teenager or a young person to go out and do that. Didn't ever think it would become a problem. And then I went to, I think the next step was I went to work in London as a personal assistant. And then again, there's a lot of drinking in London. You know, I'd never really seen the culture where you finish work and you have a glass of wine, you go out, have a glass of wine go clubbing, you have vodka, et cetera.

Aaron Calder: So it started to get, go from binge drinking at the weekends when I went out to a glass of wine here and there in the evening. And that went on for quite a few years. And then I did know, I did start to think this could be a problem. So I did talk to a couple of people. I spoke to my boss about it just for advice, and he just said, Oh, you know, most people drink. He drank, you know, most evenings. And then it sort of really got to a problem when I was in my late twenties where I just became sort of unhappy with sort of a lot of things in life and my work still very insecure and un confident. And then yeah, so I, I would drink on my own in the evenings, a bottle of wine that went, became two bottles of wine.

Aaron Calder: Then that sort of went on to become like sort of two and a half bottles of wine. And then I would get the shakes in the morning feel dreadful, couldn't really function. And that's when it became a real problem where I would think, Oh, if I just have a little glass of wine or a little bit of vodka it'll make me feel normal and I'd get me through the day. And I did that for a long time until it became, I became alcohol dependent. So I couldn't, you know, as much as I didn't want to drink and I knew it was a problem it, yeah, it completely sort of took over my life where I had to drink in order to, to function.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Yeah. I think it's important for people to know, just on a a physiologic level, what's going on in the body. You do, you become literally addicted and it can actually be dangerous to stop alcohol very quickly. Can can have, like you said, the shakes that you were having, the tremors Yeah. Can lead to seizures and death. It's a very serious situation. So how old were you at this point when things really hit rock bottom, would you say?

Aaron Calder: I was probably, well, rock bottom was probably about 31. Yeah. Maybe 31, 32. Okay. Where people were noticing I was drinking a lot. I was drinking at work. I was what you would call a functioning alcoholic, so I could drink a lot and hide it. So, you know, I could go out with family, going to work and be drinking and just function normally. But if I hadn't drunk, I wouldn't have been able to function it, it was sort of that bad, you know, as I said, the shake sweating I'd be vomiting and I'd, I'd had vodka to stop me vomiting. Wow. I guess my body was going into sort of shock in the morning or something because I hadn't had any, anything to drink for a while. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, <affirmative>. Yeah. And then I started to, you know, get ill you know, swallow ankles jaundice yeah.

Aaron Calder: Vomiting all the time, not eating properly. And still I was incomplete denial thinking I will stop one day lying to people saying, Oh, you know, I've got an eye infection when my eyes were a bloodshot. Sometimes people say, Oh, I can smell alcohol on you, and I'll be like, Oh yeah, I did have a drink last night. And anything, anything to, to cover it up. Right. And then that eventually led to me having a couple of funny terms at work where a first aid agent said I said to, I had swollen ankles, and she said, It's gout. And I said, Well, you know, what causes gout? And she's run off a few different things. And then she said, Alcohol is one of them. And I said, Oh, no, I don't think it's alcohol. And I went to hospital and they, you know, they, they said, you know, you've got jaice you've got gal we've done some tests and your liver functions not great.

Aaron Calder: And they said, Can we, we're gonna keep you in? But I refused. Came home, still carried on drinking. Yeah. And then eventually did go back in where they kept me in for a while, detoxed me. This was sort of like the, the start gets even worse. And then yeah, detoxed me I stopped drinking for a while. I, it was very, very hard not to drink. Yeah. And then stupidly, after a few weeks, they said, Oh, your liver function's returning to normal. And I took that as I can have a drink again, and started drinking. And then literally that was the, the rock, you know, rock bottom where I got really, really bad. Yeah.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: So can you walk us through that event, those events as things got really tough and life threatening for you?

Aaron Calder: Yeah. So I, it, it got to the point where work sent me home and they said, We're giving you some time off. They didn't actually acknowledge the alcohol. They said, We know, you know, you're not yourself, your you know, you need some time to sort yourself out. They had actually said a couple of times people had smelled alcohol on me, but they never sort of took any further action. And yeah, that, so I had, I think it was a week, a week or two weeks off. And during those two weeks sort of, I was losing function in my legs. So I found it very, very difficult to stand up. My balance was all over the place. Vomiting you know, I literally, I'd drink, go to bed, wake up, I have some water cause I was so dehydrated. Throw that up up and then I'd go and find vodka wherever I'd hidden it the night before. Start drinking that meat from the bottle, throw that up, and then keep drinking until I stopped throwing up. And then I sort of felt like I was functioning normally. Just felt normal, didn't feel drunk, just felt normal as I do now.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Wow. Wow. So then at that point you were also having what happened the night that you went to the hospital?

Aaron Calder: Yeah. So the, so the, the second time was I had been out with friends for a birthday party, said I wasn't gonna drink, but it was sort of in a, in a field we were camping out for the night. So it was so easy to, to access alcohol, which I did. Told everyone I was, you know, just said I was drinking orange juice, but I was putting vodka in there. And then I woke up in the morning and I remember I had this horrible metallic taste, which now I, I know is I think the iron in the blood that was, I was, well basically I started to, to be sick cuz I normally would. But it was blood. And of course anyone vomiting blood, you, you know, I'm member of my heart just completely dropped. And I thought, Oh God, this is it.

Aaron Calder: You know, if I'm gonna die dunno what to do. Managed to sort of stop being sick, Pulled myself together, went and sort of spoke to my partner and things like that. And then I was sick again. And that's when I said, you know, I said to him like I'm, I'm vomiting blood, we need to go home. Got home, carried on, throwing up god knows how I survived this. But went to bed for about two hours, woke up and sort of thought, Oh, I'm, hopefully I'll be okay. And began vomiting again. That's when he took me to the hospital. But it was sort of, it was so bad. I actually thought at one point I'm vomiting up bits of my liver cuz it was lumpy, but I think it was where the blood, blood was plotting. Yeah. threw up in the car all over myself.

Aaron Calder: Wow. Got to the hospital. He went to check me in. I rushed to the toilet and gave, throwing up. And then I'm thinking, this is a lot of blood, you know, Oh gosh, this is really bad. And then they bought me like a sick tray out to hold and then they saw me throwing up and that's when they said, Look, we we're getting you in. And then I, and then after that I just rem remember laying on a bed telling my partner, you know, you go home, look after the dogs, I'll be okay. And then I sort of, then after that was a bit of a blackout until I woke up the next day.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Wow. Wow. So what did they do for you during that time? Did I mean they, obviously you had VAEs or basically it's dilated blood vessels that surround the esophagus, the tube where you swallow. And it basically the, the, just for people to understand the scarring, I guess you could describe or the swelling of the liver causes where it doesn't go through the, the liver's unable to filter the blood and it backs up. And Yeah. Most people who end up in that situation don't survive. And so, yeah. Is considered a gift that you're not done with your mission on this earth yet. So, I mean, that's amazing. So what were your thoughts when you woke up the next morning? Cuz that's kind of the first day of the rest of your life sort of thing, Right?

Aaron Calder: Yeah. I dunno what, what medication they given me, but I was very groggy and still sort of in denial. And they remember they said, I think they said something like, I'd lost about two lit, I might have got this wrong cause I was two liters, not yeah, two liters of blood. And they give me, they said we had to give you a blood transfusion and they said there was seven viruses. They, they had to band where literally as you know, blood was literally just pumping in my esophagus into my stomach. And Yeah. And I've just felt awful. And I remember, I just thought, just, they kept thinking, I really, really want a glass of water. And they said, No, you can't because the water can start the bleeding again. So they had, they said, You're on a drip, you'll be fine.

Aaron Calder: I was like, No, I'm really thirsty. So they gave me like a little sponge to dip in water and it was that, that was really, I remember that, that was really bad. And then they yeah, although I, I was very groggy probably like hallucinating as well. Some things I'm not sure if they were really happening. But yeah, they started to say, you know, the doctors would come in and say, We've done some tests your livers failing. You've got kidney damage your spleens damaged, you've managed malnourished gout, blah, blah, blah, all these different things. And they said basically it's, you know, it's not, it's not good. So I didn't, you know, I think a lot of people would've been really worried, but I just thought, I think at the, actually at the time I was so depressed and just had given up on life which is probably why I was drinking so much. I just thought what whatever happens, happens. Yeah. So that was,

Dr. Laurie Marbas: So you had your journey in the hospital, which was quite amazing. So that was a two week?

Aaron Calder: Yeah, it was about, I think it was about 13 days when I was there. Wow. Which is great.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: <Laugh>, what changed for you? Like, what, what allowed you to go from attempting to quit or having the thoughts of quitting to really being able to, like what, what changed in your mind, your thoughts? What, what was it that really was the, the important piece? Or were there multiple things?

Aaron Calder: I think one thing that stood out was one of the doctors said to me if you have one more drink, you'll die. Wow. Yeah. They said it, they said, it's that bad. They said, Your liver won't, won't handle it. You, you know, you'll, and if it does for a very short period, you'll carry on drinking to it just packs in. And it was also the the constant blood tests. I had an oxygen mask. I had, you know, cannulas had things on my chest and I remember you know, I just couldn't move. I just wanted to sort of roll over and sort of go to sleep. But I felt like I was sort of almost sort of tied up. And I had fluid on my abdomen, which they had to syringe out. I dunno if that's the right term.

Aaron Calder: That was really painful. And it was really humiliating as well just to be in the hospital, you know? No, and people, and I think, you know, people, nurses and stuff would, would probably think, Oh, he's a not that ever came across that way, but, you know, he's got himself in that state through drinking. Whereas as people in there that have got cancer or, you know, been hit by a car that really do need, need help. But yeah. Sorry to go back to your question. Yeah, I, it is, it is very, very long journey, but yeah, but it, it started in the hospital and I think I just had to admit to myself, I can't drink again. You know, I need to, to get help. And they did. They, they said, you know, we're gonna send you to a two week, you know, daily, two week rehab. We'll get you counseling, we'll get you medication. So yeah, that was sort of where I, I thought, you know, I really need to sort myself out and I can't, can't do this anymore.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: What year was this?

Aaron Calder: Well the year, God, it was would've been 10, 0, 10 years ago. So 2012. 12, Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Wow. Okay. So was there anything that's special that happened in your time in rehab or after your time that really helped you stick to it? Cuz I mean, rehab is obviously, it's a controlled space. They literally have you captain in the sense that you're, everything is given and you have support. What happens when you go home? Like, what was that transition like?

Aaron Calder: Yeah, you have, you have to use it, have a lot of strength. So all the, all the alcohol was taken out out of the house. I know my family and my partner were very conscious of not drinking around me or being careful if I was out. You know, maybe keeping an eye on me and stuff. But yeah, it was you know, listening to other people's stories. Also, I, I think the biggest thing, which I always say to people that, cause I get quite a few people email me and stuff, is, is the number one thing is you have to admit you've got a problem. And you, you know, as soon as you do that, everything starts to, to sort of change. If you don't do that, you can, you know, you're gonna slip up, you're gonna relapse. Yeah. So yes, support and yeah, admitting that you've got a problem. And I'm very much once I, I think it's probably most addictive. People like it once I just put my mind to something, I just think, Right, that's it. I'm gonna do it a hundred percent. And I,

Dr. Laurie Marbas: So whether good or bad, right, <laugh>.

Aaron Calder: Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. So a lot of, yeah. So when people ask for advice about addiction, I say, Well, find something you like that you can be addicted to, but find something good <laugh>. So for me, it would be like my posting my meals or, you know, looking into nutrition and things like that, going to the gym.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Awesome. Well, let's talk about that then. So tell us a little bit about the dietary journey, because you said you were vegetarian at some points and then decided to go plant based, but there was some interesting tests that were happening with your liver, correct?

Aaron Calder: Yeah. So I, I'd been vegetarian since I was 11. Not particularly healthy vegetarian in hospital. They gave you lots of build up drinks that were dairy. Which looking back I probably think might have hindered slightly my healing progress. But yeah, my, the, my, I have to go to the hospital a lot for scans, for checkups, blood tests and, you know, it was very, very slow. Sort of the progress to the point where I just thought I'm not gonna get better or it's gonna go downhill again. And there was one thing you probably have heard of it, of fiber scan. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> where they put a sort of laser on your liver and they can tell sort of the, the stiffness and how bad it is. And mine, when they did mine, they said the score was 75.

Aaron Calder: I said, Was that good or bad? They said, That's the, the top, the worst score. And I said, Well, what do you mean? They said, Well, it doesn't go any higher than 75. And I remember the the specialist face, face as if there's something sort of dropped as if to say, how is this guy still alive and functioning? And with that and then that, I think because I'd always been interested in health and things, I watched a couple of things on Netflix about diet. And a plant-based diet just kept coming up all the time. You know, people would healed lots of many different things. But I was very skeptical thinking, Well, you know, you need milk for calcium protein, you need cheese, need eggs, you know, this and that. Cause that's what I'd been brought up to believe. And then I think after I'd watched another documentary, I thought, Right, this can't be coincidence.

Aaron Calder: Coincidence. It's gotta be something in this plant based diet. So I thought, I'll give it a go for a couple of weeks see if there's any changes and take it from there. So it was a slow transition. But yeah, I started changing what, what I eat. And then I did notice a lot of health ch you know, changes in my myself. And then I, but you do think, oh, is it just me imagining it? But anyway, sorry. Then I went on, went to the doctor again for the, to the specialist at the hospital. And he said he said, Well, you look amazing. You know, you, you've lost weight your cholesterol's good blood pressure's, perfect liver function functions come back really good. And he said, You know, what have you been doing? I, so I said, I've gone vegan. And he said, No, you can't go vegan. And I said, Well, why? And he said, It's not good, isn't he? I really don't recommend it. And I just remember,

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Just wanna make sure. So he said you were looking good and then suddenly said what you were doing was bad.

Aaron Calder: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No one can get their head around that. Even I, I sat there and I thought, Well, he's just said all these different things, <laugh>. And then I did, I did sort of think I questioned it and thought, you know, he's the doctor, the professional maybe, you know, I've been lucky and you know, it's not a long, you know, a long term health healthy thing to do. But the thing that got me was they did the fire BRI scan again. So I'd been the 75, I had two both for 75. That was over two years. And then the third one they said, Oh, it's, it's come down to 39. So I thought, wow. So not only had I lost weight and all these other amazing things and I just felt better, my skin was clearer. I thought, well, this is proof, you know, this is, you know, it's not just me making these things up, you know, professionals are telling me that I am getting better. So yeah, then I just continued with the plant based diet, trying to get lots of healthy and nutritious things into my body to try and to know speed up the healing process. And then, yeah, I've had a couple of fibro scans since, and the last one was 29. So it's still, is still dangerously high. But for me that it's come down that much I'm really pleased with.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Wow. So that's incredible. So you've had a significant improvement in liver Yeah. Function, be objective testing like labs and scans and different things. So you had mentioned as you were transitioning to a vegan diet that you noticed some health things. What were those by, by any chance? I could share.

Aaron Calder: Yeah. So my skin got clearer got less puffy, my digestion got better. One thing I was worried about was calcium, but I noticed my nails were growing faster and stronger and my hair seemed to be growing faster and stronger. A weird thing I noticed was my reflexes you know, like if you sort of knock something off a shelf and you sort of go to grab it mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and then like, it's 50 50 if you grab it. Or I would do something and I'll be really quick and I thinking, God, this, you know, this is something going, Yeah, I going on there. Yeah. And I just, I just felt so much better. And then I had, you know, as I had that backed up with, with tests yeah, more, just more energy. And then more recently I was always told, and I was really worried about it was because of the damaged you know, the viruses mm-hmm.

Aaron Calder: <Affirmative>, which I have to have an endoscopy every year just to see, you know, what it's like. They'd said, you know, you can't really do too much exercise because you're at risk of pressure. Plus the medication I was on it could cause damage. But during the lock, you know, during covid in the lockdown, I thought everyone was so bored, including me, I thought, I'm gonna do a bit of exercise. And it was fine. So when the gyms reopened, I thought, you know what, I'm gonna join a gym, haven't been in 13 years. Wow. And I go every day now. I've gone every day for, for over a year. So.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Wow. So you're reclaimed your life, but I am curious, so you've been drinking since you were so young. Do you feel like you missed out? Like is what is different? Cause you said you felt normal working and drinking. What is normal now? How is it different? Do, can you differentiate that? Is I just,

Aaron Calder: Yeah, you have to, you have to completely change your, your life and how you think. And it's difficult. Where I would go out to a dinner party or to a club or a bar and just drink and stay out late. Now I have, I would be more conscious and, you know, if I'm out with friends and they're drinking you know, I would say, I'm gonna go home now. And they're all, you know, understanding. I don't want to want, it's, I always say it's like, I always say to people, You've gotta be selfish, but fully, I need to think of a better word, but it's true because it's, it's self preservation. So, whereas sort of, most people will go to a dinner party and if someone's cooked, feel obliged to stay until the, the host, you know, has finished all the alcohol and it's gone midnight, you know, at six o'clock or you know, a couple of hours into the meal or something. Or obviously once I've had the meal and stuff and I've just feel like I've, you know, enough is enough and mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, I need to go home and just look after myself. So I guess I'm taking myself out of not so much temptation cause I don't feel tempted anymore, but just being more self aware and looking after myself.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: I think self preservation's a good word. Selfing. Yeah. <Laugh>.

Aaron Calder: Yeah. But yeah, you just, it's just yeah, you literally just have to change everything. And it's, you know, it's, it's a step by step thing. Doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen. You know, I've I think it was last, well, August, I was 10 years sober. Congratulations. Haven't touch. Thank you. Hadn't touched a drop. And I'm very, very lucky cause I don't get any cravings. There's al there's loads of alcohol in there. People bring alcohol around because, because not for me, just like for dinner parties and stuff. Cause my partner will like, have a drink. So if like we're having people around, they'll bring a bottle of wine and then when they leave, they'll not be one left. There's actually one sitting on the side there. But yeah, but I just doesn't, no temptation at all.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Mm. Yeah. You went through a lot. I mean, that would be enough to deter.

Aaron Calder: Yeah. <Laugh>.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: So getting more close to your diet, you said you like to share your food and recipes. It's, I would be ais not to ask what you eat in a day. Cuz that's a a a very common question people wanna know. So what are you eating and what do you recommend for those who, you know are traveling down a similar journey with your liver health and anything in particular that you found?

Aaron Calder: For me, it, it, at the start I was a lot more healthy in, you know, a lot more health conscious in the things that I ate. But because my, I'm feel now I'm at a stage where, so I've, like, when I had my last blood test, the doctor said to me, if they didn't know I had cirrhosis from the blood test, they wouldn't, they wouldn't know because it was perfect. You know, just the liver function, everything was fine. But because there is that underlying issue that they know about, obviously I, I still have to be, be careful. But yeah, I, I still, I sort of have a thing with food where I try and eat very, very healthy and then have once or twice a week junk food. But I balance it out. So like today, well today was a good day.

Aaron Calder: So I, I have porridge and put things like dates in it like soy milk or oak milk some protein powder just cause I'm going to the gym, obviously you don't need that. If you are not going to the gym, cuz you can get, get enough protein in the, in the diet anyway. Yeah. But, so I put lots of things like cinnamon, raisins, then I have apple strawberries, things like that. Mm. I don't have a big appetite. So for lunch I have a sort of a, a super food smoothie. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, which is banana o sly, you know, wheat grass. I just sort of throw anything in turmeric. Anything that you know, is like really nutritious anti-inflammatory, Throw that into boost my immunity and sort of help me heal even more. And then dinner I had go, I forgot this wasn't that long ago, I think I had for dinner. I can't remember. That's really bad. <Laugh>,

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Not-uncommon, not-uncommon.

Aaron Calder: Oh, was it? It'll come back. I, I had bread. So that is one that actually, one thing from the drinking is my memory as I've, like my memory is short term memory's really bad. That's one of the things that's not great. I'm gonna have to,

Dr. Laurie Marbas: What do you normally consume on your dinner times? Like what is a, what is your normal fair? Is it beans and grains or? Yeah, more vegetables. Like what do you do?

Aaron Calder: Yeah, lots of beans, lentils. I always have things I try and have, stay away from pro process things like white bread, white pasta. So I always have whole grain bread you know, whole grain cereal, things like that. I try and stay away from sugar and salts additives. No fizzy drinks. I have things like kombucha you know pressed juice, but not a huge amount. And yeah, I think all the green tea coffee, all these things sort of things that you hear about or, you know, in the, in the media or that you can read about where you hear, you know, like I've heard read quite a few times that coffee's got quite a good healing effect on the liver. So yeah, I have that, but again, not like loads and loads just like a couple day. Yeah, just try and sort of cram in as much as I can. Cause I, you know, it's, I hundred percent believe that's sort of got me to where I am today and sort of on the journey of healing and hopefully even more you know, next time I I go and have my fibro scan, I want 'em to say, you know, it's gone down even more. Mm-Hmm.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: <Affirmative>, well you've done a few things, right? So you removed the offensive things, the alcohol being the, the greatest of course. And then the junk and process. Use the dairy, you know, whatever you're eating on your vegetarian diet and then you introduced the healing stuff, plus you're sleeping better. The exercise. Yeah. All of that leads to a healthier body and you're, you have a remarkable ability to heal if you just get outta the way. That's why I tell people this gotta get out of your way. Your body will do what it needs to do for the most part. Yeah. Yeah. That's phenomenal. So what is the things that bit of advice that you like to give to people? I mean, what is, you know, you, you, you mentioned on your website, which is, you know, people will see it in the, the show knows aaron calder vegan.com and Instagram, same handle. That you really wanna share your message and be inspirational. So what have you found that people really resonate with and what's, what is your joy to bring to others from your experience?

Aaron Calder: From veganism or from drinking

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Or it doesn't matter, whatever you feel called to, to share.

Aaron Calder: Yeah, I think the, I think the, one of the things I, I very much believe that life is a journey and that we're here, you know, to learn better ourselves. So yeah, health is vital. So important. I was having a conversation just a week or so ago of my personal trainer who, he's not vegan, but he tries to eat feel fairly healthyish. But we were just saying if we, if we got ill, you know, if you went to the doctor and they said, Oh, it's it's bad news. You've got this, it's not looking good. We both said, well we've actually, we feel we've lived a, you know, we've done our best health wise to look after our body to try and stay away from diseases and you know, things like that. Yeah. So I think, you know, it's just so important to be more conscious of what we eat.

Aaron Calder: So, you know, if obviously if you've got a drink problem, you need to get help and, and not drink. Cuz you said that's, that's the most important thing. I think some people when they come to me for advice, think they can still drink, but go on a plant based diet and you know, it will be okay. It's literally you do have to completely stop drinking if you've got a problem. Or if you haven't got a problem li you know, alcohol's not great and so limit you what you drink per week or when you go out. Yeah. And just have lots of healthy things. Yeah. And I think you've just, people just gotta be honest with themselves. If you're not feeling great if you're feeling depressed, if you've got problems, you know, talk to someone, there's always someone there to listen, even if it's on like an internet forum.

Aaron Calder: But obviously be careful. Make sure you pick the right one just to chat to people or there's help lines. But yeah, for me, I think on reflection, whenever I do try and offer advice, I, I want, I want to help people before they get anywhere near to the mess that I got into. And that's why I'm, I talk openly about my story because I think if I can stop someone, you know, ending up in the hospital you know, I think some people sort of look at me as a success story. Which it is to an extent. Batchy, you know, I, I still do have chronic liver disease. You know, I'm told, you know, in five years, 10 years, my liver is more than likely to pack up because of the damage that is there. So, you know, you, you just gotta yeah, just look after yourself.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Mm. No, that's important. I, and I think you are a success story because you learned the lessons that you had to learn to, to keep moving forward. And I think that's, so many of us turn away from the lessons that are presented right in front of us. We don't take the opportunity, like you said, life is here to teach us, right? It's like, what am I here to learn? Like what are you here to teach me? Just being open, you know, open palms and receive whatever that message is. So it definitely will make a big difference in your life that it has for me at least as well. So I appreciate you saying that. So I think it takes a lot of courage to share a very painful story. And

Aaron Calder: Yeah, I, yeah, I apologize if I've, I've looked, I've feel bit awkward and uncomfortable cuz obviously there is still, when I talk about it, although I'm fine to talk about it, I did know sort of it's quite fresh sometimes thinking back. Cuz it was such an awful time. Yeah. So I think that, but that's why, as you say, that's why I don't drink because it's, it's yeah. Such a major thing to, to frighten me away from, from ever

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Drinking. And that's been 10 years and it's still,

Aaron Calder: Yeah, it's still raw, right? Yeah. Visualizing you know, the vomiting blood, you know, your memory and the images come back, it's sort of like, oh god, wow. But but yeah, but it's, you know, life's a journey makes you stronger. And you know, you've just gotta take it step by step. One other thing quickly, sorry, is is every, I was guilty of it. Everyone thinks, oh no, I, you know, if I stop drinking, what about this, what about that? What about the weddings I go to, what about the parties? What if in 10 years I do this? You've got to just think of now you've just gotta think, okay, I'm not gonna drink today. Let's see how I get through the day, come tomorrow. I think the same thing. You, you just gotta take it step by step. And every time you take a positive step and a a day parties where you haven't drunk, that's, I feel something that sort of like builds me up to a point where after 10 years I just think, well, I can never ever go back and throw away those, you know, what a waste of 10 years if I suddenly started drinking again.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Mm. Yeah. So you and I went vegan about the same time, so Oh, okay. I was in 2012, I also went vegan. And it's interesting when you say that there's this, like, the thought of eating meat or dairy, it's it's revolting. It really like, like I can't even walk down the meat or dairy aisles very well, <laugh> without just going meat or quickly go through cuz it all I see is, is, is you know, suffAarong basically. Yeah. But no, i, I just wanna encourage you to keep, you know keep sharing your story cuz I find it a very special person that can be humble enough to share with others and courageous us. So it takes a lot of courage. So I wanna say thanks for that. There's a lot of people that you'll help, you'll never even know.

Aaron Calder: Mm. Thank you. Thank you for that and thank you for, for asking me to, to chat with you. It's been lovely.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Yeah, absolutely. Well everyone thank you again Aaron, for your time today. And you're, I should say tonight cuz it's almost 10 o'clock here. Bless your heart.

Aaron Calder: You're straight to bed after this <laugh>.

Dr. Laurie Marbas: Yes. I imagine. Speaking of, we're wanting you to, to get rest. We really appreciate all your time and working, you know, with all the schedules and everything halfway around the world, across the pond so to speak sharing your stories. I'm sure you're gonna inspire mi.

Aaron Calder: Thank you so much.

Laurie Marbas
Laurie is our Chief Medical Officer, double board certified family and lifestyle medicine physician, licensed in all 50 states and DC.

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