It can be so easy to think that we’ll never recover from an autoimmune disease without the help of Western medicine. Our guest in this episode smashes that notion with his own amazing life story. Coming back to the show, Dr. Kevin Pecca sits down with Dr. Benjamin Benulis to share how he took his life and healing into his own hands. Dr. Ben has one of the best recovery stories from autoimmune disease, and naturally at that! He tells us all about it along with his new autoimmune recovery book, Create Health: Reverse Autoimmune Disease Without Drugs or Their Side Effects. Giving us a sneak peek, he shares some health advice to help you start your own journey to recovery.
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Recovering From Autoimmune Disease Naturally With Dr. Ben Benulis
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We have a recurring guest, Dr. Ben Benulis. He has a new autoimmune recovery book out. It’s called Create Health: Reverse Autoimmune Disease Without Drugs or Their Side Effects. Dr. Ben has one of the best recovery stories from autoimmune disease naturally. He is one of the reasons why I do this show because he has an amazing life story. He took his life and healing into his own hands after several failed attempts from the Western medical route.
He changed his diet. He became a doctor of chiropractic and is helping countless people get their health back and recover from autoimmune diseases. It’s an honor to have him on the show. Check him out on Instagram and social media. He’s got a pretty big following. You can find his handle, @Dr.BenjaminBenulis. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did.
For all other recorded episodes, you can tune in to the show on Spotify and iTunes. We have live streams on YouTube and Facebook. We are also on Instagram and TikTok, @DrKevinPecca. We have one of my favorite recurring guests, Dr. Benjamin Benulis. It’s an honor to have him on the show. Dr. Ben, how are you?
I’m doing excellent. It’s an honor to be here. I’m stoked to be back. I really love what you do. I’ve been tuning in to the show from the beginning.
You have one of the best recovery stories from an autoimmune disease I’ve ever heard. You’re helping people get their lives back as well. It had such a profound impact on you. You’re helping others heal from it now, too, which is what it’s all about. It’s what the show is all about. If you would be so kind and grace us with your story, where did it start and all the great work you’re doing? Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Boston, Massachusetts.
Were you always a healthy kid growing up? Were you always seeking the holistic routes of healthcare?
My mom was a little bit more health-conscious than most people, but not by much. She didn’t keep soda in the house or anything like that. After I left and went off to college, I rebelled and ate horribly until it caught up with me, which was probably ten years after that. It was not good.
What started happening in your life that sent you on this path to healing others?
In my late twenties, my body started to give out. I started experiencing bad digestive issues, bad fatigue, and brain fog. I didn’t feel like myself. It started slowly and cascaded into getting really bad. I also had bad eczema on my hands and started to develop this chronic muscle pain soreness going on. It started off slowly, and in about 2010, when I was about 27 or 28 years old, over the course of 6 months to 1 year, it cascaded to the point where I could barely function at work. I was tired and in pain all the time. I felt horrible.
What did you think was going on? Your symptoms came on very suddenly and it sounds like your health was decreasing pretty rapidly. You must’ve been pretty scared.
In the beginning, I didn’t think too much of it. I was like a frog in a slow-boiling pot of water. I was like, “I’m getting older. This is normal.” Like most guys our age, I tried to walk it off. I was in denial until it got so bad that I couldn’t hang out with friends on the weekends. The big wake-up call was my boss took me into his office and told me, “You used to be one of the top-performing people on my team. Now, I almost have to fire you. What the heck is going on? What’s different?”
What did you say to him when he sat you down like that? Were you shocked at all, or did you know you weren’t performing?
I was in denial about it, for sure. Things had gotten so bad so slowly that it was easy to rationalize like, “All these other things are going on.” He was like, “What’s different? What’s changed? What’s going on? Is something wrong?” He was showing concern. I was like, “No. I’ll get my act together. I’m going through a rough patch,” but it resonated in my head like, “Something is up. This is not good.”
It was a good little wake-up call then. Did you start seeking medical intervention after this at all?
Yeah. I went to the doctor and told them what was up. They said, “You got skin issues. We got to send you to the dermatologist. You’ve got digestive issues. We’ll get you to the gastroenterologist. You’ve got muscle pain. We’ll send you to the rheumatologist.” One doctor’s appointment became 3 or 4, and then each one of those guys is running his own tests and telling me his own story about what he thinks is going on or mostly why he can’t figure it out. I was starting to get the run around of going to a bunch of different doctors. You’re on this insurance or seven-minute visit thing where they’re like, “Let’s see. I don’t know. I’ll send you this guy.”
Was the autoimmune disease word popping up at all at this point?
No. We can’t figure it out. They were like, “Your blood work looks normal. Take some Advil and some Pepto-Bismol, and you’ll be all right.”
When all these brilliant people are telling you they don’t know what’s going on, what’s going through your head?!
I was frustrated. I got mad pretty quickly because I had put all my faith in the medical system. I had a lot of medical doctors in my family, so I assumed that I would go there with problems, A, B, and C, and they would give me remedies, X, Y and Z. It was not that at all. It was this run-around. They were like, “We can’t figure it out. We don’t care.” I got frustrated pretty quickly. In my line of work as an engineer, if I had a problem, I would fix it. If I couldn’t figure it out or I couldn’t do the thing that someone needed me to do at work, I would figure out who was the guy to get him to or what needed to happen to make it happen.
Being frustrated and not getting any answers from the Western medical route, what did you do next?
I started researching and looking up stuff on the internet. I was trying to figure it out. I was reading articles and watching YouTube videos. I went into mad scientist mode.
That can be a scary thing too. When you’re googling symptoms on what’s going on with you, usually, the worst-case scenario pops up. That’s also very frightening when you have all those symptoms going on.
You and I both know. We have patients who are like, “I read this on WebMD, so I think I have stage four cancer.” I started reading things and stumbled across information that says, “If you change your diet and eat better, a lot of these problems go away.” I thought, “That’s cool, but I’m not doing that, though. That is maybe a last-ditch effort. If nothing else works, that’s what I’ll do.”
Over time, I wasn’t getting any better. I was continuing to get the run around from these doctor’s appointments. It’s easy to keep going when your insurance pays for it. They’re like, “Let’s keep going,” but at some point, time becomes an issue. You’re like, “I’m going to all these appointments but no one’s telling me anything. I have to pay a $20 copay each time. That’s no biggie, but I’m expecting some freaking results here at some point.” I remember, “I’ll get a food allergy test,” and that was my first foray into anything unconventional. That thing lit up like a Christmas tree.
Were you reading the results yourself, or did you have a doctor going over it with you?
I had a doctor and I got the test. I’m not usually the person who follows up a lot. That’s never been my strong suit. I’m not a go-getter in that way, but I was so curious to know. I was calling the office every day, like, “Did you get the results in? I want to know.” They were like, “We’ll get them in. Bye.” This time, it was late in the day on a Friday. I finally get a callback and they’re like, “We know it’s the end of the week, but I know you like to get your results. I have them. I can read them to you.” The guy reads them to me over the phone. It was this laundry list of things, like soy, gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast, milk, and cheese. It had everything. I’m like, “That’s everything I’m eating. What am I going to do?”
I asked him because this was the frame of mind I was in. I was like, “What do you give me for that? What’s the medicine? What’s the cure? What’s the prescription? What drug do you give me for that?” He said to me, “There’s no drug that we give you. You have to stop eating these foods.” I was like, “You’re supposed to give me drugs to fix the problem. I don’t change. You fix things.” I’m glad he said that to me, but that pissed me off more. I realized, “Maybe all these diet change people were right. Maybe there’s something to it.” That set me down the path of like, “I got to change here because it’s not getting any better with me, hoping someone else is going to fix me.” It was rough, but it was empowering. It was what I needed to hear.
What did you do from there? Did you start making your own food and going crazy, or was it a slow adaptation to cutting all that stuff out?
It was slow in the beginning. I was trying to do the minimum I could get away with. I would buy the gluten-free, dairy-free pizza that tasted like cardboard and was expensive. It didn’t make me feel that much better. After a few months of doing that and I had no real nutrition knowledge and did not know what I was doing, I was like, “Maybe if I make smoothies out of fruits and vegetables, that’s got to be healthy.” That’s what I did. I took whatever produce I had in the fridge that I normally let rot in there, and I throw it in the blender.
I was like, “I don’t want to learn how to cook.” I had this microwave mentality. I want to microwave all my food and the blender is like a microwave. You open up the door, throw the food in, close the door, press the button, and it’s ready. I can do that. That’s the amount of work I will do to make food. It worked for that because it was this lazy approach of throwing it all in and chugging it down.
I was doing that. I was feeling better. Somewhat, I’ve seen improvement. I wasn’t doing what I could. It wasn’t always tasting the greatest, so I was like, “Maybe I should go on YouTube and look up smoothie recipes.” That was life-changing because that sent me down a rabbit hole of all these people talking about raw foods, green juice, and green smoothies. If you eat a ton of fruits and vegetables, you can heal from all these diseases. At first, I was like, “This is crazy. These guys are talking about healing cancer on a raw food diet. This is out of control. I’m just here for a few smoothie recipes.”
I kept watching because it was what I needed to hear. I kept implementing that in my life. I started to see my body change. The chronic pain went away. The energy level went from chronic fatigue to pretty good, and then it kept climbing. I had more energy, and I eventually knew what to do. My skin cleared up. My digestion got a whole lot better. I got really excited and passionate about it.
How long did it take to hit? I know some people say, “I tried that and it didn’t work.” You got to also give it its due diligence and some time. How long do you think it took for you to notice some good improvement while changing your diet and being disciplined about it?
I went through a stretch of doing it with about 80% raw foods and 20% still getting away with junk. I was doing the best I could at the time. In about six weeks, I saw a complete transformation. The symptoms were vanishing. I was feeling better than I had felt in my whole life. I watched my body heal itself and observed that happening. I know you’ve had a similar experience like that. You can read about these transformation stories on the internet and watch videos, but when you experience it firsthand, you’re like, “This is happening. This is working.” That was really powerful for me.
Are you still an engineer at this point?
Yes. I’m still working as an engineer, but I’m the guy in the break room eating the whole watermelon, and everyone is like, “What the heck is Ben doing?”
At what point were you thinking of making the switch? Why did you even want to make the switch over to healthcare? A lot of people get better and say, “That’s perfect. Thank you. I’m going to keep living my life.”
When I hit 30, that made me consider things, it was a big milestone. I was looking at where I was at and what I was doing, and I wasn’t fulfilled in the work that I was doing.
You gave up a lot. I remember you talking about this in chiropractic school. You had a very solid job and a house. You were doing well financially, but you gave it all up and went to chiropractic school to start over. Not a lot of people do that.
It was one of those things that were if I didn’t make a move, then it wasn’t going to happen.
That’s a great way to put it.
I had to do it, especially if I had kids. I had to cut the cord. It was painful. I walked out of chiropractic school with my net worth being the same as it was before, except it was a negative number. It wasn’t easy, but I got so passionate about health. Through my own journey, I met a lot of other people that were suffering and having issues. I realized how pervasive this is.
In American society, there’s so much chronic illness that gets normalized and swept under the rug. Nobody was doing anything about it. I didn’t want other people to go through what I went through, which is why you’re doing this too, right? It was like, “No one else is stepping up. I had all these doctors who couldn’t help me. With five brain cells and what I know, I could do a better job than them.” The calling came and I had to answer. That’s the rationale.
You have a new book coming out, which is very exciting. It is titled Create Health: Reverse Autoimmune Disease Without Drugs or Their Side Effects. What is this book? It’s got to be a little bit more than just eating more fruits and vegetables. This is what you pretty much specialize in for a living. You help many people get their lives back, reversing autoimmune diseases. How are you doing this? What is in this book that will help people out? There are so many people that have that exact same story as you that are still going through this. What is this book going to do for them?
This book has got my whole protocol. It’s a primer to follow on how to heal. I explain a lot of the science. I look at autoimmune disease, what the medical strategy is, why it doesn’t work, and why some of the other alternative strategies out there don’t seem to cut the mustard. There’s this paradigm of like, “We’ve got to fight the disease.” People are like, “I have a bunch of food allergies. What do you give me?” You got to stop eating the things that are killing you. With an autoimmune disease, there are people saying, “I’m an autoimmune warrior. I’m a Hashimoto warrior. I’m a rheumatoid arthritis warrior.” Stop fighting. It’s not about fighting the bad thing.
Some people incorporate that into their identity. You’ll even see it on social media. Hashimoto’s warrior is their actual name. You’re strong, but you don’t want to attach that to the rest of your life. You want to beat it. You don’t want that to be lingering for the rest of your life.
These people are well-intentioned, but it becomes your identity. You’re always going to be that if you label yourself that. Mindset and the words that you use are important.
I have a question for you. How many people do you think are misdiagnosed with autoimmune disease, and what are your whole thoughts on the diagnosis process?
The numbers, as I understand, are about 1 in 7 people affected. That number was many years ago. It is half of those 1 in 7, so 1 in 14 are diagnosed and 1 in 14 are undiagnosed. I never got a diagnosis. No one ever figured it out. I got told, “There’s nothing wrong with you. This is a passing thing. It’s okay. There’s no diagnosis.” There are a lot of people who are walking around suffering and don’t have an answer.
You have the protocol in your book on how to reverse autoimmune disease. With somebody that’s got so much stuff going on, where do you recommend people start?
I recommend including green smoothies in your diet. Whatever the heck else you’re eating, start including green smoothies for breakfast and lunch. Include it and you’ll crowd out the bad stuff. Focus on getting those fruits and greens in because those are the most health-creating, supportive foods to eat.
Is the book enough, or do you recommend coaching sessions with you as well to help get through it?
If you’re serious about making a change, some people can do it on their own, but some people need support, so I offer that. You can reach out to me if that’s something that you think you need. I found that for transformation, it does help to have accountability, support, and motivation. I was backed up against the wall. I did it on my own. I don’t want anybody to have to go through that, so it’s nice to be able to support people.
Is it a timeframe protocol? What’s the timeframe you think people should give it?
It depends on the severity of the condition. I would say for most people, if you follow it to a tee, you’re looking at 2 to 3 months to heal. I have a lady who has had MS for twenty-plus years. She’s on a walker. It’s going to take her some time. We’ll see how long that takes, but probably more than 3 or 6 months.
Is there anything besides the fruits and vegetables in the diet that you recommend to speed up the healing process?
There are habits that create health, like getting enough sleep, getting exercise, moving your body, meditating, and getting adjusted. You got to have your nervous system in check because the nervous system controls the immune system that controls every part of the body. If your body is under a lot of stress, you’re not taking good care of it, giving it enough sleep, rest, and movement, it’s going to be a longer timeline for sure.
I’m curious. How long is the book?
It’s about 150 pages.
What was that process like creating the book?
Let’s be honest. It was terrible. I don’t like writing. I can come on here and speak all day, tell jokes, be funny, and have a good time, but sitting down and writing is not my thing.
Did you get up in the morning, at night and do it, or a little bit of both?
I did a little bit of both. There will be starts and stops. I could be on the streak for a while, get annoyed with it, and stop for a month or two. It probably took me two years on and off, but if I sat down and cranked it out, I probably could have done it in three months.
Are you self-published or did you go through somebody else?
I’m working with a publisher who helps with a lot of things.
Are you still doing standup comedy and a hacky sacking?
Hacky sack, not so much, but standup comedy, yes. I got a show soon.
How’s that going?
It’s fun. Coaching and adjusting in the office keep me pretty busy. I don’t have time to hunt down and book shows, but when I get asked and get invited to be on, I do it.
I can tell you love it and you’re good at it. It’s cool.
Thank you. Maybe once a month or every other month, a show comes along. It’s a lot of fun.
It’s healthcare-oriented too, which is cool.
I got jokes about a lot of subjects, but I’ve written a few good chiropractic jokes in the past few months. I’m excited to tell those.
When does the book come out and where can people get it?
Where is your chiropractic practice?
I’m in Scottsdale, Arizona.
In terms of everything you do as a healthcare professional chiropractor, how does it work? Are you almost like a health coach when it comes to reversing autoimmune diseases? Do you do Zoom calls with people out of state? How does it work when people contact you about helping reverse the autoimmune stuff?
You pretty much got it right. I function as a health coach. I do almost everything over the phone and in Zoom. I have online courses that explain things. It’s all done online. The last time I had someone come in my office to talk autoimmune was a few months ago. I was like, “We can do this over the phone.”
Do you have good success stories of people in different states?
Yeah. A guy in Massachusetts had ulcerative colitis, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks your colon. He’d had it for a long time and managed it with immune suppressant drugs. One time, they went in for a yearly scope, and they told him, “It’s bad. Drugs aren’t going to help. We got to cut your colon out.” That’s when he was like, “I got to do something because I’m not pooping in a bag for the rest of my life.” That’s when he started searching. He found me and I put him on a program for three months. He followed it to a tee.
It worked out because he was a teacher and he had the summer off. He focused on his health. They said, “Why don’t we do the surgery before the summer so that way, you can recover, come back in September, and you’re good to go?” He’s like, “Can we push it out to September? I want to try this. If I don’t get any better, then okay.”
He comes back in September. They do another scope. They bring him in, and they’re like, “We got to push this appointment. Something is wrong. There was a mix-up at the lab because this is a normal colon. This must be a mistake. We don’t have time to fix it now but come back in a week. We’ll get it sorted out.” He says, “Are you sure there’s a mistake?” He comes back in a week. They’re like, “There must not be a mistake because this is the scope. You are in full remission. What happened?” He’s like, “I had a guy in California. He put me on this diet and I’ve been doing it. I feel great. All my symptoms are gone.” They’re like, “Keep doing what you’re doing.” That was it.
That’s a beautiful thing. At the end of all my shows, I like to ask everybody, what is one piece of advice that has resonated with you over the years that you would like to gift the audience? It could be anything.
I like the BJ Palmer saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, work hard, and advertise.”
That’s great. I love that. That was one of my favorite ones on the show so far. In almost 200 episodes, that was top three. I don’t think we’ve covered this. Do you have a website where people can find you as well?
DrBenjaminBenulis.com is the website. It’s also my name on most social media. Although with everything that’s been going down in the past couple of years and shadow bans, it might be hard to find me. If you dig, you’ll find me.
Dr. Ben, thank you so much for coming on. I would love to have you back on the show any time. I wish you the best of luck with the book. You said it’s available on Amazon?
CreateHealthBook.com is my website. You can buy it on either one of those. If you buy it on my website, I throw in some bonuses that are cool, like a video course.
If you are struggling with any type of autoimmune disease or chronic issue and you’re doing a lot of other natural stuff and haven’t looked into the diet change yet, check that out. Dr. Ben is your guy. Get the book and let us know how you like it. Thank you so much for coming on. I would love to have you back on soon.
Thanks, Kevin. This was great.
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