Phil Grist is a builder by trade, training from the age of 16 and now running his own successful company. Impressive, you might think? That’s true enough, but somehow coupled alongside his career, he’s battled a myriad of life-limiting symptoms and embarked on a remarkable journey to health that has lasted for over two decades. Phil is one of those rare individuals who through sheer determination, self-discipline, and a passion to unearth research and knowledge, has managed to transform his health and his life – one step at a time.
Winding the clock back…
So where did this remarkable journey begin for the Raw Builder? Let’s set the scene. It’s 1989 and Phil is in his late teens, he’s driving home from visiting a friend and about 5 minutes into his journey he falls asleep at a set of traffic lights. Scary stuff. Fortunately, he wakes within moments, but this experience marked the first time that Phil noticed that something really wasn’t right. Despite that, he battled on for another 5 years or so, thinking that perhaps this was simply his new ‘normal’, after all he did have a very physically demanding job and there was a family history of severe tiredness. So, maybe this was just Phil’s lot in life? Or maybe, with time and rest, the fatigue would just fade away?
The daily reality and the worst of times…
Sadly, the fatigue didn’t just fade away. Instead, Phil’s health got progressively worse. As he experienced a deeper and deeper sense of tiredness, unsurprisingly this began to infiltrate more and more into his working day. Just imagine for a moment being a young builder and needing to sleep during your lift to work, then needing to have a nap during your mid-morning break and after lunch, and then needing yet another sleep on the way home! Might sound unbelievable, but that was the daily reality for a young Phil who should have been in the prime of his life.
This wasn’t simply tiredness. After all, most of us experience that to some extent especially if we work in a physical job, right? This was different. This was all-consuming fatigue; utter and relentless exhaustion that meant Phil had no choice but to power-nap his way through life, desperately trying to re-charge himself so that he could simply make it to the end of the day.
Unfortunately, as time progressed, further debilitating conditions began to emerge for Phil and he also developed jaundice, depression, and brain-fog (mental fatigue). Worryingly, he also noticed his increased susceptibility to injury on the building site, and although injury is often typical for those working in the building trade, the risks were greater for Phil as mental and physical fatigue impaired his levels of judgement.
For Phil, there was a period of three months during 1997 that marked the worst point in his journey. House-bound with exhaustion, Phil moved in with his parents and spent most of the day lying on the sofa in a darkened room, barely able to walk, chronically depressed, and simply unable to attend work meetings or even take a phone call. The situation was bleak, very bleak, and so was his future. In his own words, Phil describes this as a time when “there was no light at the end of the tunnel….just a tunnel”. Equally though, Phil’s hallmark determination began to kick in, and he told himself that surely life didn’t have to be like this?
Building the road to recovery…
Being house-bound and terribly ill, was the unwelcome but necessary wake-up call that Phil needed. As you’d expect at this stage, Phil had already begun looking for answers, but this experience spurred him towards years of digging deeper into research as he sought a diagnosis, underwent numerous tests, trialled treatment options, and considered the root causes of his ill-health.
Phil’s amazing journey to health was well underway!
Further answers continued to emerge in 2009, when Phil was eventually diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) – a condition that affects multiple systems of the body and causes an array of symptoms to manifest, which vary both in severity and type depending on the individual. This encouraged Phil to dig even deeper into the possible triggers and root causes of his ill-health, such as examining his ongoing exposure to toxins over the years as a builder. He also began to take a closer look at a mystery illness he experienced at just age 11, vaguely described by doctors at the time as a “meningitis-type viral infection”. Phil since believes that this was highly likely to have been the Epstein-Barr virus (interestingly, a known potential trigger for the development of M.E./CFS).
Vices and veggies!
Unsurprisingly, Phil’s journey involved giving up certain vices too. To use Phil’s own words, “I used to work hard, drink hard, eat hard, lift-weights and drive fast cars!” From the outset, much of Phil’s research focused on nutritional treatments and lifestyle choices, motivating him to make many changes. These included pacing his workload, giving up smoking and alcohol, as well as making gradual changes to his diet such as removing wheat, cow’s dairy, meat, and reducing his caffeine intake. Along the way, Phil was intrigued by the work and research of Health Educator, Lou Corona, among a host of others. Lou’s approach particularly resonated with Phil, as it centered on treating the root causes of illness, rather than simply the symptoms, with an emphasis on cleansing the body from accumulated toxins.
In 1998 Phil decided to eat organic produce wherever possible, before moving on to fully embrace a raw, plant-based diet a year later, the basis of which consists of eating fruit, vegetables, salad, nuts and seeds. Additionally, in 2014, Phil decided to further support his body through the daily use of PuraDyme products
Built to last!
So, what were the results after all that hard work you might ask?! Remember Phil’s lowest point back in 1997? – well, since making the changes to his lifestyle, Phil simply hasn’t looked back. He enjoys a vastly improved level of health including significantly reduced fatigue, improved digestion, a liver recovered from jaundice, shiny hair, as well as great skin and nails! Phil readily points out that he still suffers with a degree of fatigue that he would love to shift, but equally having that remaining trial keeps him motivated to discover new ways to optimise his health. Phil has also learnt to effectively pace himself so that he can continue to work as a builder. Unbelievably, it is now a rarity for Phil to suffer with aches and pains unlike his counterparts in the trade! Phil even goes as far as to say that his body has actually improved with age! Interestingly, he now enjoys a level of peace that he wasn’t even looking for and simply didn’t know existed – describing himself as “moving away from being a hyperactive kid, and instead becoming a peaceful warrior”. Incredible stuff!
Now, Phil is also first to admit that living ‘The Raw Builder’ lifestyle is extreme and may feel a little overwhelming for some, but that’s why he encourages the ‘Do One Thing’ philosophy – take small, incremental steps that can easily be incorporated into your regular daily routine and then sit back and enjoy the benefits!
The Raw Builder has been on an amazing and revealing journey, and now he is excited to share his expertise by offering a guiding-hand to others who may feel desperately trapped in a poor state of health – put simply, Phil knows exactly how you feel. Or, perhaps you are simply seeking to optimise the health you already enjoy?
The Raw Builder is a work-in-progress, seeking further clarity as he continues to expand his expert knowledge. His journey continues…and he’d love to take YOU with him!
Or feel free to contact Phil as he would be very happy to answer any questions you may have.