Never, Every Give Up. The Untold Story

If you are sitting at home feeling helpless and defeated because you are suffering from some condition you think you can’t overcome or learn to live with, please read this story. Obviously, some conditions can’t be changed but you can learn to live with them, and to have a vibrant life with them. You are YOU, not your condition. You are stronger than you think, you have more in you than you can imagine! And many conditions can be changed, improved and even reversed if you take the steps to make the change happen!

My Humble Beginnings

Team Vive and Friends Loving Life!
Team Vive and Friends Loving Life!

I started my wellness journey in November of 2006 weighing in at a paltry 450+ pounds. This story has been told many times: you can read the rest of my wellness journey here. Today is a different part of that story that has not been shared with my friends and readers. It’s time.

I want to tell you how cycling (the greatest form of exercise for total health, just in my opinion!) gave me my life back. It started in March of 2012 and was a whopping 1/2 mile bicycle ride! Truthfully I was beyond elated that I could do it. The two years prior to my first ride was a living hell, as I struggled overcoming a form of temporary paralysis called Guillian Barre Syndrome (GBS). Overcoming obesity was very easy compared to overcoming GBS.

In May of 2010 I was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré Syndrome. GBS is a form of temporary paralysis that affects the Central Nervous System (CNS). In addition to causing a severe weakening of the muscles in the arms, hands, legs and torso, it can also affect pulse, heart rhythm and blood pressure. I was admitted to the ICU and spent four (4) days there because my pulse, heart rhythm and blood pressure were going crazy. They wouldn’t stabilize. The doctors told my wife Gwen they did not know if I would survive. Eventually they stabilized enough to move me out of the ICU. GBS kills a small number of those it touches every year. God had other plans for this man!!

Doctors do not know the exact cause of GBS, but it is suspiciously tied to a bacterial infection that can come from a particular family of bacteria found on chicken and it can be caused by different viruses. They also know there is a correlation with the ingredients in vaccines and GBS. GBS was the worst experience of my life. It leaves you feeling helpless and hopeless. I had to relearn to do the simple things we do to live everyday; like walking, tying shoes, eating, buttoning a shirt, bathing, putting clothes on. Hopefully you get the picture. Additionally the pain caused from nerve damage was unbearable during times. I am grateful there are medications that help relieve that pain. I could not have lived with it. It took me three years to recover 95% of my normal functionality. GBS was the biggest battle of my life and I was determined to overcome it! Truthfully, I was very angry that I had worked so hard to get the weight off, get in great physical shape and then to be robbed of all of it in a 3 week period. I was determined it wasn’t going to keep me down! I am a fighter and it took everything I had and God’s help to overcome GBS. I was not going to just sit back and just become a statistic of GBS.

Two Years Later

Gwen and I had bought a couple of run around town bikes a year or so earlier, but we rarely took them out to ride around our beautiful little South Carolina town. Our town is small enough to think of it as Mayberry like, very quaint and friendly.

After two years of recovery from GBS I was walking but my strength and balance were still poor. I wanted more from my exercise- I wanted more from my body! Prior to GBS I was in great shape and spent a lot of time walking, hiking and exercising at the gym.

I decide to pull the old bike out and see if I could even ride it. I was very nervous because my balance was still not very good. GBS greatly affects the small muscles that are so essential for balance. As I took the bike out of the shed and dusted it off, I remember mumbling “Okay Lord here we go, I pray you give me the strength and balance to keep this thing upright!” As I pushed off- picture the first time you remember seeing a little one beginning to ride a bike. I was all over the place, handle bars swaying left and right but I was upright and moving forward. It was struggle to keep the handle bars straight because the GBS left me with some hand tremor and arm weakness but I made it 1/4 mile to the end of the street. I stopped with tears in my eyes and said a thank you to God and turned around and headed home.

I can do this! Yes I can do this!! Something inside me said this is the recipe for my full recovery. I knew that the body adapts to the demands being placed on it. I needed to demand more of the nerves in my arms, hands, legs and feet to improve my condition. If I am not showing my body that my nerves need to function better by putting them under demand, they are not going to improve as quickly or maybe not as much or maybe not at all. My body needed to be told what it needed to fix. Cycling was going to send the message.

I continued riding the bike around town with Gwen at my side. One mile, two miles, three miles. I was ecstatic!! The addiction to cycling was happening. Later that month I bought us both Giant touring bikes and we rode those until I had to have a little more speed. I saw people speeding by us with ease and I wanted to push my body more. When I would mention getting a new bike, Gwen would just look at me and smile. She saw my competitive spirit returning and that meant I was healing!

Over the past four years I have moved through 4 bicycles, upgrading each time to meet my body’s physical improvements! Each year my ability to ride longer and tougher routes has increased. In 2015, I road my bicycle over 6,000 miles, climbed numerous mountains, did dozens of rides over 60 miles long and even did a 100 mile long ride. I participated in over a dozen charity cycling events. We even participated in a charity event called A Ride to Remember, (riding 252 miles across the state of South Carolina in 3 days in the middle of the summer) to support the Alzheimer’s Association.

Out of the horrific condition called GBS, a team of more than 30 cyclists (who ride together every chance we get) has blossomed. We cover all adult age groups and sectors of life. We focus on peddling our bikes to help others in need. We all share the same passion for cycling and enjoy this great sport. Our team is called Team Vive. We celebrate life and every moment it brings.

You are strong, you are able, be determined to get your life back, get up and do something to improve your condition, DO NOT LET YOUR CONDITION DEFINE YOU! Your attitude about life ends up telling your life story. Make it a great one!

To A Long and Healthy Life!

Wally Bishop

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach



The contents of the email or written communication are not medical advice and should not be considered as such! This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have medical issues and before changing your diet or lifestyle or taking herbal or dietary supplements. Never start an exercise program with getting your doctors approval. Never quit taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.

The Most Unlikely of Sweeteners, It’s Not Honey!!

We all know the perils of sugar. We have discussed the negative health effects of excessive sugar intake, more times than I remember, and we will continue to hammer that message home. Although sugar is necessary for life and can come from healthy sources, when it comes from the wrong source or is in excess, it causes a cascade of long term, acute, and damaging effects to our health.

We also know that artificial sweeteners are even worse for our body. Most are excitotoxins (causing symptoms similar to MS and Parkinsons disease), and others destroy our good gut flora. One sweetener is even made from the poop of e-coli bacteria. Yes! You have been eating poop from e-coli bacteria, when you eat this particular artificial sweetener.

So, what could we use for sweetening our foods in a healthy way?

DATES!!  The wonderful middle eastern fruit. Itdates could be one of the most perfect foods on the planet! There are many varieties of dates. They are actually called date palm fruit. The most common varieties are ‘Amir Hajj’, ‘Saidy’, ‘Khadrawy’ and ‘Medjool’. They are popular for their rich taste, flavor, and superior quality. The most common found in the US, are Medjool dates.

Although Dates are more than 70% sugar, they actually lower cholesterol and triglycerides, all while not raising blood sugar levels. It’s amazing that dates can contain so much sugar, yet, not have a negative effect on blood sugar levels. Every person is different, so dates may effect your blood sugar differently than other people. Because dates are so rich in sugar, don’t over consume them. A little goes a long way. Dates are a rich source of fiber which helps reduce the blood sugar impact of the natural sugar in dates.

Companies have tried to copy the effects of dates powerful compounds, but can’t. This is because the healing properties only work by having the supporting nutrients and phytonutrients found in the date.  A study published by Bio-Med Research International, discusses the use of one of the antioxidants contained in dates (anthocyanins), for medical purposes.

An excerpt from the study;

  • “There are at least four primary obstacles that have impeded the formulation, by medical professionals, of robust dietary or prescriptive guidelines on consumption of anthocyanins. Probably the most complicated piece of the puzzle is that, in terms of biological activity in the human body, an anthocyanin pigment is (almost) never acting independently. Typically, anthocyanins and other flavonoid components, or anthocyanins and other nonflavonoid phytochemicals, are interacting together in order to provide full potency. Interactions between phytochemicals within a plant are a key evolutionary strategy for the host plant.”

Dates are rich in many nutrients including the B vitamins; thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid, choline, and vitamins A and K. Dates are also a good sources of minerals like phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, and iron. Dates are rich in a particular group of antioxidants called anthocyanins.   Anthocyanins are much more bio-available than other flavonoid antioxidants.

date-treeDates have an amazing array of health benefits. Much of it could be due to the combination of the many vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients like the antioxidants it possess. Date’s health benefits can be verified through many publicized studies.

Some of the health benefits from eating dates are:

  • Improved digestion
  • Improved elimination
  • Improved immune function
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Better blood sugar and diabetes management
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced risk of arterial disease
  • Reduced risk of some cancers
  • Improved detoxification
  • Help prevent anemia
  • Reduce the risk of stroke

Dates provide many health benefits, add rich flavor to meals and are a great snack!!

Healthy wishes,

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

The contents of the email or written communication are not medical advice and should not be considered as such!  This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have medical issues and before changing your diet or lifestyle or taking herbal or dietary supplements. Never start an exercise program with getting your doctors approval. Never quit taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.  Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.






  1. (diabetes)
  2. (medicinal food)
  3. (anti-cancer-anti-inflammatory-)
  4. (the perfect food)
  5. (anti-Cancer)
  6. (lowers cholesterol and triglycerides)
  7. (anti-bacterial e-coli-staph))
  8. (improves gut flora and colon health)
  9. (antibacterial)
  10. (helps with labor and pregnancy)
  14.  (Benefits of anthocyanins in cardiovascular disease)

Do You Know the Alligator Pear?

We also know it as the very nutritious avocadoAVOCADO!! Avocados are packed with many health providing compounds and nutrients. There are many different varieties but I like the Hass avocado the best. Avocado’s are on the clean 15 list which means you don’t have to worry so much if they are organic or not. But always wash your produce very well regardless.

The avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree. Most people think fruits must be sweet, but that’s not always the case. Avocados are not alone as a non-typical fruit. There are many others and we will save that for another blog.

Unusual facts!

I want to make a little deviation from our subject of avocados. Tomato’s are also a fruit, technically that is. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on March 3rd, 1883 that, for purposes of the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, tomatoes are vegetables. There decision was based purely on the fact that tomatos are used most often in a meal and not dessert. Not to be out done in the way of government over-site and crazy decision-making, in 2011 Congress essentially declared a school cafeteria slice of cheese pizza equivalent to a serving of vegetables.  They said it qualified as equal to a serving of vegetables which is 1/2 cup even though the pizza only had 1/8 cup of tomato paste.  This was brought about by pressure from lobbyist for 2 big agricultural companies. Yes a vegetable, what a colossal blunder! Really, cheese pizza a vegetable!

Back to avocados.

Wally, wait Avocado’s are high in fat and calories and fat and calories, well makes us fat. Non-sense, fat does not make us fat! If you have been following me for very long you know that sugar is what makes us fat. We need fat in our diet but we want to consume heart healthy fats like those in an avocado. Fat is essential for the absorption of many nutrients, it is satisfying and filling. Avocado’s have mostly monounsaturated fats which are the very heart healthy type of fat. Up to 50% of our calories could come from healthy fats and we would be healthier overall.

Avocados are rich in fiber, one of the highest fiber content foods and we know fiber is very important for our health. One of the types of fiber in avocados is soluble fiber, which feeds the good bacteria in our gut. Fiber also helps keep us regular, which is important for moving toxic materials out of our bodies.

Because of the fat and fiber in avocados, they may help with weight loss. In one study, people were split into groups. One group was instructed to eat a meal that contained avocado, the other a similar meal without avocado. Then they were asked a series of questions related to hunger and satiety. The people eating the avocado felt 23% more satisfied and had a 28% lower desire to eat over the next 5 hours. Now, certainly this is one study and hardly scientific but it does show that for some people the fiber and fat content will help curb appetite which may lead to weight loss.

Avocados have minimal taste, which makes them great to make soups, thicken sauces and smoothies and create healthy spreads to replace mayonnaise. Avocados are rich in fiber and very healthy monounsaturated fats. Which make them satisfying and filling. The fat in avocado’s help our body absorb and use antioxidants from the carotenoid family better, up to 6 times better in fact! Avocados are rich in many antioxidants from both the carotenoid and flavonoids family. Avocado’s are rich in phytosterols which studies show help lower LDL or the bad cholesterol and raise HDL or the good cholesterol.

They are richer in potassium than bananas and loaded with many B Vitamins.

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 20% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
  • Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
  • They also provide smaller amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).

When you look at the overall benefits of the avocado we can without a doubt state:


  • Provide heart health benefits
  • Provide cardiovascular health benefits
  • Provide anti-inflammatory effects
  • Help balance blood sugar levels
  • Help balance our gut flora
  • Help keep our digestive tract clean
  • Help boost immune function
  • Help our skin stay soft
  • Help lower cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Provide anti-oxidants that protect our skin, eyes and brain
  • May help reduce appetite

Tips on eating avocados

The silky flesh of an avocado can turn brown very quickly from oxidation. You can slow this down greatly by squeezing or mixing a little lime juice (may favorite with avocados) or lemon juice with it as soon as you open it or mash it up.

aAvocado peeling techniqueThe best way to peel an avocado is what the California Avocado Commission has called the “nick and peel” method. In this method, you actually end up peeling the avocado with your hands in the same way that you would peel a banana. It’s easy. The first step in the nick-and-peel method is to cut into the avocado lengthwise, producing two long avocado halves that are still connected in the middle by the seed. Next you take hold of both halves and twist them in opposite directions until they naturally separate. At this point, remove the seed and cut each of the halves lengthwise to produce long quartered sections of the avocado. You can use your thumb and index finger to grip the edge of the skin on each quarter and peel it off, just as you would do with a banana skin. The final result is a peeled avocado that contains most of that dark green outermost flesh, which provides you with the best possible phytonutrient richness from the pulp portion of the avocado.  Source

How to select an avocado

Avocado ripening stagesJust grab one and squeeze, but gently! If you squeeze a ripe one too hard get ready for a handful of avocado mush! A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado is slightly soft but should have no dark sunken spots or cracks.  Hold the avocado very gently in your palm and begin to press very gently against its surface. A ripe avocado will yield to very gentle pressure, without feeling squishy. Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are ripe. Once ripe, they can be kept refrigerated for up to a week.

Avocado recipes

Avocado’s are great for you, can be used in a variety of ways and take little preparation. Give them a try and make them a part of your diet!!

My favorite sandwich spread, mash up an avocado with lime juice, a pinch of cumin, sea salt, black pepper, spread on a sandwich with tomato, spinach, sprouts, sauteed portobello mushroom (onion optional) and enjoy!

Healthy wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach


The contents of this blog is not and should not be  considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.