My Story

How I found my version of optimal health

Detoxship is an alternative health and wellness blog designed to help you obtain your optimal health.
From battling untreatable health issues to reaching my own state of optimal health.

My name is Howard Lloyd and I hope that my story inspires you to make better decisions for your wellbeing.

Before we get into it, it’s worth noting that I am NOT a doctor, a medical practitioner or a naturopath.

To be clear – I don’t have any qualifications related to these fields.

What I do have is:

→ A story worth sharing with anyone suffering from niggling or underlying health issues.

→ 10 years of experience in trying to seek my own optimal health.

→ A desire to continue expanding and sharing my knowledge with YOU.

You might be wondering, why take advice about possibly the most important aspect of your life, your health, from someone random on the internet.

And that is a very good question.

I would counter it with my own question.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you right now with your current state of health and wellbeing?

My guess is you probably answered somewhere from 8 and below.

I might be wrong, in which case, I would love you to get in contact with me and share your story on how you maintain your version of optimal health.

If you’re like I was for most of my life, you are probably experiencing some kind of low-lying but never the less, annoying health issue or a state of emotional malaise.

You are looking for answers and there is information everywhere.

Your doctor’s advice….

A gazillion possible supplements….

Revolutionary wellness treatments…

It can start to become confusing. Where to start? How to be efficient with your time and money? What is best for you?

I believe that sharing my story might help you answer some of these questions. So that you too will be in a better position to find your own version of optimal health.

And let me tell you, what a feeling that is.

I have never actually told this story, until now…

Healthy Beginnings

I was born in Westminster, London in December 1992. I was the first of two children to my amazing parents. I was born healthy.

As a child I was imaginative, often playing with the same toys for hours. Until aged 4, my favorite was a set of colorful wooden blocks that I used to make dream castles on my bedroom floor.

No, there was not any cotton wool stuffed in those cheeks.

The First Warning Signs

The first health issues I had began when I was three years old. I began to suffer from swollen tonsils and ear infections. I was going to need my tonsils removed and that was that.

It was a simple solution to a simple problem. It helped me with my hearing.

And yet, I later learned about the importance of tonsils as an adult. For example, not all doctors would not advise that your tonsils be removed unless it becomes a last resort. In Eastern Medicine, for example, they believe the tonsils play an important role in the body’s immune function.

As I grew up I remember that my energy was always lacking. I would get especially drowsy after meals.

Although fasting isn’t always recommended for children,  I couldn’t go more than 5 hours without eating for the overwhelming hunger caused by a diet that was low in protein.

On top of that, I was always congested and other kids started to make fun of me because I struggled to breathe through my nose.

It wasn’t until later in life that I learned how everyday dietary choices were affecting me, causing a build-up of inflammation in my body.

Young adulthood continued much like this.

I was dealing with niggling health issues. Health issues that I had begun to believe were just part of everyday life.

Allergies, sensitivities, skin issues, gut problems, lethargy, bloating, disrupted sleep, headaches, the list went on…

If you are reading this, it is likely that you too find yourself tolerating some kind of low-level issue on a daily basis.

In fact, a staggering 60% of Americans want to improve their current health.

And yet, I believe optimal health is achievable for most of us. It is within our grasp.

Remember, my first recommendation will always be to consult a medical professional if you have any issues with your health. My mission is to share information we can all benefit from. To help cut through the noise and help guide us in finding our own version of optimal health, notwithstanding any medical advice.

Health issues as an adult…

My first serious health issue came at the age of 20.

I was studying hard for a master’s degree in engineering, living some of the best times of my life. I was partying. I was caught up in academia and youthful hedonism.

Then in the summer of 2013, it hit me. One day I began to feel pain in my pelvis. I remember walking around the kitchen at my Dad’s house, trying to understand what was wrong with me.

After a visit to the ER, the emergency doctor told me that I should consult a urologist.  

This is where my health journey really began.

I consulted with one of the best urologists in the country to find out what was going on.

Finally after several weeks of appointments, I had the words “It’s prostatitis” blurted at me following a painful examination.

Prostatitis? I was 21. I thought the prostate was only something you talk with your doctor about once you arrive to your 40’s.

The most surprising part was the fact that the urologist’s pessimism. “This is something you might have to live with”.

Live with? I was ok until 4 weeks ago. Now I had daily pain and discomfort. This made NO sense to me.

I became depressed, unable to accept that this was my new reality. I was due to study abroad in Hong Kong and it looked like my condition was going to get in the way of something I had been looking forward to since I began university.

I tried to learn more about this condition, hoping that the answer to my recovery was out there, somewhere.

I decided to see consult a naturopath. He recommended I changed my diet entirely and started taking a number of supplements that my family had to help me purchase because they were too expensive for a student like myself.

The information onslaught began. So many new natural supplements that I had never heard of before. So many potential natural treatments.

It was encouraging to learn that all these products could help me but confusing at the same time.

I began following an alkaline diet. Meals consisted of brown rice noodles, vegetables, tofu and that’s about it. Oh, and blueberries. Lots of blueberries.

I became hyper-focused on recovery. I was obsessed.

In September 2013, I traveled to Hong Kong for my third year of studies.

My routine was built around my diet and daily supplement regime which I continued to follow blindly. I drank freshly squeezed lemons in water every morning.

At this point, I was following advice from a naturopath that didn’t seem to really understand the particularities of my condition. I felt like I was being misled, spending money on supplements without ever having undertaken any tests to see if were what I needed.

I even joined a Muay Thai gym on a whim after some other exchange students invited me. Despite finding a new passion in Muay Thai, I struggled with the fact that I still had pain as part of my daily life.

I knew deep down that his diagnosis was not going to determine the outcome of my life. There must be a better understanding of my condition out there somewhere.

Luckily, my intuition was right.

During my first months in Hong Kong

An unconventional cure

As my exams approached, I spent less and less time studying and more and more time crawling the internet in search of answers. Health forums, medical journals, YouTube, you name it.

Then one day, as my hope continued to fade, I came across a Chinese website for a clinic in Changsha, Hunan Province on the fourth page of Google. The website looked like it was stuck in 2003.

My skepticism turned to curiosity.

Here was a precise description of the common issues with Western treatment of my condition. The dodgy translation literally relayed my personal experiences up until that point. I could not believe it.

Was it possible I was barking up the wrong tree all that time?

Was it possible that hundreds of dollars on supplements were actually a waste of money?

Was the answer to one of the most common and yet unsolved conditions for men rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine?

I had to find out for myself.

I managed to convince my family that I needed to try this treatment.

I was able to get my 30-day Chinese visa.

My grandmother was going to be able to help us pay for the treatment. It all began to fall into place.

I could write an entire book about my treatment in China, but that’s for another time.

The short story is, it worked. They identified the cause of the infection and were able to cure me.

The doctors also found I had a stomach virus which was causing me long-term IBS type issues and were able to eradicate that with two weeks of IV treatment.

Relieved, I even came back 5 months later once I finished my year in Hong Kong for some follow up treatment.

The whole experience was life-changing.

It taught me so much. The importance of health. The power of determination.

Most of all it taught me that everyone’s version of optimal health is out there. It is attainable. You just need to know what that feels like for you.

As a patient, you need to equip yourself with knowledge about your body in order to make the most informed decisions possible.

Mind over matter.

My best friend and I are celebrating becoming real engineers, sort of.

I returned to University and graduated with my Master’s degree 1 year later.

During my final year, I saw a qualified psychotherapist to overcome the mental part of my illness which was the largest obstacle to my continued recovery.

I was diagnosed with agitated depression, which is essentially anxiety-induced depression.

I had spent so much time worrying and focusing on my symptoms that worry had become my default state.

I began to shift my limiting beliefs.

I learned that as long as I looked after my health, there was really no point wasting energy worrying about my health.

I continued to read extensively to better understand my psychology.

Through the whole process, I had become a much more educated wellness patient and consumer.

I had been able to find the right solutions to my problems, after first being misled.

For anyone that struggles with anxiety, I would highly recommend you consult a professional psychiatrist. As a fellow patient, I would also recommend these books.

Continuing to Seek Optimal Health

The year following my graduation was one of the best.

For the first time in my life I had found my optimal health. I knew what the supplements were that I needed to take, specific to my condition.

I knew the treatments that were right for me.

I felt great.

After working to save up some money, I disappeared to South America for 6 months.

I was FREE. Free from health issues, free from anxieties.

That is until hiking the 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu….

The first day we arrived back at our hostel after this unforgettable trip, I started to feel unwell.

I spent the next few hours of the day fully clothed shivering under a duvet in a room shared with 8 other backpackers. It was clear that something was not right.

The next 36 hours were the sickest I’ve ever endured. I was hooked up to an IV immediately. The tests revealed severe food poisoning. I’ll spare you the gory details but it’s safe to say I was on the verge of hallucination and in considerable pain.

The treatment? A strong course of antibiotics to kill the nasty buggers, plus electrolytes and Imodium.

The medicine took quick effect and I was able to hobble back to the hostel within a couple of days, relieved that it was over.

What I should have done is taken a high-quality probiotic to allow my gut flora to repopulate.

Instead, I was a backpacker working in a bar, so I continued to live the hostel life. That meant drinking and eating what I wanted. Not exactly a formula for optimal health.

Every backpacker needs a buddy who’s great at photography to travel with them.

Familiar territory.

For the remainder of my trip, I could tell that all was not right. I was forced to make other visits to various doctors in different countries.

Only once I got back to the UK, did I really begin another journey to get to the bottom of my post-food poisoning issues. I consulted with dieticians and naturopaths, with varying degrees of success.

I had tests performed.

I researched conditions that shared my symptoms.

I was eventually able to determine that I had developed two low-level chronic conditions. No surprise that these conditions also presented a lack of proven and long-term treatment by Western medicine:

1. Candida Overgrowth
2. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO.

More about these conditions and their symptoms here.

I began to consult expensive dieticians. The process was similar.

I was instructed to purchase expensive supplements and restrict my diet once again.

My issues did not improve. In fact, they got worse and I got more frustrated.

I spent a lot of my own money on supplements and consultations. Again, not much luck. I was in the same place I had been a few years prior.

I took a Comprehensive Stool Analysis which indicated candida might be partly to blame. I tinkered with my diet and observed the effects.

This journey into my digestive issues went on for about 2-3 years.

At the end of June 2018, I moved to Bogotá, Colombia with my company. This experience was a dream come true. I was going back to South America, but this time to live.

That first year in Colombia required a lot of hard work and travel.

I continued to research my condition. Reddit, podcasts, and other forums became a source of invaluable knowledge.

There were countless stories and real-life experiences of others on their own health journeys.

I continued to consult specialists and make adjustments on the basis of new information and recommendations.

I began eating meat again (I became a vegetarian after leaving China). I was eating less high FODMAP foods. I was sticking to my basic stack of supplements.

Another key change came about when I began to get back into Muay Thai. I had my first fight in June 2018 before moving to Colombia and the training brought my fitness to new levels. I began lifting weights for the first time in years in early 2019 and started to feel stronger and fitter.

I was finding my own way to make improvements in my health. By this point, I had gained knowledge and wisdom that I knew would be beneficial to others in their own health journey.

Above all, I was listening to my body and finding the results. It felt AMAZING to find the answers to my own problems.

Where I am today.

Today I am 30 years old. I have lived in 4 different countries and currently reside in Canada.

I am still working for the same company. I have my own team and am responsible for the company’s business across North America.

I overcame my health issues by listening to my body.

I have experimented with many different supplements, diets, treatments and other practices over the last 10 years.

I have learned what is right for me and above all, I know what I need to adjust when I feel myself slipping away from optimal health.

We all face challenges to our health. Studies prove the inflammatory effects of the stress, lack of contact with nature, air pollution, poor quality tap water, nutrient-lacking food, a sedentary lifestyle, excess sugar consumption, atmospheric allergens, you name it.

We are up against it on a daily basis just to maintain a decent level of wellbeing.

Then you factor in the constant barrage of misinformation we are fed by marketers, pharmaceutical companies, supplement companies, food producers, and even “authorities” on public health.

Cutting through the noise can seem overwhelming.

Optimal health isn’t the goal for everyone, but it does feel incredible.
Weigh-ins and a victory in Mexico.
Toasting to good health on a wellness retreat with my beautiful girlfriend.
This is why I created Detoxship.

To share information and to encourage others to help make smart decisions when it comes to their health & wellness.

Not from someone who is paid to treat others, but from someone who is learning as they go, just like you.

I truly believe optimal health and wellness are within our grasp and it shouldn’t be difficult to feel good. We are responsible as patients and consumers from acquiring the knowledge to help navigate these issues. No one else is going to do it for us.

I have known what it is like to suffer from low-level chronic health problems and mental health issues.

I also know what it is like to feel optimal health and happiness. How it feels to feel fit and well. To feel naturally energetic and to sleep through the night.

For most of us, we can take steps in the right direction by educating ourselves and listening to our bodies, as well as the professional advice from medical practitioners.

Put simply, I want to empower you to make smart decisions without wasting money on supplements and treatments that might not be the best for you.

Thank you for being here.

If you have made it this far, you have too much time on your hands.

Just kidding.

I appreciate the time you took to read my story and I hope that it provides you with education and optimism about your own health journey.

Now it’s your turn, I want to hear YOUR story. I am here for you as the author of this blog and I will try to respond to every email, it may just take a little time!

I want Detoxship to provide a wealth of community-sourced health and wellness knowledge where we can collaborate, and share our experiences and ideas.

We are all on this journey for optimal health, together.

Thank you for reading,

Howard Lloyd