“At first, I felt that my whole body was hurt, and from this to sharp attacks, like to the nose, it hit my shoulder, and then I felt pain, which felt that the nail passes through my joint. I don't know what's going on. ”
He tried his best to cope with the pain, slaughtering it because of the long hours of work in the kitchen. For the new chef, trying to penetrate the industry, the norm was 16-hour shifts and 90-hour weeks.
“It was really cruel, but it's kind of how you cut your teeth and learned how to become a professional chef. We worked hard. Unfortunately, we don't have to work smart. ”
But the hard work paid off. Mullen's star warmed up in the culinary world. Outside of his work in a restaurant, he began to appear on shows such as The Next Iron Chef and Sliced. He had no time for mysterious pains to thwart his career.
However, long hours and physical labor began to have a greater effect on Mullen’s health. He gained weight and suffered more acute attacks when chronic pain spread through his body.
Then, one morning, he woke up with a pain in his thigh so badly that he could not move. A trip to the ER and MRI showed that his thigh was full of fluid. Mullen was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease.
“I, like many people, thought that arthritis is a disease or grief of older people. It was shocking to find out that this is a debilitating disease that will have a long-term, permanent impact on my life and my well-being. it was really scary. ”
Fearing that his illness might leave him in a wheelchair or with hands that he could no longer cook, Mullen stood against the wall.
“I had to make a choice about whether I was going to just accept a sick person or if I somehow did it, I promised myself that I was going to change my life. "I know what I'm going to do, but I was going to take control of my health."
So Mullen began to prepare ways to improve his health, starting with his diet.
“I came with professional experience to learn how to make food very tasty, but I really didn’t know what happened to this food. So many of the foods I ate had an inflammatory effect on my body. ”
Mullen stopped eating processed foods and any foods that were known to be inflammatory. With all that he ate, he asked: “Does it help me or harm me?”
Those who helped, he called "products-heroes."
On the day of this interview, Mullen allowed CNN to remove his lunch: a small plate of boiled eggs and a salad of kohlrabi, radish, cucumber, shallot, avocado, anchovy and olive oil with olive oil.
“This is a simple salad that is really tasty and rich. Healthy fats from olive oil and anchovies, as well as omega-3 and tons of vegetables. "
Although these products test the “hero” mark, he points out that everyone should find the right combination of food that works for them.
“For me, it can be an avocado, for someone it can be almond. I think it’s important for everyone to understand what products they feel really good. ”
The change was dramatic.
There was a time when even getting out of bed was a problem for Mullen. He is now painless and practices yoga, lifts up weight, bikes and cooks without fear of an arthritis attack.
“I'm glad I got sick. I am glad that I experienced this very difficult and terrible period in my life, because I came out of it with a great sense of purpose. ”
Now he is trying to become a hero for others with similar pain. In his cookbooks, Real Food Healings and Food Foods, Mullen shares the ways in which he rediscovered his joy of cooking and eating.
"It is very important to remember that you can eat well for health and at the same time eat well for pleasure, indulgence and joy."