My interview with Super model Carl Alt was so much more than what I expected. When I asked Carol if she would like to contribute to the second edition of my Eat Pray Get Well book , I didn’t know what to expect as I had never met her before. I knew about Carol as a supermodel of course but what really drew me in was an article I read about her over ten years ago. This was back when I was chowing down on antacids like they were cocktail peanuts because I couldn’t keep acid from washing up and burning my esophagus. I also woke up with incredible sinus headaches so before getting out of bed I reached for decongestant spray and headache medicine. Allergy medications also usually worked their way into my day because I was allergic to almost everything I ate. This is when I really started paying attention to Carol. She participated in many of my same “self medicating” habits as I did just so she could get through her day.
Below is an except of our interview. We talk about Carol’s health challenges and how she turned to her faith for answers. Then ultimately choosing a raw diet in order to heal. Talking to Carol felt much like talking to an old friend. I’m not sure if it had to do with us both being New Yorkers or maybe because we battled many of the same health issues, but I found her to be incredibly humble and real.
About Carol Alt
I know you will find Carol just as impressive as I did. She is and always has been about so much more than her looks. Carol was discovered in college where she received an ROTC scholarship. Her dream was to the be the first female JAG officer. Besides holding supermodel status, Carol is also a best selling-author (my favorite book being Raw 50.) She is an actress, raw food enthusiast, and former TV host of, A Healthy You & Carol Alt on Fox News. Lets not forget Carol has even raced cars.
Q&A With Carol Alt
Erin: Carol your life is so interesting, and people think of you only as a supermodel, they are in for a big surprise. Let’s start from the beginning. I started paying attention to your lifestyle when I read that during your modeling career you lived on over-the-counter medication such as cold remedies, sinus medication, and acids (eight at a time) congestion sprays. This sounded a lot like my life, so naturally I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about how you were able to heal your body and judge these medication’s. By the way, I was on a heavy duty prescriptions anti-acid as well as over-the-counter ones (which I popped all day long) for about 14 years. I even took sinus medicine during my entire pregnancy. I had no idea the damage I was doing to my body.
Carol: First of all Erin, I just wanted to let you know that I admire what you’re doing and using your own life one story to educate people and try to keep them from making the mistakes that you and I made. I did the same thing in my introduction to my book, Eating in the Raw. I have to say I did some of the same things you did, although I didn’t have symptoms as bad as you had it. Acid stomach for sure, and I popped ant acids every night before bed (eight every night) but I didn’t have acid reflux. Cold remedies helped me to fall asleep and then coffee to wake up – way too much coffee – it was my way of staying thin, drinking coffee! Every time I finished a movie I would come down with a cold and had constant headaches. I ate plenty of food, but just not the right food. Spaghetti every night for dinner, for example, which is not the most nourishing choice, but I had no idea that the food I was eating was causing the symptoms I was having! Back in the day, nobody really talked about this.
Erin: you took these over-the-counter medication’s in an effort to treat your constant sinus infections, allergies, acid stomach and overall decline in health? Can you tell me a little about that?
Carol: Yes, and don’t forget the decongestant sprays. I had one in every pocket of every outfit I wore on set. You know, if you were shooting a movie on location in morocco, at the end of the day they take your outfit from you and it goes back to wardrobe. Now, you’re back in your hotel room and you’re trying to sleep but you can’t because you were stuffed up and your spray is in your last scenes wardrobe across town! So I would always purchase a carton of decongestant spray, that if I lost one, I always had another.
Erin: and you can’t sleep when your nose is stuffed. I lived on decongestants. I had four sinus surgeries, but I wasn’t as smart as you I didn’t change things right away.
Carol: Listen, I went to the doctor about my sinus problem, and when he wanted to take a look at my sinuses, he put a Q-tip up my nose and suddenly my whole head opened up and I thought, “WOW”. Whatever THAT is, that is what I want.” He said, “Oh no, what you need is sea salt and water, this is nasal spray.” He gave me the name, it was the same nasal spray I was already using. Well I never went back. I felt as though if he’s using the same thing I was to open up my head and then telling me to mix sea salt and water, then what good is that? I didn’t go back; my history has shown that was the right choice.
I just suffered for a while longer and then I heard about Dr. Timothy Brantley and I listened to him because when he started speaking, the universe opened up. It’s the moment you connect to the fact that you are getting knowledge, a knowledge you didn’t have before, that absolutely strikes your soul; it’s when you know and feel that something is so honestly true, it transforms you. You connect to the universe and how do you turn your back on that?
Erin: Yes! It’s knowing that this is the correct path.
Carol: Right. You know, it’s like the first time I walked into the modeling agency, they said to me, “Don’t move!” In that moment, for good or for bad, life was going to change. I didn’t know how much, but at least I knew I was going to get a great summer job!
When I talked to Dr. Brantley, I just knew that everything I thought I knew was changing. He didn’t say to me, “What ails you?” or “How can I help you?” like most all doctors do. He just said, “Let me ask you, “‘what do you eat?’” I told him what I ate (then when he stopped laughing) he said, “I’m surprised you don’t have this, this, this and this.” HE told ME what was ailing me, and he was right-on; and of course, that was: my sinus infections, my inability to sleep, my acid stomach, headaches, colds and a rash on my leg, (which I don’t really talk about) but it was all reversed by changing my diet. I also found out that I had an over abundance of candida albicans and I learned that it was creating a lot of my symptoms and nobody had told me that before. When I made those changes to my diet, the symptoms disappeared.
Erin: Many doctors will say it’s not possible to have a systemic fungal infection, that a person would have to have a compromised immune system to have a systemic fungal infection, like a toxic mold can cause a person to be immunocompromised, for example. Fungus can attack any part of the body, organs, tissue, joints. Carol, did you also suffer from allergies?
Carol: All I know is that when I changed my diet the rash went away. So did most all my other problems. And, yes, I had allergies since I was a kid, and nobody ever told me “You eat an awful lot of sugar and gluten.” I also never realized I could control my allergies with diet. And not just allergies, I could control a lot of my discomfort. As a kid I lived on cereal – no wonder I had sinus infections.
When I gave up the gluten, I gave up sinus infections too! Cereal was my favorite at-home breakfast and then I would go to school and eat a white flour bagel; then I would have a sandwich or institutional pizza for lunch! It was a constant sugar-fest. And, truth be told, I was constantly hungry. Looking back, I realize that all I ate was sugar. Now I wonder how my body survived!
Erin: Carol, you looked like the picture of health on the outside but on the inside you were falling apart and you talk about a specific photo shoot that was so depressing for you.
Carol: First of all, let me say something about looking like ‘the picture of health’. At 20 and 30 and maybe even some of my 40’s it was very easy for me to look good! Hit 50 and 60 and try to do that. Youth is a wonderful thing! The only way I knew how to do that as I got older was to radically change my diet and feed my body what it needs to nutrition itself and manage disease, and discomfort and, most important for me at that time, slow down aging.
Erin: Yes, we cannot get away with the same bad habits as we get older, it catches up!
Carol Questions What Is Happening To Her Health And Career
Carol: I just thought that I could keep on marching right through all of these issues and continue to take over-the-counter products to help mask or manage these problems. But by the time I got to the Amazon rainforest in Venezuela, (The project was even titled, Carol Alt and Friends in the Rainforest) by the time I got there, I was literally not in shape to shoot. But there were only two of us; myself and another younger model. I was hiding behind rocks and trees to film because I felt so uncomfortable and out of shape. At one point I was just looking at this other girl jumping around and laughing and so carefree – and she looked so comfortable and so healthy and so energetic and that really had added to her beauty. She wasn’t physically beautiful to me, but she attracted the entire set; everyone just gravitated towards her. So I’m looking at her and thinking, “What happened from that point to this point in my life? I used to be like that, energetic and at ease in my own skin, but now I’m like this. What happened? How did it happen “all of a sudden’”? I mean she was only 10 years younger than I was. But it felt like a huge gap.
It was interesting, and a perplexing problem because I was thinking, if I was like her at 22, and this is what I’m like now, at 34 – where will I be at 44 or 54? It seems that it is blown up 10X for women. So I was thinking: “What will I be like? Because I’m on a very bad path here. I don’t see it getting any better or changing if I’m continuing to do the same things; and if I continue down this path, it’ll only get worse.” I could literally feel it in my bones! Dr. Brantley, author of The Cure: Heal Your Body, Save Your Life (#1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list for quite a while), once told me that we are the accumulation of everything we do to our body. So nothing actually happens ‘all of a sudden’. We are the accumulation. By the way, my mother changed her eating habits after seeing the results I got; she was 68 at the time. So you’re never too old!
Carol Turns To Her Faith For Answers
Erin: So this photo shoot was before you had any information on how to dig yourself out of sickness, correct?
Carol: Right. After Venezuela I went back to LA and I was confused; and truthfully, Erin, I sound so corny and hokey but I started praying on it. I started praying and saying to God, “Please, you can’t leave me like this. You brought me to a certain celebrity (I wasn’t the biggest celebrity, but I was a famous model, and I was doing movies), but You have not allowed me to do anything with that celebrity. So, let’s make a deal here: You save my life and I promise that I will do whatever it is You need me to do. I will use whatever celebrity You gave me to further Your message. Whatever that message is.” I know that He answered that simple prayer because my life completely changed in the next hour. I received a phone call from a friend of mine who was 14 years old when I last saw him. He was now 32 and he was dating a girl who was diagnosed with cancer (at 22 years old!). He said that the doctors wanted to do radical lymphadenectomy and a radical hysterectomy on her. Again: She was 22 years old! He said, “I just thought there had to be a better way. So I spoke with this doctor whom I had met through business associates and I asked him to work on my girlfriend.” He told me that working with this holistic doctor was so mind-blowing and the result was incredible, beyond what he could have imagined. Then he said to me, “You need to talk to him – he is so amazing. He will talk to you about food and health and you’ll never be able to look at food the same way again. You will never be able to watch your loved ones eat and not try to change them.” But at first I couldn’t hear him. My thoughts went to how shocking it was that he found me! I hadn’t seen him since he was 14 years old! And now he found me at a private home in Palm Springs where I had an unlisted number! I couldn’t believe he found me there, it wasn’t like we had cell phones. This was 1995 or 1996. This was a miracle. And even though it was a miracle, and I knew it was a miracle that he found me, truthfully, when I hung up the phone I was not inclined to call this doctor. Crazy right? But then I had
this gut feeling, a voice – if you will. The voice called me out – It told me that I was crazy. That I’m sitting here praying for a change and for help and something comes along and I’m not willing to try it. So I thought, “Yeah, that is crazy. If this doctor did that for that 22-year-old, what could he do for me with my little issues? What will it hurt? Let’s give this a try.”
Erin: Well, this is how God works.
Carol: Right and I knew it! I thought to myself “Self! you have tried everything else! So what, if I call another doctor. If he does nothing, he does nothing. But if he does something then I’m ahead of the game.” So I broke down and called him. It’s the best call I made in my life. From that point onward I made a decision based on what I heard from that doctor, to change my life and I started reaping the benefits almost immediately. Of course, this was Dr. Timothy Brantley. Look how God works! They were incredible benefits; and so many of them I can’t even list them all. But I do remember walking
down the street and people walking towards me were smiling at me as I walked by. I was thinking, “Do I have egg on my face? What are these people laughing at when they look at me?” Then I realized I was walking down the street with a smile on my face. That’s what they were reacting to. When you feel good, you project happiness, and that happiness is contagious; that’s the best part. I think that is what I had reacted to with the other model on the set. She was just happy! I had friends who thought maybe I had a facelift or that I had been on vacation because my face looked so good, my skin was supple and my eyes were clear, my hair was thicker. This was a 180° turn around. These changes, in turn, were also what my mother had reacted to. This is what prompted her to want those same results. The best part is that almost immediately I was off all those medications that I had leaned on. I had no more heartburn, no more sinus infections. The rash went away, and I slept like a baby and jumped up in the morning ready to face the day. I can’t remember having a headache again and can’t remember the last time I had a cold- I think it’s been 22 years. I was just so happy and it showed!
Happiness Is Attractive!
Erin: And happiness is so attractive! You can be the most beautiful woman in the world but if you’re depressed or sick or your thoughts are bitter…
Carol: …or angry or frustrated! Even if you are just thinking it, people can feel it.
Erin: Yes, exactly. Carol, how important do you think your spiritual side is in getting healthy? It sounds like you are also a believer that God guides us.
Carol: I think spirituality is very important. You know what the issue is? We all have free will. So God can put all the signs in front of us that He wants to, but only we can choose our path. At some point there is a fork in the road and a decision needs to be made: Stay on that road and all the things that are happening to my body will only get worse, or research and search for a change and thereby change my path and change my life. (Remember the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different result.)
I always tell all my friends, “People choose their own problems.” What I mean by that is that we all know what the right things to do are. We either choose to do them or we don’t. If you choose to sit in front of the TV watching a football game eating chicken wings – that’s okay for a once-a-month cheat. But people cheat all the time; you could almost say that eating healthy was their actual cheat because most of the time they eat poorly and yet they expect they are going to be healthy.
I just want people to be educated. I want them to understand what happens in their body when they eat something; that their choices have everything to do with the quality of their life and their health; that their choices directly lead to their results. Nothing happens in a vacuum. It’s also crazy to note that most of the time people even forget what they eat because they don’t think about it. If you write down everything you eat, everything that you put in your mouth for an entire week, you’d be shocked! They walk by a bowl of something and pop it in their mouth and don’t even think about it. I have begun to realize that when God puts me in front of somebody it’s because they need it. They need the information I have, and need to be educated in a different way; they need a kickstart.
The Pledge Carol Made To Herself
I have made a pledge to myself never to bring up food, diet or lifestyle unless somebody else does. That’s just my own personal rule. But if somebody says something that brings up that conversation – I go for it full force because I know God put me there, in front of that person, because they need to hear and they need to choose. I believe He never leaves you. He will never leave you without a way out; He will always give you the information, He will always show you the way. We just have to look for the signs- we just have to be open to them. However, many of us choose not to look and not to listen, and that’s our right. You have the right to choose your own way. Yet you have to realize that because we have free will, we choose not just our own way, but in choosing, you also choose your own results. We are responsible for ourselves.
Full interview can be found in my 2nd edition of Eat Pray Get Well – A Journey from Chronic Illness & Brokenness to Wholeness & Healing
Coming up Next Week – Are you afraid to die? My enlightening interview with Tommy Rosa author of Health Revelations from Heaven and Earth. Tommy had a near death experience and I will share an excerpt of my interview with him.
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