How Chef Seamus Mullen Leveraged Holistic Lifestyle Medicine To Heal Himself

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“I’ve really started to look at health as being contagious in a way that when you start to make really good and considered choices about your own well-being, the people around you take notice and they start doing the same thing as well.”

Seamus Mullen


Imagine yourself so debilitated by a battery of chronic ailments you can barely get out of bed. Merely walking down a simple flight of stairs or lifting a a book is excruciating. Knife-like pains cause you to scream so loudly, your neighbor calls 911. Then one day you collapse at work and awake in the hospital to discover you have suffered 36 embolisms that are filling your lungs with blood so quickly, drowning is a very real possibility.

Now imagine yourself a couple years later in a tropical jungle competing in La Ruta Del Conquistadores. Widely considered one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet, La Ruta is a 3-day, 161-mile mountain bike race with over 29,000 feet of climbing that traverses Costa Rica from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea.

This is the incredible arc of today’s guest, Seamus Mullen.

An award-winning New York City chef, restaurateur and cookbook author known for his inventive yet approachable Spanish cuisine, Seamus is the proprietor of several restaurants, including Tertulia (a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best New Restaurant”), El Colmado, a Spanish tapas and wine bar at Gotham West Market, and Sea Containers at Mondrian London.

A semi-finalist for Best Chef NYC by the James Beard Foundation 3 years in a row, Seamus was also one of 3 finalists on the Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef. He frequents the popular Food Network series Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay as a featured judge and is a recurring guest on programs such as The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, and CBS This Morning.

But the important things in life snapped into focus for Seamus in 2007 when he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that precipitated a near death experience and quite literally brought him to his knees.

A once avid cyclist who raced competitively in his twenties, Seamus suddenly found himself unable to properly function.

Pedal a bike? A pipe dream.

Seamus was faced with a choice. Either live out the remainder of his days with unbearable suffering, or take matters into his own hands. He chose the latter.

It wasn’t easy. And it wasn’t overnight. But by making a decision to make wellness his number one priority; by harnessing the power of holistic, functional medicine; and by rebooting his lifestyle wholesale, Seamus Mullen ultimately healed himself.

By virtue of working with people like lifestyle architect Ari Meisel and functional medicine doctor and RRP alumnus Frank Lipman (click here to listen to my podcast with Frank), Seamus can now add wellness advocate and authority to his already impressive resume. And when he’s not racing his bike across Costa Rica, he’s pedaling for charity or lost on one of his many cycling and motorcycle adventures exploring remote parts of the planet.

Seamus has shared his amazing story of renewal with major publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and through his bi-monthly column in Men’s Journal. He is currently making a documentary about his journey called Back on the Bike.

Seamus is a great guy and we had a fantastic conversation that explores all the aforementioned topics and then some, including:

  • the importance of healthy school lunch programs
  • the story behind his Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • the failure of traditional RA treatment protocols
  • symptomatic treatment vs. true healing methodology
  • his vivid near-death experience
  • understanding the importance of physical/mental health
  • the on-going commitment to growth & change
  • the importance of a healthy microbiome
  • the importance of positive support & self-belief
  • a whole foods approach to health & sustainability
  • the benefits of eating seasonally
  • the re-invention of food due to a growing food culture

For the record, Seamus isn’t vegan (yet – trust me, I’m working on it). But that doesn’t mean we can’t get along, find plenty of commonalities and agree on a wide range of important issues related to health and wellness. Plus, he did prepare me and John Joseph one of the most unique and incredibly delicious 6 course vegan meals I have ever experienced in my life. So I can more than attest to his culinary genius. Next time you are in NYC, drop by Tertulia in the West Village, tell him you want The Rich Roll Special. Then snap a photo of his (I predict priceless) reaction and send it to me.

I sincerely hope you listen with an open mind and enjoy the conversation.

Is wellness your number one priority? If not, why not? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Peace + Plants,

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Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson.

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