I have been a student of nutrition literally by necessity from the age of four. This began when my father, who lived a very active and stressful lifestyle, had a heart attack the age of thirty-seven. My family was blessed by surviving this attack but the next few years were incredible challenging. His health continued to decline and his ability to function in his daily activities plummeted, which was culminated by not only a second heart attack but a third attack by the time he was forty-one years old. At that time, he had gone to the best doctors in the country and had a quadruple bypass procedure, and despite all that was done the doctors pronounced that he would not live to see his forty-second birthday. This was a devastating blow to my family and although I was so young at the time I remember the massive impact it had on my family. My sister and I were going to be fatherless and my mother was going to be forced to provide for us on her own.
When this pronouncement came, my father was nearly crushed by the weight of helplessness he felt. Up to that time his life’s purpose had been to provide for his wife and children and he was no longer going to be able to do that. To him, he had failed at his purpose in life. At that point something stirred in him, and that was the resolution that he would not let the diagnosis of some very educated doctors decide his fate. He became angry and motivated, and with all of the energy that he had, which was incredibly little at that time, he began to search for answers. Though he did not know where to start, he stumbled upon some books and magazines from pioneers in the field of health at that time which gave him some hope.
He found some helpful tips on how to eat better, reduce his stress, and exercise. He had decided to use stair walking as his form of exercise. The challenge was that at that time he was unable to walk up a single flight of stairs. He started his routine by first walking up two to three stairs. This soon increased to a full flight of stairs and then several flights. He eventually found himself walking up and down stairs for numerous minutes per day. This exercise, in addition to eating whole foods that included fruits, vegetables, and meats, and a significant amount of supplements seemed to be giving energy back to my father that he had not had for quite some time. Because of his efforts we were able spend extra precious time with my father that I did not think we would have.
I had learned a lot from my dad’s experience, and decided at a very early age not to go down the same path that my father had endured. Having grown up with a focus on regular exercise and eating better, I was able to avoid a large number of illnesses that my friends and acquaintances seemed to come down with. I did notice that at periods in my life when I ate better I would seem more resistant to illness, and when I ate poorly I would catch colds more easily and feel more run down.
When I turned twenty years old everything changed. I had been feeling like I was in the best “shape” of my life. I was lifting weights in the gym 5-6 days a week. I seemed stronger than ever before, but I started to have frequent minor wrist, elbow and knee “strains” while working out. Then one day I set a weight down like I had done thousands of times before and my back went into spasms. What happened next was six months of agonizing pain and numbness in my leg and running around to every doctor I could find but coming away with no relief and, worse yet, no diagnosis. After pleading for an MRI, it was shown that I had three herniated discs in my lower back, causing severe sciatica. The recommendation was spinal surgery, as this was the only known “cure” for the problem. This didn’t sound like a great option so instead I made a big life decision and went to chiropractic school and started down the path of understanding how chiropractic and “proper nutrition” was what I really needed.
I began to learn that eating low fat and high carbohydrates was not the answer. Thousands of hours of chiropractic and nutritional study taught me how the body worked and I began to better understand what my body needed to be healthy. I looked to traditional vitamins and supplements to assist my very rundown body, which by this time had lost most of it’s muscle mass because the most intense exercise I could do was the fifteen minute painful ordeal of putting my socks and shoes on every morning. I took these vitamins because the science of the day seemed to believe they could help. Some of them did. Others I was not too sure of. It was challenging knowing who and what to believe.
In 1997 I was introduced to a company known as Standard Process. I heard they started in 1929 and did things a little differently than all of the “new science” of the day. They believed in whole foods being the source of nutrition and that if supplements were needed then they too should come from whole foods as well. I began taking some of their products as well as my glucosamine sulfate, and soon I began to realize that, although gradual, my back and raging sciatica began to feel better. Prior to this I had been getting chiropractic care with much needed but short lived relief. Now when I began to feed my body, which is what it really needed, for the first time in twenty-three years it began to respond in ways I had not expected. My symptoms of severe, consistent pain for over two and a half years were significantly reduced and less frequent. Also, the most amazing thing happened between the age of twenty-three and twenty-five. I actually grew over two additional inches! My goal to be over six feet tall was realized. By my twenty-sixth birthday not only was I taller, but my sciatica had completely gone way without surgery or medication and my energy and outlook on life was the best it had ever been.
As a practicing chiropractor, I could see that the whole food nutrition offered by Standard Process would have equally amazing results on hundreds of my patients who were blessed by taking them. I did find though that there was still a very large percentage of people who would not get the results I had hoped for, would get frustrated before they saw results or because they had already been taking so many “traditional” vitamins already. People would actually bring me bags full of products they were on. At that time I did not have the tools to advise them on which products their body actually needed, so I would rule out the worst ones and give them the best alternative that I could think of for them.
My story now fast-forwards to 2007. My beautiful two year old daughter, who was lovingly called by my family as our “organic baby”, went from never having been sick in her life to developing acute asthma and dozens of “food allergies.” I was floored by this very stressful time in our life because although chiropractic does not actually treat asthma or allergies, I have had amazing results with children who have had these in the past and in many cases their symptoms went away completely. However, this was NOT the case with my daughter. Everything I knew at the time seemed useless and incredibly frustrating because there was no one in the world that I wanted to help with their health more than her. I did not seem to have any answers and didn’t know where to begin. I started with basic support supplements. The challenge was that I did not know which ones would work, and trying to get multiple pills into a two year old was difficult. I started to seek the counsel of anyone I knew in the health field and I either received the same symptom-suppression answer or one of “hopefully she will grow out of it.” One night of watching her labor to breathe even on medication was more than enough and I didn’t know if I would survive watching her “grow out of it.” And at what age would this happen?
After a year of this hopeless time for myself and my wife, we stumbled upon a Nutrition Response Testing seminar that you were providing in the area. I had tried everything else for my daughter so I decided to try that as well. That weekend I discovered what seemed to be the missing piece of the healthcare puzzle. I went home and tested my daughter using your procedures and was amazed at what I found. It pointed me directly to some immune stress that she was exposed to, and not only did it tell me what was contributing to her condition but also very specifically what we needed to give her with certainty and in the order of what her body needed first.
For the first time in over a year I saw this child who seemed to be going in a downward spiral start to turn around and get stronger. With great surprise, we were even able to start adding foods that she was not able to eat for years. She is now eight years old and she is able to eat (but not always allowed to have) any food, including everything that she was originally acutely allergic to. She is in the top rank in her Tae Kwon Do class, which involves a significant amount of running and activity. Her breathing is not without an occasional flare up but she has gone months at a time without any onset.
I have put in countless hours to study and train and practice your procedures and apply them with my family and patients. The results continue to amaze me. I am so glad to be part of a very small group of doctors that are trained in your advanced procedures. It has given me and my family great hope to know that we have much more control in helping our daughter “grow out” of her asthma.
One thing I forgot to mention earlier which I am proud to share with you is that my father, despite all prognoses on the contrary, is now seventy-four years old. Thirty-seven years after his first heart attack he is still going strong. He has been on whole food supplements like Standard Process for almost twenty years now and has benefited greatly from Nutrition Response Testing. He continues to amaze his doctors by having not only survived three heart attacks but also with his ability to have a lived a very productive and enjoyable life that should have cut short over thirty years ago because of a decision not to go out without a fight. Both my family and I have been blessed to have had my father for all of these additional years. He truly is my hero.
Whole food nutrition gave me back my father over thirty years ago, it helped heal my back over fifteen years ago, brought my daughter out of a direction of labored breathing and ill health, and now with Nutrition Response Testing, I am helping to shape a very healthy and happy future for the rest of my family, friends, and all of my patients.
Dr. Ben Cotter grew up going to Morris and Milford Central Schools where he was heavily involved in sports. He went to Drs. Joe and Shirley when they first came to town after suffering a low back injury from a bullying and sport situation. He was captain of the class champion basketball team as well as a New York State long jump champion. After graduating from undergrad and chiropractic school he moved to the South Carolina coast and started his own practice. The practice thrived, but for him and his wife Oneonta was home. When the opportunity presented itself, the doctors teamed up, and Oneonta once again became home.
Dr. Ben Cotter has obtained the postgraduate designation of Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® (CCSP®) by the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians™ (ACBSP™). The CCSP® certification requires the doctor to attend a 120 hour postgraduate program. This instruction is specific to physical fitness and the evaluation and treatment of injuries encountered in sports. Following the completion of these hours, the doctor must then take and successfully pass a comprehensive written examination.
This training will aid the doctor in the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries by enhancing his diagnostic skills and patient care. The CCSP® certification exists to provide a uniform standard of education that assures teams and athletes that the doctor has met a minimum level of competency in chiropractic sports medicine. Dr. Ben Cotter joins over 5500 others internationally who hold this designation. He is now qualified to work with athletes at the olympic level.
If you are interested in learning more about preventing sports injuries before they occur, please contact us at 607-433-9661 or call the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians at 844-327-2255.
Beginning in my early 30’s, I started to experience a downward health spiral, starting with an event which led the doctors to run a blood work panel on me. Their diagnosis was Hypothyroidism.
I was then advised to see an Endocrinologist and he immediately placed me on medication for my condition. This was only the beginning of my health issues which lasted for six years. These issues included a pre-cancerous condition, two surgeries; one of which was a major surgery, many tests, yearly hospital visits and doctors’ visits. After all the tests were exhausted, and the symptoms I was experiencing went unexplained, I was left on pain medication, as I was left with no other option. The pain medication took the edge off of my pain, although it didn’t help the cause of my pain. The side effects of the medication left me feeling horrible.
I finally decided that I didn’t want to live life feeling this way anymore, and that I was going to have to take responsibility for my own health, and do something completely different. A friend had recommended that I check out Southside Chiropractic. Taking her advice, I started seeing Dr. Joe for my back problems. These problems included bulging and borderline herniated disks. By my second visit I was able to stop my pain medication, and just take Aleve. Not long after that, I was able to stop the Aleve all together.
Although my back was getting better, I still had many unexplained symptoms that left me feeling sick and tired. Dr. Joe encouraged me to see his wife, Dr. Shirley. I took his advice and met with Dr. Shirley, who helped me get started with her nutritional program which included supplementing my diet with whole food supplements, learning about good nutrition, and learning how I should be eating. As I made these changes, I noticed that many of my unexplained symptoms started to diminish! Before this I hadn’t realized how much the food I ate affected my health, as I no longer felt sick and tired. Feeling well changed my outlook on life, as I was able to enjoy life once again!
It was at this time that I decided that from now on I would choose the “pleasure of life”, over the “pleasure of foods”. That commitment has led me into taking my health’s journey to another level, which included starting a Nutrition Response Testing program for myself. After seeing the value in the program, and the way the nutrition impacted my life, as well as my family’s lives, this led me to become a Nutrition Response Testing practitioner. I am also continuing my health education so that I may help you in supporting your health. My goal is to help you regain control over your health, so that you too can enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer!