"At first, I felt like my whole body was hurting. It changed from that to an acute attack, like a knife stabbed in my shoulder. Then I would get a pain that felt like a nail had penetrated my joint. I had no idea what was happen. "
He tried his best to deal with pain, leaving it to dissolve for a long time in the kitchen. For new chefs who are trying to enter the industry, a 16-hour shift and 90 hours a week is the norm.
"It's really brutal, but it's kind of the way you cut your teeth and learn how to become a professional chef. We work hard. Unfortunately, we don't always work smart."
But hard work paid off. Bintang Mullen is heating up in the culinary world. Outside of his restaurant work, he began appearing on shows like "The Next Iron Chef" and "Chopped." He did not have time for mysterious pain to thwart his career.
The long hours and physical work, however, began to take a greater toll on Mullen's health. His weight increased and he suffered more acute attacks when chronic pain spread throughout his body.
Then, one morning, he woke up with very bad hip pain, he could not move. A trip to the ER and MRI revealed that his hip was full of fluid. Mullen was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease.
"I, like many people, think arthritis is a disease or suffering of parents. It's surprising to know that it's a debilitating disease that will have a long-term permanent impact on my life and my well-being is really scary."
Fearing that his illness could leave him in a wheelchair or with a hand that could no longer cook, Mullen was on the wall.
"I have to make choices about whether I will only accept being someone who is sick or whether I will crawl out of this way. I promise myself that I will change my life. I don't" I don't know what I will do. But I will control my health. "
Recipe for health
So Mullen began cooking various ways to improve his health, starting with his diet.
"I come from a professional background that knows how to make food really delicious, but I really don't know what happened to that food. So much food I eat has an inflammatory effect on my body."
Mullen stopped eating processed foods and any food known as inflammation. With everything he eats, he will ask, "does this help me or harm me?"
The people who helped, he labeled "food heroes."
On the day of this interview, Mullen let CNN record it making lunch: a small plate of boiled eggs and kohlrabi salad, radishes, cucumbers, shallots, avocados, anchovies, and extra virgin olive oil.
"It's a simple salad that is really delicious and full of great things. Healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil and anchovies and omega-3s and tons of vegetables."
Even though this food checks the "hero" sign, it shows that everyone must find the right mix of food that suits them.
"For me, it might be avocados; for others, maybe almonds. I think it's very important for everyone to start understanding foods that make them feel very good."
The changes are very dramatic.
There was a time when even getting out of bed was a challenge for Mullen. He is now free of pain and practicing yoga, lifting weights, bicycles and chefs without fear of arthritis attacks.
"I'm glad I got sick. I'm glad I had a very difficult and terrible time in my life, because I came out with a bigger goal."
He is now trying to be a hero to other people with the same pain. In his recipe book, "Real Food Heals" and "Hero Food," Mullen shared the way he rediscovered his joy in cooking and eating.
"It's important to remember that you can eat very well for your health and at the same time eat well for pleasure, pleasure and joy."