"Originally, I felt my whole body was painful, it was acute attacks like I had a knife stabbed in my shoulder, and then I got a pain that felt like a knuckle. No idea what was happening . "
He tried to get through the pain, and the chef had run out of him for long hours in the kitchen. For a new chef trying to get into the industry, the standard of 16-hour work shifts and 90-hour weeks was the norm.
"It was really brutal, but it's a way of carving teeth and learning to become a professional chef. We worked hard, unfortunately we did not have to work smartly."
But hard work pays off. Mullen's star was warmed up in the culinary world. In addition to his restaurant work, he began appearing at shows such as "The Next Iron Chef" and "Cut". He did not have time for mysterious pain to derail his career.
Long hours and physical work, however, began to reduce the health of Mullen. He gained weight and suffered more acute seizures because chronic pain spreads around his body.
One morning he awoke with such deep pain in his loins, unable to move. A trip to ER and MRI showed that his loin is full of fluid. Mullen has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease.
"I, like many people, thought arthritis was a disease or a problem for older people. It was shocking when I learned that it is a debilitating illness that would have a long-lasting, lasting impact on my life and my well being. really scary. "
In fear that his illness might leave him in a wheelchair or with hands that could no longer be cooked, Mullen stood against the wall.
"I had to choose whether I would just accept that I was sick or if I had somehow lost my way, I had the promise to change my life, I do not know what to do but take control of my health."
So Mullen began to prepare ways to improve his health, starting with diet.
"I came from a professional background when I knew how to make the food really great, but I did not know what happened to the food, so many meals I had had inflammatory effects on my body."
Mullen stopped eating the processed foods and all the foods that are known to be inflammatory. In everything he ate, he asked, "Does it help me or hurt me?"
Those who helped him labeled "hero foods".
On the day of the interview, Mullen let CNN film him to prepare for lunch: a small plate of boiled egg and corn salad, radish, cucumber, shallots, avocados, anchovies and extra virgin olive oil.
"It's a simple salad that is really tasty and full of great things, healthy extra fat extra virgin olive oil and anchovy, as well as omega-3 and tons of vegetables."
Although these foods control the "hero" brand, they point out that everyone should find the right mix of food for them.
"It could be avocado for me, for someone else it could be almonds, I think it's really important for everyone to start understanding food that could be really good."
The change was dramatic.
It was a time when even the bed was a challenge to Mullen. He is now without pain and practicing yoga, lifting weights, bikes and chefs without fear of an arthritic attack.
"I'm glad I'm sick, and I'm glad I've been through this really hard and terrible time in my life, because I've come up with bigger senses."
Now he's trying to be a hero for others with similar pain. In his cookies, "Real Food Heals" and "Hero Food," Mullen shares ways to re-discover his joy in cooking and food.
"It is very important to realize that you can eat healthy while eating well for joy, pleasure and joy."