ANNOUNCEMENT: Beginning next week we’ll be taking a short break from Success Stories to make room for another popular reader request: a video cooking series. Yup, Dr. Lindsay Taylor and I will meet you in the kitchen each Monday morning through June to cook up some Primal and Primal-keto favorites (all part of a bigger announcement I’ll be making this week). In the meantime, you can check out the amazing archive of Primal Blueprint Real Life Stories from Mark’s Daily Apple readers. And if you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community, please contact me here. I’d love to hear from you. And now for today’s inspirational story…. Enjoy, everyone, and thanks for reading.

My story goes back to being a Jazz Piano Studies major in college. I was getting ready to graduate, and was planning a wedding with my high school sweetheart. At the start of my last semester in college my now wife was hit with a life changing diagnosis: non-Hodgkins lymphoma. This was at the age of 22. Our life was put on hold as we entered the strange world of cancer treatment. As the chemotherapy started, we would ask questions like “should we be eating a certain way?” Often we were laughed at by doctors and my wife was told to simply eat.

The food in the hospital was mostly processed carbohydrate and dessert based. Knowing what we know now about cancer being a mostly metabolic disease, it is horrifying that cancer patients are basically fed pure sugar. We did the best we could with healthy eating as we saw it. Mostly organic processed food and whole grains. Luckily my wife was strong enough to receive some of the toughest chemotherapy regimens in modern medicine and make it out the other end. After 6 months of treatment we were given the ok to go back to our normal lives. The question remained, “how did this happen and what can we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?”

In my research I stumbled across Mark’s Daily Apple, and fell into the rabbit hole that is ancestral living. We immediately started to get sugars and processed foods out of our diet. Before this I had tried to be a vegetarian off and on for a couple years, with my wife struggling as well. I had chronic digestive issues, joint pain, and low energy and assumed that was just my baseline. We started to simply eat more meat and vegetables in place of the grain heavy diet we were on. We worked on mindfulness strategies to reduce our stress, and functional training to strengthen our bodies. To say we both felt better would be an understatement.

After 3 years of dialing everything in, my wife and I follow a mostly ketogenic diet with periodic primal carbohydrates thrown in. She is in the best health of her life, even compared to before the chemo. I was so blown away by both of our transformations that I entered the Primal Health Coach Institute and got my certificate a year ago. Since then I have been passionately spreading the word and educating people about how to maintain effortless health, before a crisis happens.

I have been able to gain muscle and not have digestive, dental, and emotional issues for the first time in my life at 25. My wife has had similar benefits. We are now the owners of Steele Back Your Health, a coaching business based in the Cascade Mountains in Chelan, WA. I educate the importance of stress reduction, ancestral nutrition, and sustainable movement to maintain health long term effortlessly. Everyone should know that the human body is capable of supporting you long term, given the simple inputs it has evolved to need over our evolution.

Thanks for everything Mark. Live Awesome!

-Elliot Steele

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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The post To Say We Both Felt Better Is an Understatement appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I was over being a factory worker. I spent my lunch breaks smoking cigarettes and eating 5 dollar footlongs. Who knew that footlong subs weren’t healthy? I wanted to reclaim my health and find a more exciting career. Being a firefighter seemed cool and different. When I decided to take the upcoming firefighter exam for the city of Columbus, I knew that the physical portion would be difficult. I hadn’t worked out since childhood sports and smoked a pack a day. That’s when I started researching the optimal diet and workout routines. Like everyone in the early stages of their health journey, I tried everything.

Jogging had become my salvation. No matter how long my workday was, or how physically drained I was after clocking out, I would run 3 or 4 miles on the trail. I was trying to out-train my diet. I felt prepared to take on the physical exam after months of cardio training and zero strength training. The test was pretty easy besides dragging a 200 lb dummy around. I did fine, but I didn’t stand out. Onward and upward. I was now “skinny-fat” with no idea how to eat. It didn’t take long to realize that the fad diets and chronic cardio weren’t going to cut it. I wasn’t seeing the results I had hoped for. This was motivation for me to get better—to get stronger and wiser.

Thank you, Google, for introducing me to Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal community. When I discovered the treasure that is the Primal Blueprint, everything got easier. It provided clarity on how to eat and move like I was meant to. Implementing the lifestyle laws that Mark created was easy: lift heavy shit a couple times a week and keep it moving. I ditched the 5Ks in favor of HIIT and hill sprints. My kettlebell and cobweb-covered pull up bar in the basement were the only gym equipment I needed. Once I could do twenty strict pull ups in a row, I began adding weight by hanging a bowling ball in the bag over my shoulders like a backpack. I quickly worked my way up to “mastery level” on the PEMs.

My diet was simplified. I found three or four go-to Primal meals and cycled through them weekly. Steak and cauliflower mash with greens is still a favorite of mine. No more Miller High Life, more Cab Francs. No more cigarettes, more kettlebell swings. Friends and family noticed my transformation and from there I became their ancestral health advocate (AHA). I became deeply passionate about ancestral health and teaching people how to eat. Once you go Primal there is a tendency to want to pay it forward.

Throughout this shift towards a Primal lifestyle, I was still grinding and testing my way into the fire service. I finally landed a job! I was officially a full-time firefighter and paramedic. Things did not get easier from there, however. I had job stability and my money problems went away, but my health suffered—mainly my sleep quality. Like most first responders, I developed shift work sleep disorder and chronic stress. My days off were now dedicated to recovery from sleep deprivation. Grumpy and tired was my new default. I realized early on that this would not be a sustainable career path if I valued my health and longevity.

Around the same time, Mark developed the Primal Health Coach Institute. After many discussions with admissions director Laura Rupsis, I decided to pull the trigger and enroll in the course. Four months later I was certified, smart AF, and ready to coach.

Now my off-duty days are spent researching and coaching first responders (my niche) to better health. I teach firefighters across the nation how to survive the fire service by incorporating ancestral health techniques. My philosophy on health has now been published in Firehouse Magazine and EMS World Magazine. If you can get through to firefighters, you can get through to anyone. Eventually, hangry firefighters will be a thing of the past and the fat-adapted will prevail. So here I am, having steak and eggs with broccoli and having a lasting impact on the fire service.

Ancient philosophy has provided me with a guide to the good life. The Primal Blueprint and ancestral health have provided me with a guide to the healthy life. By combining the two, I provide clients with peace of mind and peace of body. Mark Sisson wants to change the lives of 100 million people. I am hell-bent on creating a healthier fire service. Here’s to a life full of good food and gratitude. Your health, your hands.

Nick Holderbaum

Primal Health Coach profile

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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The post I’m Hell-Bent On Creating a Healthier Fire Service appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I wanted to send an update since my last success story that you shared. But for the sake of the success stories (and first-time readers), I’ll give a little background info as well.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease back in 2000 at the young age of 13. For many years, I had many health-related ups and downs, and I was constantly in and out of remission. Not only did I suffer from painful gut-related issues, but I suffered from many other side-effects as well such as liver issues, extreme migraines, depression, thyroid nodules, rashes, and fragile hair and nails.

Since the day I was diagnosed, my GI doctor had me on pharmaceuticals which he would increase or change when I got flare-ups. I spent my youth in and out of doctor’s offices, hospitals, and urgent care centers getting poked at, screened and examined. I usually left in tears, hopeless, told that I would always have to be on medications.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2017 when I met my Holistic Nutritionist. She introduced me to Functional Medicine. She immediately recommended a change in diet—something NO doctor had even mentioned to me before! And she added specific supplements to my protocol, supplements in which my body was lacking and completely depleted of because my gut wasn’t absorbing nutrients.

She started me on the path of Holistic Health: eating right and natural methods to take care of my body and ailments. Within the first couple of months I started feeling better, and after 6 months I was in remission.

One of the first things I changed was my diet. I started on a Paleo/Autoimmune Protocol, and things continued getting better from there. I started doing my own research, and that’s when I discovered Mark Sisson, the Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple!

Mark’s recipes and informative articles helped me a lot. He’s a huge inspiration to me. Not only is going Primal one of the better health decisions I’ve made, but his recipes are deliciously amazing as well. I truly enjoy being in the kitchen…something I used to dread!

Since following the Primal Lifestyle, I’ve become healthier than ever before. I stay active, eat right and nourish my body with HEALTHY choices, get outdoors, and try to maintain a positive mentality.

I’m no longer depressed, sick, or thin—in fact, I can’t even remember the last time I was “stay-at-home-in-bed” sick! I’ve been off ALL pharmaceuticals for 17 months! I have energy all day long and I’ve been able to travel abroad without any issues; this past summer I spent 1 month volunteering on an organic herbal farm in Portugal, afterwards I went to the Austrian Alps, and then flew across continents to meet my husband in Cartagena, Colombia to visit his family. I traveled all summer without a single Crohn’s flare-up or getting sick. Traveling like that is something I’d never been able to do before switching my lifestyle.

The knowledge I’ve learned—and continue to learn—helps me maintain my current health, and I’m incredibly thankful to all my health “teachers” out there, including you, Mark!

Because I’m a true believer in Holistic/Functional Health, I started a collaborative health blog called Honor Thy Gut to get the word out that holistic healing does work. I like to share uplifting stories, tips and advice that has helped me heal. I encourage my readers to add to the conversation as well! My articles are often inspired by Mark Sisson, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr Axe, John Douillard, among many others.

Happy Healing to you all!

Larissa Nowak-Lobo

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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The post After Six Months I Was In Remission appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I was 13-years-old when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, I’m 31-years-old now. I was born and raised in a tiny northern California community, 75 miles from access to any specialist. Can you imagine my limitations to healthcare options?

It took the doctors 2 months to diagnose the disease, and by then I was extremely ill. Because of where I lived, I had to travel an hour and a half to see my Gastroenterologist. My GI doctor immediately put me on steroids and pharmaceuticals. The medications helped mask the symptoms, and I started feeling better.

I was eventually referred to a doctor in San Francisco who was up and coming with the latest medical research. That GI put me on a biologic drug called Remicade. For those of you who don’t know what biologics are, have you ever seen those TV commercials advertising for Humira or Remicade? Towards the end of the commercial the narrator spends about 2 minutes listing the scary possible side effects. Back then, there weren’t many of those commercials yet, at least not for this new type of medicine. In a moment of desperation, my parents agreed to give it a try. It would get my sick body into remission, right?

For a couple of years, every 6-8 weeks, I visited different hospitals and care facilities to get the drug. It’s given intravenously—through an IV—and it would take between 5 and 6 hours for the entire IV bag to drain into my blood vessels. It was painful and would sting. I was given Benadryl to knock me out (more drugs!), so I was able doze off uncomfortably while I waited for the medicine to finish draining.

Once I started college, I moved to another city and found a GI doctor there. I was in remission so my new GI took me off Remicade. Since the day I was diagnosed (up until 6 months ago), there have been certain medications I had never stopped taking. In the years to come, I battled with the disease. I would get sick, and my doctor would prescribe a new pharmaceutical or antibiotic for me to try or increase my dosages. Sometimes when I got well enough, I convinced my doctor to take me off the new meds and decrease my dosages. Throughout those years I was in-and-out of remission, and yet Crohn’s was always lingering like a computer virus waiting for its moment to attack.

I can’t tell you how often my family listened to my emotional pleas, crying and desperate for relief. It was messing with my mind and emotions. My moods were constantly up and down—tired, unmotivated, depressed…I had a mental fog hanging over me. And I was in physical pain. Have you ever had a constant pain that doesn’t go away? I was used to it, and I dealt with it, but I didn’t want to accept it. I frequently declined invitations to do things because I didn’t feel well. Furthermore, I was often physically incapable of doing what I desired and loved most: traveling. I worried in the back of my mind that I was becoming more and more socially isolated. Was this changing my friendly and outgoing personality? My mind craved to do things, but my body wouldn’t allow it.

Ever since I had been on medications, my liver showed early signs of sickness. During a check-up in college, a doctor found a nodule near my thyroid. A couple years ago, I suffered extreme headaches on either sides of my head. I had 3 surgeries in one year relating to Crohn’s. My wrist started squeaking and creaking one day, only to find out I had “arthritis.” I got a crazy rash attack on my face one summer. My hair and nails were fragile and weak, and my skin was dry. My weight was constantly up and down. And I was regularly sick with the common cold or flu. These were side effects and symptoms of imbalance in my body. My body was crying for help.

Eventually I got ill again, and the meds stopped working. My doctor’s only option was to put me on another biologic drug. I wasn’t going to allow that in my body again! So I became my own advocate. I found a Holistic Nutritionist, who I call my Angel. The minute I met her, I knew it felt right. After telling her my story, the first thing she said to me was, “I can help you.” I burst into tears. She was so positive of her abilities to help me, and I trusted her with my whole heart.

One year later, I’m happy to say I am in complete remission and off ALL pharmaceutical drugs! I’ve never in my life felt better—physically or mentally. I’m not going to lie and say it was a walk in the park. It took dedication, desire, and a strong will. But I did it—I dove head first into the Alternative World of Healing and haven’t looked back since. I absolutely love my new health protocol. And I feel GOOD about what I put into my body. I love the healthy food I eat, following a Paleo and Ketogenic diet. It has proven to work for me, without any terrible side effects. The only side effects I have are feeling better and better! And the side effects from the medications have since subsided and gone away. I took action, listened to my intuition and decided to do what felt right for me.

Why am I telling you my story? I want you to feel inspired, to take action and be your own health advocate! If you don’t like what your healthcare provider is telling you, get another opinion. Not all opinions are created equal. Not all health practitioners are created equal either. And not all practitioners listen and care about what you want. I want to stress this: IT IS IMPORTANT TO FIND A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER WHO MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD. Who listens to you. Who will work with you. Who will try what you want. It’s important to find the right balance for you. Finding my go-to person has been extremely rewarding because I trust her and I have a special bond with her. She’s proven to me (as my current health status shows), that by following her advice, my natural health protocol is working. I have the capacity/ability to continue getting healthier…it’s only a matter of time.

There is a ton of information out there, and it can be difficult to navigate through everything. Which brand do I use? Which technique is best? Which product do I choose? It can be overwhelming, all of the information we sift through daily. I’m not here to tell you what you should do. I believe each body is different, and what your body is asking for may be different than what my body needs. Since meeting my Holistic Nutritionist, I’ve found other inspirational health coaches who I follow and get information from—such as Mark’s Daily Apple. I believe he is a valuable and knowledgeable source, and has lots of information, advice and recipes, which have helped and guided me.

Seventeen years ago, Crohn’s Disease changed my life. But I’ve chosen to listen to my gut instincts (no pun intended) and do what is right for me.

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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The post The Only Side Effects I Have Are Feeling Better and Better! appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I found Mark’s Daily Apple through a fortuitous and random conversation one morning with the guy I was seeing sometime around 2010. We were lying in bed, dreaming up delicious Sunday breakfast ideas and started talking about bacon, which then led to a heated argument about bacon, cardiovascular disease, dietary fat… oh boy! He name-dropped yours and MDA, and it made me step down from my high horse (I was a recent doctor of physical therapy graduate) and take a whole new look at nutrition that has- no exaggeration- completely changed my life.

Here is my story:

I had been swimming competitively since age 10, so I knew my body. I had always been tall, thin, and full of enthusiasm for whatever I pursued. Back in 2002, as a senior in high school, I started to feel something quite different. If I approached my physical limits, I would feel sluggish and weak and there was no way to push through. Each week, I swam slower. A few months later, I started noticing more and more of my hair falling in the shower drain and in my hair brush. As someone who had always been a night owl, I found it strange that even during matinee movies the second I sat down I would feel tired and fall asleep, like turning a switch. I could sleep ten to twelve hours and still would wake up exhausted. I even passed out a few times for no apparent reason. At this point I felt fatigued constantly, was having trouble finding enough energy to pay attention in class, and I knew something was wrong. I told my mom (a nurse), and we decided to wait out the end of the school semester. After graduation, I took a solid week off and basically slept and rested all day, after which I felt completely normal. I shrugged it off, and headed off to college a few months feeling healthy.

As a frame of reference, my diet at this time was atrocious. I didn’t like most meat, so I would eat processed meat approximately once a week. I hated eggs. I didn’t have much of a taste for any vegetables, so again, maybe once a week one would make it to my plate. I liked bananas, kiwis, and a few fruits. I loved processed food and would primarily eat cereal, bread, crackers, cookies, and pasta. I also struggled with having very little musculature on my body despite being active. At 5’10” my calves were so narrow that speciality narrow boots looked like fishermen’s boots on me! My abdomen fluctuated between being completely concave and sunken or distended to the extent that people would ask me if I was pregnant. My face had a constant red rash and break outs of both acne and rosacea. All of these things made me self-conscious.

When I went off to college, unexplained symptoms struck again. Except this time once I got to the point where I was passing out and fatigued, I kept going. My immune system went nuts. I acquired very bad strep throat, pink eye in both eyes, an ear infection, and a bad UTI all at once. Every week for the rest of the semester I felt worse despite several courses of antibiotics. Fast forward to end of semester: I finished finals, I rested for our 2 week holiday—100% better.

This became the pattern. Three more semesters exactly like this. It started to take a toll on my endurance, and I could not even walk up the stairs to get to my classes without stopping and resting for several minutes. I was embarrassed to be in social situations because I couldn’t focus and didn’t feel like myself physically and mentally. I was struggling in my classes for the first time in my life. I decided that fall semester my junior year would be different: no matter how sick I felt, I would push even harder.

That didn’t go well. I crossed into the next threshold of bodily rebellion. I started feeling sharp abdominal pains as if I were being poisoned followed by bouts of vomiting after taking my birth control, drinking milk, eating anything fatty, taking even a sip of alcohol, and sometimes after indecipherable aggravations. I stopped getting my period. One morning I woke up and could barely open my eyes. I felt confused to the point where I was staring at people talking and pretending to understand what was going on. Morning classes were a blur, and as I sat in my French class, I somehow fell asleep in the front row. My professor woke me up—not too happy—and sent me to the school doctor. Even though there was an entire waiting room full of students, she took me right away. I didn’t question it, but the second she sat me down she explained why: I had yellow skin, yellow eyes, and that awful, unmistakable death-like look of jaundice. She diagnosed me with mono (many of the other times I had been to the health center they suspected mono but the test was always negative). I was put on immediate bed rest until my liver started to cooperate. I could barely stomach eating, so I would munch on saltine crackers and eat unseasoned ramen but little else. My liver enzymes actually tested worse and worse, despite the rest. I got to the point where I could barely eat anything, but then slowly, I started feeling better. Hallelujah.

Spoiler alert, that’s not the end of my story. The very next semester it started happening. Again. Despite being told that you could only get mono once. I was emotionally devastated, scared, and yet determined. I gathered all of my medical records and went to see a doctor off-campus. He was dismissive and cold and told me that I was a woman, and women get depressed. That was his medical advice. End stop.

I was embarrassed to the point I didn’t seek further medical attention and tried to make some changes on my own, this time being a bit kinder to my body. I cut my work hours to almost zero, my class schedule in half, my workouts out altogether, and I just tried to get by. I was able to finish my last few semesters of college with fatigue, constant infections, and poor mental clarity, but I finished! I started working as a physical therapy aid full-time and teaching swim lessons to make money before grad school, and suddenly I was thrown off balance again. I could feel my body crashing as it had before, and I ended up making the radical decision to take 3 months off before physical therapy school to convalesce. This seemed to work, because I made it through 3 years of graduate school with only occasional and much less dramatic periods of illness.

That brings me to 2010, lying in bed, chatting about bacon. This little argument inspired me to read from the amazing Michael Pollen and delve into the wonders of the MDA blog. Mark’s words hit home as I had already begun to understand the importance of rest and recovery, listening to my body instead of overriding its messages (a work in progress), and the way food could make me feel. I drank the kool aid. I was inspired by the large body of evidence in the primal diet and primal lifestyle. Little by little, I started learning how to love vegetables and to prepare them well, to embrace fats, to eliminate grains, and to enjoy delicious meat and eggs. I started eating real food. Relationships don’t change over-night, so neither did mine with food. I had a long way to go, but I could feel a difference in my digestion and my energy. My acne and rosacea disappeared completely, and I felt like I had at least some control in my health.

Unfortunately though, my health continued to decline. It was not exactly the same as it had been before. I was constantly fatigued, but rarely did I have the ear/eye/throat/bladder infection extravaganzas as I had in the past, nor would the symptoms go away anymore with a little extra rest for a week or two. Instead, I started having random, scary symptoms. Over the course of the next four years, several times I would develop excessive water retention, followed by coughing up liquid deep in my chest, followed by pneumonia, followed by waking up in the middle of the night barely able to breathe. I would prop myself up on four pillows so that I was almost sitting up so that I could breathe. I would have fevers in excess of 104 degrees sometimes every Friday after a long week of work and would lie in bed until Monday morning. One time I felt desperately thirsty and was drinking water by the liter until I collapsed with squeezing in my chest. My left arm would randomly swell up. I had strange ulcers in my mouth. Other times my right eye would randomly start dilating, once to the point where I could not see anything out of it for hours. I would have sharp abdominal pain every time I was on my period that caused me to double over. I could keep listing crazy symptoms all day. I lived in fear. In addition, the years of being ill had led to metabolic damage. I could barely eat 1000 calories a day without gaining weight, so I slowly started gaining more and more weight. I had prided myself on being fit, so this crushed my self-confidence.

Doctors led me down many rabbit holes. Some were dismissive, cold, and made me feel embarrassed or crazy for telling them what was happening. Others were compassionate and did what they could to help, but they could only put small pieces of the puzzle together. I tested positive for several antibodies that suggested autoimmune disease and was told it was likely lupus, and steroids seemed to help my “infections” better than antibiotics which was quite telling, but my symptoms never stopped recurring and every day was a struggle.

I also attempted to conquer my body by running marathons, hiking mountains, and portraying a life of a “healthy woman.” These outward goals always led to me being very sick, sometimes for months, but for some reason I continued to fight my body every step of the way. I climbed Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States (with a broken tailbone no-less). Two weeks later I came down with a kidney infection that wouldn’t respond to antibiotics or steroids and kept me in bed for 2 months with fever, fatigue, and brain fog as well a complete loss of appetite. I kept frozen salmon, avocado, fresh orange juice, and almond butter in my kitchen and if I ate ONE of those things each day, I felt accomplished. I became scared that I was losing too much weight, but surprisingly, I felt stronger each day. Slowly, my appetite returned.

Finally, two months later I felt completely healthy, and I decided to go out to celebrate my birthday. My first day out. My first day with food outside of my kitchen. I ate fried chicken, drank beer, and polished it off with a birthday cupcake.  The next morning I woke up with 104 fever, vomiting, the works. It started all over again, and I had an emotional break down.

All of these years I had tried to be patient and to trust my doctors, my body, God, and the universe to somehow fix this, but I could no longer handle living my life in constant fear and confusion, and I had reached a breaking point. The merry-go-round of looking for outside help, finding no clear solution, giving up, and then starting all over again was getting old. I truly believed I needed to accept that I  would never have the health and energy of a “healthy” person, so I should start adapting my life to live with my limitations as best as possible. I started tracking every symptom each day, I started dialing back my work hours, my social time, and my exercise, and this seemed to help. I started eating much cleaner according to the Primal Blueprint, maybe 90/10. I slept 10 hours every day. I felt “ok,” but I was depressed at the outlook of my future.

One fateful day, June 21, 2014, I decided to try keto, which I had recently read about on Mark’s blog. It was actually easy for me to get into ketosis for the first time, because my diet had been consistently clean for the six months preceding it. I woke up on day 3, and it was crazy. I could see clearly. I felt well-rested in a way that I didn’t remember existed. I felt boundless energy. I was strong. I could breathe better. I still remember that feeling so clearly. I actually feel healthy! Even when I felt “ok,” I didn’t realize I was never actually feeling well.  It had been so long. I peed on the stick, and it was purple: ketosis was achieved. After a week of eating keto, which I had never intended to maintain permanently, I decided that I would add one half piece of whole wheat pita bread to my diet (I know not primal at all but I feel lucky I made that random exception to my diet) every other week and to attempt to cycle into and out of ketosis. The next morning I woke up with mouth ulcers, a fever, brain fog, and the beginnings of a UTI.

It hit me. The writing had always been on the wall but I hadn’t I seen it. This was clear, objective measures I couldn’t ignore: Do I have celiac disease? I got back into ketosis over the next few days, and all of the symptoms cleared. Like magic. I grabbed a beer, walked down to my hot tub, and cracked it open. This would be my test (and with bittersweet sadness my final beer). As I enjoyed the crisp, cool refreshing beverage, all of the things I had been through over the past 12 years ran through my mind. Even if you reread my story, it seems so obvious once you know. All of that struggle and such a simple solution. Yes, the ulcers and the fever came back the next day. I did a week of completely primal, gluten free, but not keto to test out my theory. I remained healthy. (I have the genetic marker and antibody for celiac but am unable/unwilling to do a 12 week challenge).

Over the next four years, I gained muscle I never knew I could gain. I can wear narrow boots quite well now, and I have muscle in my core and arms. I live a completely normal life. I can run, jump, and play, so I do! I have slowly forgotten the feeling of that daily struggle and fear. I have continued to change my relationship with food. While I am always gluten-free, I am 90/10 with primal eating and cycle in and out of keto. I can finally say that when my body tells me something, I listen. Whether it’s to fully recover between workouts, to limit chronic cardio, to sleep, to get fresh air and daylight, to eat more, or to reach out and connect socially, I no longer try to fight those impulses for my own ego’s sake. I preach this to all of my patients and all of my friends.

Here is a picture of me on Halloween dressed as the iconic Leia finally with some lean muscle!

Most importantly, I have learned to open the discussion of this diet and lifestyle to people around me.  Not everyone has celiac disease, but 1% of the population does and most are not diagnosed. Many people have autoimmune conditions, and we have connected deeply on how similar food journeys have changed their lives. Many people simply have weight to lose and insulin resistance. My next goals in my personal journey are to gain a six pack (something that symbolizes both inner and physical strength to me) and to share this lifestyle with as many people as I can.  Keep spreading the light Mark!

– Maureen

 

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The post All Of That Struggle, and Such a Simple Solution appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I’ve been athletic and thin my whole life, 5’9″ 145 pounds. Nine years ago when I was 22-years-old I started noticing that I was running out of steam when road biking. The problem was solved with eating more, things like granola bars and gels. Over the next 8 years I kept having to eat more and more to feel satiated. I stopped road biking and going to the gym, I had no energy to be active even though I was eating tons of tons of food (carbs). We’re talking about eating four bagels at work, in addition to 3 large meals a day. Going on trips I would have loaves of bread on the ready.

I had seen an endocrinologist, had many things tested, I appeared to be completely normal. No medical explanation. My A1C was 5.7 and when occasionally checking my blood sugar it would always be between 70-130. I eventually hit the point when I was having hypoglycemic-like incidents every 2 hours while being completely sedentary. Eating would solve the issue for 2 hours. I was a slave to food and was scared of what was happening to me. I was struggling to live a normal life.

Last year I turned to Dr. Google and I found the ketogenic diet. It seemed to make sense, your body will run off of ketones and your blood sugar will not be all over the place. Within a week I had my life back. Boundless energy and endurance.

Doing more research I found your site and The Primal Blueprint. The Primal Blueprint and fitness clicks with me, much more than just limiting carbs. I’ve been primal for a year and I am feeling better than ever. My yearly physical showed my A1C at 5.2 and I’m no longer anxious about not having food available. I am now 31-years-old and I can look forward to living life.

Something interesting that I can’t explain is that I never was able to gain weight, before primal and even now. Maybe I have a very fast metabolism, I don’t know.

If I don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning I am able to skip breakfast and have also experimented with fasting for 24 hours to see if I could do it. I’ve found that a small amount of healthy carbs gives me that extra gear for when I need to be very active. My current activities are chasing after my three children and cutting up firewood, no easy tasks. I can tackle these with ease, thanks to primal. I’m certain going primal can cure just about anything!

The post I’m No Longer Anxious About Not Having Food Available appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

In our Primal Community, most of us are looking to get back to our roots and thrive as our ancestors did for millennia.  We work diligently to realign our lifestyle while still functioning in a high-tech world.

We recognize the conveniences that many have succumb to, yet we choose a different and sometimes more difficult path knowing that it’s the right thing to do.

I didn’t always live the way I do now. 

As a child, I was raised in the vast suburban sprawl of Southern California where I logged plenty of hours in front of a television watching mindless shows and playing video games.  My diet consisted of sugary breakfast cereals, corndogs, and greasy fast food. 

All of these meals were full of the trifecta that leads to obesity: cheap grain, sugar, industrial oils, and not to mention, factory-farmed animals. 

I was relatively sedentary up until high school, when my heavy weight and 6’5” stature became a hot commodity for the football team. I played offensive line and was encouraged to gain even more weight to increase my effectiveness on the field.

One of my coaches actually encouraged our linemen to make PB&J sandwiches each morning using an entire loaf of white bread. We were told to eat the loaf of PB&J’s throughout the school day to ensure that we kept weight on.

I never tracked my macros back then, but have since estimated the break down to be close to 60% carbs, 25% protein and the remaining 15% fat made up of vegetable oils in the “food” I was eating. I was an athlete but I was not healthy and didn’t realize how bad it was until many years later.

Despite my less than nutritious diet, I was still performing at a high enough level to earn a full Football Scholarship to Northern Arizona University. I reached my peak weight there as I packed on muscle and ate like a king in the student dining halls.

At that time, I reached my max weight of 308 pounds which consisted of dense muscle coated in a layer of fat from years of being on the Standard American Diet, aka SAD.  

After I hung up the cleats and helmet for good, I continued to eat as if I was in the middle of a “two-a-day” workout without actually exercising.

Once I noticed the muscles under my layer of fat had atrophied, I panicked. I applied the pseudo wisdom of calories in, calories out and bought a triathlon bicycle and started training my butt off. I rode 150 miles a week, ran 20-30 miles, swam with U.S. Masters Swimming groups, and trained in the gym.

I would neurotically track my calories and do simple addition and subtraction, then eat all the junk I could while maintaining the deficit I thought would lead to significant weight loss. I thought a calorie was a calorie and knew nothing of the complex hormonal systems that make up the human body and the responses to each food at varying times. 

I did lose some weight but never got below 285 pounds while competing in triathlons. Despite my oversized stature, I managed to place fairly well and won the Clydesdale Divisions more often than not. Even though being King of the Clydesdales felt good for my ego, my goal was to be fit and healthy.

After a few years of flogging myself on my bike to make up for the cookies I devoured, I knew I had to change how and what I was eating. I constantly felt subpar in my focus, mood, and energy levels.

I went to Google and started experimenting with all sorts of fad diets. I tried being pescatarian, vegan, and even dabbled with juice cleanses in hopes of getting my ideal body. All of my attempts were torturous and yielded short term results with a high likelihood for major relapses. I was never satiated after a serving of tofurkey and I was ravenously hungry after my morning juice (can you say sugar bomb?) 

I knew something still wasn’t right. 

I went back to Google and luckily landed on a Mark’s Daily Apple blog and found something that made so much sense to me. I decided to follow a strict Paleo Diet and hesitantly ate fat after years of being told how bad it was for me.

At first, I was afraid that I was enjoying food too much and that I would balloon back to the heaviest version of myself.

After a few weeks, I no longer had to eat multiple meals to keep my energy stoked and I was finally feeling satiated.  I had a laser focus that felt like nothing I had ever experienced.Weight loss became effortless and my performance at work improved exponentially. Many of the other ill side effects of being overweight dissipated as well. 

I spent 25 years of my life overweight and unhealthy and knew that it was something I never planned to revisit.  After finding the Primal Lifestyle, it took me under a year to lose 100 pounds. At 26 years of age, I weighed 207 pounds and wanted to spread the word. 

At the time, I was employed by Thomson Reuters in a sales job working with law firms and attorneys to enhance their businesses. As anyone in sales knows, 80% of success comes from the relationships you form with individuals and if you have a good product, the rest takes care of itself.

I found that every one of my clients wanted to hear about my journey to health and wellness. They asked for my guidance on how to replicate my results.  I started receiving pictures of menus and daily food journals from the top lawyers in the country asking for my advice.

These attorneys would spend the majority of their time talking to me about lifestyle changes and at the end of our call, they’d purchase our products. 

I had so much fun coaching them but never thought of it as a viable career. 

Recently, my wife and I decided to leave the hustle and bustle of Southern California as well as the security of the corporate jobs we had and move to a slower part of the country. We moved east in a reverse manifest destiny and landed in the amazing mountain town of Spearfish, South Dakota. Without the cushy job, I wanted to take my chances on entrepreneurship and work on my passion of helping people reach their ideal selves. 

I found out that the Primal Health Coach Institute was training people to do what I had been doing for years but in a more official capacity. I had to sign up and take my passion to the next level. 

The course guides you through an amazing journey of wisdom that Mark, Brad, and the rest of the Primal Team have been sharing for years. I learned so much in so many areas and they all tied back to a Primal Lifestyle.  I discovered epigenetics, biochemistry, behavioral science, and even lessons on how to run a coaching business.

Since launching my own health coaching practice, I have been able to help a broad spectrum of people in my community. I have assisted in families kicking their sugar addictions, reduced a Type-2 Diabetes patient’s insulin intake by 80%, and trained two medical doctors to enhance their lives as well as their future patients’ lives. 

I have big aspirations to help Mark reach his goal of helping 100 million people and I look forward to sharing my plans with all of you.

My biggest takeaway from the Primal Health Coach Institute and other sources is that everything we do is interconnected. Each decision we make has an effect on the world and its our responsibility to be conscious of that. 

Each time we buy a product, we cast a vote to advance the planet or keep the status quo. I educate my clients on the multifaceted benefits of buying grass fed beef or bison and how it keeps the prairie full of native grasses instead of row crops of corn or soy. I also bring to light the importance of supporting local farmers and how that advances our effort to decentralize food and enrich your local economy. 

In helping 100 Million people, we can truly mend the fissures in our system and heal our planet.

I admire the foundation that The Primal Blueprint has set and I want to help be an agent for change in this direction.

Thank you all for your small daily contributions that advance this movement.

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The post It Took Me Under a Year To Lose 100 Pounds appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Today I’d like to give my own introduction for our success story. She’s a former Mark’s Daily Apple success story (you can read her original story here). But she’s also a successful entrepreneur within the natural food and paleo space. I’m happy she’s shared an update to her personal journey and her business venture, and I’m excited that she’s also offering a giveaway for our community. Thanks for stopping by today, everybody. Enjoy!

My conscious-food lifestyle continues to be the backbone of my life (see my original post for more details about my journey to get here). After being in an ill-state of health until I was 21, I became passionate about healing my body, mind and spirit through food. What started off as a commitment to being gluten-free eventually evolved into me adopting the primal, paleo-inspired lifestyle around the age of 23. I experienced such a dramatic transformation in my health as a result of my dietary changes that everything in my life shifted. I was pursuing teaching yoga professionally, and as a result of my health transformation, my career ambitions pivoted and led me to open my own business, Picnik, in 2013.

Picnik was (and continues to be) a passion project for me to bring real food to the masses. I opened my first location in a reclaimed shipping container in Austin, TX. The original name, Pressed & Squeezed, transformed into Picnik when I’d show friends the location I found for our trailer. We were perched on the top of a giant, grassy hill in the middle of a bustling street called South Lamar. Every time I’d show friends and family the location, they would declare “this is the perfect place for a picnic.” To me, I considered that a divine sign and took the initiative to change the name. Hallelujah for that, because it has shaped our vibe and our culture tremendously over the years.

Building Picnik was no easy feat. In 2013, when we opened our doors, the consciousness around the paleo and high-fat movement was minimal. We had grab and go lunch items, breakfast pastries and a delicious coffee menu, but we made every item on our menu with a unique, health-promoting flare. Our coffee menu was incredibly innovative. We used coffee as the backbone for a specialty drinks menu that had a base of high-quality fats, conscious proteins and superfood add-in’s that amplified the nutrition. We wanted these drinks to taste just like what you would expect from a traditional coffee shop, just made with better ingredients. We had a very unique position in the marketplace for many reasons, but our drinks became a standout, as they functioned like a protein shake, an energy drink and a latte in one.

Convincing customers to try our coffee was challenging in the beginning. For the first year of business, I’d stand behind the cash register every day giving away free drinks and begging customers to ‘just give it a try.’ Although it wasn’t easy, I was able to get many people to approach our menu with an open mind, and many of the customers I helped transition to Picnik’s coffee during that time remain our regulars to this day. Once people would try what we had to offer, we’d often see them every morning. It was inspiring to see how people related to our products and how we were making a palpable difference in the way our customers felt every day.

At the start of 2014, things started to really heat up for Picnik.  The awareness and acceptance around high-quality fats shifted (Hello! Butter was on the cover of Time Magazine). As a result, customers began coming to Picnik with enthusiasm and an open mind. Our traffic was so heavy that we eventually opened a new, larger infrastructure on South Lamar in 2016 and, shortly thereafter, a full-service, all-day concept in our first brick and mortar location on Burnet Road in August 2016. All the while, we had been working on how to package our coffee since 2014 because it had become so high in demand. We knew how great it made our customers feel, and we wanted to reach the hands (and mouths) of our customers outside of Austin. Although it took three years of development work, in 2017 we launched our first three ready-to-drink coffees for grocery. Our first production run of our Cappuccino, Dirty Chai and Mocha was in February of 2017. By May, three months later, we were being sold in all Whole Foods Market’s nationwide.  Talk about 0-100!

Fast forward to this point, June 2018, we now have four locations. We have two food trucks and one restaurant in Austin, TX, as well as our first coffee and beverage kiosk in Whole Foods Market 365 in Upland, CA. In addition, we have four products being sold nationwide in independent retailers and grocery, with many more products on the way. It’s been an incredible ride, and I know it is just getting started.

As I’ve settled into a conscious-food lifestyle, I’ve continued to refine and identify what works for me. My GI problems have dramatically improved as a result of a relatively consistent healthy lifestyle combined with high doses of Magnesium and Probiotics. I did, however, continue to experience histamine reactions and skin problems, even on a paleo-inspired diet. As a result, I explored several adjustments to my lifestyle over the last few years. When I was in the thick of my healing, I was committed to the GAPS diet, essentially a healing protocol that aligns with the primal lifestyle, but it omits all starches, sugars (besides honey), legumes and some forms of dairy. It is a strict elimination protocol that focuses on bone broth and really transformed my health.  As an ex-vegan, however, I sometimes became overwhelmed on GAPS with the quantity of meat I was consuming, so I pivoted and explored a more plant-based healing protocol that focused on high-quantities of fruit as well as eliminated certain inflammatory foods.

After pursuing GAPS and my plant-based, fruit-heavy diet, I ended up feeling strong and stable with my health and I began reacting less and less to food. This stability allowed me some more food-freedom and gave me the opportunity to re-experience eating foods that I had 100% eliminated in the past. As someone who had been gluten-free for over 10 years, I was able to final enjoy croissants, my favorite food, without reaction, as long as I consumed them in moderation. Moderation, however, is the key word. I definitely went off the handle a bit during this time, loving my new food-freedom, and ended up on a glorious grain and gluten-bender, regularly re-exploring a food group that had been abolished for me for so long. Although I am very happy with my progress, I still have to remain diligent and careful. If I eat grains and other starches regularly, I end up with histamine problems, brain fog, weight gain and inflammation.

In the end, I’ve re-settled back into a GAPS and primal inspired diet that focuses on meats, fish, fruits, low starch vegetables, nuts, seeds and full-fat dairy. This is my default ‘zero’ and allows me to stay in a stable place physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m happy in life, work and business, and I love knowing that healing food, for me, is always the answer to a stable and fulfilling life.

All the best,

Naomi Seifter, Picnik

Now For the Giveaway…

WIN A MONTH OF BUTTER COFFEE!

We’ll pick 3 winners to receive:

A one-month supply of butter coffee, which would include the following for three winners:
(1) 6-pack of Cappuccino Butter Coffee
(1) 6-pack of Mocha Butter Coffee
(1) 6-pack of Dirty Chai Butter Coffee
(1) 32 fl oz Butter Coffee Creamer

Just visit the Mark’s Daily Apple Instagram page for more info on how to enter and win!

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The post Healing Food, For Me, Is the Answer To a Stable and Fulfilling Life appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

At the end of 2013 I was getting ready to begin my last semester of college, but unfortunately I was quickly closing in on 310 pounds at 21-years-old. I knew that I needed to make some changes if I was going to enjoy this life that I was given. So I embarked on a journey to lose weight and I went about it the best way I knew how … Calories in vs. Calories out. I began restricting my caloric intake to ~1,200 calories a day and trying to exercise as much as possible. I would run close to 30 miles/week and try to play basketball or raquetball on top of that to burn the maximum number of calories possible. My diet consisted of relatively low carb, low fat, low sugar blandness that was miserable to eat, but I was determined to lose the weight so I willed myself through it with excuses like “ I lost the genetic lottery, so this is the only way for me to be healthy.” I was successful too, in 5 months I lost over 90 pounds and was leaner than I had ever been in my life. As the months ticked on, I found it harder and harder to maintain the success that I had found.

I began dating my wife long distance in April of 2015, and I was no longer interested in counting calories, watching what I ate, or running 30 miles a week. I just wanted to spend time with her and have fun! Throughout our dating relationship and the first few months of marriage my weigh creeped back up. We were enjoying being young and in love with “frozen dairy treat” (Ice cream), “Hot Now” Krispy Kreme Donuts, and not spending time exercising. Naturally, my weight began to balloon, and before I knew it I was back over 270 lbs. Something had to give. I had worked too hard to lose all the weight to just let it all go, but I didn’t have it in me to cut my caloric intake way back and to run like I did the first time. I was desperate and willing to try anything.

Several friends and family members had done this weird thing called Whole30®, and said that they really felt better and that maybe I should give it a try. I got the book, sat down and read the entire thing in one night. I was fascinated with how the food we eat affects our bodies, minds, and health. On August 8, 2016 (two days after my birthday because I needed that one last binge of ice cream, cake, and beer) my wife and I began our Whole30. The results were stunning! We both lost weight, had more energy and generally felt better than we ever had. This food stuff must really work! Since we had such great success and felt so good we decided to just keep going after the thirty days were up.

I began consuming as much information as I could about the paleo/primal lifestyle which is when I discovered Mark’s Daily Apple. I found that the information Mark provides is accessible and balanced. It has provided me with ideas and concepts that helped me to tweak and adjust my eating strategy and allow me to make the changes I was making sustainable. I breezed through The Primal Blueprint and when The Keto Reset came out I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I implemented Primal Blueprint Fitness and have seen dramatic changes in my body composition. My muscles are more defined than ever, and I have been amazed at how easy it has been to build muscle while not killing myself at the gym!

Becoming fat adapted has been the key to my success! I was once dependent on eating constantly to fuel my body, but I implemented intermittent fasting as a daily practice. I typically drink a cup or two of coffee with coconut oil in the morning and then do not eat until four or five in the afternoon. I have found that my energy has increased and my weight loss has quickened.

In January of this year I stepped on the scale for the first time in a few months, I was amazed at what I saw. 197 pounds. My jaw dropped, I stepped off the scale and then back on. 197 pounds it read again. For the first time in over ten years I was under 200 pounds! More importantly, I have more energy, I feel better and I just generally enjoy life more than I ever have before. Thank you, Mark, for providing a resource for people like me to tap into. Thank you for making information accessible and digestible. Thank you for helping me to change my life!

Rob Edens

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The post Becoming Fat-Adapted Has Been the Key To My Success! appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

 I’ve been wanting to share my success story for a while now, and finally decided to sit down and write one!

A little bit about my background, I grew up in Thailand as a child, and was a competitive swimmer since I was five years old. I was really talented and swimming was pretty much my life. I would go to competitions almost every weekend. I was quite small for my age, therefore my swim coaches and my parents would force me to eat. The “You are not leaving the table until you finish two full plates of rice” kinda thing. My diet since I was young consists of, a lot of rice and noodles, typical Asian diet. Every summer I would attend swimming camp, where most of the days are spent training and pretty much forcing me to eat. I honestly still hold a grudge on my parents about this, but they didn’t know any better.

Fast forward a couple years, my parents divorced. My mom and younger sister moved to New York City abruptly, leaving father and I behind. I was still swimming at that point and went to competitions. The point I am trying to make is that I have always been very athletic.

A couple of years passed, I moved to New York City to be with my mom and sister and slowly adopted the American way of eating, pizza, sandwiches, cereal, you name it. Also, still eating Thai food, as there are Thai restaurants everwhere. I slowly started to gain weight starting in high school, as I was eating two bagels with extra butter for breakfast. My weight climbed up to 145lbs at 5’4”. I know I wasn’t “Fat” but felt really uncomfortable in my skin.

By the end of high school, I started waitressing at a cool little burger place called Island Burgers and Shakes in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. The constant walking kept me in okay shape but I was still not feeling like I was in the best shape I can be. I always had extra pounds on my stomach, back, and thighs.

Fast forward another couple of years, I met my then partner who introduced me to the Primal Lifestyle. He was looking to lose weight and I joined him on his journey. Not only to support him but I was also ready for a change. He discovered Mark’s Daily Apple. We started by consistently reading the article and of course reading the Primal Blueprint.

I started to realize that everything Mark was saying just made perfect sense. We didn’t evolve to eat all these processed foods and carbs. We were always supposed to eat real food. Slowly, we both changed our diets completely. It took several months, but the weight steadily came off. I went from being about 135lbs to 120lbs. I was 22 at that point. I never looked better and felt amazing.

After two years relationship ended. I was pretty depressed from the break up. I went off the wagon and went back to my old habits of eating unhealthy foods, late night eating, plus drinking to drown my sorrows. I was no longer living my primal life, as I spent most of my time feeling sorry for myself and could care less about what I was putting in my mouth. My weight climbed back up to about 138lbs.

640 Me at 138lbs (2013)

For the next couple of years, I was able to come back up from the dark hole and took better care of myself. I finished grad school, got a teaching job at a New York City Public School in Manhattan, still worked at Island Burgers part time, and living my life. However, I never lost the weight I gained after my break-up. I consistently drank, went out to dinners with friends, and just didn’t care about what I was eating. I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror, but didn’t do anything about it. I would make a resolution every year and failed miserably.

When 2017 rolled around, I decided that it was time to change. I didn’t like how I looked, I hated what I saw in the mirror. I wasn’t happy with how my clothes fit and I knew that the Primal Lifestyle worked, because I’ve done it before. I started to go on Primal full gear. I eliminated grains, pasta, bread, rice, noodles, potatoes, and sugar. I focused on meat and vegetables.

I started off at about 137 lbs. I noticed that my weight wasn’t coming off as fast as I wanted, and realized that it was probably because I was consuming too many calories. So, I decided to skip a meal. I would only eat a small breakfast, a big lunch, and skipped dinner. I was no longer swimming and the only moving around I was doing was when I was teaching in the classroom.

640 me at 135 lbs (2016)

My weight slowly and steadily came off. Right now, April 2018, at 31 years old, I am 118-119 lbs and feel absolutely amazing. I finally look in the mirror and feel great about myself. I do get comments that I’m now too skinny, but all that matters is that I feel great. Since going back to my primal life style a year ago, I no longer depend on food. I used to think about food and what to eat all day long. Now, I no longer live my life that way, I’m rarely hungry and have very low appetite. Food no longer ran my life.

640 Me now, April 2018 (119lbs)

This is how I eat almost everyday:

Breakfast

  • 3 organic soft boiled eggs
  • Coffee with a splash of heavy cream

On Weekends (When I have time to actually make breakfast)

  • 3 fried or scrambled eggs with Applegate bacon
  • Or cream cheese pancakes with honey

Lunch

  • A Big Ass Salad (like Mark’s)
  • Or meat and vegetables like roasted broccoli
  • Or cauliflower pizza
  • An avocado
  • Chicken Salad

Snacks

  • Blue Diamond Almonds (Not the best, but I follow the 80/20 rule)
  • Sardines in olive oil
  • Dark chocolate (85% and up)

I usually skip dinner and just snack on a couple of almonds or cheese.
I still indulge on 1-2 glasses of wine a couple of times a week

Yes, I do cheat (Once a week on average). There are days that I would let myself eat whatever meal I want. I would come across situations where my partner and I would go to a nice restaurant (I live in New York City) I will allow myself to indulge. I have a weakness for a good vanilla ice cream and bread with butter. I no longer feel bad about “Cheating” as it’s planned, I know when, why and how I will do it. And the next day I go right back to my primal lifestyle.

The 80/20 Rule is truly a blessing. I follow that rule religiously and it makes me not feel bad when I do cheat. Life is too short not to sometimes indulge. But putting the food my body truly wants and needs 80% of the time, will make me live longer and without any illness. I see people around me constantly catching colds, having fevers, having life-long illnesses, I believe that living a primal life will prevent me from going through that.

I’ve never felt better in my life. But this time, I will never fall of the wagon. I wanted to truly thank Mark for changing my life. I still want to go down to 115 lbs and work really hard to maintain that weight.

These are a couple of random things:
1. I barely exercise. I don’t go to the gym, I don’t lift. All I try to do is walk a lot, when I can. It is so true that 80% is what you eat. I am a living example of it.

2. It is true that when your body is keto-adapted you are rarely hungry and you are completely not dependent on food. I see people around me being completely controlled by food and need to eat every couple of hours, so they don’t become hangry. I am happy I am able to not live my life that way.

3. I try my best to get at least 8 hours of sleep and spend time in the sun.

4. I have a really supportive partner, who doesn’t fully understand my primal lifestyle, but is accepting and tolerates my “unusual” eating habits.

Mark, you are inspirational and thank you for changing my life.

Casandra
Instagram: @Casandra.115

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