Did you know that even occasional use of antibiotics, hand sanitizers, and other germ-killers can wreak havoc on your long-term health? This week, we’re here with Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a leading expert in the world of gut health.

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liver

Today’s guest post is written by Dr. Terry Wahls, Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa and author of The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine (paperback). You may be familiar with her recovery story, featured here

 

I heard a lot of you want to know more about liver! I’m glad you are curious. Liver is great for you, and you need only eat 6 to 8 ounces per week to gain its benefits. I limit liver because it is quite high in retinol, which is the active form of vitamin A. Retinol is involved in the management of cell differentiation and immune function. Carotenoids in colorful fruits and vegetables can be converted to retinol; however, the efficiency of these enzymes depends on the efficiency of Beta-carotene 15’-15’ oxygenase, which varies based on one’s underlying genetics. Some single nucleotide polymorphisms have a 70% reduction in the efficiency of this conversion.

Inadequate levels of vitamin A are associated with higher rates of dysplasia, infection, and autoimmunity. It is likely that patients with chronic infections, autoimmunity, dysplasia, or cancers have a higher requirement for vitamin A intake than someone who is healthy. But scientists have not determined the optimal intake for those with infection, autoimmunity, dysplasia, or cancer.

Complicating what amount of retinol to recommend is that the therapeutic range for retinol intake is relatively narrow, and excessive retinol intake also has health risks. Acute retinol intoxication is very rare (Arctic explorers died of retinol intoxication caused by eating polar bear liver). Chronic retinol intoxication is associated with serious birth defects, which is why Accutane®, an analog of retinol that is used to treat severe acne, has a black box warning advising women to have a pregnancy test before starting Accutane® and to use reliable birth control if taking Accutane®. In addition to birth defects, chronic excesses of retinol can lead to irreversible fibrosis and scarring of the liver and lungs. If you have developed fibrosis of the liver or lungs as a result of retinol intoxication, the damage is irreversible. Because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, excess vitamin A accumulates in the fat. It takes a long time for vitamin A levels to decline.

 

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The tolerable upper limit for retinol is defined as the maximum daily intake that is unlikely to be associated with the development of disease. However, an individual with high consumption of alcohol, high cholesterol, or chronic liver or lung disease may have a lower tolerable upper limit. For men older than 19 and women older than 51, the tolerable upper limit is 3,000 ?g/day of retinol. The limit for pregnant women is 2,800 ?g/day.

For all these reasons, I recommend limiting liver to 6 to 8 ounces per week. For those who consume liver regularly, I recommend taking fish oil instead of cod liver oil, which also contains retinol. The following list indicates the amount of retinol in 3 ounces of braised (simmered) liver from a variety of animals.

  • Beef 7,350
  • Lamb 6,379
  • Pork 5,405
  • Chicken 3,360
  • Turkey 3,360

Liver can have a strong taste. If it is overcooked, it becomes dry, leathery, and quite unpleasant. It is best cooked medium-rare. My family enjoys a Middle Eastern recipe for Lamb Liver and Parsley Onion Salad (recipe below). Other options to make liver more palatable is to pulse it in a food processor and blend it with ground meat at a ratio of 90% ground meat and 10% liver. You can use this ground meat as you would normally.

Middle Eastern Lamb Liver and Parsley Onion Salad

Excerpted from The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way To Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles

  • 1 lb lamb liver, sliced
  • ½ to 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1-2 tablespoons of powdered sumac (if not available may replace with pomegranate seeds)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Prepare the salad. Quarter red onion and slice thinly. Chop parsley leaves. Mince the stems. Add the powdered sumac, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar and stir.

Prepare the liver. Melt ghee in the skillet. Add vinegar and heat on medium until steaming. Add cumin and stir. Add liver and cover. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and cook 1 minute to 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. The goal is to rare or medium-rare liver. If the liver is well done, it will be tough and taste like cardboard.

Serve liver with the parsley onion salad. If you have leftover liver, you can make Liver Paté to have later in the week.

Liver Paté Recipe

  • Leftover liver (cooked)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (chopped)

Chop leftover liver and place in a food processor with olive oil and garlic. Pulse until blended into a smooth mixture. I serve liver paté with guacamole, raw vegetables, or rolled up in a kale leaf with hot sauce or ginger sauce.

 

My teenage children and their friends agree that liver can be delicious. The key is to not overcook it!

Liver is a superfood and an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins such as retinol (premade vitamin A), vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin B12, B9 (folate), B1 (thiamine), and key minerals, including zinc and copper. I urge people with any immune issues to have liver once per week for its excellent nutrient profile.

If using a supplement for your organ meat, there are several factors to consider. I do not recommend brain due the potential for prion-mediated disease being transmitted via brain tissues. I do recommend organic, grass-fed, and grass-finished organ meat. A mix of organs, including liver, heart, and kidney (but not brain), is ideal. Review the label and do not exceed 6 to 8 ounces of liver per week.

All nutrients, even water, have a u-shaped curve that determines the optimal intake for that nutrient. Too little and you develop signs and symptoms of disease. Too much, and once again, you develop signs and symptoms of disease. If we are too short on water, we become dehydrated, can have kidney damage and delirium, and can even die of dehydration. If we have too much water, we become water intoxicated, our blood sodium level falls, and we can experience delirium, severe brain damage, and even death. It is always going to be safer to consume food than take supplements. That is why I recommend eating a wide variety of organ meats – liver, heart, mussels, oysters, tongue, bone marrow, and bone broth. You will find my recipes for organ meats in my cookbook, The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life The Revolutionary Modern Paleo Plan To Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions https://terrywahls.com/wahls-protocol-cooking-for-life/ and my new and expanded (with 30% new material) The Wahls Protocol A Radical New Way to Treat Chronic Autoimmune Conditions. https://terrywahls.com/the-wahls-protocol/

About Dr. Terry Wahls

dr. terry wahls
Photo credit Jonathan D. Sabin

Dr. Terry Wahls is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa where she conducts clinical trials. In 2018 she was awarded the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Linus Pauling Award for her contributions in research, clinical care, and patient advocacy. She is the author of The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine, The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles (paperback), and the cookbook The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life: The Revolutionary Modern Paleo Plan to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions.

She hosts a Wahls Protocol Seminar every summer where anyone can learn how to implement the Protocol with ease and success. Follow her on Instagram, and on Facebook, and Twitter. Learn more about her MS clinical trials by reaching out to her team: MSDietStudy@healthcare.uiowa.edu. Pick up copies of her research papers at here.

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References

  1. Carlo dela Seña, Kenneth M. Riedl, Sureshbabu Narayanasamy, Robert W. Curley, Jr., Steven J. Schwartz,and Earl H. Harrison. The Human Enzyme That Converts Dietary Provitamin A Carotenoids to Vitamin A Is a Dioxygenase. J Biol Chem. 2014 May 9; 289(19): 13661–13666.
  2. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. National Academy of Sciences 2001
  3. Terry Wahls MD, Author: The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life: The Revolutionary Modern Paleo Plan to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions and The Wahls Protocol A Radical New Way To Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions

The post Learning to Love Liver (with Middle Eastern Lamb Liver and Liver Paté Recipe) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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best-foods-gut-healthWhen the ancient Greek father of medicine, Hippocrates, said “All disease begins in the gut,” he was probably right. Poor gut health has been linked to a broad range of diseases and health conditions, from depression to diabetes, cancer to obesity, and autism to autoimmune disease. Search the medical literature and you’ll probably find links between the gut and any illness you can imagine.

So—all the world’s health issues solved, right? Not exactly.

Gut health is one of those topics that gets more complicated the deeper you go. The more you read about gut bacteria, the less you realize you know and the less you realize anyone knows, even the researchers. It’s infinite onions, all the way down. The layers never stop, and exposing them eventually makes you want to cry. (Speaking of which, onions are actually a very good food for gut health).

All that said, the scientific community is honing in on the signs and symptoms of an unhealthy gut. We know how to heal an unhealthy gut, or at least improve gut health. An incredible amount of research has determined the best foods for gut health, and we know the worst foods for gut health. We understand that gut health comes down to supporting healthy gut bacteria and avoiding leaky gut. Top-down micromanagement might not work yet, but big-picture, bottom-up intervention does.

Gut Inflammation: Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

Some of the signs are obvious. Others are more pernicious. Not all of these will apply to someone with unhealthy gut bacteria or leaky gut, but some will.

Chronic Constipation, Bloating, and/or Diarrhea

Everyone gets a little constipated now and then. We’ve all had the runs, and we’ve all felt bloated after a particularly large meal. As long as these conditions are acute—as long as they’re brief and transient—they don’t indicate any serious gut inflammation. It’s when constipation or diarrhea or bloating endure and become chronic conditions that you should pay close attention. Chronic constipation, bloating, and diarrhea are signs of an unhealthy gut biome.

Obesity or Overweight

Although the connection hasn’t been established as causal, there is a consistent and significant association between obesity/overweight and poor gut health. If you are obese, you very likely have room to improve the health and function of your gut.

Food Intolerances and Allergies

If the integrity of your gut is compromised due to excessive gut inflammation or missing gut bacteria, undigested components of the foods we eat can slip past the intestinal barrier and into our bodies where they trigger an allergic reaction. This appears to be a necessary step in the development of a food allergy, and a 2011 review concluded that an overly leaky gut facilitates this transportation and leads to the inducement of allergy.

Depression and Anxiety

Researchers have long puzzled over observations that mental health conditions like depression and anxiety often present with common gastrointestinal complaints like constipation and diarrhea. It’s not just circumstantial: gut bacteria produce large amounts of neurotransmitters like serotonin, interact with neural pathways involved in anxiety and depression, and help form the gut-brain axis.

Animal studies show that replacing the gut bacteria of anxious mice with gut bacteria from fearless mice makes the anxious mice more brave, while giving bold mice bacteria from anxious mice makes them more anxious. In human subjects, a probiotic supplement (containing L. helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) reduces measures of anxiety and depression, and by some accounts, 35% of depressed patients have leaky gut.

Skin Problems (Eczema, Psoriasis)

In the last section, I told you about the gut-brain axis. There’s also a gut-skin axis: a constant interplay between the health of your gut and the health of your skin. People who have eczema are also likely to have leaky gut, while psoriasis patients show clear signs of unbalanced gut bacteria.

Autoimmune Disease

One of the world’s premier autoimmune disease researchers, Dr. Alessio Fasano, considers poor gut health a necessary pre-condition for all autoimmune diseases. It’s a similar situation to the allergy/intolerance issue: a leaky, inflamed gut allows outside proteins and other food components into the body, the immune system mounts an immune response to deal with the invaders, and this response gets out of hand and redirected toward the body’s own tissues.

Okay, so how does it all happen? Apart from food, which I’ll get to later on…

What Causes an Unhealthy Gut?

There are many potential causes of poor gut health.

Stress

Stress can directly induce leaky gut (PDF) and stress can take many forms, as we all know. Bad finances, marital strife, unemployment, too much exercise, lack of sleep, extended combat training, and chronic under-eating all qualify as significant stressors with the potential to cause leaky gut, especially chronically and in concert with one another.

Poor Sleep

Sleep is restorative, and restorative sleep means you’re lowering stress and improving gut health. If your circadian rhythm starts to shift, starts getting a little dysfunctional, your gut health soon follows.

Inadequate Dirt Exposure

Too sterile an environment causes too sterile a gut. We are made to spend time in nature, feet and hands getting dirty, exposed directly to the natural soil teeming with trillions of bacteria. We’re meant to eat produce directly from the ground, and nature didn’t intend for us to always wash it. (That said, if you didn’t grow it yourself, it’s best to wash your produce.) Exposure to healthy soil may even bestow upon us anti-anxiety gut bacteria—gut microbes that actually make us less anxious.

Not Enough Exercise (or Too Much)

Exercise has been shown to directly improve gut function, increasing the production of beneficial short cain fatty acids by gut bacteria. When you stop training, the gut benefits cease.

Just don’t do too much. An acute bout of intense training causes a transient rise in leaky gut that subsides and even improves several hours after the session. This is fine. This is normal. This is adaptive. But if you start stringing together intense training sessions without adequate rest, the exercise becomes a chronic stressor and the transient rise in leaky gut starts looking more permanent.

Too Many Antibiotics

Antibiotics are great at killing pathogenic bacteria attacking you, but they also tend to be indiscriminate. They do not distinguish between friendly bactieria and harmful bacteria in your gut biome. The broad spectrum antibiotics we commonly take also wipe out the bacteria living in our guts, leading to gut bacteria imbalances and poor gut function.

After addressing the major causes of poor gut health, is there anything you should avoid eating? Are there foods you should focus on eating to improve your gut health?

What Are the Worst Foods for Gut Health?

The worst foods for gut health are no surprise to regular readers of this site, but that doesn’t make them any less important to avoid.

Refined Carbohydrates

When we eat refined carbs like grains or sugar, glucose is immediately released into the digestive tract, increasing the concentration of carbohydrate available to your gut biome. This concentrated influx of dense carbohydrate into the gut produces an inflammatory microbial population that increases production of bacterial endotoxin and increases leaky gut. Meanwhile, the lack of prebiotic fiber means your beneficial gut bacteria have no food to consume.

Gluten

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, causes your body to release zonulin—a chemical messenger that tells your intestinal junctions to open up. Many people can handle this increase in zonulin, but if you’re already suffering from poor gut health or are sensitive to gluten, the zonulin response may be strong enough to trigger leaky gut.

What Are the Best Foods for Gut Health?

  • Fermentable fiber
  • Chocolate
  • Berries
  • Red wine
  • Skin, bones, and broth
  • Fermented foods
  • Resistant starch
  • Meat
  • Pistachios
  • Onions, garlic, and leeks

Fermentable fiber

Without food, your gut bacteria suffers. And the best food for your gut bacteria is fermentable fiber, found in many different plants. Asparagus, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, and alliums like garlic and onions are your best bet.

Chocolate

Besides being delicious, high-cacao dark chocolate is an excellent source of prebiotic fiber (fiber your gut bacteria can consume) and prebiotic polyphenols (plant compounds that also feed your gut bacteria).

Berries

Name a berry and it’s been shown to improve gut health. Strawberries feed the gut biome and improve the gut function of diabetic mice. Blackberries restore gut health and trigger neuroprotective effects. Eating blueberries leads to compositional changes to the gut bacteria linked to improved metabolic health. And black raspberries have been shown to cause “anti-inflammatory” bacterial profiles in the gut.

Red wine

Although too much alcohol can have a detrimental effect on gut health, moderate amounts of red wine polyphenols may have prebiotic effects on the gut bacteria.

Skin, bones, and broth

Skin, bones, and broth offer gut health benefits in a number of ways. First, they provide “animal fiber,” collagenous and gristly substrate that our gut bacteria can digest and prosper on. Next, they offer ample amounts of gelatin, which can help repair damaged gut lining. In a pinch, collagen can fill the gap.

Fermented foods

This is an obvious one, but it’s incredibly important and more complex than you probably think. First of all, fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, and dozens of other varieties seed our guts directly with beneficial probiotic bacteria. That has real benefits—though they don’t “form colonies” and you do have to continually eat fermented foods for the full benefit. Some fermented foods also have the ability to “train” your resident bacteria to digest new compounds. One example is fermented milk: in one study it didn’t colonize the gut but led to increased microbial expression of carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes in the existing bacteria.

Resistant starch

Resistant starch isn’t like other starches. Our stomach acid and digestive enzymes cannot break it down, but our gut bacteria can digest it. Multiple studies indicate that resistant starch consumption generally leads to an increase in “beneficial” colonic bacteria and a reduction in “pathogenic” colonic bacteria, including a boost to bifidobacteria and a decrease in firmicutes and a huge boost to butyrate production. The best sources of resistant starch are green (unripe) bananas and raw potato starch.

Meat

Meat usually doesn’t pop up on these lists, but that’s a huge mistake. Red meat especially provides ample B-vitamins required for energy generation and general physiological maintenance, including gut function. It’s a nutrient-dense “safe” food for even damaged guts who need to be careful about the plant foods they eat. And if you’re eating a significant amount of meat, you’ll have less room to eat the refined carbs and refined sugar that really cause gut issues.

Pistachios

Pistachios are the most potent nut for improving gut health. Other nuts like almonds are good too, but pistachios produce  a biome richer in butyrate-secreting bacteria which is extremely beneficial to several body systems.

Onions, garlic, and leeks

Onions, garlic, leeks, and other members of the allium family offer concentrated doses of fructo-oligosaccharides, some of the best-studied and most beneficial fermentable prebiotic fibers in the plant kingdom. Plus, they’re delicious, and humans have been eating them for thousands of years (if not longer).

Some people will react poorly to some of the foods listed in the “Best” section. If your gut health is compromised and your gut bacteria dysfunctional, you may very well have trouble consuming fermentable fiber, resistant starch, berries, and other fibrous foods without bloating, gas, stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea. Please read my article on FODMAPs to understand how to work around this issue and maintain your gut health.

Thanks for reading, everyone. If you have any questions about gut health or the info contained in this post, let me know down below!

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References

Bell DS. Changes seen in gut bacteria content and distribution with obesity: causation or association?. Postgrad Med. 2015;127(8):863-8.
Tordesillas L, Gómez-casado C, Garrido-arandia M, et al. Transport of Pru p 3 across gastrointestinal epithelium – an essential step towards the induction of food allergy?. Clin Exp Allergy. 2013;43(12):1374-83.
Perrier C, Corthésy B. Gut permeability and food allergies. Clin Exp Allergy. 2011;41(1):20-8.
Foster JA, Mcvey neufeld KA. Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends Neurosci. 2013;36(5):305-12.
Hidalgo-cantabrana C, Gómez J, Delgado S, et al. Gut microbiota dysbiosis in a cohort of patients with psoriasis. Br J Dermatol. 2019;181(6):1287-1295.
Allen JM, Mailing LJ, Niemiro GM, et al. Exercise Alters Gut Microbiota Composition and Function in Lean and Obese Humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018;50(4):747-757.
Petersen C, Wankhade UD, Bharat D, et al. Dietary supplementation with strawberry induces marked changes in the composition and functional potential of the gut microbiome in diabetic mice. J Nutr Biochem. 2019;66:63-69.
Marques C, Fernandes I, Meireles M, et al. Gut microbiota modulation accounts for the neuroprotective properties of anthocyanins. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):11341.
Lee S, Keirsey KI, Kirkland R, Grunewald ZI, Fischer JG, De la serre CB. Blueberry Supplementation Influences the Gut Microbiota, Inflammation, and Insulin Resistance in High-Fat-Diet-Fed Rats. J Nutr. 2018;148(2):209-219.
Pan P, Lam V, Salzman N, et al. Black Raspberries and Their Anthocyanin and Fiber Fractions Alter the Composition and Diversity of Gut Microbiota in F-344 Rats. Nutr Cancer. 2017;69(6):943-951.
Mcnulty NP, Yatsunenko T, Hsiao A, et al. The impact of a consortium of fermented milk strains on the gut microbiome of gnotobiotic mice and monozygotic twins. Sci Transl Med. 2011;3(106):106ra106.
Haenen D, Zhang J, Souza da silva C, et al. A diet high in resistant starch modulates microbiota composition, SCFA concentrations, and gene expression in pig intestine. J Nutr. 2013;143(3):274-83.
Martínez I, Kim J, Duffy PR, Schlegel VL, Walter J. Resistant starches types 2 and 4 have differential effects on the composition of the fecal microbiota in human subjects. PLoS ONE. 2010;5(11):e15046.
Liu Z, Lin X, Huang G, Zhang W, Rao P, Ni L. Prebiotic effects of almonds and almond skins on intestinal microbiota in healthy adult humans. Anaerobe. 2014;26:1-6.
Ukhanova M, Wang X, Baer DJ, Novotny JA, Fredborg M, Mai V. Effects of almond and pistachio consumption on gut microbiota composition in a randomised cross-over human feeding study. Br J Nutr. 2014;111(12):2146-52.
Gibson GR. Dietary modulation of the human gut microflora using prebiotics. Br J Nutr. 1998;80(4):S209-12.

 

The post 6 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut, 7 Likely Causes & the Best Foods for Gut Health 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!

Yup, success stories are back! And I’m looking for more. Follow-ups, mid-progress reflections—every story at every stage has the potential to inspire folks out there who are getting started or contemplating a new beginning. Contact me here to share your story—long or not so long. You never know who you’ll impact by doing it. Enjoy, everyone!

My success story isn’t one of weight loss amazement, but it’s still about an overall remake. Tyler version 2.0, I guess. My Primal path started about four years ago because I simply got fed up with feeling gross and tired. I had some friends and social media acquaintances who often touted the benefits of Paleo living and how eating real food made such a difference for them. I was skeptical. At the time, I remember being on a kick of eating more rice because I thought, “healthy carbs in large quantities are surely a good thing.” But on a Saturday morning in March of 2015 I told my wife I had had enough of feeling like garbage.

The next day I went to the grocery store on a Primal shopping mission. I loaded up on meats, fruits, and veggies with the determination to eat from those three categories for two weeks. If I didn’t like it or didn’t find it helpful, then I’d find a plan B. Well I’m still on Plan A, thank heavens. I went through the carb flu and came out on the other side intact. Yes, I had a couple of cheat moments those two first weeks, but I kept the 80/20 rule in mind and didn’t beat myself up over it. Heck, I still don’t!

Like others, I reveled in the fact that I could indulge in eating almost endless amounts of glorious meat (and fatty goodness), yet not gain weight or feel lethargically disgusting like I did when eating mounds of pasta, pizza, or other SAD foods. It was so wonderful to not count calories or watch my portions while on this new “diet” I was trying. The diet became a passion, and it became pretty darn easy. I went through the phase of telling everyone else they were eating wrong and that Primal was the only way. They didn’t all listen. Bizarre, I know. So I adapted to quietly telling the benefits of my lifestyle when asked, but I stopped shouting it from the mountaintop.

Fast forward to 2017 when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Without yet knowing my preferred diet, my doctor gave a short sermon on how I’d have to radically shift my lifestyle away from a normal Western diet and avoid processed foods. When I told him of my Primal ways, he gave me a nod of approval knowing I was already on the right track. Having Crohn’s is a little scary (and many other people have ailments way worse, I know), but knowing my diet and lifestyle were already strong helped me feel a little more at ease. I still take the prescribed medication, but I’m confident my lifestyle will pay dividends in the long term helping me avoid heavier-duty prescriptions, surgeries, etc. And I now look back at my early days with even more gratitude for you and other Primal/Paleo advocates. You gave me something healthy, sustainable, and satisfying that I can use for the rest of my life.

In March of 2015 I weighed a little over 180 pounds and now weigh in around 165. I feel good, like this is what was meant for my body. Now in my early thirties, I am confident I won’t get that “dad bod” I was worried I’d someday have to face. I still eat mostly meats, fruits, veggies, and nuts and seeds. I don’t worry about missing meals or having all the food groups in that pyramid thingy. I lift heavy things and run up the hill in my yard just for a short sprint now and then. Because why not. I am not perfect – I don’t have a workout routine, I should probably eat even more veggies, and I still partake in non-Primal indulgences like beer or a half pan of brownies in a moment of weakness. Yeah, I could try harder, but I’m happy and I like this version of me. And I’m excited for the growth that might just yet come.

Thanks, Tyler

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The post I’m Confident My Lifestyle Will Pay Dividends 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!

My visual transformation isn’t all that impressive. In fact, despite having a completely different body composition, I weigh more or less the same that I did six years ago.

My real transformation has occurred on the inside and in the way that I try to embody the Primal Blueprint principles in the way I live my life.

Before Primal Living:

  • Out of shape
  • Abysmal self-esteem
  • Without a clear life path

6 Years Since Discovering Mark’s Daily Apple:

  • Owns a Health & Fitness blog and coaching business
  • Inspires others to find their self-esteem through leading by example
  • Recreational athlete in Powerlifting, Strongman and Highland Games
  • Loving life every day

I first heard of Mark and his message about primal health back in 2013. At the time, my husband and I were living in a modest cabin in the woods of Northern Maine and the extent of my fitness routine was the obligatory jog now and then or some exercise videos that mostly involved bodyweight training. Our cabin had no electricity or running water which meant that we were gathering, cutting and stacking firewood by hand so that we could stay warm during the long winters. Turning manure, bending over in the garden, hauling hay for our goats and clearing woods for future pasture were serious back killing chores and we knew we needed to find a way to get stronger in order to support our active lifestyle. Coupled with this was my husband’s chronic GI distress and autoimmune condition, Reactive Arthritis, which led us down the road of research into how a grain-free, sugar free diet could improve those ailments.

As is often the case, primal nutrition and heavy lifting principles were deeply entwined from the very beginning of our journey towards optimal health. And as we cut out wheat and sugar, we also began learning the functional movements of the squat, deadlift and pull-up. With a manual treadmill we found in the barn, we regularly blasted ourselves with intervals after reading from you the importance of sprinting. Your fitness principles of walk far, run fast, lift heavy came so naturally to us and in the setting of the lush, Maine woods, it felt that much more primal to get in tune with our ancestral physiques.

You might imagine that the stronger and more fit we became, the more we wanted to eat better to support that. Before long, our backs felt bulletproof chopping and stacking piles of firewood. My husband’s arthritis improved. I was seeing the extra weight I had carried my whole life slip away. We had gone to the woods to seek a lifestyle where we could call the shots and pursue our healthiest existence. But in the process, we had the rude awakening that our bodies were the weakest link in the chain of health. Our minds were strong and our homestead was strong, but our bodies were not. And so when we saw the benefits of the Primal Blueprint massively improve our existence, it was like coming out of a bad dream and I woke up one morning thinking “hey, this is really something to live for.”

While I graduated college with a degree in writing, I never really had found my purpose or a career I was passionate about giving my 9 to 5 energy to. I always believed that I had a lot to share with the world, but couldn’t conceive of what avenue to take, but with this new primal lifestyle, I discovered a completely unexpected passion. Always the chubby book nerd my whole life, taking on sports in school out of social pressure and obligation but never out of true interest, here I was, suddenly wanting to pursue fitness and wellness as a career.

We ended up leaving our little homestead for my husband to travel down the long (and still not complete) road of becoming a Dentist. He studied for biochemistry and tests and I studied strength and conditioning in between my long hours at Starbucks. (Side note: I managed to make it 2 years working there without consuming sugar and my coworkers would always marvel at my dedication of turning down a free Frappuccino. I explained to them that eating primal, my energy was consistent throughout the day and better than ever and seeing the positive effects of my nutrition in my day to day life was all the motivation I needed to persist.) The years we spent studying for our individual pursuits, we also spend wrecking ourselves on the barbell and on the field doing sprints and without following any strict program, we simply tried to remember to walk far, run fast, lift heavy. Slowly and surely, our body composition improved and I took on my first personal training clients.

Now living in Salt Lake City, I think of myself more as a Strength Coach than a personal trainer and before walking that road I didn’t even realize there was a difference. I see my colleagues often get wrapped up in ideal programming principles and I try to remember the basics: pick up heavy stuff and put it overhead using good technique, train for explosive speed and go on long hikes outdoors.

I use my personal experience to help guide my athletes on the emotional journey of becoming strong and realizing their physical potential. I have so many people, primarily women, come to me saying they want to lose weight. But as we begin working together, they quickly see that in fact their goal is much more complex that a number on the scale. They learn that it feels good to get strong and learn how to move in ways they never thought possible. I see the look of fear in their eyes at approaching a back squat for the first time and I recognize that look of fear because it’s the same one I felt when I started my journey. I see timid women who hate their bodies do a pull-up for the first time after working hard for a year and then it’s like poof… now they love their bodies because they unlocked this talent for strength they never knew they had. When that happens, the number on the scale matters so much less to them because now they have a performance goal. Now they are pursuing health rather than weight loss.

Although I am not strictly a Primal Blueprint coach, I still hold onto those principles while I teach other people how to lift and what strategies they can use to build balanced nutrition. I encourage them to seek nutrient-dense foods rather than counting macros or calories and to eat when hunger ensues naturally rather than adhering to six small meals a day. I feel confident coaching strategies like Keto and Intermittent Fasting because I have done the research on the health benefits and have the anecdotal evidence to back it up from my own experience. I am always trying to do what your blog did for me, which is to teach them ways they can figure out what health uniquely means to them. I still try to embody the idea that you instilled in me: study how our ancestors thrived to learn how to seek our healthy existence in a world that can often be toxic.

My transformation doesn’t come through in a before and after photo, but I believe I have gained a million times more than if I had lost 100 lbs and cured 10 autoimmune conditions. I discovered my life’s path and spend every day trying to guide others to do the same.

Thank you,
Hill

primalpillarsstrength.com
Instagram @primalpillars

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 Saw the Extra Weight I’d Carried My Whole Life Slip Away 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!

Three years go I notice in my yearly blood work that my thyroid levels were rising. I called my doctor and her words to me were: “OOO, you are just subclinical hypothyroidism, we’ll just watch your levels to see where they go next year.” NEXT YEAR, I thought. I’m not waiting a whole year.

My journey began. I could see no fundamental reason why when there were rising levels that we wanted to wait another 365 days to take any action. I took action then. Immediately I dove into the Internet and followed whoever I could, watched every doc series, Ted Talk, online summit and followed those who spoke to do more research. That is where I came across Mark’s Daily Apple and I’ve been a fan ever since.

I also did my own research. I tried coconut oils, green powdered drinks, eating nuts for my hair loss, selenium, maca, ashwagandha, all organic, non goo, organic hair care and plant based everything and so much more. I tell people today that you have to know your body and you have to try everything to see what works for you. Holistic medicine treats a cause not a symptom and therefore is not a cookie cutter medicine, and what works for my DNA may not work for yours and visa versa.

I started with a 15 day juice only fast which I documented on YouTube basically to keep me going, but honestly after day 4, it was not an issue.

I started to do research on the thyroid and knew i had some weight to lose. I chose a Keto diet and included intermittent fasting. That was 3 years ago and today I continue the same path and tell anyone that will listen, anyone who is ill and especially anyone with autoimmune issue you can reverse the stats. I did.

The next year my levels went up and I had to see an endocrinologist and in fact, I’ve not seen the same endocrinologist twice in these past three years. They all keep leaving and booting me to a new one, I finally gave up and don’t go to any right now. The system failed me, but that was okay. I was on a better path.

My last labs (last year) were all normal minus my Vitamin D, for which now I supplement as well as enjoy my time in the sun. I remain Keto with intermittent fasting and figure it’s a way of life.

I admit I do stray at times, we all have our weakness and mine is useless white fluffy bread.

I’ve tried a lot of things, but Keto was a new way of life and intermittent fasting just sort of fit. I rotate schedules at work every 3 months and that is not an easy task and so hard on your system, but I also rotate my intermittent fasting to keep my body on a steady rotation of fasting and eating.

My weight loss was around 80 pounds—that I have kept off to this day.

I’m no sure where I’d be today had I listened to my doctor, and trust me I believe in doctors but I believe in myself and my instincts a whole lot more.

I could go on and on. I usually do. But this will give you the idea of my life and what I do to remain in the best shape I can be at 58 years young.

Thank you

Lisa B.

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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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!

At about 45, I was diagnosed with Palindromic Rheumatism. As an irrigation contractor at the time, this wasn’t good news. I could hardly go to my knees at times, then I couldn’t get back up without aid. Sometimes, my forearms would become inflamed, so I couldn’t turn my wrists even slightly. Let me tell you, one cannot install irrigation systems when this is going on!

Now, I was never overweight. In fact, I was always a hard gainer, so-to-speak. In order to gain any size, I have to work hard in a gym lifting weights, and eating quite a lot. (Sorry if this makes some people angry…;) Getting to the gym at times, also became an issue. The pain would come and go, and there was no pattern to it. I never knew what would ache next.

One day, I ran into a friend, who also happened to work for my parts wholesaler. Since it was the beginning of spring (I live in Canada), and I hadn’t seen him through the winter months, I was surprised to see he had lost about 30 pounds he had always been carrying. I asked if he’d been sick, and he replied that he had never been, or felt, better. With that, he took me to his office, and explained. He had also witnessed a friend’s transformation, and decided to give his friend’s advice a try.

Well, when he explained Paleo to me, it just made so much sense that I had to also try it. Within about two and a half months, I had lost 22 pounds of body fat that I didn’t even realize I had. To my surprise, I also lost my arthritis. I had been tested for gluten intolerance, so it wasn’t that.

What’s interesting is also that my friend also eliminated a lifelong battle with eczema. Pills, potions and lotions weren’t helping him. Going Paleo did. 100% eradicated. He is one fellow I can honestly say will never go back to traditional ways of eating. Neither will I.

Now that I’m 60, I praise the Paleo lifestyle, and I tell others all the time. I feel like a 30-year-old, and I can keep up to my 10-year-old, adopted son. (I also have a 41-year-old son.) It’s important to me to be around for him as he matures, as I lost my dad at 62. Thanks for your great website, and your commitment to helping others.

Tim

The post I Will Never Go Back To the Traditional Way of Eating 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 am so excited to share my story with you, and I hope you enjoy reading it! I have always been the health researcher, fitness enthusiast and nutrition-focused one in my family. My whole life I followed the “healthy diet”—low fat, whole grain, lots of fruit, etc. I did research in nutrition as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, and published a paper in dental school on the dangers of BPA. I have always been investigative and wanting to know the truth behind what is told.

It was during my second year in dental school when my good friend and colleague, Jake, introduced me to CrossFit and the paleo lifestyle. After a workout he said, “OK I’m off to eat half a dozen eggs!” He recalls the look I shot him was one of disbelief and disgust. Shocked was an understatement. “EAT SIX EGG YOLKS!?!?! Have you lost your mind, Jake, seriously, all that cholesterol!” I am sure he tried to reason with me, but I was so skeptical. So that night, I’m sitting in my apartment studying, and Jake sends me a link to www.marksdailyapple.com. It was the first paleo blog I ever read, and is still my go-to today. I remember that I got so caught up reading that I got less studying done, but it was one of those monumental life shifts for which I will always be grateful.

However, I did not immediately jump to 100% strict paleo in 2010. I chose to eat mostly whole foods, but would eat gluten and wheat a few times a week, which I considered balanced. I had graduated from dental school, and I was practicing dentistry in a small boutique, traditional dental office. I was placing and removing significant amounts of amalgam fillings. I had also gotten married, moved in with my husband, and we had bought a house. The emotional, financial, and physical stress I could handle had surpassed my threshold, and in 2015 I became very sick.

After months of bloody stools, running to the bathroom for the tenth time in one day, I finally got over my denial and went to a GI doctor. A colonoscopy confirmed that at age 27, I had ulcerative colitis. My doctor proceeded to recommend that I start six medications. One of them had a chance of landing me in the hospital for months from internal organ swelling. He also said that I had an 80% chance of needing surgery in my lifetime. I looked at him, and said, “Well, wait, what if I change my diet?” His response, “No, changing your diet won’t do anything. All your large intestine does is reabsorb water.” I just stared at him in disbelief. I worked at the opposite end of the body, but even I knew that your gut housed your immune system, and did WAY more than just absorb water!

I refused to let a bunch of drugs and surgery be my fate. I was not going to let anybody put me in a box. I was determined to find another way. And I did. I went 100% paleo, even focused on AIP for a few months. Within 2 weeks of transitioning to a whole-food, gluten-free diet, I came out of my terrible flare and have not had one since.

Getting a grip on my UC symptoms was a miracle, but I still had a long way to go with my healing. I was still sick, malnourished, fatigued all the time, had amenorrhea, couldn’t exercise, always wanted to rest, became socially anxious, etc. I saw multiple doctors from 2015-2016, even getting into National Institute for Health in Bethesda, MD. The top endocrinologists and fertility specialists in the world looked at tens of thousands of dollars of tests, and told me I was the “healthiest unhealthy person we have ever met” and “they didn’t know what was wrong with me” and to “just go back on birth control to make sure you don’t develop osteoporosis.” I refused. I was determined to get to the root cause of my health problems.

I finally found Jessica Flanigan. I did not understand why my Candida antibodies were so high, since I was not eating sugar. I asked Jessica this during one of our appointments, and she said, “Well you know, Mercury feeds off of Candida.” The lectures at dental school had reported that amalgam was safe, and that the mercury becomes “inactivated” once you burnish it. Jessica proceeded to give me information on biologic dentistry through the IAOMT and IABDM. I felt like a precious secret had just been revealed to me, one that I knew was going to change my life forever. I discovered that conventional dentistry was not safe. In fact, mercury is one of the most dangerous neurotoxins on this planet. I still wonder if mercury was the environmental trigger for the UC diagnosis. On Mark’s Daily Apple, you talk about the dangers of amalgam fillings. My functional medicine doctor, as well as Chris Shade from Quicksilver Scientific, confirmed my mercury poisoning. In addition, my functional doctor diagnosed hypothyroidism, HPA-axis dysfunction, vitamin deficiencies, chronic infection, certain genetic snps, and more.

I felt terribly guilty that I had placed amalgam and unsafely removed amalgam fillings in patients. As a doctor you take an oath to do no harm. It was impossible for me to continue working in a conventional office after seeing how damaging mercury was to my health and to my patients’ health. As quickly as possible, I moved from a conventional office to a biologic dental office. In 2016 I pursued additional degrees, graduating from American College of Integrative Medicine and Dentistry with certifications in Integrative Biologic Dental Medicine (IBDM), and as a naturopathic physician (NMD) in 2017. Since working with my functional practitioners, and getting into a safer working environment I am well on my way to being healed from a long list of diagnoses.

I have been so moved and transformed by my journey, that I am launching my business as a functional dental and holistic health practitioner consulting with patients who have not been able to find healing through conventional medicine. I focus on using the latest research and scientific protocols to help my clients heal autoimmune conditions, adrenal dysfunction, diving in deep to the microbiome, and the oral-systemic connection at www.beyondpearlywhites.com. The gut is the largest organ with multiple common insults that can lead to dysfunction. Normalization of the gut results in the most effective clinical outcomes across all disease states, which is why I am focusing on the gut, head to tail. Focusing on my gut health has transformed my life, and I am back to my energetic bubbly self, sharing my knowledge, helping my friends and family, exercising, socializing, and enjoying every moment of our beautiful world.

I often think back to that day that Jake introduced me to paleo, and how God blessed me with information on where to go for the truth. My sickness and my journey have been an absolute gift, for I would not be where I am without these difficult experiences. My mission is to help as many people as possible overcome what appears to be impossible, as I have overcome it. Thank you, Mark and Mark’s Daily Apple for being a cornerstone in my journey, providing life-saving information, and for creating delicious whole food products that keep us all living, loving, and enjoying life. I am so hopeful and excited to see what our futures hold in shaping the lives of our readers!

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.

The post Focusing On My Gut Health Has Transformed My Life 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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