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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The post Keto Was a New Way Of 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!

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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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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Did you know that up to 90% of Americans are not getting enough of the nutrients that are critical for healthy functioning? To help us sort it all out, we’re here with Dr. Mark Hyman, a functional medicine practitioner.

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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!

When I first started on a low-carb diet, I lost 35 lbs (16 kg) in five months. I had 24 conditions! But not all my ailments healed.

I went down the rabbit’s hole and was able to turn my health around and cure a myriad of health issues with some additional measures. This is what I did.

My story began in 2013, where I adopted an eating protocol via Dr. Mark Hyman’s Ultrametabolism, after discovering my cholesterol was high. Following that plan, I lost 35 pounds (16 kg) in five months and had more energy for a period of time. But I started getting tired, having palpitations, wake-ups at night where I couldn’t go back to sleep, and others. I had already, over my lifetime, been diagnosed with being overweight, high blood pressure, tachycardia, chronic migraines, lumbago, bulging disks, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, various nutrient and vitamin deficiencies, and others. I presented my issues to my doctor, whose only answer was the old, tired adage…”You are getting older, and this is what happens when you get older.”

I have autoimmune disease (discovered myself by literally forcing the conventional docs to test me for thyroid antibodies) based on my research of my symptoms from various functional medicine doctors whom I follow…so I began researching healing autoimmunity within functional medicine and Mark’s Daily Apple. I eliminated gluten, dairy and similar proteins completely from my diet. This includes all store-bought breads, pastries, pastas, and milk and milk products, and replaced them with my own, home-baked, (primarily coconut flour) products, and nut milks, primarily coconut milk. This is where my fibromyalgia, headaches and lower back pain went away for good, I hope indefinitely.

I gave up beans completely (too difficult to absorb, even when soaked), nuts (too much phytic acid in a healing gut). I gave up all processed/packaged foods, and bought and ate/eat only organic (unless ewg.org’s list says I can eat conventional). I consume pastured eggs only, grass-fed beef 1-2 times/week, wild-caught fish, and only hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken and turkey. I don’t use any conventional oils, only olive for my homemade salad dressings (your dressings are the only ones around with completely good for you ingredients, by the way!) , and coconut oil and grass-fed butter for higher-heat cooking. I eat an 80/20 raw diet. I have eliminated soy, and soy products, though I must admit, I still consume soy lecithin, as Chris Kresser, whom I admire, says it shouldn’t be problematic. I have an adoration of dark chocolate, you see… 😉 so it is unavoidable. I would make my own, but my time is limited, as I am a full-time nurse, wife and a mother as well.

I consume a lot of supplements. No drugs. I won’t elaborate on it too much, as that would be very long, but I will say that my Vitamin D, B12, all cholesterol and thyroid lab levels are now optimal by functional medicine standards. Mainstream labs are based on sick people’s labs, and I’m aiming to be and stay well, not to get sick until I exceed their ranges of “normal.” I am using additional supplements and probiotics to boost glutathione, immunity, gut repair and cellular metabolism. I use your collagen powders to keep my gut healed and sealed. I also do about 5 minutes of targeted muscle training a day 5 days a week, nominal running, walking and biking.

About six months later, after adopting the additional protocols outlined above, I felt great. I still do, another five years later. You wouldn’t guess to look at me that I’m 52. I feel better than I ever did in my life, and get around like a 20-year old. My only conditions remaining are some gas (from all the cruciferous veggies I eat every day in my salad), and thyroid antibody levels that have plateaued still outside of normal range. I surmise, accurately I am sure, that this is due to food sensitivities.  I have completed a food panel, and am working on the food sensitivities found there by eliminating them. I hope that this is successful, as I know these antibodies may continue to wear away at my thyroid over time, possibly resulting in a reversal of everything I have accomplished. Hopefully, as per Dr. Izabella Wentz (I am one of her recommended clinicians), my consumption of Thytrophin PMG will target the action of the antibodies as opposed to my thyroid, and then all will be right with the world!  Incidentally, I became so enamored with using food as medicine, that I went on to become a health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and board certification through the AADP (the Association of Drugless Practitioners.  Now I help others realize their hopes and dreams the way I have!

It should be noted, that I underwent all the above, totally alone. No family or friend support. It was very hard, but I was determined to decipher how powerful the proper consumption of food is for myself. From what I have read over the past four years, the odds are extremely low for success while going it alone. I almost ended up in divorce from my husband, and estrangement from my daughter, as I tried to help them with their problematic behaviors before they became sick as well. Now, in order to keep the peace, I must continue to go it alone, and keep my mouth shut. So far it is working, but the clinician inside of me worries for them. I’m definitely not perfect, I do let out some thoughts once in awhile!

I would not change this way of eating for anything, and continue to advocate the same for anyone who will choose to listen to my story and other successes people have had that I have advised. Following this type of plan can and will indeed change lives.

Thank you for what you, and other functional medicine practitioners sharing of your wealth of knowledge has done for me,

Carol Rivers

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The post I Feel Better Than I Ever Did In My Life appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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