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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for everything Mark. Live Awesome!

-Elliot Steele

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

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

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

Here’s an update to my December 2013 success story.

I have been Primal—Low-carb—Keto for over seven years. I am 49-years-old and my health continues to improve. I am confident I am enhancing my prospects for longevity.
I eat delicious food, rarely feel hungry, enjoy fasting and truly enjoy the many interesting and challenging facets of powerlifting training.

I have been carnivore keto the past 6 months and I completely love the simplicity and feel slightly better from an intestinal standpoint compared to Keto. I lost most of my weight while enjoying Mark’s Big Ass Salads. I keep the Primal philosophy in the front of my mind when I comes to avoiding unhealthy fat, cheat meals, overtraining, rest, sunlight, outdoors and recommendations to someone new to a low-carb lifestyle.

I may not always be in ketosis, but I’m always Primal.

2017 was a fantastic year for my health.

2018 was better:

I have been 95% carnivore keto the past 6 months:

— Lost 17 pounds / decreased body fat

— increased powerlifting personal best lifts

— zero vegetables eaten

— less than 5% calories from occasional nuts, berries, dark chocolate and wine

— Intermittent fast ~18h five days a week and I train fasted

— supplement heavily with Himalayan sea salt (~10 grams sodium per day)

— eat mostly beef, bacon and eggs

— add butter and cheese to lean cuts of meat

— eat fish 2-3 times per week; fish/krill oil daily — eat liver once a week; supplement with desiccated liver daily

The past 2 years of Low-carb Primal Keto diet and powerlifting training:

— including the 6 months of carnivore above — lost 27 pounds

— increased squat and deadlift PR in 4 consecutive competitions (bench in training)

I have been Low-carb Primal Keto for over 7 years.

— lost over 100 pounds in 2012 with minimal exercise — ‘cured’ insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome: prediabetes, hyperlipidemia, fatty liver. Joint pain, GERD, irritable bowel, migraines, insomnia, acne/skin problems.

— continue to decrease body fat with powerlifting training

— my taste preferences have changed: I love what I eat

— fat adaptation enhances long term fasting, which facilitates continued diet adherence — I have learned a great amount of valuable information about serving sizes and counting macros during weeks of micromanaging / weighing foods, but now I easily hit protein and carb targets without detailed macro tracking; I eat fat to hunger/satiety.

— scroll my @joeketone Twitter and Instagram for my training log, food, wine and what’s on my mind

# 1 KEY FACTOR TO ALL OF THIS: I AM RARELY HUNGRY—I am in control of my intake and I eat delicious food.

Yes, I am in a five or ten day net calorie deficit, but it does not feel like I am—I achieve a net calorie deficit without ‘trying’ and I have immense energy.

I am burning stored fat and minimizing health problems associated with hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia: enhancing LONGEVITY.

I sleep deeply and when I’m awake I feel and function as if I am half my age.

Many thanks to Mark Sisson and The Primal Blueprint.

Grok on!

Joe Lovely

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 Feel and Function As If I’m Half My Age 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 Primal Story begins with myself being an athlete most of my life. I am 37-years-old, have had 4 back surgeries, and currently consider myself an endurance runner. I only began running in 2012. As I have increased my mileage and ability, my body has changed. I never used to think about my diet and how it affects my health.

Recently, I mean this past November 2016, I knew I needed to make a change. I was always in GI distress during and after my longer races or harder efforts of training runs or shorter races. I was referred to the Primal Diet by a friend and it all began making sense.

After implementing these methods, the change was remarkable. After three weeks, my body responded very well. I was able to recover sooner (zero ibuprofen when I used to take it a few times a week) after my long runs or races. My GI distress disappeared…I mean gone! My skin cleared up where I used to have minor blemishes on my face and back. I dropped 8 lbs—173 to 165. That doesn’t seem like much, but I didn’t have a lot to lose and my goal was not to lose weight. It was mainly, in my opinion, bloating, water retention, and a general cleansing of my system that lost me the 8 lbs.

I am able to train harder, recover better, and my energy levels are through the roof. I am so pleased with my transformation that I find it very hard to even think about “cheating” with my diet and really do not have an urge to anyway. I don’t take a lot of photos or use social media that much, but attached are a couple of photos. Again, my transformation is not that much in the physical appearance category, but overall health in general. I am the guy in the green shirt in the picture on the bridge. The other picture is of my daughter and myself before our daddy daughter dance.

Thank you,

Jason G.

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The post I’m Able To Train Harder and Recover Better 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 first MDA Success Story was published in June 2016. Towards the end I said “My story isn’t over. It is just beginning.”

Those words couldn’t be more true.

That success story was about overcoming decades of chronic cystic acne, along with digestive issues and anxiety.

And the Primal lifestyle truly helped me to accomplish all of that. After decades as a vegetarian, pescetarian, and sometimes raw vegan, making a gradual transition to a Primal diet really changed my life.

The big thing for me was the acne. It’s painful enough to grow up with it, but for me it never really went away, despite every prescription drug in the book. There were even three rounds of Accutane along with some horrible side effects. Removing grains and dairy and adding animal protein and fat back into my diet reduced the inflammation very quickly, and within about a month my skin looked dramatically different.

At the same time my skin was miraculously clearing up, my sometimes debilitating digestive issues and anxiety quietly left the room.

And if my story ended there, it would have been a happy ending.

But things just keep getting better.

At the age of 51, my energy levels have increased and I have better body composition than ever. But it’s so much more than that. I’m more adventurous, confident, creative and intuitive.

Since my last success story was published, I’ve gradually transitioned to a keto lifestyle. I refer to it as “borderline keto” since I do not track or measure anything. I know that works great for some people, I just don’t care for it. But by increasing the healthy fats and moderating the protein I feel even more focused and energetic. Even though I had already made the switch, reading The Keto Reset Diet was helpful, and I’ve recommended it to so many people.

I’ve also completed my Primal Health Coach certification (even though I had another health coaching certification under my belt already.) I believe so strongly in the value of this lifestyle and want to learn everything I can, so I continue to educate myself by attending events like Paleo f(x) and reading everything I can get my hands on. I’m also taking my first digital cooking class, Paleo Cooking Bootcamp, and loving it.

When my last success story was published I had been writing a blog called “happy, healthy and hot” for about six months. It was mostly recipes and natural beauty tips presented in a playful, sassy style.

As I wanted to share my message with more people, I started posting on Instagram as well (@happyhealthyandhot_elizabeth), and eventually started sharing more of my lifestyle, including travel, fashion, personal development, and short videos showing easy workouts that I do at home (many times with a cameo appearance by my dog). I used to be a very private person, but I know that sharing these snapshots of my day to day life can show how easy it to live a healthy lifestyle.

I’ve also been featured on other health related websites and have been interviewed for podcasts, including the Primal Blueprint Podcast. Love sharing the happy, healthy and hot message with as many people as I can.

I truly believe that everyone deserves to look and feel amazing, and the Primal lifestyle is a great way to start. Living this way should be fun and easy…if it feels like a chore you’re not doing it right!

What started out as a little health blog is organically growing into a lifestyle brand with followers from all over the world.

Is my life perfect? Absolutely not. During this time I’ve dealt with some major personal challenges just like everyone else. But I’ve come out of them stronger than ever.

People are always asking me what I eat. Here’s a typical day… I start with lemon water and coffee. I always blend Collagen Peptides or Collagen Fuel (vanilla is my fave) into the coffee. There’s usually a blended green drink too…typically something like spinach or baby kale and fresh lemon.

A few hours later I get hungry for some real food, and might make eggs with leftover veggies, or just eat leftovers from the night before.

A second meal will be another form of protein…fish and beef are my favorites and a bunch of non starchy veggies. For example, today I had salmon, roasted brussels sprouts and avocado as a late lunch. Salmon or sardines make an appearance a few times a week…love what they do for my skin.

I’ve tried intermittent fasting but don’t do it on a regular basis. Instead, I just try to listen to my body and eat when I’m truly hungry. Lately I find myself eating two meals rather than three, and maybe having some small snacks.

Most days I’ll have a few squares of super dark chocolate or some type of Paleo “treat,” especially if I’m trying out a new recipe for happy, healthy and hot. Totally enjoy dry red wine from time to time too.

I’m not really into supplements, with the exception of using Collagen Peptides in some form every single day of my life. I’ve been doing this for years, and my skin is firmer now at the age of 51 than it was ten years ago. I also think the collagen keeps me from getting sore when I work out. Some nights I take a magnesium supplement before bed, and the only multi I will take is Primal Master Formula.

I don’t belong to a gym, although I have in the past. For now, I feel great doing some simple workouts at home (love my boss ball) and my dog forces me to get out and walk every single day. Working part time as a bartender is pretty physical too.

There are two things I plan to add this year to increase my fitness: sprinting and pull-ups. I learned so much about the value of sprinting in the Primal Health Coach course, but still haven’t made it part of my fitness routine. So this is the year! And right now I can’t do a pull up to save my life, but that’s going to change in 2018.

I’ve attached some pics from a recent trip to the Bahamas with my daughter, and one from a recipe I posted on my blog.

So I’ll say it again…my story is just beginning. Life is full of adventure and possibility. Can’t wait to see where the next few years take me. Thanks for reading!

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!

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!

Mark Sisson encourages you live a really enjoyable life. I did not think it was difficult to stick to the Paleo Diet. I was 50. I found Mark Sisson and Loren Cordain on YouTube. Soon I would be buying cookbooks and enjoying my health. It sounded true to me and I jumped on board.

I had been constipated for 40 years. Both my parents were constipated their whole life. I had believed in All Bran and Raisin Bran and healthy muffins. My mother taught me to bake bread in my teens. What a joy, it could not be wrong. In high school an instructor recommended “Diet for a Small Planet.” A few years later in college I became a vegetarian. Many of my friends were vegetarians. It was obvious that we did not need to kill innocent animals and eat them. I ate beans and rice, tofu and vegetables, peanut butter and beer.

Around five years after college I visited an acupuncturist for muscle pains. He suggested that I eat meat and fish. So, for the next 20 years I would primarily be vegetarian but would eat meat and fish. About this time I would eat a breakfast cereal in the morning, a sandwich and potato chips for lunch, and for dinner it was often pasta followed by Ben and Jerry’s on the couch. Beer and wine were being consumed for fun quite often. I did not think that any of this was bad for my body. I ignored or made up other reasons why I was constipated and having chronic pain.

Chronic pain. I injured my knee skiing in my late 20s. No surgery, only rehab. I thought it would heal. Knee pain lasted for years. Wore a support on it for a long time. Got it needled by acupuncturist. Took pain relief. Other chronic pain areas developed, like both wrists and both elbows. Used supportive strapping aids on these parts for years. It felt like the muscle was pulling away from the bone. I figured it was my active lifestyle and normal. I wasn’t sleeping that well, since I would wake up with pain in the arms. The thought that my pain came from food was never considered. It was misery. It went on.

I was changing my diet before The Paleo Diet. The first change was dairy. I went dairy free to help my sinus issues. Then I tried gluten free to help my sinus issues. Sugar was still off the radar, as I was eating gluten free cookies, breads and pasta. I laughed off my coffee and donut at 10 a.m. and M&Ms at 3 p.m. Years went by. It was in 2013 that I changed.

It was one moment on YouTube. Then another. What do you mean a Paleo diet? Click, Click, Click. I went to thepaleodiet.com and read what to eat on the Paleo diet.

Mark Sisson was thoughtful and understood what was going on. I couldn’t get enough. Primal became my diet. I owned it.

I mainly started eating more vegetables. Breakfast had been cereal and now became eggs, bacon and vegetables. Lunch went from rice and beans to meat and vegetables. Dinner became big chicken salad.

I became regular and have never turned back. I felt great. Chronic pain went away. My biggest worry had become a hip that I thought would need replacement in the future. The inflammation slowly went away. It seems to be fine.

Weeks before going Paleo I was planning on buying spray on salad dressing to lesson the amount of oil. Now at 57, I happily use Primal Kitchen® dressing and pour it on heavily. What a sea change.

I’m thankful that I am not addicted to sugar anymore.

I’m thankful for beautiful movement of Taoist Tai Chi.

I’m thankful for Eckhart Tolle for the awareness of gaps between thought.

I’m thankful to Mark Sisson and the whole Paleo/Primal worldview that changed my life for the better.

[Final photo] Six months later.

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The post The Primal Worldview Changed My Life For the 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!

Hello Mark and the Primal Blueprint community! I usually don’t do stuff like this, but like many others who have discovered the Primal Blueprint path, it’s changed my life in such a positive way that it’s hard not to share. Growing up I was always athletic – trim, quick, and agile. I excelled in every physical activity I was into, without much effort. Karate, soccer, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, even golf came easy for me. Within my group of friends, I was the guy that was better at everything than everyone else (at least in my mind LOL). It seemed like I could maintain this level of health and physical ability forever.

Then of course life happens. In my late 20s I meet the love of my life. We get married and in short order, our first son is born.  As a parent, you know how life-changing that event is, and being still in our 20’s, my wife and I went into daily survival mode and did our best. I never thought much about eating right or exercising, being one of those people who could (and did) eat anything under the sun and come out (seemingly) unscathed. Fast food, chips, pizza, ice-cream, candy, processed food from boxes, you name it. And it wasn’t just what I ate, it was the time in which I ate it. I never gave much thought to pounding huge meals late at night, or right before bed-time. In fact, it was like I had a “second” dinner every night. And of course, this was all the usual SAD stuff; tons of bread and grains, corn, fried foods, processed sugars, the usual suspects. I ate like this through my 30s.

As I reached my 40s, however, I noticed that I was getting fatter and slower, and had developed a severe case of IBS. I was always fatigued, irritable, and always had a constant feeling of dis-ease and malaise. Though I was still physically active playing soccer and bike commuting religiously, it seemed like I was always pulling a muscle, or getting injured. My reflexes seemed slower. I didn’t sleep well and my head was always in a cloud. I experienced my first panic attack and developed severe anxiety. I was always getting sick, and never had any energy to really play with or interact with my son.

When our second son came along, these symptoms became compounded. I was miserable, and felt ground-down by the pressures of life as a husband, father and sole-breadwinner of our family. I thought what I was feeling was just life happening, and that it was just a part of getting older.

Being now in my early 40s, I was feeling like crap, looking like crap, and had no idea what to do about it. One day I looked at myself in the full-length bathroom mirror (with my IBS, the bathroom was my second home), and I realized I was at a crossroads. Like Tracy Chapman sang, “leave tonight or live and die this way,” I decided it was time to leave my current unhealthy state and go on a new journey; one towards teaching myself how to be a Fat Burning Beast. Through Mark and the ever expanding Primal/Paleo community, I’ve reclaimed my health and fitness. I’ve discovered and use Intermittent Fasting as another tool, and read Mark’s Daily Apple daily for knowledge and inspiration (and dark chocolate recipes).

I’m also being mindful of things like chronic cardio, stress management and finding time to “get wild.” I’m constantly trying to figure out how to implement the Primal philosophy into the choices I make, not only with nutrition, but with life in general. My six-year-old son is now one of my Primal coaches (even though he doesn’t know it). He loves his “Primal” wrestling sessions with daddy, and being used as daddy’s weight lifting equipment. He also likes joining daddy and mommy in our family burpee sessions before dinner.

So, in about a year’s time of living the Primal/Keto life, I’ve transformed my body (and my mind). I’ve cured myself of IBS, and feel great overall. My head is clearer, I sleep better, my energy level has increased. Somehow, I feel more optimistic. My anxiety has lessened enough that I can enjoy coffee again (yay!)

What’s also cool is that through my enthusiasm for this path, my wife is also now onboard the Primal/Keto train (it was hard doing it alone, especially since she does all the cooking for the family). After only a few months, she is looking and feeling great herself, and enjoying more energy than she’s ever had. It hasn’t always been easy of course, but overall, being on the Primal path has been an incredible epiphany in my life. I have co-workers, friends, and family wondering what the heck happened and how I did it.

Thanks Mark for all you’ve done and continue to do. How great it must feel to be helping so many people improve their health and well-being. Congrats on being a game-changer and positive force in the world.

 Sukho V

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The post I’ve Transformed My Body and Mind appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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

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

Here is my story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Maureen

 

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

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

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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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!

“To inspire people to be their best and love the journey so they get the most out of life and make the world a better place.” – Benj’s WHY: the reason I get out of bed in the morning. Ok, if I’m being honest, that’s my second reason. The first is my home-made quad espresso (black, of course!).

My journey hasn’t been some monumental before-and-after story, but more an EVOLUTION (Grok-style). I grew up out in the “woods” 100 kilometres (60 miles) outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I was always a super active kid, playing every sport in school, and then getting home and continuing the sports non-stop with my brother. My parents both got in on the act often, and were always super supportive. When I look back, our family was about half-Grok back then without even knowing it. We didn’t watch TV much (just some Hockey Night in Canada on the weekends), always had home-cooked meals (some food choices have since been adjusted!), and did a ton of stuff outside and in nature. Both of my parents are retired teachers, so we learned how to learn, problem solve, question authority, and investigate.

After high school, I earned a university volleyball scholarship and began my career as an “elite” athlete. I ended up playing 5 years of post-secondary volleyball, and was also fortunate to play 3 years for Team Canada and 1 year professionally in France. At the same time, I completed a Physical Education degree and a Master’s degree in Kinesiology (Coaching). I also figured out how to completely destroy my diet, going from home-cooked meals to almost exclusively processed food, fast-food, and the craziest part: averaging around 3 litres (3/4 of a gallon) of Coke/Slurpees EVERY DAY!!

I look back now in disbelief. I can’t imagine how much better I could have performed on the court, and how much less my knees, shoulder, and everything else would’ve hurt if I wasn’t pounding so much sugar and junk. Half way through my volleyball career, I got into weight lifting and once my playing career was over, I became a college volleyball coach and kinesiology instructor, and continued working out a couple of hours 5-6 days a week. I looked like a pretty fit beast (6’4”, 240 pounds, 12-14% body fat), but I certainly didn’t feel that way.

Gradually, I started reading more about health and making better choices. I reduced my Slurpee intake to 1 per day after my workouts along side my protein shake, and upgraded my diet from complete garbage to the Zone diet (30% fat, 30% protein, 40% carbs every meal). Unfortunately, I think my years of a garbage diet while continuing to pound my body with multiple workouts and practices added up. All my joints constantly hurt, I was often bloated and uncomfortable, and I ended up getting knee surgery. I just chalked it up to things I would have to deal with as a price for being an elite athlete…and here’s where the fun really begins!

I met my wife, Jolene, at the end of 2002 having just turned 30, and we married in August of 2003 (she was 25 at the time), so the rest of this is OUR story! Jolene was keen on working out, adjusting her diet, and so we continued with the Zone and working out chronically. The picture above was taken two months before our wedding.

At about this time I started having symptoms of pretty serious hyperthyroidism and was eventually diagnosed with Grave’s disease and in the spring of 2004 had my thyroid gland destroyed (I’m guessing the doctors would disagree with my description) with 2 doses of radiated iodine leaving me on the opposite end of the spectrum, with severe hypothyroidism. I firmly believe this was an autoimmune response to my decade of crazy carb intake combined with my non-stop sports lifestyle. It has left me having to take thyroid hormones (initially synthetic, but I switched to natural 5 years ago) daily for likely the rest of my life. Luckily, I haven’t had any major issues, I can tell quickly if I need to adjust my dose, and life has basically been good. I only wish I had learned about primal wellness prior to the radiation treatment, because I’m confident I could have reversed my condition and preserved a functioning thyroid gland.

Life continued for Jolene and I, and we became more and more fascinated with holistic wellness. I began reading and researching on all aspects of leading a healthy life and implementing what I learned into the Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness class I was teaching at college. I also became really curious about how people learn, how the brain operates, and how to create optimal learning environments, which I began experimenting with in my classes and with the women’s volleyball ball team I was coaching. After over 30 years of what I call incidental learning, it finally occurred to me that I had WAY more to learn and it became my passion to find out and implement all I could about each component of wellness. Jolene was busy running her own business as a massage therapist and helping others with their wellness. It’s been amazing that Jolene has been on board the whole way. And I had and have so much to learn from her as well. She has great awareness, kindness, empathy, and authenticity.

Fast-forward to the spring of 2011, I read my first ancestral health book, The New Evolution Diet, by Arthur De Vany, and it was a total game changer. After spending the past 7-plus years reading and researching, the book just put everything together. Jolene and I went all in immediately on a primal/paleo lifestyle and the results were instant. Although we looked to be in pretty “good shape” before hand, in a matter of weeks we both leaned out significantly. The picture above was taken just a few months after ditching grains, sugar and processed food (ages 38 & 33).

But the best changes had nothing to do with how we looked. I was able to get up and down stairs without my knees aching, I no longer had any gastrointestinal discomfort, I slept way better and needed less of it, I was more alert and in a better mood. And these changes happened in a matter of days. All these things were amazing, and I knew there was still so much more to learn. I just continued researching all aspects of wellness, and we applied what I learned, tweaking and adjusting our lifestyle. And then a couple of years later I finally came across Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint…BOOM! Everything we were working on, all covered in 10 Laws that lead to a good life! What could possibly make more sense than to understand that wellness is in our DNA and we have tremendous influence over how our genes are expressed?

Perhaps the coolest thing about this all is that it’s been a family affair. The same half-Grok family at the beginning of this story is now a full Grok-family! My Mom and Dad still live out in the woods, and are enjoying a full-on primal lifestyle in their retirement. My brother, his wife and their 6-year old daughter live in the mountains and honor the Grok way both at the kitchen table and with their daily hikes, mountain bike rides, rock climbs, or whatever else they choose to do.

As time goes by, Jolene and I continue to make adjustments that simplify and enhance our wellness. We now work out less than ever before, and do it intuitively. This usually means about two 20-30 minute intense strength sessions per week, a couple of 5 kilometre jogs keeping the heart rate in the aerobic zone, the occasional sprint workout, and plenty of walks with the dogs. Our meal plans are simple too. We eat delicious food W.H.E.N. (when hunger ensues naturally). This almost always means our first meal is in the early afternoon. Jolene feels at her best when she eats few carbs (less than 50g/day) and I hover in the 50-100g/day range to be at my best. And those are educated guesses because we never stress about it. We don’t measure or track anything, just eat things we know are good for us and don’t eat crap. We have found a primal lifestyle to be fairly easy and simple, and the benefits can’t be overstated! The above pictures are from April of 2018 at ages 45 and 40.

The latest chapter in our story is just beginning! When I first heard about the Primal Blueprint Health Coach program (now Primal Health Coach Institute), I signed up immediately and became certified at the end of 2016. It was such a great summary of everything I’ve learned over the past 15 years and now I’m hoping to inspire others with my passion for wellness and human excellence. This is what that looks like to me.

I’d love for everyone to enhance their wellness and I’m looking forward to starting my Primal Health Coaching career so I can help people with their journey. I’ve recently enrolled in a Primal Health Coaching Institute Masterclass in Miami and I’m so excited to get this off the ground! Thanks for taking the time to read my story, hopefully it inspires you to either start or keep going on a path of health and happiness!

Benj Heinrichs
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
June, 2018

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