keto cancer

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 as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Folks, I have been grateful for every story that has come my way over the years. It’s an incredible privilege being on the receiving end of your reflections and evolutions, and they are why I’ve kept at it all these years—knowing the message and information have made a difference in people’s lives. I appreciate every single one. This success story comes from Registered Dietician, Primal Health Coach, and cancer survivor Martha Tettenborn. She takes us through her journey from learning to advise a low-fat, high-carb lifestyle to beating cancer using Primal principles. Enjoy! —Mark

It has become my passion to share the power of nutritional interventions for improving health overall, but especially in the treatment of cancer. I have come to this from personal experience…

I studied at University in the early 1980’s to become a dietitian, because I had an overwhelming interest in nutrition and wanted to be in a helping profession. At that time, the cholesterol and saturated fat theory of heart disease and overall health was considered cutting edge science and we were fully indoctrinated into the low-fat approach to almost all health issues. The only exception was using a high calorie, high protein approach to under-nutrition (such as with failure-to-thrive or cancer patients), and in that situation, we recommended using sugar or honey, butter or cream, and other added fats and simple carbs to increase the caloric density of foods.

I have been a Registered Dietitian for over 30 years, basing my practice for most of that time on the standard paradigm of low fat foods, heavily carb-based meals, fruits and vegetables, lower fat meats. Personally, our family spent many years eating no red meats, using turkey “bacon,” ground chicken and other processed foods, but avoiding beef and pork – and feeling virtuous while doing that.

Professionally, I have spent the last 20 years working in geriatrics, contracting my services to long term care facilities. I care for many residents with the end stage consequences of the Standard American (and Canadian) Diet – diabetes, strokes and of course, dementia, both vascular and Alzheimer’s. It is rare that a resident has simple osteoarthritis or other simple wearing out of old age. Most of them are younger and slowly dying for years with the chronic “diseases of civilization.”

About 10 years ago, I started down the path of alternative nutrition, starting with Seth Robert’s ideas, called the Shangri La Diet, using flavourless oil shots to impact on appetite control in the brain. I was successful in losing about 18 lbs that had been quite stubborn prior to that time. Shortly after that, I found Mark’s Daily Apple and the concept of the Primal Diet, eating an Ancestral pattern that suited our physiology. It resonated so strongly with me that this was correct, although it went against all of my training. The strength of the science won me over; however, I spent hours on the MDA forums, reading scientific discussions, success stories, recipe and meal planning ideas and journals from the MDA community.

About 3 years ago, I decided that I wanted to take my interest in low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) and start up a private practice. In order to update my knowledge, I completed the Primal Health Coach certification – an excellently presented and in-depth course. As an RD and member of a Registered Health Profession, with a regulatory college, I had to establish a private practice that met with the regulatory guidelines of my
profession, so I started Primal RD in July 2017. Because of my counter-conventional approach, I have had no support from local doctors and getting my practice going in my small Ontario community has been slow.


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Last summer, I discovered the presence of a large ovarian cyst in my abdomen and had it surgically removed in late September. The cyst was a simple fluid-filled balloon, but huge, holding 1.5 litres of fluid (over 50 oz – 6 cups!). Despite nobody expecting it, it turned out to be Stage 1 high grade serous carcinoma – ovarian cancer. It had been intentionally ruptured to make laparoscopic removal possible, so that was considered a “spill” and a second surgery for hysterectomy and chemotherapy were highly recommended.

I was 58 years old and in stellar health prior to this diagnosis. In fact, a great deal of my self-identity was wrapped up in being “super-healthy” and this sudden change to “cancer patient” was a huge crisis for me. However, as a naturally optimistic and curious person, I headed down the rabbit hole of research to determine what I could do for myself to impact on my health journey and return myself to my formerly stellar good health.

What I discovered was startling. That cancer is no longer considered by some to be a genetic disease, but rather a disease of disordered metabolism. That this information was first discovered and described by Otto Warburg in the 1920’s, for which he received a Nobel Prize. That this scientific information was then lost by virtue of it being of German origin, and the Germans lost the Second World War. And that this critical understanding of the metabolic nature of cancer has only been brought back to light in the past 10 years through the work of dedicated researchers who are working outside of the medical establishment.

Cancer, although it is thought of as a genetic disease, and that it is thought of as many different diseases, has one almost universal underlying common characteristic. Almost all cancers have damaged and malfunctioning mitochondria, the fuel-processing organelles that create the energy for all cellular life. Instead, they produce energy by the ancient process of fermentation in the cytoplasm of the cell, an inefficient process that is entirely dependent on glucose or glutamine for substrate. Cancer cells have no ability to burn fatty acids or ketone bodies. That’s their Achilles heel.

keto cancer

By using a ketogenic diet throughout my chemotherapy, I was able to deprive any remaining cancer cells from having access to elevated circulating insulin or glucose. And by producing ketones through the diet and through fasting for 72 hours each chemo administration, I was able to starve the cancer cells of their preferred fuel, while putting my body further into ketosis, thus supplying my healthy cells with adequate fuel. My healthy cells down-regulated their metabolism in response to the fasting, going into “stealth mode” and escaping notice by the chemo drugs (essentially poisons aimed at fast-metabolizing cells). This turned out to be powerfully protective in preventing most side effects. I had no nausea, emesis (vomiting0, gastrointestinal damage, nerve damage, tingling or neuropathy, no joint or muscle pains. I did experience hair loss and bone marrow suppression, the 2nd week effects of the chemo, but these were moderate, not requiring any additional medication. Overall, I sailed through chemo with a few “low energy” days, but mostly it was life as normal, just with no hair. This was decidedly NOT the expected course for this type of chemo.

A friend said to me when I was starting down the cancer path that it appeared that everything in my life to this point (becoming a low carb dietitian, the PHC certification, and my passion for researching health) had prepared me for this day – that I would be the “Keto Cancer Dietitian.” The idea stuck, and a passion for sharing what I had learned about how powerful nutrition can be in the cancer journey was born.

As I went through chemo, I started blogging about my experiences and my journey so that others could read my story and gain hope and understand the power that we each have to impact on our own health, even in the face of daunting obstacles like a cancer diagnosis. I write about my experiences at my website, Powerful Beyond Measure, at www.marthatettenborn.com.

I feel very blessed for so many reasons. Firstly, that I had found the low carb Primal way of eating and had a solid basis of good health prior to starting this cancer journey. Secondly, that I had the knowledge and skills to research the metabolic nature of cancer and implement specific nutritional interventions (namely ketogenic diet and therapeutic fasting) for impacting on the chemotherapy experience. And thirdly, that I am now able to share that knowledge with others so that we can change the cancer and cancer treatment experience for the better. I was not a helpless “victim” of cancer and I was not fighting a war against my cancer. I was an empowered and effective partner in my own healthcare, positively impacting my response to conventional treatment.

That’s what I wish to share with others.

Mark has been so generous to share his knowledge with the goal of changing lives and that’s what I hope to do as well, from the perspective of a Registered Dietitian, a Primal Health Coach, a lifelong “healthy eater” and a cancer survivor thriver. I’m just at the beginning of that journey.

Martha Tettenborn, RD
Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada

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The post Success Story: Traveling the Cancer Journey 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!

Folks, I have been grateful for every story that has come my way over the years. It’s an incredible privilege being on the receiving end of your reflections and evolutions, and they are why I’ve kept at it all these years—knowing the message and information have made a difference in people’s lives. I appreciate every single one. I’ll add that today’s has inspired me on a new level. It’s a powerful narrative and huge testament to the impact of diet and lifestyle on our mental well-being. Thank you to reader, Megan, for sharing her strength, tenacity and hope with others today. 

Hi everyone. Mark recently requested success stories and work-in-progress stories. I’ve been meaning to write for a while, and took that to be my personal kick in the butt. I am a work-in-progress story. I was waiting until I was a success story, but as you will see even though my journey isn’t complete, I already am a success story. I have found inspiration from other stories, even the work-in-progress and failure stories; it is good to see that imperfections exist, and it is ok to fail. I can only hope to inspire others. Because, my story is one of hope—hope for myself and hope for others like me.

I had a difficult upbringing with a mother who had an undiagnosed and unmedicated mental illness. She tried the best she could to be a mother, but she was overly critical toward me and even competitive with me. I would hide in the outdoors, books and food. Secretly eating a bag of cookies by myself or hiding Halloween candy that I would binge off of when she wasn’t looking. I lived solely off macaroni and cheese for dinner (yes, every night) for about a year and a half in fourth and fifth grade until I suddenly couldn’t stomach the smell anymore (At 40, I still can’t to this day). Friends in middle school and high school thought it was amusing how hyper I would get from sugar and would feed me pixie sticks and other candies on purpose. You would think that I was extremely overweight with these eating habits, but I was active as a child through high school (marching band, track, hiking, cycling) and looked every bit the “normal kid,” albeit an emotionally scarred one; I was happy and bubbly on the exterior but falling apart inside. I was regularly sick with sinus infections or bronchitis. When I hit puberty, my mother’s criticism’s turned to fat shaming me even though I was actually technically underweight. I refused to eat healthy foods as a way to rebel against my mom. I excelled in school and read more books than ever as a way to escape.

I started to exhibit signs of a mood disorder when I was in high school with extreme bouts of depression and some episodes of rage, typically around “that time of the month.” The beginnings of grandiose ideas also manifested, on occasion. The depression was severe enough for me to have suicidal ideations, but no actual attempts. The depressive lows continued into college, but then the highs started to come. I would not be able to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning and then wake up ready to go at 6 am for days on end. Then I would crash and swing back to extreme lows and want to sleep for hours. I didn’t realize anything was wrong until I went to the health fair at school. On a whim I filled out a “how are you feeling questionnaire.” I checked off a few boxes, handed it over and thought nothing of it. I was so used to feeling the mood swings; including extreme depression that I thought that feeling that way was “normal.” The staff at the tent looked over the results and was so concerned that they would not let me leave. They walked me right over to the mental health clinic to get checked out. That fall (2000), I was diagnosed with Bipolar I. Around the same time I also was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and began thyroid hormone support.

Enter a series of different cocktails of psychiatric medications. My weight yo-yo’d along with all the side effects of the various medications (mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, benzodiazepines). I continued to have all the classic symptoms of Bipolar I, grandiose ideas, paranoia, severe depression, anxiety. I wouldn’t allow myself to have a credit card because I couldn’t trust that I wouldn’t spend the whole thing in a matter of a couple of months. I made one major attempt to take my life by intentionally overdosing on about 40 slow-release lithium tablets (please do not try this; after dialysis I am lucky to be alive and not a vegetable). I was also hospitalized on several occasions for short inpatient psychiatric treatment stays. I didn’t have many friends because I wasn’t stable enough to be a reliable friend. People didn’t know how to behave around me and treated me differently, like someone who needed extra care instead of just like anyone else. I went through various cocktails of medications and found I responded better to the older, but that I was never truly “stable.” I tell this part of my life story not to shock, but to say that there is hope for healing. I want to show how far I have come and how far it is possible for others to go by adopting the Primal Blueprint. Photo: me in 2007 after several years of medication.

I went back and forth with running over the years as a way to lose the weight that the medications put on. Running also became an addiction and a meditation for me; a different way to escape reality. Add in my rescue border collie to run with, and I was in heaven. Running with her was my happy place. It saw me through broken friendships, a divorce and meeting the incredibly supportive and loving husband I have been with for the past 10 years. On the first date I told him my diagnosis, and he said “ok, let’s do this.” My friends told me I was crazy to tell him. I guess they didn’t know my diagnosis…. Photo: happy wedding day. (Me in 2013.)

Without realizing it, running made me sick with more inflammation. I ran six half marathons and one full marathon before quitting due to severe tendonitis in one ankle. At this point I was frustrated. I had been heavily medicated for over 15 years and never really felt well; I felt like I was hiding behind a veil and not letting people see my true self. I started doing research on scholarly articles for how gluten and casein could play a role in exacerbating mood disorders. I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet. Within a week my husband asked where my stomach had gone. I had been so bloated for as long as I could remember that I thought it was normal.

Nursing my ankle back to health and still feeling frustrated, I continued with my research and somehow stumbled on Mark’s Daily Apple in early 2016. AND IT ALL CLICKED. The pieces of the puzzle finally came together. The health and environmental impacts of following the PB made complete sense and I was all in. I was already GF, but I started adopting more of the PB principles. We bought organic grass-fed meats from the local farm, ate organic veggies. I ditched process foods and sugar. I stopped drinking caffeine. I identified that gluten, caffeine and sugar gave me anxiety, and that dairy gave me depression. I eventually also ditched alcohol, which I realized also caused depression and sleep disturbances. I went from brittle nails to being irritated with how often I had to trim them. The extra 25 pounds slowly fell off over the next year and a half. I was on the lowest maintenance doses of my medications ever. My period was normal for the first time in my life ever, regular and with no PMS.

This is me on vacation in St. Croix in 2017 – I’m at my healthiest ever but still medicated.

I was doing kundalini yoga at the time and without realizing the power of the practice, I put myself into a manic state. Despite my pleas not to, I finally agreed with the psychiatrist to go back on Zyprexa. This medication destroyed my gut microbiome I had worked so hard to repair, and I gained 20 pounds back in a matter of two months. Once I was off the Zyprexa, I continued to eat Primally, but not as well as I had been. My psychiatrist is thankfully one who is a bit more progressive than most. He listened to me tell him that I felt like I was pinging back and forth on low doses of mood stabilizers to anti-depressants. He decided to take me off medication and see what happens. After 17 years of psychiatric medications, I took my last dose Thanksgiving of 2017. If that isn’t a success story, then I don’t know what is.

A year and a half later, I am still struggling to lose the weight, and have my periods back to normal. I struggle with sleep on a regular basis. I am working with a naturopath to identify supplements that support the methylation pathway issues we identified, and sleep is slowly normalizing. But I am still off psychiatric medication and my thyroid hormone medication dose has slowly been lowered by a third of what it was two years ago. I have had no paranoia, and no mania. I have not been hospitalized in almost three years. I have had only minor bouts of depression, mostly associated with hormones.

I can’t do the 80/20 rule like most folks can and am much closer to a 100% rule. That works for me, but doesn’t work for everyone. I do not eat gluten, except for maybe one special “treat” while on vacation once or twice a year. I do not eat dairy. I meditate and practice mindfulness and compassion. I do yoga, hike, walk, play with my dogs, and do body weight exercises when I am up for them. I use a kettlebell for my sprints once every week or two. I run a 5k once a month to get my running in but won’t allow myself to do more than that. I have embraced minimalist shoes 100% of the time, if I am not allowed to be barefoot (happy ankles and feet again). I have slowly been reducing my need for glasses for myopia. I began removing environmental toxins from my life years before I discovered the PB. Allergies are less severe and I have much less frequent sinus infections, and, when I get them I recover much quicker. So, while I feel like I am struggling to get back to where I was and feeling really frustrated, I have to remind myself that I already am a success story. My psychiatrist now jokes that I am a boring person for him and has discussed discharging me. He asked what I think precipitated the illness. I really don’t know the answer, but my guess is an unchecked thyroid condition (my antibodies were negative the one time I checked, so I don’t know if I have an autoimmune condition), a really bad diet, emotional trauma as a child and extreme stress. I don’t know the answer, but I guess it doesn’t really matter because I have a way to manage my symptoms.

This is me in the early morning after hiking to the top of Moro Rock in Sequoia NP in 2018. Feeling healthy and happy being medication free! Mark, my husband, my dogs, my family, my friends and I thank you for saving my life. My psychiatrist told me several years ago that of all the people he treats with Bipolar I, only about 25% are able to function in society (complete college and hold a successful and functional place in the career world/society). Statistics indicate that I would have eventually either taken my life or the psychiatric medications would have done it for me. Thank you again for saving my life and giving hope to others. I’ve often been told that I am strong to have been through so much and made it this far. My husband tells me how much he admires that I get up and face the world every day even though all I want to do is curl up with the dogs and a book in bed. He asked if I was scared what people might say if they found my story. It doesn’t matter. I’ve found that people are too quick to dismiss me because of a label. I’m sick of being a label and an outcast. If my story is out there and can help one person, then I feel fulfilled. Because maybe someone else is out there looking for another way, but they can’t find it because someone didn’t speak up to tell them that there might be. I really appreciate you giving me a way to take back control of my life. Thank you for giving me the means to help myself. Hopefully my story can provide help and hope for others.

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The post Feeling Happy and Healthy, Medication-Free 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 progress will forever be in the works. But it does have a beginning.
I wasn’t born fat. I never even thought about weight or body fat until I realized that I had become too chubby. Around the age of 14 or so. I guess the hormonal changes and probably the decreased activity did it. Not really sure. Because I had always eaten incorrectly for my body. Too much sugar, wheat, processed foods. My belly has been bloated for as long as I can remember. I remember eating Grape Nuts as a kid and feeling bloated minutes later. I never put two and two together, until much later. Even though I was nowhere near fat then, food was still having an extreme effect on my health.

After having my two children, things got worse. I focused on them and forgot about who I was. Being a mom, wife and working a full-time job literally left nothing in the tank for me. I was still bloated, stressed out and definitely sugar addicted.

And then the weight crept on. By the time I was 45, I was at least 70 pounds overweight. And, I felt horrible. And because my children were almost grown, I was also able to see it and feel it more. I was depressed. And I ate more chocolate.

I remember clearly one fall day, raking (or attempting to rake) the lawn. My whole body felt like it was on fire. My back had sharp pains and I was too out of shape to complete the task. That was my final straw. I started to research a solution. Even though I knew a lot about food and what I shouldn’t be eating, I had so much more to learn. The diet choices were endless, but I settled on a well-known one, The South Beach Diet. And my journey began. My body was happy with the lower carbs (I still didn’t understand the sugar/gluten issues), and I immediately began to feel better. I ordered a kettlebell exercise program and began my journey into fitness. By the time my son was getting married in 2012, I had lost 30 pounds, and I was feeling pretty good about the way that I looked. But I still had the nagging stomach issues and bloat, and I was still clearly addicted to sugar.

In June 2013, my youngest son was home from college, and I got it into my head that he and I would find something we could do together for the summer. I happened to open the paper and see an article for the grand opening of a Crossfit gym in our hometown. I mentioned it to him and he said, yes, he had heard of Crossfit and we should try it. Full disclosure, I had never heard of Crossfit and I wonder now, if I had, if I would ever have wandered into that gym.

That weekend, he and I checked out the gym and committed to three days a week, starting the following Monday. Ironically, that week is also the week my best friend died of breast cancer. There were so many things in play at that time, I find it hard to sort out in my head, but I credit Crossfit for getting me through it. One, because I was so sore and tired, it was hard to think of anything but my body and two, I felt instantly like I was doing what was right for my body. My emotional pain was lessened by my physical pain—and little did I know, I was training my mind to beat anything that came before me.

A lot of Crossfit gyms prescribe to the Paleo method of eating, and this gym was no different. Eight months after I began my journey, they posted a Paleo challenge, using the Zone method of eating. After I completed that challenge and within the next few months, I had dropped another 40 pounds, literally without trying. My body had finally found the way it needed to be fueled, to maintain its optimum weight.

Since then, I have continued to Crossfit (just started my seventh year) and I eat Paleo for the most part. I have dabbled with Keto and found that I always go back to not wanting the strictness of counting carbs. I just eat veggies, with a bit of fruit. I eat no grain still (found that was my poison) and try to make/eat any treat I have without sugar (I have found sugar substitutes that work).

I prescribe to the Big Ass Salad method and faithfully eat one every day at lunch. We raise chickens, so I eat plenty of fresh eggs and meat too. I believe in organic and whole food. Simple is better for me. No processed foods.

My weight may fluctuate 5 pounds or so now, but I remain lean and fit. I have gained quite a bit of muscle over the years, and I wouldn’t consider myself thin.

But here’s the thing. I am 55 and I feel like I am 20. I have no aches and pains (other than sore muscles). My resting heart rate is 50 and my blood pressure is awesome. I take NO prescription drugs. Could I drop dead tomorrow? Yes, and I truly hope that is the way that I will go. But I won’t finish out my life in the same shape I was in 10 years ago. It has been a long journey and not one that you can describe to younger people, but to the older ones who know, isn’t life great when you feel awesome?

I hope this inspires someone who may just be at that tipping point. When you find your groove, it will transform you and your relationships and how you see everything else in life.

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The post I’m 55 and Feel Like I’m 20 appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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

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

Dear Mark, Thank you for asking for my contribution. And thanks for your unending support, inspiration and courage that you show everyday in your writing, your offering of healthy food, and your very presence.

I was a food addict. I was unhealthy. I didn’t really care.

Interestingly, I had Mark’s Daily Apple on my computer for years and never put it together that it was you or that it could be of any real help to me; some cool ideas….someday. When the stronger inkling of doing something about not feeling so well came up in me (age 65), it was the book Primal Blueprint that was there for me and that I was drawn to. Ultimately, I would need to lower my carbs even more to succeed at weight loss, but I am glad I started with your book because it talked about wonderful things like walking barefoot and volleyball on the beach with young studs. It got me feeling/thinking and opened my perspective on food and life.

The pictures above are the beginning middle and ongoing part of my keto/new lifestyle way of living. I now use fasting and lower carb eating to continue to sculpt and improve and perhaps lose a bit more. I think of it as reshaping and renewing now rather than aging.

I now kayak with people younger than me and train with a gyrotonic instructor a few hours a week. I am 19 months into my new journey.

Once I made the decision and choice to do keto, and my body switched to burning fat as my fuel instead of carbohydrates, which for me took 3-4 months, when it became easy for me and has been a joy ever since. Let’s see…..eat this piece of bread or FEEL FANTASTIC. No chance, especially since I can have my own bread which I make with all organic ingredients.

I enjoy my life so much more. Food is this glorious celebration after fasting for a bit. I continue to read and tweek things, and the adventure will never end.

This final picture is just for fun. I feel playful now and frisky. Not sure if the world is ready for me……..

Submitted with so much JOY!!!

Paula M.
September 2019

The post I Enjoy My Life So Much More appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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

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

I was always interested in healthy food, exercising, and learning what I could do to look young and healthy. As a kid, our household was filled with veggies and we ate couscous, buckwheat, and a variety of salads, which were not that common back in the 90’s in Hungary. I also did athletics during elementary school and have loved running ever since. Still, I had times when I struggled with weight issues.

Honestly, I had no idea what was good for my body or how to listen to it.

I ate way healthier than my friends or people around me but still experienced digestive issues, bloating, and headaches quite frequently. It was hard for me to lose weight, but I thought to myself: this is part of life and I am just not lucky.

Then in 2014, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, which explained a lot of my symptoms. I visited many doctors, but did not get the answers I was looking for. They just told me to take thyroid hormones, saying it’s nothing serious and not to worry. But I wanted something more—an explanation why this happened to me.

I wanted to get to the root cause, so I started investigating and looking for information on the internet. That’s when I came across functional diagnostic nutrition and learned that besides my genetic predisposition, I contributed to my illness with my eating choices and my inability to handle stress well.

My love for this new information and how powerful our food choices are started to open my eyes and I wanted to learn even more. I realized that there are many people out there with similar issues who might not speak English and cannot read the books I had found.

I wanted to find a way to help them.

That’s when I started to search for schools that would give me the background in science I was looking for and came across the Primal Health Coach Institute.

I read reviews and contacted people who already had this certificate. I liked the fact that PHCI had a coaching aspect to their program as well. So, I jumped right in and loved the course very much. It was never a burden to sit down and learn, even after a long day of work.

After graduating in the fall of 2018, I created a 6-Week Lifestyle Change Program which could be adjusted to the needs of my clients. My goal is to make people aware of how primal living can help them feel and live better.

Carmen Fodróczy

Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook

Carmen’s listing in the Primal Health Coach Institute Directory

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The post I Wanted To Get To the Root Cause appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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

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

Like many followers of the primal diet and lifestyle, I am an athlete and health enthusiast. Unfortunately, I didn’t always have the healthiest habits.

My journey started during my days as a competitive figure skater, where I struggled with poor body image, restrictive eating, and excessive chronic exercise. Figure skating is an aesthetic sport that involves performing physically challenging maneuvers on the ice while creating a beautiful artistic impression. The ideal body type for this sport is lean, strong, and light, so I strived to fit this perfect figure skating physique.

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However, my yo-yo dieting and chronic exercise regimen led to a carbohydrate addiction and poor immune function. After winning the Danish National Championships, participating in the Junior World Championships in Ice Dancing in 2012, and touring in ice shows with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as a professional show skater, I decided to stop skating and become a figure skating coach.

Even after stopping competitive skating, I still struggled with unhealthy dieting and exercise habits.

That’s when I came upon Mark’s Sisson’s book, The Primal Blueprint. My dad recommended the book to me after he started eating primally to improve his blood pressure and overall health. This book opened up a whole new world for me and I am forever grateful to him!

I realized that I no longer had to deprive myself. I decided to start taking proper care of my body, rid my body of toxic, processed foods (the “fake” foods I once thought would help me keep my weight down), and stop my obsessive calorie-counting and chronic exercise patterns.

The Primal Blueprint taught me to slow down, enjoy nutrient-dense, home-cooked meals, and engage in easier workouts like yoga and nature hikes. I also enjoyed remarkable health benefits from eating a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting with the help of Mark’s Keto Reset book.

After happily following this lifestyle for a couple of few years, I decided to make primal an even bigger part of my life by enrolling in the Primal Health Coach Institute program—and now I’m a certified Primal Health Coach!

I have a true passion for health and fitness and love helping other people. Health coaching is truly my dream job! Right now, I’m enjoying the process of growing my health coaching business, using all the tools and skills I learned in the PHCI program.

I’ve been lucky enough to help my close family members improve their health as well. I am proud to say that my own dear mother has lost 50 pounds (and kept it off) with my coaching program!

My biggest accomplishment, however, is maintaining a primal lifestyle during my current pregnancy. Our baby boy is due this summer, and I’ve managed to keep up my energy and fitness levels, avoiding cravings and extreme weight gain by eating primally and exercising consistently. In fact, I was running 4 miles until 26 weeks, and at 35 weeks pregnant, I could still do three sets of 20 push-ups!

I admit that there was a bit of nausea and food aversions in my first trimester, but I didn’t let myself get off track. Even when most vegetables, eggs, and grass-fed meats were impossible to eat, I found ways to sneak in healthy foods by making green smoothies and soups.

With just a few weeks left, my husband and I are excited to bring this little human into the world, and nourish him with the same primal lifestyle and diet that we both thrive on.

– Stephanie Snider

Stephanie’s listing in the Primal Health Coach Institute Directory

Connect with her at Primal Mind Body and on Instagram

Have a story to share? Email me here. Thanks, everybody, and have a great week.

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The post I Realized I Didn’t Need To Deprive Myself Anymore appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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

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

Hi Mark, My name is Tiffany Valvo. I don’t have time to write an elaborate story, but I think most people are familiar with “my” story anyway!

I grew up on the SAD diet… struggled with my weight immensely. I couldn’t be a normal kid because of it, but thankfully I was good in school and was naturally a positive kid, so it didn’t destroy my childhood most days.

I am a high achiever and went to a conservatory for my master’s degree and then started my doctorate. At the very end of the second year of my doctorate, my car was stolen. I was tired. I was teaching and going to school, and I just didn’t understand why I always felt terrible. Couldn’t open my eyes in the morning. But, I was doing all the right things…vegetarian, low calorie, cardio.

I started walking a lot because of my car, and was passing the time by listening to podcasts. By the grace of the universe, I randomly found Robb Wolf’s podcast, and then yours.

About a week later, I went paleo, cold turkey. That was in June of 2015. Since then, I’ve kept off about 50 pounds, but that’s not the victory. The victory is that I feel wonderful. I have incredible amounts of energy, I feel in control of my mind, and I can keep doing the things I want to do to contribute to the world.

I still have a little ways to go, but one of the things other than the energy and mind clarity I am most thankful for is effortless maintenance. I know what I can eat. There is no more chasing the ups and downs.

The people in this movement are freaking heroes.

Love,
Tiffany

Have a story to share? Email me here. Thanks, everybody, and have a great week.

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The post There Is No More Chasing the Ups and Downs appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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

Yup, success stories are back! And I’m looking for more. Follow-ups, mid-progress reflections—every story at every stage has the potential to inspire folks out there who are getting started or contemplating a new beginning. Contact me here to share your story. You never know who you’ll impact by doing it. Enjoy, everyone!

I was born, raised, and continue to live in the rural interior of Catalina Island. My roots run deep here as a fourth generation islander. While the island is just 22 miles off the coast of the concrete jungle known as L.A or what I call “The Mainland,” this place feels as if it were a world away. It’s the land time couldn’t command.

Being that this little island is the only place I’ve ever called home, it wasn’t until I was older that I realized just how unique my childhood was compared to most in today’s world.

I am constantly asked by visitors to the island if I ever get “island fever” or have the urge to get over to “the real world.” Honestly though, in my opinion, this place is as real as it gets. I know there are millions of beautiful places around the world, many in which I hope to one day visit, possibly even live. But wherever I go, I do know, that I will be eternally thankful for getting to grow up here on my island home and that I have this place to thank for making me who I am today.

As a kid I was able to grow up slow. I spent my days immersed in some of the best that nature has to offer. Whether I was out hiking the endless trails, running barefoot through the mountains in my backyard or playing in the surf at a beach on the backside of the island, I learned to love, respect, and honor the land and sea around me. Another question I am often asked is “Don’t you get bored living here; there is no mall or movie theater, not much to do.” To which I can honestly reply, “Nope, never!” And in fact it’s quite the opposite. Even when I was young, an all day hike was never out of the ordinary. My brother, sister, and I would spend hours outdoors, letting our imaginations run wild, and only return home to the sound of our mother calling us in as the sun sunk below the horizon. We would come running, usually a bit battered and bruised from the day’s adventures. We would greet our mother with a bouquet of wildflowers in one hand, and often an injured animal in the other, because we were determined to nurse back to health. My mother had an incredible green thumb and grew most all of our produce. Every meal was a home cooked meal and every night we would sit down to dinner around the table our father made and give thanks to the land for the food that it gave us. That also often meant some fresh yellowtail or local venison!

I was young when I came to understand that all things in the world are connected, that the great outdoors was also a great teacher, and that there was beauty and a lesson to be found in everything. The way the fullness of the moon pulls the tides in the ocean.

The way the location of the sunrise and sunset coordinated with the seasons. How the birds danced and feasted on the water before a storm. How animals fasted when they didn’t feel well. I learned to trust my instincts when crossing paths with a herd of buffalo or a coiled snake. I learned to feel the energy of the land.

These childhood adventures and exploration of the land and oceans around me evolved into the lifestyle I live today. This land is my playground, my gym, my sanctum. It has sparked, lit, and has been the fire behind many of my endeavors including my success as an adventure athlete, my love for being active outdoors, appreciation for the ocean, my pursuit of growing my own organic garden, sustainable living, giving back to the community, and learning something new every day. It has taught me that what’s simple is true and that you can live large even with very little, because it’s the little things in life that matter the most. I now teach sustainability, marine biology, and ecology for the USC Wrigley Marine Science and Ecology Center here on the island. I am a holistic health coach and personal trainer on the side. And I still have my everyday adventures as an sponsored athlete.

I found your blog about 8 years back when I was recovering from a serious bought of overtraining and adrenal fatigue due to running 80-100 mile weeks while training to paddle the channel between the island and the mainland (which I’ve done 7 times since), and working in a restaurant 10 hours a day. My body started to shut down (rightfully so), and I was determined to learn everything I could about the human body, holistic nutrition, what fitness really is, and what true human health actually meant. At the time I was also obsessed with reading books on anthropology and studying the indigenous peoples and tribes of far away places. Their ways of life, so interconnected to nature, made me feel like my own craving for being one with nature, wasn’t so abnormal. And of course, like most things about modern societal norms, I just couldn’t trust mainstream advice on nutrition and training.

So, down the unconventional rabbit hole I went and along the way I became a total primal/paleo/real food/lifestyle nerd. I tossed conventional wisdom out the door (I was always a skeptic) and realized that the life I had been living on the island was actually pretty darn “primal” and that I just needed to modify a few things. I always ate what I thought was healthy as I was an natural athlete from a young age and new the foods I ate made me feel great or not so great. That meant lots of homegrown veggies, wild fruits, local fish, venison, and meats. But I did grow up also eating pasta and a few processed foods like Kashi cereal, which I soon ditched. And the fats I was told were bad for me back in middle school health class, I became a big fan of because I discovered that I could perform better on the trail and in the water with them on board. The more I read your blog, the more the stars aligned…it all made so much sense!!!

I no longer run 80 mile weeks, but I still love a good trail run every now and then. If I’m going for long distance, I usually hike in my minimalist shoes instead. I average about 6-8 miles a day just in walking around the island doing daily tasks. I lift heavy things, climb trees, free dive, spearfish, SUP, prone paddle, mountain bike, play pick-up softball in the dirt lot with friends, gather with my people around campfires, follow circadian rhythm (it’s easy out here on the island), and absolutely am loving life! I recently circumnavigated the island on my paddle board with two friends and it was such a fun adventure! We even made it to SurfLine! We used the paddle as a vehicle to talk about plastic in our oceans.

I am all about living life to the fullest and really exploring our human potential, asking constantly “What does it mean to thrive?” and “What does it mean to be human?”. Thanks to the inspiration I receive from the MDA, paleo community, and our ancestors, I feel as though I am able to do just that, and now I share it with others. I coach and put on retreats and events all based around this lifestyle in addition to my work for USC.

I studied nutrition for a long time and I soon realized, it all came down to nature. I studied movement and fitness, and it again, it all came back to nature. Now I teach and study about the environment/ecology/sustainability, and what we can do to make the world a better place, and again it comes back to nature. It’s really very simple. It’s all interconnected and so are we. A part of nature, not separate from it. And we and our planet all have the ability to be healthy, happy, and thriving. So thank you Mark for all that you do! You have always been a bright light guiding the way and I have really looked up to you for years. I lived off the island for a few months in 2016 and worked at Sunlife at Point Dume. It was pretty funny how none of the celebrities caused me to feel star stuck but whenever you or Ben Greenfield would come in, my heart would skip a beat ; ) You are a legend and the legacy you are leaving is a much needed one. Thank you, thank you, thank you! If you ever want to host a PB retreat on Catalina, I’m your girl ; )

All the best from Catalina,

Natalie
Adventure Athlete and Health Coach
Optimized Health, Wellness, and Fitness
www.themanymilesofnat.com

Have a story to share? Email me here. Thanks, everybody, and have a great week.

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The post I Was Determined To Learn What True Human Health Meant appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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

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

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

Before Primal Living:

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

6 Years Since Discovering Mark’s Daily Apple:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,
Hill

primalpillarsstrength.com
Instagram @primalpillars

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

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The post I Saw the Extra Weight I’d Carried My Whole Life Slip Away appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Healing to you all!

Larissa Nowak-Lobo

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

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