During this year’s 30-Day Challenge I put a call out for Primal Blueprint Success Stories. Dozens upon dozens were sent in. If you’re looking for a bit of insight into how others have transitioned to the PB and how it has changed their lives, or could just use a little inspiration to end the week on, read Michael Wilson’s Primal Blueprint real life story below and be on the lookout for more success stories in coming weeks.
In July 2005, at just eighteen years old I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. At first I suffered just a few sharp sternum pangs, but a couple of months later this spread to my lower back. I was prescribed Diclofenac to ease the pain. Unfortunately over time both the pain and subsequent medication increased. In July 2010 I was suffering from pain in my sternum, lower back, upper back, right shoulder, wrists, feet, heels and legs. My body was constantly throbbing with pain and in the crueler winter months I had been known to use a walking stick on occasion to assist me around the house. I was unable to run, walking was always met with pain and life was becoming more painful and less enjoyable. The restriction in movement and exercise, coupled with the inflammation of the joints, meant that I put on about three stone (42 pounds) in weight from 2005 until 2010. This exacerbated the situation and didn’t do much for my self confidence. At this point I was taking an all time high amount of medication. Each day I would take a cocktail of two 200 mg Celecoxib tablets and eight 30/500 mg Co-codamol tablets. This was supplemented with a weekly 20 mg injection of Methotrexate – a drug that is used in larger quantities as an anti-cancer drug.
Vibram, Vivo Barefoot, Softstar, and the other shoe companies making an honest attempt at creating a viable shoe alternative aren’t the only entities capitalizing off the nascent barefoot trend sweeping the nation (and I’m not referring to podiatrists, as much as they like to claim barefoot running will create thousands of new patients). Several shoemakers have taken the barefoot ball and run the opposite direction – down the path of more shoe and more meddling into how the foot works – claiming to have improved upon the near-perfection of the naked human foot with (get this) bulky odd-looking shoes that weigh more than traditional running shoes.
Foremost is MBT, or Masai Barefoot Technology. MBT makes the “anti-shoe,” which is actually an unsteady, unstable shoe with a squishy, conspicuous “rocker” sole. The sole appears to be about 2 or 3 inches thick, and the instability is actually a feature. Yes, the most popular backed-by-internally-funded-science example of barefoot technology is a shoe that forces its wearers to teeter around. Sure, you gain a few inches, but at what cost? Without having tried them (and I honestly don’t plan to), the very notion of simulating barefoot walking by wearing big clunky shoes perplexes and confuses me. Talk about digging a hole to put the ladder in to wash the basement windows! Same goes for MBT’s claim of “natural instability” being the key to “recreating the barefoot experience.” Just what is so natural about being unsteady on your feet? I always figured feet were there to anchor us to the floor and provide stability. In fact, it’s that haptic perception (actually feeling the ground) in our bare feet that gives the brain the signals it needs to distribute shock effectively – tossed out the window now with MBT.
Speculation on ancestral lifespan is fun and potentially illuminating, but I think examining living, albeit imperfect, examples of modern hunter-gatherers offers greater insight. Sure, the environment has changed, wild food sources have shrunk in diversity and availability, and modern civilization has encroached and meddled and disrupted, but the few remaining hunter-gatherer populations exhibiting relatively untouched traditional lifestyles represent the most promising window into what life actually looked like and how long it lasted for our ancestors. Luckily, a couple of researchers – Gurven and Kaplan – had the bright idea to look at ethnographic studies on actual, living HG populations and analyze the available data on actual lifespan and mortality therein. They found some interesting stuff.
It’s a question that frequently comes my way. Teenagers, who have found MDA and jump on board with the PB, have their brand of difficulties going Primal: skeptical – if not disapproving – parents, decidedly un-Primal school lunches and social outings, team fast food stops, etc. How does a high schooler go Primal when his/her family isn’t? What does the choice mean for navigating other areas of teen life?
I’m 17 and have been trying to switch over to the PB, but some areas are harder right now than others. I’m really getting into the workout ideas and love the simplicity of your Primal Blueprint Fitness ebook program. For me, the eating part is the most complicated. My parents are unsure about the diet and don’t offer much support for the choices I make with the PB. I think they believe it’s just a phase that I’ll give up if they just wait long enough. The social thing is a little bit of a challenge, and don’t get me started on the McDonald’s runs my basketball team makes every time we have an away game. Do you have any suggestions for those of us in high school? By the way, your site is great. I’ve even got some of my friends reading it now. Grok on!
This post is the first in what may become a new series here on MDA. Most of my articles are full-length feature articles. While I love and will continue to do them I think there’s room for a post each week that’s a little less formal; something shorter than my usual fare that’s published each Monday (along with the WOW) that allows me to spout off on any number of things on my mind. I’ll likely be reviewing the latest medical research and ranting on hot topics in the news. What do you think? Would you like a hodgepodge collection of my thoughts on the world of health and fitness? I hope so, because I’ve got a lot to say! Let me know what you think in the comment board. And now… the inaugural Monday Musing…
Marathon running is supposed to be good for you, which is why so many people (intend to) do it. The overweight and the untrained often use the successful completion of one as a landmark on their weight loss journey, sometimes the goal itself. Others think, erroneously, that it’s part of an anti-aging strategy. If you can run a marathon, you are fit, or so the story goes.
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