Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
20 Apr

A Beer Drinker’s Primal Story

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 was a kid, I was husky – that is what my mom told me. I was always a little chunkier than my siblings and most of my friends growing up in the 60’s. Because of that, I always had to watch my weight and what I ate. Gaining weight has always been easy for me.

Over the last 30 or so years, I have been a somewhat health conscious adult and lived largely by convention wisdom (CW) guidelines. I have always been physically active, fit, and pretty healthy. I rode a motocross bike up until I was 35 and played roller hockey to age 49. I rode mountain bikes, played racquetball, skied, learned to snowboard when I was 43, and would run 3-5 miles, 2-3 days a week. My dad ran the Boston marathon in his 50’s, so I guess he imparted a strong sense of fitness on to me. Keeping my weight down was always a challenge and something I worked at.

My weight stayed fairly constant, between 165 and 175 lbs, during that time. (I am 5’ 9”) My diet was pretty good I thought, eating bread without butter, potatoes without sour cream, oatmeal without sugar, cereal with low-fat milk; whole grain was king, fat was evil. I owned a bread machine and made my own whole wheat breads and pizza crusts. I was lucky not to have any medical issues, life was good.

I also have always been a beer lover and 20 years ago I started home brewing beer. Beer, after all, is low-fat, so no worries. I drink one or two beers a day during the week and twice that on weekends (if I am good.) I became a connoisseur and love to try all the different beers of the world. I get to travel worldwide with my job and I always seek out beers I have never tried before while out of the country.

After turning 45 or so, I started getting severe heart burn. My doctor put me on meds (of course) but I didn’t tolerate them, giving me the runs. I switched to OTC Pepcid type and that worked somewhat. I also at that point started to slow down a bit – less running, less hockey, less energy. And big surprise, my weight started to climb. When I turned 50, December 2009, my weight was the highest ever at 182 lbs. Not too terrible, but heading in the wrong direction and I didn’t feel like I was able to control it as I could in the past. I had to work really hard just to stay level, but I was running out of gas. Quitting hockey didn’t help. I was 50 and getting fatter. I had to make a change.

Here I am on the right at age 49, and with the rest of my family and playing bocce, Ocean City, NJ summer 2009.

In March 2010, I decided to try a low-carb diet, Atkins style, which I tried before in my 40’s with pretty good results, but never able to stick with it. Soon after starting, I was searching the internet for the carb content of certain foods and somehow came across The content was unbelievable, and I soaked it up. It all made so much sense to me. I knew Atkins was on the right track, but the Primal Blueprint was the course correction I needed. I became hooked on the information and to the community support, especially the success stories. I love MDA because everything you need is on the site. I eventually bought two PB books, more out of sheer gratitude towards Mark, than pure necessity. I also like the fact that Mark personally answered my emails, not once but twice. And he posts lists of other great websites that are, in reality, his competitors (18 Underrated Blogs…). Who else does that?

The idea that this is a lifestyle clicked with me. Atkins was a short term diet and the results don’t last once off it. (Duh!) People often ask me about the differences between Primal and Atkins. With Atkins, you don’t fundamentally change your eating habits; you substitute low-carb products for what you normally eat.  Low-carb bread, low-carb ice cream, low-carb snack bars etc, all loaded with fake factory ingredients and sugar alcohols. Over time, you drift back to the real crap and end up back at the beginning. With Primal, you learn to eat real food and you learn to like real food. You learn why the crap food is crap and you lose your taste for it. You make a real fundamental change and you understand why.

When I started Primal, I decided to see if it would work while maintaining my beer drinking/brewing hobby. After all, I really like beer and couldn’t see giving it up permanently, and besides, there was that 80/20 principle. I guess you could say I wanted my beer and drink it too. So I dove into the Primal Blueprint diet and was pretty strict, except for the beer, which I knew would add an average of 40 grams of carbs a day.

For exercise, I started hitting the weights 2 or 3 times per week and doing sprints or HIIT on most Sundays. Over the past two years, I learned a lot about fitness. My lifts have progressed and are now mainly from the large compound muscle groups, squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press, rows, pull/chin-ups, and dips. I use an upper/lower split routine giving my muscles 5-7 days rest between workouts per the book Beyond Brawn (which was linked from LeanGains which was linked from MDA). Last year I got a pair of Saucony Hattori running shoes which at 4.4 oz, are great. I got my 100 meter down to 15 seconds and I am now able to do 19 dips and 10 full pull-ups.

My diet is pretty simple. For breakfast it’s a shake with whey protein, a raw egg, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, flax meal, some berries or pumpkin and fish oil. Lunch is usually a Big Ass Salad with whatever leftovers I have from dinner, some cheese, peppers, carrots, oil, and vinegar. Dinner is meat or fish, some veggies and a salad, and of course, a beer. We usually try to cook extra meat for the next day’s salad. Dark chocolate is my dessert, and nuts, coconut, jerky, or cheese make a great snack. I also have a great recipe for pumpkin bars that are good for traveling or as another snack. Planning ahead is absolutely the key for diet adherence.

The first few months following the Primal Blueprint did not produce much in the way of weight loss. I was probably gaining muscle at the same rate as the fat loss. I had to tell myself to “stay with the program,” knowing it was the right thing to do. Finally after two months, the scale started to move. I lost 22 pounds on the scale in the first 16 months to what I consider my “ideal” body weight. This is the weight I easily maintain. This is not the fastest change, but it was relatively easy compared to other diets I have tried. The beer may have slowed down progress, but that’s OK, it’s my cheat. Besides, what’s the big rush? As long as I am on the right path, heading in the right direction, why make it harder than it is.

So here I am at age 52, two years Primal, and at my lowest weight since I can remember. My heartburn is gone, my eczema is much better, and just got a new 15 year term life policy with a super-preferred rating. My blood pressure is typically 110/70 with a resting heart rate under 60. Not a huge transformation, but I feel like I am in the best shape of my recent life with much more energy. I find that the longer I have been Primal, the easier it is to stay with it. Plus, while I have cut down on beer a little in exchange for red wine, I have not given it up.

I wonder how bad beer really is. It is slightly sprouted (malted) and fermented and does not contain the barley germ, husk, or bran… Maybe a blog post, Mark?

I am still currently active with hobbies and sports including biking, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, volleyball, golf, and I’m thinking about playing roller hockey again.

I am very passionate about this lifestyle and I tell anyone who will listen to me about it. Many of my friends and coworkers have gone Primal with great success. My wife started eating this way at dinner time initially and has eventually become more Primal over the last two years. She too has had success with weight loss.

Finding MDA was like finding a magic chalice on the beach. My wish for great health has come true. Thank you, Mark Sisson.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Nice job, you look great! You definitely don’t look 52. My brother is the same age as you so I’ll need to pass along your story as he thinks it’s impossible at his age. Thanks for sharing!!

    Grog wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • Def. looks great..With your diet, about how many calories a day do you think you’re getting…

      Barry wrote on September 18th, 2012
  2. I love this story. You look great! You may not have lost a ton of pounds over 16 months but you can notice a huge ass difference. You obviously put on a ton of muscle.

    My brother has also had huge success. He has not lost a ton of weight like you but he continues to put on tons of muscle. And, he still drinks his beer. It’s a bit less but he will never give that up. He will be 30 this September so he is much younger.

    Continue to spread the Primal word!

    Primal Toad wrote on April 20th, 2012
  3. Well done!
    It’s heartening to know you can still have a beer or two while still getting such benefits.

    Hugh wrote on April 20th, 2012
  4. Great post. This is nearly identical to my story right down to age, height, weight,, Atkins initial success, beer brewing, and primal results. You are hitting it out of the park. Great work.

    Randy wrote on April 20th, 2012
  5. Great to read this. You’re looking great, Sir! I too am curious about the beer. I currently brew my own beer as well and I’m trying to find a nice balance. I usually don’t drink as much as you said that you do so perhaps it won’t be a problem for me. I think over the last month I’ve had ~10 beers, mostly when at a sports bar with coworkers or something.

    I’m hoping that I can get down in weight and look as good as you do. I’m also looking forward to my heartburn going away!

    Daniel Hensey wrote on April 20th, 2012
  6. Well, I think you look like Simon Cowell in that ‘before’ photo and you definitely don’t in the ‘after.’ Congratulations! 😉

    Alison Golden wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • Haha! I can see that in the hold him now!

      Primal Toad wrote on April 20th, 2012
      • It’s totally the hair!

        MissJenn wrote on April 20th, 2012
  7. You’re truly inspiring. I enjoyed your story. I’m at the 50+ stage too and started PB last August. This lifestyle really makes sense in so many ways. Kudos to you!

    Judy wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • I’d like to see Mark Sisson champion a new dietary regimen called PB+PBR.

      John wrote on April 20th, 2012
      • LOL!

        Paul wrote on April 21st, 2012
      • Great joke!

        Patrick wrote on April 24th, 2012
    • Jenn: I agree, he’s inspiring as I’ve been eating primal (90%) for almost two yrs. Grains have been pared way down to small pita half servings (multi grain) with butter w/veg. soup. very ltd. grain now. Digestion improved. I eat a pc of butter creme cake w/friends on Mon. or church dinners..can’t resist.

      laura m. wrote on April 21st, 2012
  8. Awesome story. I especially like the part where you said that the idea that this is a lifestyle clicked with you. And especially this: “With Primal, you learn to eat real food and you learn to like real food. You learn why the crap food is crap and you lose your taste for it. You make a real fundamental change and you understand why.” So true. Thanks for being an inspiration :)

    Mary wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • My favorite part, too :-) Well done!

      Annette wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • Well written……you articulated why the change to this lifestyle works and so much easier to maintain.

      Dragonfly wrote on April 20th, 2012
  9. I miss beer. I made a choice to not imbibe any alcohol (sans cooking wine in recipes) until I reach my goals. I miss all the different flavors and the buzz from a few beers. I do not miss hangovers and really like the extra cash I have.

    liberty1776 wrote on April 20th, 2012
  10. As a beer lover I love this story.

    I keep trying to rationalize to myself that beer can’t be that bad for us: it’s essentially only fermented barley grass juice.

    I recently gave it up a few weeks ago to see if I would notice a bigger change in my digestion/weight loss/physical capacity over the next month or so. Its only been 2 weeks (exactly today actually) and everyone has been asking me what my “secret” is.

    I don’t plan on cutting beer totally out of my diet but I have decided drinking 1/2 gl every night in not necessary :)

    Goyo wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • The beers are soooo hard to limit! A nice dark ale with that burger..
      I have cut back to a once a week 2 beer night and it makes a big difference in my overall well being, I can tell. My small rural town has yet to carry the gluten free beers. Are they any good?

      Kari wrote on April 20th, 2012
      • No ….. the gluten free beers are horrid … sorghum was never meant to be brewed (in my humble opinion)

        Brandon Boyd wrote on April 20th, 2012
      • The gluten free stuff is rather nasty. I’ve tried most I think. But, as with all beers by the 4th or 5th their all good. True even of Budweiser. Okay, maybe not Budweiser.

        David Primal wrote on April 20th, 2012
      • I wouldn’t know about gluten free beer because I don’t think I will ever try them. I like regular barley malt beer which too my understanding has way less gluten than wheat. Also, it was my impression that the mashing and fermentation process further reduces glutens. Would love to see more information on it.

        I live in a great area for craft beers and it is my biggest weakness. Surly Furious out if Minneapolis is the best. So tasty. I want one…just one! 😉

        Goyo wrote on April 20th, 2012
      • I had a dogfish head Tweason’ale and it was pretty good.

        Kim wrote on April 20th, 2012
        • T’weason is more of a cider, IMHO, but it’s excellent. Pateros Creek in Fort Collins, CO makes a really nice gluten-free beer that they have fermented using Belgian techniques (including Candi sugar) that gives it more a fullness that most GF beers lack.

          Miss Dev wrote on April 23rd, 2012
      • Imagine ringing out a bar rag into a cup at the end of a busy night. Drinking that would still taste better than gluten-free beer.

        fritzy wrote on April 21st, 2012
        • Ha ha – true!

          Heidi P. wrote on April 27th, 2012
      • I don’t think they’re that bad – but you have to go in with the realization that they are *nothing* like what you’re used to. They’re rather “light”, and the flavor is obviously different from what you’re used to, but I think they can definitely be enjoyed. They’re…….”refreshing”.

        Kristin wrote on May 14th, 2012
  11. Congrats on your success! You’ve shown that someone with determination can make major improvements and enjoy the process rather than looking at a “diet” as a short-term means to get back to the old lifestyle.

    Linda wrote on April 20th, 2012
  12. Man, I thought I was reading my story except only at the begining of the 2 year period – starting out. I really enjoyed reading your story – thanks!

    Trevor wrote on April 20th, 2012
  13. Good work! You look great :-) Your smile says so much! I also love your patience, it’s very inspiring. Thanks for sharing :-)

    yoolieboolie wrote on April 20th, 2012
  14. Thanks for the success story, this one really resonates with me. Me…44, craft beer lover, homebrewer, trail runner, CrossFitter and a generally active dude. On my 4th week of primal eating and seeing results. Nice to have reaffirmation that I can still enjoy or beer or two now and again, but now I choose what I’m drinking ever more carefully.

    Hey Mark…would love to see a blog post about beer too!

    Geoff wrote on April 20th, 2012
  15. Fantastic! Atkins lost me too. Once I began adding back whole grain products and consuming the alternative recipies & foods loaded with sucralose, it was a reversal of progress. I was only marginally better off… With regards to beer on Primal, for me, the occasional evening of a few low-carb beers does not derail any of my progress – Yea!

    Paula wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • You weren’t supposed to add back grains if you exhibited any adverse reactions which it sounds like you did display. You were only supposed to be able to allow more starchy veg and more nuts. Can’t deny sucralose is a big favorite over there, but some people need a taste of the stuff they gave up to get by, and some people need to go cold turkey to get by. Know yourself and make your choice.

      Joshua wrote on April 20th, 2012
  16. Great story!

    Isn’t Mark great!? I want to work for him or something.

    Thanks for everything, Mark. You’re a very fair and helpful humanitarian.

    Bruno wrote on April 20th, 2012
  17. Let’s be straight about Atkins. For many of us, it was the introduction to the low-carb paradigm and has always advocated high fat and less high protein with loads of veg. Supplementation is important. The fake stuff is allowed and it certainly does produce a lot of the fake stuff so it can leave you with the taste for the bad stuff but only if you have the money to buy the bad stuff. Also, the book explicitly states on page 286 of the 2002 Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution that “if you’re not getting regular exercise, you aren’t following the Atkins nutrional approach”. Granted, it’s only one chapter out of 28, but then the book is only about a way of eating, not a way of living. Primal is the latter. Atkins is also, not a “short-term diet”. The most rapid weight loss is in the short term, but it is an healthy eating lifestyle, not a quick fat-loss program. Again, if you think it is short-term, you aren’t “doing Atkins”.
    So from everything I’ve read, Primal is basically Atkins + a thought experiment framework + the latest fitness research. So thank you Dr. Atkins (RIP) and thank you Mark for you immense contributions to my health and the health of millions of others.

    Joshua wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • A friend went on Atkins years ago and looked to me for nutritional advice and support. At the time, I ate a super-“healthy” very low-fat, moderate-carb diet of whole grains, fruit, veg, lean meat, nuts, and dairy. So I told sure, sure, go for it “but don’t eat those things you ‘know’ are bad for you — like cream and bacon and other fat.” She lost lots of weight, and I lost some with her, but it was unsatisfying; we did it for about 6 months but neither of us stuck with it.

      The difference is that primal food tastes so good! I’ve been eating PB for two years, and don’t have any desire to change. (Though I’ve recently cut out dairy to see if it affects spring hay fever. I’m not sure how I want that one to pay out, because I don’t want hay fever, but I do want cheese.)

      Karen wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • In Dr Atkins 1st book he talked about low carb being the basis for our ansestors diet & our bodies have not evolutionized to handle the level of refined carbs in the SAD(standard american diet). That concept actually is what sold me on the low carb concept because it made sense. I had seen a modern version of this when a Dr friend from India jumped into the SAD with both feet & wound up having a heart attack as the age of 34 he went back to his family for generations diet & all his reports years later were good. His son who was born of an American mother had high cholesteral at the age of 13…he changed to a diet much like his fathers and improved. (it was not a strict vegeterian diet either) Atkins I think got lost with time & popularity pressure & the money making machine Adkins became (i’m ok with the money just not the comprimise)because he came out with products that were majorally artificial, alot of soy, added foods…beans ect & totally deluded the message. He just didn’t stay pure & on message a Primal diet is what humans were meant to eat.

      Milliann Johnson wrote on April 20th, 2012
      • Thank you for helping to clarify for everyone.

        I tried Atkins first when it became really popular about 10 years ago. People I knew who tried it based their efforts on a long email that got circulated and lacked a lot of the nuance of the book. Most of these people either never got through induction phase or lost a lot of weight then fell off the wagon and put it all back on with interest. I was somewhere in between. In the last 5 months–after taking the time to read and understand the book–I have been far more successful and have essentially transformed my body: 50 pounds off, muscles visible and getting toned, all sort of health issues resolved, etc.

        What got missed by so many back then is spelled out in the book explicitly, sometimes repetitively. If only they had read it:

        *Low-carb diet, supplements, and exercise are equally important. He states the plan will fail if all 3 are not in place.
        *You don’t just “do Atkins” to lose a bunch of pounds and then go back to shoving cake in your mouth. It’s a lifetime commitment. When one “goes off Atkins” and resumes their old habits, multiple pounds can be added each day.
        *When you add carbs back in on the plan you are supposed to follow a ladder of specific carb types, starting first with more salad vegetables. The process is very gradual, ramping up by 5 grams of carb per week while monitoring weight. You don’t just start eating loaves of bread again. The gradual process is intended as a troubleshooting method: Something you were eating before was causing an allergic reaction.
        *He states in several places that organic meats are to be preferred. He also disses bacon and other processed meats. He never states one can’t eat vegetables. In fact, he insists that one eat veg even in induction.
        *He also is pretty adamant that people need to eat only until they are satiated. He says this while acknowledging that many people don’t know what satiety feels like. Most people only know “gorge” after a lifetime of eating and not really getting fed.
        *He also lays out in long relatively-boring chapters what hyperinsulinism is, what causes it, and how it is the main evil facing the 69 percent of Americans who are overweight. He says again and again that the main goal of his plan is to regulate insulin.

        But people didn’t read the book, so they missed these points and often got even fatter, developed gout, etc. while doing what they thought the Atkins plan was.

        Atkins let his followers down by trying to capitalize on his plan by making junkfood. The plan itself is so simple that it’s really hard to make any money off of it after the sale of the book. So concocting candy bars and other grain-based atrocities that were only moderately less carb-a-licious than standard selections was one way to get rich from the plan. His greed was his undoing.

        nonplussed wrote on April 23rd, 2012
    • Atkins was certainly on the right track, but the problem with the Atkins diet today is all the fake food that’s allowed on the diet. In any low carb diet, you are going to be reducing or eliminating refined sugar and flour. These are two of the biggest problem foods, and up until the 80’s, you’d have to replace those calories with meat and vegetables. But with the popularity of Low Carb diets in the 90’s and on, there have been an explosion in artificial sweeteners, high omega 6 oils, gluten and soy based protein bars, and so on. I think these manufactured foods are why a lot of people struggle on the Atkins diet nowadays.

      John wrote on April 23rd, 2012
  18. Congratulations, you look great! Your muscles are well defined, and I can tell you are loving life! I really liked your explanation of the differences between Atkins and Primal, it helped my clarify my own understanding and I know I’ll be able to explain it to people better. Thanks for the inspiration! Oh, and I also found your progress relatable, I’m 49 and the weight is not flying off effortlessly like I see in some of these success stories, but I’m staying the course and feeling good!

    spincycle wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • helped “me” clarify

      spincycle wrote on April 20th, 2012
  19. Nice work. You look fantastic, and much younger than your calendar age. Also, I’d love to see that pumpkin bar recipe posted at MDA. Thanks!

    RBart wrote on April 20th, 2012
  20. Fantastic story! Your happiness and health is written all over your face. I love beer myself and have found it hard to pass up a cold one. Would you mind sharing your recipe for the pumpkin bars? :)

    Brooke wrote on April 20th, 2012
  21. Wow, you look amazing. I know guys in their 20s who can’t hold a candle to your physique. What a way to start into the second half of your life: happy, healthy and active.

    Decaf Debi wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • I agree, great physique, and you look about 15 years younger than you say you are.

      Reading Beyond Brawn really turned around my ideas about training. My physique was also transformed into a great physique.

      It is hard for most people to accept what this book says, but once they start implementing it they start seeing results.

      Train with very brief, high intensity. I’m talking like 3-4 sets of max intensity at the most. 3-4 sets more at moderate intensity, then 2 to 4 days rest. At the extreme version of brevity I train my deadlift, two sets of 5 reps, and my row, 2 sets of 6-8 reps. Then I go home and I rest for three days before I go back to the gym to completely unrelated exercises (Press, Weighted Push Ups, Australian Pull Ups).

      I am a personal trainer and an online consultant, so I see how most people are typically training before I advise them. Most people are training 3-5 HIT days AND 2-3 of cardio on top of that.

      Personally, I blame Crossfit and P-90X for leading people to believe they can train with HIT 4-5 days a week without over-training. A lot of people are extremely over-trained and and would have much better physiques, health, and would be much less irritable if they kept workouts brief and intense, then gave enough rest. Unfortunately, most people will read this and think I’m crazy, but I train 2 times a week tops, walk a little on my off days, and I have an amazing physique, if I can get away with saying that without sounding to full of myself.

      Matthew Caton wrote on April 20th, 2012
      • You can and I am intrigued! I would like to look great but I don’t want to work out on the typical schedule. If I could work out with brief, high intensity workouts 2 times a week and walk a little I could be all over that. THAT sounds like my kind of workout! I’ve dropped 25 pounds, now I would like to look more fit and less flabby.

        Stephanie wrote on April 21st, 2012
        • I agree with Matthew and you can get great results with only 2 days of lifting per week, that is all I do. I I found that I need 7 days of rest in order to add progressive poundage to the bar each week. For insteance, my incline press went from 90 lbs to 130 lbs in 16 weeks, adding 2.5 lbs per week. And, I am not done yet, I hope to hit 150 before starting another cycle. I do 4 upper body lifts per session once a week and 3 lower body lifts once a week. I also golf twice a week (walking) and play volley ball in a league. Sprints once per weel or two.

          JoeBrewer wrote on April 21st, 2012
        • Try Kettleworx! 20 minutes 3 days a week. Can’t beat it.

          Claudette wrote on April 26th, 2012
      • Matthew, I don’t think you’re crazy at all! I only train 2-3 times per week HIIT for 20-30 minutes tops, never the same workout twice in a row with AT LEAST 3 days rest in-between, sprints once a week for 10 minutes and as much walking/hiking as I feel like. If I have planned a workout for a certain day but am feeling tired that day or I’m still sore from a previous workout, I get a little extra sleep that night and leave the workout for the next day–no worries. I also incorporate a 16/8 hour fast/feast schedule almost daily. At 40, I feel I am the strongest and leanest I have ever been and exercise does not feel cumbersome like it once was.

        fritzy wrote on April 21st, 2012
  22. I really enjoyed reading your success story.Congratulations on your fantastic results. Very inspirational! I love Fridays…

    primal gigi wrote on April 20th, 2012
  23. 52?? No way!!

    Great job. You look so full of life.

    When is your wife writing her success story?!

    Sian wrote on April 20th, 2012
  24. I love Fridays! Great job and great attitude! There really is no reason to make things harder. I bought 3 PB books as well just to support Mark. One of my selling points when I tell ppl (everyone) about the PB is that Mark gives all the info away first and you can purchase what you want- but it’s optional. No other site like this one.

    Daniel wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • hey daniel, me too. i love his books and want to support him. love mark’s supplements too.

      mars wrote on April 20th, 2012
  25. Nice work! I play ball hockey with a bunch of guys from their 20’s to their 70’s. That’s dangerous enough, I can’t imagine roller hockey though, seems like a great way to break something quickly. :)

    (Also Bocce on the beach is one of the fine things in life)

    JohnC wrote on April 20th, 2012
  26. Dude! You look awesome! Congrats!

    AustinGirl wrote on April 20th, 2012
  27. Isn’t it wonderful when the fog clears and you know you have a grasp on what works for you in getting your life back?? You are a great example of clarity. Keep up the good work. Yeah, those pumpkin bars sound interesting.

    Tanya wrote on April 20th, 2012
  28. Add me to the list of mirror image backgrounds. I’m a former homebrewer and homebrew shop owner who writes about beer (The Beer Guy!) for my local newspaper. I’ve been a whole grain guy for at least 10-15 years and also suffered regularly from GERD and also from a noisy gut that could be very embarrassing during meetings in quiet conference rooms.

    Anyway, I lost an initial 10lbs after my first month going Primal, and then got stuck at 193 for several weeks. I wasn’t drinking as much beer as usual, but did have several long “sessions” with a old college buddy who was visiting from out of town. Three days later, I’ve started making progress in the weight loss department again, and I believe the beer did have something to do with it.

    The good news is, I didn’t gain anything back during that time, so once I reach my weight goal, I’ll be able to drink a few beers each week without having to worry about it.

    Thanks for your story. It really hit home with me.

    Dano442 wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • Beer has a lot of maltose in it. Maltose is a disaccharide made up of two glucose molecules. It is like a fast-digesting starch in a can, so it is very insulinogenic. Thus the term beer belly.

      Matthew Caton wrote on April 20th, 2012
  29. Wow man! What amazing results and attitude! Very inspirational. May the spirit stay with you for another 52 years!

    einstein wrote on April 20th, 2012
  30. Great job bro!

    I’m curious as to how much beer you drink in a given week?

    I’ve always wondered how detrimental beer is to progress for the reasons you’ve already stated.

    Eric L. wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • Thanks for the comment. I average about 14 beers a week, one on Mon, Tues, Wed, 2 on Thurs, Sun, 3 on Fri and Sat. I find it reduces my appitite because I drink before dinner. If I drink after dinner, I get the munchies and that is bad.

      JoeBrewer wrote on April 20th, 2012
  31. Great Story! I’m a professional brewer who maintains a Primal Lifestyle. It can be done!

    Paul wrote on April 20th, 2012
  32. Congrats on the 16-month Total Body Transformation! How many times have we all read, thought or said, in reference to finding MDA, “It all made so much sense to me”? :-)

    My husband and I are 2011 primal converts, and at 53, we can relate to your story. I bought all of Mark’s books as guides, to support the cause, and as propaganda tools. I leave them in a stack in the dining room and visitors have a tendency to pick them up idly, then sit down and start reading (and I live in 99.9% French-speaking region of Québec!). So far we’ve made five converts and I can’t wait to hear about their success. I hope it matches yours!

    Chica wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • I have a question for you – where in QC can you find grass fed or pastures meat or eggs? I’m dying to know!

      Jason Sandeman wrote on April 22nd, 2012
  33. As a big believer in the primal lifestyle and a homebrewer/beer lover, this was a great read and I think it will help me get back on the horse with the primal lifestyle.

    I recently had too much going on (buying a house, getting married, job change, etc) and I had to let something go, and it was nutrition (I still don’t eat a ton of grains but I felt much better when Primal). Now that things are getting settled I’m ready to recommit (with my 20% beer of course)

    Devon wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • In case anyone is in Devon’s situation and finds that there is too much else going on to focus on what you eat, I just read a very good post on the Michael Eades blog (from 2009):

      It’s not really about the ‘second time round’ at all (unlike what the title in the web link suggests), but instead, it points out some points from psychology literature on why we can lose track of nutrition and some tricks to avoid doing this, even when things are stressful/busy.

      Violet wrote on April 21st, 2012
  34. Amazing!…

    Congrats on your health and success. It’s always fascinating to hear how people stumbled into a primal lifestyle. I usually cringe when someone asks, “It’s like Atkins, right?” Your story can be a good bridge in explaining how to crossover.

    Primal Texas wrote on April 20th, 2012
  35. Thanks for all of your comments, it has been a wonderful journey so far.

    Here is my recipe for pumpkin bars:

    1 egg + 1/3 cup egg whites (2 eggs)
    1 cup cottage cheese
    2 tbsp honey (optional)
    1 tbsp vanilla
    Blend above, eggs first

    Add 1 at a time in mixer:
    (2) 15 oz cans pumpkin (unsweetened)

    Add the rest and mix:
    1 cup whey protein
    ½ cup flax meal
    ½ cup shredded coconut
    1 cup almond meal

    2 tbsp cinnamon
    ¼ tsp nutmeg
    ¼ tsp ginger
    ¼ tsp all spice
    ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
    ½ tsp salt (optional)
    1/8 tsp Stevia (or Splenda to taste) (optional)
    ½ tsp baking soda
    ½ tsp baking powder

    Stir in by hand:
    1 cup (toasted) walnuts
    ½ cup (toasted) pecans

    Cook 1 hr and 45 min at 325 degrees in 9×12 pan
    Cool over night covered w/ foil

    Makes 16-20 bars

    JoeBrewer wrote on April 20th, 2012
  36. Wow, great read! I feel the same way about having found a true treasure in a sea of less-than-amazing Google search results.

    I got to hand it to these folks; the honesty of every one of these success stories is unbridled and unrivaled. I feel like the vast majority of success stories from other diets or products have nothing on these. Fridays rock.

    Jason wrote on April 20th, 2012
  37. Wow you look great. I am especially envious of your BP. I am 48 and have been primal pretty much 95/5 for about 1.5 years and have lost weight 178 to 161 lbs and cannot get my bp below 125-139/90 :(.

    Gayle wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • Have you tried eliminating caffeine?

      Greg wrote on April 20th, 2012
  38. You look fantastic! I agree that it’s good to balance the amount of effort with the resulting benefits so that it’s an enjoyable journey all around. It’s better to have the journey take longer and be enjoyable than to have it be difficult, frustrating, and hard to stick with. Well, that’s my opinion anyhow. :)

    Emma wrote on April 20th, 2012
  39. Another beer lover and homebrewer here. Locally brewed beer in growlers are insanely affordable at $5 to 8 around here (Indy). The beer is a part of my 20%. It is working so far, since going primal on March 1, 2012 I have lost about 9 pounds, feel much better, and my allergy symptoms have drastically been reduced. Thanks everyone for your input that I might be able to have my beer and primal too.

    Yes, Mark, a post on beer would be great.

    Jeff wrote on April 20th, 2012
  40. I’m stoked you found a way to keep beer in your lifestyle. Life is too short to go without the things that you love.

    Abel James wrote on April 20th, 2012

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