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

A Triple-Threat Success Story with Chocolate on Top

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


I’ve been crafting this letter and meaning to send it for the past oh, six months or so. What finally spurred me on to finish and send it? Your latest post on dark chocolate! I’ve been reading your blog for some time, so I know that you are on board with eating dark chocolate. Well, the purpose of this letter is to tell you what success eating Primally has had in my life, my husband’s life and my sister-in-law’s life. It’s also to tell you how the Primal life got me to think about life outside the box, which resulted in me quitting my job and starting my own business…a business which is in keeping with Primal principles.

This is not one of your usual success stories. I still weigh the same as I did two years ago. I’ve never struggled with weight issues and am the weight I should be. Eating Primally has changed my life in so many other ways though.

First, there are the physical benefits. No, I didn’t lose weight. But what I didn’t lose in weight, I gained in energy. My husband first found your blog and the Primal Blueprint diet. He researched extensively for a few weeks and thought it could be a way to manage his previously unmanageable blood pressure. He finally let me in on the diet, as I had been complaining endlessly about always being tired and never having energy. I agreed to give the diet a go, mostly to help my husband, who had tried everything to manage his blood pressure to no success.

The first two weeks were rough. I had bad sugar withdrawal headaches the entire time. After that though—I felt great! Since my blood sugar wasn’t constantly being spiked, I wasn’t constantly crashing. No more after lunch slump. Since I wasn’t on a carb loaded diet anymore, I also got rid of my “I MUST EAT NOW OR ELSE” urges. I no longer felt nauseated and lightheaded when I didn’t eat every three hours. I actually found myself skipping meals once in a while…amazing! That’s honestly something I never thought I would be able to do.

As for my husband, FINALLY, he found something to help manage his blood pressure! He wasn’t on medication, as he’s staunchly against taking medications when something else might help manage a symptom. But he had tried exercise, other diet regimens, meditation, yoga, etc, etc, all to no avail. Giving up grains and reducing sugar intake is the ONLY thing that has helped him and continues to help him. He also lost about 20 pounds, stopped having heartburn and gave up his heartburn medication (at that point in time, medicine was the only thing helping this).

We were also able to convince my sister-in-law Mary, my husband’s sister, to give the Primal way of life a go. Though hesitant at first, she quickly became a very vocal convert, telling everybody about the benefits of giving up grains and trying to get them to do the same. She found that without grains, she had an upswing in energy as well, without dairy, joint pain and rosacea went away and without those things and sugar, she lost about 10 pounds, effortlessly.

As if this triple-threat success story isn’t enough, it also put Mary and I on a different path career-wise. We had talked about starting a chocolate business together for a number of years. All of a sudden we weren’t eating much sugar and Mary wasn’t eating dairy. I was extremely upset over the loss of my dream future, until one day it dawned on me…why not start a Primal/paleo-friendly chocolate business? Unbeknownst to me, Mary was having the same thought. We talked it over and started experimenting with various recipes. We committed to being a gluten and dairy free company, which means absolutely no milk or white chocolate. All dark for us! We really wanted to make truffles, which traditionally are made with cream and butter. We turned to coconut, the plant we turn to whenever dairy isn’t going to work. Replacing the cream with coconut milk and the butter with coconut oil, we developed a delicious truffle recipe. You don’t even taste the coconut… I tell people who are hesitant about the no-dairy thing that they wouldn’t even know if I didn’t tell them!

So thank you Mark, for your commitment to this lifestyle and your blog, for providing the encouragement and knowledge needed to pursue this lifestyle. I had no idea how my life was going to change when two years ago my husband introduced me to you!


Sara Ervin

P.S. Most of our product is a 66% dark chocolate, but we developed a line of chocolate bars, specifically with paleo/Primal-minded folks like us in mind. We call it Akasha and the cacao content ranges from 70%-85%. In addition to being dairy and gluten free, these bars are also soy free. You can see what we’re up to at

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. Awesome! Someone who hasn’t lost weight (me, neither – not a goal) but gained in energy *and* embarked on a new primal-friendly career. I salute you ladies! The effects of primal are life-changing.

    Alison Golden - PaleoNonPaleo wrote on March 16th, 2012
  2. Ladies, chocolate and primal. How can you top that?

    Grokitmus Primal wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • It’s true. It doesn’t get much better than that combo!

      Crunchy Pickle wrote on March 16th, 2012
  3. This is fantastic! I think this will be the next phase in the Paleo Lifestyle: Paleo businesses! Great job ladies!

    tracyinbarcelona wrote on March 16th, 2012
  4. Thanks Mark for featuring us! We’ve been reading your blog for years so it’s exciting to be a part of it.

    We’d like to extend a 10% discount to your readers. If anyone places an order by the end of the day on Monday (19th), use coupon code MDA10 and receive 10% off your order!

    Sara Ervin wrote on March 16th, 2012
  5. OH MY GOODNESS. How lovely!

    And you’re located so close! I think I’ll be making a trip out to see you this week.

    Also, I LOVE that you’re wearing VFFs to work!

    Cherice wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • You definitely should! Just a heads up…right now our hours are pretty limited as we’re trying to ramp up the wholesale side of our business. We’re open Fridays 10-6 and Saturdays 10-4, but if those are bad days for you, give me a call and we’ll work something out!

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 16th, 2012
      • Ahh!!!! I did a couple of shows at the Opera House right by there, I’ll have to make the mini-trek out there and stop by to see you guys on a weekend! (wishes she hadn’t let her husband have the car today) YUM!

        Shay wrote on March 16th, 2012
  6. how do you make it sweet? honey?

    primal headshrink wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • For most of our products, we don’t add any additional sweeteners. The sweetness in the chocolate is enough! Though there are a couple of truffle flavors that we’ve added honey to…mostly for the flavor though :)

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 16th, 2012
      • i didnt know chocolate is sweet. when i buy 85% lindt or bought 99% in israel, its not sweet at all, its bitter. so, if your choc is 60 to 80% cocoa or cocoa butter, what else there is?

        please, im not intending to defy or be rude, im just really curious about chocolate composition and consulting your expertise :)

        primal headshrink wrote on March 16th, 2012
        • I’d say that is a trade secret. Purchas some and try to figure out for yourself :-)

          einstein wrote on March 16th, 2012
      • Not to pick, but this reply just sounds a little misleading. It suggests that the chocolate doesn’t contain any sweeteners (natural or artificial) when the ingredients list organic sugar.

        You have a fantastic looking business and products though! Were I in the US, I’d definitely order some. :)

        Chimaera wrote on March 17th, 2012
    • Looking at the ingredients, it looks like organic sugar or organic cane sugar is listed in the Akasha chocolates, which counts me out as I don’t eat sugar at all.

      aussiesue wrote on March 16th, 2012
      • yeah I am confused by this as well.
        Also, why take out butter? Worst case, why not use Ghee? It would technically provide a more “wholesome” addition since coconut does very little to taste IMO.

        arkady wrote on March 18th, 2012
  7. I love the success stories that branch out across family trees! Congratulations to you all!

    Primal Texas wrote on March 16th, 2012
  8. Congratulations! The chocolate bars look and sound amazing.

    Casey wrote on March 16th, 2012
  9. Great story! And your chocolates look amazing. I bookmarked your website so I can order some!

    Lorinda wrote on March 16th, 2012
  10. What an unexpected success story!

    We found out three weeks ago that we have soy allergies in our family. Since we eat whole foods, this is hardly ever a problem–except for the chocolate. I’m so excited to check out your company. Hurray for soy free! And coconut truffles!

    Anne wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • This is one of the best parts about our business…I love helping people with food allergies or sensitivities find chocolate they can eat! Just so you know, right now the only soy free products we have are the Akasha bars. Everything else is dairy free and gluten free, but not soy free.

      We’re hoping to expand the Akasha line in the future, but in the meantime if you want to place a special order for soy free truffles, email me at and we’ll see what we can work out!

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 16th, 2012
  11. Congrats! We need more and more primal friendly businesses!

    Restaurant anyone?

    Primal Toad wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • Speaking of restaurants, Urban Pl8 here in Atlanta is a fantastic paleo eatery. Good stuff!

      Lex wrote on March 16th, 2012
  12. Wow, sweetener-free chocolate, I am IN!

    Thank you for that :)

    Anna wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • Actually, they all say “organic sugar” in their ingredient lists. Not sure how that makes them sweetener-free, but I’m sure they are better than most alternatives out there.

      Decaf Debi wrote on March 16th, 2012
  13. So awesome! Gonna get some goodies now! :) Great job!

    Michelle Trotter wrote on March 16th, 2012
  14. It’s interesting you mention the energy thing because that was the first thing I found going Paleo. It took a few weeks but then my energy just exploded.

    Great success story, and the chocolates look delicious. Just wish there was something like that near me, so I totally agree with all the other posts – We need more Paleo businesses.

    Joanna wrote on March 16th, 2012
  15. I love the story, and I love the business idea! It’s fantastic. I love dark chocolate, and I love seeing the addition of all these primal/paleo specialty foods in the market.

    Here’s to hoping you have a growing, happy, and healthy customer base!

    P.S. – Love that you’re wearing Five Fingers in the store!

    Steve Skojec wrote on March 16th, 2012
  16. I agree. We definetely need more Primal-friendly businesses, but it’s hard to network to the Groks and Grokettes in my local area, in Sarasota. That’s why I have expanded my business to offering my services online, so I can reach more Groks and Grokettes.

    Matthew Caton wrote on March 16th, 2012
  17. ZOMG I have the hardest time trying to find dark chocolate that is high in cocoa, low in sugar, AND free of soy leichtins. 😀 Imma have to check this out!

    cTo wrote on March 16th, 2012
  18. Congrats! What a great business idea and I love that it is soy free! Planning to place an order for some healthy Easter treats for the kids :-)

    Katie @ Wellness Mama wrote on March 16th, 2012
  19. This stuff sounds fab! I wish I could get something like this in the UK.

    Sally wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • Not exactly the same, but have you tried Ombars? They have a Coconut version sweetened with coconut sugar and containing coconut cream, as well as probiotics. No soya, no dairy, no agave. Not cheap, about £2.20 for a 38g bar, but arguably that’s a good thing as otherwise I would eat too many of them! They have other good flavours too, but the coconut one is my favourite.

      Tricia wrote on March 16th, 2012
  20. Oh, yea .. placed an order :-) Since stepping into this eating plan, I am looking for all the goodies that I love .. in a much healthy form.

    MonicaP wrote on March 16th, 2012
  21. Yaaaaaay, primal chocolate! Going to your web site now!

    Congrats, espeically to your husband — 20 lbs gone, heartburn and high blood pressure gone, and choclate to eat? — now that is awesome!

    Cin wrote on March 16th, 2012
  22. This is the most amazing chocolate I have ever had! Not just the Akasha bars but all Ethereal’s products. I highly recommend trying their chocolate you will never be able to go back to ‘normal’ chocolate again!

    Kristen wrote on March 16th, 2012
  23. first!

    rob wrote on March 16th, 2012
  24. Yum! Just ordered some!

    Whole Foods sold some really tasty truffels around the holidays (they were the Whole Foods brand). They used coconut oil as well so they were dairy free & gluten free. They did have soy lecithin as the last ingredient though.

    I have also made my own paleo truffles using coconut oil. Soooo easy!

    I’m excited to try yours!!

    Sara wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • any chance I could get the recipe?

      Dan wrote on March 16th, 2012
  25. Awesome you got to follow your dream, in a healthier way. I’m so sad I’m allergic to chocolate. I can only eat white chocolate without an allergic reaction, so I think it’s the coco powder.

    Jennifer wrote on March 16th, 2012
  26. Awesome, Sarah. Looks delicious. I hope you’re very successful.

    Daniel Wallen wrote on March 16th, 2012
  27. Way to go for it! Making yourself happy and being able to do that with family is a great thing…congrats and luck on your future success!

    Ed wrote on March 16th, 2012
  28. Drooling…


    maddieaddie wrote on March 16th, 2012
  29. Way to go ladies! What a great story, in so many ways. I’ll be checking out your chocolate for my DH. (I’m not a chocolate fan myself. *gasp* I know.) :-) Congrats and best wishes for much continued success!

    Jessica wrote on March 16th, 2012
  30. What an inspiring story about taking life by the horns! I am so impressed by your ability to pursue your passion and what you believe in!

    Elisa wrote on March 16th, 2012
  31. What a fantastic success story!! Awesome that you’ve started a chocolate business, they look sooo delicious! Well done guys :)

    Dollface wrote on March 16th, 2012
  32. Wow. I just took a look at your website and the mendiants and bars are gorgeous. I love how visually appealing they are. (This is torture for someone who is doing the Whole30 right now.) I look forward to trying them sometime.

    superdeluxe wrote on March 16th, 2012
  33. Congratulations, one of my favorite success stories yet! A career change and lifestyle change. One is intimidating enough, let alone two. I have the greatest respect for you. Best of luck!

    Shaun wrote on March 16th, 2012
  34. This is the way chocolate should be eaten. Great job!

    Dieetsnelafvallen wrote on March 16th, 2012
  35. Sara, this is great!
    Do you ship to El Salvador?

    Alvaro wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • Sorry, but at this time we are not set up to do that!

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 16th, 2012
  36. What a fantastic success story! Congrats on starting your business…love your website!

    lostAnnfound wrote on March 16th, 2012
  37. Great story! I think I have a new place to buy chocolate from :)

    Emily wrote on March 16th, 2012
  38. Wow… I’m on this site daily, i read almos all your posts Mark since i started the Primal lifestyle, but i always skip the testimonials. I decided to read this one and how is it! i’m happy for this whole family and i’m so glad they have been able to do something i would love to be able to do… a business targeted for the Paleo community. Congrats to them!

    Jen wrote on March 16th, 2012
  39. Spectacular!! :)

    firefly wrote on March 16th, 2012
  40. I love that you two are following your dreams, I wish you the best of luck! Your chocolates look amazing!

    spincycle wrote on March 16th, 2012

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