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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 16, 2012

A Triple-Threat Success Story with Chocolate on Top

By Guest
106 Comments

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

Mark,

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!

Sincerely,

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 www.etherealconfections.com.


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106 Comments on "A Triple-Threat Success Story with Chocolate on Top"

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Alison Golden - PaleoNonPaleo
4 years 6 months ago

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
4 years 6 months ago

Oh, and I love the Vibrams on your feet. 🙂

Grokitmus Primal
4 years 6 months ago

Ladies, chocolate and primal. How can you top that?

Crunchy Pickle
4 years 6 months ago

It’s true. It doesn’t get much better than that combo!

tracyinbarcelona
tracyinbarcelona
4 years 6 months ago

This is fantastic! I think this will be the next phase in the Paleo Lifestyle: Paleo businesses! Great job ladies!

Sara Ervin
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Cherice
Cherice
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Sara Ervin
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Shay
4 years 6 months ago

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!

primal headshrink
4 years 6 months ago

how do you make it sweet? honey?

Sara Ervin
4 years 6 months ago

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 🙂

primal headshrink
4 years 6 months ago

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 🙂

einstein
einstein
4 years 6 months ago

I’d say that is a trade secret. Purchas some and try to figure out for yourself 🙂

Chimaera
Chimaera
4 years 6 months ago

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. 🙂

aussiesue
aussiesue
4 years 6 months ago

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.

arkady
arkady
4 years 6 months ago

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.

Primal Texas
4 years 6 months ago

I love the success stories that branch out across family trees! Congratulations to you all!

Casey
4 years 6 months ago

Congratulations! The chocolate bars look and sound amazing.

Lorinda
Lorinda
4 years 6 months ago

Great story! And your chocolates look amazing. I bookmarked your website so I can order some!

Anne
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Sara Ervin
4 years 6 months ago

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 sara@etherealconfections.com and we’ll see what we can work out!

Primal Toad
4 years 6 months ago

Congrats! We need more and more primal friendly businesses!

Restaurant anyone?

Lex
Lex
4 years 6 months ago

Speaking of restaurants, Urban Pl8 here in Atlanta is a fantastic paleo eatery. Good stuff!

Anna
Anna
4 years 6 months ago

Wow, sweetener-free chocolate, I am IN!

Thank you for that 🙂

Decaf Debi
Decaf Debi
4 years 6 months ago

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.

Michelle Trotter
Michelle Trotter
4 years 6 months ago

So awesome! Gonna get some goodies now! 🙂 Great job!

Joanna
4 years 6 months ago

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.

Steve Skojec
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Matthew Caton
4 years 6 months ago

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.

cTo
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Katie @ Wellness Mama
4 years 6 months ago

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 🙂

Sally
Sally
4 years 6 months ago

This stuff sounds fab! I wish I could get something like this in the UK.

Tricia
Tricia
4 years 6 months ago

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.

MonicaP
MonicaP
4 years 6 months ago

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.

Cin
Cin
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Kristen
Kristen
4 years 6 months ago

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!

rob
rob
4 years 6 months ago

first!

Sara
Sara
4 years 6 months ago

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!!

Dan
Dan
4 years 6 months ago

any chance I could get the recipe?

Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 6 months ago

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.

Daniel Wallen
4 years 6 months ago

Awesome, Sarah. Looks delicious. I hope you’re very successful.

Ed
4 years 6 months ago

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!

maddieaddie
maddieaddie
4 years 6 months ago

Drooling…

Ordering….

Jessica
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Elisa
Elisa
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Dollface
Dollface
4 years 6 months ago

What a fantastic success story!! Awesome that you’ve started a chocolate business, they look sooo delicious! Well done guys 🙂

superdeluxe
superdeluxe
4 years 6 months ago

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.

Shaun
Shaun
4 years 6 months ago

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!

Dieetsnelafvallen
4 years 6 months ago

This is the way chocolate should be eaten. Great job!

Alvaro
4 years 6 months ago

Sara, this is great!
Do you ship to El Salvador?

Sara Ervin
4 years 6 months ago

Sorry, but at this time we are not set up to do that!

lostAnnfound
lostAnnfound
4 years 6 months ago

What a fantastic success story! Congrats on starting your business…love your website!

Emily
Emily
4 years 6 months ago

Great story! I think I have a new place to buy chocolate from 🙂

Jen
Jen
4 years 6 months ago

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!

firefly
firefly
4 years 6 months ago

Spectacular!! 🙂

spincycle
spincycle
4 years 6 months ago

I love that you two are following your dreams, I wish you the best of luck! Your chocolates look amazing!

Nick W.
Nick W.
4 years 6 months ago

Great story and I’ve already ordered a box of truffles for my lovely wife. They look fantastic.

Jenya Rose
Jenya Rose
4 years 6 months ago

OMG! What a great story. Love how paleo is spreading like wildfire. Your bakery is so cute. I live in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago so things that people talk about online are never near me. Your bakery is though!! I’ll be stopping in to have some dark chocolate and chat you guys up about paleo. You should invite the Chicago primal group to do a field trip to your bakery. See you soon!

Sara Ervin
4 years 6 months ago

Yes, hope to see you soon! Let all your paleo friends in the area know 🙂

spayne
4 years 6 months ago

Just placed an order. I really like the idea of supporting businesses like this. Good Luck!

einstein
einstein
4 years 6 months ago

Congrats gals! I like your business mindedness 🙂 I also started to make hommade chocolate treaties acc. to strict paleo principles, but just for myself and my wife who happens to love them. Never thought about starting a business like that though. Wishing you good luck!

OC Hugh
OC Hugh
4 years 6 months ago

Great story.

You’re missing something on your chocolate bark page. Macadamia nut bark.

Wishing you continued success in your chocolate business.
Hugh

Sara Ervin
4 years 6 months ago

We do have a macadamia nut bar though! Check out the bar page…it’s our best selling bar and is really delicious with the raspberries 🙂

Caleigh
4 years 6 months ago

That’s awesome! Way to integrate your lifestyle practice into a business practice! That’s definitely one way to keep up a good habit! I’m checking out your website right now 🙂

Lars T. (Primal Minimalist)
4 years 6 months ago

I’ve been looking for some Soy lecithin free chocolate! Was nearly impossible to find.

Just make my order!

Lars T. (Primal Minimalist)
4 years 6 months ago

correction “I just made my online order”. Prev post sounds like I was making demands 🙂

craig almaguer
4 years 6 months ago

NICE work! I LOVE the corporate issue (shoes) also! :)’

Harry Mossman
4 years 6 months ago

Congratulations! Way out of my price range and I eat dairy, but maybe as a gift for someone.

gilliebean
4 years 6 months ago

And the angels sang, “HALLELUJAH!” OMG. I’m so excited to try this chocolate!

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