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

    Nick W. wrote on March 16th, 2012
  2. 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!

    Jenya Rose wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • Yes, hope to see you soon! Let all your paleo friends in the area know :)

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 16th, 2012
  3. Just placed an order. I really like the idea of supporting businesses like this. Good Luck!

    spayne wrote on March 16th, 2012
  4. 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!

    einstein wrote on March 16th, 2012
  5. Great story.

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

    Wishing you continued success in your chocolate business.

    OC Hugh wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • 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 :)

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 16th, 2012
  6. 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 :)

    Caleigh wrote on March 16th, 2012
  7. I’ve been looking for some Soy lecithin free chocolate! Was nearly impossible to find.

    Just make my order!

    Lars T. (Primal Minimalist) wrote on March 16th, 2012
  8. NICE work! I LOVE the corporate issue (shoes) also! :)’

    craig almaguer wrote on March 16th, 2012
  9. Congratulations! Way out of my price range and I eat dairy, but maybe as a gift for someone.

    Harry Mossman wrote on March 16th, 2012
  10. And the angels sang, “HALLELUJAH!” OMG. I’m so excited to try this chocolate!

    gilliebean wrote on March 16th, 2012
  11. Sounds good but OUCH! Can’t pay $8.50 for a 2.75 oz candy bar, let alone add nine bucks shipping.

    Justin wrote on March 16th, 2012
  12. This has got to be one of the most inspiring Friday stories yet. And no weight loss. Wow, a huge eye-opener for me. Thank you so much ladies for your drive and creativity.

    Melissa wrote on March 16th, 2012
  13. You SO need to make a t-shirt with the Aksasha logo:

    What more is there????

    Karen (aka zot) wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • Love this idea! We may just have to do this…

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 16th, 2012
  14. HELLLO! Great story!

    Jenna wrote on March 16th, 2012
  15. Wow, could you two be any more awesome?! Way to go 😀

    Emily Mekeel wrote on March 16th, 2012
  16. is this available in any major retailers in Alberta? or is online ordering the only way to go?

    Dan wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • Our products are not available in Alberta right now. We’re always looking to expand our wholesale business though, so if you know of a good place, let us know! For now, online ordering is the way to go.

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 19th, 2012
  17. Wow this is amazing – it’s strikingly similar to what I think my own success story will look like in a few years – I didn’t have any weight to lose, my partner’s heart problems became more manageable, and I’m turning to a paleo oriented career! Hopefully at the end of the year I’ll be able to successfully share my own :) All the best to you ladies, the chocolate looks amazing, let me know if you ever consider exporting to New Zealand – I’d be happy to help! :)

    Annika wrote on March 16th, 2012
  18. Oh…I hope you ship to Australia!!!

    Rio wrote on March 16th, 2012
  19. Sounds like a good opportunity for a franchise chain..maybe someone would be willing to open a shop in Australia or ship here.

    Carol wrote on March 16th, 2012
  20. Where do they get off charging $8.50 for THREE OUNCES of chocolate?!?

    david horowitz wrote on March 16th, 2012
    • They can charge what they like, and other people are free to buy, or not, as they choose. Personally, I think it’s a pretty reasonable price for a quality chocolate bar. I’m in the UK, but I’ve certainly paid in that ballpark for artisan chocolate. Feel free to have a bar of Hershey’s vegelate if you prefer, but I won’t be joining you.

      Tricia wrote on March 16th, 2012
      • And David is free to complain about the price. At local farmers markets I can find similar products for a far better price.

        That said, I wish these ladies the best of luck.

        Bman wrote on March 17th, 2012
  21. A wonderful story! I always enjoy reading these every Friday.
    And your chocolate looks amazing, I cannot resist high quality chocolate and the fact that its local, organic, gluten and dairy free, just makes me want to splurge and place an order!

    Toria wrote on March 16th, 2012
  22. I ordered one of each kind of Akasha bar. The site is so visually appealing, and the descriptions of each bar are hilarious! I can’t wait to show my friend.

    Next time I’ll go for the nut bars… macadamias. In fact, I ought to get on that–my daughter loves macadamia nuts, so that would be an excellent easter basket item.

    Paleo Easter Baskets!

    Joy Beer wrote on March 16th, 2012
  23. This type of story is what makes Primal living just so damn wonderful – it’s all about the change in lifestyle — and our acceptance and acknowledgement of it and what it can do for us.

    Thank you for posting, ladies, and thank you for posting, Mark.

    PrimalGrandma wrote on March 16th, 2012
  24. The PB also radically changed my outlook on life. Actually I didn’t even have any health problems either. But my energy sucked. Now I have the energy and motivation to work one 60 hr a week job and run 2 businesses on the side. Nice to see that I’m not the only one to reap the empowering side effects of the PB as opposed to it being primarily about weight loss. That’s why I’m always telling ppl that losing weight is a side effect of the PB. The goal is independence. Thanks for a great story!

    Daniel wrote on March 17th, 2012
  25. Would it be possible to sweeten this chocolate with stevia or would that affect the texture too much?

    Island Girl wrote on March 17th, 2012
    • In our case, it would not be possible to sweeten our chocolate with stevia. We don’t make chocolate from the bean, instead we purchase from a chocolate manufacturer. It is at the manufacturing stage where the sweetner is added.

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 19th, 2012
  26. Congratulations!

    A change in lifestyle, a lovely authentic business, primal health benefits and chocolate – all in the one story – brilliant!

    I wish you and your families all the very best.

    Sian wrote on March 18th, 2012
  27. 2.5oz of dark chocolate for $8.50?! Plus shipping?!

    Why do you have to make it so expensive? I run small businesses myself, and I’m sure you have a lot of costs to cover, but this seems excessive.

    Smith wrote on March 18th, 2012
  28. lol I’m trying to talk my wife in to buying some of the chocolate on your site. I’m also trying to resist the urge to buy til you’re sold out so that’s why I have to ask her first lol.

    Judolizard wrote on March 19th, 2012
  29. You ladies are just too cute. I’m loving how many new companies emrge with Primal community in mind. And I always support small business so I’ll make sure to do some serious shopping on your web-site.

    chocolatechip69 wrote on March 19th, 2012
    • Thanks so much! We appreciate the support!

      Sara Ervin wrote on March 19th, 2012
  30. Just placed an order, can’t wait to try.

    Thanks for the inspiring story. Best of luck.

    Bill wrote on March 19th, 2012
  31. I an so glad to see a success story with a different idea of success! Weight loss was not a goal of mine when I went Primal, so I can relate to this story, PLUS it comes with chocolate! For someone who avoids dairy because I’m slightly allergic and who loves using coconut as an alternative, that sounds right up my alley! Can’t wait to try some!

    Deanna wrote on March 20th, 2012
  32. We’ve had a tremendous response from the community here and our Akasha bars completely sold out! I really just wanted to share my story and never expected it to be a big rush of orders. We are still very small but we certainly want to grow. We really appreciate all the support!

    Sara Ervin wrote on March 21st, 2012
  33. My daughter and I broke into the 80% plain dark chocolate bar first. OMG is this delicious. THIS is palatable dark chocolate. It has a wonderful liqueur quality that makes it melt in the mouth despite being very dark. Other dark chocolates I’ve had (including Godiva) have been so dry that I didn’t want to bother with them. I can’t stay off this bar… it will be gone shortly.


    Joy Beer wrote on March 21st, 2012
  34. amazing!!!! i love dark chocolate and i would die to try those bars!

    Isidora wrote on March 28th, 2012
  35. Way to go ladies! The chocolates selections look terrific.

    RBart wrote on March 30th, 2012
  36. Holy cow! Thank you so much for making chocolate bars I can eat! I’m allergic to wheat and lactose intolerant, but I love dark chocolate.

    You and your sister in law are heavenly and I am indebted to your genius.

    Laura-Jane wrote on April 27th, 2012
  37. I’m so excited to find your online store. I just discovered that I have dairy allergies at the immunity level so am desperate for good tasting chocolate without dairy or soy! Excellent!

    Christa wrote on May 12th, 2012

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