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

Drug Free for the First Time in Five Years

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.

I have always been relatively health conscious and the increase in pain and weight had not gone unnoticed. I had always gone along with conventional wisdom’s idea of a balanced diet and didn’t really understand why I was failing to shift any of the excess weight or where it had came from in the first instance! In May 2010 after reading an article linking arthritis and meat consumption (this link is unfounded and utter rubbish) I decided to give the vegetarian diet a try. At this point I felt there was little to lose and everything to gain. Whilst I didn’t notice any less pain I managed to lose three or four pounds in a matter of weeks which was a reasonable start – although there was no further weight loss for the next two months.

In July 2010 I decided to research various ways to increase my protein intake. A vegetarian mainly gets this from cheap meat substitute products like Quorn and tofu. Unable to find anything that looked nutritious or appealing I made the decision that I would introduce fish back into my diet. The vegetarian diet was something I had tried and whilst it had yielded reasonable results initially, it was clear that the benefits were short-lived and largely unfulfilling.

I don’t exactly remember what search terms I used whilst looking for protein sources on the internet but somewhere along the way I stumbled across MarksDailyApple.com. I had seen a lot of diet websites, but there was something a lot more sincere about Mark Sisson and The Primal Blueprint. Firstly, many websites ask you to buy the book for the diet or pay a subscription charge. Mark’s philosophy is wholly different to this and in fact the whole ethos and spirit of The Primal Blueprint can be captured without having to purchase The Primal Blueprint. After reading MDA for a day I decided to abandon the vegetarian path entirely and take the plunge into the Primal lifestyle, after all this path promised “rapid fat loss and major health improvements.”

I didn’t realise how much rubbish I’d been eating until I started investigating the Primal way of life. No longer do I eat cereal or toast for breakfast, but rather I eat bacon, eggs and black pudding (blood sausage) or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Initially this took my stomach some time to adjust, but now that it has I look forward to breakfast so much more than I previously did. For lunch, rather than a nutritionally depleted sandwich I enjoy a salad, usually of the fish variety packed with lots of healthy Omega 3 fats. Dinner is my favourite meal as I indulge in lots of vegetables, a huge portion of meat with healthy animal fat and for desert, fruit with a helping of cream or organic probiotic yoghurt. In addition to this I take a few supplements; a multivitamin, vitamin C, vitamin D, fish oil and glucosamine sulphate. I do not believe that the vitamins are the reason for my success as I only introduced these after the positive results from primal living.

Michael Wilson - February 2010 Michael Wilson - September 2010

Not only have the results been positive but they have occurred incredibly quickly. In a way it’s almost difficult to believe how amazing the change has been. I started the Primal lifestyle on July 11th 2010, a month later I had stopped taking Co-codamol tablets. This meant that I was taking eight tablets less each day. I only continued taking my Celecoxib because I had an important forthcoming examination and I didn’t want to risk the possibility of my health taking a knock. After the exam was out the way, towards the end of August, I stopped taking the Celecoxib and booked an appointment with my GP to see if I could stop taking or reduce the dose of Methotrexate. Given the serious nature of the medication I didn’t want to make this judgment call myself, despite feeling in much better shape due to improved diet, exercise and sleep. In early September after a consultation with my GP I was drug free for the first time in five years!

After I started up the Primal lifestyle I found that I started losing the excess fat I had gained over the previous five years incredibly quickly. In addition to this I can run for the first time in five years and it doesn’t hurt to go out and walk. In fact I embrace walking and usually enjoy a two hour walk every Saturday, this is a round trip to the butchers and grocers – I always feel it’s very Grok-esque when I’m striding back from the butchers with heavy bags of meat! As things stand I hardly feel any pain at all from the arthritis, I have taken no prescription medication for months, I am the leanest I’ve been in five years and I actually have a waist and body fat percentage that I haven’t enjoyed for even longer than that! The energy I have is boundless – it’s great to come into work for 8 am refreshed whilst everybody else clutches their caffeinated drinks with baggy eyes and melancholic expressions.

The Primal Blueprint is the best lifestyle choice I have made and one that I will be keeping for life – a special thank you to Mark Sisson for helping me achieve a pain free life once again. Grok on my friends!

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. I found MDA in the same way – looking for vegetarian protein sources. Bizarre, but it got me here and I am a convert now.

    I am so glad to hear of your success!

    Amanda wrote on November 5th, 2010
    • Me too! I wonder how many stubblers have been made converts in this manner? I had only contemplated a vegetarian lifestyle for a few weeks after a severe gall bladder attack (blamed on fat, of course!)when I found this website in July 2010. No looking back now. :)

      Mariah wrote on November 5th, 2010
      • Me too! I was Googling “lean proteins for vegetarians” after an ill fated year. Good work Mark. :)

        Sarah wrote on November 12th, 2010
  2. Dude, that is awesome! Great story.

    jeff wrote on November 5th, 2010
  3. Nice job, man!

    And I’m not completely sure what blood sausage is – but I want some.

    Jim Arkus wrote on November 5th, 2010
    • It is delicious, that’s what. I had a wonderful meal of sausage, including blood sausage, and sauerkraut at an inn in Slovenia. (Eastern Europe can be a great destination for people who follow this lifestyle.)

      Rudy wrote on November 5th, 2010
      • Depending on where you live, the sausage may contain grains to bind it together (some use grains, some use cream). There’s no set rule with black pudding, but it is lovely ;)

        Chris Burns wrote on November 5th, 2010
      • Rudy, nice to hear you enjoyed some delicious Slovenian blood sausage! I live in Slovenia and blood sausage one of my favorite local delicacies. Usually it’s made with buckwheat, barley, or rice, or some combo of these, so it’s good to find out what’s in it if you are sensitive to grains. I’m thinking of asking our local butcher to make some for me that substitutes ground nuts or something like that for the grains.

        Dawn wrote on November 7th, 2010
    • I am originally from Bury, Lancashire – home of the Black Pudding – so it is said – others have mentioned its constituents, but you can buy it in US – usually british food stores sell it. A thanksgiving recipe is to mix it 1/2 and 1/2 with pork sausage meat – pastured of course – and a cup or so of raisins and stuff your thanksgiving turkey with it – you will not believe how good that taste’s :)

      John M wrote on November 5th, 2010
    • A lot of European nations have blood sausage, and I’m sure they’d all like to claim it’s there’s. It’s also called blood pudding in the UK (pudding there has a very different meaning than what most of us North Americans mean!). It’s usually sliced and fried in a pan, in the UK at least, but I’m sure there’s many ways to prepare it.

      Amethyst42 wrote on February 19th, 2013
  4. What an awesome success story. It’s amazing how fast the body will repair itself given the chance.

    Steve wrote on November 5th, 2010
  5. I love reading stories like this. Thanks for sharing!

    JD Moyer wrote on November 5th, 2010
  6. LOVE this, what an amazing and inspiring story. Hearing things like this make me even more sure that I’m doing the right thing for my body! Thanks for sharing!

    Tara wrote on November 5th, 2010
  7. Great story, I not only love here about this for personal motivation, but as material to use on my friends and family. Shifting people away from the darkside is a difficult task, there are just so many paradigms to shift.

    Householder wrote on November 5th, 2010
  8. That is amazing, it is always inspiring to hear stories like this. Great job Michael!

    Bryan Barksdale wrote on November 5th, 2010
  9. Michael,
    I’d like to wish you the best of luck. I’m really glad to know you’re doing well. Thanks for sharing, it was a great read…
    Chaz

    Chaz wrote on November 5th, 2010
  10. Love success stories, keep ‘em comin! And congratulations to Michael Wilson for such success!

    Linda wrote on November 5th, 2010
  11. Black pudding is a popular dish in the north of England. It is usually made from cooked pigs blood & fat, which is shaped like a fat sausage. Eaten cold, or fried with bacon & eggs, it really is “the cornerstone of any nutricious breakfast”.

    Richard Hammond wrote on November 5th, 2010
  12. Great story! I’m also living a life free of medication. Mine was due to chronic, severe, and constant migraines. Come to find out it is an allergy to MSG. Who would have thunked that MSG (and all of the 16 names that it falls under) could actually make people sick??? ROFL. I’ve been sick since I was a kid. So many years wasted! I have to make up for lost time by playing more! thanks MDA for helping me get my life back!

    Tam Warren wrote on November 5th, 2010
  13. Awesome news Michael. I too have psoriatic arthritis and have had success with PB. Way to go!!!
    by the way… does red wine seem to aggravate the arthritis symptoms on you? It seems to on me, but I am in denial about it. ha!!

    Clint White wrote on November 5th, 2010
    • Any alcohol aggravates my psoriasis, I gues due to impact on intestinal barrier. Denial is OK as long as you are OK with your PA

      Martin wrote on January 2nd, 2013
  14. Wow! Love this story.

    Some people complain about the internet but this proves what a great resource it can be.

    Thanks Michael for sharing. I’m sure you too will change someone’s life for the better.

    Sharon wrote on November 5th, 2010
  15. Wow.

    Hillwalker wrote on November 5th, 2010
  16. This is really inspiring. I love reading about these success stories.

    Jeff wrote on November 5th, 2010
  17. Outstanding! I want to point out I very much agree about the ‘tone’ in which Mark goes about spreading this amazing stuff.. very sincere. I know you get it all the time, Mark, but you really are changing lives… not many people can make that claim…

    Grock on, y’all! Off to the butcher for a pork shoulder I am gonna smoke this weekend (See amazon for the Weber Smokey Mountain- VERY PRIMAL!!)

    Michael Salitore wrote on November 5th, 2010
  18. Great story, Michael!!!

    I started reading MDA just before the Labor Day weekend and my wife and I went Primal just after Labor Day. Love it! I’ve lost 18 pounds and I take fewer meds now for my chronic arthritis and my inflamation & pain have markedly decreased!

    Paul wrote on November 5th, 2010
  19. Great story – thanks for sharing!

    Russell wrote on November 5th, 2010
  20. These are my absolute favorite kind of primal articles. I cannot remember exactly where now, but during the recent string of contests someone mentioned that thanks to the primal lifestyle they no longer needed liptitor. Brought a tear to my eye as did this. Now if I just had a magic wand to wave over my more stubborn family members to help them see the light…

    The Primal Palette wrote on November 5th, 2010
  21. Amazing. You have a whole new life!

    JenCat wrote on November 5th, 2010
  22. Thanks everybody, I’m really glad this has had such a great response. I’ve already got a few friends thinking about PB, hopefully this will get a few more. As soon as I’m home I’ll post this to my Facebook and Twitter.

    Grok on!

    Michael Wilson wrote on November 5th, 2010
    • Thanks for writing about your experience. I have struggled against psoriasis (and psoriatic arthritis) for about 13 years. Initially no one know what it was — pitted nails, joint soreness, some red patches on my skin — and it got bad when I was 24/25 years old. Since then I have been able to get off meds here and there but had a bad flare up about a year ago. No surprise, I was eating like crap and drinking way too much alcohol. Trying to get off meds again now.

      I’m curious, have you found that any food in particular helps or hurts your psoriatic arthritis?

      Thanks again and congrats on your success.

      -Paul

      Paul wrote on November 5th, 2010
  23. These type of stories make me cry. I am so happy for you and very grateful to Mark and the other pioneers in paleo/primal nutrition. I know for me it is not a passing fancy, this is it, for life (in more ways than one).

    PrimalStyle-Real.Yummy.Food wrote on November 5th, 2010
  24. This is the kind of health that it’s SO hard to convince people of. Most people I encounter usually focus on just the body weight and fat composition portions of diet. Your story is such a good example of how the Primal diet does so much more than help you lose weight.

    I know plenty of people that have high-carb diets and exercise regularly and eat grains and all that stuff and are in “great shape”. But are they missing all those secondary (primary, in my book) health benefits? I would guess “yes” to a certain extent.

    Great job!!!

    Neil wrote on November 5th, 2010
  25. A wonderful story. Well done Michael and of course these life changing stories are what makes it all worthwhile with so much meaning and increases my passion to spread the word. People are hearing it and the primal lifestyle is becoming more popular and talked about. Thank goodness.

    I was a vegan, raw foodist, natural hygiene eater and I became so depleted and sick and FAT – my husband begged me to eat meat. I finally saw the light and it has changed my life completely too. I am so grateful. Nothing more delicious than eating a beautiful grass fed beef stew with lots of veggies – Yummy. One of the books other than the Primal Blueprint (of course!!) that really helped me was The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith – brilliant – Grok on to all my fellow Groks and Grokesses!

    Vanessa wrote on November 5th, 2010
    • Vanessa, I was in the same boat! Vegan, Raw Foodist, and was heading down the path of natural hygiene, but I was totally underweight and way too obsessed with not putting ‘toxins’ in my body..
      I think what was coined as ‘Orthorexia Nervosa’.. since I’ve started eating meat again I’ve been on an upward spiral! I just love good organic bacon and organic grass fed beef!
      Grok On indeed!

      Rory Taj wrote on November 10th, 2010
  26. Congratulations Michael! I am so happy for your success. Isn’t it such a relief to realize our bodies want to be healthy and strong if we would only feed them properly?

    On a different note, I am going to start figuring ways to incorporate the word “rubbish” into my everyday vernacular. After reading your story it has become clear to me that word is woefully underused in the US. And no, I’m not trying to take the piss out of you by saying that! ;)

    Julie wrote on November 5th, 2010
  27. How wonderful to read a life changing story like this one. The picture is worth a thousand words. He looks great and it sounds as if, things could only get better for him. It give awsome inspiration for us who are new to the primal way.

    primal tree top wrote on November 5th, 2010
  28. I’m very happy to hear of your success. keep it up.

    rik wrote on November 5th, 2010
  29. Your story has me in tears.

    Ginger wrote on November 5th, 2010
  30. I found MDA in May 2010 while searching for alternatives to high blood pressure and cholesterol medications that I had been on for almost two years (at age 38). I resisted my doctors advice for years before that but finally relented after doing everything I was “supposed” to do (exercise, low-fat, whole grain) for years. As my numbers crept up (including my weight) I reluctantly agreed to take Lisanopril and Lipitor. It irked me so much that I decided I would do whatever it took to get my numbers under control without drugs. These months later I am now medication-free with the knowledge (if not blessing) of my doc (admittedly, I took it upon myself to wean off). He was quite skeptical when I told him of my strategy but my numbers improved so dramatically that he couldn’t deny it and told me to keep doing whatever I was doing. Because he was monitoring my liver I went in every three months for lab work. When the nurse weighed me he did a double-take and said there was something wrong with the scale. I said, “no, I just lost 24 lbs. in the last three months.” It was priceless.

    Honestly, though, the more I have researched the more I realized my numbers weren’t that bad and I am a little upset that my doc was so insistent on meds. Another thing I learned was my BP was substantially higher AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE. I tracked it at home twice a day for a couple of months AFTER going Primal. And, while I credit my new lifestyle for the greatest improvement, it looked much worse than it was.

    Now, my numbers are still not “ideal” but I will tell you I am so much less concerned (especially about cholesterol) as I have come to understand the real nature of heart disease and cholesterol’s role.

    Oh, and I HAVE ABS!!!!

    Dustin Bopp wrote on November 5th, 2010
    • I forgot to add what I think is another substantial improvement. I have suffered from at least 3-4 sinus infections (of various intensities — most severe) my entire life. Growing up I missed a ton of school and fun things because I was always sick. Several years ago I went to an ENT to finally get to the bottom of it and not have to take anti-biotics that many times a year. He sent me to an allergist who told me I was mildly allergic to just about everything — but especially wheat. She said no beer, bread, pasta, etc. I thought that was just pure nonsense and could not understand the link between the food I ate and the inflammation in my sinuses. I always thought it must be seasonal allergies but none of the hayfever remedies had any effect. Now I get it! I still have my fingers crossed but since going a good 90% Primal six months ago (in the time that I would usually have had at least two bouts) I’ve had nary a sniffle.

      It’s unbelievable that the very things I was doing to bring my lipids in line using CW (whole-grain EVERYTHING) were the very things that were causing my sinus trouble — not to mention skyrocketing my triglycerides.

      It’s also funny to notice after while being less gassy. I love horrifying my mother with that fact (something she would never talk about). For all the reasons above I am convinced wheat is my biggest enemy. I still watch all carbs but never again will a piece of bread cross my lips.

      Congratulations to everyone who have seen such remarkable improvements like those outlined in the original post. BRAVO!

      Dustin Bopp wrote on November 5th, 2010
      • I have experienced the same benefit from going off gluten. I used to have awful problems with asthma, sinus issues and inflamed eustacian tubes and pressure and itching in my ears which also caused dizziness and nausea. It’s just about all gone now, and I reckon if I kept fully casein free as well I’d be pretty much symptom free ;)

        Katherine wrote on November 7th, 2010
        • I have had the same experience since ditching gluten at the beginning of this year. Normally I spend spring with awful hayfever – really severe, needing heavy medication – but this year symptoms were reduced to almost nil. I’m waiting until next spring to pass final judgement just in case this was a freakishly low pollen year or something, but it’s fairly conclusive already. By the way I didn’t expect anything like this to happen and probably wouldn’t have believed it if I had!

          Lucy wrote on November 9th, 2010
        • Me too! I have been primal for a couple of months now, and I keep having to explain to everyone that my allergies (including foods like bananas and melons) and ashtma are gone since I gave up wheat, and I always had the itching and pressure in my ears that no one seemed to understand. That seems like it’s better on one side now, and I’m waiting for the other to catch up.

          Sarah wrote on July 30th, 2011
  31. Wow, wow, wow, what a wonderful and inspiring story!

    I was ill for several years until I cut out gluten, corn and most dairy, recently I have gone primal and am already seeing further improvements, I can’t wait to tell my own success story.

    Katherine wrote on November 5th, 2010
  32. Wow, very inspiring and very awesome!

    Ahmed Serag wrote on November 5th, 2010
  33. This is the prototypical PB story. This should be shared with everyone. Congrats on your success and new found health.

    Daniel wrote on November 5th, 2010
  34. Look at You !!!!!
    Can see that light in your eyes……….

    Sue wrote on November 5th, 2010
  35. Thank you, Michael, for sharing your inspiring success story. It is *so* encouraging. As others before me have said, this about much more than achieving an ideal body composition (though that’s nice)–it’s about total, genuine HEALTH. Something that is elusive for so many on the standard Western diet of highly processed grain-based JUNK.

    Medications are sometimes necessary–and G-d bless the researchers/doctors who develop them–but meds are usually an imperfect answer to our health issues. Obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, arthritis, Celiac, dermatitis…et cetera, et cetera…it is so much better to get down to the root of causation of many of our common health problems and eliminate it than to take meds to control or mask symptoms.

    Carrie wrote on November 5th, 2010
  36. Awesome wonderful story. I so wish I could tell my mom about this; she really suffers from her arthritis when the weather is bad. Sadly, she isn’t very receptive to new ideas, but maybe if I share your experience, she might be more interested.

    Joanne wrote on November 5th, 2010
  37. Congratulations on your success story Michael. MDA is a great resource, just watch out for the primal nazi’s at some of the copycat sites they have no idea what they are talking about like Mark does.

    Rich wrote on November 5th, 2010
  38. Congratulations on being med free! Awesome inspiring story.

    Vicky wrote on November 5th, 2010
  39. Congratulations Michael, I need to pass your story on to my step daughter who has recently been diagnosed with arthritis, not the same form, but hopefully your story can be inspirational to her and give her hope. Viva the primal lifestyle!

    Doug lidz wrote on November 5th, 2010
  40. I’m happy for you man! This is great! Every story I read on here inspires me more and more to stick with this…

    Tomasz wrote on November 5th, 2010

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