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 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. Congratulations to you! I can’t imagine the pain you must have been in.

    Since I’ve been eating primal style, my arthritis pain has disappeared, though it was very minor compared to what’s in your story. I was diagnosed with osteo in my feet and was starting to feel twinges of arthritis pain elsewhere.

    Your story is amazing and very inspiring.

    Travis wrote on November 5th, 2010
  2. YAY!! Awesome, just awesome!

    Mark, I hope you’ll share more of the success stories folks sent in with us. SOOOOO inspiring its wonderful to read them!

    FairyRae wrote on November 5th, 2010
  3. wow, that’s great! i hope i can tell friends of mine who suffer from arthritis about this! it’s hard to get people to listen and believe, because people are so set in their ways.

    Tenny wrote on November 5th, 2010
  4. Good for you! What an incredible transformation in health and looks. I would also consider that you very well are in remission to Celiac Disease and the Primal eating has been, literally, the diet to save your life.

    kb wrote on November 5th, 2010
  5. congratulation, your story inspiring me. I think what matter the most for everyone is will power, if we can manage and discipline ourselves, we definitely can do it.

    duane wrote on November 6th, 2010
  6. Great story man, hopefully my girlfriend can see similar results with her Juvenile Rhumetoid Arthritis. It’s localized to one knee and I know she has been on that methotrexate several times. She’s going primal once we get settled into our new place, so this gives me more hope! It would make us both very happy if the JRA became a non-issue!


    Mlkrone wrote on November 6th, 2010
  7. Good job, Michael! 😀

    Truly an inspiration for me..

    futhark wrote on November 6th, 2010
  8. Nice one Michael – I guess from the style of writing that that you are somewhere in the UK as I am.
    Here in central central England (I live in the heart of the Black Country) our black pudding consists of pigs blood small cubes of pig fat, herbs and spices, and groats (a hulled grain) which is used to bind the other ingredients before being packed into an intestine casing foirmed into huge susage shapes and boiled. May sound a little gross as I have described it, but the end result, fried, grilled or cold sliced is outstanding. I love it in moderation for its flavour, fat content and iron.

    JCA Dudley, West Midlands, UK.

    JCA wrote on November 6th, 2010
  9. Awesome!! MDA and PB are a life saver for so many, glad to hear about your great success!!

    Lori wrote on November 6th, 2010
  10. QUOTE:
    “I had always gone along with conventional wisdom’s idea of a balanced diet ”

    That was a really big mistake.

    The 100 Best Health Sites wrote on November 6th, 2010
  11. This is an AMAZING story!! Thank you for sharing! 😀

    gilliebean wrote on November 6th, 2010
  12. First off, Mark, I love that photo of you relaxing on the grass … lush and wonderful symbol of ease and delight :)

    Congratulations Michael on your success story.

    I also wanted to share that I have a similar story, and I did not make any dietary changes to rid myself of chronic pain. Doctors diagnosed me with tendinitis and could not do anything for me. Even the painkillers they prescribed stopped working. I was practically an invalid.

    I didn’t know about Primal back then. What I found was energy healing, and specifically an acupressure technique called Emotional Freedom Techniques that I have now integrated into my own coaching methodology.

    Like you, I am now drug free. And it feels wonderful.

    Thank goodness there are people like Mark who are raising awareness about alternative ways of healing one’s body and life. I still appreciate Western medicine when it actually works, and sometimes it does. I’m also glad that I now have other methods at my disposal for healing people’s lives and solving their problems.

    Erika Awakening wrote on November 6th, 2010
  13. Just to share. In four short months I have weaned myself from the supposed medical necessity of lisonopril, metroprolol, and a statin(which I refused to take anyway). As soon as I was prescribed these drugs, I satrted to eat how I knew I should be eating all along. Later, I found that the primal blueprint is almost identical to the new diet I adopted. I lost 50 lbs. When I started to exercise primally I gained some muscle.

    drdavidflynn wrote on November 6th, 2010
  14. Good job Micheal. Hey you look better too without that tuft of hair on your chin!

    Nothing wrong with pain killers as long as you don’t take crazy amounts like Micheal did. Once a day of Tylenol 3, Oxy, or percocet. People just abuse these things. So it is like anything, too much of it will hurt you.

    Jaques wrote on November 6th, 2010
  15. I think that this is another (fine) example of the medical profession’s habit of just treating to mask symptoms instead of getting at the CAUSE.
    Way to heal yourself!!!
    AND, you look mahvelous :)
    grokity-grok on!

    Peggy wrote on November 7th, 2010
  16. Mark – did I miss you posting winners for this contest? I have been out of town and was not able to check your site regularly. Just wondering!

    By the way – I was in Germany and boy was it hard to stick to the PB! Glad to be back home and back on the program!

    Vicki wrote on November 8th, 2010
  17. Congrats Michael!

    Vicki wrote on November 8th, 2010
  18. thank you for your story–you’re a real inspiration to those of us still struggling to let go of bread, sugar, and grains! thanks for sharing…

    candy wrote on November 10th, 2010
  19. Clint White – Unfortunately all alcohol seems to aggravate the symptoms for me. My body is extremely sensitive to the foods I eat, to a point where I will know if I’ve eaten a bad food within minutes. All alcohol, red wine included, will aggravate my back and sternum. I will drink from time to time; almost always red wine (as I hope their are some health benefits, although my body seems to disagree) or bourbon (if I’m going to drink, I might as well drink my favourite).

    Paul – In terms of my arthritis I feel that sticking 100% to primal provides great results and any sort of deviating leads to pain. In terms of decreasing the pain I find that a grass-fed steak does the job pretty well. High quality organic meat makes such a world of difference – not only does it help with the pain but it puts one hell of a smile on my face. I also find my multi-vitamin can help boost the day. Aggravating the arthritis are the usual suspects; alcohol and coffee being at the top of the list. Having said that there’s a world of difference between the two, coffee I can indulge in with only marginal pain – alcohol is a different story.

    JCA – I used to go to Dudley regularly for gigs at JB’s. I live in Warwickshire now but spent a lot of my childhood in Worcestershire.

    Julie – Fortunately I only used the word ‘rubbish’ twice so it wasn’t too overboard, although if you’re not used to it I suppose it would stand out quite a bit! Go forth and use ‘rubbish’ more.

    Michael Wilson wrote on November 13th, 2010
  20. I have been reading MDA on and off for a few weeks but am yet to take the full primal plunge, (my copy of the blueprint is in the mail, and I have been using this as an excuse to delay starting!) in fact I took a break from reading this page to go and eat a mince pie.
    This post was particularly interesting to me as I am in excruciating pain from psoriatic arthritis in my shoulders and currently unable to carry my own handbag, let alone lift heavy things!
    So hopefully reading of your success will be motivation enough for me to eat paleo properly.
    I also get reactive arthritis and was practically paralysed and in unbearable pain from my first attack of this which was a week after being ill from bad sushi. (I was literally screaming in pain) I have been told by my rheumatologist after checking my blood work that I have a rare gene that means I react severely to certain ‘food poisoning’, and must never eat chicken or raw fish as it’s not worth the risk. I also get inflamed sinuses
    So as someone who is suffering from arthritis, autoimmune symptoms and inflammation and food sensitivity I was filled with hope after reading your post! Until I read the bit about alcohol.
    So disappointed to hear that alcohol is a no-go for you. Alcohol is a big part of my life, I probably have 3-4 drinks a day, 7 days a week. If that sounds excessive let me know – I am 31 and Australian, and it seems normal to me. I have weighed it up and decided I can live with the calories, I would rather be fat and drunk than toned and sober in this world. I always look for evidence to support my habit and came across this study:
    is this bad science in your opinion?
    Are the health benefits of red wine just dodgy CW?

    Yasoda wrote on December 22nd, 2010
  21. I’m currently working, but thought I’d just leave a quick comment.

    Yasoda – if you are to stick to the primal blueprint diet with the exception of giving up alcohol you will feel and look better. Admittedly if you tone the drinking down you’ll be even better, but doing everything but that is going to make for a better life.

    Michael Wilson wrote on February 17th, 2011
  22. I enjoyed your success story. I also have psoriatic arthritis and take 25mg Methotrexate a week.I drink moderately but this never caused any problem with my blood tests. I started eating PB a week ago so early days yet, felt great for 4 days and rubbish for 3! I will stick with it though despite the protests from my wife! I could with loosing 20lbs and hopefully i can go drug free like you did

    phil wrote on March 6th, 2011
  23. Small world Michael, used to do JBs too when Robert Plant and Roy Wood used to gig there. Stick to your journey mate, we have both benefited from this Primal way

    JCA wrote on March 6th, 2011
  24. Phil – I hope that the PB have proved useful for you. So many people around me are going primal. Even my parents have now started implementing primal eating into their life. They haven’t gone fully primal but made some big steps such as cutting bread out, which is excellent. The more people who convert to PB the stronger our voice as a community.

    JCA – Small world indeed! Robert Plant can still occasionally be found drinking in pubs in Kidderminster.

    Michael Wilson wrote on June 10th, 2011
  25. Gosh, I know I’m late to the party but this story is still inspiring to me! Thank you!
    I suffer from psoriasis and have gradually been changing my diet to exclude sugars & grains. Now I include grass fed meat and raw milk out of which I make my yogurt, kefir, cheeses and butter. As a result, my dairy has actually increased but with no apparent detriment to my skin. I am how going to attempt to remove nightshades too and see if I can kick it altogether.
    My question is to anyone that has healed psoriasis by removing dairy – was this pasteurised dairy that you removed from your diet, or did you have to also remove raw dairy and thus see an improvement?
    Thank you.

    Sam wrote on January 21st, 2013

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