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

Finding the Person Within: A Mother and Daughter Journey

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!

Once upon what seems like a lifetime ago I was the brightest thing that walked into any room. No, I was not the thinnest, prettiest, best-dressed thing in the room – but I had an aura of pure confidence wherever my feet took me. I had a brilliant mind and unstoppable will. I had overcome so many challenges in my life – growing up with addictive parents, homeless, then eventually parentless and shipped to boarding school. I was an overcomer! The key – I LOVED myself and I feared no challenge. That is until I had my first child. I feared her. She was a challenge. No more me time, lots of her time. Lots of crying and sleepless nights as I tried to figure out this girl. She was out of control and would later be diagnosed with a form of autism. Add child 2 and 3 to the mix and this momma was DONE. Always weak, always tired, 80 lbs heavier – the girl who LOVED herself now hated every inch of her being. Parenthood felt like a failure. I started anti-depressants. Got worse. Started birth control (the Depo-shot) to even out hormones. Got drastically worse. With failing energy and a soldier as a husband who was never home I cooked from boxes and drive-thrus. I continued to get worse – and so did my little girl whose struggles caused her to not be able to be in a classroom. I was done. I felt hopeless. Was this a forever thing? Would I forever be huge and tired? Would my daughter forever be the outcast? Would I be forced to put her on some horrible mind altering meds? Something had to change.

The only thing I knew that I had control to change was our diet. So I researched. From that day on, 2 years ago this November, we have not eaten fast food. We stopped eating conventional meat and vegetables and starting buying only what we could get from local farms, meat and LOTS of vegetables and fruits. Minimally processed food and nothing with artificial dyes/preservatives/sweeteners. Within 1 month my child was COMPLETELY different! Her whole life we were poisoning her without even realizing it! As time passed and we continued to refine our diet she got even better.

Mommy got better too. As weight started to drop and I felt the hazy cloud that had covered my mind begin to lift I started to see glimpses of my vibrant past! I started exercising at a local track – my first sprint I made it about 100 meters and then proceeded to use my daughters inhaler! If I were living in primal times I would be the one that died first :)! I stuck it out though and now there is nothing athletic that I will not attempt. People thought we were crazy. We were those people with the “crazy” diet that no one had ever heard about. We were mocked. I didn’t care – the proof is in the pudding (which of course we didn’t eat!). For the first time since she was school age my little girl completed an entire year in a classroom, second grade, and the thought of having to medicate her was shoved far from our minds! [*disclaimer* I have STRONG opinions that if you have a child struggling with autism/ADD/ADHD or any other behavioral problem that it could only benefit the child to re-evaluate diet. I feel like this should always be a precursor to any decision about medication. This worked for us and allowed us to forego medication. However, at varying degrees of intensity within the spectrum I understand that this may not be a “fix-all” for every child. But I will say that I fully believe that a primal, clean, diet will definitely produce results! We are not calling our grokling “cured” but instead “managed”!]

Within a year I dropped the first 50 lbs and discovered your book and MDA! I was ECSTATIC!! First, I realized that somewhere, rooted deep inside, we all have a little Grok left. What else could explain how so many things in your book I had naturally discovered on my own. My body, all our bodies, WANT to be Grok again; NEED to be Grok again! You gave me something I needed more than anything – validation! Validation that what I was doing was right. (Even recently validating why I have an instinctive need to wrestle when I am feeling overwhelmed – I knew there was something to it!) You also provide a foundation to come to when I need some tweaks and advice and a place to put most of my curiosities to rest – because 9 times out of 10, when I have a question pop into my mind, you have answered it already somewhere on MDA. My family as a whole limit grains by the 80% rule. I strive for the 100%. Lots of good fats and great meat! My husband, who we all thought was healthy other than a borderline cholesterol level, is in the best shape of his life at 32 with a current cholesterol level that is excellent and playing on an Ultimate Frisbee team! Our entire family of 5 all participate in CrossFit. We love our box and we love the community. We make lots of time for fun – from camping to canoeing to 5k mud races – we do it all! And this Mommy is more alive than ever before! Sometimes I see myself in the mirror now and I am shocked at who I am. I ask my husband if he is shocked at the change and he always says no – that this is who I always was – hidden deep within that other person. From 201, with several health issues, to 126 with 0 health concerns – I feel GREAT! I feel whole again and my little grokling feels whole for the first time! Here’s to LOVING life and Groking on!!

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. First.

    And wow! This is exactly the inspiration I needed. My son eats pizza and ice cream almost exclusively. He is fifteen and I’ve given up. The fights we’ve had! I wish I had your commitment!

    Jenny wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • It’s not easy with teens who seem to do the exact opposite of what they’re told/suggested.

      kimelah wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • i’m sorry, i don’t mean to be harsh, but who’s buying the pizza and ice cream?

      matt conway wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • And who exactly is enabling pizza and ice cream? And for how long?

      Mark F wrote on November 12th, 2011
  2. Wow — it’s difficult to believe that’s the same person. Way to go!

    Scott wrote on November 11th, 2011
  3. You are awesome.

    Andy wrote on November 11th, 2011
  4. I have never commented on a success story before, but you truly look amazing! Even better, you sound SO happy! Great work. We are currently working on my daughter’s diet and are really inspired by stories like this. Grok on :)

    Meg wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • Yes, it encourages me to renew my efforts to feed my kids only the good stuff! Congrats, Congrats!

      Crunchy Pickle wrote on November 11th, 2011
  5. Great job! Congratulations on saving your children and yourself.

    Daryl wrote on November 11th, 2011
  6. That’s fantastic. Simply fantastic. Way to go!!

    smokedsalmon wrote on November 11th, 2011
  7. Wow!!! What an amazing success story. I love hearing stories about how going primal is such a benefit to the children and of course the parents too;). It’s official. My day has been made. Congratulations!

    Chris wrote on November 11th, 2011
  8. Fantastic! I wish I could raise my kiddos over again… why did I ever think apple juice was suitable or necessary?

    You look great…wow! More importantly, as you said, is that you recognize yourself again (the real you) and you must feel so proud to have done this for your daughter.

    Well done.

    Milemom wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • I know, me too! And apple juice was the least of it!

      deb b wrote on November 12th, 2011
  9. What a transformation! You are an inspiration to families and to women. It is amazing how much the American diet can screw us up and how going Primal can fix everything.

    Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • Can I emphasize “everything”?!

      Ok, not literally… not 100%. But, as close as we will ever get.

      Primal Toad wrote on November 11th, 2011
  10. What an amazing story! As a clinical psychologist, I try to tell all my clients to look at their diet first. Food is our #1 exposure in life – how could we not think it plays a MAJOR role in everything. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!!

    Whitney wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • I LOVE this comment. People only see what they want to see. We are all limited by out fast held beliefs and perspectives. I am so happy for you and for your family. Proof, yet again that we are what we choose to be, and that when we use excuses, it is because we have the potential to become more, but are not allowing ourselves to do so. Thank you for sharing your story.

      Grace wrote on November 13th, 2011
  11. Quite a change! This is the best example for your kids!

    Paul Alexander wrote on November 11th, 2011
  12. Wow, completely awesome! I’m very happy for you. I’m getting my daughter to read this. Thank you!

    Patrick wrote on November 11th, 2011
  13. FABULOUS!!! Three cheers for you and your grokling!

    Jackie Kessler wrote on November 11th, 2011
  14. Fantastic…and so happy for your daughter too.

    Jana wrote on November 11th, 2011
  15. Well done, you and grokling look so amazing!
    It’s just great that you have given you sweet daughter the chances and opportunities that she would have never had otherwise, as well as the benefits that your whole family feel.

    Paleo Irish wrote on November 11th, 2011
  16. What a great post! My friend also has an autistic child. I am going to forward this post to him pronto. So happy for you and your family! Happy Veterans day as well!

    Tony wrote on November 11th, 2011
  17. SO well done! That’s what I call taking control of your present and future.

    Anna wrote on November 11th, 2011
  18. Inspirational! Keep on Grokking! I just wish that my sister would do the same thing with her daughter (and family) who has behavioral issues. My wife and I cannot wait to raise a child 100% Paleo. It just makes sense!

    As a parent, I believe the only thing you can do is give your child the absolute best possible chances to succeed and let them take it from there. You’re a terrific mother for saying “I don’t think so” to conventional wisdom and working on your own accord to find a way to give your daughter the best health you could. I speak to too many people who have medical concerns, or children with behavioral/medical concerns, and once I propose that they look into a Primal lifestyle, they typically tell me their PCP advised them it’s not dietary, or they’ll ask a doctor and then decide that I’m wrong because doctors have x years of schooling and xx years of experience.

    At the end of the day, they’re excuses, and I believe that if you want anything badly enough, you’ll find a way. You did it. You gave your family a positive future and the tools for happiness and longevity! Bravo!

    Jay Ogg wrote on November 11th, 2011
  19. I find it amazing how you now look both younger and more mature at the same time! What a blessing to be able to manage your family’s health so well!


    Bryce Leo wrote on November 11th, 2011
  20. Well done, Mom and Daughter both!! (LOVE these multi-generational success stories!)

    Cheering you on for your continued success–the both of you!

    Anne wrote on November 11th, 2011
  21. WOWIE ZOWIE!!!
    so proud of you. Even more proud of you to stickin to your beliefs & helping your daughter down a happy, healthy path withOUT medications.

    peggy wrote on November 11th, 2011
  22. Great story — and so wonderful that you figured most of this out on your own. Of course, now you have a whole community of support here, as well.

    Diane wrote on November 11th, 2011
  23. Amazing and inspiring! Congratulations to you and your family! You look great. Thanks for sharing your story. It is so encouraging!

    Christie wrote on November 11th, 2011
  24. Beautiful!

    rose wrote on November 11th, 2011
  25. What a gift you have given your family… health and happiness and fun!

    BK wrote on November 11th, 2011
  26. I have to ditto someone elses comment. I so wish I could re-raise my children. My daughter suffers from health issues I know are diet based. I cringe when I think about the soy formula I fed her because I couldn’t breast feed and she had a “sensitive” tummy. Oh my Lord! These stories make me so happy. I cannot not imagine how fabulous it must be to see your children thrive like that. Kudos to all of you!

    Kathy wrote on November 11th, 2011
  27. “I ask my husband if he is shocked at the change and he always says no – that this is who I always was – hidden deep within that other person.”


    You look amazing. Isn’t life sweet when you actually enjoy it? Isn’t it sweet to be a primal folk?

    Congrats! Keep going! Keep inspiring!

    Primal Toad wrote on November 11th, 2011
  28. Epic win!

    Kris wrote on November 11th, 2011
  29. WOW, every family member a treasure!

    Thank you. :)

    Cal wrote on November 11th, 2011
  30. What a fabulous story and what an inspiration. Way to stick it out and fight for your family and yourself.

    Gydle wrote on November 11th, 2011
  31. Congrats! What a sweet little girl!

    This is definitely inspirational… especially to us parents out there!

    sara wrote on November 11th, 2011
  32. What a change in the pictures of your daughter! Way to go mom! As a speech therapist with a caseload of children with autism, I wish all my families could learn what you have!

    Becky wrote on November 11th, 2011
  33. I have a friend who has had great results with her son’s autism by putting him on a gleutin-free diet. I belive that so many behaviors we see in children can be attributed to diet (as opposed to blaming and fearing vaccinations). The next step is to overhaul our school lunch programs.

    Jen wrote on November 11th, 2011
  34. Wow, congratulations. Your story totally resonated with me. (Made a similar switch for a similar reason 6 years ago.)

    “I have STRONG opinions that if you have a child struggling with autism/ADD/ADHD or any other behavioral problem that it could only benefit the child to re-evaluate diet.” Amen to that!

    Alison Golden wrote on November 11th, 2011
  35. Love it! What an inspiration you and your family’s story is!

    Mell wrote on November 11th, 2011
  36. Fabulous! What a wonderful story!

    Teresa wrote on November 11th, 2011
  37. Giving up is never an option!! Thank you for validating this….

    Erik C. wrote on November 11th, 2011
  38. This is an extremely emotionally inspiring and moving story!

    dave albo wrote on November 11th, 2011
  39. Great story! I’ve got two ADD kids and have been trying to push the house into a Primal/Paleo eating pattern. My results since starting down this path 3 months ago are amazing. I’m glad to see examples like yours where the solution was food rather than amphetamines.

    Jeff wrote on November 11th, 2011
  40. Awesome! So happy for you and your family. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Lorna wrote on November 11th, 2011

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