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. After six weeks on the PB I’m getting to be as muscled and hardy a primal dude as many, but I’ve got to say–some of these stories bring me nearly to tears. What a beautifully written account of an extraordinary journey.

    Spanky wrote on November 11th, 2011
  2. HOLY COW! I am newly inspired. THANK YOU!

    lunasma wrote on November 11th, 2011
  3. Huge transformation wow! So inspiring to see whole families take part in this lifestyle!

    katie wrote on November 11th, 2011
  4. I have tears in my eyes as I type this. What a beautiful story. “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.”

    Also, thank you to your husband for serving and thank you for your support as he does. Blessings on you and your family.

    Momto3 wrote on November 11th, 2011
  5. Way to go! Isn’t it great to know that you and your family will be healthy for life now? Amazing transformation. I’m sure it took hard work and dedication so congratulations!!!

    Jaime wrote on November 11th, 2011
  6. Ditto on the wish to have a second chance to raise my kids with the right diet this time.
    The more success stories I read that credit primal/paleo with amazing health results the more I wish for some definitive studies to challenge CW so that doctors and nutritionists would start giving out sound advice. These are the people we turn to for advice on diet, and they’re telling us to eat grains!
    Although no one is advocating fast food and energy drinks and the general population doesn’t have the sense to pass them up.

    Kathy wrote on November 11th, 2011
  7. SOOOOOO Cool!!! I love stories where I see kids getting the benefits. Thank you so much for being courageous in fighting the conventional wisdom for your kids. That’s one of the biggest issues facing our country, is this rush to medicine. Never mind that we’re feeding everyone the very crap that we’re medicating against!

    It’s really inspiring to hear your story – thanks so much for sharing!!!

    Nick wrote on November 11th, 2011
  8. What a beautiful story, Mama Grok! Difficult circumstances are excuses for some. For others like you they are a challenge that brings out the very best.

    You are a true credit to the species. I hope you inspire countless others to find their own strength!

    Timothy wrote on November 11th, 2011
  9. Did you hear that? I just let out at big ol “WOO HOO” after I read your post. Very cool.

    What strikes me here is how we don’t know the fox is in the henhouse until we go primal, quit poisoning ourselves and become empowered.

    Ted wrote on November 11th, 2011
  10. You are Awesome! Congratulations for your hard work and healing your family!

    ShelleyC wrote on November 11th, 2011
  11. Amazing amazing amazing. Congratulations and thank you for sharing such an inspirational story. May many years of happiness be enjoyed by you all!! :)

    Mir wrote on November 11th, 2011
  12. Amazing story!

    BobChase wrote on November 11th, 2011
  13. One of the most incredible before/after pictures I’ve seen – but more importantly, that your daughter is doing better.
    I was sad to read that you were mocked for what you ate :-( good for you for sticking WITH IT.

    AlyieCat wrote on November 11th, 2011
  14. Wow, wow, wow! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

    Susie wrote on November 11th, 2011
  15. Amazing!!!

    Earthspirit wrote on November 11th, 2011
  16. Great job and great story! I notice that you aren’t wearing glasses any more. Did you change to contacts? I’ve heard that some people’s eyes change shape and improve when they lose a lot of weight.

    Donna wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • I did change to contacts! My glasses eventually were all too big for my face. So, while I was going to get another pair I just thought – What the heck, why not try something new! Contacts definitely help during all our “primal adventures” as well :)!

      Lela wrote on November 11th, 2011
  17. “The proof is in the pudding.”

    Yes indeed. I still read too many stories about how good whole grains are. But how long is that diet going to hold out against a diet that seems to work far better than any other? Not just for weight loss, but for countless stories about people getting OFF the durg merry-go-round?

    oxide wrote on November 11th, 2011
  18. Awesome. Great story. Excellent pictures. Congrats.

    Barry wrote on November 11th, 2011
  19. Do you have any tips for switching up a child’s diet? I have a 6 year old son on the spectrum and he is such a picky eater it’s really hard to introduce new foods. I would love to get him eating better, he’s in carb hell. I’ve been doing a primal diet for a few weeks now but I can’t get the rest of the family to follow.

    Lisa wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • Lisa – It was very hard on us when we switched our little girl. She was in “carb-hell” as well and she revolted. I had to be really firm and after a month her body had a chance to dispose of all the chemicals that were forcing her to crave the bad. It really was hell in our home that first 30 days though. I would say – start small with him. Eliminate anything with high fructose corn syrup on the package first (you’d be surprise how many things that is) and then go onto anything with Dyes. At this point you will have eliminated most packaged foods – just because it is hard to find them without that junk. Then keep adding additional steps … I would suggest to plan this “attack” wisely. A month with no b-days, holidays … other moments where you may want to let him cave would be ideal. Then find your resolve and go for it! It will be worth it in the long run!

      Lela wrote on November 11th, 2011
      • Thank you! I’m already Dye free and avoid HFCS. I try to go Organic where I can. I just can’t get him to eat Meat and Veg. I know I just need to toughen up and let him get hungry enough to try it. You have inspired me, I’m going do this.

        Lisa wrote on November 11th, 2011
        • Sounds like somebody out there should develop a Primal cookbook for kids (and their parents).

          Awesome story! I love seeing this success stories going into the weekend. What a way to provide inspiration on the days when routines change.

          Linda wrote on November 11th, 2011
        • Everyday Paleo cookbook. It’s got lots of tips and recipes for kids

          lunasma wrote on November 12th, 2011
        • Hey Lisa,
          I was just thinking- have you tried him on cauliflower pizza base and other yummy recipes that swap veggies for wheat?

          Vetti wrote on November 12th, 2011
  20. Absolutely awesome story!
    What a transformation…congrats on getting off the ‘zombie foods’.

    Arty wrote on November 11th, 2011
  21. Brilliant. You should be so proud of yourself and your lovely daughter. I especilly relate to the “we were poisoning her without realising”. My husband and I have only recently gone Primal and, as I was clearing out the kitchen cupboards of all the unhealthy items I felt guilty about throwing away all that food. I had to tell myself that they were poisoning us and that the bin was the best place for them. There is another bonus,I have so much more room in my cupboards now. Until now I never realised just how much junk food I had in store. I wish you and your family all the best.

    Grannieannie wrote on November 11th, 2011
  22. What an awesome story. I have a 4 yr old stepdaughter who we think is starting to show signs of ADD (her dad/my DH struggled with ADD while he was growing up), and just recently (this past Monday) we started converting our family to live primaly. My challenge is that there is no way her mother will support our lifestyle at her house – whether she is seeing results or not. I figure 50% primal is still better than no primal at all.

    Congrats. Your story gives me hope.

    Mae wrote on November 11th, 2011
  23. you and your child look amazing! and so happy

    Gayle wrote on November 11th, 2011
  24. Great story, thank you for sharing!

    Commentors–don’t forget that AD/HD (ADD) usually doesn’t go away in adulthood. I still struggle with it, but eating primal definitely helps my focus and productivity. I’m not anti-drug (I use caffeine as part of my regimen), but I’m trying to get my diet and lifestyle as primal and dialed in as possible before I go the prescription drug route again. I’d say that living primally, including diet, sleep, supplements, and exercise, along with using the aminos recommended in the Mood Cure, has my brain working at 80% of its potential. For me that’s quite a success.

    Shebeeste wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • It is a lifetime issue. I refuse to look at it as a disability it has enabled my daughter to do things outside of the norm in a positive direction. I would encourage you to try yoga or meditation if you are tempted to “go the prescription drug route again” my daughters half brother was medicated for adhd and I will never forget the first time I saw him after his Mom put him on meds….the light had gone out in his eyes.

      bbuddha wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • Ditto on the process for addressing ADHD in adulthood! I am following the same regiment and once I added the Mood Cure Aminos to primal living I am 100% confident I can cancel my ADD Rx after 8 straight years of meds. What a great feeling!

      chewbaca wrote on November 14th, 2011
  25. Wow. What an inspiration you are. I am currently caring for my nephews, one of which is 7 and has been diagnosed as being on the spectrum. I’ve been hounding his mother about starting him on a less processed diet and introducing some supplements, but she remains adamant that he NEEDS his meds and the school he attends is also very pro-meds. It makes me sad to know that he will probably never be fully functioning as long as things are the way they are.

    BUT…your story really gives me hope. Grok on, lady, grok on!

    auntie thesis wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • Schools are pro med because they get government dollars for learning disability diagnosis. More dx = more $$

      D.E. wrote on November 11th, 2011
      • That’s not entirely accurate. If that was the truth, the schools could afford to give assistance.

        Jen wrote on November 11th, 2011
      • I think it is more likely that schools are pro-med because zombies sitting in class are a lot easier to handle than an energetic child. When you have 30 to 1 in a class – the teacher can’t focus on that “out of control” child. Meds mean she does not have to. We, the parents at home, are the ones that are saddened when at the end of the day our child shows up at home with a blank stare and we know the meds have taken them elsewhere. We know that while on them they are never fully here … that is a sad way to spend your childhood.

        Lela wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • For all of you talking about children and spectrum disorders, I highly recommend Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome (the GAPS diet). She is a doctor in neurology and nutritional medicine who recovered her autistic son and has treated thousands through her clinic and book. The Gaps Diet is very similar to Primal, with a focus on treating spectrum and digestive disorders. Her book explains so incredibly clearly that you’ll be turning every page and saying, ‘incredible’. Every family with a child on the spectrum should at least look into it. We started our son six months ago and have seen great improvements!

      Tracy wrote on November 12th, 2011
  26. It cannot be the same person – surely?!!

    What an incredible transformation – and so much more so because of the young life involved.

    You should be so proud of yourself hun. You’re an absolute inspiration.

    Debs wrote on November 11th, 2011
  27. Thanks for sharing that story. Very beautiful and inspirational!

    Chris V wrote on November 11th, 2011
  28. OH. MY. GOD.


    Patrícia wrote on November 11th, 2011
  29. I have recently had a trip to the ER with chest pains and high blood pressure. It took me about 5 seconds to know that if I didn’t change what I was doing I might not be there for my daughter. This story is great inspiration for me… I am going to record me journey starting today – I can’t wait to share the results… this totally touched my heart and soul.

    jackie macelvaine wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • I look forward to reading your progress in a few months, and you Primal story a few months after that!

      dank wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • Good luck Jackie! There’s a rich community here to support you on your journey.

      Linda wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • Yes Jackie, keep us posted.

      Lars T. (Primal Minimalist) wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • I am excited for you! Record on!!

      Lela wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • Best wishes with your journey. You can do this! Just think of all the benefits. :)

      Heidi wrote on November 12th, 2011
  30. Good for you and your whole family. I find myself feeling that validation that you spoke of. I was the weird one, the mean mother. My daughters adhd was managed with diet. unfortunately not primal ( I only wish I’d found it sooner) but kept her off sugar and processed food. It works

    bbuddha wrote on November 11th, 2011
  31. Great story, amazing results. Very inspirational to parents of children with problems.

    My granddaughter is autistic and her paediatrician recommended a primal diet almost 2 years ago. The difference has made, and continues to make, a huge improvement. As you say, not ‘cured’ but ‘managed’ with much greater success.

    Marg wrote on November 11th, 2011
  32. Thank you so much for sharing your story. What you’ve accomplished is wonderful and inspiring.

    Monica wrote on November 11th, 2011
  33. Thank you for sharing, mothering can be so hard, especially when it isn’t what the movies lead you to expect.

    So glad Primal is working for you; it is the solution to every problem as far as I can see.

    Kelda wrote on November 11th, 2011
  34. Oh wow! This is the story I could have written but we started much later with our daughter. She has high functioning autism, hidradenitis suppurativa, bipolar and had a significant weight problem. She is 25 now. We have made changes slowly (before hearing about “primal”)and I agreed to do everything she did. About thirty pounds have slipped off. Her skin is clearing. She is bright-eyed, looks people in the eye more and talks more. She can focus and study. Her mood is pleasant. We constantly hear people remark on the change in her. (In me too!) The other day her naturopathic doctor cried with joy. She is far from “cured” but she is far from being as sick, unhappy and disconnected as she was. I expect more positive changes as she continues to heal. We are so grateful.

    sue wrote on November 11th, 2011
  35. Wow I agree, epic win!

    Onge wrote on November 11th, 2011
  36. When I was reading your story and came across the last picture, I could not figure out why you would end the story with a picture of two of your daughters. It took me a second to realize that you were in that last picture. You’ve done amazing work, and I will definitely be passing this story on to others!

    Paul wrote on November 11th, 2011
  37. One of the most inspiring success stories I’ve read so far. Well done to you and your family.

    ms jane wrote on November 11th, 2011
  38. Very inspriational! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Toni wrote on November 11th, 2011
  39. Awesome story! Great job! I’m so happy to hear how well your little one is doing :)

    Marjorie wrote on November 11th, 2011
  40. Holy sh*t is that you on the right? Friday success stories are my favourite on MDA, but i’ve never commented, but today i felt so compelled. Is that actually you on the right? If it is, you look insanely young! At first i thought it was your elder daughter with your younger daughter. Wow! Congratulations on your achievements.

    Debbie wrote on November 11th, 2011
    • You made me smile :)! Yes, that is me on the right. Thanks!

      Lela wrote on November 11th, 2011

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!