Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
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!
As a chiropractor, I thought I’d been taught everything I needed to know about nutrition. The “studies” prove it, right? Whole grains are king, aren’t they? My vegan nutrition professor who was so incredibly thin couldn’t be wrong. I have a strong background in nutrition, yet as I aged, I felt crappier every year.
After my doctorate program was over, I was left with the gifts of bad eating habits: “healthy” carb-up and caffeine-up through exams, regular sickness, chronic fatigue, migraines and mental fog that made working out like I used to almost impossible. It was a worse version of what I remember feeling as a teenager on the tennis court. Horrible low blood sugar after the first set, poor focus, SUGAR BURNER! Yikes! And I had a doctor for a dad who I still argue with over the new rules that you promote. (His belly and visceral fat has been an issue since he was 40 on his Mediterranean diet).
Something had happened to me in my late twenties. I even went raw vegan for a few months to try and fix it to no effect. I felt lighter and clearer, right before I got worse. After years of worsening symptoms and the introduction of GERD to that list for the first time in my life, I started doing my own research.
The short version is, I had no clue about Primal living, so I conducted my own extensive and unbiased nutritional research. Everything seemed to point to carbohydrate and grain as a significant problem in our culture. (Besides processed foods in general, I have major MSG sensitivity.) The big pill to swallow was the wrongful demonization of fat. But every time I tried to find causal evidence, not just correlative evidence, it didn’t exist. Once I saw the truth, I changed my diet. I lost 23 pounds in two months while adding no fitness of any kind, but for occasional walking with my wife. The results were, in all honesty, so fast to make me giggle hysterically on the scale when I weighed in. My personal experiment was also tracked via blood work. Then, I kept digging and found your book among the rest of the pack once I realized that many others already knew this incredible way of doing things. I personally believe, based on the evidence I’ve seen, your specific approach appears to be the best when examining the entire “paleo” trend as a whole. Your early focus on emphasizing fats is way ahead of its time. Fat can only clog arteries if you have inflammation, and grains and excess glucose are the cause of that for sure. And we are now just scratching the surface on how important a cholesterol of at least 200 is in combating stroke and improving immunity. Also, I probably went too low on the carbs, maxing out at no more than 50 g a day and I now weigh around 190. I think your charts are accurate.
Needless to say, I feel 18 again, never ever have headaches, fatigue, or stomach issues. I haven’t been physically sick at all since switching over, possibly due to the immune benefits of HDL and LDL cholesterol. Some fundamental shift occurred in my body. I don’t even get cold sore viral outbreaks, which were rare, but happened a few times a year. No more.
Every time I read a new study, I see the connection now to what you teach. And my personal blood work? My Triglycerides are lower than when I was mostly vegetarian. My HDLs went up finally, after not being moveable on any other diet. And most importantly, I am now a FAT BURNER. And after about a year of being Primal, I have begun intermittent fasting because it just feels right to my body. I have been a huge fan of reducing calories for life extension, but never tried it seriously because it seemed so impossible as a sugar burner.
I have taken the Leangains approach, something I learned about via your posts. I like the overnight fast through to lunch as I take my lunch at the clinic around 1 pm. I am now attempting to get better definition than I have ever seen. Two months ago I also fell prey to the awesomeness of CrossFit. And thanks to my fat-burning, I often work out fasted, and never lose my energy because I take rest weeks and allow myself time to get stronger. I came back from my last rest week and practically doubled my strength on pull ups.
I prescribe your plan and your book to many patients in my office. I have consistently seen the removal of GERD, all types of IBS symptoms, weight loss, headache removal, blood pressure reduction and more. I might have to start tracking these as case studies in the future.
My biggest personal problem is, I’m on the last loop of my belts I’ve had for ten years, and the new slacks I bought after losing the initial weight are already bunching up around my waist from being too big after just a couple weeks adding in the fasting. I’ve always had what my wife calls “the bagel” at my navel. It is gone. And for the first time, I have a much higher fitness goal than I ever imagined, to get to 10% body fat or maybe lower. So far, it feels easy. I don’t work too hard, I have fun and play and walk, and don’t stress if I need a Haagen-Dazs bar. The occasional indulgences haven’t hurt a bit.
Finally, I can be the optimized example my patients need to help them be their best. Thank you for creating a packaging that appeals to all people and has a laid back, positive approach. Maybe I’ll sit behind you one day at the ancestral health symposium!
Dr. Jason Bussanich