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

Going Primal Transforms a Family of Four

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!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2I am a 43-year-old man who was an intravenous meth user for 18 years, in prison three times, jail 18 times, and homeless. I was saved from my drug use and criminal life, but I had become depressed. I became reclusive and began to eat myself into obesity…topping the scales at 315 pounds. I had absolutely no energy and was completely useless to my wife and son. The example I was setting for my two-year-old son was an unhealthy lifestyle. Unless I changed my habits, and he continued to eat what I was serving him, his health would suffer.

I was eating fast food, processed food, cereals, boxed foods, canned foods, juices, sodas, etc. Out of concern for my well being, my cousin, who has been living the paleo lifestyle for years, introduced me to Mark’s Daily Apple for more information and direction on eating paleo. What I read made sense, and I took it on 100%. I was amazed at not just the weight loss, but at the enormous increase in my energy. Over time my depression lifted.


Using nutritional information from Mark’s Daily Apple in combination with my workout routine, I was able to lose 140 pounds and gain lean muscle in 15 months. My energy level is remarkable. Bed at 8:30 p.m. and up at 3:30 a.m.I am a personal trainer for others, and I care for my two sons and my wife, so my days are always jam packed, and I never fatigue.

david 1

My 33-year-old wife is following the paleo diet guided by Mark’s Daily Apple, along with her workout routine, and has lost 170 pounds.

When I first began this lifestyle, my two year old son weighed 72 pounds and was at risk for diabetes, had respiratory problems and was obese for his height and age. He is now four years old, weighs 53 pounds (right on target for his height and weight), his blood results are all within normal range and his health is perfect. The pediatrician asked how he lost 20 pounds, because they never recommend for children to go on a diet. However, they were amazed that his blood work was perfect even with his weight loss. We talked to the pediatrician about the Paleo lifestyle and recommended Mark’s Daily Apple. They were absolutely amazed and said they had never seen this before.

It is a common belief that the Paleo lifestyle is too costly. However, we are a family of four and are currently living on the salary my wife makes as a waitress. To say we are poor is an understatement. Paleo is not a diet for us, it is a lifestyle and a mindset change. Sodas, burgers, chips, candy bars, Starbucks, packaged, canned food, etc., are costly! Now, what I am not spending on unhealthy food, I designate that same money to PALEO foods. It works out financially to be the same, but so much better for your life!

Mark’s Daily Apple was my go-to source from the start and that will never change. Mark’s Daily Apple has helped transform, inside and out, the man you see before you. With Mark’s Daily Apple I began feeling a difference immediately, seeing a difference within two weeks, and hearing from others the difference they were seeing in me within a month of changing my eating and exercising habits.

I would say good luck, but if you follow Mark’s Daily Apple, luck has nothing to do with the changes you will experience.


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. David, thanks for this truly inspiring story about you and your family. No excuses no matter what. A great lesson for those that think they can’t do Primal on a budget.

    Noconago wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • 👍🏻

      David wrote on January 26th, 2016
    • David is my nephew and our family can proudly claim over 10 people living the Paleo life. It’s contagious! I love you, Dave, and I’m so proud of the man you’ve become.

      Mo wrote on January 29th, 2016
      • This is such a great story! Gives me hope that when one leads by example, so often others will follow.

        Jen wrote on March 10th, 2016
  2. Oooooweee this was a good one! It’s always fun to read Friday’s stories, but I just loved hearing about how your kids are benefiting too. Way to go!!! So much props for making the changes you did.

    Nick wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  3. Wow! Thanks for sharing your amazing transformation.

    Chris wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  4. You are an inspiration and a huge kick in the a$$ for anyone who thinks it’s too late to start over. Thank you.

    Erin wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • +1!!!! Smashed it all round….

      Long tall sally wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  5. Poor and paleo is my story too. It’s actually easy. I buy the cheapest of everything, no grass-fed anything for me, and the results are still awesome and I’ve never been happier.

    That part about lifting depression is worth noting. The mental improvements of a low carb life are also awesome.

    Way to go.

    jack wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • Ditto, when money permits, I buy higher quality foods. But when I need to make choices about foods based on money, I go with meat and vegetables, as cheap as possible. Cheap whole meat is still better than the drive-thru

      Kiara wrote on January 22nd, 2016
      • Same here. After reading MDA for a couple of years, it was a comment by another of us “poor folk” on the forums that inspired me to go primal, doing the best I could within a limited budget. That was 3 years ago. Yes, the results are still awesome, physically, mentally and health-wise, and I agree that even cheap whole meat is still better than the drive-thru.

        Teri wrote on February 12th, 2016
  6. What a turn around!

    Groktimus Primal wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  7. David,

    What an amazing story. I’m so glad you were able to break the drug habit and found a healthy lifestyle. Very inspiring.

    I discovered MDA about four years ago and eating primal helped me in almost every aspect of my life as well.

    Congratulations again and thank you for sharing.

    Brooks Rembert wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  8. That is the most inspiring story, on every level, that I have ever read. What a truly amazing person you are.

    Lucy wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  9. David, you are a wonder. You’ve taken a tough situation and turned it into a positive one. And you’ve done it while teaching the world about taking on a problem head-on, ignoring (or even using) the past to create motivation for yourself.

    I am very impressed with you and your family. Nice work!

    Jamie Fellrath wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  10. Te super felicito, es muy inspirador en todos sentidos, convivo cerca de gente con esas adicciones tan destructivas, comida y drogas y lo que tú lograste es de titanes. ¡¡¡Congratulation !!!

    Lucy wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  11. Powerful and to the point. Nice transformation.

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  12. Freaking awesome!

    Anthony wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • took the words right outta my mouth!

      Angel wrote on January 22nd, 2016
      • Yep!

        Julian wrote on January 23rd, 2016
  13. Well done David – what an inspiration! Keep going!

    Grokesque wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  14. Congratulations on 1. Kicking your addiction and 2. Finding your Health! Your story is very inspiring, and I’m sure you will continue to improve your own life, your family’s life, as well as the lives of others. Great work!

    Jessica wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  15. Awesome! Great work David!!

    Whitney wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  16. Truly amazing. Brought me to tears.. You are an inspiration!

    Amber wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  17. Great story. One of my favorites. Sounds like your wife should have a success story too!! Maybe next week.

    Primal Pam wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • I agree! I look forward to reading her story.

      Lisa Wolfe wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  18. This is an awesome story! You said your family eats paleo on a small budget just fine, is this because you buy regular supermarket meat?
    I can understand how eating paleo is affordable shopping at regular grocery stores, but I just can’t make myself buy meat from those places. I get the cheapest meat at Whole Foods, still grain fed, but I know the animal’s are treated well. And even buying the cheapest meat there is still pricey for my budget… If other grocery stores had more information about how their animals were treated I might be able to buy the cheaper stuff, but as long as there is no transparency I have to assume the worst.

    TF wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • animals*

      TF wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • Don’t buy into the hype. Most of your beef is raised by conscientious, hard working, animal loving farmers who understand that the land, the animals and the environment are their livelyhood. This garbage about the use of antibiotics is just that, garbage. It costs money to give unnecessary medication, why would they do it. I can’t speak for the pork or poultry. Most of them are raised my massive corporations in confinement barns, with little regard for anything but the bottom line.

      Travis wrote on January 26th, 2016
    • Hey, TF! Try Sprouts for grain fed beef. It’s so much cheaper than Whole Foods.

      Maureen wrote on January 29th, 2016
      • I had to Google that. Doesn’t look like they have any stores in NC. Thanks anyway, though!

        TF wrote on January 29th, 2016
    • FYI as far as supposed grain fed chicken , no steroids , treated well etc etc please understand that companies only have to meet limited requirements to be able to say GRAIN FED , healthy , not abused etc etc . All be it is better than say hickmans but if you want total purity and non abuse of animals there’s only one way to do so and that’s buy some land and raise ALL your own meats , veggies , fruit etc etc . But yes , there are the lesser of all evil stores such as sprouts , certain farmers markets etc etc cause there not feeding the multitudes like regular super markets

      David Piano wrote on May 8th, 2016
  19. WOW. Great work. I am impressed. it is amazing how the body can heal it’s self, if given the chance to, to get back the feel good hormones after addiction is really cool.
    Keep it up Man.

    Mark N wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  20. Wow. Straightforward, simple, powerful. Great story – thank you !!
    You look great and I bet your wife and child do too!! :-)

    jill wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  21. David, you are right. Luck had nothing to do with it. Very inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Lisa Wolfe wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  22. Inspirational stories are the norm on Fridays, but yours truly goes far deeper than that. Anyone who has the fortitude to conquer a drug addiction and make the choices to change their life (and I mean ALL of it, not just your nutrition) the way you have deserves to celebrate themselves! Keep sharing your story so others know they can overcome! I am thrilled for your children, and for those whose lives you are bound to change with your story. God bless you all!

    Heather wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  23. Wow. I have to say your history sounds similar in a lot of ways to some of my family members and some of them never found their way to change. My 20-year-old cousin (way back when we were 20), grew up with a dad in similar circumstances as your son (where he was starting off), ate all kinds junk food, soda and whatnot and had parents that were using drugs/over-weight/in and out of jail/etc… and he was shot and killed over a drug deal gone wrong at 20. My uncle (my cousin’s dad)–in and out of jail all his life, ate terrible food, did terrible drugs, suffered with depression, mental illness and all kinds of things–dead at 45. My mom? Junk food, soda, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs on and off throughout her life, mental illness, etc.–she died at 45 too. When my mom was dying of cancer all I wanted was to change her diet and bring her to some yoga something safe haven where she could heal. I had always felt she had the power to heal a long time before she died if she could only give up all the addictions–including those to crappy food. Thankfully, the trajectory of my life made me want to avoid their situations at all costs. Lots of my healthy decisions were not the healthiest (becoming vegetarian at 19–the pasta, PB&J, Tofutti Cutie version!) but my intent was in the right direction and it evolved and improved as I grew and learned more. I refused to do drugs, drink alcohol, smoke, or do other things that I saw were clearly wrecking the lives of my family members (in part out of fear–having the SWAT team visit our house on a drug raid when I was 4 years old heightened that fear!).

    I am so amazed and grateful that you were able to do this for your family. It takes immeasurable strength of person to have the capacity to even realize you have the power to change your circumstances. The thing is, I didn’t see my family as scary (even though we had gnarly weaponry hidden under couches and I had seen them do scary things). They still had lives outside of drug deals–they were still parents struggling to get by and make ends meet. I am really grateful that my mom loved me enough to allow me to escape that path. It makes me teary-eyed, because I so wish I had the power to find the magic book or magic method that would have changed their trajectory for them. You are giving your son an amazing gift–when he’s bigger and starts to question authority, you can serve up a plate of prison food next to some kale salad. The decision ought to be pretty straight forward. :-) The prison system doesn’t need you on their side of the bars–we need you leading the way on this side–lots of families need your inspiration. You have a lot to live for. Congratulations and always find the power within to keep marching forward.

    Jennifer L. wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • 👍🏻

      David wrote on January 26th, 2016
  24. To put it in the Great Australian Vernacular ‘Good onya mate’. In all seriousness if you want to turn your life around for the better, then you have to start of with the basics and of these the most important is that, you are what you eat.
    We really do need more stories like this to expose and debunk the processed food industries lie that ‘Healthy eating is for the well to do’. I know well from my own experience that all you need are the simple basics that you can buy in the greengrocery and meat departments of any good ‘grocery store’ as you call it in the States, and the protein component doesn’t always have to be red meat; fish, fowl and eggs are just as good.
    It frustrates me no end that so many people are so ready to believe any disinformation that the processed food industry puts out. The worst part is that so much of it is half truths, and half truths are far more insidious than outright falsehoods by very reason of the element of truth they contain.

    Paul in Australia wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  25. David, you are now living “the good life” with you wife, children and your health! Keep going down that path and more good things will follow. Awesome job so far!


    A scholarship for the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification program is highly recommended for David!

    How about it Mark? What a boost to his personal training and coaching endeavors!


    Pop wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • +1

      HelenP wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • +1

      Sandra wrote on January 22nd, 2016
      • +1

        Noconago wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • +1!

      Debbie wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • +1 yeah!!

      Pure Hapa wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • Yes please Mark, I would love to see David receive a scholarship for the PBEC program…. what an absolutely inspiration he is to the PB lifestyle.

      Surely, if a vision of reaching people who make a difference in ‘their tribe’ is your goal Mark, then David is certainly a candidate !!!

      Well done David, your journey into the PB lifestyle is awesome!

      Sparrow wrote on January 23rd, 2016
    • +1
      Do it, Mark! If this man isn’t worthy of it, then no-one is!

      Erin wrote on January 23rd, 2016
    • +1

      Tricia wrote on January 23rd, 2016
    • Thank you so much

      David wrote on January 26th, 2016
    • +1

      Colin wrote on January 29th, 2016
    • +1!

      Helen wrote on May 1st, 2016
  26. My favorite success story thus far. Congrats on your happiness and renewed health David.

    Amber wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  27. This is a story that brought tears to my eyes. I think David would be a great interview on Mark’s podcast (if willing) to talk about his transformation. You really had two powerful transformations and I wonder how they compare. What does one think when their 2yo is 72 pounds? I’m happy for you and your family . . . what a great story!!

    Colleen wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • Thank you for your kind words

      David wrote on January 26th, 2016
  28. That is an incredible story. Thank you so much for sharing your transformations with us. And thank you for bringing up the cost of Paleo versus the cost of junk food. It’s amazing how much less you need to eat when your body is getting the right nutrients.

    Becky wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  29. I went on Mark’s site just now to look up resources for pastured meats, something that’s a stretch for our family budget. My plan was to skip commenting today, and get down to the business of placing an order for bacon, which I might still do. But when I saw and then read your success story, not only did my eyes fill with tears, but I felt the need to thank you for your inspiration. I just received two of Mark’s books in the mail this past week, and even though I’ve been low carb and mostly no grains for a while, I just haven’t fully committed and need to lose about 10-20 pounds. If you can accomplish what you and your family achieved, then I should be able to do the same. But I also appreciate your honesty about having to buy conventional meats and veggies. Families eating paleo, even middle class families, have to make tough choices, and I admire you for doing what was necessary to look at the big picture of where your greatest health risks lay. My dream for the future is pastured, organic food for everyone, but until then, some of us have to muddle through as best we can. Thank you again for sharing. I’m worried about my 24 year old son and plan to use Mark’s program so that I can be an example to him as you were for your wife and son.

    Laura wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  30. A.h.mazing. Keep up the good work.

    Kamila wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  31. What an inspiring turnaround for your whole family! You ROCK.

    Cathy Johnson (Kate) wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  32. Wow.. Tears all the way over here in Scotland. What a fantastic, inspirational story.. This is by far my favourite! Well done to you for all your achievements.

    Karo wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  33. Love your work David. You are living proof that people can change their lives for the better, even when the odds look to be stacked against them. You can be very proud of your achievements.

    As for the cost of paleo food, my thought is that with the money I save on all the highly processed, over packaged foods I used to buy, it really doesn’t cost me an awful lot more to eat this way. I have to admit we don’t have kids to feed any more, and that makes it cheaper. But I find that I need less good quality food to feel satisfied. Crappy, salty, chemically enhanced food in big quantities never used to make me feel good, but smaller quantities of good quality food makes me feel like I don’t need to look for something else to “top up” with. Just my point of view.

    HillyM wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  34. David,

    Congratulations to you and your family! Thanks for making the world a better place by creating more health, happiness, and extending your knowledge to others! :)

    GROCK on! :)

    Gregg Frank wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  35. Wow, what an inspiration! And so great for others to hear that you are doing it on a budget, since that is something people use as an excuse all the time. It takes work and planning to buy and prepare real food but so worth it for the results you can achieve. Thanks for sharing your success! I look forward to Fridays.

    Elizabeth wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  36. What you did is amazing and inspiring, David! It gives me hope and motivation that I can do the same. Being financially insolvent has always been an excuse for me to not to change my way of living and eating.

    I’m well on my way now, at about two weeks into going Paleo/Primal and reading stories like yours always inspire me. Great job, and thanks for sharing your wonderful accomplishments!

    John wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • It’s a mindset . Good for you

      David wrote on January 26th, 2016
  37. Wow. I think this is the most dramatic story I’ve read on MDA. Congratulations, David, on the awesome changes you have made in yourself and your life.

    Susan B. wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  38. The most amazing story I have ever read! Thank you.

    Julie wrote on January 22nd, 2016
  39. I’ve been Primal and following MDA for several years. Like others here, the Friday Success Stories are always a favorite, but your story has to be the best one I think I’ve ever read anywhere – not just on MDA! Your story needs to go world-wide.

    Rather than thank you for posting I think I’d rather thank you for having the guts to be yourself and come out of a not-too-pleasant-scenario.From what you’ve said, your wife/children deserve their own success stories as well! Please continue to encourage others through your example.

    I feel honored to have been able to read your story, and I wish you and your family all the best for the future. Bless you and bless your wonderful family.

    PrimalGrandma wrote on January 22nd, 2016
    • Isn’t it amazing what GOD can do when we let Him ? ! Bless you too

      David wrote on January 26th, 2016
      • Amen! So happy for you. May you be filled with his joy!

        Amy wrote on February 5th, 2016
  40. “I had absolutely no energy and was completely useless to my wife and son. The example I was setting for my two-year-old son was an unhealthy lifestyle. Unless I changed my habits, and he continued to eat what I was serving him, his health would suffer.”

    He did it for his family. What a man.

    Thomas B. wrote on January 22nd, 2016

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!