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

I Am Now Blessed with Radiant Health and Boundless Energy

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!

Hi Mark,

Growing up with two parents as doctors, I always felt like I had a basic understanding of health and wellness. I was always a lively, active and rambunctious child, but struggled with a myriad of digestive health issues from the early age of 14. My problems seemed to appear during my sophomore year in high school. During the middle of the school year, I transitioned from the Atkins Diet to a full-fledged bout of Mononucleosis (Mono). For four straight weeks, I ate nothing but Jack In The Box milkshakes (Vanilla or Chocolate, sometimes a swirl of both…). When I finally started eating solid food again, my stomach was completely wrecked, and things didn’t work themselves out the way I anticipated. All of the sudden, I had a sluggish digestive system and on the daily was plagued with chronic abdominal discomfort.

When it became apparent that my issues weren’t just a temporary affliction from my illness, my mother and I saw several different gastroenterologists hoping to bring some sort of relief to my seemingly chronic issues. Not one doctor ever mentioned that my abdominal issues could be diet related. NOT ONE. Every physician I saw decided that a supplement of some bark-tasting-sort would be the cure-all-end-all of my issues, and wrote me a prescription and sent me on my way.

After zero success and many dollars down the drain, I started to feel like I was blessed with a body that would cause me pain for the rest of my life. I retained weight, had little energy to get through my day and developed a deep love for a quadruple shot sugar-filled coffee beverage to start my morning.

Naomi - Before

When I was 21, I came home from college on vacation and visited my grandparents in Eugene, Oregon. My grandmother has Celiac Disease, and for the first time, I was inquisitive as to what that actually meant. I picked my grandfather’s brain, and after talking, I became convinced that gluten was the root of all of my problems. I went back to school after doing hours and hours of research and decided to do a controlled study with my diet. I eliminated all gluten-containing products, and almost instantly, it seemed that all of my digestive problems had gone away. After several years of struggling and many visits to the doctor, I was finally sure that I figured out the root of my problems.

Naomi - Before

Fast forward another two years. I was 23, graduated from college, traveling the world, teaching yoga and practicing a strict vegetarian diet. I developed adult acne, ovarian cysts, kidney stones and had extreme hormonal imbalance. I was exercising several times a week, and couldn’t sleep enough during the day because of chronic fatigue. I began to think, again, maybe my sickness and lack of well-being has to do with my diet. I started integrating animal protein back into my diet which made me feel 100% better, but all of the sudden, my digestive issues presented themselves again. I was still eating gluten-free, I was doing all of the right things, I thought, and I couldn’t seem to fix the chronic problem. It was infuriating.

To make a short story long, I had the blessed opportunity to stumble upon your website. I had been gluten-free, vegetarian, raw, vegan and anything in between. I  finally knew I felt more energized and healthier eating meat, but never considered other grains to have any influence on my gut. I figured if it didn’t have gluten, it was healthy, so I ate my weight in grains, especially corn (psuedo grain), on the daily. I decided to adopt the Primal lifestyle, and it has completely flipped my life upside down.

Naomi - After

I am now, for the last year and a half, blessed with radiant health, boundless energy and a stomach free of any digestive issues whatsoever. My weight, for the first time in my life, is stable. I am completely off of hormones from birth control, and my mood stays stable and my skin stays clear. I don’t experience brutal hunger pains, and intermittent fasting is easy. My mother, a physician, has also adopted this ancestral lifestyle, and is transitioning out of standard medicine into the field of anti-aging, utilizing ancestral, primal nutritional counseling with her patients. I, at the age of 24, am about two weeks away from opening my first restaurant in Austin, TX called Picnik, a reclaimed shipping container/mobile food truck which is 100% primal, gluten-free and grain-free.

Not only has this information changed my health and wellness forever, it has also catapulted me onto a brand new path in my life and work. I can’t thank you enough for the teachings you provide, and I look forward to seeing you at Picnik!




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. What an amazing change! You look like a completly different woman! Beautiful! Congratulations on your new restaurant.Grok on!

    Alexandra wrote on March 29th, 2013
  2. I can’t wait to stop by your place next time I am home in Austin! I am still just wading into the Primal pool and your story is a great one to consider as I move forward.

    Stephanie wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Congrats on considering it, Stephanie! I know it’s a change, but I’d encourage you to dive in completely for 30 days (just 30 teensy, short days!) and see how you feel. All the information and support you need is here :) Good luck!

      Susie wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Stephanie… You gotta do it.. listen to Susie!
      There are probably about 100 success stories just on this site alone. I’ve been primal for just under 2 months now and I feel AMAZING I’ve lost 25lbs and that is the LEAST exciting thing that has happened to me. Happy Groking!

      Jennapher wrote on March 29th, 2013
  3. Naomi,

    Very cool story glad you are feeling better, emailing this straight to a friend who sounds similar.

    Seems like the people who have real lasting success are the ones that really dive into it. Not saying everyone has to change their career path but when I get asked by someone ” just tell me what to eat” I think oh but there’s so much more going on! Not sure other people had that response?

    Thanks for sharing and best of luck with picnik!

    Luke DePron wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Diet changes can make a big difference to a load of aliments. Not all are as quick to respond as this story, but I think perseverance pays. 😉

      Sally wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Yes- I can relate! My mom and a good friend ask me that same question (about what to eat)! It’s hard because it works so much better when you have a full understanding of the lifestyle.

      Stefanie wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Definitely. My brother insists that, technically, a “diet” is anything you eat. When I try to explain to him that it’s more than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle, he snorts derisively. I guess, if you’re not a part of it, you just don’t get it.

      Susie wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • I agree with all of you guys but I also know that there is so much benefit in just the diet alone that if someone isn’t ready to go all in then we should meet them where they are at. When people ask me about PB and then say, “oh I can’t give up all that,” I encourage them to just start with one thing. Every little bit helps and making small changes over the long term works too. That’s how I’ve done it. It’s taken me 2 years to lose 25lbs and have another 15 to go. If it takes me another year then that’s fine by me. As Mark said last post, we each have to pick and own our journey. What works for one person may not work for another.

      Ara wrote on March 29th, 2013
      • I agree with you 100% I myself just starting out on this and it’s very hard for me as I don’t eat any salad so it’s just meat and eggs but I also drink coke zero and that’s my down fall giving that up but I have cut it back and in 3 week have lost 1.5kg it may be slow but it didn’t all go on over night ever.

        karen wrote on March 29th, 2013
        • I feel your pain with the Coke Zero! I gave up Diet Coke this weekend after reading Rich Food, Poor Food. I’m also in the process of weaning myself off MSG and other food additives as much as possible in the process.

          Yes, eating primally in a macronutrient sense does help me a lot, but for me at least there’s a missing link that I am hoping lies in getting off my sedentary butt and standing as much as possible during the day as well as watching the micronutrients as well. When you are a woman knocking on 50’s door, it gets so much harder to lose weight. One step at a time!

          Rhonda the Red wrote on April 1st, 2013
  4. Wow! You look radiant. Props to you (and to your mom, too!)

    Dulcimina wrote on March 29th, 2013
  5. Very inspirational :)

    Kaylee wrote on March 29th, 2013
  6. Fabulous job! You have that primal glow :)

    I live in Austin and can’t wait to track you down and try some of your dishes!

    Emily wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • I’m totally jealous… I want to live in Austin now!

      Jennapher wrote on March 29th, 2013
  7. Love you story, Naomi!
    Mark did an awesome job with back-to-back Naomi testimonies. 😉

    Naomi wrote on March 29th, 2013
  8. Great story, not only improved your health but started a business as a result of it, clear example of taking ownership of your life, well done!

    Nick wrote on March 29th, 2013
  9. Very excited to have Picnik opening in my town. Yay Austin! Oh, and congrats on feeling better! 😉

    Pip wrote on March 29th, 2013
  10. What a wonderful story! I go to Austin once a year for Austin City Limits, I will definitely be stopping by Picnic! You look very healthy and happy, thanks for sharing.

    Justin wrote on March 29th, 2013
  11. What a great story! I’m sorry you had to spend so many years miserable before you figured it out, but what a transformation when you did!

    I’m visiting Austin next month for the first time ever–hopefully I’ll get to see you at Picnik!

    Anne wrote on March 29th, 2013
  12. Naomi,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Congratulations! You look amazing and, even better, you’re FEELING amazing now, too!

    I have been Primal for a relatively short time now (about 4 months), but have already seen dramatic changes in my health and body. Unfortunately, I am still struggling with a recurrent, painful ovarian cyst. I hoped that you or others in the MDA community might be able to provide some guidance as to how I could get rid of it and keep future cysts at bay through means other than hormonal birth control.

    Best of luck to you in your new venture!

    Kat wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Kat,
      You really need to reconsider the damaging effects of hormonal birth control. They can alter, in not so good ways, your gut flora, which affects overall health. Check out Kris Kresser’s website. I think he has some posts on this. Also, Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome) diet, talks about how bad they are for proper gut biosis. Sorry for being repetitive if you’ve already heard all this.

      Margaret wrote on March 29th, 2013
      • I absolutley do not want to be on hormonal birth control and managed to avoid it until my cyst had gotten so large, my physician told me it was the only option. I can’t imagine there are not alternatives, but I’ve had no luck whatsoever in finding any information about them. Thank you for the recs–I am familiar with Chris Kesser’s website and the GAPS diet and will check them out further regarding this subject.

        Kat wrote on March 29th, 2013
        • I had cysts in my breasts that often became hard and painful. I had to have one drained a couple of years ago and was about to have it drained again last year prior to going strict primal. But after a few months I noticed the cysts were gone! And they haven’t come back either. This “diet” really works to cure so many ailments. I really hopes it does for you what it did for me. Best of luck!

          Ara wrote on March 29th, 2013
        • I can personally recommend the Cervical Mucus Method for Natural Birth Control.

          Andrea wrote on March 29th, 2013
        • I am in the middle of Dr. Campbell-McBride’s book, and although I’ve read articles on Chris Kesser’s site I will have to look into his findings more systematically soon. Is there anyone here who has successfully dealt with ovarian cysts who could share their timeframe on that? Kat says she hasn’t had any luck over the last four months anyway. I have been Primal for about two years, but we had an extended stay with family this summer in which we were able to stay gluten-free but not Primal, and early this winter I found that I had developed some cysts that I would really like to go away! I have of course been back on good food since then, but some encouragement would be helpful…

          Erin wrote on March 29th, 2013
        • Kat,
          I was diagnosed with PCOS way before I found this website. (more than 10 years ago now). I took metformin (brilliant doctor, I should find his contact info and tell him about primal, tho by now he probably knows). That cleared it up, and allowed me to get pregnant. (funny, isn’t it, that a diabetes drug had that affect – you don’t suppose there is a coincidence there do you?)
          Eating primally, since then, has had exactly the same effect. I have clockwork periods, and my ovaries are gorgeous (last time I looked). That is one of the most amazing changes, eating this way. Lots of other things are improved (joint pain, acne, on and on – it mirrors what everyone else says). But absolutely, having regular periods is the hallmark in my life that says I am healthier now than I have ever been.
          You’d need to do the research to find out which approach is safer (bc drug, diabetes drug, or doing nothing) for the short term. But whatever you choose I hope that you dive into primal living in parallel. I would bet that very soon, if you do, you won’t need any pharmaceuticals.

          Carla wrote on March 29th, 2013
        • Kat, have you looked into Iodine? When you have hormonal problems, Dr Jack Kruse is “the man”When

          Greg wrote on April 1st, 2013
  13. Awesome!

    Harry Mossman wrote on March 29th, 2013
  14. Great story. The common element to every success story always seems to be the journey. Glad you are happy, healthy and opening a GF restaurant. Very exciting.

    James wrote on March 29th, 2013
  15. This is a great success story and shows how important both vegetables and meats are. I wonder how much your pain is effected by gut microbes. Recently, a paper came out that showed that microbes from the guts of fat people, transplanted into skinny mice, made them fat. If gluten was somehow impacting on these microbes?

    The other thing I often wonder about is selection bias in these types of blogs/comments. I know Mark you had big problems with your digestive system that was eliminated when you got rid of grains. It would make sense then that many other people with similar issues also are attracted to your work, and by default of having similar issues, are cured. I guess I wonder whether there is some selection bias going on OR whether grains do indeed effect everyone negatively.

    Dan wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • +1.

      Madama Butterfry wrote on March 29th, 2013
  16. Thank you all so much! What an exciting day for the growth of Picnik Austin! I can’t wait for you to come nosh on some primal goodies with me in Texas…Grok on, y’all!

    Naomi Seifter wrote on March 29th, 2013
  17. I wish you would open a location in my city, Calgary, Alberta. I’m mostly primal and my biggest peeve is that none of the wonderful food trucks opening in our town are primal or even gluten free. Great work on solving the mystery of your lingering health issues. Good luck on Picnik!

    Adelina wrote on March 29th, 2013
  18. wow wow wow. I can totally relate to this article. Chrons, acne, chronic fatigue… I have tried everything from raw vegan, gluten free to pescatarian you name it to resolve my issues. Only now am I starting to get better w/ Paleo.

    tina wrote on March 29th, 2013
  19. Naomi, thank you for sharing your story! I’m 31 and never had healthy digestion until I discovered primal eating. I kid you not – I was cured within two grain-free/ legume-free meals. It felt like a miracle. I haven’t looked back. Your cart is going to be a huge success! There is a Paleo cart (The Cultured Caveman) four blocks from my house in Portland, OR. They have a huge following and I am definitely a regular. All the best!

    Holly wrote on March 29th, 2013
  20. what an awesome and inspiring story!

    I am in Austin and I cannot wait to visit your new business when it opens! Liking on facebook now!

    Melissa wrote on March 29th, 2013
  21. It’s completely mind boggling that physicians that specialize in the digestive system would not look to diet first. (SHM) Thanks for the inspiring story and best wishes on Picnik!

    Cheri wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Cheri, that was what stuck out the most to me too. And even having physician parents does not help much. This really ties into yesterdays blog. It’s up to us and us alone to just “git er done”. Great job Naomi and hope all those MDA’ers in Austin make your business a success.

      Nocona wrote on March 29th, 2013
  22. How exciting! Good luck with the restaurant, it looks fab 😉

    Emily wrote on March 29th, 2013
  23. I suppose it should be surprising that none of the doctors you consulted, or either of your doctor parents were able to point to diet as the source of your problems. It should be, but it isn’t. If doctors had more of a grounding in nutrition, or even natural medicine, many patients would escape the misery of drug treatments that cause more problems than they alleviate.

    At this point, I could launch into a tedious diatribe about the medical fraternity being in the pocket of the pharmaceutical companies, but you’ve heard it before, possibly on this very website, so I’ll simply say: Well done, Naomi, great story.

    Dane wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • I was kind of thinking down the same lines.

      It’s great YOU’VE found the solution to your problems.

      But you had personal access to TWO doctors opinions, knowledge and experience that actually know your family background history, your history and your diet and lifestyle.

      Armed this this knowledge the and probably hundreds of hours ‘consulting’ you as ‘their patient’ ( one they obviously care dearly about), they had no idea to the cause, or the remedy to the problem.

      They in turn had access to specialist doctors that they probably know of professionally as being very good in their field, but even they don’t have a clue ( you may have even got ‘special’ treatment, access and consultation, because with attended with your doctor mother and discussions could have been a higher technical/medical level)

      What chance of health do the rest of us have with our doctors? They don’t know our history, diet, lifestyle ( and don’t ask or have time to listen if tell them anyway), and rush us out the door with a prescription five minutes after walking in.

      Sorry for the more negative comments but felt it needed to be highlighted.

      Congrats on the health you now enjoy and your new and healthy business venture – I wish you every success.

      Cloudy wrote on March 29th, 2013
      • I’d say she has had an even harder time than most BECAUSE OF the connections to doctors. I know of a young girl, 18yrs, who to me knowing what I do about food now, clearly has some serious gluten/grain/sugar issues, has had glandular fever twice in two years where she was out of action on the couch or bed for months at a time, a bad back for years, a mild learning issue and sight issues. At 18 this is ridiculous. Her parents ( one GP and one nurse) refuse to consider her diet. It is the very last thing they’d consider, especially coming from a friend/person outside the It’s beyond frustrating.

        Madama Butterfry wrote on March 29th, 2013
  24. Awesome story! I’m in Austin, too, and could not be more excited to come check out Picnik once you’re up and running! The photos on the Picnik FB page have me drooling! Can’t wait!

    Kathy S. wrote on March 29th, 2013
  25. This sounds amazing. I too am struggling and need some kind of reprieve from the mess I’ve made of my guts (constant stitching particularly in left side lower rib area….? …no good bacteria? large bowel impacted? gastroparesesis?

    31, almost 32, underweight, female, but messed up hormones and metabolsim bigtime and just…i guess with orthorexia (never anoreixic and ultra low diet and also never vegan. I currently eat same heavy foods EVERY single day). Fatigued ALL the time and sluggish, tired, bowel movements constipated or unhealthy, pains in ribs areas (internally i know my gut and stuff are full of crap) , back pains, dry dry dry skin, always thirsty, but doesn’t quench it…. Need to gain but ironically SERIOUSLY need to detox ;(
    Wondering your honest thoughts on these approches to metabolsiim:

    His first e-book promoting a TON of calories and more “junk” in order to reclaim metabolsim…..but I feel so “old” and I’ve not been anorexic, just very orthorexic and rigid “shoving” in cals…a bit of a compulsive eater and binge eater now, yet sstill can barely do exercise (walking is a labor) , mind dragged down (just the depression? emotional?), sluggish, amenorheic since forever, my bowels a mess, and hormones and adrenals must be shot…I’m at a tricky age now ….

    The other one:
    where he references a site by Gwyneth Olwyn who presents similar concepts here:

    I realize you and others are EXTREMELY busy…but as a researcher etc..I’d REALLY appreciate your thoughts. You can email me directly (PLEASE). Thanks….I wish I could see “evidence” or proof. (actual bloggers or pics or stories of the successes)… do I know I’m not getting sucked into something? When I can find a million other sites and bloggers that are energetic and eat normally and not in this horrible spot.

    I don’t know how to reclaim my body, unlight the fire from my digestive system, etc….supplements, fancy expenisve things and alternative practitioners NOT possible…and none of this “raw dairy” or “hormone free” stuff around here, nor would I have the money or mental energy to maybe obsess over it…confused…just eat junk? I have messed up a lot in the last 5+ years and only gets worse and at my age, hormones, adrenals, now I don’t want to screw up bigtime and end up swingign the other “way” (binging, gain weight easily for life, never exercise again cause right now feels like I can’t ever exercise ever)…

    J. wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • I am sending some sincere comfort your way, J!! You sound like you are at the end of your rope! If you’re just beginning to investigate primal, go to the start here on the site. There is plenty of free information to get you rolling. Don’t be overwhelmed by it all either. Start where you can start. Mark has some great posts on eating primally on a budget.

      Also be sure to read the other Friday stories on the site. You will hear from a number of people who have had made great improvements in their health, including some who were in spots very much like yours.

      I am sending you all the encouragment and peace I can squeeze in a post!!! Don’t lose heart! You are so close!

      Rhonda the Red wrote on April 1st, 2013
  26. Congratulations!

    When will you drive your food truck up to Denton? We need you!

    Elizabeth wrote on March 29th, 2013
  27. Oh that is SUCH EXCITING NEWS!!! I live in Austin TX and am CONSTANTLY on the lookout for a Primal restaurant! I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW PSYCHED I AM YOU’RE DOING THIS! This is a rather selfish comment, but I have such a hard time sometimes when my friends just want to pop over to PTerrys for a quick after-derby dinner, so it would be SO LOVELY to have a healthy option! I’ll be on the lookout for you!

    Ashley wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Just get the pterrys without the bun and add bacon! I do it all the time.

      anon wrote on June 17th, 2013
  28. nice :)
    (oh, we’ll see you at Picnik on the 7th:)

    Mark (no, another one) wrote on March 29th, 2013
  29. Naomi, congrats on the improved health and the new business. I wish you much success. Very cool about your mom’s career shift.

    b2curious wrote on March 29th, 2013
  30. So nice to hear there will soon be another Paleo Doc! We need those! Props to your mom!

    Siobhan wrote on March 29th, 2013
  31. I’m thinking of a little motorcycle trip to Austin this summer. Hmmm, from Cleveland, it’s about 4 days – I’m guessing it’ll probably be worth the trip!

    Tom wrote on March 29th, 2013
  32. Wow!! You were beautiful before, but you are BEAMING now..
    I wish more people saw testimonials like yours…
    We are both the same age, I too had symptoms like yours, and also thanks to adopting a primal lifestyle have cured myself of my formally deranged/depressed/tempermental digestive system!!! 😉
    And congrats on the food truck (and your mum, wow!)
    Without sounding all Bible Preachy, keep spreading the good word!!! :)

    Damian wrote on March 29th, 2013
  33. Great story! You look fantastic! Will be sure to stop by next time I’m in Austin. Are you planning on serving a lot of primal cuisine?

    bjjcaveman wrote on March 29th, 2013
  34. So jealous, I want a Picnik in LA! Do you drink green juice in addition to your primal fare? I saw you’re serving juice and smoothies at the new place.

    Congratulations and thanks for the inspiration! :)

    JB wrote on March 29th, 2013
  35. Fabulous! I’m in the same digestive boat (since 14) but am now 31. Recently has progressed to be much worse. I am paleo, don’t eat grains, soy, gluten, nuts, seeds, nightshades, etc. and am still miserable! Awesome what you’re doing, and will check out Picnik for sure if I’m ever in your area. What your mom is doing too, is fabulous!

    Linds wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Awesome job Naomi, if only Austin wasn’t so far from Australia I would be popping in to try your fabulous looking food. As always, love to hear from people who work out how to look after their own wellbeing. And great to hear that your mum is on board, and going to help others too.

      Linds, I too felt worse digestively speaking on paleo, although had boundless energy & lost weight. But it was the fructose causing the issue. Try looking up FODMAP diets and see if you can pinpoint that something else is the problem. I had added coconut, avocado, honey, mega cauliflower, mega cabbage, nuts & dried fruit thinking it was healthy. But the day I stopped eating most of that stuff in quantity was the day I felt a million dollars. That was in january, now I am paleo as well as fructose free and feel fab. I even lost another 2kgs the first week I cut out the fructose! Just hope you can find something to help you feel well.

      HillyM wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Linds, have you looked into FODMAPs?

      Katie wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Linds, try going a week without eggs and see if that makes a difference. Did the trick for me. Turns out I’m allergic to them. Miserable when I eat them, even in tiny quantities, feel great when I don’t and simultaneously stay primal/paleo. Good luck!

      Rebecca A wrote on March 29th, 2013
  36. What an awesome story. I got goose bumps reading this.

    You are an inspiration for others. God bless you and stay positive and strong. Good luck with your restaurant. :)

    Jess wrote on March 29th, 2013
  37. I’m also primal in Austin and can’t wait to check out Picnik!

    johngreenman wrote on March 29th, 2013
  38. I’m going to Texas in a week. Will try my best to visit your restaurant.

    Chris wrote on March 29th, 2013

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