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

I Rediscovered Life Through the Primal Lifestyle

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!

When I was very little my sister and I were allergic to literally everything – meat, egg white, honey, nuts, etc. We were also constantly ill and I was really overweight for a child. My mother put us on a diet that we were eating, mainly fruits and vegetables because we were allergic to most other things. We started exercising and practicing the Buteyko breathing method which was the only thing that would calm our coughs. We got better and our allergies disappeared. We grew up and we slowly forgot about this healthier lifestyle that actually saved us.

I come from Bulgaria, a beautiful picturesque country that has one big fault – a complete obsession with being unhealthily skinny. Since the beginning of my teenage-hood I have been badly experimenting with my body through the constant change of my diet. I tried The Balanced Diet, which was not too bad but I had to measure my food to the gram for every meal and this made me paranoid about the sizes of portions. I have also tried The Protein Diet which allows only white meat the first week. After that vegetables such as cucumbers are included but fruits, nuts, fats are strongly forbidden. I even tried The Cabbage Soup Diet which literally made me sick because it was so awful. I also tried not eating anything while I was at school from 7am till the evening. After all that bouncing from diet to diet at the age of 18 I was suddenly less than 50 kg (110 lbs). I am 172cm tall (5′ 7.5″), had zero amount of energy and was constantly ill.

The summer after that I wanted to go back to normal eating but my body was so used to not eating properly that it refused to be fed anything. I spent the whole summer vomiting because my stomach did not accept anything I gave it. Slowly I got better and started eating again. However, one thing stayed with me forever due to all of these diets – constant stomach pain. At the age of 21 the pain got so bad that I had to do some tests and discovered that my gall-bladder was getting irritated by something and was jumping up into my stomach causing the pain. The doctors told me that it is caused by some kind of food that I can’t tolerate. They suggested to stop eating raw tomatoes and cut out the black pepper. This helped a bit but still the pain would come from time to time. I knew I had to change my life and find out what was causing all that stress to my gall-bladder.

I was 22 when I first discovered the real food lifestyle that eliminated all the artificial ingredients and tolerates only wholegrain products when it comes to grain products. I felt a bit better and had more energy than before. However, the pain was still there from time to time and I gained some weight because of all the wholegrain products that I thought were very good for me. I started noticing that my stomach hurt just after I had eaten something with grains in it, but I did not really do anything about it.

During a lunch break at university my sister told me about The Primal Blueprint. She stumbled upon the Mark’s Daily Apple website while she was researching if eating one apple a day was truly healthy or just a myth. She told me what the idea behind all of it is and how this is not a diet but a lifestyle. It was very important that everything on the website is scientifically based and not just the opinion of yet another diet guru. After all the diets I had tried, what did I have to lose? So I gave it a try.

I remember the day when I emptied all my kitchen cupboards and threw away every bit of grain I had. I felt alive! I had energy for everything, I was not falling asleep constantly anymore and the pain was completely gone. I reached 63 kg (138 lbs) and I have stayed like that ever since. This was the first time in my life that my weight was completely stable and not fluctuating all the time. I used to have problems with spots on my back before, but not anymore. I used to be ill and have colds every several weeks, but no more! It is incredible to feel great and who would have guessed that the path to healthy life was bacon! I know the Primal lifestyle works because when I occasionally decide to have something with wheat in it if I am on a holiday, all the problems come back even after one bad meal. I am happy I listened to my sister and now we both experience the advantages of gluten and grain-free eating. I do not miss anything and in fact I don’t even crave or like these products anymore – bread, pastry, cakes, they all taste bad now, unless I have made them myself at home using real, good products.

Rositsa

I have lived in UK for 5 years now and I have realized that many people have similar problems, but they either don’t know what to do about them or are just scared to change their whole life. I have a close friend who had problems with hair loss and constant hunger. After months and months of me telling her to try the Primal way she agreed, and now her hair is perfect. She doesn’t feel hunger and she feels happier and better than ever before. This is why I created a Primal website for the UK – Primal Yum (Facebook). I want to show people that food can be great and even much better when artificial ingredients and grains are omitted. Life can be good and we can be healthy. Why would you willingly choose to be ill?

Rositsa

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. glad you feel better – i too feel better when i eat right – but unlike you pizza, ice cream and beer still call strongly

    N.Lockard wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Thanks for the comment.

      It is very difficult to get rid of the sugar crave. At one point I thought it was impossible. There is no other addiction as sugar and wheat addiction. But there are ways of making pizza and ice-cream primal, and still very delicious. I do not have a solution about the beer except for…drink wine and cider hahaha.

      Cheers,

      Rositsa

      Rositsa wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • those are such addictive substances! i belong to a 12-step program for people with food addictions, and many people choose to abstain from wheat and sugar in order to be freer of the food “calling.”

      Jenny wrote on March 14th, 2014
      • Is there coffee at the meetings? (if there are meetings)

        Animanarchy wrote on March 14th, 2014
        • I’m drinking a cup of crude oil right now. It’s fantastic.
          Also, good success story Rositsa

          Animanarchy wrote on March 14th, 2014
        • yes, there are meetings, and coffee is not served, although sometimes people bring their own.

          Jenny wrote on March 14th, 2014
  2. Congrats on the journey, Rositsa!

    My favorite part of this is the little nugget about how your sister found MDA. :)

    Anne wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Thanks for the comment. Hahaha, yeah I thought this part of the story was great. How weird that this is exactly how we found Mark.

      Rositsa wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • I also smiled when I saw the part about how your sister discovered Mark’s Daily Apple! Your story is surely inspirational!

      Julie wrote on March 14th, 2014
  3. Congrats Rositsa. Great story.

    Nocona wrote on March 14th, 2014
  4. Hi Rositsa,

    Impressive. I do have one question. Some folks say that they CAN tolerate wheat and other grains if properly fermented. I wonder if REAL sourdough properly prepared gives the same reaction? I should say that some commercial ‘sourdough’ products merely mix vinegar with their yeast wheat bread mix. So knowing the baker is important.

    I am most curious if there are good ways to prepare otherwise organic and Roundup free grains and beans and milk ?

    Impressive results indeed :). Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    John

    John wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • That would be sooooooo awesome!! I loved sourdough bread before I stopped eating it.
      Please say it’s okay, and I’ll toast that bad boy up and slather it with butter.

      I’m drooling now. But if it isn’t good to eat, I’ll stay away :(

      Shawn wrote on March 14th, 2014
      • By the way you can make very nice bread that tastes quite similar to the real thing but has more of a cake texture. Experiment with almond flour, cassava flour, arrowroot powder and yeast. Yum yum yum

        Rositsa wrote on March 14th, 2014
      • Shawn, it may also be worth it to try eating sourdough bread made from emmer and einkorn, which are ancient wheat flours. The gluten in those wheats are genetically different from modern flour, and it may not irritate you like the modern stuff does. (look up Jovial flour)

        oxide wrote on March 15th, 2014
      • Sorry to burst your bubble but ANY bread made within the United States is BAD because they put TRICLOSAN in the flour product.

        Triclosan is now believed to be the cause of the rise of super bugs (hospitals use it to clean surfaces, it’s in some American toothpastes and in most detergents including hand sanitizers).

        Don’t eat grain products period just for that reason alone. Even organic has it because there is a loophole in the labeling law, preventing it to be on a label if the ‘contamination’ was PRIOR to the Chef, who bakes the bread, receiving the dough/ground up grains.

        True.

        Al wrote on March 16th, 2014
    • That would be amazing! I have wondered the same when looking at different items on the Cultures for Health site.

      Jessica wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Hey John,

      Thank you for the comment. I definitely suffer less when I eat home-made bread with proper yeast and good-quality wheat, then if I buy bread from the store. I think it is very important where the wheat comes from and how it was grown. There are many hidden ingredients in these products. No one needs to write on the packaging how the grains were grown and what they were treated with. So basically, if you can find someone who grows wheat for themselves without treating it with pesticides and any chemicals, then this would be the best supply for your wheat bread. I do think that if everything is prepared from scratch and is home-made, then it is not really that harmful. However, here in UK it is very difficult to find such wheat and thus I think it is better to avoid it.

      Thanks,

      Rositsa

      Rositsa wrote on March 14th, 2014
  5. I’m glad to read that you are doing so well.
    I know what you mean about how you feel when you get into some food with grains in it. I feel the same way with processed food…terrible.
    Keep going, and keep sharing. It looks like you’ve helped others see the benefits of eating whole foods, less the whole grains.

    Shawn wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Thanks for your comment. Processed food is awful and people need to learn to listen to their bodies. It is hard to do that though and this is why we need to give support to anyone who realizes the truth behind processed food and ingredients on the back of the products.

      Rositsa wrote on March 14th, 2014
      • Wheat or other grains are NEVER good.
        I would say: read the book “wheat belly” by Dr. Davis and “grain brain” by Dr. Pearlmutter

        Antje wrote on March 15th, 2014
        • Hey,

          I will definitely look into them, thank you :)

          Rositsa wrote on March 16th, 2014
  6. Love the focus on breathing!

    Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Hey,

      Thanks for your comment.
      These breathing exercises really helped me and they still do when I get ill. :)

      Rositsa wrote on March 14th, 2014
  7. Your website is delightful. (Speaking as a professional web designer.)

    Harry Mossman wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Awww thank you so much! I am actually an illustrator and animator as well. http://rositsaneame.wix.com/neame3d

      Rositsa wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Yes I was going to say the same thing. I love the illustrations! You are very talented.

      Christine wrote on March 17th, 2014
      • Thank you very much :) It is a very difficult industry.

        Rositsa wrote on March 20th, 2014
  8. Congratulations! It feels so good to solve the riddle doesn’t it????

    Long life and vitality to you!

    Primal and Proud wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Thank you, to you, too :)

      Rositsa wrote on March 15th, 2014
  9. Congrats on your success and story. Thanks for sharing, always love being inspired on Fridays!

    Luke wrote on March 14th, 2014
  10. Hi Rositsa,

    Thanks for your answer. I have been grinding organic wheat from the dist. system for a local Austrian baker who knows about real sourdough. I find it pretty good, but wonder if I should encourage others who are into the gluten free thing to try it? There is beginning to be a little locally grown wheat by farmers that I know also. A day or two ago I gave my baker friend some fresh ginger and turmeric so we will see what does with these :). I am in NH USA.

    warm regards,

    John

    John wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Hey, thanks for your comment. This is great! I’d love to try freshly ground wheat. I am curious if it will irritate my stomach or not.

      Rositsa wrote on March 15th, 2014
    • Hi John,

      I am just over the border in Mass and willing to try sourdough from a local baker. Where is their shop?

      My gmail account is loveshikingthewhites. You can send the information there if you do not want to post it here.

      Thank you,
      Judy

      Judy wrote on March 16th, 2014
  11. what a great story, rositsa!

    my 5-year-old son is mildly allergic to wheat, but LOVES eating it, will lie to hide the fact that he’s trying to get it and get more. now i’m getting perspective that i may have to let him eat it sometimes as a child, but that maybe someday he will discover the benefits of healthy eating for himself.

    Jenny wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • If you don’t want your 5-year-old to eat something, don’t give it to him. At all. End of story. People whose kids have a more severe allergy don’t let their kids eat the offending item, no matter how much they want it. You have total control while your kid is in your home. And if you don’ feel you have control of your kid and what he eats in your home, you need to start putting your foot down. YOU are the parent.

      I have 3 kids, 7, 5, and 2. One has gluten intolerance. We don’t allow gluten in our home. They are allowed one treat while at a party, and I try to steer them toward ice cream over cake. It’s hard while out and it sometimes requires rocking the boat when at family functions, but it is do-able. Good luck.

      Kelly wrote on March 14th, 2014
      • hi, thanks for your comment! my kids are 7, 5, and 2, also. same has you, at home, no problem–we have a primal home.

        outside of home, it’s hard, because my 5 year old feels like i’m depriving/punishing him. he’s barely allergic to gluten, so he’s eaten it outside of home, and only had mild effects. so, how do you handle gluten for your kids outside of home, when they are at school or with other classes/adults? i’m wondering how all this will work when my son’s in elementary school, eating with other kids and their random snacks, and at classroom celebrations. he LOVES to eat and LONGS for candy, cake, sweets, bread,…

        also, what does “one treat” mean to you? i have been strict with telling them they get one “palm size portion of some things, or only a “two finger size” of something, depending on what it is. for candy, just the tip of a little finger size. i figure that some of those treats are huge, but these portions are tiny compared to the kids around them.

        Jenny wrote on March 14th, 2014
        • Hey,

          I don’t have kids yet but I absolutely agree with 0% tolerance towards processed treats. However, this can be incredible difficult if they go to a birthday party for example. They may think you are punishing them, but they will appreciate it one day. When I was little my mum did not tell me that I can have sugar in my tea and coffee and thus now I really dislike sugar in my hot beverages.

          Rositsa wrote on March 15th, 2014
        • Hey Jenny,

          I have never responded on MDA before, but just wanted to say that the easiest way I’ve found to deal with being out/at a party is to just bring a treat for them yourself. That way they don’t feel deprived or punished and can still celebrate with something small and sweet that won’t cause side effects. I have 3 small kids (almost 5, 3 and 1) so I don’t always have time to bake at home, but I’ve learned which treats are not just gluten free but made with clean ingredients (butter instead of hydrogenated oils) or sometimes just grabbed some Surf Sweets or Yummy Earth Organic lollipops.

          I agree with Kelly that it may rock the boat at certain places (I’ve had family tell me that ‘a little bit can’t hurt and I should stop overreacting’) but I finally got to the point where I said, “great, well then you can diligently apply the salve to her arms 4 times a day where she breaks out in wicked rashes, and oh yeah, clean up the diarrhea”. I still occasionally deal with side glances, but most people are fine and understand that I’m just trying to protect and help my child, and if they don’t understand that and constantly push crappy foods on me or my kids I stop hanging with them. There are plenty of respectful and understanding people out there, whether they choose to eat the same way I do or not.

          Also, I explain beforehand to my 3 and 4 year old that there will be food there that isn’t good for their tummies, but that I’m bringing some yummy treats they can have later. That way there are no surprises or fits thrown over something and they anticipate the ‘good’ food later. And my eldest is at the point now where she asks “Is there gluten in this?”

          Best wishes Mama!

          Also, great story Rositsa – congratulations on feeling alive and healthy!

          Meghann wrote on March 15th, 2014
        • Sorry it took me so long to reply- been crazy busy! Anyway, most people answered already about how they handle various situations, and I will just say that, for us, 1 treat is 1 treat, and I try not to obsess too much over the size unless it is huge. I’ve found that the trick so many people use for themselves works for kids, too. Have them eat before you get to wherever you are going and try to get them to eat a healthy snack at the party, if it is offered, before the treat. Then they aren’t hungry enough to eat a ton of junk. I also bring stuff that I know my kids will eat, esp. dried fruit and trail mix that I don’t let them have other than for treats.

          As for school, you have 2 options, in my opinion. You can go with the flow and let your son suffer the consequences, or you can tell the school your son has an allergy to wheat and request their help in keeping him safe. Most schools are willing to help parents of students with other allergies, so I would imagine they will help you, too. You don’t have to let them know it’s a mild allergy.

          Also, the thought crossed my mind that maybe your son’s wheat allergy is more severe than you think, based on the fact that he is lying to get more. I’ve heard that the most problematic foods cause the most intense cravings or withdrawals. Not sure if that’s true for him but I have found it to be true for me and sugar.

          Good luck! I’ve been slacking with my own kids this week and 2 of the 3 are all sorts of rashy and itchy. Gotta step it up again.

          Kelly wrote on April 7th, 2014
    • Seeing this comment upsets me. At 7 years old my sister would steal wine from the fridge, once she was caught it was removed from the house until she was old enough to comprehend the effects. Why in the world would we keep dangerous items in reach if we can help it? My nephew had developmental issues at 2 and once my sister figured out that wheat was the culprit she has it locked up. He hasn’t had any wheat in 7 months and is shocking the doctors.

      Protecting our children starts in the home.

      Em wrote on March 14th, 2014
      • wow, that’s great that they discovered the culprit in both those cases, figuring out how to protect the kids! your nephew’s recovery and improved health sounds awesome! my family situation is different from those.

        Jenny wrote on March 14th, 2014
  12. Thanks so much for your story, Rosita. Yours is the every-girl’s story – someone who is not (yet) profoundly ill but had never been well, whose health was beholden to a skinny weight, who had no clue what to eat. I see this every day all around me, and it’s so frustrating because people don’t want to hear about another way. It’s wonderful that you found Paleo and good health and are spreading the word in the UK (love it there).

    Debbie wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Thank you so much for the support :) There is a lot of pressure put on both men and women about appearance and somehow we always think that the skinny option is the best, but in fact it’s really not.

      Rositsa wrote on March 15th, 2014
  13. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s amazing how many people have similar stories, I met a guy just last week who lost about 50 pounds and reversed a whole load of health issues (that were putting him in hospital) just by cutting out wheat. I’m interested in your story because you went the other way and put on weight to be healthy. In my case, I went to a raw food (mostly) diet to lose a lot of weight and get healthier. I learnt a lot from Mark’s Daily Apple.

    It seems to me that there are a range of good diets (I agree, better to say lifestyle than diet) out there that can “work”. The Primal lifestyle is certainly a very good one. Congratulations and thanks again.

    Peter Whiting wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Thank you for the comment. The raw diet is very interesting and I admire people that decide to do it. I bet it completely changed your life. .

      Rositsa wrote on March 15th, 2014
  14. Nice story Rositsa. It was so wonderful to read your story!

    Joe wrote on March 14th, 2014
  15. Hey Rositsa,

    Really interesting story and inspire to live healthy lifestyle.

    Bharat wrote on March 14th, 2014
  16. Поздравления :)
    А аз мислех, че няма много българи тук хахах

    Georgia wrote on March 15th, 2014
    • Хаха, има доста :) Навсякъде сме

      Rositsa wrote on March 15th, 2014
  17. Има, има и други българи :) И всички сме стигнали до този начин на живот по различен начин, в повечето случаи забавен почти колкото този на Роси :) Успех, Роси, ще следя страничката ти във ФБ.

    Jane wrote on March 15th, 2014
    • Благодаря много за подкрепата :)

      Rositsa wrote on March 16th, 2014
  18. Great story … So happy for you and your sister!
    Also, thanks Mark, for keeping the ‘Friday Success Story’ part of the blog

    skeedaddy wrote on March 15th, 2014
  19. Awesome!
    I love Fridays :)

    Al wrote on March 16th, 2014
  20. How wonderful to be able to get rid of your allergies (once again! :p) and to help a friend in the process! Thanks for being part of yet another inspiring Friday! These stories really prove to me that the way we choose to eat is great for us! :D

    meg wrote on March 17th, 2014
    • Hey,

      Thanks for the positive reply. The way we chose to it is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and others, I think. We should never give up what we believe in.

      Rositsa

      Rositsa wrote on March 17th, 2014
  21. Hey Rositsa, congratulations to your lifestyle change! I just visited your website, I like it a lot, looks different from all the other websites out there! I wish you success and happiness!

    Margit wrote on March 18th, 2014
    • Hey,

      Thank you very much for visiting the website and I am very happy you like it :) You can subscribe for free for weekly newsletter with recipes. :)

      Rositsa wrote on March 19th, 2014
  22. For me, this was the most amazing sentence in Rositsa’s piece: “The doctors told me that it is caused by some kind of food that I can’t tolerate.” That is so unlikely to happen in the United States! And yet, after a year-plus of being Primal — including reading everything about this I can get my hands on — I now know how likely it is that any disease process involves some food sensitivity(ies). When will our medical system free itself from its current pharmaceutical paradigm?

    Naomi wrote on March 18th, 2014
    • The UK one is pretty useless as well. However, the Bulgarian one, I find, is quite good. So if I ever need something I always go back there. In UK the doctors are very much against natural medicines, not to mention homeopathy. All they give is antibiotics…

      Rositsa wrote on March 19th, 2014
  23. hi Rositsa, love your hahaha’s and your yum yum yums!!! thanks for making my day :P

    Anna wrote on March 19th, 2014
  24. hahaha lol… and well done with the lifestyle changes.. and I too love your site!!! :) much love from Australia..

    Anna wrote on March 19th, 2014
  25. Good work Rositsa & congratulations to your lifestyle change!

    Todd wrote on April 30th, 2014

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