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

Now a New and Greater Journey in My Life Can Begin

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 2Hello, my name is Roar, I’m 27 years old and I’m from Norway. My story begins a bit early as I was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis1 when I was only 6 months old, but it was a minor issue throughout my childhood. Instead I have to jump forward a little to middle school.

Middle School

I started middle school at the time when computers became more common for the average household in Norway. Our household got it even earlier, so I was a bit taken by it already, but it was taken to the extreme with newly made friendships at the school. My friends and I would gather as often as possible and create LAN parties2, where we would stay up all night during the weekends and eat mostly junk food and candy.

Physical activities were neglected (I was an active soccer player) and the general lifestyle of staying up late on the Internet became the norm. Usually I would end up sleeping for 4-5 hours a night, while on the weekends I hardly slept at all. During the second semester of the first school year I would start to get hives3 and really bad nosebleeds occasionally, this continued the next couple of years also.

The second year of middle school was the same, I had quit soccer practice and most of my time was spent in front of the computer. LAN parties had almost been taken to a new level were we would often compete about who could stay up the longest, my record was 75 hours. Then came the last year, the one before high school. The first months of the semester seemed to be going fine until October. I started getting stomach aches and they would get worse and worse to the point where I would wake up with them. I stopped going to school, I became lethargic and everything felt much more difficult than it previously was.

After several months, missing a lot of school, I was diagnosed with Crohns4. First they wanted to try a liquid solution that was injected through tubes in my nostrils, but that was so unpleasant so I opted instead for pills. I was given prednisone5 and got positive results in a very short time. This time around I had missed so much school that the teachers argued I had to re-take the school year, luckily I was able to catch up pretty quickly now that everything seemed fine.

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High School

For a while it did seem fine. Sometimes I would get strange symptoms like getting out of breath after walking up stairs and I got that famous moon face, but other than that, I could live like I once did. The problems would then rise again as I started the first semester as a junior at high school. The doctors were adamant to change the medication given how positive I reacted to prednisone, the long term effects were clearly detrimental, and I was now given a different medication named pentasa. One brand would give me constipation, another was the total opposite, I was in a roller coaster where both the highs and lows were just bad. Due to the roller coaster ride, I was assigned to a different hospital. The doctors wanted to try an experimental treatment by the name remicade6. I tried it and the effects were pretty good. This treatment was administered the second semester of the school year, the previous instability had been such an issue that I had to focus on some classes while I stopped attending others. I finished half of my classes during the first year, having to re-take the others the next year. This was a huge blow. Ending primary school I was among the top of the class, during secondary school it started well but ended poorly, and now I could not even finish all of my classes. I was angry and felt stupid at the same time.

Next year, when I was going to re-take the classes, I had to move to follow my friends to another school. I didn’t know anyone that was in my class this time, and being one year older and still fighting with Crohn’s, I felt really insecure. A few months in, after a treatment, I had trouble sleeping one night. My back was itching tremendously and no matter how much I scratched it would not get better. It felt like I was going insane, I felt uncomfortable staying in the apartment and I left early to take the first bus home, this was my first panic attack7.

There were no signs of eczema except the intense need to scratch. Before the panic attack I had already started skipping school, and after I stopped attending it completely. The panic attack made me insecure in a different way than previously, instead of feeling dumb I felt out of control, I didn’t trust myself anymore. My second panic attack happened the day I was going to get the second injection of remicade. This time I just stayed in the apartment, not leaving it until the next day.

It became apparent that I was not functioning well enough for high school and I quit after the first semester. January next year I started as a temp in a local IT shop. There I stayed until the summer came and I had new plans, to attend a folk high school8 studying in China. The remicade treatment was still effective and the panic attacks had stopped after I left high school. I regained some of my confidence. Eczema had shown itself between the treatments, but it was so minor that the symptoms quickly faded away after each injection.

Folk High School

China and Eastern culture have always fascinated me, so when I got a chance to go there I took it. I moved southeast and into a dormitory along with my fellow students. There was a lot less academic pressure in this study, much more relaxed than general high school, which suited me well. Still, I had an issue trusting myself. My remicade injections were now administered at the nearest city and I would still go there every three months. However, the eczema really started showing itself. It broke out on knees, on the back, and it would itch randomly all over the place. Sleep became a big issue and since the itching didn’t really stop, I became very conscious about it in daily life.

Every injection would again reverse the eczema, but after each one it would get back pretty quickly. I also started getting panic attacks again. The first one in about a year would happen during a school trip where I made up an excuse and got off in Oslo. From there I went to stay with my brother for about a week. During the second semester my eczema broke out really bad and I was hospitalized for sun treatment9. After the two week treatment I came back to the school fully rejuvenated and ready for the last months. The treatment had not only helped to curtail the eczema, I was also in an exceptionally good mood as well!

During the treatment I had laid plans for the next year. A private IT academy was located in the same city I stayed in and I took some tests to prove my qualifications. I could even jump a few years. The academy had also a branch in the city where my girlfriend came from, so naturally I moved there.

The Academy

I moved west to the coastal city of Bergen10 to attend the academy. She lived with her family while I rented an apartment downtown which was within walking distance. The eczema was swinging between dry and moist, and I did not go to any sun treatments this time. I was set in my ways of attending school and a general social anxiety11 had begun taking root. Outside school I wasn’t really socially active, even when the eczema was minor it was really annoying. I became more and more self-conscious about it and it became an obsession.

Gradually throughout the school year it would get worse. My obsession grew bigger and I started shutting out people in my life, even my girlfriend. After I had finished the academy and had gotten my diploma, I eventually decided to move north again to take sun treatments. This time around the sun treatments would not last long as they did before. Contending with the health issues I decided to end the relationship.

England

Between sun treatments and getting sick again, I spent my time in front of the trusty ol’ computer. My friends were scattered all around attending universities or college, I was stuck at home being sick. It became worse and worse and my circadian rhythm was disrupted. Going to sleep was extremely difficult and I would stay up as late as possible to get as tired as possible to avoid itching.

Treatment after treatment I would get good results extremely fast, but they would fade as quickly as they came. Between these treatments I had entered a relationship with a girl from England (I was early on the online dating scene) and I would visit her right after the treatments. The climate in England was much better and the effects from the sun treatments would last longer.

I became very emotionally attached to her, so when she broke up I was heartbroken. Dealing with the eczema was bad enough, so I dealt with both by sleeping all the time. For almost ten days I did not eat, drank water, and I slept as much as I could. After the ten days some of the worst feelings had subsided, but I was still an emotional mess. The eczema had somehow improved and it wasn’t as annoying as previously, although it was still very bad.

Around Christmas I got a new job as service manager at a local IT shop (think Best Buy or Computer World) and I moved to the same town where I once tried to re-take my classes. Because of the eczema I had a big procedure every day before going to work. It consisted of waking up at least 2-3 hours before I had to go, take a hot shower and then let the warm skin cool down before I could apply any moisture creams. After applying the creams I had to let it get pulled in before wearing any clothes or they would be ruined, or worse the areas would be annoyed and itchy.

Stavanger

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t really like that job, so I applied for a different one in the southwest12 and got it. In my new job I was working shifts, which meant an increase of salary, allowing me to travel more. My wake up routine would still be the same, and I did not trust the health care system anymore, so I decided I had to figure this out on my own. Traveling became one of my hobbies and along with it the interest in photography.

Every time I traveled I would feel uplifted and much more relaxed, the eczema would get much better although not perfect by any means. I thought it was the climate as it would always get worse when I got home except for the summer or late spring. I enjoyed the new job I had, but I was not really that social outside of it, though for me at that time it was good enough.

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After 18 months I felt like I wasn’t making any improvements on my health. I had proven to myself that I could get a good job and earn a decent living, but looking to the future I could not settle with the current health problems. Something had to be done, so I quit my job and went for a three month trip to the USA.

Coming to America

The trip was fairly planned out as I was going all over the place, from Chicago to Denver, to San Francisco to Seattle, to New York and Florida and then back north. Although a lot was planned, I wasn’t entirely sure where to begin regarding health, so I decided to just leave that be and see what happened. Traveling while still having health issues did impact the journey somewhat, but it was always a bit better coping with it in a foreign country.

First I landed in Chicago and spent the night there, next morning I took the train going to Denver which lasted about 18 hours. I’d spend about a week there before heading over to San Francisco, I was attending the 20th anniversary of Photoshop. Arriving there in late February wasn’t exactly the warmest, though compared to Norway at the time it felt like late spring.

Between the Napa Valley vineyards and the Seattle coffee shops, I did not really spend much time focusing on health. That focus came on the end when I stayed in Daytona Beach, right after Photoshop World13 in Orlando. I had a few weeks left until I was going home again, my thoughts reflected upon the decisions to quit and spend my money coming here, was it all a waste?

My primary goal had not yet been fulfilled, the trip though, would in the end be a success. Before going back I visited some friends that told me about a diet that consisted basically of meat, fish and vegetables. They didn’t have a specific name for it, but they could easily have called it low-carb paleo. There was no specific information given about gluten nor grains, so I did not decide to convert completely and instead up my intake of vegetables and meat in general.

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Back to Norway

I arrived in Norway early May, the time when it’s warm enough outside to be comfortable in a t-shirt (if you’re lucky). The next couple of months I changed my diet a little and began exercising. In short of just two months a tremendous change had happened. For a very long time, since I was about 18, I would wake up feeling awful with a strong need to take a shower to deal with the skin irritation. One early morning in July, I woke up feeling just refreshed and okay. No need to take a shower, no bad or annoying feelings in general, I was just fine.

I had exercised three times a week (full body routine on Mon, Wed, Fri) along with some cardio and walking in the mountains, each day gradually improving the skin. I would look okay after waking up, but I still felt a strong need to take that shower since it was still itching. This day, at 5AM, I just woke up and went to the gym. This instilled the confidence that I was certainly on the right track.

It was time to find a new job, and by coincidence, I got one in the same town southeast where I had previously quit the last one. The job was still in IT, but it was not the same shift work, working nights and weekends weren’t my cup of tea anymore. With my newly found improved health I became more obsessed about it and I finally read The Paleo Solution14 by Robb Wolf15 and decided to go gluten free. My exercise regimen also increased, I wanted to get bigger and stronger.

Social activities were still neglected as ever before. I felt I didn’t have the time for it and I knew how bad alcohol could affect me so parties weren’t really a solution. After a few months in the new job I realized once again that I didn’t like the job I had taken. Not liking the job I had together with my obsession of getting bigger and stronger, was a good recipe for depression. In the end I was so unhappy that I was looking for any opportunity I could find, which I found during my summer vacation in the north.

Moving back to old friends and family seemed like a good idea, so I went for it. This new job as IT manager and support became much more stressful than I had thought. The work place was more chaotic and hectic than I was used to, every day I would be really tired early evening, and no matter how I exercised there was no improvement. I became really angry at myself for putting myself in this position. Outside work I didn’t have any concentration to use my brain for reading or anything else. This work became my life and I didn’t enjoy the work.

Something had to be done, it was increasingly tearing me apart that I had gotten my health back, just so I could feel tired every day. Simply existing wasn’t an improvement from dealing with the eczema, both resulted in being angry and depressed. This led to me quitting the job which leads me to today.

Looking Back

It has been a couple of months since I left that job. The last two years, changing several jobs and the stress, made me realize that I should take a step back and get a broader view. That new view gave the understanding that I really didn’t know myself for all of those years. Besides travel and coming back to Norway, I never took any time to relax. From going to the academy to the last job, almost every decision I took was misguided. Be it a need to make up for lost time, or simply the hope of escaping to something better, the decisions were made on the wrong basis.

The last months, and especially the last three weeks, have been a journey of learning more about myself. I won’t say no to a trip to some foreign mystical country (travel is still a lot of fun) to find out who I am, but that has not been needed in this case. A lot of the information came from Mark’s books (The Primal Blueprint16 and The Primal Connection), which gave me a necessary insight about what inputs to give the body and mind. Much of the time I have had the “oh, this will surely make everything fantastic!” approach, where I ended up neglecting a lot of other areas in my life. Now I realize that there must be a balance.

Reading the books, especially The Primal Connection, gave me a lot of info to structure my life around. I’m the type who likes a framework to live by, and I have always had certain principles in my life, many of which I have not adhered to sufficiently. This would result in feeling bad about not eating good enough, or not being honest to myself, or knowing that I neglected friends and family. Yup, basically a giant briefcase of reasons I could open up and pick whatever I wanted to feel bad about.

That giant briefcase has been left behind, the worst is over, and I must look forward. This self-realization has made me more honest to myself and others, where I get more insight about who I am each day. The layers of the onion are slowly being peeled off, revealing more as each day goes by. Important things, like just understanding your own character, your own principles and what you stand for. Not only does it give you a greater confidence, but also makes you more relaxed since there is less doubt about which course of action to take. It’s building a framework to live within. Most people already have it, though I am willing to bet that people afflicted with health issues over several years will feel differently.

Throughout I have learned a lot about myself, many experiences about what did work and what did not. It taught me the importance of being diligent and honest, to take a good look in the mirror and realize what one has to do. Whether it is finally coming to terms that using butter with every meal doesn’t work or that I’m grumpy and easily a bit negative whenever my blood sugar is a bit low. It’s good to know that certain behaviors can be adjusted and improved upon. Food has of course shown itself to be extremely important, but getting sun exposure is easily another big part of the puzzle. A third is correct exercise and stress management. That again can be extrapolated to having sufficient time to eat and relax before going to work, or cutting down on certain activities or actually being more honest about what you feel to people. Or simply not drinking 15 cups of coffee no matter how much you love that freshly roasted java.

One last topic has been on my mind for a very long time, making a living. Previous jobs taught me a few things about what I really don’t want. The experiences also gave pointers on how I probably should live my life as well. Constant stress, for instance, creates a downward spiral and I easily become depressed, tired and overall sad. The chatter in my brain starts and a lot of negativity spirals out of control. Although my health is pretty good, I’m a bit sensitive to some types of stress and I must realize that this can either take a very long time to fix, or maybe it won’t be fixed at all.

I have gone through this in my head several times, I’m really nervous even typing this, but I’m gonna make my own podcast17. If I succeed, I will be able to support the lifestyle necessary for my well being. I’m scared, really scared, but I know it is the best option for me to help others and myself at the same time. It will most likely be in Norwegian and about health, self-improvement and lifestyle.

At last, I want to share a few insights about certain lifestyle changes I have made that have been very successful for me:

First, getting decent sleep and waking up properly is just really important. I got a wake-up light lamp18 that has made that part very easy, and every morning I either do a 40 minutes Qi Gong19 routine or a walk to wake up the body. If I skip this for some reason I have a strong tendency to have issues digesting the first meal of the day, it simply doesn’t sit well with me and my temper may suffer too.

If I go out for a drink (usually red wine or NorCal Margarita) I take a histamine pill to avoid any issues, and I always bring food to eat (grapes, nuts etc) as I usually get hungry. Eating a decent protein-laden meal will also be quite helpful, I never get hung over.

Chill out, don’t be so hard on yourself. If you are angry, realize that you are angry and do some deep breathing. When I catch myself being angry I sometimes put on certain music or listen to Alan Watts’ lectures20 on YouTube. Don’t give it more attention than necessary, don’t give in to the stress.

Be honest and open, challenge yourself and be a bit playful in daily life. If life is a game, then we must dance to the song that is being played. My determination for creating a podcast and hopefully making a living by doing so, has created a lot of challenges for me to go through. Everything from finding a format I am comfortable with, to challenging my own knowledge and setting up hardware and software. I have gone through entire days criticizing everything I do because I am a bit of a perfectionist, but as John Cleese talks about in a presentation about creativity21 (referring to the creative process, recommended!), you have to allow yourself to go through that to be creative. And the longer you spend on that process, the more original the solution will be. Sometimes it feels like I have no idea what I am doing, or how to go about things and it is just very uncomfortable and I really feel anxious. Each time I learn something more about myself, each time I improve and find a new piece to finish one of my internal puzzles, and in the end I am happy for doing so.

This drive has led me to talk candidly to strangers I meet when going to parties or other social situations, they reciprocate by telling their own stories and issues. Such responses have given me a greater confidence in the podcast, that there is an audience for it, that people care and want to know. Challenging myself to be more open, to dig deeper, shows me that I have yet to resolve certain things in my past that I will talk about in the podcast. Situations about being given a diagnosis, having issues with panic attacks and so on, is very helpful to talk about even if I don’t have the same problems now. If there is one major thing I have learned, it is that you have no idea how messed up you may be. A messy home may not bother you, but once it is cleaned and nice you feel very different and maybe even uplifted. The same goes for past experiences, it may be worthwhile to talk or write about it to get a certain perspective, or catch the essence of what happened.

The last item on the list is that supplements can not replace good habits or good nutrition. I take probiotic pills, my Vitamin D (regularly), Omega 3s, Quercitin and L-glutamine as my go-to protocol when I suspect accidental gluten consumption or anything of that kind. I have had no success supplementing my way into eating whatever I want all the time, it is not a viable long term strategy. If this means giving up that one piece of chocolate (even if it is 85% cocoa) with your daily coffee, or even your daily coffee, so be it. It is not worth the money, nor the effort and stress that goes along with it as you will always be slightly uncertain about what you can and can not eat. Once in a while is fine (except gluten of course) if you’re overall healthy, making a habit of it is not.

A big thanks to Mark Sisson for letting me share my story, the information from the books have been invaluable, giving me the necessary insight about how I function. I came from being stressed out with no particular insight about the future, to having learned so much about myself in record time. Now a new and greater journey in my life can begin.

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If anyone wants to contact me regarding this article or the podcast, whether it is a friendly hello, sponsorship or specific questions, please send an email to article@engodkopp.net.

Roar Lochar

References:

  1. Atopic Dermatitis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atopic_dermatitis
  2. LAN Parties: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_party
  3. Hives: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hives
  4. Crohn’s Disease: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crohn%27s_disease
  5. Prednisone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prednisone
  6. Remicade: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remicade
  7. Panic Attacks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_attack
  8. Folk High School: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_high_school
  9. Sun Treatment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atopic_dermatitis#UV_light_therapy
  10. Bergen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen
  11. Social Anxiety: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_anxiety
  12. Stavanger: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stavanger
  13. Photoshop World: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Association_of_Photoshop_Professionals#Photoshop_World_Conference_and_Expo
  14. The Paleo Solution: http://robbwolf.com/shop/products/the-paleo-solution-the-original-human-diet/
  15. Robb Wolf: http://robbwolf.com
  16. The Primal Blueprint: http://www.primalblueprint.com/product/The_Primal_Blueprint_Updated_and_Expanded_Paperback_Edition/Books_and_Media
  17. Podcast: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast
  18. Wake-up Light: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=wake+up+light
  19. Qi Gong: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gong-Fire-Water-Matthew-Cohen/dp/B000TGL9XC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389792794&sr=8-1&keywords=matthew+cohen+qigong
  20. Alan Watts’ Lectures: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC848b72MStS_1twAV97p0yQ
  21. John Cleese on Creativity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU5x1Ea7NjQ

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. wow! maybe while you’re at it, you could write a book, too about your experiences. Congrats!

    Erin wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Hi, and thanks!

      Writing is both fun and challenging at the same time, but mostly challenging. I might be writing a book in the future, but I want more experiences to write about before doing so… :)

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
  2. Glad you finally found good health through the primal lifestyle. As well as the energy to type all of that.

    MattyC wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks!

      Ironically it took more energy reducing the amount of content than writing it! ;)

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
  3. I wish you the best of luck with your podcast. It’s really awesome that you’re doing that. I have crohn’s and take remicade. I really wish more people with crohn’s would try paleo. It seems like such a hopeless medical problem, but paleo could be lifechanging for so many people who are sick, sad, and in constant pain. It’s really great that you’re sharing your story and enjoy your better health, better attitude, and better life :)

    Melissa wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thank you!

      These days I am in the camp of “How great can I feel, look and be?”, thriving instead of just surviving. That experience, along with finding new or improved ways of living, will be the foundation of the podcast. I talk more about this with people in daily life, and I see they are afraid and inspired at the same time. There is much to learn and a lot of teach. It will be interesting to see how I can translate this knowledge into something anyone can apply.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
  4. I was so excited to read that this article was written by a Norwegian! Having lived in Norway on three separate occasions during my life (Dad’s sabbatical age 11, folkehøgskole (19), and study abroad (21) ) I find it very interesting to hear your perspectives and especially where now you feel more comfortable talking with strangers! Norwegians are not typically known for striking up random conversations- especially outside of parties! It is also a culture which relies a lot on bread and grains in general. Have you been having difficulties finding groceries for certain recipes?

    Elisa wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Yup, we certainly have that reputation! And we basically only eat wheat / grains outside dinner (which usually has those ingredients as well), it’s a tough challenge!

      It has been difficult to find certain vegetables, cuts of meat and fruits. They have translated some paleo cookbooks (Mark’s and Jennifer’s), and I usually translate a few myself. Outside that I have a tendency to grab some meat, fry it, eat raw vegetables and small portions of fruit. Depends on what my focus is for the day.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
      • Congrats on your renewed health….

        marsha williams wrote on April 11th, 2014
        • Thanks!

          Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
  5. Awesome paleo name :)

    Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks, I was lucky with that one ;)

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
  6. Great story. Thanks for providing such a detailed account and all of the references. Congratulations on having gained so much perspective about yourself at a relatively young age. Best wishes for continued success with your health and your podcast!

    Bebe wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thank you!

      Writing the article became an exercise in both sharing my story and creating the style I want for my podcast. I’m not the type to throw stuff out there (unless I am being creative), so providing references and details are important. Substance is key, to tell a compelling story, but also inspire and provoke thoughts.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
  7. Very nice, Roar. It is wonderful to read about your journey, and thank you for talking about quiet time to get to know yourself. I too agree that is a very important piece of the puzzle it is to be human. All the best on your continued progress!

    Julie wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thank you Julie!

      My ever continuation of self-realization has shown that you never know how good things could be. You never know how strong you can be, how skilled you can be, how fast you can. There are of course diminishing returns on the time invested if taken too far. But there are so many avenues of life, people to meet, skills to acquire, countries to visit, personal areas to advance, that there are always something to experience. Not for the sake of “becoming perfect”, but to destroy self-conceived notions and restrictions of “who I am”, and instead ask; Who can I truly become and what can I experience?

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
      • Take that attitude to a podcast and you’ve got a sure winner!

        Chica wrote on April 11th, 2014
  8. I’m changing my name to Roar. We have very similar last names (Lorcher).

    Trent wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Haha, thanks Trent!

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  9. Hi, that was a really thought provoking story. I do a lot of self evaluation myself and really enjoyed the insight into your thougt process.

    I can’t imagine having to get through the personal sickness. Glad you’re coming out with positivity to share to the world!

    Luke wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks Luke,

      Thought provoking was one of the things I was going for!

      It’s a bit strange going through my own history, I feel different, and I was quite different, having those problems. Like one seems to think that this feeling or situation will exist forever (guess love is the typical feeling for this), while everything in life is ever-changing in one way or another, whether positive or negative. Becoming aware of that was one of the biggest lessons in this, and one that made me quite positive about it all.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
  10. Congratulations! Beautiful pictures!

    Emily wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks Emily!

      Photography is one of those “be in the moment activities” that I love, a fun skill to hone!

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  11. You are a brother from another mother – I am of Norwegian heritage as well, and I really related to much of your emotional situations. What really resonated with me was this:

    “I’m the type who likes a framework to live by, and I have always had certain principles in my life, many of which I have not adhered to sufficiently. This would result in feeling bad about not eating good enough, or not being honest to myself, or knowing that I neglected friends and family. Yup, basically a giant briefcase of reasons I could open up and pick whatever I wanted to feel bad about.”

    I struggle with this all the time, and in fact, am in the middle of another “crisis” because I am not doing the actions in my life that I know will lead me to being happier and healthier. And I beat myself up for it all the time…. Guess I really need to work on ditching that damn briefcase.

    Looking forward to your pod cast!

    KariVery wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Aside from changing the lifestyle that eventually stopped that way of thinking, I also started getting things out of my mind. Same principles as in cognitive therapy about writing down your thoughts and looking at them later. I do that with my own journal, but also with the general busy-ness of life. If you do not have the aspect of every day life on cruise control, you won’t have enough capacity to think on a higher level. If you want to learn more I’d highly recommend Getting Things Done by David Allen. A lot of info is on YouTube and there’s an audio interview with Merlin Mann on 43folders.com that is a great listen.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
      • Thanks, I’ll check those out!

        KariVery wrote on April 13th, 2014
  12. Very well written, and good luck to you!

    ria wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks!

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  13. Gratulerer med suksess, Roar!

    My dad was Norwegian, and I’ve spent some time in Norway with relatives, so I have a fair idea of the culture and lifestyle that pushed you into bad health. My Norwegian family seems to have had more than its share of physical and mental health issues, from schizophrenia, agoraphobia and severe depression to morbid obesity and early, aggressive cancers. Fortunately, one of my cousins has adopted a low-carb, mostly paleo/primal diet and is doing much better after two fights with breast cancer. She has not had great success converting others, however.

    Your podcast is a great idea, to help reach all those people who are struggling with health issues induced by entrenched cultural habits. Although I consider the Standard Norwegian Diet to be superior to the Standard American Diet in many ways, junk food is universally awful for us and, even in Norway, there is indeed a great reliance on bread and potatoes in all their myriad forms. And lots of Norsk folks, like my dad, have incredible sweet tooths. ;-)

    You are surely aware of Andreas Eenfeldt (yes, I know he’s Swedish, but we can forgive him) and his campaign to get Scandinavians off simple carbohydrates and grains. He still meets resistance. Adding an additional voice — especially a voice of personal experience — would be a wonderful service to others.

    I occasionally listen to Abel James’ podcasts (see fatburningman.com). Like you, he’s young (29, I believe) and like you, he faced lots of health issues before finding a paleo/primal lifestyle. His formula for the podcast, bringing in experts via skype and tapping in to their knowledge and experience, works very well. If you could do the same thing in Norway, think of what a difference you could make getting out the message of thriving health! Go for it!

    Chica wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Living in Norway (geographically) is probably not that great for most Norwegians. The lack of sun and long winters, little to no Vitamin D and too much wheat / grain, is surely a great recipe for having problems (at least in the long run) either mentally or physically (or both). I reckon that our sweet tooth (I had several) is due to this lack of Vitamin D and some cultural factors, but mostly Vitamin D, self-medication. As we are getting closer to summer I feel automatically different from just a month ago, just like I see people around me “sprouting” in the same sense.

      Thanks for letting me know about Andreas! He seems to be a great guest on my podcast! And Abel James too, I’ll look into his work.

      Still working on the format for the podcast, but you are right in line with my thinking. The content will come from guests, self-experimentation (with info from books) and questions mostly. There is enough information to do this quite a while!

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
  14. What happened to your Crohn’s Disease? My husband has Crohn’s, has remicade infusions every 10 weeks and has had his colon and some of his small bowel removed. (He has an ostomy.) He says that since Crohn’s is auto-immune there is no cure. We do try to eat Primal at home now to the extent we can. I’m interested in knowing if your Crohn’s symptoms have gone away.

    Ruth wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Crohn’s, it is not there, not as I can feel it in any way. If I accidentally get poisioned with gluten I get rashes, while the Crohns is not an issue at all. Since I do not experience any of the symptoms even if gluten is consumed (I have experimented), I consider myself to not have it at all. Compared to the eczema it was nothing. My recommendation would be to go on an autoimmune version with no nightshades and nutrient dense foods, get that 3-5 hours of walking and sprint / lift heavy things if possible. Think of it as healing the gut and then strengthening it. Maybe wait a little with sprinting and lifting heavy things until a couple of weeks (or months) in and things are much better. And get great sleep, stress management is so important.

      I never liked the notion of no cure, it is limiting and people just give up on improving because they think “there is nothing I can do”. It is a major disservice that the medical industry is putting on people. “Sorry, you’re f*****, and we can’t do anything about it.” They said that to me about my eczema, I didn’t believe them. Sorry for the harsh language, but every fiber in my very being is against such nonsense. Everything can get better, one just have to find the way.

      There can certainly be stages to the improvement, but first of all heal the gut. I got a huge boost when I changed my diet, then I got a huge boost when I exercised correctly. Practical Paleo’s version of autoimmune protocol is the one I use when I get gluten-poisoned, I’d start there.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • I used to work with a girl who put her Crohn’s into remission using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (without any drugs btw). Ten years on she is still healthy and has had two children!

      Susan wrote on April 13th, 2014
      • I looked into it briefly, I don’t eat everything on that the list (http://scdlifestyle.com/about-the-scd-diet/), but it seems to be quite Paleo 2.0 friendly! :) Glad to hear that she is doing so well!

        Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
      • Thank you for your responses (re: Crohn’s) I need to do some more reading, but if we can heal whatever gut my husband has left, that would be a good thing! At his age (67), though, I may not get him to change the way he eats, we’ll see — I’m the family cook!

        Ruth wrote on April 14th, 2014
        • PS to my above remarks: My DH can’t lift heavy things. He has had too many abdominal surgeries.

          Ruth wrote on April 14th, 2014
        • Remember bone broth and sauerkraut! :)

          Roar Lochar wrote on April 17th, 2014
  15. Great Pictures of your Journey through life. The story of you healing yourselves after the doctors fail has become something that is normal in our community. I listen to Podcasts to gather information since I have learned abut the primal / paleo world 6 months ago. Reading stories like yours on Friday’s are a highlight to finish off the work week so thank you for sharing. I am sure you will have success in sharing information in your podcast and wish you the best. Your looking good and I can see you changing many peoples lives.

    ZugZug wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks ZugZug!

      It’s important to get this information out there. The Success Stories on this and other sites are paramount because it reveals how people from all walks of life, situations and issues, find health doing the same basic things.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  16. Roar, you have the most epic name ever!

    I’m just curious, in what way did you find the US different, culturally, from Norway during your visit?

    Miryem wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks Miryem!

      It is quite different from Norway, and the US can of course be very different state from state too. Before I went, I looked up the size of the US, and it is around 90% of the size of Europe. It is bound to be culturally different within itself.

      Coming from Norway I found people to be easier to talk to, the social politeness and small talk is better (we just talk about the damn weather!). When you talk to people they have a tendency to think things are cool instead of “oh, okay” which can be the reaction in Norway. Swedes are also much more up beat.

      Would have loved to visit more of the L48 states, well all of the states actually. San Francisco was relaxing and peaceful, New York and Chicago felt “too busy” for my taste, Denver seemed nice, but I should have went there later in the year. Seattle had a climate that reminded me a bit of Norway. Florida was just nice, laying on the beach for several weeks straight was a godsend.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 12th, 2014
  17. Wonderful writing – thank you for sharing, Roar.

    I’m glad you are finally on the road of thriving in life – I am twice your age and can tell you without any hype that life can get better and better. But if you are not physically and mentally healthy, there is no way to thrive – no way to have a better life.

    Maybe you can become the Mark Sisson of Scandinavia!

    On a different note – you are such a prolific writer and mention that you like photography as well, that I highly recommend Tumblr’s short-form blogging and photo platform.

    Pure Hapa wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks!

      I feel the same way too, things can get better and better. It is a personal and now a professional mission at the same time. There are quite a few areas one can improve in life, I’ll seek em all out!

      Wow, that’s a high bar to set, but I like a challenge! ;)

      Thanks for the recommendation! I have already decided on SquareSpace and I probably will have some articles and pictures there too between shows. It’s an interesting thought to have a Tumblr blog, but I don’t want to stretch myself too thin.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 12th, 2014
  18. its a fantastic journy of learning of self discovery. Keep it up and enjoy the wonders of who you are and how your environment effects you and how you can positivly effect it.
    I ate lambs liver and green lip mussels for dinner last night (I am from New Zealand) never though I would get that far……back to the bone broth mmmmmmm

    Dianje wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks for sharing! One of my current goals is to eat more nutrient dense food, starting with bone broth today. Next is liver and then other organs, maybe even heart!

      New Zealand is so on my bucket list “Places to Travel”, blame Peter Jackson for that. ;)

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 12th, 2014
      • The bone broth is great. Use joint bones and brown in the oven first- slow cook with an onion, carrot and even sea weed (for the iodine) with about 1 cup of white vinegar…cook in slow cooker on low for a few days. Sieve and put in jars int he fridge….I take of the top fat when cold. You are left with a gelatinous good when cold. I put it in a cup and heat it in the microwave. mmmm.
        Lamb liver is less strong than beef so start with that. Hear kebab has been on the menu here once too.
        Thats my tips for the above.
        We are about to sit down to some fresh Bluff oysters- they seam to cost as much as gold so now we will have to eat them.
        Good luck with it all and do come to NZ one day- it is a great place.

        Dianje wrote on April 12th, 2014
        • Just cooked my bone broth for almost two days. The taste is so good it is ridiculous in comparison to the energy used to make it. I’ll be having my crockpot on 24/7 it seems. We got some elk also and this hunting season (autumn) I’ll see if I can do something special with it. Also looking more and more after livers, not easy to come by in the stores unfortunately.

          Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  19. That is quite a journey, Roar. All the best to your new (and exciting) endeavors.

    James wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Thanks James!

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  20. Roar,
    You have all that wonderful cold-water fish off Norway’s coast — I hope you exploit that fantastic health resource as much as possible! I think you may also have some great fermented, pasture-fed dairy foods too, like the Swedes. Just trying to say that, in spite of too much high-glycemic food (sweets, bread, etc.), the Scandinavian diet also has some potential strong points. And you could turn all those potatoes into beneficial Paleo-friendly resistant starch, as explained in recent MDA posts. That would be an easy change. Best of luck! All that Nordic methodical thinking — and great health too! Good job!

    maidel wrote on April 11th, 2014
    • Hi maidel,

      I haven’t been that eager to eat fish throughout my whole life, and the fish I ate was usually tainted with wheat or grains in some way. I take supplements for it, but I am introducing fish more and more, a few good recipes and I’m good.

      Fermented dairy is always nice, along with our famous (for good or bad) brown cheese!

      Lots of potatoes, that’s for sure! We eat loads of wheat and grain for most of our meals, and every dinner is usually laden with potatoes… I am doing the resistant starch experimentation and doing great losing body fat. Could have added a LGN pic (look good naked), but I’ll save that for a few more weeks and tweet it.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 12th, 2014
    • Maidel, your observation that “in spite of too much high-glycemic food (sweets, bread, etc.), the Scandinavian diet also has some potential strong points’ is an interesting one. I think similar comments would apply to other Northern European diets.
      In this context of those who registered with Ancestral Weight Loss Registry (awlr.org) an almost neat 90% gave their ethnicity or ethnic derivation as white European. IMO this is because, in my observation, that Europe, even Southern Europe is not quite so highly grain based as other cultures, especially since the introduction of the potato in the 16th century. Hence going Primal-Paleo would be much less of a challenge for a Norwegian than it would be for say an Indian (‘Indian’ here also covers Pakistan and Bangladesh) or a Middle Easterner.

      Paul in Australia wrote on April 13th, 2014
  21. WOW! Great story, deep and interesting to read too! Good luck with your podcast. Wish my name was “Roar”. -Marc

    marc wrote on April 12th, 2014
    • Hi Marc and thanks!

      Glad you liked it so much, Marc is also a cool name. :)

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  22. - fabulous article – i’m so impressed with how clearly you think and can describe the multifaceted breakdown and recovery – i’m 54 and still looking – will read recommended – thanks

    bridget moreland wrote on April 12th, 2014
    • Thanks Bridget!

      My problems were multi-layered, but most of them vanished with good food and paleo. I have had a tendency to think and feel that everything was more complex than necessary, so my mindset went under a huge change along passively with the lifestyle.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  23. Congrats on regaining your health. You are a testament to the power of paleo. Good luck to you with all your future endeavors

    Mark wrote on April 12th, 2014
    • Thanks Mark,

      I certainly have felt the power of paleo and I’ll work towards bringing that information and more to others!

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  24. Dear Roar,

    Thanks for sharing your compellingly written story. You really have a knack for drawing the reader into your life, and I’m glad that it’s getting better.

    What we eat and how it makes us feel is so closely entwined to our identity. At first, that was frightening, but I’m coming to realize it is also liberating: a chance to be someone you were never capable of before. I love that there are so many of us experiencing our personal transformations this way, but are united by the same tastes and discoveries.

    And what a darling picture. Love the sparkle in your eye.

    Lex wrote on April 12th, 2014
    • Thank you Lex!

      Happy to hear that you enjoyed my writing, my intention was accomplished! I really enjoy good writing, so I wanted to give the same experience to the readers here. :)

      It’s almost difficult to remember how I identified myself with certain things, food, experiences etc. Now I see everything a bit more like data, just input of experiences to draw from, experiences to learn from. That is why I also feel empowered and capable to do my podcast and company, I can’t fail no matter the outcome.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  25. Not quite reached there yet, found this recount truly inspiring and honest.

    JCANNING wrote on April 13th, 2014
    • Thank you, happy to hear you found it inspiring!

      I do a weekly review of all my activities (personal and business wise), where I look through all aspects of my life. I see if there is anything I ought to change with certain aspect, learn new recipes or include certain ingredients for example. It is easy to be on track and give yourself breathing room. If you desire to improve, be mindful when you have desires of food you shouldn’t eat and write it down. You can still eat it, but look at what you wrote during the review, your internal process will most likely change and you’ll both forgive yourself and move on at the same time. I really recommend it! :)

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  26. Amazing story! I can relate to the late nights and constant online video gaming as I was an addicted gamer in high school. It wrecked havoc on my eyesight and my health.

    Benjamin wrote on April 13th, 2014
    • Thanks!

      I have thought more than once, how my life be if I grew up 10 years earlier? It is a bit strange to know it would have been differently, but as we learned those lessons, so can we pass them on to people today and help them avoid making the same mistakes.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 14th, 2014
  27. Roar, this was a beautiful and very honest essay. Thank you for writing it and for sharing such personal thoughts. You have definitely inspired me. You also look vibrant and healthy.
    I do find that self reflection is important, and that implementing positive behavioral changes brings a sense of self esteem that I am not able to get from other means.

    Amy wrote on April 14th, 2014
    • Hi Amy!

      Thank you for your comment, I agree that there is a special kind of strength that comes from achieving such positive changes. It is not that strange when some people are so confused about food, they think they understand, but they do not get the results. When both are aligned you feel great and empowered by it. You trust yourself on a deeper level, a level we are meant to trust ourselves when it comes to the basics of life and especially food.

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 17th, 2014
  28. Thanks, My “doc”is anti everything. You’ve giving me “reinforcement” to say.
    “thanks but no thanks”!

    reinkefj wrote on April 16th, 2014
    • Wow! Just remember to not go overboard with a few things like I did. ;)

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 17th, 2014
  29. Dear Roar,

    It’s been said many times already but I’ll say it again, “I really love your name.” Pre-destined?? My name is Scandinavian but I was born in Jamaica, grew up in Canada and live in France.
    Your story really spoke to me. It was a true a

    Ingrid wrote on April 17th, 2014
  30. Dear Roar,

    It’s been said many times already, but I’ll say it again: “I love your name.” Predestined? ;-). My name is Scandinavian but I’m Jamaican born, grew up in Canada

    Ingrid wrote on April 17th, 2014
  31. I would just like to say well done!

    It was a very inspirational read. I tend to fall off the wagon quite a lot and it helps to read stories like yours. It remind me of how I want to be.
    And it was so nice to see pictures from Stavanger. It’s my hometown actually(I’m currently living in England).

    Kristin wrote on April 27th, 2014
    • Hi Kristin!

      Thank you, nice to hear that!

      Falling off the wagon is about realizing how you think under certain circumstances. There have been numerous times when I felt good enough, making certain choices like drinking a lot of coffee and eating certain things was “okay” in my mind. Afterwards I would either feel bad or get bad results later on, so the game changed accordingly.

      The greatest discipline in this is to remain diligent when you are doing good, not giving into the habits that spirals out of control. Making clear edges helps a lot, as in no coffee, no simple sugar, no gluten. If you have to fight yourself every day, you are taking away resources for other things you probably should be doing, and eventually you will give in.

      Stavanger reminds me a bit of Brighton and Southampton in a way, you don’t live in any of those two cities by any chance? :)

      Roar Lochar wrote on April 29th, 2014
      • You’re very welcome. :)

        Thanks for the advice.
        I’m an emotional eater, and turn to food(cakes mostly) for comfort when life is crap. It’s not an easy habit to change, but at the moment I’m in a very good place and it’s easy to eat well. Hope it lasts!

        I’ve been to both Brighton and Southampton, but unfortunately I don’t live there. I live in a small town in Essex. It’s not as nice as Brighton, but it’s not the worst place to be.
        I much prefer the weather here. :D

        Kristin wrote on April 29th, 2014
  32. You’ve said it, but I wanted to underline it: if one has “eczema,” it’s probably dermatitis herpetiformis (caused by celiac), and one should not consume ANY gluten. And it can take many years to recover (I’ve been gluten-free 3 years now & my symptoms are slowly but surely fading away). It is well worth avoiding gluten!!! Thanks for sharing, Roar!

    Teresa Ensslin wrote on May 18th, 2014
    • Thanks for your insight!

      I am these days committed to removing as much body fast as possible. Mostly because I want to know that there are no deposits of gluten waiting to catch me off-guard. There have been some small rashes, so my theory seems to be working. Staying diligent over a longer period of time is really necessary, and soaking up as much vitamin D (or supplementing sufficiently) becomes a sure way to have great health. It is all about how much easier you can make it for your body to recover and function.

      Roar Lochar wrote on May 26th, 2014

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