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Hi Mark,

I’m writing in to tell you that I am one of those 10 million people who you have helped out. Here is my story.

My name is Joe and I’m 25 years old. More than a year ago I started suffering from extreme depression that was so bad I started to question my very existence and at times didn’t even want to get out of bed. Hoping to not have to resort to antidepressants, I began searching for home remedies. This was when I discovered that depression may have a dietary cause. I decided to try changing my diet, because the one I had been eating my entire life was BAD! I was literally living off of pizza, Peanut Butter M&Ms, Nutella, 2 cans of Sprite a day, and McDonald’s three times a week!

First I read about the Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain, and I began following his suggestions. I began by totally eliminating soda from my diet; I don’t even drink diet soda. Next I eliminated wheat, followed by all other grains and then legumes. Finally, I completely gave up eating fast food and processed foods. At this point I was eating a diet comprised of lean meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, almonds, fish, and water; as well as using vegetable oils to cook. I was feeling a bit better, but still, I felt like something was missing.

I began to realize that I felt my worst after eating high-sugar fruit. I would feel really happy for about 20 minutes, and then feel depressed for over an hour. After some research, I decided to limit my fruit intake in order to control my insulin spikes, and that made me feel so much better. Paleo Diet Flaw #1: It makes it seem like eating unlimited fruit is okay, when in reality that causes insulin spikes!

Next, I was trying to figure out how to bring down the cost of my diet. Because Cordain recommends little to no saturated fat, I was getting all my daily fat intake through almonds, and they are expensive! Thanks to my avoidance of saturated fat, I was spending probably more than $10 a day on food. I began searching for information on saturated fat to see if maybe a little wouldn’t hurt, and that’s when I found your primer on saturated fat located at http://www.marksdailyapple.com/saturated-fat-healthy/ .

This was my first visit to your website, and after realizing that saturated fats were actually GOOD for you, I began to buy fattier (and therefore cheaper) cuts of meat as well as cooking my food in lard and butter; things I previously avoided. I also stopped using vegetable oils (except coconut oil) to cook after reading your primer on different types of oils. I began to feel even better than when I was stuffing myself with almonds (although I still try to eat a handful every day as they are healthy for you.) Paleo Diet Flaw #2: Cordain claims saturated fat is the enemy, when in reality it’s your best friend!

Even though I was feeling so much better, I still had depressive moments until I read your primer on intermittent fasting and gave it a try. After all, it made sense to me; Grok would occasionally have had days of little to no food. I began doing alternate day fasting; 24 hours of no food and only water, followed by 24 hours of unlimited (but Primal) food. After only two weeks, I felt like I hadn’t felt since before my depression started! I was actually enjoying life again and thanking God for giving me my life back! In addition, although fat loss was not my goal, I shrunk from a 36-inch waist to a 31-inch waist! Be careful Mark or I might take you to court demanding that you pay for all the new clothes I had to buy!

I believe that my depression was caused by years of bad eating; this resulted in severe inflammation which was corrected through proper eating and intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is a wonderful tool and I believe that everyone should try it; it just might be what it takes to get you over the hump as it did in my case.

Nowadays my diet is about 70-80% calories from fat, and I try to eat about 70g of protein a day. I’m not doing any seriously heavy lifting (that’s next on my list of Primal things to tackle); although I do walk to work instead of driving, which is 3 miles each way, so I get 6 miles of walking on days that I work, which is 5 days a week, making for 30 total miles of walking a week. I have a simple rule: the only foods I put into my body must either be an animal product, a fruit, a vegetable, or a tree nut; and the only thing I drink is water. No grains, no legumes, no fast food, no processed food, no soda, no soy; none of that garbage!

Everytime I go to the supermarket and buy all my high-fat stuff, I always get some sort of comment along the lines of “hope you love your quadruple-bypass surgery.” I always turn around and tell them the truth about saturated fat…and then I tell them to visit Mark’s Daily Apple! Some of them are intrigued and actually listen to me; but most just call me a hack and look at me like the biggest idiot in the world. All I know is that if I keep eating like this, I won’t be needing bypass surgery anytime soon; they with their mountains of bread and pasta and high-sugar candies are the ones who are going to be needing it!

To people just starting out on the Primal Lifestyle, my biggest suggestion is DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAT! Fat is your friend and the majority of your calories should come from fat. Eat lots of lard, butter, cheese, and eggs. My second biggest suggestion is to keep the fruit intake low; all that sugar can’t be good for you. And lastly, my final suggestion is to do intermittent fasting; you’ll feel so much better.

For those who think I was bashing Loren Cordain and The Paleo Diet, I want to clarify that that’s not the case. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Cordain because he was one of the first to promote a diet of this type; as well as being the one who introduced me personally to this way of eating. Sure, he got a few things wrong, BUT 90% OF HIS DIET WAS SPOT-ON! Mark Sisson, on the other hand, got it 100% RIGHT! The Paleo Diet, in spite of its flaws, is still a better way of eating than how the majority of Americans eat.

I have just one question Mark, and I hope you haven’t already answered this question before and I’m wasting your time. I once read that you shouldn’t consume tomatoes because they are a “new world” fruit and a member of the nightshade family and our bodies are not designed to handle them. Is there any validity to this claim?

Once again Mark, thank you for helping cure my depression and may God bless you!

Joe Sellers

Mark (and all the “worker bees”),

Thank you for your excellent Blog. I started eating “paleo” about a year ago in order to get my type 2 diabetes under control. I eventually found your blog through Richard Nikoley and Kurt Harris. Your website has become my primary instructional resource about this lifestyle. After a year of this way of life, I have been taken off all medications- statins, high BP meds, etc., I’ve dropped 30 pounds and maintain a 13% BF. Unfortunately, CW and the alphabets contributed to the “death” of my pancreas and my diabetes was re-diagnosed as insulin dependent along the way. However, this primal way of eating has allowed me to drastically minimize my insulin usage and maintain non-diabetic blood glucose numbers. “Mark’s Daily Apple” is a stop on the “information highway” for me everyday. The information I have received has changed my life for the better. Thank you.

GROK ON!

Mike Opteris
50 years young
South Central PA

I found your site about 2 years ago and have completely changed how I look at food and at exercise. After reading your book, I was able to talk the husband into hunting and for the last 2 years we have eaten mostly wild game. (Still get bacon and salmon from the store.) Our freezer holds elk, antelope, deer, goose, duck, wild pig and trout. Last year I also hunted and shot my first antelope. Hunting is an amazing and humbling experience. We have a garden and compost in the back yard. I get local eggs. I no longer eat grains, the husband still does some. I even learned to make italian sausage from ground goose.

I did not have a lot to lose but wanted to get healthier. I went from 125 lbs to 104 at the lowest but maintain 108. I’m 52 this year and feel better than I have in years. Unlike most of my peers I do not take any medications. I used to run a lot (half marathon x1), lift weights (but not heavy ones) way too much. Currently I lift every 7-10 days and can squat 90 lbs and deadlift my own weight. I take lots of long walks and occasional sprints. Our local park has lots of trees to run in and out of and I like to pretend I’m being chased. Like everyone else on this site, I sleep better, feel better and am stronger than I ever was when I was bodybuilding/running/eating SAD.

Your site and your book started my journey to health and I send people your way all the time.

Thank you for all you do. Your site and your book really changed my life.

Grok on,

Jeannie

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Part Time Primal

My journey into getting healthy began in October of ’08. After a checkup at the doctor’s office where my weight was ~290lbs and BP was 160’s over 100’s, I was told I needed to return after a fast to get blood work done in an effort to see if I needed cholesterol medication. She had already decided I needed blood pressure meds but wanted to see the complete picture before prescribing them. Naturally, being the pill-scared person I am, I skipped the follow-up appointment and continued eating myself into oblivion… otherwise known as over 305lbs, no exercise, and a diet full of toxins and inflammatory junk. Besides, who could honestly expect me to fast for AT LEAST 16 hours before a doctor’s appointment!?

July07

- July ’07

In February of ’09, while busy spending my life in front of the computer using the stumble toolbar; I stumbled upon the Daily Apple site. The page loaded quickly and had something I could read right away, which, if you know about stumble, is the key to getting someone to stay on your page for more than .2 seconds. I found the idea of eating fats and cutting out grains to be pretty crazy, but the site didn’t look like it was trying to sell me something, I didn’t have to sign up to read anything, and that Mark guy seemed to have a good flow to his posts. I clicked ‘like’ on the bar and moved on for the night. Every few days I would come back and read more. It soon became more about ‘how’ I could implement the blueprint than ‘if.’ Almost 2 months later, after reading through the archives and learning as much as I could, I decided to give it a 30 day try. That was my way to excuse it to the people in my life, and to be honest, I’d given far crazier ideas much longer tries in the past.

January09

January ’09

I started Primal in April of ’09. My initial carb flu lasted for about 6 weeks, which is waaaaay longer than it needed to, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around eating that much fat! Subsequently, I would crash every week or so and binge off all of the awful processed junk my body was used to. When I finally embraced the “Need sweet, feed fat” concept, I got out of carb flu and into weight-loss proper. By early June, I was down to the 260’s, and by late June, the 250’s. After all of the success, I got lazy and content with what I had done already. I went back to eating the Standard American Diet until the August Challenge came around. I dove into the Challenge month and stuck to 80/20, exercised, participated in the forum, kept a food log, all of it, and I reaped the benefits! By September, I was down to 240 and feeling great again. Again, I got a little lazy and a little content, but this time added a bunch of stress to the mix. I strayed back to SAD for several months, though somehow managed to maintain my weight/size.

April10

April ’10

April of ’10 was fast approaching, and there was a movement on the forum to start an impromptu challenge month. I decided to join and get back on track. I took my before pictures, set up a new primal journal, set some goals, and I was off. I managed to stay 100% food-wise during the entire month AND kept up with exercise. During the challenge, I also cut out dairy, which is one of the best things I’ve done for myself since getting rid of grains. I went from 237lbs at the start to 222lbs. For the first time in my life, I got some muscle definition! Most importantly of all, I experienced and understood just how Intermittent Fasting functions and the effects it can have.

May10

May ’10

Overall, I’ve been primal for a little over a year, but have only actively been doing it “the way you’re supposed to” for *maybe* five of those months. Even without doing math, that’s less than 80/20, but I’ve still seen amazing results. My guess would be that it was full on in high intensity bursts rather than half-assing it the whole time, but I am proof that it can be done even if you tend to fall off the Primal bandwagon. I’ve gone from squeezing into a 2XL shirt down to comfortably wearing a Large. My pants were a tight 38 or 40, now a loose 36 or well fitting 34. I have TONS of energy all the time, my blood pressure is under control, and I don’t want to pass out after a flight of stairs. One thing is for sure, if it wasn’t for Mark and the Primal Blueprint, I would be in a sad state of health. If not for the amazing, knowledgeable, friendly, and supportive members of the forum, I would have succumbed to all of the nay-sayers. And I don’t think many people can say this, but Stumbleupon effectively saved my life. I’m so happy and grateful to have found the Daily Apple and everything it brought into my life. Thank you Mark and everyone here for helping me get Primal and create a life I can live, not just survive!

Cliff

Started the year a few pounds over 300. I’m also diabetic. A friend recommended Dr. Berstein’s book and started talking about all this “primal, paleo” stuff. I knew I was in trouble so I read everything I could about this. Bought your book and cookbook and have had amazing results.

Start of the year:

Weight just over 300lbs
Cholesterol – 150
A1C – 7.1

as of 5/22/10:

Weight – 236
Cholesterol – 119
A1C – 5.3

I’m only walking, (I used to frame houses for a living so I have a serious aversion to lifting weight…LOL) My only complaint so far as been an on going back or hip injury that flares up when I walk.

Thanks for the site, I check it daily.

Jeff Hopkins – Pauls Valley, OK

Mark,

Just wanted to drop a line and let you know the effect this diet has had on my life. I am a Federal Air Marshal in charge of Training for Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. I wanted to motivate Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) to get into shape and instituted a weight loss competition. Of course, I had to participate and be successful. I have dropped fifty lbs. utilizing a very low carb diet along with heavy weight lifting, and most recently, crossfit.

009 52010046 010 52010047

I have passed your book around to all those who have seen my results, most have attempted to change their eating habits. It is truly remarkable and something that works perfect for me. I went from 298 to 248 (I’ve lifted weights my whole life) and am stronger than ever. In addition, I am in the best cardiovascular shape since I was in the Army (I’m currently 43). Barefoot running is truly freeing.
Thanks for your book and continued updates on your website.

Fraternally,

Frank Terreri

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I found your site about 2 years ago and have completely changed how I look at food and at exercise. After reading your book, I was able to talk the husband into hunting and for the last 2 years we have eaten mostly wild game. (Still get bacon and salmon from the store.) Our freezer holds elk, antelope, deer, goose, duck, wild pig and trout. Last year I also hunted and shot my first antelope. Hunting is an amazing and humbling experience. We have a garden and compost in the back yard. I get local eggs. I no longer eat grains, the husband still does some. I even learned to make italian sausage from ground goose.

I did not have a lot to lose but wanted to get healthier. I went from 125 lbs to 104 at the lowest but maintain 108. I’m 52 this year and feel better than I have in years. Unlike most of my peers I do not take any medications. I used to run a lot (half marathon x1), lift weights (but not heavy ones) way too much. Currently I lift every 7-10 days and can squat 90 lbs and deadlift my own weight. I take lots of long walks and occasional sprints. Our local park has lots of trees to run in and out of and I like to pretend I’m being chased. Like everyone else on this site, I sleep better, feel better and am stronger than I ever was when I was bodybuilding/running/eating SAD.

Your site and your book started my journey to health and I send people your way all the time.

Thank you for all you do. Your site and your book really changed my life.

Grok on,

Jeannie

Dear Mark,

I just wanted to write in to tell you about my first three months since going Primal. I started back near the beginning of February and weighed about 180 lbs. At 5′ 10″, with a waist measurement of around 33, I wasn’t that overweight, and most people couldn’t believe I weighed 180. I suppose I carried the weight well, who knows. Within fourteen days I had dropped eight pounds of fat and who knows what else. I’ve noticed a great increase in my energy levels. My sleep cycle (when permitted by work and school) has evened out. Additionally, my mood has generally been positive as a rule. As of now, I weigh in comfortably at 158 and am still dropping a pound or so every couple weeks. I’ve been working out, focusing on functional strength and conditioning and have noticed a great increase in my strength, explosiveness, and cardiovascular ability. I also notice that the primal way of eating really fuels the body in every way necessary when doing these types of workouts. I recover quickly and am hardly every sore or tight.

90day

I don’t have any body fat measurements for you, or any blood levels or anything like that. All I do know is that when I went to the university clinic a couple days ago to get checked up, my pulse was a nice even 50, and my blood pressure was something like 109 over 80. From my understanding, those are good numbers! My favorite thing about this lifestyle is that the results come naturally, with minimal extra effort.

I have attached my before and after pictures as proof of my gratitude to your teachings. I am using these photos to help me when I try to spread the primal message. They can be quite effective to the naysayers out here! I am now and will always be grateful to you for deciding to spread this message as it is saving the lives of many people and will hopefully continue to do so.

Grok on!

Josh Rees

Mark,

I wanted to drop a quick note and say thanks for the blog, the book, and the cookbook. I have been primal for just over 2 months now and I feel great. I had a physical the other week and my doctor was floored by my results. Blood pressure has gone from 138/88 to 120/80. I don’t have a historical cholesterol number to compare, but my total level came back at 158. I am down almost 40 pounds and the best part is my blood sugar went from the 120s to 82. My doctor had never heard of PB or a paleo diet, but he told me to keep doing what I was doing and he was going to look into both and possibly start recommending it to some other patients.

Also, my mother recently learned about my progress and she started primal living 2 weeks ago (having trouble kicking the Diet Coke, but she is working at it).

Anyway, thanks for all of the great information and the lifestyle. Grok on, sir!

Dave

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