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

The Primal Lifestyle Has Given Me a Life Worth Living

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 2In my teens I had my palm read. One of the things the woman told me was that when I was 30, I would have a major health scare and then I would have the choice to become healthy or continue on the path to death. I scoffed and pointed out the absurdity of being able to choose.

When I was 31, I had a major health scare.

At my wife’s Christmas party in 2011, I ended up in the bathroom throwing up blood. The previous year my physical and mental health had gone through a steep decline, but what happened in the bathroom was an undeniable symptom that couldn’t be excused away as “normal” anymore. I had gone from being the guy that never stopped; no physical task was too difficult, to not being able to bend over and tie my shoes due to pain. I went from the guy that had a photographic memory to the guy that couldn’t remember…well…anything.

I experienced all of the following:

Chronic heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, crippling hunger yet loss of appetite when I sat down to eat, random nausea, debilitating joint pain and chronic muscle pain, body stiffness, chronic fatigue and a huge 3 o’clock wall, low energy levels, random chest pain (knife pick stabbing my heart type pain), mental fogginess, memory loss, mood swings and anger, low vitamin D, liver problems, low testosterone, sinuses plugged every night, foul gas, puffy face and hands, body odor, face and back acne, cracking joints, intense cold shivers, low sex drive, insomnia (tired but wired), rash on elbows, extreme anxiety, teeth grinding, headaches, loss of taste, constant fidgeting, no desire to get up in the morning because it felt like I had been trampled by a horse every night and balance problems when I did get up.

It’s like my body had just hit its’ limit. If this was what life was going to be like from then on, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to live it. And I was only 31 years old.

eddybefore

I went to my family doctor with a list of ailments my wife had written about me. She had to write the list because I was still in the mindset that I was unique, and these problems were just the way I was and it was normal. I came home with a referral for blood work, a specialist appointment for a stomach scope and a prescription.

I hadn’t lost my suspicion of prescriptions (from previous encounters with doctors and the “treat but not fix” mentality). I was not taking pills but I had to do something. So we went looking for alternative answers. My wife spent days on the internet reading. Searching about weight lifting for her and searching for an answer to my health problems ended up leading to the same website: Mark’s Daily Apple. And the same answer, the Primal Blueprint diet.

I wasn’t convinced of any of it, but had nothing left to lose. We went grain free and I stopped forcing myself to eat breakfast (we had also come across IF information). Three days in, when I stopped having to run to the bathroom after eating, I wasn’t convinced. Two weeks in, when I stopped waking up with sinus problems and had dropped 20 pounds, I wasn’t convinced.

After six weeks and no more heartburn and no body or joint pain and 35 pounds lost, I still was not convinced. It’s not that it didn’t make sense. It was that it was too easy. Every single person who “knows” more than me (doctors/parents/trainers), had always told me my whole life the exact opposite to what I was doing now: “Grains are a necessary food group; eat breakfast even if it’s just a granola bar; don’t eat too much fat; limit your meat consumption.”

eddyafter

I was angry that the information was out there, and people knew, and I had been suffering from problems so easily fixed my whole life. (There were other problems before that year of hell, just far less severe.) It was absurd that I actually did have a choice to be healthy, but was unaware of the choice.

A follow-up doctor appointment showed most of my previous problems were gone or had improved (documented with blood tests) and my doctor was shocked. He started asking questions and taking notes. And I never did fill that prescription.

It’s been 15 months since my wife and I changed our diet. I feel reinvented. I can physically and mentally take on the world now. I’ll happily tell anyone who asks what I did and help them on their journey. There will always be naysayers; and someone asked me what if turned out I was wrong, and eating like this was unhealthy. I told them it didn’t matter, I’d rather live five years feeling this amazing than a whole life the way I was before, as a pain riddled zombie.

My mother-in-law commented on how great I looked after I had lost 50 pounds; I responded that what she sees on the outside pales in comparison to the changes on the inside. Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word about Primal living. It’s given me a life worth living.

~Fast Eddy

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. Fantastic.

    Great job, Eddy

    zack wrote on July 19th, 2013
  2. Man, this is inspiring! All the best to you and congratulations on regaining your health.

    Lance wrote on July 19th, 2013
  3. Awesome stuff. I am always floored at how quickly some people shed massive pounds on the PB diet.

    I was not nearly as fast to shed unnecessary weight but found the lifestyle to be great as well.

    Grok on,
    Keith

    Keith wrote on July 19th, 2013
  4. Congratulations on healing your body from all your ailments and symptoms. What an amazing story, best of health to you and your family!

    Jill wrote on July 19th, 2013
  5. What a simple, to-the-point recap. Thanks for sharing! (and, you do look great BTW)

    writermama wrote on July 19th, 2013
  6. Amazing journey. Go Celtics!

    Anders wrote on July 19th, 2013
  7. You look fabulous! I am so glad to hear that you are doing so well, and will share your story with my brother. THANK YOU!

    Aili wrote on July 19th, 2013
  8. Wow! Inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story and best wishes to you. Well done!

    Stephanie wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • Amazing. So happy for you! Congrats to you, and to your wife, too, for helping you find this new life. I have a question about the teeth grinding and sleep problems. Did those clear up for you on their own once you went primal as well? I have a son on the brink of going fully primal, and he has a very similar list of stuff that he’s dealing with to yours. He has cut out processed/fast foods, candy, soda, and has cut down on grains, but still eats (IMO) too many non-primal foods. The sleep thing and the grinding teeth thing are awful. He probably only gets a good night sleep about every 10 days – he’s exhausted all the time, and he’s only 20.

      If you can offer any advice, I’d appreciate it very much! Thank you.

      KariVery wrote on July 19th, 2013
      • Hey I was scrolling through and came across your questions. I’m 23 and had all the issues Eddy listed above too. I could only sleep for 2 hours max a night because of extreme physical discomfort. I went 100% primal and have been for about a year and a half and all the issues are gone now. Unless something gets mixed in that I should not eat I feel great! I sleep like a log, have sustained energy, renewed physical strength and better mental focus. It took me about 6 months to notice everything was gone. I have hope for your son, it’s no fun (of fair) to be in your 20s and have a whole host of health issues. Best of luck!

        Caroline wrote on July 19th, 2013
        • Thank you so much!! I am planning to show this to him and hopefully he’ll be persuaded to go full-primal. I am so glad you feel better! :-)

          KariVery wrote on July 19th, 2013
      • My best advise (past getting you diet in check obviously!!) would would be that what you lie down with on your mind you sleep with. You are the master of your own mind. If you allow your mind to wonder with unpleasant thoughts you will have an unpleasant sleep. But i have learned to brake that cycle by:
        1. Think about the most basic thing like; the colour black.
        2. Focus on breathing.
        3. Try to fall asleep when your not trying to. I lay down with lights on (again opposite thinking as normal I know!) when my wife goes to bed and intend on getting up. I fall right to sleep when I’m not thinking about falling asleep. For me it’s all about the ability to control your own thoughts. It does take practice and time. But it’s worth it!

        Fast Eddy wrote on July 19th, 2013
        • Thanks for your comments – these are very helpful :-)

          KariVery wrote on July 19th, 2013
      • Grinding teeth and TMJ can be related to heavy metal toxicity, even without mercury fillings. It may be worth investigation.

        LisaLisa wrote on July 19th, 2013
      • One other thought is to make sure magnesium is not deficient or too low vs. calcium intake. I use to grind my teeth when younger and am now prone to leg cramps at night. For me, taking just a 1/2 tsp (vs. recommended 3 tsp) of Natural Calm+Calcium at mid day seems to do the trick.

        Kevin wrote on July 19th, 2013
      • Hi Kari! Grinding can happen after orthodontic treatment, or if occlusion is sub-optimal. If the brain detects an area that’s too “high” it can try to self adjust through bruxism. A flexible nightguard over the lower teeth helps a lot, putting a cushion between the two arches so enamel is not being worn away and muscles can relax.

        I wonder if your son is clenching his teeth during the day as well. Teeth should not be in contact, with the exception of chewing/swallowing. At rest, the lips should be closed with a space between the upper and lower arch. If he’s holding his teeth together during the day (which so so many people do without realizing) all of the muscles of mastication are being stressed and overworked. It can cause a lot of jaw pain, and trigger nighttime grinding. Just a few thoughts!

        Kathleen wrote on July 20th, 2013
      • What saved me from grinding my teeth into nothing was magnesium supplements. They’ve done studies that show that pigs without magnesium in their diet grind their teeth at night and I figure it probably works the same way with us humans. Since most crops are grown in nutrient deficient soil and most of our water is treated we dont get near the levels we would have just a few hundred years ago. Plus not everyone lives near the ocean where you can restore some of your mineral levels with a swim. The best thing he can do is a combination of a trans-dermal supplement and a capsule supplement. Stress and processed food deplete magnesium like crazy so tell your son to limit those as much as possible. Prescription medications also use up magnesium stores so the fewer the better.

        Magnesium is best absorbed through your skin so find a lotion or an oil for your son to use with a high magnesium concentration. I use an oil from Ancient Minerals. It’s cheap, easy to use (although it does tingle a bit the first few times) and he’ll see the difference in a matter of days. If he’s had a super stressful day those salt baths Mark recommends are a great help. Magnesium salts are five dollars a bag at most grocery stores and though they don’t work as well as an oil or lotion they certainly do take the edge off.

        One thing I do have to say, as I’ve seen other people recommending it, is to avoid nightguards. In many people the soft squishy ones just make them grind harder and the firm ones can misalign your jaw joints which can cause even more damage. A nightguard is literally a band-aid for bruxism. Just have him fix his diet and get his magnesium levels back up and the grinding will naturally go away.

        Good luck!

        Marie wrote on July 22nd, 2013
        • Thank you, everyone, so much for your comments. He does have a mouth guard, and so far (about 2 months) it seems to be helping with his jaw pain and headaches. I will give him this info and try and get him to follow up with his doctor. Also, thanks for your comments about magnesium – it seems like it’s a really common deficiency in many people, causing all manner of problems!

          KariVery wrote on July 22nd, 2013
        • I’m a dental professional, and nightguards DO work, but they need to be custom-fitted to each person’s mouth by a dentist; the OTC ones are anything but. Chronic clenching and grinding can cause fractured teeth, and once they crack below the gumline the tooth can’t be saved.

          I’ve seen people who have ground their teeth down to painful nubs even though they live a healthy, low-stress lifestyle; for some people it is simply a bad biomechanical habit and nearly impossible to break. I take magnesium and yet I still have the clenching habit I learned as a child. I’ve trained myself to not let me teeth touch during the day, but if I skip a night or two of wearing my nightguard the tooth pain comes backand my jaw feels sore when I wake up; this is a really common problem for a lot of people. Not all nightguards are bad, just like not all MD’s or DDS’s are bad; let’s not toss out a treatment that works just because some companies make one size fits all nightguards which really don’t fit anyone. Yes, a custom one is expensive and not everyone can afford one so maybe the OTC ones have their place, but broken, worn off teeth are super common and more than just magnesium supplements is going to solve the problem for some people.

          KitC wrote on July 27th, 2013
  9. Fantastic. My results aren’t so dramatic and somewhat subjective (though not totally) but great for you to get to health!

    Julie wrote on July 19th, 2013
  10. Wow, this is a fabulous story, what a life change you’ve had. You look like two different men in the pictures. How great that you found the solution at 30, think of all the healthy years ahead. Another great success story to share on pinterest (I always pin these hoping others will notice.) Thanks for writing!

    Sandy wrote on July 19th, 2013
  11. What an inspiring testimony! Kudos to your wife for helping you both find the road to true healthy living. Keep Groking and continue to spread the gospel of the Primal Lifestyle!

    Sergio M. wrote on July 19th, 2013
  12. Inspiring! Go Celtics!

    Hulasurfer wrote on July 19th, 2013
  13. Hey Eddy,

    You described where I am with Primal eating. When I fall off the plan, those things return – aches, pains, digestive problems, lethargy, etc. I am inspired by your story to be more on plan.

    Could you share what your exercise has been like since going primal?

    Thanks

    Ricky H. wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • I haven’t actually started a specific exercise program. I’m just active all day (no TV!). I’m always on the go at work and at home, so my days involve lots of walking and lifting.

      Fast Eddy wrote on July 19th, 2013
      • And fishing, apparently (nice fish, btw!) Great story, Eddy! Congrats on taking the road less traveled.

        Tim wrote on July 19th, 2013
  14. Wow this is incredible! Awesome “work.” :)

    Kevin wrote on July 19th, 2013
  15. I’ve had doctors tell me I’m pissed off. Of course I’m pissed off. If they had opened their eyes instead of sending me home to die with a low fat diet or if they had been at all helpful relieving my life long headache problem I would have regarded them as Gods but as it stands now I put much more faith in my mechanic! I’ll see them the next time I have a broken bone because that kind of simple cut and dry thing seems to be all they can handle.

    Groktimus Primal wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • The “mechanic” comparison is spot on; western medical approach is systematic, just like a mechanic, not holistic. To be fair western medicine excels at fixing mechanically broken stuff. Their problem is someone’s given the wrong manual & tuning programme for their laptop – they’re trying to get us to race on NO2 when we should be cruising on diesel!

      WelshGrok wrote on July 19th, 2013
      • Great analogy! Love the running on diesel comment. S

        Wes 90 wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • I totally agree!

      Jennifer wrote on July 19th, 2013
  16. Wow! I am so happy for you!! What a marvelous turnaround you had! Your story really inspires me to keep better track of all the things that have gotten so much better for me too. So happy you and your wife have found this!!

    Rhonda the Red wrote on July 19th, 2013
  17. Wow, that is an amazing story. It’s so true that we find it difficult to accept that something so simple as removing grains and adding the right kinds of fats and proteins can make such a drastic difference. “I was angry that the information was out there, and people knew, and I had been suffering from problems so easily fixed my whole life.” Amen Brother!

    Congratulations, your transformation is inspiring.

    Adelina Banks wrote on July 19th, 2013
  18. Awesome job bro! Keep up the good work!

    Joe wrote on July 19th, 2013
  19. Great story! I’m glad to hear you are no longer a walking zombie and are able to enjoy life. That’s the point right?

    Christin wrote on July 19th, 2013
  20. Very inspiring Eddy!

    You’ve given me my quote of the day…. ‘I’d rather live five years feeling this amazing than a whole life the way I was before’.

    Bryan wrote on July 19th, 2013
  21. What a fantastic story! I had a similar scare at 35 that brought me here as well.

    Ed wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • Isnt it sad that many of us, myself included, only came to find the primal way of life after a major health scare. I hope that soon, thanks to people like Mark, more people become aware of the benefits of this way of life for reasons other than searching to heal themselves. But I feel the energy growing in the primal community and I believe it will happen! Thank you Mark for all you do!!!!!

      Lora wrote on July 19th, 2013
      • I’m beginning to think that unless you have horrible health at some point, you really don’t appreciate just how radical a change it is to be *healthy,* especially the kind of health this way of eating and way of life can bring.

        Sad.

        GroketteinND wrote on July 20th, 2013
        • I completely agree.
          When I was in high school, I started having bad health. I was a swimmer, so I was working out 2+ hours a day. My freshman year, my joints started to hurt. Sophomore year, the muscles in my back and in my hips were knotted and hurt to the point of my crying every. Single. Day. Junior year was the worst– on top of all of my other symptoms, I had heart arrhythmias 6 or 7 days out of the week.

          Now I’m in college. My boyfriend didn’t understand why I kept trying to find answers to the problems I was having (he thought I was being a hypochondriac) until I told him that I was afraid to die. I was also afraid that what I had was genetic, and that I would condemn my children to a life of fear as I had lived. The look on his face almost made me wish that I had never told him. But since then, he hasn’t scoffed when I come to him with my new health ‘craze’. He’s lucky, and unlucky, in that he doesn’t have many overt health problems. He’s never had anything that bothered him enough to look up solutions to his problems.

          What really helped me believe that my diet could change my life was magnesium– I started to eat raisin bran in the morning (I know, I know, not healthy) and to eat 2 brazil nuts a day. The change was unbelievable! The fogginess in my mind that I had just gotten used to and accepted was gone. My muscle cramps were, for the most part, gone. And my heart arrythmias went away!!

          I love how all of the health blogs/websites that I have recently looked up all seem to tie together. I’ve tried Intermittent Fasting with great results. I’m upping my magnesium intake. And the food I make is going to be paleo/primal, for the most part. If my love wants to ruin his health, he can make his own food! //end rant.
          Thank you, Mark, and everybody else! I agree with Fast Eddy– my life is worth living, and that’s a great feeling to have!

          Cat wrote on July 22nd, 2013
  22. Good job, Eddy!

    The biggest nutrition myth of this century is that grains are a necessary food group. As anybody who has lost weight eating primal/paleo already knows, they are not only NOT necessary, they are downright detrimental.

    Shary wrote on July 19th, 2013
  23. Congratulations! You look fantastic! I’ll be honest, I’ve been a long time reader of MDA, and i love these friday posts, but i havent made the 100% switch to primal yet… its hard not to though with testimonials like these! nice job!

    Charlotte wrote on July 19th, 2013
  24. “I’d rather live five years feeling this amazing than a whole life the way I was before, as a pain riddled zombie.”

    What a great answer! And so true. I’ll definitely take quality over quantity :)

    Ulla wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • Well, I’m pretty sure we don’t have to choose. :-p It certainly would be odd if feeling like crap all the time were a marker of health. :-)

      Darcie wrote on July 19th, 2013
      • where’s the “like” button for this comment? :) I LOVE it!

        Shannon wrote on July 19th, 2013
  25. That is a powerful. So ironic that you are brimming with vitality and not suffering from previous ailments, and yet someone asks you what you’ll do if you find out you are wrong? That is so, so weird!

    Miki wrote on July 19th, 2013
  26. I’m curious if you ever found out what was causing your problems?

    I have a lot of the same symptoms and am awaiting my test results – so I was just curious in a compare notes kind of way. I’m already committed to using paleo as a key part of my holistic path to healing.

    Amy wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • Grains and processed sugar (though it’s hard to get one without the other to know whether it’s one and/or the other). I eat them and those symptoms in my story come back. I personally don’t need a medical test to tell me a cause.

      I wish you well on your healing journey!

      Fast Eddy wrote on July 19th, 2013
  27. Loved, loved, loved this, “I responded that what she sees on the outside pales in comparison to the changes on the inside.”
    Kudos brother!

    sarah wrote on July 19th, 2013
  28. Did anyone check out the tradmark post-Primal SMILE in the “after” picture?

    In comparison, the pre-primal smiles in the before pictures look like a pained grimace.

    I see it in almost every Success Story now.

    oxide wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • Yes! I always notice the before/after smiles. I especially like the before/after face in general. I like to try to see the gorgeous-happy-healthy person in the before shot: same nose, same eyes, etc.

      W. J. Purifoy wrote on July 20th, 2013
  29. The physical change is amazing, so you must feel incredible inside. I love reading about people being able to cure themselves of the ills of standard diet. It is a wonder to me how anyone can question what you do when they can clearly see the positive change.

    Congratulations, well done, and Grok on!!

    Nicole wrote on July 19th, 2013
  30. I got a little emotional reading this story. I’m 29, and I feel the worst I’ve ever felt. Your encounter with the Blueprint is inspiring, and I thank you for sharing.

    Sheena wrote on July 19th, 2013
  31. Congrats! My wife and I are just shy of two months in, and our lives are already changed. I have always been…flabby…not overweight, but not healthy. We made the change, and everything is different. I’ve only lost ten pounds, but my fat is melting, my muscle tone is increasing — and, like you, it doesn’t compare to the way I feel inside! I have boundless energy, my allergies are gone, and everyday I wake up happy!

    My wife had our first baby six months ago, and when she saw a friend, who was paleo and had a baby a year ago, she gave it a shot…and last night she finally broke down and told me that she is starting to see results! For her to say that is a lot, and it just reiterated the fact that this LIFESTYLE is simply amazing! We’re happy, healthy, and ready to conquer!

    Congrats again to you…the way you feel inside is such an inspiration; keep it up!

    Joel wrote on July 19th, 2013
  32. You look fabulous and I’m so happy for the turn around in your health! I love the weight loss stories, but even more, I love the success stories like this that talk about how going Primal has made such a huge difference in physical health. Its these stories that have inspired me to make a career change and at almost 50 years old, I’m going back to school this fall to become a Holistic Nutritional Counselor.

    Carol wrote on July 19th, 2013
  33. Great story! I love seeing intense changes like this. I am still on my own journey to optimum health but I tell everyone I know about the primal lifestyle.

    Primal Hippie wrote on July 19th, 2013
  34. Amazing story, my man. Congrats on the new you!

    Finnegans Wake wrote on July 19th, 2013
  35. Fantastic story! Thank you for sharing. My husband and I went paleo about 8 months ago and all of our physical ailments are gone…except for when we fall off the wagon and eat grains/sugar. Then they come back just like you said. We both feel like we have the energy of children now and are just naturally more active because we want to be! Kudos to you!! Love your story!

    Lindsay wrote on July 19th, 2013
  36. Hello Eddie,

    I’ve just finished reading your story and had to respond.
    I am experiencing every one of your described symptoms and at a similar age (32). The similarity is actually quite frightening. Mood swings, insomnia, and rampant weight gain are the worst offenders for me (I started this year weighing 215 lbs. Now I’m at 240).
    I’ve been trying to find the right time to start a primal lifestyle and suddenly realized that now is the time.
    Thanks for the push.

    Jeremy J wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • Don’t forget the “before” pics! Looking forward to your story next year.

      Moshen wrote on July 19th, 2013
    • “…now is the time.”

      Truer words never spoken. When you find out what to do, NOW is the time to do it. Dive in!

      BZM wrote on July 20th, 2013
  37. What an inspiring story! I am so happy to hear that you’re health troubles are out the window and that you’re feeling great! You should be proud of yourself for taking action! You look awesome, too, by the way! Congrats! :)

    Brittany wrote on July 19th, 2013
  38. Your neck is skinny now. Amazing ain’t it? I’ve had people comment on just my neck… I had a fat neck!

    Congratulations on your success.

    -joe

    Joe S. wrote on July 19th, 2013
  39. Incredible transformation, wow, big time props Fast Eddy! Agreed that the “multi-grain” myth is responsible for so many inflammation related problems (the trigger for 90% of all diseases I think) and weight gain and all of its ramifications. Combine a low / no grain diet with whole foods and protein along with IF and it’s almost impossible NOT to lose weight and feel better. I’m a guy who always ate very healthy (except for too much so-called multi-grains) and exercised regularly, yet at 5′ 8″ lost 29 pounds in the last year or so by cutting way back on grains and going 16/8 IF. Went from 173 lbs to 145 lbs, so I guess I lost about 17% of my old body weight LOL.

    George wrote on July 19th, 2013
  40. Great story Eddy!
    When I went grain-free, I, too, started feeling better. I read this quote somewhere:
    ‘Nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels.’
    Similar to your comment ‘I’d rather live five years feeling this amazing than a whole life the way I was before, as a pain riddled zombie.’ Words to live by!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Magda wrote on July 19th, 2013

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