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!

In 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.

Eddy Before Primal

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.”

Eddy After Primal

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. Congratulations! You look great and it is awesome that you and your wife are doing the lifestyle as a team.

    Kevin Dennis wrote on July 20th, 2013
  2. Aaaaaaand now I won’t be “cheating” today. Great story, thank you for sharing! Every Friday is like a primal-renewal 😉 You look great!

    Kathleen wrote on July 20th, 2013
  3. ” It was absurd that I actually did have a choice to be healthy, but was unaware of the choice.”
    That line is perfect. I come across that so often. I just want to educate everyone!
    Congratualtions :)

    Stefanie wrote on July 20th, 2013
  4. I love your last comment on about your insides! Great post!!

    Meagan wrote on July 20th, 2013
  5. Thanks Joe.

    Ns wrote on July 20th, 2013
  6. Wow! Thats just amazing! You look great 😉 thanks for the inspiration.

    Anette wrote on July 20th, 2013
  7. Looks so much better and fitter. I have never had any health problems as I’ve always eaten fairly and never lost more than a pound or two a week in my life (as have not had that much to lose) but even I feel much better eating this way.

    EnglishRose2012 wrote on July 20th, 2013
  8. Wow, Freddy, your before and after pics are amazing, you look fantastic. It’s so funny that someone asked you what if you were wrong — the sheer physical transformation you underwent is evidence in itself that this approach is working for you. There’s nothing more powerful than that. Primal eating works. Everyone may need different variations on the theme — the point it to go in the right direction, and it’s clear that you have! Congrats!

    Alma Mahler wrote on July 20th, 2013
  9. Hi Eddy!

    Could you tell us what you eat on a regular basis? What would a normal day of eating look like for you?

    Great story and amazing transform!

    Paleok wrote on July 21st, 2013
    • Meat and veggies/starch for dinner. Fruit, yogurt and nuts for snacks. When I do eat breakfast, it’s eggs and meat.

      I’m about 95/5 for eating the above. The other 5% ends up being poutine or home baking 😉

      Fast Eddy wrote on July 23rd, 2013
  10. Your story is inspiring to not only myself but to many others out in the world. I decided to go gluten free about a month ago. Why? because Im only 31 and for years now I have been struggling with chronic nausea, bloating, bowel issues, puffy face, horrible gas, fatigue, and joint/back pain. I just thought this was how I would be for the rest of my life. BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE!!!! Everything is gone except the joint/back stuff but I work out a lot…

    I have a lot more energy, happier, confident….I just feel healthier because I don’t feel sick all the time.

    Gluten intolerance/celiac disease runs in my family, I did testing a while ago and it was basically inconclusive so I thought well that can’t be it. Now I KNOW why I’ve been plagued by so many ailments most of my life….

    If I could help one person with my story then my job is done :)))

    Shannon wrote on July 21st, 2013
  11. Great post….spread the word.

    Mitch wrote on July 22nd, 2013
  12. Really well done, Eddy. And all so well written.

    Two things jumped out at me:

    1) That you were of the mindset that how you were was just how you were. Thinking that way actually has a name – it’s called the fixed mindset (a key term coined by psychologist Carol Dweck). It’s what makes people stay the way they are – because they think they can’t change and grow throughout life. Her book, simply entitled “Mindset” is a real game changer.

    2) That you felt angry when you saw that that the solution was really so simple (and contrary to what the “experts” had told you). Yeah – I get that. There are so many people out there who think they already know everything – so they’re not open to new ideas. Their energy goes into contradicting what they see as threatening their beliefs. I suppose they’re afraid of being wrong.

    I really enjoyed your story. You look and sound great. Carry on!


    Susan Alexander wrote on July 23rd, 2013
  13. It’s amazing, most of the symptoms you’ve described are so familiar to me. I’ve been suffering from them for over a decade.

    During that time I developed Type 2 Diabetes, chronic depression and a myriad of other issues. I’ve been put on so many different medications, have had tests and procedures done, even surgeries trying to figure out why I have such debilitating symptoms. I’ve even ended up at the ER several times with excruciating pain and other issues I’d rather not mention. Yet, they could never find a cause. Talk about frustrating.

    I’ve come to realize that the type of food I eat is the problem. I have such a serious addition to carbs and sugar that is debilitating. I am only 40 years old and if I don’t fix what’s wrong now, I will be dead in less than 20 years.

    Thank you for sharing your story. This inspires me to get going and finally take care of my health.

    Linda wrote on July 23rd, 2013
  14. I’m struggling so much after reading this story.

    Never have I seen someone with the same Bizzare slurry of symptoms I have. Try googling all those symptoms and see what you come up with.

    I struggle with thinking of eating meat and so often. Really I just stood and stated at the meat at the grocery store the other day with only being able to purchase a few things. Not that I’m a vegetarian now, but meat is usually Hidden well.

    It’s hard to not want to try primal seeing someone who was able to solve all the same issues I currently have. Sigh.

    RoryK wrote on July 26th, 2013
    • Rory, I used to be a vegetarian & even after I added fish & chicken, I thought I “couldn’t stomach” red meat. I also have Celiac Disease, which was undiagnosed for most of my life. When I cut out gluten, 75% of my health issues vanished. When I cut out most grains (I still occasionally have white rice), another big step up. But when I added more & better meat to my diet I really felt a huge energy boost & my body got noticeably stronger despite my age & frail frame.

      I still prefer fish & chicken, but I can now truly enjoy beef once or twice a week. I also make a point to eat liver (usually chicken) at least weekly & I really feel the difference right away.

      Try starting with something besides steak. That really is tough on a mostly-vegetarian tummy. Ease in with soups and bone-broths that contain vegetables and just a bit of meat. Corned beef with cabbage, or ground beef with veggies mixed in, were digestible to me long before I could handle steak. And make sure the meat is of high quality! Organic at the very least, pastured if you can get it.

      Good luck! It’s a tough transition, mentally as well as physically, but if your body responds as mine did, you won’t regret it!

      Paleo-curious wrote on July 26th, 2013
    • Start with the amount of meat you do feel comfortable eating; but either way ditch the processed foods! I personally don’t feel my best if I don’t have meat with every meal, but lots of people feel fantastic with less! If the meat is causing you mental stress, focus on other whole foods for now and start to slowly incorporate some meat into your diet. Paleo-curious had great suggestions!

      Fast Eddy wrote on July 26th, 2013
  15. Fantastic story.

    Eric McKenna wrote on July 28th, 2013
  16. That is amazing Eddy, I felt the same way after losing 25 lbs in the first two months. Extremely thankful I found this site and read all of Marks books!

    ajmo478 wrote on July 30th, 2013
  17. Wow, Eddy thank you so much for sharing this. It literally brought tears to my eyes. My husband was diagnosed with UC about 2 years ago, and we’ve been gradually incorporating Primal and Paleo principles ever since. He is pretty suspicious of me doing new things, and his work right now isn’t helping his health at all (he literally breathes powdered fluoride every day) but every day is getting better. I’ve found that we can tolerate a few grains, but only on an infrequent basis. Thank you so much for telling us your story!

    Amanda wrote on July 31st, 2013
  18. Love your story! Beautifully written!

    Caro wrote on August 16th, 2013
  19. Thanks for sharing your story, Eddy.

    Quite a transformation young man. I say that at 70 – wishing I’d had know at 30-40 what you know now. I haven’t had many health problems so far and didn’t feel “all that bad,” but never realized just how good I could feel by switching over to a PB lifestyle.

    Congratulations on finding your way to better health which makes life worth living. After all – that’s the point isn’t it!

    Grok On!

    Darlene, San Francisco, CA wrote on November 22nd, 2013
  20. Eddy, I just wanted to thank you – I have similar symptoms, so the thing that struck me the most was when you said you did not want to live. That was the scariest thing for me – when I felt my worst & had no hope (none of the “doctors” could find anything wrong) I too just wanted the pain to end. I did not want to die, but that was the only option, or so it seemed. I have been with this lifestyle for a few weeks and see improvement…so thank you for the encouragement just by sharing your story.

    Laura wrote on April 1st, 2014

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