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

The Unconquerable Dave: Still Unconquerable

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!

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Back in January I received an email from an all-cap typing, keg-throwing, tree-climbing Primal enthusiast with a grizzly beard and an indomitable spirit that blew me (and eventually Mark’s Daily Apple readers) away. His name? PAPA GROK, aka DAVEMAN, aka The Unconquerable Dave. If you haven’t read his original story take a gander now.

I get emails from MDA readers fairly regularly telling me how they were moved by his story and asking for an update on how Dave is doing. I reached out to Dave a couple weeks back and he graciously sent me the following report and pics. Many thanks to Dave. GROK ON, BROTHER!

HELLO MARK …DAVEMAN CHECKIN IN…

WANTED TO DROP A NOTE TO YOU AND ALL THE PRIMAL / PALEO CLAN OUT THERE. ITS BEEN A FEW MONTHS AND WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW HOW I AM DOING. THE BIG STORY IS THE FOOD… IT WORKS!!      I NOW KNOW THIS BECAUSE  MY EXERCISE IDEAS TOOK ON A CHALLENGE ALL THEIR OWN THIS YEAR..And it seems the FOOD foundation held up GREAT!

SOME FOLKS ARE ALWAYS INTERESTED IN THE 30 DAY CHALLENGE.. WHICH I ALWAYS SUPPORT WHOLEHEARTEDLY.. ITS CALLED A CHALLENGE FOR A REASON..ITS NOT AS EASY AS IT SOUNDS FOR MANY..BUT I AM ONE WHO WILL BE THERE TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT THE REWARDS FOR ACCOMPLISHING IT…AND MORE..HERES MY TAKE ON THE LAST 120 PLUS DAYS OF A CHALLENGE THAT I DID NOT SEE COMING>>>

THIS PAST JANUARY I HAD A SERIOUS PRIMAL ENCOUNTER WITH A LARGE MALE DEER( I did dispatch said Deer and eat it) THAT REQUIRED SOME SERIOUS SURGERY. This was shortly after that pic of me in the flip-flops in the snow. ..This LED TO MY CURTAILING OF SERIOUS EXERCISE AND OTHER HEAVY LIFTING THINGS..I WAS VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO ALL THAT DETERMINED EFFORT I HAD JUST PUT INTO MY LIFE BY HAVING TO SPEND MONTHS LETTING MY BODY HEAL UP..I HAD BOTH RIGHT AND LEFT SIDE ABDOMINAL WALLS TORN UP AND SPENT 4 HOURS IN SURGERY GETTING MYSELF REBUILT AND RESEWN BACK TOGETHER…ROBOTIC SURGERY IS A WONDER OF MODERN MEDICAL SCIENCE…BUT I WAS PUT ON THE INACTIVE ROSTER FOR MONTHS AS FAR AS WHAT I COULD AND COULD NOT DO….ALL I CAN SAY IS IT DOES INTERRUPT ONES “PLAYING” WITH BIG TOYS….NOT FUN….OUCH!

I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT EXERCISE IS ONE THING..BUT I HAVE LEARNED THAT THE FOUNDATION IS THE FOOD…YOU DONT HAVE TO BE A FANATIC AND DO RADICAL EXERCISE ROUTINES OR GO TO A GYM FOR ELITE FITNESS OR ANYTHING AT ALL FOR THAT MATTER…JUST GET UP AND MOVE AND DO THINGS THAT REQUIRE A LITTLE MORE THAN USUAL EFFORT….AND IT WORKS!!…I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY REVERSAL AT ALL!!…I CAN ONLY ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO GET WITH THE FOODS… THE PROPER FOOD INTAKE WILL KEEP YOU SOLID AND FREE FROM WORRY ABOUT WHETHER YOUR GOING TO “ENLARGE” AGAIN…LOL… I CANT SIT STILL..I LOVE TO MOVE AND WALK AND CLIMB TREES AND DO THE STUFF I DID AS A CHILD AGAIN…I PLAY LIKE A KID SET FREE OUTDOORS AGAIN ..AFTER BEING LOCKED UP IN A HUGE NON FUNCTIONING BODY FOR YEARS…THIS IS GREAT!!!…So I encourage any and all activity that you can do..especially walking around anywhere..Its what people used to do all the time,walking around is a foundation stone in the rebuilding of yourself.

Heres a 6 pack of pics from the last few months…just to let you see the continuity of body size!

PIC #1 IS MY USUAL SELF HOLDING MY KEG UP…AND THE PICTURE SAYS IT ALL… This pic was taken in February of this year. 1 month after the surgery I was lifting 40-50 lbs carefully. I was so healthy and strong the doctor let me have my own leash and told me to manage myself and not be foolish and hurt myself again(PRIMAL RULE).

Picture1 4

So it was my toy to play with. I just motored around and ate GOOD PRIMAL FOOD and watched my intake and output..I was the “test steak”..always testing what was happening to me. I simplified my cooking and cut down on the elaborate fancy dinners. I was concerned about my output of energy that was not up to the usual …Even though ALL OF MY FOODS WERE PRIMAL..I WANTED TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I WENT TO a more SIMPLE,FRESH,NON-ELABORATE MEAL…MORE PURE AND NOT SO MANY INGREDIENTS ALL AT ONCE.

I continued to see NO CHANGE in weight but was always wondering about loss of strength. The real test of muscle loss due to a lighter schedule would come later when I was able to Go after the big toys..

I keep very good track of what I eat and Dont eat>>> I found out for sure it’s THE FOOD IN GENERAL (Because I really switched it up a lot as far as complexity and variety went)..NOT ACTUALLY HOW YOU PREPARE IT that is what WORKS!

Pic #2 .After a while I could carefully lay back and lift the log rounds(70-90bs). I had to be careful! The grok in me was on the lookout big time. I had to do something so I was careful and holding the log in and then rolling it up and pressing it was safe and I was in control. Hugging the log felt good, the abdominal support of tucking it in was a great way to actually control what I was doing. It was nice to feel my body heal up and start to be able to do the Daveman thing again.

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Pic #3 Is me with a GROK stick I made for an Army Special Forces buddy of mine. I still made nice things while recuperating…THE CARVING KEPT MY CORE SOLID AND MY ARMS AND HANDS STRONG…I dont like to sit..I only sit when I eat or drive..Im actually standing here at the machine writing this..I built a shelf on the wall for the monitor and a riser for the keyboard and mouse.

Picture3 4

Pic#4…by May/June I got the release papers and went back to active duty there…That “stick” is over 10 feet long and weighs over 100 pounds..I went straight for the real stuff….BIG>>>THE BIGGER THE BETTER…MY WEIGHT WAS STABLE AND MY MUSCLE MASS WAS STILL INTACT…EVER PIC UP A BIG STICK?? ITS NOT AS EASY AS IT SEEMS..THAT TESTED MY CORE AND ABS WHILE DOING THE  BALANCING ACT AND I WAS DOING GREAT..still being watchful but SO GLAD to be able to go out and pick up large awkward items again.

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Pic#5….Onward I went..eating the correct foods and and working my way back into the zone of the massive things..I love the big toys! I think I am solid again..thats a 300 lb tractor tire I am walking away with…MY newest TOY to play with..not really a rock or stone..but it does pass as the LARGE HEAVY THING..LOLOL

Picture5 6

Pic #6 …this was taken on September 30th of this year. thats the Daveman/PAPA GROK holding a 12″ x 24″ slab of one of our favorite things. You can see that the lifestyle I chose BY FOLLOWING in your footsteps has been very good to me. Injury/recovery/rehab in the PaleoGym… through 120 plus days of change in me and weather and life itself..And there I am. Strong/Healthy/Solid. This IS what the Primal/Paleo way of eating and exercising will do. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT ACTIVE AND CANT GO FULL OUT WITH THE EXERCISE THE FOODS WILL MAINTAIN YOU PROPERLY. OVER 6 MONTHS AS TEST STEAK FOR ME..FROM NO EXERCISE AT ALL TO PLAYING WITH 300 POUND TIRES..THE LIFESTYLE SUPPORTED ME AND MY BODY AND I DID NOT GAIN OR LOOSE ONE POUND. I AM 6’1″ TALL AND WEIGH 205 POUNDS AND SLIP RIGHT INTO A PAIR OF 32 INCH JEANS…..THIS WAY OF LIFE WORKS!…MY BEST WISHES AND REGARDS TO YOU AND EVERYONE WHO STEPS ONTO THIS PATH…IT IS SUSTAINABLE, IT WORKS, IT IS THE WAY..

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P>S>   I am Active on Facebook with the Primal/ Paleo movement. Many people have found me due to the success story from your blog. They continue to find me. I am “inspiration” as they call it. They have even given me the nickname of “PAPA GROK”.

I continue to support the efforts and guide as best I can, all who come my way. I have learned from many..and I am walking the center of the path. The variables in human nature and what they like and want to do are vast..So I make sure there is room for them to pass on both sides and support them all in their endeavors. Learning is something I will do forever and this way is a great place to learn..to live..to experiment and find your space that works for you…And it all started with a 30 day challenge 2 years ago….I never looked back.

and I owe you many THANKS MARK..

YOUR GROK BROTHER FOREVER

Daveman…aka PAPA GROK…….YAWP!!!!!!

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. Love you Papa Grok!! Your story is amazing!!

    Joanne wrote on September 17th, 2011
  2. Facebook’d your awesome philosophy Dave, about letting people be who they are. Thanks for that–I always forget that part. You (and Mark, of course!)are inspirational! Grok on!

    Connie wrote on September 17th, 2011
  3. Was that 30 September 2010 or 31 August 2011? Either way, looking great. And like everyone else, I wanna hear the full story of the deer…

    Mari wrote on September 17th, 2011
  4. I believe there are only two kinds of beings that can write in all caps. Animals and Demigods.
    And this man is a animalic Demigod.

    laertes wrote on September 17th, 2011
  5. Dave’s story is AMAZING! so inspiring. Reading the success stories really spur me on and make me excited to be going primal- I love it!

    Aileen wrote on September 17th, 2011
  6. This is awesome. I have been doing the Primal diet for four weeks now and have noticed changes, and this is the biggest piece of inspiration I have recieved so far. Dave is a true caveman in every good sense of the word, and a complete badass. The picture of him barechested in the snow, arms out, that crap HAUNTS me. Again, awesome.

    Merrell wrote on September 17th, 2011
  7. Dave what the hell did you do to piss of the dear

    Bill wrote on September 17th, 2011
  8. You are one HOT man! that is all I have to say :)

    Gayle wrote on September 17th, 2011
  9. Papa Grok – really inspiring read!

    Fitness Fabulous wrote on September 17th, 2011
  10. You rock, Dave! Grok on, brother!

    TJ wrote on September 17th, 2011
  11. GAWD!

    skeedaddy wrote on September 17th, 2011
  12. that’s just excellent mate!

    Michael

    michael wrote on September 18th, 2011
  13. Dave, will you marry me? Ooops, better not, I forgot we’re already married (to others). Keep me in mind for our next life. Dave’s original story motivated my 57 year old husband to try primal. He has since backslid but I’m hoping if I show him your update he will try again. Thanks again for the inspiration. My sister has nicknamed you “Grizzly Adams goes buff.” p.s. hope your beautiful yellow lab (as seen in the original story) is doing well.

    Ellen wrote on September 18th, 2011
  14. I LOVE THIS GUY!

    Peter wrote on September 18th, 2011
  15. Fantastic thanks for the up-date, what an inspiration you are.

    Kim

    kim wrote on September 19th, 2011
  16. the Grok stick is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    emily wrote on September 19th, 2011
  17. Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm … and if anyone isn’t enthusiastic after reading this something is horribly wrong.

    Svend wrote on September 19th, 2011
  18. Hugs to Papa Grok!! :)

    gilliebean wrote on September 20th, 2011
  19. I have been doing PB for 2 weeks. No major issues. Dave your primal story rocks. Many thanks for sharing it.Do you have a blog/fb where people can follow you ???

    rose swink wrote on September 20th, 2011
  20. PAPA GROK!!! YOU ARE AWESOME!!! I am proud to be one of your friends!!! You are the ultimate ‘Test Steak” and a source of inspiration each and every day for me!!! This is an amazing testament to what healing your body with food can do!!!

    Mark, you are also a huge inspiration for posting such great content, and your continued support is SAVING LIVES!!! Mine included!!!

    Thank you both so very much!!

    Tim

    Tim wrote on September 25th, 2011
  21. Amazing story. Yet another wonderful example of how ancestral eating, and a primal lifestyle is what we are designed to do.

    Japsican wrote on November 8th, 2011
  22. Dave,

    Your story has motivated me to start the Primal ways. I started out the same size as you started. I am 53 and tired of being overweight. Certainly was not me for most of my life. Like you, I have always been strong as a bear and want to retake that so that life does not retake me.

    Keep sending updates. It helps us all!

    BearBruce wrote on December 27th, 2011
  23. Dave,

    What a great story you make. I agree with all the others – I’ve never met you, but I can’t help but love you. Grok on forever dude! Grok on!

    Will wrote on December 27th, 2011
  24. THE IDEA FOR THE COMING YEAR IS TO MODIFY THE PALEO GYM OUT BACK AND MAKE UP SOME NEW WAYS TO MOVE DIFFERENT MUSCLE MASSES DIFFERENT WAYS THAN THIS YEARS OR THE USUAL WAYS..THERE’S ALWAYS A NEW WAY…TO BE A GROK……..GROK ON>>>.

    Dave PAPA GROK Parsons wrote on December 28th, 2011
  25. Dave, I showed “The Unconquerable Dave” blog to my nutritionist. She said “Go for it!” So I did. But jumped off the wagon (no, I didn’t fall, I deliberately sabotaged myself! I take full responsibility). I’m grateful you updated here. Have climbed back up on the wagon. ThanksThanksThanks to you and Mark. Making Fish Soup (PB Cookbook) for supper; very simple. Again, many thanks.

    Mary Anne wrote on January 11th, 2012
    • Here…take my hand…up you go..back onto the wagon!!
      Simple…is a very good way to cook…it allows your body to ID the foods and digest them easily…
      I LOVE FISH SOUP AND STEWS!!!
      I am so glad to hear that you did not let the horse take off with the wagon and leave you alone with no wagon…its a big world out there and most of us have a pretty small wagon to negotiate it with. STAY ON THE WAGOc…get yourself a seat belt…Mush support sent your way…here; the buckle works like this…YOU are now secure to GROK ON>>>

      Dave PAPA GROK Parsons wrote on January 12th, 2012
  26. p.s. My workout gym is a sweet pea garden (need to start the digging now for planting in February) and taming the wild hysteria (wisteria) that is taking over my lilac and rose garden. The hysteria has also attacked a chainlink fence; I figure there will be much body twisting and turning to get that taken care of. Then build a proper pergola for the hysteria (hauling of 4×4 or 6×6 cedar posts should do the trick!).

    Mary Anne wrote on January 11th, 2012
    • wrastling 6×6 Alligators made of wood is a VERY GROK way to exercise…
      I AM SO INTO THAT>>>And the Natural acts of gardening and creating a structure for yourself…is actually the exercise of choice around this neck of the woods…
      PAPA GROK APPROVED !!…I would love to get in on that>>>
      Dont forget to listen to your brain and body and adjust accordingly when lifting large awkward items and sacks of concrete..
      BE Primal Smart!!!

      Dave PAPA GROK Parsons wrote on January 12th, 2012
  27. Still so inspired by your story.

    I regularly think about your comments regarding just keeping the meals simple – and it will work. Simple is nice.

    But what about an update on the labrador though?!

    Sian wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • HI…unfortunately that large male Labrador has taken the big vacation…he passed away just before Christmas of 2011 from a massive tumor…he was a great friend and I miss him dearly…I have one of the original Lab 4 pack left…she is Nadia and she is my companion, Kitchen floor cleaner and pre-washer of plates and pans..WE GROK ON>>>always

      Dave PAPA GROK Parsons wrote on March 4th, 2012
  28. What a beast!

    rkd wrote on March 21st, 2012
  29. Dear PG (PAPA GROK or PRETTY GREAT!):

    WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL DAY OF FOOD? HOW MUCH LIQUID DO YOU DRINK ALSO AND WHAT?

    DEBRAKADABRA wrote on June 11th, 2012
  30. DAVE’s original story is the reason I started Primal this week.His older photos are on my fridge!!! Gotta say “Mornin’ Dave” everyday and ask myself “WHAT WOULD DAVE DO?” i LOVE THIS GUY!!
    kELLY

    Kelly wrote on June 30th, 2012
  31. What a story(s)!!
    He IS the Daveman and a really good example of health lost, primal found and
    health reborn!

    Donna wrote on August 7th, 2012
  32. Any news on how Dave is doing in 2013????

    Simon wrote on November 16th, 2013
  33. Papa Grok: your story is one that motivated me to jump in. Since January of this year I’ve been “all in” and am enjoying success that I felt was beyond reach. I have struggled with my weight for the last 30 years but since going primal I’ve been able to trim five inches from my waist and drop down to a pants size that I wore in high school. With more energy and overall better health, I’m excited about the future and looking forward to the continued success brought by Mark and the Primal Blueprint. Thank you for being a role model and thanks to Mark for NOT believing the SAD information that’s forced upon us. Grok on!

    Bill Zaspel wrote on May 13th, 2014

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