A Cereal Addict Goes Primal

Many of you may relate to the story of Derek and his wife. It’s not a tale of dramatic weight loss, but a story of discovering an ideal body hiding within the body you’ve grown accustomed to.

If you have your own Primal Blueprint success story and you’d like to share it with me and the community please contact me here. Have a wonderful Friday, everyone, and thanks for reading!

Hi Mark,

Love your website and all the success stories. Our story is a little less profound than some in regards to total weight lost, but eating Primal has significantly improved both my life and that of my wife’s.

I’m 38 years old and my wife is 36 years old. I’ve been athletic my entire life, nordic ski racing, bike racing, climbing, backcountry skiing, endurance running, etc, etc. My wife, since she has been married to me (10+ years), has been very active as well. With my athleticism, I always had a ferocious ability to consume food, with my staple being Frosted Shredded Wheat, home made bread, pasta, and a myriad of other wheat based foods. I’m 6 feet tall and have weighed 200lbs for the past 15 years. I could run a marathon off the couch or ride a century, endurance was my specialty. I was always really aerobically inclined and just assumed that 200lbs was my ideal weight. But then I saw a picture of myself one day, then my mother joked to my wife that I was “getting a gut”, then I hopped on the scale and it read 204lbs. That was the beginning of the end for me.

My wife, when I met her, was a “skinny fat” product of the standard American diet, weighing in at a paltry, protein deficient 105lbs at 5’3″ tall. Over the years, her activity level rose and she became quite athletic and a strong rock climber. During those years, her back went south and she suffered with sciatica and eventually had a microdiscectomy to correct a bulging disc. After surgery, and even before, her weight steadily crept up to an eventual 135lbs despite being very active. She too just considered that her homeostasis.

So last February I decided to measure what I ate for breakfast every day. I was shocked when I realized my morning bowl of Frosted Shredded Wheat with 1% milk was 900 calories! I have been a cereal addict my entire life. I could eat it three meals a day. So I started simple by eating 1/3rd less, then eventually 1/2 less of my cereal. I cut out the big cookie I had at lunch, then quit snacking throughout the day. Eventually my breakfast self-evolved into egg whites, 1 piece of toast, and some ham. Then it was usually flat bread, tuna or lean meat for lunch, and a light meat diet for dinner. I was burned out on back country skiing and skiing in general that winter, so I spent 3-5 days per week lifting. Needless to say, my weight plummeted by about 1lb per week or slightly more. I was pretty excited.

As time progressed, my diet continued to self evolve into a more Primal Blueprint diet. I stumbled across your website, and upon first read, I thought it was a little extreme. But after more and more reading of this site, and others like it, I decided to gradually eliminate all wheat and processed foods. The weight continued to come off, I felt very healthy, did far less “chronic cardio” and primarily lifted and did aerobic hiking/cycling about 4 hours per week total. Last spring I reached 175lbs (lost 25+ pounds) and have stayed there since, fluctuating by a few pounds lately due to increase muscle mass. I have absolutely no difficulty maintaining.

Besides the pleasant side effect of losing weight, the biggest improvement in my health has been no more acid reflux and no more exercise induced asthma. I used to have terrible acid reflux that would keep me up at night and plague me throughout the day. It is now ENTIRELY gone, but will come back in a hurry if I get tripped up in eating wheat to any extent. I also used to have terrible cold weather, exercise induced asthma leading to frequent winter pulmonary infections, a constant cough, wheezing, and the need to take Albuterol and inhaled corticosteroids, and often times antibiotics for mild pneumonia following otherwise benign chest infections.

My summary: Eating Primal and exercising “smarter” allowed me to be leaner, fitter, and stronger in everything I do, it has also rid me of asthma and acid reflux. The benefits of eating paleo are in no way subtle for me, they are night and day.

At the time I started changing my diet, my wife obviously did too. It was winter, and she doesn’t ski much, so she started doing P90X. Her weight plummeted as well, about 0.5lbs per week by simply eating less processed foods, counting calories, and doing strength training. Her goal was initially 120lbs, which she reached fairly easy in about four months, with a few plateaus along the way. She eventually phased out wheat almost entirely as well, only eating small amounts very infrequently. Over last summer, she reached 115bs, was very lean, looked great, and was an aerobic machine when we went hiking or biking. It was pretty amazing. I would be hiking my normal pace, which was usually quite a bit faster and out of her comfort zone, but last summer she was absolutely killing it. Always right behind me, charging away, even sometimes with a heavy pack on longer trips.

Intelligently losing 20lbs and gaining muscle on her already small frame was impressive, but this wasn’t the most significant gain for her from eating paleo. We have been trying to conceive for the past four years with absolutely no success, none at all. About mid summer last year is when she eliminated wheat/grains almost entirely from her diet and had reached a comfortable set point in her weight, and was doing mostly strength training with some light cardio. This last September, she announced to me that she was pregnant. There’s no proof, but it seems suspicious that we had no luck with this at all until she started eating Primal and eliminated wheat. Perhaps it’s just coincidental, but I don’t think so.

During her first trimester she had significant nausea and vomiting and a highly erratic palate for foods. During that time, she pretty much ate whatever she could, which often times was processed foods, lots of sugars, etc. But it was that, or eat nothing at all. We didn’t worry about it in the slightest. She is now in her second trimester and back to mostly eating Primal, getting her carb cravings from potatoes and fruits. She looks great and mostly feels great. The funny observation about her “diet” is that of her coworkers. They are all convinced she should discuss her “diet” with her doctor, because apparently, eating whole foods isn’t healthy. Hahahhaha! I love the logic of the ill informed.

My wife’s summary: Eating primal and exercising “smarter” has allowed my wife to become a lean, fit, healthy woman, and we think, was a significant adjunct in her being able to get pregnant.

We are looking forward to busting myths that having a child means you have to eat processed foods and live in the drive through window. I’m sure we’ll both be just as fit at forty as we are now. Maybe more so.

Best regards,


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96 thoughts on “A Cereal Addict Goes Primal”

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  1. Congratulations, and best wishes for a fabulous pregnancy and delivery! Very happy for both of you. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Your story sounds pretty darned profound to me. You and your wife both look terrific, and your health gains are impressive. Congratulations all around!

  3. nice story – i too have watched gut/reflux issues disappear in the past year i ve been primal.

  4. Very inspiring story — thanks for sharing! You both look great. Congrats on the little one!

  5. What a wonderful story! Very inspiring. Primal living is about so much more than losing weight. Congratulations on the pregnancy, you must be so thrilled. I wish I’d known more about the adverse effects of carbs when I’d been pregnant… Wishing you all the best!

  6. you both look younger now than in the first pictures. Congradulation on expanding the family!

    I think that sometimes it is more dificult for those that are not significantly over weight to see the primal logic.

    It is great that this couple did and got such awsome results.

  7. Well, Derek, I raised 4 children and rarely hit the drive through window. Couldn’t afford it, although we did have some processed foods, lunchmeat, spaghetti, homemade mac and cheese, hotdogs every now and then. They were all competitive swimmers through high school and one even went on to swim in college. We pretty much survived.

    One thing I’ve learned from my 7 year old grandson is feed your kids a variety of foods even when they are little. He rarely ate jarred babyfood. He was eating salad at 4 years old and today eats sushi, asks his daddy to buy him lobsters (which he called hamsters when he was a little guy). Eats oysters, mussels and clams – brussells sprouts – just about anything, except he doesn’t like sloppy joes.

    1. My daughter will eat those little dried and salted whole fish that they sell in Japanese restaurants. The whole thing, eyes and all. She’s six.

      We still have to contend with finickiness but she eats things that would horrify the average kid her age. I think it’ll work out OK in the end.

  8. You guys are having a girl!!!!

    This happened to me, well not the conceiving part, but the nausea and couldnt eat anything first trimester part. It was horrible! I was so so so sick for about 12 weeks. A little bit of beef soup with some bread, I dropped 8lbs. I ate whatever I could, and went back to primal in my second trimester. I swear its the excess estrogen in the body from a female fetus that makes u sick =P

    I love fridays because I love these stories and pix 🙂

    1. I was sick as a dog with my first, a boy – chicken, mashed potatoes and stringbeans were my food. With my twins, I took bread, a slice of cheese and fresh tomato with a little oregano and some fresh chopped garlic and ran it under the broiler – settled my stomach right away.

    2. I was terribly sick my first trimester and had a boy…I think it’s very individual. I also ate some non-primal foods during my pregnancy, especially early on, but was about 90% primal and had a healthy pregnancy and baby. I also found that primal eating helped me drop the baby weight very quickly.

  9. Darn it cut out a little of what i was saying in there of what i could hold down for food. oh well, doesnt matter that much.

  10. Wow, thanks for sharing your story. Very inspirational and congrats on the pregnancy! You all are going to make great parents of a healthy child!

  11. I hear you, my brother! I was vegan for 18 years and used to snack on my “healthy” cereals–handful after handful. It got so bad that I–literally–put a small padlock on my pantry door to make it more difficult to get at the stuff.

    I went Primal in Mid-October and am LOVING the “dont-have-to-watch-what-I-eat” thing. Although–full-disclosure–I went to eating handfulls of walnuts and almonds like I used to do with the cereal!

    I just LOVE crunchy. Instead of locking the cupboard again, I’ve just stopped buying the walnuts and almonds… 🙁

    1. Yes, I like almonds. My jaw gets tired chewing them long before I can eat too many!

  12. yes! I’m sure the pregnancy is not a coincidence at all. Congrats.

  13. Congrats on the little one! Can’t wait to see what primal kids end up like in the future.

  14. Howdy there, love the article nice to see people shake nasty habits. I do have a question, has anyone out there came across some convincing literature on the dangers of diet soda ? My mom will not stop drinking the stuff no matter how hard I try. The only thing she seems to be really concerned about is loosing weight. Anyone have any articles about diet soda causing weight gain ?? A nudge in the right direction would be great, thanks!

    1. I’m in the same position. My mom drinks diet soda at all times of the day, and it has me worried. A synthetic imitation of something that is already not healthy can’t be good, but I haven’t found any studies saying so. Anyone with any leads?

    2. I think a lot of the arguments against diet soda are bogus, personally. It’s just people being hateful about the obese because they want any excuse they can get to make fun of them (us–I’m still well overweight). Like the remark I often run across that “the only people I see drinking diet soda are fat people”–well no s?!t, Sherlock, we’re guilt-tripped about every calorie that goes into our mouths, you think we’re not going to cut those where it’s easy to do so?

      I know people think I’m ridiculous on the rare occasion I ever drink a mainstream diet soda anymore (see below), but full-sugar soda makes me sick. I think I’ll take not being sick over worrying about looking ridiculous. Anyway…

      At most I could buy the idea that aspartame/Nutrasweet might screw with the metabolism, but it is an amino acid based sweetener, and amino acids are the basis of proteins and certainly could screw up metabolic processes if they’re not in balance.

      But that alone is pretty important, even if fizzy water itself is harmless. So you might suggest to your mother that overdoing one amino acid is probably not going to be good for her health in the long run even if she does succeed in weight loss.

      Here’s what worked for me, as a former full-sugar soda addict.

      If your mom is addicted to caffeine:

      -Try switching to coffee. I know, I know, not Primal, but she won’t need to drink much of it to get her caffeine allowance for the day. And coffee, unlike diet soda, contains nutrients. I was surprised to learn this–it’s a relatively decent source of potassium.

      She can sweeten the coffee with anything she likes–Splenda, stevia, and there’s even a xylitol-based sweetener now under the name brand of Ideal that I just tried for the first time and like a lot.

      Bonus? Encourage her to put real cream, or at least half and half, in her coffee if she likes it lightened, and that way she’ll be sneaking in some healthy fats along with the caffeine. I’ve seen people use coconut oil the same way–works best when the coffee’s hot, obviously. (I drink it cold half the time, so this isn’t academic to me.)

      -If your mom can’t stand coffee and doesn’t mind spending a little extra, Zevia brand diet soda includes two caffeinated flavors. The caffeine is derived from coffee. Their cola and Dr. Pepper knockoff flavors are really good.

      If the diet soda consumption is NOT about caffeine:

      -Diet Rite makes a decent line of sucralose-sweetened diet colas in a bunch of different flavors. None contain caffeine.

      -Carbonated water can be purchased by the two-liter; under the store brand, it is dirt cheap. It can then be flavored with sugar-free DaVinci or Toriani syrups. This may turn out cheaper than the Diet Rite, though I haven’t run the numbers and can’t say for sure. It certainly would allow for a wider variety of flavors. Grocery stores don’t carry a lot of those flavors but you can find them online, especially during the summer. (Some online retailers won’t sell SF syrups during the cold months because they contain no sugar–which lowers the freezing point–and the bottles would freeze and rupture.)

      It’s down to that 80/20 principle. It’d be harder for your mom to make healthy lifestyle changes if she had to do away with everything she enjoys, all at once.

      But with adopting coffee as a caffeine source and occasionally buying Zevia or Diet Rite if I’m having a fizzy-water craving (it does happen), I’ve been able to kick things like Diet Mountain Dew entirely, and my aspartame intake is down to just about zero. I’m about at the point that even when I go out to eat, I stick with water as often as not, rather than suffer the mild headache I have discovered that I get in response to Nutrasweet intake. (Amazing what you can learn when you stop bombarding your body with outright poisons on a regular basis.) I also tend to drink more water at home now since I’m not constantly self-medicating.

      Hope some of that helps. If she can kick the major name brand diet sodas, it may be easier for her to get off soda entirely later on.

      1. Guess I should have read this before I posted my other comment. A lot of great ideas. Thanks Dana! Your posts are always awesome, informative, and long enough to be to be truly helpful. Don’t ever go away!

    3. I have a severe addiction to Diet Soda. It is my one vice, and the biggest true barrier in front of me and true Primality.

      I would be curious to see studies too – real ones that address specifically WHAT diet sodas do health-wise, and not in comparison to regular sodas. We’ve all heard fake sugars give cancer to rats, and I am always annoyed when I click a diet soda link/story/study and it is the same old, same old “Drinking sweet beverages increases one’s desire for sweet foods” BS. I, for one, looove my diet soda and drink it often but still never find myself craving cheesecake.

      Somebody please help me cure my horrible addiction! I tell myself it’s not that bad but I feel it’s even worse than eating grains occasionally, or grain-fed meats vs. grass-fed. Sigh.

      1. check out EFT {emotional freedom technique} it looks weird, but it works. I’m an RN, by the way, so I’m not too “new age”.I’ve used this myself for some serious sugar cravings.
        I’ve been doing this diet for about two weeks now, and most of my sugar problems are gone. I spit out a bite a cupcale at church last week!

      2. Please be careful with artificial sweeteners.

        This is not a “study” but a personal anecdote. I had HORRIBLE migraines while using protein powder sweetened with sucralose/acesulfame K mix. Knocked out for three days, nausea, crazy psychedelic visuals, etc. It got worse and worse over about 18 months, and started to happen a couple of times a month. I read online that sucralose could be a migraine trigger and chucked the protein powder in the trash — and the migraines vanished completely. (That was about a year ago, and not even a hint of a migraine since.)

        My mother became very ill with chronic fatigue syndrome after acquiring a diet sodas habit in the early 1990s (with an otherwise very clean, healthy lifestyle) and she is certain that the diet soda contributed.

        No, I have no scientifically significant evidence here, and I cannot “prove” that the sweeteners caused any of this – but they are way too new on the scene, have way too many unknown factors, and I personally am staying FAR away from them.

      3. The first thing to understand is that sweets are definitely addictive for many people. It doesn’t matter whether your thing is diet soda or cheesecake; it’s still the sweet taste that the body and brain are craving, and the more you eat or drink, the more you are going to want.

        You kick the habit by eliminating ALL sweets from your diet, and I do mean ALL. Even fresh whole fruit should be avoided for a while. Yep, you will crave sweets like crazy, but it usually only lasts a few days. Stay busy, keep your mind on other things, and watch what you put in your mouth.

        As a reformed sugar junkie, I know what I’m talking about. It took me less than a week to lose the craving for sweets, but it took over a year to be able to eat a tiny bit of birthday cake without fear of reactivating the cravings. I eat sweets only on rare occasions now, and even then only a bite or two. I have no problem avoiding soda altogether because I no longer care for the taste.

  15. Excellent stories you two! I’ve just started on my primal journey, and am enjoying every minute of it. And, congrats on the little one!

  16. When I mentioned to my dental hygienist I lost all my weight eating a primal/paleo diet she told me her reproductive endocrinologist recently recommended her read The Primal Blueprint. In that doctor’s mind there must be something to this crazy lifestyle. Go figure. 🙂

  17. Congratulations! I’m so pleased that switching to PB helped you to conceive. I wouldn’t be surprised by it in the least.

    You know this means you have to send in primal baby pictures too, right? 🙂

  18. Yayy, what a happy story! Congrats and be sure to keep us posted on the Groklet! Definitely send in pics!

  19. GERD (Gastric EsopoghealReflux Disease) is a real pain in the arse. Glad you are not bothered by it anymore. Going Primal really has a lot of diffrent benefits.

  20. Wow, Derek, congratulations to both of you! I am not surprised you were able to conceive after fixing your diet, Robb Wolf discusses this phenomenon in his paleo/primal book that recently came out. And it IS possible to raise a primal baby! My son is 19 months and has never eaten any grains or sugars, he eats 100% primal and his health is spectacular. Wondering if, with your acid reflux, you were affected at all by acidic foods. I have been trying to convince my mother-in-law to try giving up grains just for one month to address reflux but she insists it’s caused by things like tomatoes. Did they worsen your reflux, and can you eat them now that you have given up grains?

    1. The best theory of acid reflux I know of is that it’s caused by too many carbs. Carbs create gas when they’re digested, which pushes up stomach acid into the esophagus of susceptible people. (Google Norm Robillard.) So yes, too much grain is bad, and so is too much tomato or any other fruit.

      A primal or paleo diet helps acid reflux because it reduces carbs; the Atkins diet (which is basically what I follow) does the same thing.

      As for acidic foods, I can have as much coffee, tea and spicy food as I like now that I’m low-carb. And my reflux was so bad that I had an esophageal ulcer.

    2. I don’t think it’s acidic foods in themselves that cause reflux. If that were a problem we’d constantly have reflux since our stomachs contain acid. Rather, something’s triggering that upper sphincter in the stomach to open up. I’ve also noticed that wheat seems to cause reflux, which is a PITA since I have been a wheat addict most of my life and occasionally still eat Dreamfields pasta. Guess I will just have to give it up. Meh. But I wonder what precisely it is about wheat that triggers that opening. Hm…

  21. Another great story. I’m planning on being one of these stories myself by summertime. I know I’m going in the right direction and I just need to live the lifestyle and let things happen.

  22. I love this story! I’m so happy for your improved health and fitness and congratulations on your pregnancy!

  23. Cutting back and eventually giving up cereal was my first primal step too! You two sound like you feel great! 🙂

  24. Yep, I didn’t conceive for 1.5 years, then, poof, 2 months after eliminating grains and chronic running I was pregnant. I know, it could be lots of things but it all seems too coincidental to me.

  25. Congratulations on the baby on the way! First trimester was bad for me too, I was so sick I could barely eat anything, so not to worry. I even lost weight but quickly gained it in the 3rd trimester.

    You guys looked younger now in the new pictures.

    My husband also went grain-free(we’re also dairy and soy-free) and the weight started falling. He’s healthy and buff and looks hot! He’s forty and he gets mistaken to be in his early 20s all the time 🙂

    I’m glad my daughter will grow up not eating GMO and processed foods. She eats stuff that other kids won’t eat too. She loves broccoli and brussel sprouts. Fish too! She’s more open to trying things and for a 3 yr old, that’s quite an accomplishment!

  26. Thank you for sharing your story Derek and congratulations!! A similar thing happened with me. My husband and I tried for 4 years to get pregnant. We just figured if it was meant to be then it will happen when the time was right. Ironically the time was right after I’d been eating primal for a few months!! I’m happy to say I’m now 8 months pregnant and it’s been a wonderful experience!!

  27. Congrats on your new found health, vitality and the upcoming baby!
    I have 2 year old twins and we’ve been raising them (mostly) Primal for all of their lives. I say mostly because once they enter preschool, it’s hard to keep things away from them when all the other kids are eating them. However, we have NEVER been through a drive thru or given them processed foods. It is hard, I’m not going to lie, it takes planning and dedication, but you are already capable of doing that for yourself, so it will be much easier.
    Their first solid foods were chicken and avocado, to the utter shock/dismay of their doctor. For snacks they are addicted to coconut nut balls (recipe on MDA under cocoa and coconut snacks, I leave the cocoa and coffee out!) and dried seaweed. They call it “green cookies.” They have coconut milk almost every day. They only know what we tell them and show them. Good luck and again, congratulations to the both of you!

  28. My acid reflux was cured when I gave up wheat too. Used to be horrendous, gulping acid back down my throat 24 hrs a day. It wasn’t due to reduction of carbs as someone suggested above, as I switched to gluten free carbs at that point.

    I don’t have any problem believing that going off wheat helped your wife to conceive. One of the symptoms I had from gluten intolerance was irregular cycles, often annovulatory. I had hormone tests and an ultrasound to try to figure out the cause. Makes sense if your body is struggling to cope with regular exposure to something basically toxic, plus reduction in nutrient uptake due to gut damage, the body might decide it’s not a good time to get pregnant.

    Congrats to you both on your success and your little one!

  29. Congrats on healthier lifestyles and your pregnancy! There is definitely a connection between a primal/paleo way of eating and increased fertility. Mark has well documented how this way of eating normalizes hormone levels, and of course, this helps with fertility. Increasing good fats also contributes to proper hormone production and longer luteal phases. As a nutrition counselor specializing in fertility, I work with a lot of women who are hoping to conceive, and always recommend some variation of a primal lifestyle with certain supplements. So far, I have not worked with a single woman who wasn’t able to conceive this way, even some in mid-40s or with documented fertility “problems.”

  30. Congratulations, what a great story! I had a similar reaction from coworkers and found it so ironic that no one would suggest you consult your doctor to take a trip through a drive thru or order a pizza. But people think you need a professional to hold your hand if you want to eat healthier! Best of luck on the pregnancy!

  31. Congratulations on your wonderful pregnancy and the “new” lifestyle choice! Inspiring story,thank-you

  32. Congrats on the great health improvements. Much of what you have seen, I have seen as well. Terrible daily acid problems completely gone within 24 hours, and now gone for 18 months. I was just looking at my container of Tums at work, wondering I should give them away.

    1. Use them for calcium supplementation, LOL! I wish my mother would change her habits – she’s 71 and has suffered from reflux for a year or so. Her favorite thing to eat is pastries. And she is as stubborn as a mule…

  33. Wow, I saw myself in this post. Some people have ice cream – for me it’s a bowl of cereal late at night that does the trick. When you realize how many calories there are in the average cereal it makes you put the box down fast.

  34. Isn’t it amazing how you think you are healthy and your normal weight and build is the best you can hope to be. Then you start eating primal and you see what YOUR NORMAL was really meant to be!

  35. The wife probably had PCOS until she went primal and was able to conceive.

  36. CONGRATS on all your accomplishments – and not to get all broken-record-y – but please investigate all the medical procedures (vit k, vaccines, shots) that the hospital will try to perform on your little new one and make sure YOU are comfortable with them –

    PLEASE REMEMBER YOU CAN REFUSE ANY AND ALL OF THEM until you have been fully informed! (sometimes they will try to tell you you can’t…)
    good luck!

  37. I will totally agree with your assertion that living a Primal lifestyle increases fertility (either that, or we’re genetic freaks). When my husband and I got married, we decided we weren’t going to “try” for a baby, but we would let nature take its course instead of obsessing over preventative measures or timing, etc. of our *ahem* activities. We had both been Primal for some time.

    Five weeks later, I announced the conception of our daughter to my husband!

    I would also like to share that our midwife made me go in for a test to look for gestational diabetes, the idea of which was to chug a 50mg glucose solution, wait an hour, and draw blood to see if it had any deleterious effects. I never found out the exact test results, but boy, did I feel like crap the rest of the afternoon!!

  38. Congrats on your success and the little one! Its amazing what side BENEFITS come from living a primal lifestyle. Grok on!

  39. Congratulations on changing your lives and the new baby on the way. What a great gift to your baby to raise him/her primal. It’s so much harder to change their ways when they are older.

  40. Congrats on the pregnancy, and a great story. My son and his wife also conceived, after three years of trying, within a month or two of switching to a not-totally paleo diet, but more of a WAPF-real foods sort of diet. My 16-month-old grandson is the joy of my life! His favorite real food, when he began supplementing his mom’s breast milk with real food, was pureed liver and banana. 🙂

    He’s never been fed any commericial “baby foods”, just real foods. He even loves steak, which his parents – in a true primal fashion – pre-chew for him, since he has no molars yet.

  41. Congratulations!

    Hire a doula!!

    (consider a homebirth–it’s so Grok.)

  42. I love that story and I love this website. I get constant inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing, despite all the naysayers.

  43. Great success story Mark! Congrats to both of you on the coming baby!

    In regards to GERD: I tend to favor the theory that grains (and sugar and unfermented, pasturized dairy, along with other factors, like prolonged stress, not enough sleep, etc) are the culprit in cases of GERD, not “acidic” foods such as tomatoes and oranges.

    The ingestion of grains, so the theory goes, throws off the very acidic nature of the stomach, actually making it’s contents more basic. In order for the body to trigger a dump of the chyme (what that bolus of food is called once it enters your stomach), as well as a flood of the appropriate digestive enzymes, it must reach a certain level of acidity. But grains, being very difficult to digest, and very basic (opposite of acidic,) stay in the stomach for a while, not really reaching the appropriate level of acidity, particularly for those sensitive to grains. During that time, the grains start to ferment in the stomach, causing you to burp up stomach content, hence GERD.

    The really fun part is after the grain-containing chyme does finally dump into the stomach. Remember those enzymes I mentioned earlier?–because the chyme was never acidic enough to trigger the flood of digestive enzymes, there is nothing present to make this acidic chyme basic again (which it must be to appropriately absorb through the intestinal lining and into the body.) The body must find a way to make the chyme basic enough to be absorbed. The body, having many back ups for terrible situations, takes calcium, a relatively abundant, negatively charged ion (basic) from the body and sends it to the chyme so that it will be basic enough to be absorbed by the small intestines, into the body (this is why TUMS contain calcium.)

    Unfermented, pasturized dairy has a similar but less profound effect. This, in combination with the fact that the calcium in milk is not particularly bioavailable to humans is why milk is such a lousy source of calcium (some would argue it leads to a net loss of calcium from the body.)

    Of course, this throws off the PH balance of the entire body, leading to (at least in theory) diseases that the body could normally fend off, as well as fun conditions like osteoprosis.

    “Acidic” fruits and veggies do not cause GERD. I eat a bundle of them every day and never have a problem (as I’m sure is true of most Groks out there.) As was pointed out by Dana, these foods (in fact, ALL foods) are LESS acidic than your stomach lining, so the idea that they cause GERD (which we should think of as a symptom, not a disease) is ill informed.

    Of course, if you have ulcers from GERD, it’s probably a good idea to avoid acidic fruits until the ulcers heal up. But, and I think everyone here can agree, the first step is to do what Mark and his wife did–go Primal and cut out the grains!

  44. I always love to read these stories, but this one had a great surprise at the end. Woo hoo! Congratulations on your health and best wishes to you and your growing family 🙂

  45. Excellent testimonial! I also have no doubt that the conception is at least partly due to changing your diets.

    I also support the idea of primalizing your whole family’s diet. I’ve got three kids, have nursed all of them at least 2 years (well, the 15-month-old is still going strong), and simply start them on solids from our plates: meats, eggs (watch out for allergies with this one — save the whites for closer to 1 year old), cooked veggie, some cheese, some fruit.

    Baby food tastes awful and is a waste of money — and pureeing stuff for them is a waste of time. We just wait until ours can sit up, have a few teeth, and reach for food with bright, happy, eyes, and they do great learning to feed themselves. (I cut food in tiny bites and mash hard stuff with my fork.) Our first baby literally didn’t eat more than a tablespoon or two of solid food until she was 8 months old (exclusively breastfeeding the whole time), but she was the picture of health and gained weight right on schedule. The others really didn’t try eating until 6-7 months either, and sometimes not even every day. You can be much more relaxed about this than the standard advice would lead you to believe.

    Our current baby eats sauerkraut, liver pate, chopped tomatoes, and all kinds of other things other people wouldn’t dream of handing a baby (or perhaps eating themselves!). Our older kids are also strong, healthy, athletic, and adventurous eaters to boot. Sure, they love bread and candy (and I’d like to know how other people minimize this stuff as their kids get older and eat away from home more!), but they also love the healthy food we eat at home (soups with our own bone broth and tossed salads are always popular), so they are in good shape.

  46. my staple being Frosted Shredded Wheat, home made bread, pasta, and a myriad of other wheat based foods

    Too much of anything is not good. Nothing wrong with those foods, just limit the amount. Common sense.

  47. Congratulations on the diet success and the new primal baby on the way. It put a smile on my face to think that a child will grow up to understand food (reality) as it truly is instead of growing up and believe lies. This is how a primal generation is started. 🙂

  48. Looking good! So inspiring for others trying to do the same thing. Primal baby!!! Love it.

  49. Peaks are Pheifferhorn, Devil’s Castle, and the approach to King’s Peak.

    I can eat whatever I want with no acid reflux, but a few days of grains will make the reflux return. I don’t drink much alcohol, but I can now enjoy a glass of wine without having to pre-post medicate with Pepcid.

    Weighing 25 pounds less makes mountain biking uphill much easier too;)

  50. great story. but why so much “lean meat?”

    please let go of the fear for SFA.


  51. Great story!! I was a big cereal (and granola) eater once upon a time too. Now I get my cereal fix with “nutty granola” which I make myself. It is grain free, made with soaked raw nuts, dates, apple, a little maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and a few other things. Food process and then dehydrate (I have an Excalibur which I use all the time, so I make big batches of this granola – it is a bit of work, but so worth it!!). I eat it with whole milk, cream, almond milk, or plain. My two-year-old loves this stuff more (thank god) than the Frosted Mini Wheats or Trix which his grandma buys for him.

    1. PRK, your grain free granola mix sounds divine. Can I have the complete “recipe.” Also, if I don’t have a dehydrator, would you recommend baking the batch in the oven at a low temperature. Thanks in advance, SRK

      1. Here you go – this is from Raw Food Real World. Once upon a time I was a mostly raw foodie (for a brief bit) and there are some holdovers in my Primal lifestyle – raw nuts being the main one, and salads of course :=)

        I honestly can’t make any recommendations for oven baking this granola. I have tried different recipes, oven baking nuts, and I always burn them darn it. You would have to experiment for yourself I guess!

        Soak at least 6 hours, or overnight:
        1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds
        2 c. raw almonds
        3 c. raw pecans
        1 c. raw pumpkin seeds

        Soak separately for a few hours:
        2 c. dates (pitted)

        In food processor combine:
        1 apple, cored and chopped
        Soaked dates from above, drained
        1/2 c. maple syrup or raw honey (or less)
        2 T. lemon juice
        2 T. orange zest
        1 T. vanilla extract
        1 t. ground cinnamon
        2 t. sea salt

        Food process on high til smooth. Transfer to large bowl.

        In same food processor bowl (no need to rinse), place drained nuts and seeds that were soaked above (drain and rinse in fresh water first).

        Food process until coarsely chopped (how coarse is really a personal preference – just don’t process too long or it will turn into nut butter).

        Transfer to large bowl with rest of ingredients. Mix well. Stir in:
        1 c. dried cranberries

        Divide evenly between three Teflex-lined 14″ square dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 12 hours or so, flip the granola off the Teflex sheets onto regular trays, and dehydrate for a further 12-24 hours (again, dependent upon humidity, the type of dehydrator, personal taste, etc.).


        If you don’t live in a relatively dry climate, you may want to store this in the fridge.

        You can also vary this recipe – use different nuts, a different dried fruit, different spices, etc.

  52. PHK,

    I like lean meats for taste, that’s all. I’ve never had the ability to gobble meats with tons of visible fat hanging off of it.

    I make my “Powerbars” with coconut oil for the “glue” to help hold them together. Plenty of SF in those.

    1. thanks.

      You’re like my husband who does not like fatty cuts.
      so he gets his SFA from butter/heavy cream/coconut oil.

      i am the opposite. i always found skinless lean meat, bland & dry. (even during my “SFA phobia” days.) i think i’m more a fat eater than meat eater. XD.


  53. Congratulations! I’m sure your pregnancy is not a coincidence at all. As someone who endured fertility treatment (and was successful) and then reversed reproductive problems with diet many years later, I’m glad you found this out now and can bring your family up Primal from the get-go.

  54. We have three kids and when they hear McDonalds they think ei ei ohh!!! As in the farm!!! So, the answer is definitely NO about having to eat processed foods and go to drive thru!!!

  55. Congratulations! How can your results not be “profound” with the creation of a new little one? When I took out gluten, and most grains out…oops…three little ones arrived 6 years after we married. I definitely feel there is a connection. Congrats again, and as always, thanks, Mark, for all you do and creating a place for sharing all this information!

  56. Congratulations! Your story made me cry. You both looks so healthy. I’m sure you will be great parents!

  57. It’s pretty funny how idiots who know nothing about nutrition like to make comments to people who are making obvious physical Improvements.
    I have a aunt who is a nurse (a complete imbecile) who likes commenting on my diet and supplementation.
    I am a 6’2″ bodybuilder who weigh in at 245 lbs (prior to 1-1-11).
    I’ve been on the Atkins diet many years (no grains)but my new years resolution was to eliminate dairy.
    I don’t want to lose weight but today I notice that my love handles are completely gone…(I haven’t weighed myself).
    I do not want to eliminate coffee but black coffee tastes pretty bad. I have been making coffee smoothies with black coffee, cashews and coconut flakes in a VitaMix It’s pretty good, try it!!!

  58. I stumbled onto this website as I was researching celiac/disease gluten intolerance. Your wife getting preggers after eliminating gluten/wheat is pretty common from what I have been reading. In fact, my new doc advised me to cut out gluten immediately as gluten intolerances can flare up autoimmune disorders (rom which I already suffer…thyroid disease). He then proceeded to “warn” my husband and I “to take precautions” once I eliminate it as many of his patients get pregnant soon after (many after being told they were infertile and babies were a lost cause for them).

    I am looking to handle my autoimmune disease in a more holistic manner: ie through diet and exercise. Paleo seems to be a natural fit, so I’m a new fan 🙂

  59. I already love Fridays. But I look so forward to these success stories. And I love reading the comments too. I’ll take anecdotal evidence over “clinical” evidence any day. Anecdata is personal experience – I find that a little more real. I wish I could get my man on board but he can’t do without the carbs. You don’t realize just how addictive they are until you stop but continue to watch someone else.