Focusing On My Gut Health Has Transformed My Life

It’s Monday, 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 Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I am so excited to share my story with you, and I hope you enjoy reading it! I have always been the health researcher, fitness enthusiast and nutrition-focused one in my family. My whole life I followed the “healthy diet”—low fat, whole grain, lots of fruit, etc. I did research in nutrition as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, and published a paper in dental school on the dangers of BPA. I have always been investigative and wanting to know the truth behind what is told.

It was during my second year in dental school when my good friend and colleague, Jake, introduced me to CrossFit and the paleo lifestyle. After a workout he said, “OK I’m off to eat half a dozen eggs!” He recalls the look I shot him was one of disbelief and disgust. Shocked was an understatement. “EAT SIX EGG YOLKS!?!?! Have you lost your mind, Jake, seriously, all that cholesterol!” I am sure he tried to reason with me, but I was so skeptical. So that night, I’m sitting in my apartment studying, and Jake sends me a link to It was the first paleo blog I ever read, and is still my go-to today. I remember that I got so caught up reading that I got less studying done, but it was one of those monumental life shifts for which I will always be grateful.

However, I did not immediately jump to 100% strict paleo in 2010. I chose to eat mostly whole foods, but would eat gluten and wheat a few times a week, which I considered balanced. I had graduated from dental school, and I was practicing dentistry in a small boutique, traditional dental office. I was placing and removing significant amounts of amalgam fillings. I had also gotten married, moved in with my husband, and we had bought a house. The emotional, financial, and physical stress I could handle had surpassed my threshold, and in 2015 I became very sick.

After months of bloody stools, running to the bathroom for the tenth time in one day, I finally got over my denial and went to a GI doctor. A colonoscopy confirmed that at age 27, I had ulcerative colitis. My doctor proceeded to recommend that I start six medications. One of them had a chance of landing me in the hospital for months from internal organ swelling. He also said that I had an 80% chance of needing surgery in my lifetime. I looked at him, and said, “Well, wait, what if I change my diet?” His response, “No, changing your diet won’t do anything. All your large intestine does is reabsorb water.” I just stared at him in disbelief. I worked at the opposite end of the body, but even I knew that your gut housed your immune system, and did WAY more than just absorb water!

I refused to let a bunch of drugs and surgery be my fate. I was not going to let anybody put me in a box. I was determined to find another way. And I did. I went 100% paleo, even focused on AIP for a few months. Within 2 weeks of transitioning to a whole-food, gluten-free diet, I came out of my terrible flare and have not had one since.

Getting a grip on my UC symptoms was a miracle, but I still had a long way to go with my healing. I was still sick, malnourished, fatigued all the time, had amenorrhea, couldn’t exercise, always wanted to rest, became socially anxious, etc. I saw multiple doctors from 2015-2016, even getting into National Institute for Health in Bethesda, MD. The top endocrinologists and fertility specialists in the world looked at tens of thousands of dollars of tests, and told me I was the “healthiest unhealthy person we have ever met” and “they didn’t know what was wrong with me” and to “just go back on birth control to make sure you don’t develop osteoporosis.” I refused. I was determined to get to the root cause of my health problems.

I finally found Jessica Flanigan. I did not understand why my Candida antibodies were so high, since I was not eating sugar. I asked Jessica this during one of our appointments, and she said, “Well you know, Mercury feeds off of Candida.” The lectures at dental school had reported that amalgam was safe, and that the mercury becomes “inactivated” once you burnish it. Jessica proceeded to give me information on biologic dentistry through the IAOMT and IABDM. I felt like a precious secret had just been revealed to me, one that I knew was going to change my life forever. I discovered that conventional dentistry was not safe. In fact, mercury is one of the most dangerous neurotoxins on this planet. I still wonder if mercury was the environmental trigger for the UC diagnosis. On Mark’s Daily Apple, you talk about the dangers of amalgam fillings. My functional medicine doctor, as well as Chris Shade from Quicksilver Scientific, confirmed my mercury poisoning. In addition, my functional doctor diagnosed hypothyroidism, HPA-axis dysfunction, vitamin deficiencies, chronic infection, certain genetic snps, and more.

I felt terribly guilty that I had placed amalgam and unsafely removed amalgam fillings in patients. As a doctor you take an oath to do no harm. It was impossible for me to continue working in a conventional office after seeing how damaging mercury was to my health and to my patients’ health. As quickly as possible, I moved from a conventional office to a biologic dental office. In 2016 I pursued additional degrees, graduating from American College of Integrative Medicine and Dentistry with certifications in Integrative Biologic Dental Medicine (IBDM), and as a naturopathic physician (NMD) in 2017. Since working with my functional practitioners, and getting into a safer working environment I am well on my way to being healed from a long list of diagnoses.

I have been so moved and transformed by my journey, that I am launching my business as a functional dental and holistic health practitioner consulting with patients who have not been able to find healing through conventional medicine. I focus on using the latest research and scientific protocols to help my clients heal autoimmune conditions, adrenal dysfunction, diving in deep to the microbiome, and the oral-systemic connection at The gut is the largest organ with multiple common insults that can lead to dysfunction. Normalization of the gut results in the most effective clinical outcomes across all disease states, which is why I am focusing on the gut, head to tail. Focusing on my gut health has transformed my life, and I am back to my energetic bubbly self, sharing my knowledge, helping my friends and family, exercising, socializing, and enjoying every moment of our beautiful world.

I often think back to that day that Jake introduced me to paleo, and how God blessed me with information on where to go for the truth. My sickness and my journey have been an absolute gift, for I would not be where I am without these difficult experiences. My mission is to help as many people as possible overcome what appears to be impossible, as I have overcome it. Thank you, Mark and Mark’s Daily Apple for being a cornerstone in my journey, providing life-saving information, and for creating delicious whole food products that keep us all living, loving, and enjoying life. I am so hopeful and excited to see what our futures hold in shaping the lives of our readers!


The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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14 thoughts on “Focusing On My Gut Health Has Transformed My Life”

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  1. Our early ancestors didn’t brush… didn’t floss… didn’t get cavities. That statement is more about the wise ways of our ancestors than it is about dental health.

    Love what you’re doing… incredibly inspiring… the world needs more people like you!

    1. Hmm. Actually, we cannot really know WHAT they did – or did not do – to clean their teeth. Maybe they just swished water between their teeth each morning and night. Maybe they used a piece of hide. Maybe they used a peeled twig as a tooth cleaner. But, bottom line, a diet that is low in refined carbohydrates or grains is going to keep your teeth healthier.

  2. Amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing. The thing that blows my mind is the willful ignorance of so many medical practitioners. I love hearing that some, like you, are promoting healthier practices not only for themselves, but for patients too!

    1. Are you sure it’s willful? Educational malpractice exists in every setting. Usually it’s because people gifted at researching the truth are in much shorter supply than people gifted at memorizing and explaining what they have been told. And even that number is in short supply compared to the people who can only memorize just enough of what they’ve been told to be functional in their chosen field. But there are some. There are some willing to accept they might not know what they are talking about, who prefer actually being correct over winning arguments, who aren’t satisfied the only know what they’ve been told and who are willing to step out regardless of social stigma or approbation of acquaintances. It is these alone who change the world. Robert Atkins was one of these, Weston Price was one of these, and Mark is one of these.

  3. Thanks for sharing your journey, doing the research and not accepting conventional wisdom, which is always the default. Well done!

    Continued success!

  4. I started PB in June 2017 after a minor TIA incident but ate more and more fruits thinking it was ok. I’ve always had intestinal issues for as long as I can remember and was a bit sad that PB didn’t completely fix me up.

    I started Keto 8 weeks ago in hope of improving my memory and a great side effect is now my gut is, as it seems, 100% ok. Looks like a visit to the dentist is in order!

    Thank you for sharing and providing a great reminder!

  5. Fellow IBD sufferer here, & I just want to thank you so much for sharing your story. I have had a very similar journey, & am finally finding renewed health through diet. Doctors dismiss the link almost entirely between IBD & what goes into your digestive system, which is just ludicrous.

    So glad you found healing 🙂

  6. So my question as a fellow Ulcerative colitis sufferer is whether or not you’re still taking any medications for it as I’m told I can never stop taking one of the long term medications I take that keeps it in check. It wasn’t clear from this article whether the diet just helped you keep at bay the flare ups or whether it completely cleared you of the need for any medications as well.

    1. Hi Christos,

      I’ve had Crohn’s for 18 years, and was on pharmaceuticals for 17 of those (all kinds, from Prednisone & Azathioprine, to Remicade). I’ve now been safely off ALL medications for over 1 year. It was possible for me, with a strong & dedicated will, a change of diet, and some much-needed supplements that my body was deficient in. Never felt better in my life! I hope this helps!

      You can visit my collaborative holistic health blog if you’re interested in my story and some helpful articles about diet, lifestyle, etc. Here’s the link to my story:

  7. Every time I read another success story, I am still amazed at the healing power of the body… God truly has made us in HIS image and does not make mistakes.
    Thank you Mark and thank you Kristen for sharing…

    Peace be with you…

  8. What an awesome story. We just had a discussion the other night with multiple providers about gut health and how it is linked to so many functions in our body that we take for granted. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Wow. Now I am worried about my one filling…. I have to say that dramatically better dental health was an unexpected and wonderful plus to the primal dietary changes that I made when I adopted a primal lifestyle. I have always been a bit of a fanatic about tooth cleanliness. Early on, I realized that the primal diet left my teeth feeling CLEAN, even at the end of the work day! And borderline keto food habits keep them even cleaner and healthier…

  10. Fellow UC sufferer here too. Had UC for 24 years now. All GI drs deny the correlation between diet and flare ups. It’s ridiculous. I too have been on most of the horrific meds they prescribe while “you can continue to eat whatever you want, because diet has no impact on the disease”… Going paleo was the best thing I could have done. My DO office recommended primal – beyond paleo. I do slip up and I always pay the price later. It’s just not worth it anymore.