Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
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 the past, even though on the outside I was British size 8 (American size 0) on the inside I was skinny fat with numerous health problems. I was sick of feeling sick all the time. Constant migraines, bloating, cold after cold, yeast infections, low energy levels and lack of concentration. were all I knew at that time. In fact, I was most probably on my way to become another victim of modern diet type 2 diabetes. Finding the Primal/paleo/keto way of living allowed me to reverse all my health problems.
Currently, I live in Shanghai, but my journey began in Poland in a small village next to the Baltic Sea. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a pollution free environment and on organic produce from my Granny’s farm. Sadly, my Granny stopped raising animals and growing her own vegetables when I was 15, and that’s when my family and I discovered processed food, coated in vegetable oils and sugar.
My favourite food to eat became chocolate, and because I’ve never struggled with weight I felt invincible and thought it was O.K. to eat it in unlimited quantities daily. I was also a carb addict, eating so called ‘healthy’ foods. My breakfast consisted of cappuccino and croissant, followed by freshly squeezed orange juice. For lunch, I would often opt for a sandwich (made out of ‘healthy’ whole grains, of course!), a pack of crisps and a chocolate bar. For dinner, I would have homemade pasta or a rice dish cooked in vegetable oils. I would often end my day with a dessert or a piece of fruit and a glass or two of wine. This high carb and sugar diet left me hungry, so grazing throughout the day on chocolate and fruits to sustain my energy level was also a daily occurrence.
Being too preoccupied with studying, working, partying, drinking, toxic relationships, traveling and staying up late throughout all of my teens and twenties, I failed to consider what was going on inside my body, my spirit, and my soul. Finally, in my late 20’s, I hit rock bottom with all sorts of health issues. This desperate “aha” moment brought me to the Primal Lifestyle. I finally realised that my dress size had nothing to do with health and simply being skinny didn’t equate to being healthy.
During this time my father was also diagnosed with malignant gastric cancer, which left me devastated and confused about the lifestyle my family and I were leading. I took this moment as a very loud wake-up call and decided to embark on a journey that would heal my broken relationship not only with food but also my soul.
For the past three years I have been studying, researching and experimenting with the healing properties of different foods, essential oils, and relaxation techniques. Thanks to my newfound application to a healthy lifestyle, I managed to overcome my health challenges. During my healing journey I had to restore my insulin sensitivity, treat my leaky gut, and cure my insomnia. Staying away from my best ‘friend’ chocolate and other man-made carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, chips, cookies, and cutting out refined sugar including ‘natural’ sugar like honey wasn’t easy, but these were the first steps I needed to take.
Luckily, I just happen to love food and was eager to bring everything I learnt about nutrition into the kitchen and create new meal plans without sacrificing the flavour. The food I make nowadays is gluten-free, vegetable oil-free and sugar-free, and it tastes scrumptious. When choosing ingredients for my meals I focus on locally grown, organic vegetables and grass-fed meat. I love to cook using coconut oil, real butter, ghee and plenty of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices. Through the healing properties of food and daily yoga practice I overcame my health problems. This new lifestyle changed the way I look at food, stress, relationships and exercise.
Of course, these changes didn’t come easily, and I met a lot of resistance—surprisingly mostly from people who I thought, at that time, cared for me the most. This new lifestyle among other things brought changes to my social life, some of which were too big for some of my ‘friends’ to handle or understand. Instead of happily going out for late nights drinking, all I wanted to do was to be active during the day and go to bed at 9 p.m. with my favourite book.
My true friends were happy to meet up, go hiking or play other sports and then make a paleo dinner together, something I really appreciate to this day. Now I understand that having a lot in common in every relationship is key, as without it love or friendship will naturally fizzle out.
“Don’t die with the music still inside you,” is one of my favourite quotes by Wayne Dyer. This journey made me rediscover parts of me that I thought were lost forever and gave me the courage to embrace the music within and get to know the person I truly am.
Now as a Primal Health Coach, my mission is to empower women to become the best versions of themselves by offering guidance through the journey to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The Primal way of life has nourished my body in all the right ways and made the best quality of life possible.
Izabela Misiuk, Primal Health Coach, ThriveInShanghai.com