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Going Primal Banished My Rosacea and Chronic IBS Symptoms

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story [1] 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 [2]. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

It’s only when I look back on my progress that I’m really in awe of what going Primal has done for me. Since the age of 13, I have battled with severe Rosacea acne and chronic IBS. After consulting with a dermatologist and gastroenterologist, it was decided that the two were linked. My hormones were going crazy, I was getting teased at school big time, and because of it I was getting a nervous stomach every morning before class. The two issues got so bad that I was put on Accutane (a heavy duty acne medication) and stomach meds to help control my symptoms. Not once did either doctor suggest that my diet was the cause of all my troubles. In fact, on two separate occasions I asked my dermatologist if my sugar binges were causing my acne, and she vehemently denied it.

My metabolism had always been fast, so I found no immediate problem with surviving on Little Debbie snacks and root beer. I could eat an entire box of donuts in the span of a few hours. I never ate vegetables or fruit, and I turned my nose up at anything related to “real” foods. I was perfectly happy eating fast food every day. What made matters worse was that I never became overweight. Instead, my cholesterol and triglycerides were through the roof (in high school!) and my face was a walking neon red sign screaming that my body needed to detox itself from all the processed stuff I was shoving into it.

I suffered from severe low self-esteem and eventually turned to substance abuse to smother my emotions. Putting all those chemicals into my body just made my symptoms worse, and as a result I really lost myself. Years later I was able to overcome those emotional problems, but my diet still mirrored a person living a chaotic life. I would have cinnamon rolls for breakfast, coffee multiple times throughout the day, and a sandwich or pasta for later meals, which were accompanied by a Redbull to lift me up from the continuous carb crashes. And then, of course, there was dessert—always a dessert! I was on the rollercoaster of sugar and gluten, but I didn’t know it.

In late 2010, my friend started getting into unconventional health wisdom and told me about the effects that sugar and grains have on the body. I began researching sites and stumbled across Mark’s Daily Apple. I trusted the Success Stories that I read and I intuitively knew that the information in the health articles was exactly what I was looking for. I decided to take the plunge, and after only four full days of no sugar or grains (along with withdrawals) I was amazed at the difference. My face wasn’t oily, red, and broken out anymore! For the first time, my digestion was on track. It felt like a miracle—seriously! I had no idea my face could even look like that. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling of looking in the mirror for the first time without makeup and liking what I saw.

My 4 day experiment sold me on going Primal. I devoured The Primal Blueprint [3]. I totally purged my kitchen of anything with ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce. It was a pretty huge shift from eating frozen dinners every night to cooking my own meals. But I learned to love it, and after almost a year of playing around in the kitchen, I decided to share my Primal recipes with the world on my website, South Beach Primal [4]. That was 2 years ago. I’d love to say that my rosacea has been totally cured, but that’s just not the case. I’ve learned that acid-forming foods (e.g. grains and sugar) as well as foods that cause flushing (e.g. spicy foods and hot coffee) will make my rosacea flare up. But the periods between these flare-ups have become longer. My IBS has become manageable and only acts up when I treat myself to too many Paleo treats. I’ve learned so much about my body these past 3 years. I’m beyond grateful for finding my fellow ancestral health supporters online.

I’m not perfect 100% of the time, but I’m a totally different person from the nutrient-deficient girl I used to be. My mood swings are more in tune with the natural rhythm of my body. I’ve even gotten into a great exercise routine that works for me. Biking is my main mode of transportation here on the beach, but I’ve also fallen in love with yoga and weight lifting. I can honestly say that I am in the best shape of my entire life—and I still weigh exactly the same! It just goes to show that the scale doesn’t matter. It’s how I feel on the inside that makes the difference. Eating healthy last week won’t keep me healthy today. Every single day I need to work on myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s quite the struggle, but it’s well worth it.

In addition to my website [4], you can follow my journey on Instagram [5], Facebook [6], and Twitter [7]. Thanks for reading, Grok on!

Rachel