Happy, Healthy, and Feeling Better Than Ever

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!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2I remember being as young as six and my mother taking me to the doctor’s, complaining how underweight and pale I was. I’d end up going to the lab for tests and then back to the doctor, to have him tell my mother my iron was low. This went on my entire childhood. I clearly remember to this day, the awful tasting liquid iron supplement I had to take daily, the raw egg shakes I was forced to consume because the doctor said so, the time I wanted a beautiful blue jacket but my mom insisted I buy the green one instead, because I didn’t look as pale in it. I had terrible eczema and environmental allergies and my nose would bleed spontaneously. I was a wreck as a child, awkward, gangly and sickly.

As I entered my 20’s I suffered from heavy cramps and periods. I birthed two wonderful children and barely remember their early years as I was exhausted 24/7. During both pregnancies I was anemic. After kids, I started the birth control pill, thinking it would help lighten my period. The pill worked for a few months, but then the heavy periods kicked in again, so I tried an IUD but that didn’t help either. I also noticed after I had children I was lactose intolerant. I couldn’t drink a glass of milk without it going right through me. I wanted to exercise, but I was truly too exhausted and cranky.

Six years ago I started CrossFit. I loved it and before long, I was introduced to the Paleo Diet, and did a 30 Day Challenge. During that time I had lab work done, and my doctor tested me for celiac disease. The test was negative but because I hadn’t been consuming gluten on the 30 Day Challenge, those results weren’t sound. I felt great and when the challenge was done, I went back to eating gluten and grains.

In 2012, I was back to the doctor’s complaining of fatigue, shortness of breath and not recovering well from workouts. My lab tests came back showing low ferritin, even though I had been taking a daily supplement for years. I had ten painful iron injections while waiting to see the hematologist. My ferritin went up and would drop again, when I got my period. The hematologist explained I just don’t absorb iron well and put me on an expensive, highly absorbable, iron supplement. Again – no success.

In May 2013 I had a laprascopic hysterectomy which I thought would cure the anemia, because I’d no longer have my period. Six months later, I found I was exhausted again.


December 2013 – I am in the middle wearing black and white stripes (my girlfriend to my left, the tall one, is an avid fan of your site).

In February 2014, I was so tired, short of breath, and battled insomnia. Blood work showed I was even more anemic than I was before my surgery. I started iron supplements again and waited for an appointment with the hematologist. He explained, one more time, I just don’t absorb iron well and said I need to supplement for the rest of my life.

During the past few years I also put on about 15-20 pounds, doctor said I’m getting older and just need to simply cut my caloric intake. I did calorie count for a couple of weeks, however, that led to frustration. It was difficult and time consuming to track everything, and I was disappointed I kept going over my allotted caloric allowance every single day. I tried those diet pills with lots of caffeine. Whatever fad/pill was out there, I actually tried it or gave it serious consideration.

I was frustrated, depressed, tired and noticed it was taking days to recover from a workout. My feet swelled up if I ran, and working out in general was not something I enjoyed anymore. I needed help.


June 2014 – I’m 3rd on the left. I was so swollen after this race and had a week of achiness.

In September 2014, I brought my blood test results to a naturopath – someone who according to reviews was known for emphasis on food rather than medication. I’ll never forget my first visit. He looked at my lab results and said it was gluten. I can’t remember everything he told me in detail, but at that point I was desperate for help. He also thought I was pre-diabetic based on my terrible cravings and insomnia. We discussed a food plan, which turned out to be pretty much a Paleo diet.

I found Mark’s Daily Apple during the Paleo challenge and subscribed to the newsletter. It wasn’t until my visit with the naturopath, I decided to spend some time on the MDA site, which I found to be a wealth of information. I also read one of Mark’s books and purchased the recipe book which I still use.

I saw the naturopath monthly and it kept me accountable. I lost 25 pounds over the course of a few months, and gained my health back. After the transition period, gone were the IBS symptoms, headaches, bags under my eyes, cravings, fatigue, crankiness, constant hunger, insomnia, shortness of breath, swelling, etc. Friends were commenting on how wonderful my skin looked and how happy I was.

image4I went for a check in with the hematologist six months later. My ferritin was the best it had ever been, he commented on how he had to double check my file and see if I had in fact received iron infusions. I told him about my Paleo lifestyle and he actually raised his hands in the air and cheered!!! I was still supplementing with iron to build my ferritin levels, but the difference was, I was actually absorbing it. My family doctor was just as surprised. I have now stopped iron supplements and my ferritin level has held strong. I CrossFit, run and cycle four to six times a week, and I can handle my crazy shift work schedule.

I’m 38 and feel the best I ever have. I’m happy, healthy and energized. It took a lot of hard work, determination, organization and preparation to get to where I am, but there’s no going back because this is amazing. My children, family and friends have seen the difference in me and love it.


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32 thoughts on “Happy, Healthy, and Feeling Better Than Ever”

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  1. WTG! thanks for sharing the hidden benefits of Primal eating (and you look very beautiful in blue 🙂

      1. I’m glad I’m not the only one to cry. It’s so maddening that the conventional medical professionals can’t figure things out…and people have to suffer for years.

        But what made me cry, Bonnie, was that you finally made it out of your misery and are in good health. You look great, congratulations for finding the path….

  2. Great going Bonnie. Another Primal miracle. You feel great and you look fahhhhbulous. Congrats!

  3. Great pics and a great story. So sorry you had to endure so much as a child. It’s crazy how many things are food related. You look amazing and sounds like you feel even better! Congrats!

  4. Such a beautiful story, Bonnie! So glad you found Mark’s Daily Apple and a good holistic practitioner…and that your journey led to such a happy, healthy place.

    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Great to hear your story, thanks!

    You are lovely in blue! Good choice now.

  6. Enjoy the exciting life ahead if you! You look so happy in the final picture.

  7. Your skin absolutely looks great! I am certain your friends and family will benefit from witnessing your example.

    I’m sorry to say that I have no faith in medical doctors at this point, they have never provided me with any useful therapies, just palliative drugs. I have now been following the Primal Lifestyle of diet and moderate exercise for the last 4 years. Like you I had dramatic improvements the first year but what is amazing to me today is my body is still slowly but steadily improving in composition and digestive functioning etc, and that’s at age 61.

    You are hitting your stride at the perfect time, the 40s are the best, I’m sure yours are going to rock!

  8. You look fabulous – and very happy – in your final photo. Good on you for not giving up on yourself. And now, after trying so many things, how wonderful to have found something that clearly suits your body you the most. Great example to set your kids too!

  9. anyone see a pattern here? doctors (CW) wrong and outside-the-box thinkers (paleo community) right?

  10. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments! I am so excited to share my journey and if I can help one person it is so worth it!!!

  11. I live in Belo Horizonte in Brasil and I am a big fan of Mark Sisson and his MDA site. Not only is it full of useful, sensible information but full of his generosity!

    The weekly stories absolutely fill me with joy! I must agree with al of the comments, yours in particular Bonnie!

    You have and will inspire many to follow your example.


    1. Thank you! I am happy to share my story if it motivates people!

  12. Congratulations Bonnie! You are absolutely glowing in that last picture.

  13. Bonnie, almost exactly the story of my life!! Thanks for sharing this. You are giving me a lead.

    Did you by any chance have raised bumps on the back of your arms/legs? I’ve been told that’s what gluten does.

    1. I have heard that too Kamila however I did not have that on my arms/legs. I had patches of eczema which have since disappeared. Good luck! I found meal planning, being prepared with snack/meals on hand really helped me and still does.

  14. a beautiful, affirming and confirming story!….thank u so much for sharing!….i am so happy for u as i remember those years in my life when i was so tired all the time but had so much i was trying to do….u have overcome the condition ur body was in and u have brought ur self to joyful health!!!….(i have too)…

  15. Great story! My iron levels have improved since going primal. I think it may be due to the change in my microbiome; I read somewhere that some of the “bad gut flora guys” use up available iron.

  16. Unbelievable what food does to us! I’ve just had a reaffirmation of how grain affects my body – time to listen for once and for all. I’ve read too many great stories like yours for it not to be the absolute truth! You look like a million dollars and yip – blue really does suit you

  17. Hi Bonnie I just came across your experience tonight and it’s encouraged me to give this a real good fair go! I have just been diagnosed as anaemic even though I have also been taking iron supplements daily for over two years (since I got pregant with my 3rd baby in 5 years), sometimes twice a day. My doctor has said I’m clearly not absorbing that iron and wants to start on the injections this week. I had been googling on what I can do if my body isn’t absorbing the iron and after reading your experience I’m going to give it a go starting now. Thank you for sharing. I’m new to MDA but looking forward to learning more!

    1. Good luck, just give it some time, stick with it and you will see the change and results!

  18. My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I may as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to going
    over your web page for a second time.

    1. Glad to see you found this page. Hope your journey into the Primal/Paleo world is going well.