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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...

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February 22 2013

I Am Finally on the Right Path to Optimum Health and Happiness

By Guest
134 Comments

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!

Mark,

Whenever someone asks me about my history with Ulcerative Colitis I respond with something along the lines of, “It feels like a bad dream that will forever be imprinted in the back of my mind.” It was 2006, my senior year of high school, everything was going fairly well. I was a healthy (or so I thought) 6’3″, 180 lb. 18 year old about to graduate high school and head into the next stage of my life: college. However, life had different plans in store for me. Around my second semester I began to feel consistently nauseous.  It felt like anything I ate (S.A.D. mind you) would just pass right through me as though I hadn’t absorbed any energy/nutrients. I figured it was a relatively normal side effect from consistent partying that year, though it persisted. Bouts of nausea would come and go, as would horrible abdominal pains that would make even the toughest man curl into the fetal position. I decided it was time to get checked out. I had my first colonoscopy done within weeks of my first symptoms.

“You have Ulcerative Colitis,” the doctor said. I remember my mother and I looking at each other absolutely confused. Neither of us had heard of this illness before. He proceeded to inform us that Ulcerative Colitis is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which is an inflammation of the colon. I remember pondering for a moment about what all of this could mean. I finally looked up and asked, “So what do I do?” He responded with, “Well, we can treat it with different medications depending on which one you is most beneficial to you.” “Treat?,” I thought. “You mean I have to live like this for the rest of my life?” I remember the doctor’s face vividly…it was an expression of reservation, confusion, and sadness, as if he were trying to formulate the wisest, yet least alarming way possible. “Not necessarily. A lot of people go into full remission with the right medication.” I carefully considered his response and asked, “How is this disease caused?” He looked back at me regretfully, “Unfortunately we don’t really know.” I didn’t know what to say to that. Still completely shocked and puzzled at what I was told, I continued through the next few months now under the supervision of a gastroenterologist and given several medications to take daily.

Sadly, things only got worse from there, I missed my college SAT tests on three different occasions due to having virtually no energy, constant joint and abdominal pains, as well as never-ceasing nausea. My friends and family would wonder where I was, why I wasn’t answering their phone calls, and why I would never leave the house anymore. My attempts to eat were pitiful, and as a result I was losing weight fast. Fast-forward two years later…After several failed medications and treatments from pharmaceutical to alternative, I ended up at a emaciated weight of 127 lbs only sleeping perhaps 2-4 hours per night.

Before surgery and the Primal Blueprint

I’ll never forget the feeling I had during this period of my life. It was as if I was on the brink of life and death, a sort of limbo. Nothing seemed real anymore. After stubbornly refusing to go to a doctor (due to my strong distaste for the medical field at that point), my father more or less forced me to our family clinic. My family doctor looked me over with noticeable concern, checking my blood pressure/pulse three separate times. He looked up at me and said, “You need to go to the hospital immediately.” My dad quickly rushed me to the E.R. and within an hour or so I was wheeled into a room and pumped full of pain-killers and fluids. I remember my father telling me what the doctor had told him, which is something I’ll never forget, “If you would have brought him in any later, he could have died.”

The good news is I stabilized, albeit only temporarily. Through the following months my weight shifted like crazy, the medications stopped working, and I was back at square one. All of the false hope I was getting from each new medication I would try and ultimately fail was taking its toll on me not only physically but mentally as well. My only other option to consider was surgery, in which I finally agreed to. My doctor recommended a three-step surgery. My first surgery was a total colectomy (removal of the entire large intestine) resulting in my need to wear a colostomy bag for nine months while my surgery site healed. My second step was to construct a “J-pouch,” which is basically the conversion of part of your small intestine into a a “J” shape to form a make-shift colon. Step two lasted a few months to let the J-pouch heal up while I still used the colostomy bag. My third and final step was to reconnect the plumbing, so to speak. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I don’t regret it for a minute.

My symptoms decreased to a manageable level, allowing me to eventually become independent, living and working on my own. Though the actual Colitis was at a stand-still, I was constantly bloated and sick, and my J-pouch would develop chronic pouchitis (infection of the pouch) which would be temporarily resolved by very powerful antibiotics such as Flagyl and Ciprofloxacin, but would eventually reappear. All of these chronic infections I was getting didn’t make sense. I was cured right? This shouldn’t be happening.

Still bloated and sick

Well that’s when I really began analyzing my diet, which eventually  brought me to your book, The Primal Blueprint.

When I finally ditched the SAD diet and started living primally, (eliminating processed foods and most importantly, GRAINS and adding more healthy fats, plants, and animals) I noticed the pain had been reduced to a minimum, my weight stabilized, and I had no more bloating which would usually appear after a good carb/grain-dense meal. This seemed to be working for me, so I stuck with it. After several months of living primally, at the age of 24, a stable weight of 182 lbs, and a height 6’4″ I can safely say that I am in the best shape of my life and feel better than I ever did pre-Colitis. My energy levels are stable. In fact, I hardly ever get mid-day crashes unless I eat something I shouldn’t (which only reminds me that I’m moving on a path towards the dark-side and I better recalibrate.) I lost over 30 lbs. of fat and gained a significant amount of lean muscle mass, but most importantly, is that I feel healthy. While I may never be “normal” again, I know that I am finally on the right path to optimum health and a life full of happiness. Thank you Mark for the selfless wisdom that you have imparted to myself and many others that have conquered their trials and tribulations via The Primal Blueprint.

From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

Kyel - After Primal

Kyel

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134 thoughts on “I Am Finally on the Right Path to Optimum Health and Happiness”

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    1. What an awesome story, I’ve recently been diagnosed. Your story was not only informative, but inspirational, thank you! You look great, so glad to hear you’re feeling better!

  1. Honestly, I just want to hug you. That had to be horribly difficult to face, and especially at the age you faced it.

    It’s great that Primal has helped though. 🙂

    1. +1 I had the same reaction! He was starving, poor young man. He fixed THAT!

  2. Crazy wow! Like three different people in each pic. Glad you’re feelin better man.

    Gotta love “what causes this?” ” we don’t know” Take this.

    Did anyone ever address nutrition prior to all this or just something you only stumbled upon yourself? Glad to see you’re feeling better man!

      1. Yes, Luke is right – you really do look like three different people – the last one healthy. Good job hanging in there Kyel.

  3. Will you marry me? Congrats, you look great! So inspirational. Paleo all the way!

  4. I’ve wondered since I started this diet what would happen to a person with UC if they went primal. My dad had UC and his calcium deficiencies got so bad that his spine was deteriorated to the point of being comparable to that of an 80 year old woman when he was 37. After a brutal surgery, he died in an accident after not being able to kick the pills when he was 41. I’m glad this information is in the public domain now because hopefully some people, yourself included, won’t have to go through what he went through. Thanks for this story.

    1. Shawn, I was touched by your comment. Very sorry to hear your dad’s story.

  5. Fantastic. My wife had ulcerative collitus from the age of 16 to 36. The drugs they gave her were pretty bad and the next stage was steroids. That was when she saw a nutritionist who put her on a grain free diet. The improvement was immediate and all bleeding was done in six months.
    In those 20 years not one doctor though to look at her diet!
    We now eat a pretty much primeval diet, my IBS has gone as well. Thanks Mark for putting all the information in one place.
    ROG (my primeval name!)

    1. Can I tell you how mad it makes me that not one doctor in 20 years thought about her diet? I am SO glad you found that nutritionist and that both you and your wife are well now! Keep spreading the word.

  6. Kyel: Thrilled you found the PB and it helped! But it makes me sad to hear a story like this because what if the first doctor you met at 18 had put you on a PB diet?

    1. Yes, reminds me of that saying; The line between a serial killer and a surgeon is a very fine line indeed. Creepy world sometimes.

      Stoked for you Kyel. : )

    2. I wonder that as well, but to be honest it might not have made much of a difference. I was diagnosed with UC as a freshman in high school, and I immediately started trying different diets to get rid of it. Within the first 6-9ish months I was paleo, and I stuck with it religiously for almost 3 years until I finally had to have my colon removed as well. I still STRONGLY believe that diet has a huge influence on both the cause/development and the treatment of the disease, and I don’t think it would be possible to heal something like UC without a huge diet change. Unfortunately, though, it’s not always enough!

      But Kyel, I was so thrilled to see your story on here!! While I thoroughly enjoy the weight loss transformation stories, stories like yours about digestive diseases (especially UC!) truly resonate with me. I’m SO happy your J-pouch is working out for you and you feel great!!! I hope we can spread the word to other UCers and J-pouchers (:

  7. Well done Kyel – first for asking all the right questions (although sadly not getting any decent answers) and second for transforming your body and life on the PB. You look great!

  8. I personally don’t trust most doctors, too many cases of where they missed diagnoses. They just do not get the right education. Glad your finally on the right path Kyel!

  9. Wow, you look great! Congratulations on your new lifestyle, you look so happy!!

  10. So glad your life is saved. Great job! Both my brothers were almost to where you were. I’m happy to report that they are both onboard the Primal path since about 6 months ago and both are now doing great. This stuff works folks.

  11. Glad things turned out the way they did for you and you found the primal way… Can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if you discovered it sooner! The SAD really can do a number to our bodies.

  12. With all the anecdotal evidence that now exists, why doesn’t “somebody” conduct a formal study on ulcerative colitis and grain-free diets? The medical community won’t listen up without the formal study. Mark, Robb, Chris??? You guys have the background to pull this off. Please consider it.

    1. It’s pretty simple why the medical community won’t get on the wagon about diet controlling health. It’s called “follow the money.” There’s no kickbacks from saying, “Clean up your diet, eat more organic fruits and vegetables, ditch the polluted drinks for water and stop eating grains.”
      signed
      heathier w/o doctors

      1. I agree with you totally, Sandy! “Follow the money” is right on! I get so angry at doctors who never question diets or lifestyle behaviors but are so quick to prescribe medications for everything. “Here, take this pill and go away. Hope it works.”

        Also Healthier w/o doctors!

  13. Mark you remind me of 2 close friends who suffer from Ulcerative Colitis. They have yet to accept the fact that food can both heal and destroy your body. I will be sending along your story to them in hope of inspiring them. Congratulations on beginning the healing process — you are looking amazing!!

  14. I have had UC for three years, and going primal was by far the best thing for me. I was misdiagnosed for months until I had to be hospitalized. I remember being on so much medication and feeling like crap. About a year after my diagnosis I found Mark’s site, and since then I’ve had to take no medication at all and my weight has stabilized. Thank you Mark!

  15. If you haven’t read “Wheat Belly” it goes very in depth into the topics of wheat and grains and how they can destroy the human body! It is a little on the technical side but a great read!

    Congrats on your success!!!

  16. Congrats on taking the initiative to find your way to good health! It is pathetic to see our medical community be so quick to push pills and surgery rather than suggesting dietary changes when they have patients facing GI issues with “mysterious” origins.

  17. Wow, that is absolutely incredible! Many congratulations for making it through such an ordeal!

  18. One of the first things I noticed after starting to eat primal was the major improvement in digestive functions. It was almost immediate. No more heartburn, acid reflux, etc.

    Congratulations. I love these stories.

    1. I hear you, brother! I’ve been eating primal for just over three months now, but have noticed immediate results. Just this morning I was looking for something in our medicine cabinet and noticed a giant bottle of antacid tablets – which I used to need at least once a week. I haven’t touched them since I started the primal diet. I also used to have a lot of belching and passing gas after meals, and that is also a thing of the past – thank heavens!

  19. Thanks for sharing your story!

    @Shawn: The specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) was published in 1987 as a book titled ‘Food and the Gut Reaction’ and long predates Loren Cordain’s book. It is very similar to paleo/primal and the point of it was to attempt to solve bowel problems through diet. As far as I can tell, it was revolutionary at the time. I was on SCD for 5 or 6 years and it was the best thing for dealing with my UC (diagnosed at the age of 2) but unfortunately it wasn’t a ‘cure’, for me at least.

    I think everything falls on a spectrum and for some people it might be enough of an effect to clear up their problems without surgery. I eventually had surgery and spent 6 years with a colostomy. I was basically eating SAD for a few years after ‘step 3’ and realized that gluten and refined sugar really bothered me. I eliminated them and basically started eating gluten-free, sugar-free. After finally discovering paleo through my girlfriend and Crossfit, I’ve had similar changes to what you see in the pictures above. Having half of a gut really emphasizes the need to put real food in the body methinks.

    1. Don’t forget to compare the SCD- with the FODMAP-concept. There may be different causes for the same symptoms (be?) at work.

      Cheers, guzolany

  20. This story made me angry, doctors condemning a kid to go thru what you did. Makes me wonder how many aren’t as lucky.

  21. I hate that you had to go through this, but I love these kinds of stories. I was diagnosed with UC as well when I was 20. I had two flare ups; the second of which landed me in the hospital with the same exact conversation as you had with your doctor. I have never been so scared my entire life.

    I was on medication for a year or two, but eventually decided I didn’t want to take it. Although I still have issues luckily nothing as horrid as that first year. But I always believe it could come back full force, because I feel like it’s lingering. That’s why I finally dumped the grains and switched to Primal. I strongly believe it will help me live a longer, happier life than I would have otherwise.

    Congrats on getting through your journey a stronger and happier person.

  22. @Luke DePron

    Nope no one had addressed anything related to diet as a cause for concern.

    I also remember my second gastroenterologist asking me himself if I had thought diet had anything to do with my illness. This floored me.

    Thanks so much for the kind words everyone. My hopes are that anyone that is currently suffering from this disease may find hope in the primal blueprint. Give it 100% of your efforts and I can confidently say it will be 100% worth it.

    All the best,
    Kyel

  23. All i can say is you look wonderful now and congratulations on new found health!

  24. I think this is the most intense success story so far. What an astonishing transformation, and a vivid example of the disconnect in medicine, that doctors don’t look to diet when there is a problem with intestinal disease. Thank you for sharing, Kyel, and congratulations!

  25. Congratulations! I really like how your story doesn’t dwell on “what could have been”.

  26. Kyel,

    I dealt with UC for 4 years and then finally underwent the same exact 3 part surgery that you did. It’s tough for people to understand how difficult it is to live with UC especially trying to maintain a social life. Looking for a bathroom the second you go anywhere just in case is brutal. The colostomy bag in itself was an adventure changing it, keeping it concealed, and then emptying in public.

    Like you, I lost a substantial amount of weight going from 230 to around 160 and had my family and friends frightened.

    Since having the surgeries completed, I found this site and been implementing the nutrition into my life and things have been great as you described. Weight is staying the same, energy is a contstant, and actually sleeping through the night is a blessing.

    Congratulations on your transformation and success Kyel and keep it up!

  27. So sad to read about your illness, so angry to read about what your doctors did and didn’t do for you.

    I believe there is an epidemic of digestive system illnesses in our culture right now, and no one is noticing it. I have a couple of friends going through similar illnesses now, one just had her appendix and gall bladder removed and is being treated with chemotherapy for autoimmune disorder. She refuses to believe diet could cure her and instead relies on the doctors. She is scared and confused. So sad.

    Finally I am so happy you found the Primal Blueprint. You saved your own life.

  28. What an amazing transformation! I hope you can share your knowledge with other UC patients! Have you considered online forums or patient support groups? You could give a lecture or motivational talk your transformation is so inspirational!

    It makes me sad when the comments turn to doctor-bashing though. There’s medicine, and there’s nutrition, and while there may be overlap, there are limits to both. Furthermore, it is only with a sound knowledge of both that you would be qualified to comment on which disease processes are curable by diet alone that are not curable by medicine.

    1. @Tapsticks – Someone’s doctor-bashing is someone else’s thoughtful criticism and genuine frustration.

      Good health and nutrition completely and utterly overlap. Some strong constitutions can ignore it for awhile but time always reveals diet issues.

      The issue is not personal to Docs, but a systematic training failure. The designated “caretakers” of health should be trained in nutrition first, drugs next, and surgery last. Currently the opposite is true: everyone is trained in anatomy and drug interactions and nutrition is left to another field altogether.

      There is a lot of room for improvement. 🙁

      1. I am a doctor, and I have to say that it feels a lot like doctor-bashing! :S
        I completely agree with you that
        there is a lack of training in nutrition for doctors. This may be why some hesitate to comment about the ability of nutrition to fight disease.

        As a doctor you can’t give advice on things that are out of your field of expertise. You also can’t really suggest that patients try a treatment that is not proven in clinical trials to be effective. In the UK we are bound by best practice guidelines to treat medical conditions. If I stepped outside these guidelines to give advice based on blogs and anecdotes, I would be a dangerous doctor.

        Don’t get me wrong, I will suggest my patients try good nutrition and lifestyle change, but as an adjunct to a proven treatment not instead.

        I have personally used nutrition and lifestyle change successfully to treat depression, as I thought I better take a long hard look at my lifestyle and fix what was wrong before resorting to medication. HOWEVER if a patient came to me with severe depression, I wouldn’t dare recommend that they ditch proven and tested medicines and try to treat this with diet and exercise alone. What if it failed and they committed suicide? It is a gamble I would be unwilling to take.

        1. “What if it failed and they committed suicide? It is a gamble I would be unwilling to take.”

          What if you gave them a proven medication, but ignored the “gosh, try you can try this but it won’t work” diet advise and the symptoms got worse, and they committed suicide anyway?

          I know of stories about depressed teenagers who committed suicide right after starting therapy because the drugs made the symptoms worse before they got better.

          Life doesn’t present any easy choices, especially in the field of medicine. There are society approved choices, in so much society doesn’t punish them directly if you offer them. But that does not make them 100% safe.

          There probably are clinical trials surrounding diet and almost every imaginable topic. However, because of the endless factors surrounding diet (and the lack of drug money), they will almost never be definitive. The “rock solid” evidence you’re looking for regarding diet choices does not and will probably never exist. It’s much, much easier to design tests for 1 drug for 1 condition and then let those results be known.

          And yet, proof exists. You own one of these things call the human body. Although total body reactions do vary somewhat, science tells us that results of chemical reactions do not vary. Too high of a carbohydrate load is problematic for every mammal, including the ones that files tax returns.

          At any rate, most people, in my opinion, are going to look you in the eye and say “I can’t give up bread” and take the drugs anyway.

          But what of the others? Will you not give them the choice of trying to clean up diet first that you made for yourself? If they clearly understand the risks then trying a diet change before trying drugs *is* the safe option. No drug therapy is without risk.

          And honestly, I consider nutrition to be completely inside your area of expertise if you are a Primary Doc. “I’m not an expert in that” is a cop out if you are making a living healing people.

          Phew! I guess I’m saying all this because I think if you strive to be the absolute best Doc you can be, then the “Doc bashing” won’t worry you. You know you’re doing your best an imperfect world. You’ll have the patient smiles and thank yous to prove it.

  29. @Tapsticks Oh don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything the doctors have done for me, and I don’t regret the surgeries at all. I blame the lack of education in nutrition these doctors get which is very minimal. I know in the most personal sense, these doctors were doing their best, and I appreciate that more than words can describe.

    @Kyle it sounds like we went through some very similar trials. I am glad you are feeling better as well. Keep it up!

    1. I didn’t think you were doctor bashing, I rather meant the comments!

      You’re right about the minimal part- a handful of lectures in 1st year med school is about all we get…

      Wishing you all the best, your story is truly inspirational.

  30. SOOOO happy to hear this Kyel. As someone who suffered with UC for YEARS I can totally relate. Although my weight loss/malnutrition wasn’t as severe as yours (I never got surgery), the abdominal cramps and diarrhea were so bad I was often in the bathroom (and numerous times on the floor) around 20x a day, missed work all the time and found myself isolating at home for fear of being out and needing a bathroom (missed a few times…always so hot as an adult to pooped yourself!!!).
    I went through allopathic medicine, naturopathy, acupuncture etc but the only thing that helped were the Specific Carb Diet and a great book called “Listen to your Gut”. Now i’m a recent convert to primal…it just clicked.

    There is no gift like being able to live your life. I am thankful every day that I consider myself “normal” now (well physically anyway). Thanks for submitting this!!

  31. @Melissa

    Thanks for the comments! Yeah, it’s not the most attractive thing when you are sprinting to the nearest toilet for fear of soiling yourself, I remember those days well. Looking on the brightside…at least I got my sprints in, yeah? Haha.

    I really enjoyed reading Elaine’s book the specific carb diet. I refer to it from time to time when I need to. I am so glad to hear you are feeling better. It really is a shame that more focus is put on masking symptoms as opposed to treating them. Take care!

    All the best,
    Kyel

  32. My 16 year old niece has UC.
    She’s been to every “medical expert” in the field.
    A few years later she’s at square one and it’s pretty bad.
    But when you say…read Mark’s book, or try being grain-free…they all scoff at you.
    They won’t even try.
    Why is the medical community so thick headed ?
    They can’t all be corrupted.
    Peace.

    1. In fairness to the “average” medical practioner, I think it would be very tough after dedicating a decade of your life to training and then spending 2 or 3 more decades in practice to discover that you’ve prescribed years of useless, ineffective medication or surgery. Actually, the thought is horrifying if you care at all about your patients.

      It does not excuse it, but I don’t think the impulse to push away information about diet comes some inant evil or stupidity.

      1. Amy, I know one doctor and one nurse who have adopted and are recommending PD to their patients at Kaiser, and they’re subject to all sorts of criticism and derision from their compatriots. It would be helpful if the average medical practitioner just had a more open, inquiring mind, but most seem to absorb what they’ve been taught with no room for improvement. I see old doctors still stuck on what they were taught, conflicting with younger doctors who were taught more recently, and neither will give an inch. Meanwhile we patients are left to sort it out ourselves.

  33. Man, I got all teared up reading this. It’s always great to hear how the Primal life has helped us lose weight and feel better but when I read a story about someone who suffered through a terrible disease and now has their life back, in part or wholly, due to living Primally it really makes my day. I wish you all the best and continued good health. It is incredible the difference in the pics and I am so happy for you.

  34. WOW! What a great story unfortunately I am at work and can’t see the pictures that will be on my to do list when I get home!!! I also don’t have one of those high tech phones either to look at them! I am in the medical field and it is such a shame we don’t see the big picture. I know doctors receive very little education on nutrition in medical school but it wouldn’t matter anyway because they are taught the SAD crap. I also find it amazing how we can figure out that cars run on gasoline and if you put something else in them they don’t work why haven’t we figured this out about our own bodies. i don’t mean to doctor bash either but some of them truly walk around with blinders on. it is ashame you did not receive answers to your questions.

  35. Semi-related, we all need to put pressure on Congress to pass the Free Speech About Science Act. The FDA and FTC are trying to put the clamp on food labeling and health supplements and not in a good way.

    Example: The FDA sent a warning letter to Diamond Food for making truthful, scientifically backed health claims about the health benefits of omega-3 fats in walnuts. Because the research cited health claims that omega-3 fats in walnuts may prevent or protect against disease, the FDA said walnuts would be considered “new drugs” and as such would require a new drug application to become FDA-approved.

    Read more about it on the Alliance for Natural Health website under the Campaigns tab (where you can also sign the petition). Also, on Dr. Mercola’s website.

  36. You look great, and I am so glad to hear of your success. Thanks for sharing this, I am sure that hearing your story will change lives.

  37. I had the exact same initial conversation with my doctor when I was diagnosed with UC. Today, I am convinced that changing to a primal diet has cured it. All I can get out of my doctor is… “well, if it works for you then keep doing it.” I want to scream at them that this will work for more people than just me and they should tell all their patients! All my GI doctors have told me that since there are no studies on diet and UC then they really don’t know. It is such BS. I am 4 years+ in full remission. They shrug me off each time I go in for my yearly checkup when I tell them that my UC is gone forever. I still take a low dose daily medication but even with that, I feel better now eating primal than before my UC symptoms ever started. Kyel, I’m glad you got your life back just like I did switching to primal 4 years ago. Great story and good luck with continued success!

    1. Many (most?) Docs are not well versed in either troubleshooting or the tricky task of applying the scientific method to medicine. The ones who do it best tend to have started life wanting to be engineers. (Take a look sometime at the bios of low carb/Paleo Docs. Their similarity is amazing.)

      Anyway, sadly, the “almost engineers” seem to be the only ones either skilled or confident enough to apply science in clinical settings. The rest give the shoulder shrugs you experience.

      I also suspect the “almost engineers” are much more results oriented type personalities, willing to move on much more quickly when something isn’t working. The current medical system does not reward results in chronic disease, unfortunately, unless a provider takes that on themselves.

      1. I feel similarly, but I would characterize the typical doctor as a technician. He/she graduates from medical school with a standardized “bag of tricks,” learned approaches that are applied depending on what issue presents itself. If a nail presents itself, I’ll apply a hammer. If the hammer doesn’t work, I’ll try a mallet. Very, very few doctors in my experience step back and ask themselves WHY something might be happening, because they then might have to rethink their whole approach, and perhaps find out that their bag of tricks is not up to meeting the challenge at hand. And, to be fair, the speed at which the modern medical system pushes patients through appointments doesn’t leave a lot of time for pondering or creative experimentation. I think that’s also behind the over-reliance on drugs or surgery. They are both fast.

  38. Kyel – Just wow! Your story is a testament to the human body to heal and the power of eating correctly. I’m just floored at the improvement, despite surgeons taking out a 1/3(ish) of your digestive system. You look great.

  39. Congratulations on feeling so much better! I’ve been reading about fecal transplants for UC. It seems pretty amazing the results of cure rate. I wonder how people would do with a fecal transplant & then primal living. Transform lives.

  40. Amazing Story…Congrats on getting your life back!
    Thanks for sharing.

  41. You look like a completely different person. Amazin job. Reading these stories on Friday help me to keep going, and not give up. You inspired me, Kyel!

  42. It’s stories like this that make me LOVE Fridays! I am so happy for your triumph over illness – you are a true inspiration to us all!

  43. PHENOMENAL story. How you managed to grow one more inch after all that just astounds me. WOWIE!

  44. I have a friend who’s 17 year old daughter was just diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and I’m going to send this on to her. It will be good for her to see that a young person can successfully navigate a bowel disorder using diet.
    Thank you for sharing

  45. Kyel – Congratulations!I know all too well what you were going through and how bad it can get. I’ve had Crohn’s Disease (very similar to Colitis)for 7 years and it ruined my last year of college. I actually found the Primal Blueprint through other friends with the disease and it has made the last 2 years with Crohn’s, feel bearable and allowed me off of half the medications I was taking before for it.

    I highly recommend going to http://www.crohnology.com. It’s like Facebook for Crohn’s and Colitis and helps users share information about treatments, diets, etc. Please join so you can share your success story!

    1. Thanks for that link! My 31-year-old son was diagnosed with Crohn’s a couple of years ago and has been only semi-successful in dealing with it re changes in his diet (not paleo/primal, though) and medication. I was with him (he lives far away now) when he had an attack once and it was not something I’d want anyone to go through!

  46. It’s such an amazing thing to go from feeling malnourished and in almost constant abdominal pain to feeling healthy, stable, and pain-free. Between Celiac and IBS as a teenager, I can’t sayI suffered to the same degree (I never had to be hospitalized) but I do to a point. The mental effect of dealing with this is devastating. Accepting chronic pain and all the other symptoms that come with diseases like this wears you down as a person, not to mention feeling helplessly undernourished in spite of eating “healthy”. It’s nice seeing the variety of stories on here, because the Primal Blueprint isn’t just about weight loss, but about regaining your life from all kinds of disorders and finally feeling like you’re doing something right, because the results are tangible and real. Congratulations :]

  47. Congratulations Hon!!! I know exactly every word that you so kindly shared here..My fiance goes thru the same EVERY day of his life. I am as primal as i can can be meaning that i am TOTALLY primal as well as my teenage beautiful daughter…But he is not getting any better with darns sodas or BAD healthy habits like SLEEPING. He eats and love my primal cooking since i always have been doing it all my life without knowing that it was the right healthy way of eating all along. I thank you so much for sharing your amazing,inspirational story…No he can see something that he can 100% relate and maybe change does horrible habits that are taking a toll on this gorgeous,perfect family man. Thank you and Keep on Grokking!

  48. Thank you so much for sharing this inspirational story. My husband was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis about a year and a half ago and our world has been turned upside down. It is wonderful to read this story, it gives me hope that we too can get on the other side of this!

  49. Wow, truly amazing. I know it isn’t the same as UC, but I have suffered from IBS since the age of 12. I started taking medication when I was 13; medication which I still take today. I’ve read so many testimonials about how eating Primally can cure IBS symptoms but I still have fear about going off. When I have in the past it was hard for my stomach to handle food, so it never lasted. My goal is to be med-free at some point.

    1. If you take the plunge, just know that you can find support here :] Intermittent fasting and coconut oil have been immensely helpful for me (in addition to the Primal diet and lifestyle). You may be surprised at how much your body can heal living this way. Also manage stress (a huge trigger for IBS) and if you have a flare-up, keep your meals light and mellow. Being med free AND pain free is such a wonderful thing.

      1. Just go gently with the coconut as it can be an irritant to some people with IBS.

        1. I was diagnosed with UC a few years ago as well. Speaking for myself, I can say that coconut oil is definitely not an irritant. In fact, it has helped me tremendously and is added to my daily cup of coffee. Coconut milk, butter and other coconut products, on the other hand, are very fibrous and irritating and should be avoided.

  50. This story is VERY similar to that of Jordan Rubin, founder of the company “Garden of Life” who in many ways has a similar approach to Mark IMO including a strong belief in the ingestion of soil organisms. Anyway, Kyel is a very courageous and inspirational young man, about the same age as my son. I bet he can overcome just about any obstacle from this point on and I wish him all the happiness in the world, he deserves it.

  51. Kyel: Many congratulations on finding the Paleo life and the WONDERFUL results you’ve experienced. I too have had surgery, but for repeated bouts of diverticulitis. I had 14 inches of my colon removed which weighed almost 3 pounds. I had been living gluten free for about 8 years before the surgery, but had little to no relief. I continued to eat gluten free after my surgery, but continued to have ongoing pain and overall discomfort. Almost immediately after going Paleo I have lost 11 pounds (in 5 weeks), have lost 3 inches around my waist (much of it inflammation) and am feeling better than I have since I was a child. No more urgency in the bowels and much more energy. Thanks for sharing YOUR story Kyel. Keep spreading the word and changing lives with your good news.

  52. Your emaciated picture reminds me exactly of Jordin Rubin and his story. You may enjoy the book The Maker’s Diet!!

  53. Awesome story Kyel, I am always so impressed with people who take control of their own health. You look close to death in the first pic, and fantastic in the last (you must have a huge wardrobe of clothes!) And congratulations on having a very balanced view of your past treatment. I think doctors are (mainly) brilliant, but it frustrates me that they don’t present other dietary options to patients they see.
    Rachel : I have had IBS for 30 years too. Being Primal for 12 months gave me energy, helped me lose weight but made IBS worse. Someone suggested I needed to combine Primal with excluding FODMAPS and within days I felt the best I EVER remember feeling – EVER!. IBS all but gone for the first time in years. This discovery is only recent so don’t know which FODMAPS are my problem foods, but I will stick to Primal now because I know it is right for me, and just test out the FODMAP stuff. Have a look at http://shepherdworks.com.au/ for more info.

  54. Phenomenal! As a physician, I’m inspired by your success and am saving this article in my e-mail so I can distribute it to my IBD patients for consideration.

  55. I wish you could have considered a fecal transplant before having your colon removed. But it is great to see that you are doing so well. You are an inspiration!

  56. I love your inspirational story. Can you tell us how you arrived at Mark’s door?

  57. My 17 year old daughter was just diagnosed with Crohn’s last month. As concerned and helpful as the doctor’s were, none of them think diet can do all that much to heal her, only to lessen the flare-ups. I am going to have her read Kyel’s story; I found it si inspiring!

  58. Congratulations! You are such an inspiration! I am so excited for you and wish you all the best!

    And you look fantastic now, by the way.

  59. Pity he didn’t change his diet before having his colon removed!

    Why is it that until medical orthodoxy changes, 99% of doctors will ignore reports like this, and what does it take to change medical orthodoxy?

    Of course this is “anecdotal evidence which will never be turned into “scientific proof” while virtually all medical research is sponsored by pharmaceutical companies who are only interested in inventing new drugs.

  60. Great job Kyel! It takes a lot of determination not to give up when life drags on hopelessly over a long period of time. To keep your mind open to new solutions is difficult when the temptation for despair is so strong. You have demonstrated great strength and will. I don’t know you, but I am proud of you.

  61. Thank you for sharing your story.Inspirational and just at the right time for me to show a love one who is going thry something very similar. Grok on and best wishes 🙂

  62. Wow!! I bet your story brought tears to Marks eyes – it certainly did to mine. I’m so glad you finally found the site!!.

  63. Like many have said, you look like a different person. And what a good transformation it is! I’m so happy that you have found relief from your prior struggles and for your new found life! Congratulations!

  64. great story! Thank you for sharing it with us. I love MDA Fridays.

    Did you take accurate as a teen? I was just reading that one of the side effects is ulcerative colitis.

  65. Great Story Kyle. Mine is similar. I lived with UC for 11 years, initially managing it well (I thought) but in 2011 I deteriorated rapidly, living on prednisone and stays in hospital. When the specialist told me I must have the colonoscopy and J section you described. That was the turning point for me
    I changed my lifesytlye and discovered MDA. Now I am 30kgs lighter and take NO medications. Three months since I stopped my Pentasa that I had been taking daily for 12 years. At present I am symptoom free and feeling great. Time the doctors listened to all of these stories.

  66. Hey Kyel,

    Reading your story was just like reading my own, taking me back to the exact way I used to feel.
    I suffered with UC for 16 years, from the age of 24 to 40, having my babies in that time and constantly trying to battle this disease with a cocktail of medications, including very high doses of Prednisone. It all got to a point where my body couldn’t take it anymore, my whole colon being inflamed and nearly dying from a UC related infection.
    I finally decided to have the same operations as you but continued to have severe bouts of pouchitis that would lay me out for 7-10 days.
    Now, through meeting my second husband who was already paleo/primal and after a bit of convincing, I read everything on Mark’s site and it resonated big time!
    I am now following a primal lifestyle and have managed to get myself off antibiotics. Still taking an anti-inflammatory (Salazopyrin) but who knows…maybe one day I’ll be able to give that up too :)I feel better than I have ever felt before.
    Well done and thanks for sharing!! I wish you all the best 🙂

  67. I sympathize with you. At the age of 36 I was also diagnosed with UC and I went through the same steps as you but in a shorter period of time. My diagnosis was in February and my colon was removed in April. Thankfully, I did not have the pouchitis as you but once in a while I get them. I’m 52 now and became Primal/Paleo a year ago. Lost 25 lbs and look great. The only thing is that my knees have some artheritis but that doesn’t bother me in my daily life. I do not regret the surgery either but wish I had known about Primal/Paleo then.

  68. I get pouchitis too in my BCIR (no jpouch), small bowel bacteria overgrowth due to most of my stomach removed and now on a Candida diet, I almost think it is more strict than Paleo but same rules. Just can’t eat any sugar, not even fruit. It is rough to lose a colon though so I can relate! I can’t eat any veggies besides cucumber and have to chew them to death. I crossfit and lift heavy and for me I can’t get off antibiotics, the loss of 60% of my gut has a reoccurring overgrowth even on a diet but the diet change DOES help. Very hard for anyone to relate that has not had this surgery. It is a major change in your system since it is basically a new organ and the body treats it as an obstruction.

    You look great!

  69. Very inspirational!

    I’m wondering how does your body process food now without a colon, because I’m guessing you have a smaller intestinal tract, do you have to eat more often?

    I’m just curious?

    1. Most of the nutrients from food are absorbed in the small intestine, which is still intact for people like Kyel and I who have J-pouches. The colon does absorb some things, but as far as I know, not having a colon doesn’t give people major nutritional deficiencies. Although it probably does in some rare cases! The colon mainly absorbs water, so some people have issues with dehydration, but I never have.

      I haven’t had to eat more often because of the surgery, and I don’t think that’s an issue for most people, but you DEFINITELY have to use the bathroom more often. Hopefully that answered your questions, although of course I can’t speak to Kyel’s personal experience with his j-pouch (:

  70. You’re the best. Congrats to you, Kyel. Your story really touched me. What an amazing amount of vitality you emanate in the last photo–I am so glad you shared your story.

    My best,
    Lucia

  71. Thank u for telling your story…i know its sometimes difficult to talk about personal health issues liked UC….i as well have ulcerative colitis…i found out about 2 years ago that I had it…and I got hit bad with the abdominal pain and going to the bathroom literally like 10 times a day… Eating a small cracker even killed my stomach…i was on medication but it was not doing anything for me so I stopped taking it! I do believe that stress can trigger horrible health conditions

  72. Wow! That’s a freaking amazing transformation! The sad thing is that I feel like I saw a lot of guys like you when I was in college, and wonder how sick some of them really were.

  73. Thank you so much for posting this! I dealt with Ulcerative Colitis from 2007 till 2012 — That was my last flare up, a year ago. I almost died on two different occasions, and spent over a week in the hospital a couple of times in very bad shape. This all came about after I graduated from college in 2006. Doctors told me I would have to be on drugs the rest of my life… and I might need to have my colon removed. Thanks to this kind of diet (first on Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Jordan Rubin, Raw Vegan, GAPS, and finally to PB)… I am on NO drugs and I feel like I’m getting healthier every day. It has taken a while to realize that rice crackers and Pamela’s Baking Mix are OUT. A rough road to travel, but the education has been it worth the experience. Glad to see others are also finding success through diet and lifestyle changes. 🙂

  74. My girlfriend sent me the article “Finally on the right path to optimum health and happiness” and I thought I was reading an article written about myself. I have lived Kyel’s story! The article inspired me to take on the Primal Blueprint way of life.

    Kyel, if you read this comment, I am curious about your transition to the diet. I seem to be low on energy and going to the bathroom more frequently. I was curious if this is just a part of the adjustment/cleanse period and would love to ask you for advice since our digestive systems are similar. I have had a J-pouch for 3 years now.

    I appreciate the help and thank you for the inspiration and path to live a happier and healthier life!

  75. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!|

  76. I have been healed of UC by doing a home fecal transplant. I aquired UC in 2009 after taking a Zpack antibiotic for a sinus infection then a month or two later I had knee surgery, where I was given an antibiotic during surgery.

    The very next day after surgery, I had explosive diarrhea, gas, cramps. Tests showed it was not C-diff or any other infection. Doctors said I would have to live with it for the rest of my life and take drugs the rest of my life that suppress my immune system.

    I learned about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and stopped eating all yeast, sugar, starch, wheat and lactose in May of 2012 after suffering for 3 years of bleeding, diarrhea, gas, cramps, etc. These are the foods that feed the bad bacteria, then your body tries to flush it out with mucus and beings to protect itself with inflammation. I don’t believe it is my immune system attacking itself – but it is attacking a bacteria that is causing damage and my immune system is trying to kill the bad bacteria off.

    The SCD diet did help but the stronger microbes began to die off, being starved from their regular diet of those things I quit eating and create a flare of my UC symptoms. After a two month flare I did a home fecal transplant.

    I have been symptom free every since. I still eat SCD as I want to give my digestive system time to heal and for the good bacteria to get well established in my colon. I don’t want to ever go through this again.

    I would recommend anyone with IBS, UC or Crohens to research fecal transplants and check out my blog – http://healed-from-uc.blogspot.com.

    It had given me my life back.

  77. Thank you for sharing your stories,
    im a young mum of 6, and have been suffering with uc for 4 years now- gosh has it really been that long?.
    The first two years I didn’t even know what was wrong, I was pregnant with my 5th baby- the midwife told me it was probably just hormones, I really suffered, I would be stuck in the bathroom all day with fever and chills with the most horrific pain, the pain feels like a mixture of labour and the flu- not good, my gastro docs have been useless,
    I’m allergic to assacol, pentasa, and mezavant, so now can only take steroids, which make me fat, spotty and moody.
    I’m definitely going to try primal and see what happens

  78. I’m so happy you found the PB lifestyle and the solution to your health problems, Kyle. Here’s to a long life with all the great possibilities that lay ahead!

    Grok On! 🙂

  79. hey man great job ..happy that i found someone who put weight after UC surgery. My story is similar to urs .i had undergone two major surgeries at age of 18 in 2007 .now im nearly 27, but im not able to increase my weight more than 47kg(around 104 pounds) though im 5’11inch of height..main thing is that i have to go 4 times to washroom almost after each 4hrs interval..can u please suggest any diet which benefit u for weight gain.
    Thank you for sharing your story.