March 08 2013

I Am in Harmony with My Body and Mind for the First Time in a Long Time

By Guest
191 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!

Hi Mark,

It is an honor to be able to submit a Friday real life success story. I have gained so much from your website, books, and the shared stories within. I can only hope that my tale may help someone else start walking on their own primal path.

A decade ago, where I’ll begin my own story, I was so far away from health and a healthy lifestyle that today truly is like a new life for me.

While each present Friday I can enjoy clicking on Mark’s Daily Apple for updates, information, and inspiration, 10 years ago, each Friday I was making a weekly sojourn to my dermatologist where I would be receiving hearty injections of methotrexate to combat a severe case of psoriasis.

I began to exhibit symptoms of psoriasis in my late teens, and it slowly and surely progressed from a few dime size spots, to a head-to-toe calamity by the time I was 30. This left me with inflamed and painful skin, and the added bonus of the startings of psoriatic arthritis, a condition that progressively had me walking and moving about like I had cobbler’s nails in my shoes. Just imagine that your epidermis is an ill-fitted suit, a few sizes to small, and quite unsightly. That’s about where I sat.

Stepping back just a few years more: I was born in England, and moved with my family to America, and Cleveland proper, when I was 8 years old. I was raised, dietetically speaking, having British parents, and American friends, and thus ate a hybrid Britannic/Standard American diet. That included English delicacies such as beans on toast, pork pies, assorted sweets, crisps, and pop, to everything a growing American boy would want: McDonalds, burgers, pizza, and pop. Despite my prodigious food intake, I was always healthy and active, and had those ruddy cherubic cheeks that I though meant good health through my teenage years.

But as time marched on my diet became equally unsightly. Despite working as a cook for many years in a quaint Italian, make-it-from-scratch restaurant, knowing my way handily around a kitchen, and having been trained by great cooks; left to my own devices my diet became, in a word, horrific.

At almost 30 I had begun my career as an outreach social worker, which had in turn springboarded a latent smoking habit to unforseen levels, and left me largely as a “dashboard diner” on a daily basis. I fell into pattern of eating by proximity, meaning if it came near me, I ate it.

It is hard to admit that a not uncommon breakfast would have been a packet of Ho-Hos, a big Pepsi, and a couple of Camels….ughh. Lunch would be something equally sinister, and for dinner, I would prepare a nice carb-laden meal replete with breads, pastas and hearty desserts. I believe I would have eaten a house brick if it was properly seasoned.

During this span of time I gained 50+ pounds. There I was, cigarettes, soft drinks, and a belly full of foods, that were only food in the sense that they can be ingested. It is no wonder my skin and autoimmune system was launching a full stage rebellion against me.

After several repeated blood tests showed that the methotrexate was affecting my liver function, I opted to stop that treatment all together, and just lived, however limited, with what I was beginning to accept as a chronic illness that made each progressive day just a little bit harder.

I would rely heavily on every lotion, ointment, and emollient that I could get my hands on to get me through the day. Most mornings I would find myself having to douse my skin in several lotion concoctions just to be able to get out the door to work, and I’m certain that on a bad day I would have single-handedly affected the strategic petroleum reserves.

Through all of this, most thankfully, my wife was unequivocally supportive and loving, which I credit for really getting me through that trying and difficult time.

It is, as I found out, easy to feel hopeless and lost in a cycle of futile behaviors that only perpetuate each other.

Craig - Biltmore

This first photo shows me inflamed and sweating in front of the Biltmore Estate on an otherwise lovely vacation. One of the pains of psoriasis at my degree was that it relegated me to long sleeves and pants on the hottest of summer days. My activity level at this time had been reduced to next to nothing. While I used to love to bike and lift weights in my early 20’s I had since given up on doing either of those, or anything above the most modest level of movement.

I had married my lovely wife during this time, and had begun to see my family physician instead of a dermatologist as I no longer had any health insurance. I was knocking at 250 lbs, had borderline high blood pressure, and any number of other risk factors. My doctor had sagely advised me on losing weight and eating healthy, he also advised me against taking any more oral steroid medications due to risky side effects; the steroids had been a a quick-fix measure I had often fell into yet offered no long-term resolution. At this point, I was just hoping for a break.

I had always vowed that given a chance I’d do my best to get my life back on track. Shortly thereafter I spied a secondhand UVB phototherapy machine for sale locally. UVB therapy treatment’s a time-consuming and expensive treatment that I had never tried before, but always been interested in. I was able to get support from my doctor to begin treatments in my own home.

Within a few weeks, I had begun to clear my skin enough to begin “moving again.” This started off with creaky painful walks , of 1/2 to 1 mile, then 1 to 2 miles. I then made up my mind to quit smoking, which thankfully I did, and then I finally got back on my bike after a 10 year hiatus, pedaling, literally, till the cranks broke off the bike.

Unfortunately, through all of this I still never saw the corrolary between diet and my illness. I was always treating it from the outside in. With ointments, topical steroids, occlusive dressings, but I never was seeing, what I so clearly see now – that what I was putting into my body was the probable cause of inflammation in the first place. I then spent the next several years fighting my way back to relative “health.”

Craig -

This photo shows me with what I then considered a “healthy meal”- the endless bowl of whole wheat pasta, of course with the obligatory garlic bread.

I was no longer smoking, and I was working out daily, but my diet was far from healthy. Pepsi was still an everpresent companion, as were sugary snacks and heavily processed foods of suspect origins and varieties. I was so jumping-for-joy happy to be moving and back in the land of the living that I still wasn’t putting all the pieces together. My workouts at this time were all over the place. I would spend an hour on the elliptical at full speed, then get so hungry I could eat my own shoe soles, and within 15 minutes of being back home I would have systematically put back on all the calories I just expended. I would “lift weights,” but in essence I would do 150 sets of bench presses and curls, with no compound movements or variety at all.

The fortunate part is that i discovered that the human body is indeed a forgiving thing. After all the toxins I had ingested, and put into my body, I showed huge gains in that first year and a half. Within one year I went from biking one mile painfully to a 100 mile bike ride, from bench pressing 130 lbs to 275. Then from running two miles on a treadmill to my first half marathon (admittedly I couldn’t walk for two days afterwards, but sometimes you need a goal to keep you going). But my workout routine, as thankful as I was for it, felt just like that, routine…

I was still largely tethered to using a UVB machine regularly, still using topical steroids frequently, and still not losing weight despite what I thought was the standard accepted workout. Treadmill, elliptical, lift repeat…..

Then fortuitiously I went to visit my best friend “Ed,” a helluva personal trainer in Chicago. He was supportive as always, and thrilled to hear about my newfound energies, and he handed me a book within a few minutes of arriving called The Paleo Diet. He explained the science behind it and told me first thing I should do when I get home is look at Mark’s Daily Apple.

This, most thankfully, I did, and I quickly devoured all the information I could on The Primal Blueprint, the science and what I saw as a simple approach to the primal lifestyle. I remained in touch with Ed as he guided me to the leaping off point into my full primal escapade. I purchased The Primal Blueprint and cookbook on January 1st, 2012.

One year ago this week I began my primal journey. This included giving up all those things that had been holding me back on truly seeing my full potential.

Dietary:

A Coda for Soda: Since childhood, I had been a Pepsi hound, but when really seeing this is just a calorie and sugar delivery vehicle, it was easy to let go of it. Now it’s water or nothing. Despite its reputation for flammability, Cleveland’s water supply is delicious and clean right out of the tap, and I drink it by the gallon.

Against the Grains: I was always a “bread guy.” I always thought the healthiest part of any meal was that hearty helping of bread; pita, Italian, toast, chips, crusts, bagels, waffles…you name it and I normally ate it by the faceful. I can truly say I don’t miss it at all.

I rediscovered my cooking mojo. I’ve always known how to cook, but now I really and truly appreciate the art and fun of cooking again. I’ve learned so many new recipes from the primal/paleo community that I truly know I will never be hungry again. And I finally realize what food is, and what it isn’t. I won’t go into details, other than that I appreciate the simple delicacies of food more than I could ever have imagined.

And how has this affected me over one year?

Following the 80/20 model, my skin has been 98% clear with no steroids/anti-inflammatory needed, and I’m sure that if/when I go to the next level I will be 100% clear.

I now know what calmness of body feels like. I used to literally feel like a boiler, and all the foods I was ingesting were systematically inflaming me through and through. Now I feel like a…well I can’t think of an exact comparison, but something so much more efficient, tuned up, stable… If you follow the Blueprint, you’ll know this feeling soon enough.

I went from a size 38 waist to size 32, from 215 lbs to 175 lbs. And I have energy for days on end.

I was also able to take those warm-weather beach vacations, something I hadn’t been able to do in a long long time.

Here are two photos of my wife and I for a before and after comparison:

Craig and Wife - Before

Craig and Wife - After

My workouts are also radically different. I left my gym membership and built a primal garage gym: homemade pull-up, dip bar, gymnastic rings, sandbag training, jump rope, dumbbells and kettlebells.

I lift heavy things, run like a middle-aged mountain lion, and do farmer’s walks up and down the yard in all seasons.

A great addition to my workout routine has been my dog (Olive). We go to the park, to run and sprint in the wind, snow and rain. We hurdle up hills, jump, play frisbee, hike and hug. If you model an afternoon at the park after your dog’s behaviors, trust me, you’re having a primal good time.

I work out frequently, with high intensity, for a short or long duration depending on what my body tells me, and always fully enjoy it.

Four months into my primal journey last year I ran a Tough Mudder here in Ohio with great group of people. I finished without worry, and woke up the next day feeling splendid and not even a tweak of soreness; a true testament to the primal workout regimen.

Craig - Before Craig Before

My skin? It is quiet, clean, and natural. I am in harmony, for lack of a better word, with my body and my mind for the first time in a long time. The best part is, I still feel like this is just the beginning. Just one year in and these are my results! I can’t wait for the next year, or the next 20 for that matter. I’m blessed with a beautiful wife, and a beautiful life as these pictures clearly illustrate :).

I’d like to think that the improvements make a better husband, friend and social worker.

I can’t say whether the Primal Blueprint will help all those who suffer from psoriasis, but I can truly say it has worked for me and urge you to try it too.

I am indebted to my wife, who supported me through thick and thin, and to MDA for showing me weekly, and daily, how to live the life you truly envision.

Sincerely,

Craig

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191 thoughts on “I Am in Harmony with My Body and Mind for the First Time in a Long Time”

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  1. “…run like a middle-aged mountain lion…” – love it!

    1. +1 Had to read it twice to get the humour, then couldn’t stop smiling!!!

      1. My favorite line for sure. I FEEL like I run like that too, but I better film myself to see if it’s not closer to a gorilla. Great story Craig, and your wife is beautiful.

    2. +1!! That one cracked me up as well! 🙂

      Great story, lots of inspiration.

      Thanks!

    1. Craig- it’s Ed- I’m so proud of you!! Not only proud, but happy for all your progressions (physical, mental, and spiritual)!! Keep up the good work- and BTW, thanks for the plug within your story (journey). You must make a trip out to Chicago this summer!!

        1. Ed, way to go on the “each one teach one” philosophy! Craig, congrats on the ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS life change! Now u tell 2 friends!

  2. Wow! Wow, wow, wow! What a great story! Congratulations on your past year’s journey.

  3. Craig, I’m so happy for you and your wife. If only all the rheumatologists and everyone suffering from an autoimmune diseas could read your story!

    1. My wife, a doctor, also suffers from psoriasis. It has improved dramatically eating Paleo. We are going on a ski trip with a rheumatologist at the end of March. It will be interesting to talk with her about treating her patients with diet. All the other people on the trip have been giving me a hard time about eating Paleo.

      1. Thanks! I do hope it can be helpful for your wife.
        I first really noticed a connection when i did a Cleanse 2 years ago (standard process cleanse) which while it was helpful in treatment, it left me lethargic and I quickly resumed my standard diet. the Primal/paleo has given me the best of both worlds, the treatment and energy to remain active.

      2. My mom uses primal eating to control her RA and psoriasis. She also takes fumaric acid. Seems that making their own fumaric acid is a problem for psoriasis sufferers. It’s helped with her few remaining spots. It’s OTC but hard to find. Let me know if you want a source.

  4. Way to go Craig, what a great story. Being overweight sucks, but being trapped inside a skin that hurts must be torture. So glad to hear you conquered your psoriasis 🙂

    Do you still use the UVB treatment or do you rely on sunlight now?

    1. Thanks so much! I can rely 8 months out of the year on sunlinght, but I have the UVB in my garage as Cleveland winters are unfortunately abundant with grey sunless days; so once in a while I pop in front of it.

      1. you must have a huge garage! primal gym + UVB machine!

        Can you just do dead lifts using the UVB machine?

        I’m in Cleveland as well (though I travel a lot) so hello! Bit of crappy weather we’ve been having lately. I’ll keep an eye out for you!

        1. it’s a 2 car, but we don’t park cars in there! Hopefully spring will be here soon, it’s been grey groundhog days for weeks! Cheers from Westpark Cleveland!

  5. My first reaction: Wow! What a transformation. You look great! Congratulations on turning it all around.

    My second? I have that pinny!

    I too was raised on beans on toast, pork pies, assorted sweets, crisps, and pop. 🙂

  6. Wow! Love it! Congrats on the progress! 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.

    I too have found that my excema and rosacia has been clearing up while eating a primal diet. Hoorah!

  7. “inflamed and sweating in front of the Biltmore Estate” great contrast in terms…

  8. In a word: Wow!

    (Or perhaps two words: Holy S***!)

    Craig, you’ve managed to bring about a truly amazing transformation. Congratulations. It’s one thing to go from being overweight to slimming down; but you truly look healthy, not just “skinny”. Buff, even!

    I hear you about the cooking thing, too. I’ve always considered myself a pretty competent cook; but for far too long, pasta and other carbs were the mainstay of my cooking. Primal eating has opened up what I thought was a pretty broad outlook on food even further.

    Your lovely wife must be absolutely thrilled with the results, too. Mine started out by being relieved I wasn’t likely to die of a heart attack before my 50th birthday, but since then she has come to appreciate the “aesthetic” benefits as well! 😉

    Again, congratulations. Your story is indeed an inspiration.

    1. Thanks so much! It truly does open up a whole new culinary world,and the abundance of recipes out there is brilliant. Cheers!

  9. Wow. I haven’t commented here before but your transformation is amazing. And yes, love that run like a middle-aged mountain lion line.

  10. What a great story. Great that you were able to put it all together, and that you have the support and love in your life that you need to make it work. Carry on!

  11. Great story! Congratulations Craig, you look awesome! Thanks for sharing, Friday’s are the best.

  12. You look great and your wife is beautiful! After hearing your description of your skin problems, I am so happy for you that it is now healed! Congrats!

  13. Worker bees:
    “prodigious foot intake”
    I think he means:
    “prodigious food intake”

    Feel free to delete this comment after making the fix.

    1. It could be that he eats lots and lots of chicken feet…very Primal!

  14. Craig, you look 20 years younger! And so exuberantly happy… Thank you for sharing your story!

  15. This is so inspiring! I’m fighting a mystery skin condition that has plagued me for years and is painful, embarrassing, and demoralizing. Although the primal path hasn’t led to visible improvement yet, you inspire me to keep going. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Beth, have you explored food intols or allergies? I have a rash that flares if I eat eggs, dairy, gluten or soy (and possibly almonds). Just a thought! I would have never figured it out if I hadn’t tried an elimination diet with my son (GAPS).

    2. Yes, Beth, keep trying to eliminate different things. I never tried the GAPS diet although I have heard great things about it. When I went Paleo, my eczema didn’t get all that better. Then I got rid of nuts, nightshades, as well as all non-raw dairy. Also, make sure you look at the ingredients of all your beauty products. I was getting a horrible rash on my back, and little did I know my shampoo and conditioner had gluten in it.

    3. Hi Beth,

      A lot of skin conditions are caused by systemic Candida. One reason the GAPS diet works is that it starves out the candida and replenishes healthy gut flora. I have found that if the candida is really bad it helps to use one of the herbal candida cures from a health food store to help things along and kill the candida as opposed to just trying to overwhelm it with probiotics.

  16. Wow! What a story, and might I say, very well written. I’m often blown away by how disconnected we can all get – in fact I’m often dismayed now that I know better and see someone who just won’t or can’t get the connection. Congrats, you must feel awesome. Keep up the great work – it’s people like you that motivate others to make a change.

  17. Wow, you are like a new man! If your story doesn’t inspire people to make the change to paleo/primal then I don’t know what will. Congrats!

  18. I love Friday’s success stories! You’ve had a wonderful transformation! I have to say, primal eating has helped my 13-year-old daughter’s eczema, so there is something to the idea that what you eat affects your skin.

    1. Thank you! I do hope it is helpful for your daughter’s condition!

    2. What you eat affects all your organs and skin is the largest organ of the human body…

  19. Fantastic story Craig – massive congratulations!!! The two photos of you and your wife are just an absolutely amazing contrast, you look unbelievable physique wise but also glowing with health!
    I’ve suffered from mild eczema all my life. After a period of high stress back in 2008 it went absolutely crazy all over my bosy and for the first time in my life spread to my face. It sounds dramatic and over the top to someone who doesnt have it but the hot, inflamed tight feeling I used to get on my face and body was just soul destroying at times. I didnt want to see people cause i looked and felt awful, was constantly exhausted mentally and physically. all dermatologists could suggest was steroids – oral and topical and UVB treatments – id go back – doctor did the steroids cream/tablets/protopic/UVB work – me – yes they work really well but as soon as i stopped them it came back – doctor – hmmm yes thats what happens me- well they arent good to use long term are they? doc – no me – any suggestions then given i shouldnt use them long term but as soon i stop it comes straight back – doc – no, sorry – maybe you will grow out of it – Garggghhhhhh!
    So happy to see someone who has beaten it – I know what an amaxing, liberating feeling it is to feel you have the skin of a normal person again!
    Im primal since beg of Jan and feel the benefits already though I am still having to use some meds – I really hope a few months down the line I can say goodbye to that part of my life for good

    1. Thanks so much. It sounds like you are definitely on the right path keep up the great work! I can’t wait to read your story hear someday soon 🙂

    2. As a fellow eczema sufferer, I’m going to tell you some things that have helped me. Maybe some of them will help you as well. I use a 50/50 mix of aloe vera gel and lotion after every shower. You have to be careful with aloe, most of the stuff in stores has isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and other additives (like color and fragrance). The only brand I trust is Fruit of the Earth – it’s clear and I can get it at WalMart. The lotion I use is the generic equivalent of Lubriderm Advanced Therapy (red label). About 3-4 years ago, they changed the formula and quit using soybean oil, so I started adding about a tablespoon of it to every bottle. (Most vegetable oils are 100% soybean.) After finding MDA, I switched to olive oil most of the time.

      When I’m not getting much sun, I supplement with vitamin D3. I take about 6,000 IU a day. I did a thorough search and found that the only reported vitamin D overdoses were taking “well in excess of 10,000 IU a day” so I feel pretty safe at 6,000. When I get an okay amount of sun, I’ll take 3,000 IU, just in case.

      Since going primal, my “normal, garden variety” eczema (red, blistery, weapy patches) has completely cleared up. I do have some that is associated with lack of sleep though. It shows up as reddish, rough (scaly), dry patches the outside of my hips and upper thighs. I keep it somewhat under control with OTC hydrocortisone cream. Despite my best efforts, I generally get about 6 hrs of sleep a night during the week, and get about 10-12 on Friday night and 8-9 on Saturday night. By Monday, my eczema is almost gone. If I get a long weekend, it generally clears up completely. If I have a busy weekend, and don’t marathon sleep, by the end of the week my eczema is much worse than normal.

      1. Hey all, this totally isn’t intended to be a plug for me, but I follow paleo/primal and my children suffer from eczema terribly. One based on her diet, the other just has terrible dry skin, no matter what we do. She has awful scarring and my heart breaks for her when she hits the middle school and teenage years.

        I started making an all natural, chemical & petroleum free salve which has saved her skin. The head to toe eczema has gone and is completely controlled by this salve. I just started selling it because I have had so many requests for it. It definitely will help eczema and psoriasis.

        LIke I said, totally not trying to plug my site, just trying to help fellow primal peeps!

  20. THIS is an incredible story! Thank you for sharing such a detailed description of your life and journey. You should be proud of yourself!

  21. Incredible transformation Craig, well done! I suppose non-sufferers can’t really imagine what psoriasis is like to live with, but you gave us a great insight and your story must give hope to those who do suffer.

  22. When I went primal I started eating more nuts which encouraged some eczema I had to break out.Was in denial for a while cuz I love nuts.Eczema started improving right away when I stopped eating them.
    Sigh no more nuts for me for now.
    consuming home made sauerkraut to improve my gut.

    1. I think I have a problem with nuts, too. I’m working with a nutritionist who put me on a modified GAPS intro diet, focusing on bone broth, coconut oil, and fermented foods, and one of the phases is reintroducing nuts. I went with a little too much gusto and instead of just small pats of nut butter in Paleo pancakes, I just chowed nuts straight up. The next day, my skin looked like crap, my body was bloated, and I ended up with diarrhea. Blerg.

  23. Wow, dude. That is an impressive story. You are an inspiration to many.

  24. This happened to me too! (Psoriasis vanishing after going Primal). It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Craig’s — just a giant patch on the top of one foot, but it was slowly creeping up my leg and everything I read said that it would get worse over time. I couldn’t wear sandals as I was embarrased about showing it, and even powerful steroid creams didn’t really control it. After going primal, I looked down one day and it had totally, completely cleared! That was about 7 years ago and it has never recurred!

  25. Thank you to everyone for your kind words. I have a chance to read these while I’m on my lunch break, (primal of course) and am very inspired by the feedback. Have a great weekend everyone!

  26. What a great transformation, that must have been hell for you. I hope others can turn things around like you were able to.

    I started getting psoriasis on my elbows and hands in my 50s, it got progressively worse until my hands were always painfully cracked and a bleeding mess. Steroid cremes could not control it and only made my skin thinner and more vulnerable. I had been smoking for almost 40 yrs even though I have always been very active sports wise. Then I quit a year ago at age 57 and the psoriasis went away almost completely. I didn’t really start primal eating until after I quit smoking.

    It might sound stupid but the psoriasis sealed the deal on no smoking for me!

    1. Congratulations on quitting, and starting primal! those 2 huge steps alone will serve you so well. All the best to you!

  27. this story made me realize that mark needs to have his own primal blueprint rubber wristbands! and dam this guy is the shiz haha

  28. Your wife must feel like she won the lottery! Yikes, what a transformation! Congratulations and best wishes to you both.

  29. Loved your story! I grew up around Akron (same general area as Cleveland), so I’m familiar with gray, cloudy days. The Cleveland area is one of the cloudiest in the country. I went to college is Cincy and the weather was radically different – as in, what’s that bright orb in the sky? I still have a soft spot for Ohio and still have family there, but I’ve gotta have sunlight! All the best in your new life.

    1. Thanks so much, my wife is from Akron. Sunshine is always welcome here, sometimes you just have to imagine it though! Thanks

  30. Craig, you look incredible! I did a double take to make sure it was the same person, but of course, that cheeky English grin gave you away!

    I think the difficult part for most people, is making the connection between diet/environmental exposure and illness. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be illness, it can be merely a “lack of wellness”. Unfortunately, doctors are too often clueless in this regard, being trained to treat the symptom rather than discover the cause.

    Because of your story, I’ll bet there are a lot of light bulbs going on out there…..

    Best wishes!

  31. What an awesome transformation! Thanks, Craig, for sharing your story
    🙂 The hubby in the before pic is smiling, but suffering; the one in the after pic is a new man, rocking a tan and just beaming! It breaks my heart to hear how you underwent years and years of pain, but how wonderful you have found the natural path back to health. Many years of health and happiness to you and your mrs.

  32. A fabulous and inspiring story, and I love the way you can turn a phrase; my favorite is “primal good time”. I’m going to remember this as I go out this weekend to do the same with my favorite canine. Thanks so much for sharing with the community.

  33. Your results are inspiring! You are also a wonderful writer! I LOVE FRIDAYS!

  34. Craig. you have tenacity and found a path out of a grueling situation. I am inspired by your story as I follow a path out of having eczema. Thank you for sharing such a great inspirational story along with the before and after pictures. II think you are quite a guy with a terrific wife who is not only beautiful, but supportive. Way to go!

  35. Wow!! Craig, this is such an awesome story. So inspirational! This definitely has to be one of the best success stories I’ve read in a while. Congrats and keep up the great work!

  36. I love these stories that highlight the unexpected benefits of the diet. The effects not typically credited to diet. What we eat really does effect how we function. What a novel idea!

  37. Wonderful writing, Craig, and wonderful transformation! I’m thinking you should have your own blog–love the English humor! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thank you, Craig, for putting diet and skin together so powerfully. For those who still battle these skin disorders even after going primal, the missing piece for me was discovering histamine intolerance. (There are some extremely helpful posts on histamine intolerance on the MDA forums.) I’d assumed I had a lot of severe environmental allergies that made my skin inflamed, even though the blood tests I’d taken showed only very mild allergies. Primal eating and a daily antihistamine made my excema/psoriasis/frequent hives more manageable, but a recent two-week experiment with making and drinking large amounts of coconut-water kefir nearly put me in the hospital! The histamines I ingested in foods were making me super-reactive and inflamed in response to even mild allergens. Kefir (and fermented foods generally) is very high in histamines, as, alas, are my erstwhile primal stapes of canned sardines, sauerkraut, tomatoes, and red wine. Eliminating these and staying primal has made a world of difference.

      Congratulations, Craig! You look radiantly happy and well.

  38. Fantastic story, Craig! Congratulations on your amazing transformation and being able to finally conquer psoriasis which seems like it must have been quite a trial to live with. Best wishes to you and thanks for sharing.

    1. And, thanks for that tidbit about the Primal gym. May steal that idea. You look GREAT!

      1. Thanks so much, the simple primal gym set up, accessible at any time, has really been a great thing .Best wishes to you!.

  39. Craig, You are a great ambassador for whole living! There is one thing your forgot to mention…how your changes have inspired others. For example, two of your sisters in law! Watching you over the last year has been such an inspiration to me. Thank you for that. Thank you for introducing me to MDA (I finally signed up for a username today) and helping to lead me to the path I am on now. Thank you for your kindness and encouragement. It means the world to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    1. Thanks so much! I was indeed remiss in not mentioning you , but you were there with me, and i truly, truly appreciate that. Can’t wait to read your story:)

  40. so many changes its amazing 🙂 look how bigger and brighter that smile got

  41. Wow, you look amazing! And congrats on quitting smoking and beating the psoriasis.

  42. Same here…eczema all over my hands for three years. Go paleo and live!

  43. Craig – your story is so inspiring! Great work!

    How long did it take before you started noticing a reduction in psoriasis? I don’t smoke, and I am about 4 weeks primal and it seems like my scalp psoriasis is getting worse before getting better.

    1. I was fortunate in that I got a head start in clearing from the UVB machine, but it took 6 weeks before I really saw an appreciable difference. I think it takes that long for your system to reboot so to speak. Best of luck to you , Thanks!

      1. Thanks for responding, Craig. Since I am still adjusting to primal I will wait a few more weeks before trying an elimination diet.

  44. Fantastic story, love reading these in Scotland every Friday night. Well Done, what a transformation!

  45. Craig – What inspiration!! your story brought tears to my eyes. your new lease on life is nothing short of spectacular. congratulations to you and your obviously kick-ass wife. life is good.

    1. Thanks, i’ll look forward posting one.. full steam ahead till next year!

  46. Just Brilliant. A wide-eyed and arm raised Holy Sh*t!salute to you.

    Yours and Shane’s (he’s the one who documented his year on Primal with Excel spreadsheets) are the most motivating to me, as I am in my late 30’s and have a young son. It’s true, after some inital pain of adjustment, your body is very forgiving. I’ve dropped 13 pounds (193 from 206, and I’m 6′ 1″ non-smoker) since January following a 60/40 Primal rule.I’m gradually moving to the 80/20 and beyond.

    I managed to get a case of ‘idiopathic’ hives on my body when we were expecting our son last year. I do remember at the time putting an excessive amount of whole grains in my system (Pasta, Pizza, Bread). I mercifully no longer have hives, but it was a 2 month ordeal I’d rather forget.

    It sounds like your wife loves a man she can respect, and if you struggled but didn’t give up, it’s no wonder she’s by your side. I got one of those too. Of course humor and cooking skills are also good hooks.

    Keep on kicking ass/arse!

    1. Thank you! All the best to you in your success. Hope your every step you take is a good one forward!

  47. In a venue of consistently inspiring stories, yours is among the best. Congratulations and Thank You to Craig and to your lovely wife for joining you on this journey!

  48. Great Story! I can relate since I have Seborrheic Dermatitis which two Dermatologists have told me is incurable and I will have for the rest of my life. I always hating getting hair cuts. 2 months on paleo and guess what, 90% gone (along with my acne, aches & pains, +++) Apparently its a from of yeast and what does yeast live on? Sugar! Haha. Think of all the yeast thriving in bread. Glad I’m no longer feeding it! I happily got a hair cut just recently– embarrassment fee! Loving my new life 🙂

  49. Craig, I am so excited for you. My story is
    Almost the same. My trigger is any dairy. Primal blue print has “saved my bacon”. My psoriasis was so bad that anything other than water gave me chemical burns. My active life style was squashed. I am now a MDA evangelist. I am now compleatly cured, no more arthritis or psoriasis!

    1. That is so wonderful to hear. Preach on! and I’ll do the same 😉

  50. Congratulations Craig! My husband had eczema and seborrheic dermatitis all his life (along with most of his family members). We found by accident that Bentonite clay helped. But after going Primal, his skin problems disappeared altogether. Gone!

    I hate the term auto-immune. I feel the medical establishment uses it for conditions they don’t understand the root cause of. I have an acquaintance with Psoriasis that will not consider modifying her diet because her doctors have told her diet has nothing to do with her problem. GAH! Another friend just had her appendix and gall bladder out, and is now being treated with chemotherapy (!!!) for “auto-immune” disease because she continues to have inflammatory digestive system issues – they can’t figure out so they’ve labeled it auto-immune. Double-GAH!!

    I’m so glad you found the way to treat yourself and lead a better life.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. It’s so unfortunate that people put so much trust in doctors, especially in the Information Age where we have so much access to anecdotal evidence.

  51. Hi Craig,

    Another Craig from Sydney, Australia looking for your perseverance and paleo success!

    Great work! I hope one day I can get the same results.

    Regards,

    Craig

    1. Thanks & Cheers to your perseverance! wishing you all the best & success! Craig

  52. Congrats Craig! You look absolutely bloody fantastic. I hear you with the old notion ‘health comes from within’. When you feed the body with real food it rewards you with energy, vitality, a mental clarity and not to forget – clear skin! Keep it up, your journey is inspiring. I love the garage idea, and your wife is smokin’ 🙂

  53. Craig, you rock! Our whole office is gushing over how awesome your photos are. Way. To. GO! You must feel amazing after all these years being trapped in your own body. GROK ON!!!!

  54. Another disease process bites the dust. Just goes to show how desperately those eating SAD need EDUCATION. Congratulations on the health transformation!

    1. I know of him only. location-wise,
      I think I am fortunate in that Cleveland has really proven to be a simple location to go primal/paleo.
      There are whole, natural, organic, locally sourced items everywhere, and always within a short jaunt on the bike or by car. that makes a huge difference in meal planning.

  55. Love your story Craig.

    I also suffer from Psoriatic arthritis. It was my search for a non-medical solution that led me to this site. I don’t wish to be taking methotrexate for the rest of my life. Two months down the track and I’ve gone from 85.5kgs to 78.5.

    I’ve started crossfit and I can say that I’m feeling the best that I have for years (I’m 52). The arthritis is slowly clearing and I can’t wait to finally tell the rheumatologist that his services are no longer required. I just know that he won’t believe that I’ve fixed myself by diet alone.

    Well done sport! You look great. Finally, a big thank you to Mark Sisson. I’m now one of the 10,000,000.

    1. That is such wonderful news! All the best to you in your success story!

  56. Wonderfully inspiring! It’s sure worked for you…and happily, for me too. How did we ever get fooled into eating garbage thinking it was good for us??

  57. Fabulous & Congratulations! I am going to remember you next time i eat 200g of almond-filled milk chocolate in a row (which happens very rarely, but, still). 🙂

    You look great and your wife is very beautiful (tell her!).

  58. This was such an inspiring story to read today. Craig, congrats on this new amazing life of yours. I can’t imagine what relief you must feel not having to suffer from the constant skin issues every day. And what a lucky man you are to have a faithful companion through it all. This whole story just makes me happy!

  59. Wow! Amazing progress. You are an inspiration to all of us with skin ailments.

  60. Great story! Awesome for you, and inspiring for everyone. Congrats on taking control and making your life your own again. I do love Fridays!

  61. Great testimony Craig. As a fellow sufferer of whole body psoriasis I wonder if you continue light and topical therapy for the control. I have only been on the paleo diet for a couple of months and the skin improvement is minimal though my fat loss has been explosive. My uv is only sun but being in FL makes that exposure pretty regular. Any secrets would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Thank you. I do use the light therapy during the dark winter days as Cleveland has very very few sunny days between december thru february, that in conjunction with the diet keeps me clear and steady. Best of luck to you!

  62. Craig, I am just as impressed with your great attitude when you were struggling to find solutions as I am with your fantastic transformation once you obtained that vital information, that was a key to your success IMO.

  63. Like you I have a hot wife who married me when I was a sloppy neolithic mess. Hats off to our spouses, let’s raise a glass of Cleveland tap water! Well-written and inspiring, thanks.

  64. Hi Craig, i thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. I too am from the Cleve! even in the cold here i make sure to take advantage of our park system. Makes for great exercise and it is so peaceful. Good luck on your journey!

    1. Thank you! I’m fortunate to be just a short walk/jog from several entrances to our Metroparks. Cleveland really does have a lot to offer us. Best of luck to you too.

  65. You called it “pop” instead of “soda.” That’s a sign of a Clevelander right there!

    Impressive results! I have skin problems, too, that are pretty stubborn, but that could be because I’m all-or-nothing and haven’t struck balance yet, even in four years of eating this way. This gives me hope still!

  66. Craig, wow…thank u so much for this very inspiring story & photos…u & ur wife look beautiful, esp together!!! I am so happy for u both!!!

  67. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s awesome! I hope that it gets shared many times over and reaches others in need of this information.

  68. Thank you for sharing! I just sent this to my sister who takes methotrexate for psoriatic arthritis. I hope she reads it.

  69. Wow. You look 15 years younger now. And happy. You look really happy. Such a great story. Thanks for sharing it.

  70. What a fantastic story – very very inspiring – and you look great in your “after” photographs

  71. What a great story, thank you for sharing. Your comment about treating yourself from the oustide was spot-on and a great summary comment on so much of what is wrong with the standard approaches to so many health and wellness issues.

  72. Craig,

    Great story and really glad to see you take back control of your health. Hope to catch you at one of the mudders.

    An old friend,
    Bill

    PS. OK i’m interested now and will pick up tuphe book.

  73. Craig,

    Very nice story. So glad to see you take back control of your health.

    An old friend,
    Bill

    PS OK.You’ve got my attention and I’ll pick up one of the books.

    1. Thank you Bill! great to hear from you, hope to cross paths soon. – Craig

  74. My mom has always suffered from psoriasis and the misc. treatments for it are horrid (methotrexate! eesh), and now it’s progressed into her hands, shoulders, and feet as arthritis. I’m going to show her your success story, and perhaps she’ll at least try the 80/20 proposition… she’ll never give up her potatoes though.

    You look fantastic! Thanks for sharing your story!

  75. Very inspiring Craig, my 50 years of psoriasis suffering will hopefully be history.

  76. This was my first time to read the Friday success story and I almost cried! What an inspiration! Bravo for you, and your lively wife.

  77. Wow – hugely inspirational & amazing photos. Starting my primal transformation now & feel so encouraged reading your account and seeing what a difference it made to you. I will show my husband too – he is at that stage in life where he thinks nothing can work for him- he’s a runner but eats too much post training session & so the weight remains (& sometimes increases) & he feels down & unhappy with himself. Your account shows this doesn’t have to be the case. Thank you.

  78. Great story Craig ! I’m an RN and love examples like your story to tell people I know with skin conditions that there is hope, and there are natural things they can do…if only willing to try something different and non-conventional. (by todays standards). Medical people today are too quick to whip out a prescription pad. They forget that food IS medicine….good, wholesome, natural un-processed food, that is. Proud of you. Way to go!!! Enjoy your new life.

  79. Wonderful! I’m from Cleveland as well, so it’s heartwarming to see someone local who had such great success. Grok on! 🙂

  80. Craig, great story…I too have sufferred from psoriasis since I was a teen, and since I’ve been on the blueprint, it has mostly all cleared up…

    Keep moving! ken

  81. Beautiful!
    Every Friday I’m eagerly awaiting these stories while at work at a busy ER in Colorado!!

    Keep up the GreAt work.

  82. Amazing story Craig, congratulations! I love reading success stories showing that the paleo/primal approach is about more than just losing weight (though you’ve certainly done that too!)

  83. Great job! You shed the fat, grew some muscle and now you look like a (gasp) proper Clevelander!

    Great transformation. You look 10 years younger and infinitely healthier and happier. Another north shore primal success story. Yes we can resist Pierogies and Panini’s sandwiches, hard as it may be. Grok on!

  84. WOW! You look like a completely different person! Congrats and what an inspiration!

  85. Craig- You Are a Stud! Great story, inspirational. And kudos to your wife for all of her support. Thanks for sharing.

  86. Hi All,

    I too have skin stuff going on! And for a very long time, but worse recently. It seems to come and go by itself.

    I wonder if some food toxin which is eliminated by the diet change is the underlying cause?

    Suggestions most welcome! GMO, glycophosphate or its metabolites, From what I read there is not much real information available? Websites?

    I doubt simple phytic acid?

    I hope there are some suggestions out there!

    Thanks.

    John

  87. Craig, that’s a tremendous story. Many congratulations on what you’ve achieved. Your story resonates with me as I myself am on a path to beating psoriasis (having previously beaten psoriatic arthritis), and I’m encouraged that the paleo approach (which I also follow because I’ve been utterly convinced by the science for quite some time) has led to such impressive results for you. I haven’t quite reached your level of P clearance yet (though I’ve dropped some weight, albeit not from an overweight level), but I’m making strides. Congrats again to a Pom who is not whingeing, but winning!

  88. You bring me to tears. Thanks for sharing. You inspire me.

  89. Very inspiring Craig, and great work !! Those 2nd and 3rd photos are enough to make me rethink my priorities. I hope to get my story here someday as well.

  90. Wow I have tears in my eyes and a huge bug in my throat! Thank you for sharing.

  91. You look great!

    I also suffered from psoriasis since high school- going wheat-free has mean for the first time in more than fifteen years I don’t need steroids to keep it under control.

    It’s amazing how much illness and how many conditions are self-inflicted via diet!

  92. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for your amazing story. I started to ditch grains and sugar two weeks ago. I tried to quit sugar last year, too, but gave up after three weeks. Now that I also quit grains, it’s much easier.
    To keep myself motivated for this new lifestyle I read MDA daily. Your story will keep me motivated for a long time, because I do have some skin issues, and now I know there’s more than just ‘losing weight’ in it for me!

  93. YOU LOOK AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I know that being grain free was the best thing i could have ever done for my body. keep it up & keep us posted 🙂

  94. Craig,
    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story !! Awesome work and, I love that your wife was by your side during this journey.
    Rose

  95. Thank you for this inspirational post… I had some ‘suspicions’ that my psoriasis was related to diet – as I went through my own process of ellimination study to try and figure it out (since modern medicine wasnt much help)… Now my suspicions are confirmed and I am even MORE gung-ho on this primal diet/lifestyle. Thank you very much for sharing.

  96. Great and inspiring story! Congrats and thanks for sharing it!

  97. wow what a transformation you look 10 years younger great job keep up the good work!!!!

  98. Craig. You will never know what this post means to me. I’m 50 have psoraisis since I was 12 and this last year has been a nightmare of chronic fatigue and psoraitic arthritis. AND I smoke. I moved to paeleo a few months back and changes are slowly happening but I’m going to print out your story and put it in my fridge coz if you can get there, so can I. My very best wishes to you and your wonderful wife and my thanks.

  99. Great story.

    Having being brought up here in Canada, but with a British bent due to my immigrant grandparents, I know what you mean about what you learn at a young age as “the norm” for eating.

    I too find my dogs wonderful play and workout partners. Nothing like living in the moment, as every good dog can teach a human.

    Although I have always been relatively healthy, I am early in my Primal transformation after just learning about it a few months ago. I needed to start a new chapter after the death of my wife, and the nice thing about Primal is that it keeps me busy with lots of energy and naturally improves my mood.

    I love reading these success stories, they are so inspiring.

  100. Hi Craig ~ I’m so happy you finally found solutions for your psoraisis. I’ve never had it myself but my former SIL suffered with it for years. Don’t think she ever found anything to help her – just used whatever the dermatologists prescribed.

    Your before/after pictures are like night and day. You look so full of life and happiness as a result of your PB lifestyle. Gives us “Newbies” great inspiration and motivation. Thank you for that.

    I especially admire how you just quit sodas. That’s something I’m still having a problem with. Diet Pepsi is my downfall and I drink gallons of it. I’m trying to taper off of it but that will probably be included in my 80%/20? pattern.

    Great share & Great Smile! – Thanks! 🙂

  101. Our son has psoriasis and it seems to be getting worse. A friend of ours sent me your testimony and I am encouraged by the changes that have occurred for you. I am hoping our son will read this and make the changes in his life that will bring the much needed relief to his body. He just turned 23 and is suffering hair lose because of the scalp inflammation. Of course all of this affects his self esteem. He suffers from depression and anxiety because of the condition. If you can add anything more please let me know. At least I find hope in what you have written and I pray he will too. thanks