I Feel Better Than I Ever Did In My Life

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!

When I first started on a low-carb diet, I lost 35 lbs (16 kg) in five months. I had 24 conditions! But not all my ailments healed.

I went down the rabbit’s hole and was able to turn my health around and cure a myriad of health issues with some additional measures. This is what I did.

My story began in 2013, where I adopted an eating protocol via Dr. Mark Hyman’s Ultrametabolism, after discovering my cholesterol was high. Following that plan, I lost 35 pounds (16 kg) in five months and had more energy for a period of time. But I started getting tired, having palpitations, wake-ups at night where I couldn’t go back to sleep, and others. I had already, over my lifetime, been diagnosed with being overweight, high blood pressure, tachycardia, chronic migraines, lumbago, bulging disks, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, various nutrient and vitamin deficiencies, and others. I presented my issues to my doctor, whose only answer was the old, tired adage…”You are getting older, and this is what happens when you get older.”

I have autoimmune disease (discovered myself by literally forcing the conventional docs to test me for thyroid antibodies) based on my research of my symptoms from various functional medicine doctors whom I follow…so I began researching healing autoimmunity within functional medicine and Mark’s Daily Apple. I eliminated gluten, dairy and similar proteins completely from my diet. This includes all store-bought breads, pastries, pastas, and milk and milk products, and replaced them with my own, home-baked, (primarily coconut flour) products, and nut milks, primarily coconut milk. This is where my fibromyalgia, headaches and lower back pain went away for good, I hope indefinitely.

I gave up beans completely (too difficult to absorb, even when soaked), nuts (too much phytic acid in a healing gut). I gave up all processed/packaged foods, and bought and ate/eat only organic (unless ewg.org’s list says I can eat conventional). I consume pastured eggs only, grass-fed beef 1-2 times/week, wild-caught fish, and only hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken and turkey. I don’t use any conventional oils, only olive for my homemade salad dressings (your dressings are the only ones around with completely good for you ingredients, by the way!) , and coconut oil and grass-fed butter for higher-heat cooking. I eat an 80/20 raw diet. I have eliminated soy, and soy products, though I must admit, I still consume soy lecithin, as Chris Kresser, whom I admire, says it shouldn’t be problematic. I have an adoration of dark chocolate, you see… 😉 so it is unavoidable. I would make my own, but my time is limited, as I am a full-time nurse, wife and a mother as well.

I consume a lot of supplements. No drugs. I won’t elaborate on it too much, as that would be very long, but I will say that my Vitamin D, B12, all cholesterol and thyroid lab levels are now optimal by functional medicine standards. Mainstream labs are based on sick people’s labs, and I’m aiming to be and stay well, not to get sick until I exceed their ranges of “normal.” I am using additional supplements and probiotics to boost glutathione, immunity, gut repair and cellular metabolism. I use your collagen powders to keep my gut healed and sealed. I also do about 5 minutes of targeted muscle training a day 5 days a week, nominal running, walking and biking.

About six months later, after adopting the additional protocols outlined above, I felt great. I still do, another five years later. You wouldn’t guess to look at me that I’m 52. I feel better than I ever did in my life, and get around like a 20-year old. My only conditions remaining are some gas (from all the cruciferous veggies I eat every day in my salad), and thyroid antibody levels that have plateaued still outside of normal range. I surmise, accurately I am sure, that this is due to food sensitivities.  I have completed a food panel, and am working on the food sensitivities found there by eliminating them. I hope that this is successful, as I know these antibodies may continue to wear away at my thyroid over time, possibly resulting in a reversal of everything I have accomplished. Hopefully, as per Dr. Izabella Wentz (I am one of her recommended clinicians), my consumption of Thytrophin PMG will target the action of the antibodies as opposed to my thyroid, and then all will be right with the world!  Incidentally, I became so enamored with using food as medicine, that I went on to become a health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and board certification through the AADP (the Association of Drugless Practitioners.  Now I help others realize their hopes and dreams the way I have!

It should be noted, that I underwent all the above, totally alone. No family or friend support. It was very hard, but I was determined to decipher how powerful the proper consumption of food is for myself. From what I have read over the past four years, the odds are extremely low for success while going it alone. I almost ended up in divorce from my husband, and estrangement from my daughter, as I tried to help them with their problematic behaviors before they became sick as well. Now, in order to keep the peace, I must continue to go it alone, and keep my mouth shut. So far it is working, but the clinician inside of me worries for them. I’m definitely not perfect, I do let out some thoughts once in awhile!

I would not change this way of eating for anything, and continue to advocate the same for anyone who will choose to listen to my story and other successes people have had that I have advised. Following this type of plan can and will indeed change lives.

Thank you for what you, and other functional medicine practitioners sharing of your wealth of knowledge has done for me,

Carol Rivers

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48 thoughts on “I Feel Better Than I Ever Did In My Life”

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  1. Fantastic post! You look radiantly healthy. Our stories sound so much the same. I did all the things you described in order to heal myself (alone, with no support), as I have autoimmune thyroid disease also (that no one would admit was real). Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. Thanks, Adrienne! I would love to hear your story too! You can find me on Facebook at Health Integrations. I’m in NY. Sometimes, I need to hear a success story too. I have yet to hear a story similar to mine. It would be inspiring to me as well 🙂

  2. Although I am in a somewhat different situation I can sympathize with your predicament of going it alone. At 55, I have always lived alone but last year just moved back to the area where I grew up and all my family still live after 30 years living in other locations across the country. None of my family will listen to anything I say so I have just given up. Most of the time I am on my own so it is easier and just accept that the occasional family dinner will be part of my 10% non primal.

    1. Good for you, Joanne! Sometimes we have to look at the greater good. The stress of being “different” at the family functions can probably be more detrimental than the very occasional Frankenfoods. It took me awhile to figure that out. I have only recently changed the plan to follow to what you are doing. But believe me…I exercise detox protocols afterward! 😉

  3. What a great story Carol. You are so smart to take ownership of your body. A little bit of gas is way better than all your other ailments. I have been primal for 7 yrs. and also have the same issue of going it alone. I checked in my city to see if there are any groups but unfortunately not. What I find that is strange is other folks will start talking about their ailments and I will bring up primal and they first thing they say is ” I can’t give up this or that. They totally dismiss what I suggest. Hopefully this will change. I am 70 and have more energy than my 45 year old kids. It works and makes total sense.

    1. Thank you, Kathy. I agree. Many folks I am in contact with primarily brush off my wisdoms as something that will never be contemplated as a plan of action. I can understand…I fought very hard against going gluten, and eventually, all-grain free. For me, there was just too much powerful research to support living primally. I am devoted to research and aspire to learn something new every day. So how could I refute what I learned? Not THIS girl, happily enough! Continued success to you, and I hope that someone in your family will get to benefit from your own wisdom!

  4. I am not as hard charging as you and much more lax in what I eat, but I have still benefited tremendously and no, no one has followed in my footsteps. It is the hardest to influence those nearest and there is something about changing the way you eat that is akin to changing religion or politics. After that people just tolerate you because you are a challenge to their behaviors. I get it, I don’t like to be challenged either. Well done by the way!

    1. Hey, Vanessa, well met! We can only lead by example, and hope that people notice how our lifestyle positively affects change. Kudos to you for your own strength in the face of adversity!

  5. Keep going at it alone! You’re inspiring more than you know and perhaps they’ll want to join your journey one day. Your legacy will be meaningful to them. Great work Carol! I enjoyed your story today. Perfect timing.

    1. Shealin (what a beautiful name!) Thanks so much for the support. It took quite the while, and I have affected change in others, which is a source of great satisfaction to me as well. I am so glad you enjoyed my story, as well as the fortuitous timing. Take care 🙂

  6. Wonderful story, thank you for sharing! I can relate to going it alone, and to how every person’s path is different–some heal more quickly, others take longer. What’s important is to keep going, as your story proves. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Bioindividuality is the ticket, Sylvie. We gotta keep digging at it until we find the root cause of our ailments. We are our own best advocates! Thank you for the kind words 🙂

  7. Excellent story! I agree it is very difficult to go alone and I’m sorry those around you are now estranged. We say in church all the time to preach the Bible and use words only when necessary. In other words it’s actions that make the difference. Hopefully they’ll see how healthy you have become and it will cause them to become curious. Many times it’s the actions that change minds, not words, so just keep being healthy, keep loving your daughter, and hopefully she’ll come around. Congratulations on your good health!

    1. Thank you, Mike. Well met. I sure hope they come around soon. Gets kinda lonely eating my own food every meal…baking my own baked goods, and no one to eat it but yours truly (wait…is that a bad thing??)

  8. Inspiring story Carol! I’m the same age as you and also feel better than I ever have. As far as going it alone, I’ll echo what others have said. Actions speak louder than words. People will notice what you are doing and ask for help. Even if your family members don’t come around, you could influence so many others by your example.

    1. Know what I say, Elizabeth? 52 is the new 22! I take pleasure in being able to positively affect change in my clients. Nonetheless, I dearly hope that my kids will one day come around. My hubby is a lost cause. He says : “No Way, EVER for me!” Well, at least I can get him to take good, Carol approved supplements, and I take some relief in that! 🙂

  9. Way to go Carol. What an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much. I always hope to affect change for the better in others. Seems a shame to know/learn all this only to keep it to myself. I’m a know and share type of gal!

  10. Way to go Carol! Congratulations!! Isn’t it wonderful to feel physically and mentally healthy? Although I didn’t have nearly as many health issues as you, after about a year of Primal lifestyle, any that I did have are gone(in particular, eczema and arthritis). It’s now been about 8 years and I am 65 heading off to Europe for the 3rd year in a row to go on a major cycle touring trip for 3months. I am so fortunate that my scientist husband has been on board for the journey as it makes perfect sense to him (and believe me, he scrutinizes everything from a scientific point of view!) However, when it comes to sharing the Primal way of eating info with friends and family…I keep my mouth shut! It is so difficult when I see these folks suffering from a very obvious poor choice of foods to eat. However if they ask, I do have a “cheat sheet” document I created which I will send them. Also, I have a friend who was totally convinced to go KETO by a movie called “The Magic Pill” on Netflix which I will now also recommend to folks who ask questions about my diet. It almost always comes up when at a dinner party and I decline to eat certain foods!
    My support has come from Mark’s blog, Chris Kresser, Kara Fitzgerald, Peter Attia, Dave Asprey, David Perlmutter, and many others and I am so VERY VERY THANKFUL to all of them for the info and research they have done to help all of us to be the BEST we can be!

    1. Hey Gypsyrozbud! I recognize many of those names and follow them as well. Avidly, to be sure…otherwise, how did I get this way? How wonderful to be able to have a spouse who’s into it as well. Extremely exciting for you, all of it! Many kudos to yourself, and your own successes!

  11. Wow I am in awe of Carol. I would do anything to have her support and guidance. Her family through away a healthy gift of love but I am grateful she shahid her story. I am 55 . You rock Carol??

    1. Well thank you kindly, Laura! I share a lot of great tips on my Facebook Page…Health Integrations in NY, or my website, healthintegrations.com. Large compilations of hefty reading and knowledge there!

  12. Try full carnivore. As simple as can be. No supplements. No complicated recipes. No counting, or measuring, or planning. Eat meat. Eat when you’re hungry, or tired, or weak. Stop eating when your body says enough. The ultimate elimination diet, with no need for lots of tests and guessing. meatheals.com.

    1. Hey there, Adam. I have read too much about the benefit of vegetables and fiber. Plus, I sure couldn’t afford just grass-fed, pastured meat. I’d be in the poorhouse! 🙂

  13. Carol,
    Thank you for sharing. Having a PRS*, is the most difficult part of recovery from SAD ailments. We must save ourselves first and resist the urge to give in. Congratulations on having the strength to endure. Personal health is a gift we can only give to ourselves.

    *Primal Resistant Spouse

    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Jack. We are indeed our own best advocate, and in many cases, our only advocate. And you know what? Our failures are the steps we climb…

  14. Great! real life story. Love to read this. Thanks for sharing your real life experience of following low carb diet. Now you are looking much younger than earlier.

  15. Fantastic results Carol and well done you. I have been low carb for 5 years now, I don’t have any health issues as such but I can easily maintain my weight and I have no food cravings and constantly feeling hungry. I think we have to accept that our loved ones who will not hear the food as medicine message. My partner told me he would die if he didn’t eat rice or potatoes with his evening meal! I continue to cook healthy meals and hope that it will at least counteract the effect of all the sugar and low grade foods that he eats.

    Do you use bone broth? I am never without a supply – mainly chicken. My Siamese cat who was hospitalised four times with inflammatory bowel disease was completely healed when I started to give him the bone broth so I have seen its healing properties with my own eyes! I make my broth with just the bones, ACV and water.

    1. Hi Jan. Excellent news for you, and I definitely feel your pain with the family. Yours is doing better than mine. Mine have a near-strict manmade diet!

      I’m not allowed to make bone broth. I tried, and the family couldn’t stand the smell. I was informed I could take my silliness out in the garage. Ummmm…no thanks! So I used L-glutamine to hasten my healing, and currently use collagen peptides to keep the gut barrier strong. 🙂

  16. Carol, I am beyond wowed by your story! Thank you for sharing. I am not as successful these days however know big changes are soon coming. I will be reading it over and over as my inspiration to do better!
    You look fabulous and happy, that is what I too want. One day at a time as I figure this journey out.

    1. You can do it, Juliette! It’s hard to start. I nixed the bad stuff out mostly one step at a time, others 2-3 times at once. Now, real food tastes so great and makes me feel so good, I just won’t go back to those frankenfoods.

  17. Good for you! I too have autoimmune disease ( lupus ) and I find that when I eat paleo/ primal I feel my best! Believe me I’ve tried everything and this lifestyle is the best!
    Best wishes!

  18. How do I get ahold of Carol to utilize her health coach business?

  19. Carol I’m inspired by your transformation and acquired knowledge. My problem is being consistent…I would be eating clean for a while and then fall off wagon for a while…so people like you are truly role models for me. Could you expand on the targeted muscles workout you had mentioned, I’m curious. Thank you!

    1. Hi Ella,
      From my reading, I understand it is best to cycle in and out of keto, not stay in it all the time. So cycling out is a good thing, just don’t cycle out on the man-made stuff, and you’ll be good to go! There are plenty of great Paleo baked goods out there. Not much trouble, quick, few ingredients. I tend to use Lakanto monkfruit Golden instead of the sweeteners to cut down on carbs, and then I only use half the sugar the recipe calls for. Still tastes great. There is a replacement for every man-made food out there in the Paleo land. You just gotta be ready to tie on the apron strings!

      I do bicep and tricep curls, and squats. The squats target just about every single muscle in the body if you do them properly. I throw in some Suzanne Somers Thighmasters when I remember to do them! The rest is running, walking and biking. I’m a full-time nurse, and do healthcoaching part time (while squeezing in wifery and mommyhood). It’s quite the go-go-go for me 🙂

  20. Love seeing the Standard Process shout-out…wish more people knew about SP and MediHerb. Glad you are working with a Functional Med doctor… so amazing what you can learn. Congratulations on your journey!

  21. Inspirational! You look great and more importantly you look like you FEEL great.

    I’m in my fifties, and I just grabbed Mark’s 21 day plan book on Scribd. I’ve tried other plans that restrict unhealthy carbs, but they’re short-term only, and they still emphasize eating every couple of hours. After the last bout on the most recent (non-paleo) plan, I’ve lost energy and don’t seem to be able to get it back. Full paleo seems to be where I’m headed.

    I hear you about having to watch others make serious dietary mistakes in silence. Unless someone really seems “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” I’ve learned just to keep my mouth shut. Meanwhile they’ll rush off to the doctor for their 10th pricey prescription without a murmur. It’s really sad.

    Maybe I’ll be the next success story! Looking forward to reading others’ stories here.

    1. Hi Amy!

      I am sure the plan will be successful. The power of saying no to fake, and yes to real food is irrefutable. 🙂

  22. Can you post or send me a list of foods you eat during a typical week including beverages and desserts? Do you drink red wine or any other type of alcohol?

    Great Post – Thank you !

  23. Great Job, Carol! I noticed that you said you eat a lot of cruciferous veggies and that you eat primarily raw. I wanted to make sure you knew that cruciferous vegetables, when uncooked and not fermented, contain goitrogens that can interfere with thyroid function. You may be able to have better results if you fix this. Good luck!

    1. Hi Jenni,

      Cruciferous veggies pack a lot of punch with needed vitamins and minerals. There is a lot of science out there that so long as you don’t eat more than 2 pounds a day, it’s good for you. Mainstream medicine has this wrong as well. You have to check out the alternative medicine sites for the accurate info. Best wishes!

  24. Hi there
    Im 57 , I just lost my brother to ALS and I gained some pounds. Im on Levothyroxine for Thyroid and I purchased the Balanced Body Advanced Blend! Is this stuff natural and should I be concerned with taking it with thyroid meds.