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March 17 2017

I Look Forward to Many More Years of Health and Happiness!

By Guest
35 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. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in lineDownsized at 50 from my job as a government social worker! My body and mind were a mess….from too much stress, too much sugar (the office culture was big on sweet treats in the coffee room!), too much sitting in front of a computer!

Migraine headaches, back and hip problems (often the only thing keeping me going were my monthly massages and physical therapy sessions), menopausal issues, my weight creeping up in spite of my exercise regime…weekly aerobics classes, swimming laps, cycling.

Now was the perfect time to take control of my health! I signed up for a course to become a fitness instructor….and discovered I was performing some exercises incorrectly! Disappointed in the ‘Nutrition’ information module…not enough and very sketchy, but enough to get me started on my new passion…research into alternative healthy nutrition and active lifestyles.

That was more than a decade ago and, wow, have things changed since then….

The first thing to go from my life was SUGAR, although I still used honey occasionally and ate fruit, drank some fruit juice. Then, I eliminated wheat, but still ate a lot of grains…rye, oats, rice. Although my husband and I started to feel way less bloated and stopped gaining weight, I still had physical issues with my pelvis/hips/back. We led a very active lifestyle…cross country and downhill skiing daily for 4 months every winter….cycling, hiking, gardening, swimming all summer and fall, including a daily stretching regimen.

I was in my doctor’s office for an appointment to deal with a serious neck problem that had been plaguing me throughout a 2 month holiday in Mexico, when I discovered Dr. Perlmutter’s Grain Brain…I quit all grains immediately after reading this enlightening book! Then it was a visit to my massage therapist who turned me onto Mark’s Daily Apple…that was 3 years ago, and I haven’t looked back since!

I should also mention that throughout this ‘journey’, we lost my husband’s father to a very long slow decline…bedridden for 5 years… complications from diabetes. I believe that watching him (and others, e.g. friends who have died from cancer) die a slow lingering death has had a very profound effect on me. My mother passed away also from complications of heart disease and diabetes. (My father died 20 years ago at age 62 from pancreatic cancer.) So my husband and I were both concerned we were at risk for diabetes, heart disease and a host of other diseases!

I continued reading and researching and everything kept leading me to the Paleo/ Low Carb-High Fat/Ketogenic diet and lifestyle. I even took an online course offered by EdX Harvard, which helped me to understand the function and importance of our mitochondria and helped hugely in my understanding of how we burn fat more efficiently than glucose!

It has been 2 years now since we have adopted a Primal Lifestyle (leaning towards Keto and practicing limited intermittent fasting), and both of us feel better than we did in our 40s and 50s. My hip and back problems are under control, especially since I have adopted many of Katy Bowman’s (Nutritious Movement) practices…barefooting or wearing minimal footwear (I love my Vibram Five Fingers!), sitting on the floor, opening my hips, stabilizing my pelvic floor, hanging and generally getting my body into alignment. I have recently added yoga practice to my daily routine. Oh yes, and did I mention that I had suffered for 40 years with eczema? Now GONE! Despite the fact that my physician told me years ago that it would never go away!

My biggest issue now is holding my tongue! The social worker in me wants to help all my friends/family with their numerous health issues. Thanks, Mark, for the article about “leading by example.” I try very hard to not talk about diet/nutrition in social situations…sometimes difficult when people ask pointed questions about why I won’t eat….wheat, sugar, etc.

All of these things have contributed to more enjoyment in our daily lives of all of our outdoor passions…gardening, skiing, cycling, canoeing, tree climbing, hiking and traveling the world. I feel we are very fortunate that we have the means to live this wonderful lifestyle and look forward to many more years of health and happiness AND planning for another bicycle trip from Amsterdam to the south of France! (Whoops, I might sneak in a warm flaky French croissant!)

Gypsyrozbud (aka Rosemary)
www.gypsyrozbudontheroad.wordpress.com

Rosemary

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35 thoughts on “I Look Forward to Many More Years of Health and Happiness!”

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  1. Thank you! SO inspiring…I too am being ‘re-purposed’ at 52 with job and not sure of what’s next. But I know it will include this newly-discovered (for me!) Primal lifestyle, movement, and nutrition!

    1. Here is a “handout” I made up to give to friends who ask about diet….
      INFLAMMATORY DISEASES AND KEEP YOUR MITOCHONDRIA HEALTHY

      In order for your organs to function properly, they require energy, and that energy is produced by the mitochondria.

      Since mitochondrial function is at the very heart of everything that occurs in your body, optimizing mitochondrial function – and preventing mitochondrial dysfunction by making sure you get all the right nutrients and precursors your mitochondria need – is extremely important for health and disease prevention.

      1. Eliminate all sugars(honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.) and processed foods and all seed oils, corn oil, canola etc.
      If you must have a sweetener use stevia.

      2. Eat lots of veggies(some recommend up to 6 cups/day)…esp brassicas….kale, broccoli, cauliflower(process cauliflower in processor and stir fry with coconut oil for a rice substitute), cucumber , avocado, spinach, celery, onions, zucchini( process in ‘spiralizer’ and stir fry in coconut or olive oil as sub for noodles), lettuce esp red lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard. Limit root veggies to occasional consumption. Some vegetables in the nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes) are not tolerated by some people. It is best to rotate these in your diet and try to limit to once or twice a week (or less and potatoes not at all) as they have been shown to exacerbate symptoms of arthritis ( inflammation!)

      3. Eat fermented foods….sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt ( always plain organic high fat, no sugar or fruit added)

      4. Eliminate gluten(wheat, rye, barley) ……eventually all grains(that includes corn). If eating quinoa (OK occasionally)….rinse well in warm water and leave overnight to sprout before cooking.
      Use coconut flour, almond flour, ground flax seed for substitute. Follow recipes using coconut flour precisely as it is a very dry flour. Don’t overdo it with seeds. ( see nuts below)

      5. No legumes. No peanuts or peanut butter. No Soy products. Replace soy sauce with coconut aminos.

      6. Consume more high quality, organic fat….coconut oil, butter, ghee(all high in MCTs which metabolize faster and more efficiently than other oils), avocados ( actually these do not need to be organic as their skin is peeled), olives, salmon, sardines, bacon, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, almond/sesame oil (very sparingly)

      7. Eat Eggs!!!!! Esp poached/boiled/ fried in bacon fat (yum) with runny yolk. Preferably pasture raised.

      8. Eat nuts…..however, to reduce phytic acid (phytates) soak in warm salt water overnight and dehydrate/dry in oven with light on…. Same thing for seeds like sunflower and pumpkin. Also, don’t overdo it with nuts. Store in refrigerator and use within a week or 2 to avoid rancidity, or store in freezer.

      9. Eat moderate amounts of protein….general rule is no more than 1gram per pound of body weight per day. Always choose grass fed/wild meat and dairy (over grain fed), wild caught seafood, oysters are esp high in valuable nutrients!

      10. Limit fruit consumption to 1/2 to 1 cup per day, preferably berries. The only citrus allowed is lemon and lime. Do not drink fruit juice. Too much Fructose causes fatty liver disease. See Robert Lustig’s video (below)

      11. Add LOTS of fresh herbs to everything….oregano, parsley, basil, thyme.

      12. Add LOTS of cinnamon, ginger, turmeric. Cinnamon is a great natural sweetener.

      13. If not dairy intolerant….eat (moderate amounts of)cheese…grass fed, organic, cow, goat, sheep….change it up! Remember to count the protein!

      14. DRINK/EAT BONE BROTH. Simmer bones in water with 1/4 to 1/2 cup cider vinegar for 72 hours with or without veggies, herbs, spices. This has lots of benefits including collagen and minerals. Heals leaky gut, esp important for celiacs.

      15. Make sure you get salt daily….a good quality Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt.

      16. INTERMITTENT FASTING: if looking for quicker results, i.e., to switch the body ( mitochondria) over from burning glucose to ketones(fat), make your evening meal earlier, so stop eating by 6-7 pm. The next morning just have a “bulletproof” coffee (see notes below) and eat your first meal of the day at noon. You have just “fasted” for 17 hours. Your body will be burning fat all morning!

      17. Drink water, herbal teas. Add lemon/lime. Ginger juice is great for digestion.
      Slice up 1/2 cup of ginger, put in blender with warm water ( 4 cups) liquefy, strain, bottle refrigerate. Add to fizzy water with lime for a very refreshing drink.

      18. Eat sea vegetables…kombu, kelp, dulse. High in iodine and other minerals.

      19. Eat organ meats from pastured raised organic or wild animals.

      NOTES:

      BULLETPROOF COFFEE: brew up a good strong cup of fresh ground organic coffee and add 1-2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter and 1-2 T melted coconut oil. Whiz up with a hand blender. Do not drink this after 2 pm as your body will be too energized and you may have trouble sleeping!

      KOMBUCHA….may be good for your gut, but high in carbs and sugar. Not recommended.

      COCOA… Good quality, organic dark cocoa powder, cocoa butter and coca nibs are high in magnesium and is actually a fermented food! ( See Michael Pollan’s 4 part documentary series called “Cooked” esp. the one on fermentation)

      GINGER…good for digestion and aids the body to make melatonin which is required for a good nights sleep and also helps with jet lag

      MAGNESIUM… is a natural muscle relaxant. Try 800 mg of magnesium glycinate one hour before bed to help you calm down. Do not buy magnesium oxide; it is not absorbed well and will cause diarrhea.

      GABA: Take 750 mg of GABA. GABA supplements decrease anxiety, increase mood, and shut off “brain chatter” at night; it is nature’s natural Valium. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a non-essential amino acid found mainly in the human brain and eyes. It is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it regulates brain and nerve cell activity by inhibiting the number of neurons firing in the brain. GABA is referred to as the “brain’s natural calming agent.” By inhibiting overstimulation of the brain, GABA promotes relaxation, ease nervous tension, and increase quality sleep.

      CoQ10: an enzyme that is crucial in energy production in the mitochondria. If there is not enough the electrons get backed up in the mitochondria and cause formation of free radicals and thus excess oxidation. As we age our body produces less of this and it appears their is no way to increase it through diet.

      Glutathione:
      body’s most powerful antioxidant, glutathione is a tripeptide found in every single cell in your body. It is called “master antioxidant” because it is intracellular and has the unique ability of maximizing the performance of all the other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, as well as the fresh vegetables and fruits that you eat every day.
      Glutathione’s primary function is to protect your cells and mitochondria from oxidative and peroxidative damage. It is also essential for detoxification, energy utilization, and preventing the diseases we associate with aging. Glutathione also eliminates toxins from your cells and gives protection from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals, and environmental pollutants.

      Your body’s ability to produce glutathione decreases with aging. However, there are nutrients that can promote glutathione production, such as high-quality whey protein, curcumin, raw dairy, eggs, and grass-fed meat.4

      See books by Lee Know, ND and Maria Emmerich for more info and details.(below)

      Recommended reading:

      The Art and Science of Low Carb Living, Phinney, PhD. and Volek,PhD
      The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance, Phinney and Volek.
      Practical and informative historical perspective presented by two doctors who have a combined 60 years of research into this topic.

      Life: The Epic Story of our Mitochondria, Lee Know, ND.
      A naturopathic physician who helps to clarify in ‘layperson’ terms the importance of keeping the mitochondria healthy. Good resource for supplement info.

      KETO-ADAPTED, Maria Emmerich
      A nutritionist (fairly extreme) who has her own practice in nutritional (ketogenic lifestyle) counseling and provides info as well as tips and recipes.

      Wheat Belly, David Perlmutter, MD
      Brain Maker, David Perlmutter, MD
      A neurologist who discusses and explains the issues around gluten (Wheat Belly) and the importance of the Gut/Brain connection (Brain maker)

      Tripping over the Truth: The Metabolic (mitochondrial) Theory of Cancer, Travis Christofferson.
      A thorough history (and exposé) on the causes and the research esp regarding the treatment of cancer.

      The Wahl Protocol by Dr. Pamela Wahl (also see her TED lecture)

      All these are available as e-books through Amazon.ca and cost about $10 ea.

      YouTube videos:

      Sugar: The Bitter truth, Robert Lustig, PhD (and many more)
      Prof. Tim Noakes on the Low Carbohydrate Diet
      Gary Taubes: Calories vs. Carbohydrates

      Web links

      Mercola.com (most comprehensive)
      Bulletproofexec.com ( check out the list of podcasts, Dave Asprey interviews many scientists who discuss research and clinical evidence)
      Wellnessmama.com ( lots of recipes…check out her coconut flour/Apple/cinnamon muffins and the recipe for making your own dark chocolate bars)
      Marksdailyapple.com (Primal/paleo lifestyle discussions, recipes)There is some helpful info from the Paleo/Primal lifestyle movement, esp Mark Sisson’s blog (marksdailyapple.com), however, they tend to eat more carbs and include things like honey/maple syrup in dietary recommendations as well as some starches.

      Remember…your mitochondria are addicted to glucose/carbs and depend on you to set them straight and get them on the ketone burning program!

      Brain and Heart Health

      MCTs ( aka coconut oil) are a superior brain fuel, converting to ketones within minutes of ingestion. Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day. This is the amount indicated for protection against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.14 As noted by Mental Health Daily:15

      “In small scale human trials,16 MCT supplementation boosted cognition in individuals with cognitive impairment and mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease after just a single dose. While not everyone improved from the MCT treatment, those with certain genetics experienced notable improvement.”

      Ketones appear to be the preferred source of energy for the brain in people affected by diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and maybe even ALS, because in these diseases, certain neurons have become insulin resistant or have lost the ability to efficiently utilize glucose. As a result, neurons slowly die off.

      The introduction of ketones may rescue these neurons and they may still be able to survive and thrive. In multiple studies, ketones have been shown to be both neurotherapeutic and neuroprotective. They also appear to lower markers of systemic inflammation, such as IL-6 and others.

      Your heart health can also derive great benefit from MCTs. Human studies have shown MCTs help lower total lipid levels and improve cardiovascular health. For example, people who regularly consume coconut oil have a lower incidence of heart attack compared to those who do not consume coconut oil — an effect attributed to the MCT in the coconut.

      A 1991 study17 found that palm kernel oil was even more effective for lowering serum cholesterol than coconut oil, dairy and animal fats. Palm kernel oil also helped raise beneficial HDL cholesterol.

      In 2010, researchers published findings showing MCTs help lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome,18 which includes a cluster of symptoms such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. Unlike carbohydrates, ketones don’t stimulate a surge in insulin. Another benefit is that they don’t need insulin to help them cross cell membranes, including neuronal membranes. Instead, they use protein transporters, which allow them to enter cells that have become insulin resistant.

      How Much MCT Do You Need?

      While optimal dosing will vary from person to person, depending on your health status, energy needs and what your GI tract can tolerate, here are some general guidelines to consider:

      Start with 1 teaspoon and work your way up, adding 1 teaspoon at a time over the course of a few weeks. If you experience GI distress or diarrhea, cut back. While it’s not harmful to overdose on MCT, your body will rid itself of the excess by causing diarrhea, so don’t overdo it.
      Studies suggest an ideal ketone concentration for maximum hunger suppression and fat burning is 0.48 millimole per liter (mmol/L).19 Ketone measurements can be done through urine, breath or blood testing. Blood testing is the most expensive but also the most accurate and easy to test with home meters and strips. Measure your ketones about one hour after taking your MCT oil, and slowly build up your dose until you reach 0.48 mmol/L.
      Alternatively, simply raise the dose (slowly) until you notice you’re no longer as hungry as you used to be.
      For supplementation in neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, studies have found beneficial effects using a daily dose of 20 grams (about 4 teaspoons) of MCT oil.
      As for the type of MCT oil to take, I prefer the more expensive C8 (caprylic acid) oil over those containing both C8 and C10. Avoid cheaper versions containing C6. Even a 1 to 2 percent concentration of C6 can contribute to GI distress. If you want C12 (lauric acid) for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory activity, add coconut oil to your diet, which is less expensive and more versatile than MCT oil.

      Remember, coconut oil is predominantly lauric acid, which has many benefits, including antimicrobial. However, it does not convert as efficiently into ketones and therefore does not contribute much of an energy boost. Nor does it suppress hunger or help feed your brain the way C8 and C10 do. MCT oil is typically tasteless and odorless, so it can easily be added to a wide variety of dishes and beverages, from salad dressing to smoothies and vegetable juices.

      Coconuts and coconut oil (excellent for cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures without oxidizing)
      Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
      Raw nuts, such as macadamia and pecans
      Seeds like black sesame, cumin, pumpkin and hemp seeds
      Avocados
      Grass-fed meats
      Lard and tallow (excellent for cooking)
      Ghee (clarified butter)
      Raw cacao butter
      Organic-pastured egg yolks
      Animal-based omega-3 fat such as krill oil and small fatty fish like sardines and anchovies

      This all may sound expensive….but think of the money you will save on prescriptions and drugs when your body starts to fall apart!

  2. This was soooo inspiring, since I can identify with you so well. I’m 50 and while I’ve always been health conscious, I can truly say I feel better than ever now that i am pretty much high fat/low carb. Not fully keto, but listening to my body and giving it what it needs. Yes to sitting on the floor and more functional movement! And yes to leading by example. People will want what you have, and that’s when you share the info. What I liked the most was how you said you have more enjoyment in your daily life. And isn’t that what it’s really all about?! I see people who are struggling and punishing themselves to lose a few extra pounds, and they just seem so unhappy. It’s so wonderful to wake up excited about your day, knowing you have plenty of energy, and knowing you’ll be fueling yourself with delicious food. Thanks for the Friday inspiration!

    1. Yes, Elizabeth, life is good! HANG in there! Thanks for your kind words. PS…I forgot to mention my newest passion….Yoga and ‘finding my pelvic floor’!

  3. Rosemary, nice story. Thanks for not holding your tongue. Please nag until the cows come home.

    1. As Colleen mentions below, and as I have found from experience, younger people seem much more open to trying new things like diet/lifestyle changes. I have a physician friend, who just retired at age 65, diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She never smoked in her life! I loaned her the book, Tripping over the Truth: the Metabolic Theory of Cancer ( a great read which turned me onto taking the Harvard EdX course on Mitochondria). When she returned the book she said “Interesting, but I am not going to change my diet”!!!!
      Yikes!

  4. Thank you Rosemary! With a few different details, you tell my story, though I am not as far along as you. I totally agree that Dr. Perlmutter’s “Grain Brain” is a very important book. I hope it opens the door to further research and explanation of the metabolic and autoimmune mechanisms that make grains so problematic.

    How am I on the same path you describe? 9 months ago I made a sudden and total commitment to transforming my health and body. I started by eliminating all grains, sugars and processed foods, and unexpectedly lost 35 pounds in 3 months! And I must mention that I went from 5 or 6 whiskeys a day to less than one drink a week, sometimes now going weeks between a drink.

    Going from 171 to 135 pounds, I worried I might waste away. But I felt so great (and looked so much better) that I kept eating the same way…except to deepen it by going ketogenic and adopting intermittent fasting. I did that because my nearly-obsessive reading in nutrition and wellness (especially Gary Taubes, Volek & Phinny, Eric Westman & Jimmy Moore, Jason Fung and a few others) brought me to adopting a ketogenic lifestyle.

    And contrary to my fears, after losing 35 pounds quickly, my weight stabilized and has hovered around 135 for 6 months now, which suggests to me I came down to what is right for me and stay there because the very-low-carbohydrate, high-healthy-fats whole foods diet is very right for me.

    I also share your vision that as I enter more mature stage of life, I will not do a slow deterioration into the diseases of civilization. About 6 months ago, as my 52nd birthday was approaching, I resolved to achieve my best-yet health and physical condition, and use the transformation as the beginning of a life-long commitment to wellness.

    In fact, like you, I have decided to make work out of my transformation and discoveries. I’m a solar electrician but my company is bankrupt so I need to jump. I’ve decided to go to nursing school, get my R.N., and cultivate special expertise in nutrition, metabolism and fitness. My goal is to work in a medical practice that reverses diabetes and other forms of metabolic syndrome, very much on the cutting edge, “outliers” in the medical and nutritional professions who understand the standard American diet is toxic and who bring an ancestral health perspective to building wellness on a path that hopefully will soon become widely recognized as very much better.

    And yes, I am considering also becoming a Primal Health Coach and a personal trainer, all mid-term goals (3 years) that are extensions of my goal of becoming a nurse. I have found Mark Sisson’s “New Primal Blueprint” and his blog articles bring a very well-informed AND real-life-achievable perspective that, all things considered, is the single best source for anybody wanting to transform their health and their life.

  5. I feel better and pumped up just reading that wonderful story and great advice Gypsyrozbud (aka Rosemary)! You rock, and you gave me some good “food for thought”, going to add some hanging routines back into my workout, it’s been a while (because I forgot, not because of laziness, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

    HealthyHombre (aka George)

  6. LOVE reading about menopausal women and the primal lifestyle! It’s very encouraging to see success! Congratulations.

    I am one, too, and borderline pre-diabetic, with a family history of diabetes. The lower carb/keto seems like it might be my pathway to health, too.

    1. Bring this article to your doctor: “Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base”

      http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(14)00332-3/pdf

      Also ch 15 of Volek & Phinney’s book “Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.” The chapter is called “Treating Type-2 Diabetes as Carbohydrate Intolerance.”

      Both the book and the article are written for medical professionals, but with enough self-education you will also be able to read them.

      Finally, check out the Virta clinic for a team of medical experts in reversing diabetes using a very-low-carbohydrate approach, again, with the understanding that diabetes type2 is a manifestation of carbohydrate intolerance.

      https://www.virtahealth.com/

      The Virta clinic is in Indiana and partners with your local doctor, acting as very active consultants during the process of reversing Type 2 diabetes thru transitioning to a very low carb diet. This is a transition the diabetic should take only under medical supervision as the need for insulin and other medications will rapidly diminish and usually end, meaning you need close watch on blood glucose and medication levels (and other factors such as electrolytes) during that relatively short transition.

    2. Barb, also add IF or try other fasting. This quickly changed my BS numbers even though I was low carb, normal weight. I Was only eating a few nuts or olives or dark chocolate many nights but not always. I had prediabetic fasting number and now low 80s.

    1. Speaking of Joy….I didn’t mention how much more joyful and thankful both myself and my husband have become with this lifestyle! Go for it!

  7. Beautiful Rosemary, very inspiring
    The part of seeing your relatives and friends “die a slow lingering death ”
    has had a very profound effect on me also … the best thing is to lead by example like you are doing

  8. Great story. However, I figure if someone is asking a pointed question, give them an answer. Maybe a potential convert. I’m Not so good at keeping quiet but have decided to focus on the younger generations, as they are more open minded and less likely to just want s pill.

  9. This was a great story. I’m glad you’ve found health and happiness eating a nutritious diet and exercising smartly. The bike trip through France sounds enjoyable. I think I’ll add that to my list of future adventures.

    1. Did a bike trip a few years ago in France with a UK company (no affiliation, just a very satisfied customer!) called Cycling for Softies — they book hotels and dinner reservations for you (that’s the softy part, you don’t have to sleep in a tent) and just give you a bike and a map so you and your friends are on your own during the day (so not tied down to a tour (but no van or anything following or bringing your luggage)). It was one of my all-time favorite vacations!!

      1. Cycling in Europe is the best! So much to see, so many towns to stop in along the way and they all have a weekly fresh produce market! The cheeses, olives, nuts, freshest veggies and fruit ever!
        Our trip in 2015 we organized with the help of many friends…started in Aachen, Germany cycled along the Vennbahn (railway grade…easy!) hopped on the train in hilly Luxembourg (2€ Each with bikes!) to the Sur River, then to the Mosel River and on to the Rhine…all along mostly paved cycle paths! We never camped, just found small pensions and B&B’s along the way!
        I was super worried about keeping Paleo but it really wasn’t that difficult if you avoided the bakeries and stuck to the markets. Most places we stayed included breakfast…boiled eggs, cold meats, cheeses, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers…for dinners we would go a supermarket and get salad in a bag/ sauerkraut and a cooked chicken/canned or pickled fish and eat in our room, especially after too many schnitzels in the German Restaurants! And yes, I did indulge in the odd croissant!
        There is tons of info online if you want to plan your own trip…the Eurovelo sites are amazing with detailed trip itineraries. I have also just downloaded Pocket Earth App which is really great for planning our upcoming trip…Amsterdam to Southern France! Another HUGE adventure!

  10. For all interested I have come up with a 2page ‘cheat sheet’ which I give my friends who show interest in my diet changes….complete with references…
    INFLAMMATORY DISEASES AND KEEP YOUR MITOCHONDRIA HEALTHY

    In order for your organs to function properly, they require energy, and that energy is produced by the mitochondria.

    Since mitochondrial function is at the very heart of everything that occurs in your body, optimizing mitochondrial function – and preventing mitochondrial dysfunction by making sure you get all the right nutrients and precursors your mitochondria need – is extremely important for health and disease prevention.

    1. Eliminate all sugars(honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.) and processed foods and all seed oils, corn oil, canola etc.
    If you must have a sweetener use stevia.

    2. Eat lots of veggies(some recommend up to 6 cups/day)…esp brassicas….kale, broccoli, cauliflower(process cauliflower in processor and stir fry with coconut oil for a rice substitute), cucumber , avocado, spinach, celery, onions, zucchini( process in ‘spiralizer’ and stir fry in coconut or olive oil as sub for noodles), lettuce esp red lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard. Limit root veggies to occasional consumption. Some vegetables in the nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes) are not tolerated by some people. It is best to rotate these in your diet and try to limit to once or twice a week (or less and potatoes not at all) as they have been shown to exacerbate symptoms of arthritis ( inflammation!)

    3. Eat fermented foods….sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt ( always plain organic high fat, no sugar or fruit added)

    4. Eliminate gluten(wheat, rye, barley) ……eventually all grains(that includes corn). If eating quinoa (OK occasionally)….rinse well in warm water and leave overnight to sprout before cooking.
    Use coconut flour, almond flour, ground flax seed for substitute. Follow recipes using coconut flour precisely as it is a very dry flour. Don’t overdo it with seeds. ( see nuts below)

    5. No legumes. No peanuts or peanut butter. No Soy products. Replace soy sauce with coconut aminos.

    6. Consume more high quality, organic fat….coconut oil, butter, ghee(all high in MCTs which metabolize faster and more efficiently than other oils), avocados ( actually these do not need to be organic as their skin is peeled), olives, salmon, sardines, bacon, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, almond/sesame oil (very sparingly)

    7. Eat Eggs!!!!! Esp poached/boiled/ fried in bacon fat (yum) with runny yolk. Preferably pasture raised.

    8. Eat nuts…..however, to reduce phytic acid (phytates) soak in warm salt water overnight and dehydrate/dry in oven with light on…. Same thing for seeds like sunflower and pumpkin. Also, don’t overdo it with nuts. Store in refrigerator and use within a week or 2 to avoid rancidity, or store in freezer.

    9. Eat moderate amounts of protein….general rule is no more than 1gram per pound of body weight per day. Always choose grass fed/wild meat and dairy (over grain fed), wild caught seafood, oysters are esp high in valuable nutrients!

    10. Limit fruit consumption to 1/2 to 1 cup per day, preferably berries. The only citrus allowed is lemon and lime. Do not drink fruit juice. Too much Fructose causes fatty liver disease. See Robert Lustig’s video (below)

    11. Add LOTS of fresh herbs to everything….oregano, parsley, basil, thyme.

    12. Add LOTS of cinnamon, ginger, turmeric. Cinnamon is a great natural sweetener.

    13. If not dairy intolerant….eat (moderate amounts of)cheese…grass fed, organic, cow, goat, sheep….change it up! Remember to count the protein!

    14. DRINK/EAT BONE BROTH. Simmer bones in water with 1/4 to 1/2 cup cider vinegar for 72 hours with or without veggies, herbs, spices. This has lots of benefits including collagen and minerals. Heals leaky gut, esp important for celiacs.

    15. Make sure you get salt daily….a good quality Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt.

    16. INTERMITTENT FASTING: if looking for quicker results, i.e., to switch the body ( mitochondria) over from burning glucose to ketones(fat), make your evening meal earlier, so stop eating by 6-7 pm. The next morning just have a “bulletproof” coffee (see notes below) and eat your first meal of the day at noon. You have just “fasted” for 17 hours. Your body will be burning fat all morning!

    17. Drink water, herbal teas. Add lemon/lime. Ginger juice is great for digestion.
    Slice up 1/2 cup of ginger, put in blender with warm water ( 4 cups) liquefy, strain, bottle refrigerate. Add to fizzy water with lime for a very refreshing drink.

    18. Eat sea vegetables…kombu, kelp, dulse. High in iodine and other minerals.

    19. Eat organ meats from pastured raised organic or wild animals.

    NOTES:

    BULLETPROOF COFFEE: brew up a good strong cup of fresh ground organic coffee and add 1-2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter and 1-2 T melted coconut oil. Whiz up with a hand blender. Do not drink this after 2 pm as your body will be too energized and you may have trouble sleeping!

    KOMBUCHA….may be good for your gut, but high in carbs and sugar. Not recommended.

    COCOA… Good quality, organic dark cocoa powder, cocoa butter and coca nibs are high in magnesium and is actually a fermented food! ( See Michael Pollan’s 4 part documentary series called “Cooked” esp. the one on fermentation)

    GINGER…good for digestion and aids the body to make melatonin which is required for a good nights sleep and also helps with jet lag

    MAGNESIUM… is a natural muscle relaxant. Try 800 mg of magnesium glycinate one hour before bed to help you calm down. Do not buy magnesium oxide; it is not absorbed well and will cause diarrhea.

    GABA: Take 750 mg of GABA. GABA supplements decrease anxiety, increase mood, and shut off “brain chatter” at night; it is nature’s natural Valium. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a non-essential amino acid found mainly in the human brain and eyes. It is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it regulates brain and nerve cell activity by inhibiting the number of neurons firing in the brain. GABA is referred to as the “brain’s natural calming agent.” By inhibiting overstimulation of the brain, GABA promotes relaxation, ease nervous tension, and increase quality sleep.

    CoQ10: an enzyme that is crucial in energy production in the mitochondria. If there is not enough the electrons get backed up in the mitochondria and cause formation of free radicals and thus excess oxidation. As we age our body produces less of this and it appears their is no way to increase it through diet.

    Glutathione:
    body’s most powerful antioxidant, glutathione is a tripeptide found in every single cell in your body. It is called “master antioxidant” because it is intracellular and has the unique ability of maximizing the performance of all the other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, as well as the fresh vegetables and fruits that you eat every day.
    Glutathione’s primary function is to protect your cells and mitochondria from oxidative and peroxidative damage. It is also essential for detoxification, energy utilization, and preventing the diseases we associate with aging. Glutathione also eliminates toxins from your cells and gives protection from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals, and environmental pollutants.

    Your body’s ability to produce glutathione decreases with aging. However, there are nutrients that can promote glutathione production, such as high-quality whey protein, curcumin, raw dairy, eggs, and grass-fed meat.4

    See books by Lee Know, ND and Maria Emmerich for more info and details.(below)

    Recommended reading:

    The Art and Science of Low Carb Living, Phinney, PhD. and Volek,PhD
    The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance, Phinney and Volek.
    Practical and informative historical perspective presented by two doctors who have a combined 60 years of research into this topic.

    Life: The Epic Story of our Mitochondria, Lee Know, ND.
    A naturopathic physician who helps to clarify in ‘layperson’ terms the importance of keeping the mitochondria healthy. Good resource for supplement info.

    KETO-ADAPTED, Maria Emmerich
    A nutritionist (fairly extreme) who has her own practice in nutritional (ketogenic lifestyle) counseling and provides info as well as tips and recipes.

    Wheat Belly, David Perlmutter, MD
    Brain Maker, David Perlmutter, MD
    A neurologist who discusses and explains the issues around gluten (Wheat Belly) and the importance of the Gut/Brain connection (Brain maker)

    Tripping over the Truth: The Metabolic (mitochondrial) Theory of Cancer, Travis Christofferson.
    A thorough history (and exposé) on the causes and the research esp regarding the treatment of cancer.

    The Wahl Protocol by Dr. Pamela Wahl (also see her TED lecture)

    All these are available as e-books through Amazon.ca and cost about $10 ea.

    YouTube videos:

    Sugar: The Bitter truth, Robert Lustig, PhD (and many more)
    Prof. Tim Noakes on the Low Carbohydrate Diet
    Gary Taubes: Calories vs. Carbohydrates

    Web links

    Mercola.com (most comprehensive)
    Bulletproofexec.com ( check out the list of podcasts, Dave Asprey interviews many scientists who discuss research and clinical evidence)
    Wellnessmama.com ( lots of recipes…check out her coconut flour/Apple/cinnamon muffins and the recipe for making your own dark chocolate bars)
    Marksdailyapple.com (Primal/paleo lifestyle discussions, recipes)There is some helpful info from the Paleo/Primal lifestyle movement, esp Mark Sisson’s blog (marksdailyapple.com), however, they tend to eat more carbs and include things like honey/maple syrup in dietary recommendations as well as some starches.

    Remember…your mitochondria are addicted to glucose/carbs and depend on you to set them straight and get them on the ketone burning program!

    Brain and Heart Health

    MCTs ( aka coconut oil) are a superior brain fuel, converting to ketones within minutes of ingestion. Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day. This is the amount indicated for protection against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.14 As noted by Mental Health Daily:15

    “In small scale human trials,16 MCT supplementation boosted cognition in individuals with cognitive impairment and mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease after just a single dose. While not everyone improved from the MCT treatment, those with certain genetics experienced notable improvement.”

    Ketones appear to be the preferred source of energy for the brain in people affected by diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and maybe even ALS, because in these diseases, certain neurons have become insulin resistant or have lost the ability to efficiently utilize glucose. As a result, neurons slowly die off.

    The introduction of ketones may rescue these neurons and they may still be able to survive and thrive. In multiple studies, ketones have been shown to be both neurotherapeutic and neuroprotective. They also appear to lower markers of systemic inflammation, such as IL-6 and others.

    Your heart health can also derive great benefit from MCTs. Human studies have shown MCTs help lower total lipid levels and improve cardiovascular health. For example, people who regularly consume coconut oil have a lower incidence of heart attack compared to those who do not consume coconut oil — an effect attributed to the MCT in the coconut.

    A 1991 study17 found that palm kernel oil was even more effective for lowering serum cholesterol than coconut oil, dairy and animal fats. Palm kernel oil also helped raise beneficial HDL cholesterol.

    In 2010, researchers published findings showing MCTs help lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome,18 which includes a cluster of symptoms such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. Unlike carbohydrates, ketones don’t stimulate a surge in insulin. Another benefit is that they don’t need insulin to help them cross cell membranes, including neuronal membranes. Instead, they use protein transporters, which allow them to enter cells that have become insulin resistant.

    How Much MCT Do You Need?

    While optimal dosing will vary from person to person, depending on your health status, energy needs and what your GI tract can tolerate, here are some general guidelines to consider:

    Start with 1 teaspoon and work your way up, adding 1 teaspoon at a time over the course of a few weeks. If you experience GI distress or diarrhea, cut back. While it’s not harmful to overdose on MCT, your body will rid itself of the excess by causing diarrhea, so don’t overdo it.
    Studies suggest an ideal ketone concentration for maximum hunger suppression and fat burning is 0.48 millimole per liter (mmol/L).19 Ketone measurements can be done through urine, breath or blood testing. Blood testing is the most expensive but also the most accurate and easy to test with home meters and strips. Measure your ketones about one hour after taking your MCT oil, and slowly build up your dose until you reach 0.48 mmol/L.
    Alternatively, simply raise the dose (slowly) until you notice you’re no longer as hungry as you used to be.
    For supplementation in neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, studies have found beneficial effects using a daily dose of 20 grams (about 4 teaspoons) of MCT oil.
    As for the type of MCT oil to take, I prefer the more expensive C8 (caprylic acid) oil over those containing both C8 and C10. Avoid cheaper versions containing C6. Even a 1 to 2 percent concentration of C6 can contribute to GI distress. If you want C12 (lauric acid) for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory activity, add coconut oil to your diet, which is less expensive and more versatile than MCT oil.

    Remember, coconut oil is predominantly lauric acid, which has many benefits, including antimicrobial. However, it does not convert as efficiently into ketones and therefore does not contribute much of an energy boost. Nor does it suppress hunger or help feed your brain the way C8 and C10 do. MCT oil is typically tasteless and odorless, so it can easily be added to a wide variety of dishes and beverages, from salad dressing to smoothies and vegetable juices.

    Coconuts and coconut oil (excellent for cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures without oxidizing)
    Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
    Raw nuts, such as macadamia and pecans
    Seeds like black sesame, cumin, pumpkin and hemp seeds
    Avocados
    Grass-fed meats
    Lard and tallow (excellent for cooking)
    Ghee (clarified butter)
    Raw cacao butter
    Organic-pastured egg yolks
    Animal-based omega-3 fat such as krill oil and small fatty fish like sardines and anchovies

    This all may sound expensive….but think of the money you will save on prescriptions and drugs when your body starts to fall apart!

    Good Luck!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your inspirational story, Gypsyrozbud! Thanks also for the cheat sheet which is a great reminder of all that we’ve changed in our diet and more.. The only supplement you mentioned that I can’t use is the GABA, unfortunately. I tried it to help me sleep, but it causes restless legs that keep me awake even longer. I use timed-release melatonin and valerian, so it helps a lot; especially when I use all the sleep hacks I’ve read about: no computer or phone screens after sunset; wear blue blocker glasses to watch a little t.v. at night, nothing to eat for at least 3 hours before bed (I eat one meal a day at 1pm, so not a problem there); cool, dark room and some mindfulness meditation if brain chatter starts. All the best to you and hubby in all your endeavors!

  11. I love this story! I can relate to it so much. I’m not primal, but have been leaning that way and also following Katy Bowman’s ideas for a couple of years now. And I feel so much better! I love seeing that other women like me are doing this and it inspires me to keep going. I’m in my mid-40s and want to stay active, fit, and feel great for many more years to come too.

  12. I can really identify with the struggle not to comment on health in social situations. It is just so hard. But I found that people who don’t get it still won’t get it if you preach to them, as I tried it for years. They have to have a desire to change. So I have gotten conditioned to just let it alone unless someone has specific questions and asks for help.

  13. Very inspiring! What do you think contributed most to getting rid of the eczema?

    1. Hi Kathleen
      Because eczema is an inflammatory condition, I believe it was cutting out sugar and grains (see Grain Brain and other books by Perlmutter) and all ‘industrial’ oils (see Deep Nutrition by Dr. Kate Shanahan) and using coconut oil and eating avocado every day (very satisfying). Sugar (and grains) are quite addictive and very hard for most people to give up. Start slowly and eventually purge your pantry. Stevia is an ok substitute which I use very occasionally to sweeten things. I use a lot of Cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and cardamom.
      Here is a great recipe for a muffin if you crave baked goods…
      1 egg
      3 Tbsp ground golden flaxseeds
      1Tblsp coconut flour
      1Tbsp cinnamon
      1/8 tsp baking soda
      2Tbsp coconut oil
      Whisk all ingredients well in a medium size coffee mug .
      Microwave for 1 min 10 sec (approx) on high.
      I slice the muffin into 3 pieces and slather with grass fed butter and eat with my yogurt and berries in the morning for breakfast. My hubby likes his with almond butter!
      Good luck and enjoy!

      1. Thanks your answer and tour recipe. Made the recipe in 2 ramekins for 45 seconds. Great snack!

  14. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and all the extra useful info!. Have tried the muffins and they are a hit in my house. Used chopped walnuts in place of the ground flaxseeds because I had trouble finding that in my grocery store.

    1. Glad to hear you liked the muffins! I buy whole flaxseeds and grind them in my coffee grinder. The batter also makes good pancakes but you need to thin it out with either coconut milk or liquid whey.
      Enjoy!