Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
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!
In the summer of 2012, I was like the vast majority of people (and doctors, for that matter)—entirely ignorant of the role nutrition plays on health. Little did I know how absorbed I’d become in the burgeoning ancestral health movement. In fact, if someone were to have told me then that I’d be a health coach by 2016, I would’ve laughed in their face and rolled my eyes, slowly backing away.
However, I’ve always had a passion for science and how it should shape spirituality. This passion led me to obtaining my Bachelor Degree in Geology—the rationale being that if I understood how the earth works, then I could gain a better understanding of how life (and thus mankind) propagated and succeeded on this beautiful planet. From there, I would have a strong base upon which to build a logical, spiritual relationship with the universe.
Part of my coursework included historical paleontology, which details how life grew and changed through time. I found this subject particularly fascinating, and throughout my career in the environmental field I continually enjoyed learning more and more about it, though it played a very minimal role in my profession and I was unsure about how I would ever utilize that sort of information. Enter the ancestral health movement. However, let’s backtrack a bit first…
Years ago I went to the doctor complaining of occasional severe pains in my right foot. The pain would occur instantaneously, and disappear equally as fast, like a bolt of lightning. An X-ray revealed bone spurs, and when I asked the doctor why I was apparently susceptible to them, he replied that it was likely due to arthritis setting in at my age. I was in my mid-30s at the time, and this was an entirely unacceptable explanation to me, having been an athlete and in good shape throughout my years.
Not long afterwards, during an annual physical exam, my doctor told me that my cholesterol was borderline high. Since both of my parents died relatively young due to cardiovascular problems, he prescribed a precautionary statin drug for me. When I asked why my cholesterol was high, he responded that it’s typical with increasing age. I was around 40 at the time, and this was another entirely unacceptable explanation. Not knowing any better, I began a daily statin regimen.
In May of 2009, I met a particularly intelligent and beautiful woman, Camille, who would eventually become my wife. She was finishing up med school at the time, and was experiencing inexplicable digestive issues severe enough that she could hardly eat even a small portion of a meal. Since standard doctors could not determine the cause, she was prescribed proton pump inhibitors and given the designation of an IBS sufferer with chronic reflux.
Being a scientist, I was certain that there were completely logical explanations for both of our health conditions. I simply could not accept the ubiquitous “You’re just getting old” excuse with its subsequent prescription drug regimens. However, not being versed in health or nutrition at the time, I found myself at a loss for adequate and accurate alternative explanations.
Then, in August of 2012, I heard an interview with Robb Wolf on one of my favorite podcasts. During the interview, he rattled off virtually every single symptom that both Camille and I had been experiencing for the last few years, and mentioned that improper nutrition was likely the root cause. We immediately implemented the Paleo Diet and, at the risk of sounding like a zealot or cheesy infomercial salesman, we experienced miraculous results virtually overnight. Camille no longer uses prescription PPIs, and I no longer take the statin or experience the crippling pains of arthritis. In fact, 3 months after going Paleo, having reviewed my expanded blood lipid panel, my doctor stated, “You have the blood of an 18-year old.” I sure wish I would’ve kept that voicemail.
Little did I realize that this new diet would quickly become my passion in the years to come. I became obsessed and absorbed with all things Paleo, and began advising friends and acquaintances on their nutrition, to incredible effect. Through the people I helped, I had an epiphany – I would absolutely LOVE to do this as a profession! But, of course, I was missing something – legitimacy. I scoured the interwebs for any sort of ancestral health certification program, to no avail. All I could find were weekend life- or fitness coaching certs that looked like they were more interested in getting my credit card number than actually providing knowledge or benefits of their program. Then, as if the universe had heard my frustrated cries for help, Mark Sisson came out with his Primal Blueprint Expert Certification (so named at the time). It was PRECISELY what I wanted – what I NEEDED – and I signed up as quickly as I could.
Alas, I didn’t have to go through a traditional school and labor through years of now-thoroughly-debunked pseudoscience proclaiming grains as an essential source of nutrition and other such nonsense. I could learn from the most distinguished people in the cutting-edge ancestral health movement, widening my knowledge not only of what works health-wise, but most importantly WHY it works. To top it all off, while the certification would require hard work in understanding the core health principles, it could be done from the comfort of my own home in a time frame of my own choosing – which was extremely important given the fact that I already had a full-time job. Within about 6 months, I became Primal Blueprint Certified Expert #239.
In the meantime, Camille finished med school but had become frustrated that modern medical practices had essentially become nothing but compartmentalized pill dispensaries, focusing little (if at all) on giving patients the knowledge needed for good preventative care and building natural health. So she turned her attention to learning more about alternative health modalities in an effort to help people construct a strong, natural foundation of health. With her degrees and certifications in these various alternative practices, and with my becoming a Certified Primal Blueprint Expert (again, so named at the time), we decided to combine our passions and start our own company—McClellan Natural Health, Wellness & Nutrition.
However, we had absolutely ZERO entrepreneurial experience. We had NO idea where to start! We quickly found that you can’t just create a website and expect clients to come stampeding through your doors. It takes a plan—and we didn’t have one. We struggled, not knowing where to turn or whom to turn to. There were plenty of people out there who were more than willing to take our money and offer generic entrepreneurial advice, but no one had expertise in the field of our passion—natural health – which is a much different niche than just selling a product. We suffered and barely scraped by, wondering and doubting if we’d really get to help people as much as we KNEW we could.
And then, once again, as if the universe (or at least Mark Sisson) had heard my frustrated cries for help, the Primal Health Coaching (PHC) modules came out, supplementing the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification program! The coaching modules provided lessons on everything we needed, from starting a business to gaining clients, coaching them, and marketing/growing your business, not to mention the fantastic PHC resource library. And it works! We started gaining clients!
The PHC resource library is an absolute must-have for our business. It has all of the information to provide to clients and/or market our company. Some days I just surf the PHC resource pages to explore the new materials and incorporate them into our business and health programs! I even find material that helps me with my own personal health issues! We simply cannot express enough gratitude to the PHC team for basically providing us with everything we need to succeed!
Camille and I have seen such incredible results from our clients that we’ve made it our mission to positively affect the health and lives of as many people as possible in the time we have left on this planet. Hats off and a tremendous THANK YOU to Mark Sisson and the PHC team for providing the knowledge and resources that allow us to not only live an optimally healthy lifestyle, but also pursue our passion and truly live the American dream! You’re the best!
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