I Was Amazed You Could Fix So Many Health Problems with A Change in Diet!

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 lineI have always tried to be ‘healthy.’ From the age of 14 (really!) I worked as an Aerobics Instructor and Personal Trainer. I taught the message I was trained in ‘eat less move more’ & ‘calories in versus calories out.’ If you were overweight, it was simply because you were a pig and you were lazy. Fat was the enemy and from the age of 14 I refused to eat it. I even refused avocados based on the fat content. I suffered pretty bad acne as a teenager and a visit to the Doctors saw me on a course of Oxytetracycline with endless repeat prescriptions. Oxytetracycline is a broad spectrum antibiotic, which works by interfering with the ability of bacteria to produce essential proteins. Great news for my pizza face, nuclear bomb to my gut.

Fast forward a couple of decades—I spent ten years in the health & fitness industry and a decade as a Business Manager for a recruiting firm in the city (think 10 hour days chained to a desk and headset, if you took a break or left at 5 p.m., you were a slacker) and the past decade as a Mum to two kids age 10 & 7. I had to ditch my corporate job as it didn’t fit in with motherhood…good move! Health continued to be a priority for not only me now but my husband and kids too, and finding a decent income that fit around my children proved difficult.

I had always been up and down mood wise, with definite spells of depression. I didn’t take medication for it and never linked food with mood. Where I am from in Yorkshire, UK, you are taught to ‘pull yourself together’. Easier said than done.

Things sort of crept up on me. I continued with my low-fat, high-carb diet and my chronic exercising pattern (3-5 hours of classes at the gym per week). By age 38, my life looked like this: insomniac, constipated, libido-less, overweight, anxious, chronic heartburn (chowed down on Zantac whilst pregnant), chronic nausea (think hungover with a side of morning sickness), headaches (popped NSAIDs like candy), sore feet (plantar fasciitis), full body aches and pains, dizzy, flat, disconnected and I developed really weird phobias! Even though I had spent my 20s travelling the world I now was terrified of flying, which causes problems when you are English with a New Zealander husband and live in Australia!! I also developed crushing fears around the kids getting sick, I couldn’t stop my mind from going down this dark hole of worries. Although I was still functioning—groceries had to be bought and kids taken to school, I was utterly overwhelmed and certain I was dying of some awful disease, the outcome of which seemed like welcome relief.

At a really low point a voice inside me said “go gluten free!” I had always viewed people with dietary restrictions as ‘fuss pots’ (there’s that Yorkshire in me again), but I decided this could be worth a go, anything to stop feeling so sick. So on Easter 2013 I posted my GF plan on Facebook, seeking advice, and a dear friend said to me the magic words “why don’t you try paleo?” I had never heard of paleo and when I realised it included cutting out grains, legumes, alcohol, sugar and dairy I thought it was totally INSANE! I also couldn’t believe where I found gluten—what was gluten doing in my fat free ice cream??!! Anyway, in a desperate attempt to reset my health I did a Whole30—well more of a Whole45 and found a great naturopath who diagnosed me as having Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) plus a leaky gut. Grateful not to be dying of some awful disease and now empowered to make changes. Why was this the first time I was finding out the truth about food?

The turnaround in my health was nothing short of a miracle. After an initial mean detox from going gluten free (they say the worse the detox the more you needed it, right!) I found relief from my nausea. ‘Strangely’ about two weeks in to my Primal life I jumped out of bed and my feet didn’t hurt!! Wow—this was amazing!! I became amazed that you could ‘fix’ so many niggling health problems ‘just’ by changing what you ate!! I became a bit evangelical!! EVERYBODY needed to know this!! Wow! I became a Primal geek and listened to podcasts round the clock and my bedtime reading included books like Grain Brain, It Starts with Food and of course The Primal Blueprint & The Primal Connection—a real fave of mine!

One day my friend Caz said to me “Jeez, H, it’s like you’ve found God.” Point taken. I was compelled to spread the Primal word, so I started a blog and called it “Primal Soapbox.” People read it! I got emails and people stopping me in the street, telling me they felt the same as I had done, asking me “what should I eat.”

I started to share recipes, and the feedback I got was “how do you have the time!” So I offered to make it for them! My food line was born! I had also found a way to supplement our family income, just by cooking with my Thermomix in my kitchen!! Council (health dept) approved five items that they deem ‘low risk’ enough to be baked from home, for sale to the public. I started to sell my homemade Paleo Fruit Toast, Seasonal Paleo Bread, Gluten & Grain Free Cookies, Paleo Pizza Bases and gut nourishing Gellies at our local community markets, health shops, gourmet pizza shops, delis and cafes.

The feedback I got was AMAZING! My Primal Alternatives were life changing! It’s fine having plants and animals, plants and animals, plants and animals, but sometimes you want a slice of hot toast…and oh! Pizza night!!! I found my products helped people to ‘stay on the wagon,’ and it made going Primal way more sustainable and doable.

Meanwhile – to satisfy my thirst for my Primal knowledge and to gain credibility I graduated as Primal Health Coach, such an amazing course! I could listen to the course work whilst I was creating and then sit the tests! I now have a successful Primal Health Coaching business, and I work with women across the world empowering them to get their health back.

Meanwhile, my health continues to improve. My sleep is AH MAZING I thought this level of sleep was only reserved for husbands! Everything is just working like it should be—for the first time in my life. My mood is default happy and positive, and my resilience is off the charts! Yes, life is still up and down, but it no longer overwhelms me. I barely think about the kids getting sick, and if they do I can handle it, plus I have done a flight to the UK and have a flight to NZ planned for 2017.

Not to put you off with any hocus pocus, but the one thing that has been most transformational for me is my connection to the universe. I feel so connected. I feel like the universe ‘downloads’ my purpose to me. My inner guide is honed. I am living ‘on purpose.’ I know my reason. Part of my transformation has been personal growth, I have been drawn to light workers and realised I am one too. When I received guidance to franchise Primal Alternative so that other Mums like me, with a passion for Primal could also work from home and align their passion for income, I did it. I am so proud to now have www.primalalternative.com and invite you to take a look. There was so much work involved in there that I would never have had the courage, focus or energy to do pre-Primal.

I feel like my previous life as a Personal Trainer and then Recruiter has primed me for a life as a great coach. I take great pleasure in educating women that their health issues are not their fault and they are not alone. I delight in watching women transform ‘just’ from getting back to the foods and lifestyle that we thrive on as a species.

I choose Primal over paleo because Primal is about becoming an expert in you. I think that a blanket approach to health is quite negligent and find Primal to be more empowering, flexible, and therefore sustainable and doable. Primal is all about the joy of life.

Much gratitude to Mark Sisson for leading this tribe and being an inspiration to us all. Thanks for reading!


You can find more about me and my work here or on my Facebook page.
Watch out for my upcoming interview on the Primal Blueprint Podcast!! Woooo!!


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25 thoughts on “I Was Amazed You Could Fix So Many Health Problems with A Change in Diet!”

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  1. Congratulations, H! Love the story, especially your sense of purpose. That’s a great gift, and you’re making the most of it!

  2. Another amazing story, thanks for sharing it! Two thumbs up for the Primal alternative product line, they look soooo tasty!

    1. Thanks wildgrok! Yes the ‘after’ pic was snapped by a friend. I was asked to be a model in a fashion show! First time ever! I ended up buying that dress!!

  3. Love your story, H, and can totally relate! I too was always interested in health but really believed it was more about working out a lot and eating less fat. I can totally relate to your acne story as well. Can’t wait to hear your interview on the podcast!

  4. Awesome transformation, what a list of ailments that were eliminated! Your products look really interesting and tasty.

    I must admit I did not realize there was a distinct difference between Paleo and Primal, I will have to research that.

    1. Hola HealthyHombre!!!
      Thank you!
      It’s all much of a muchness really Paleo/primal except Paleo is a definite thumbs down to dairy.

  5. Great story, Helen, well-told. Congratulations on all the changes you have made and are helping others make.

  6. Great story. What a wonderful change from all those ailments. I bet it feels like a life time ago. Also, I love the hat on the lady in the picture behind you. It’s awesome!

  7. Congratulations H, what an incredible story. You are such an inspiration, well done.

  8. Great success story indeed both mentally, physically and business wise!

    I do have a question that is not aimed at you in particular (please don’t resent me for it), and one, that I’ve been meaning to ask for a long time. Why it is that so many who’ve made the switch to Paleo or Primal, create blogs that heavily gravitate towards baked goods; and since they bake them, don’t they obviously also consume them? Isn’t it a case of the same under a different cloak (using “safe” ingredients) and why do so many (it’s clearly gender specific) have difficulty letting go? Less of course it is something that is eaten infrequently. Unless, people are still fearful of the ramification of depending heavily on healthy fats and proteins (more of the 1st and less of the 2nd), despite the fact that making the switch to the above, is a living proof that it’s beneficial. Just think how much time (and money) we spend soaking, fermenting and proofing some of the ingredients to make them gut ready 🙂 Again, I am carious philosophically as well as from a health point of view.

    1. Hello Time Traveller! I love your post and question about the bread! Yes I agree totally! I don’t think people should substitute conventional baked goods for Paleo and that’s it job done. But I also think that in a daily menu of plants and animals plants and animals plants and animals that a slice of buttered toast or pizza night can be a real make or break for folks.
      I eat a slice of Primal Alternative Paleo Bread daily and love it! It’s made with eggs, almonds and vegetables so still high fat and protein. Delish.

      1. Hello Helen, great timing, as I was beginning to think that I should wait for another opportunity and repost the question. I totally get you! Back in the days of yore, I used to bake artisanal bread so I can relate to wanting to enjoy a crusty slice with a thick layer of butter or otherwise. I no longer crave it but will confess to baking once in a great while a flowerless nut bread by the name of “THE LIFE-CHANGING LOAF OF BREAD”, that I found on line. I usually slice and freeze it and will eat a slice from time to time and that’s the extent of it. Cheers

  9. Really inspiring post. The way it’s written shows how passionate you are about the change to Primal. I’ll be reading more into this for sure x