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!
My journey is a bit of a roller coaster, and starting back in 2011. I had reached my all time heaviest, 250 pounds. At that time I decided to make a change. I started training for a 5k (my last 5k) and read Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution.” I started losing weight, pushed myself to run on a treadmill at my company’s on-site gym and got ready for my Disney 5k through Epcot.
Prior to this, I would experience abdominal pain, irregular stool, and if going out to dinner, I would have to go straight home before having to get to the bathroom. Let’s just say that if we weren’t going straight home I got very good at knowing where the bathrooms were at different commercial locations. Along with this, I had high blood pressure, coupled with the abdominal pain (which I thought was an ulcer) and went looking for a doctor to test me for celiac disease.
Went to my first appointment in the town I was living in (I was over an hour away from my old primary and figured I should find someone close) and went in and told the doctor my list of issues, that I was currently following paleo and asked to be tested for celiac. This doctor’s response was that I was just having spasms in my colon and that I needed to eat more grains to get fiber.
That didn’t sit well with me. So I started looking for another doctor. I found an Osteopath who accepts my insurance and agreed to give me the blood test for celiac. At this point in time I was already paleo for a month and starting working out at a local Crossfit gym. I got the results back a week later and was advised that I tested positive. After no gluten for a month.
My doctor advised me to get a colonoscopy, and advised me to eat gluten again before the colonoscopy so that it would be easier to see any negative effects. Reluctant I did and felt like crap right away. Two days in I couldn’t finish a workout, five days in I couldn’t walk my dog without getting a headache. Ten days in I still hadn’t heard from the gastrointestinologist, so I called them. At first they had no idea who I was, then told me they just found my file and someone would call me when they reviewed it. I never heard from them again.
I dropped all gluten and went back to paleo. Was I strict? At first yes, then over time I would start including dairy (ice cream) and would go back to some salty snacks. I was holding my own until I wasn’t. In 2014 after putting on some pounds, I started feeling lethargic in the afternoons. I had trouble driving home from work. Didn’t have the energy to work out. So I went to my doctor.
Having moved back to Clearwater, FL I was back to my old primary doctor. I was 36 at the time and his first conclusion was that I was low on testosterone. To which I argued against as I was still waking up with morning wood. With that he also agreed to test my thyroid along with my testosterone levels. Well, my testosterone levels were fine, but my TSH was low and I was advised that I had hypothyroidism.
He wrote me a prescription for synthroid and sent it to my pharmacy. I was not taking supplements and I was not taking any other medicines. I picked up the prescription, took it home, placed it on a table and never opened the bag. I went back to Robb Wolf’s book and looked up the Autoimmune Protocol. I cut out everything listed there. Switched out my coffee for tea and moved forward. One month later I got a call from my pharmacy about my refill. I told them not to refill it, since I never used the original and threw the old box away.
Five months later I was back at my doctor’s office for a follow up, had blood work done and my TSH was back to normal. No signs of hypothyroidism. With that I started to reintroduce foods, and kept pushing my luck, always mindful to not have gluten, but if I was at a Mexican restaurant I would have the beans and tortillas. Yes the ice cream came back too. See, roller coaster.
2016 rolled around and I was now back up to 230 and having very serious knee pains. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of the knee pain. A friend of mine who is a chiropractor got me set up to get an MRI done. Went through with the MRI and found out that I have a Baker’s cyst in my right knee. After doing some poking around, I found that it in itself was not an autoimmune disease, but that it was related to autoimmune diseases, and since I already had been diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases, I know that this is something to look out for. Between the cyst and the bit of weight gain, it caused me to pursue another round of AIP and my new wife was on board. We bought a cookbook and she went through and found all the recipes she liked and bulk cooked them so we would always have choices for dinner.
Did a 90 day bout of AIP—the week camping in the before picture above was the hardest, but we made it work. At the end of the 90 days my first choice to add back in was eggs so that I could go out to breakfast with my family. That Saturday morning, we ate eggs together, Sunday I went to breakfast with my family and ate eggs. That following Tuesday I hit a wall, harder than I have ever hit a wall in my life. My energy levels dropped to zero out of nowhere and by 2 in the afternoon I was in bed and out until seven that night. Right there I knew there was an issue with eggs. The following day I had some pain in my knee and quickly put eggs on the no fly list of foods.
Fast forward another week and I attempted to add back another removal from the AIP list. This time alcohol. I couldn’t have eggs anymore with friends, but at least I could have a drink with my friends. Went out, had a few drinks, two days later, in bed for another lost afternoon/evening of sleep, followed with knee pain. Alcohol was now on the no fly list and I was 0 for 2 in reintroductions. Another reason this is sad is that every year for Christmas I make eggnog from scratch.
Afraid of going 0 for 3, my next attempt was nuts and seeds, particularly coffee. Thankfully I was ok there. I had always joked to my friends that I would quit alcohol before I quit coffee and looks like I was right. Slowly but surely I added things back, up to and including dairy. I can say that my trigger foods are gluten, eggs and alcohol. I am sometimes cautious of dairy due to the relation of allergens to eggs. Now when I do have ice cream I either have nut milk ice cream or egg free. Got to keep some treats in for occasional indulgence.
Again, roller coaster. Entering 2018 I had goals. One was to become a Primal Health Coach, which I have done. The other is to compete at the Scottish Highland Games Masters World Championships. I have qualified and will be off to Stuttgart, Germany in September to compete in the lightweight division.
I am now following a keto approach, making sure that all gluten, eggs and alcohol are avoided as I still have a layer of fat to remove and get myself under 200 pounds. I am doing this now, well in advance of when I have to weigh in because I want to get there in a healthy fashion and be comfortable throwing at that weight. I don’t want to water cut. That is not primal in my book.
I haven’t always eaten the right things at the right time. I enjoy food. I’m sure most of you reading this enjoy food. There is a time and a place for indulgences, and primal and non primal ways to go about it. I’m not perfect, but that is not my goal. My goal is to get better each day. To get leaner and to throw heavy things farther. What’s not primal about throwing things? I’m eating meats and veggies, throwing rocks and trees, getting as close as I can to living primal. The more I help myself, the more I want to help others.