My Life Was Changed by MDA, and Now I Want to Help Others Create Better Health!

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 lineLet’s see. Yep. I’ve been following the Primal lifestyle for about, holy cow, FIVE years now. Well, it will be 5 years in January, so I’m calling that close enough. Here is my original Success Story. Maybe it’s the change of season or my recent focused quest to discover my dharma, but I’ve been reflecting quite a bit lately on how my life has changed over the years, especially since I discovered MDA. I am in a much different place than I was back then – most of the place is better, some of the place is – I wouldn’t say worse – but more challenging, and none of the place is bad. So let’s dive in.

The Betterness

The quality of food that I eat is immensely better. For example, for breakfast today I made roasted potatoes, tossed in Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil (it’s green!) and spiced with Real Salt, fresh ground pepper, organic onion, garlic, and chili powder. These accompanied a side of scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil with locally raised green pepper and onion. With breakfast I drank a glass of homemade kombucha. Contrast this with a typical Sunday breakfast back in 2011: It’s Sunday! Treat Day! That meant a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally (like yesterday), we will have a flash-back breakfast. But now, instead of McD’s, we get a chorizo, egg, and cheese on delicious telera bread from the local coffee shop. I end up eating about 2 bites of bread, and then I just eat the guts of the sandwich. My point is, I make much better choices now at least 80% of the time.

My feet are in much better shape! Thanks to MDA and Katy Bowman (who I was introduced to via MDA), I no longer wear heels and have even spent most of the summer in Luna Sandals – running, walking, and hiking. I have space between my toes, a nice high arch, and NO LEG CRAMPS when I go to bed at night.

My previous before and after photos

I move almost constantly, but I no longer do chronic cardio. When I’m not trapped in an all-day meeting at work, I am up and out of my office chair at least every 30 minutes – getting water, going to the bathroom, or just taking a wide prasarita stance and typing at my keyboard. I don’t do a lot of focused “exercise.” But when I walk under our pull-up bar to get into the kitchen, I hang for a few seconds (working up to a pull-up one day). When I go the bathroom, I use the Squatty Potty. When I watch TV, I lay on the floor and constantly shift around. And when I’m in my office on a conference call, I do air squats or tree pose, or I massage my feet with Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls.

My anxiety levels are super low, my energy levels are super high (I rarely get the 2 P.M. crash anymore), and my weight and body composition are stable and healthy (courtesy of the better quality of food and constant movement).

I have developed a regular meditation practice. I still struggle to find time to do all the things I want to do in a day, but I try to carve out at least 10 minutes 5 days/week for a guided meditation. Thank you Insight Timer!!

Sleep – I almost always sleep well, and I sleep for 8 hours a night. Our bedroom is pitch black with no blue-light. Tim and I both read with our amber glasses on before bed.

The Challengeness

Seeing how much my heath has improved by changing the way I eat and move has seeded me with an intense desire to help others realize how much better they can feel if they take better care of themselves. For the past 4 years, I have been struggling with finding the best outlet for this desire. Last year I became a registered yoga teacher, and this year I trained with Jill Miller and became a Certified Yoga Tune Up® teacher (a modality I discovered through Mark and Katy’s collaboration on Don’t Just Sit There). I also completed a health coach certification program.

Hlo_Photo_1While teaching mindful movement gives me access to people who are looking for ways to become healthier and happier, I am constrained by my fear of not knowing enough to really help and also by my fear of letting go of my 8-5 job with benefits and structure, and security. My desire to help others as much as possible and share all the amazing things I have learned about the human body and psyche is currently at war with my desire for stableness, safety, and monetary security. So, yeah. That’s what I am figuring out now.

I set the intention in July to find my dharma (aka purpose – why was I put in this body, in this life, in this family, in this time), and now I have to live with the answers that have come up. TRUTH is inconvenient. For more on that, check out this Bliss & Grit podcast. Be careful what you wish for! Oddly enough, the Universe/Source/God does not really care about your coziness when it shows you your true path.

Once you get your diet, movement, and sleep in order, you are driven to get your spiritual house in order as well. That leads to a lot of soul searching and reading (books and books and books), and reflection. It is MUCH easier to just come home, eat supper, watch Seinfeld and go to bed. You don’t have to figure out: Does God exist? Is the Universe God? Am I a part of God? Am I put here for a reason? If so, do I have to uproot my safe life to fulfill that reason? How do I quiet my ego? How do I access my Witness self? Do I want to? Do I want to find out what issues are in my tissues, or should I let sleeping dogs lie? Do I want money or happiness? Or both? Can I be happy with just one? Ugh. The questions!! They never stop. And THAT is the challengeness. Thanks, Mark, for getting me to this point. And, yes, that is a *little* sarcastic. 🙂

I think that about covers the past 5ish years. Like I said, it’s mostly all good. Even the Challenges are good, just, well, challenging. They foster growth, which is really what I’ve come to believe life is all about. Nothing is good, nothing is bad – it’s all perception and what you learn from it.

I am happy I am on this path, hanging out in my back yard getting startled by squirrels creeping up on me with nuts in their cheeks, being harassed by end-of-summer slow bees, drinking my coffee with coconut milk, slathered in some hippie bug repellent that only kind of works. The breeze (wow, I accidentally typed “breath” instead of breeze, which kind of blew my mind. The universe is breathing me right now!) is blowing over me and through me. The moss of my patio is vibrantly green and furry. Life is beautiful and difficult and worth it.

Take care, Hlo


Primal Kitchen Dijon Mustard
Primal Kitchen Frozen Bowls

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24 thoughts on “My Life Was Changed by MDA, and Now I Want to Help Others Create Better Health!”

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  1. Primal merges with Yoga and a higher consciousness and purpose … I like it!

  2. wow, thank you so much for sharing your story, it gels with me in so many ways. I think you are totally on the right track and I admire your courage in persuing your highest good, love, grow & grok on

  3. Iv’e really been alerted to the “nothing is good, nothing is bad – it’s all perception” principle recently, and it really resonates with me too. Your holistic view of health is the kind of health coaching that I think really has value for people. Not perfection, but all around improvement seems to be a good place to start. Good luck finding your “dharma”, and spreading the word.

  4. this may be the most energetic and vibrant post I have read
    I saw the pics before reading it and noticed the yoga tuneup thingy and recognized it at once, and after I read it found the line
    “I trained with Jill Miller and became a Certified Yoga …”
    good people link with each other!

    1. Funny you say that. At my YTU workshop Tuesday night, one of my students was encouraged to come by my acupuncturist, and she is also seeing a massage therapist who is a friend of mine and who was also in my class! It’s a good tribe!!

  5. I enjoyed reading your story! And the insight into your spiritual journey simply added rich texture to your journey. I’m drawn to yoga, and subscribe to Ekhart yoga online. But I stop and start. Now I’ve stopped. However, I know I’ll get back to it. Like you, I’m also going through changes and transformations. I’m not in great shape, but if I didn’t mostly eat Primal, I couldn’t survive my current lifestyle. I encourage you in your plan to change work to something that fits in more with your unique gifts and purpose. Inspiring story! Thanks.

  6. Wow, food for thought. Another one who loves yoga, I will look up your links. Very inspiring in lots of ways.

  7. Was that a testimonial or a really long advertisement? Please, bring back the success stories that aren’t constantly pimping Mark’s various projects. I like to be inspired, not sold to.

  8. Loved your story and can totally relate! First you upgrade the way you eat. That leads to feeling better, and you start moving more. Then you start making other improvements, like sleep quality. In my case, upgrading all of my personal care/cosmetics. And then you start looking more at the spiritual side of things. Maybe it’s not always in that order, but I think when you make improvements in one area of your life, others will follow. You’re right, it would be easier to just come home and watch Seinfeld reruns. But you know you are meant to do something more. It sounds like you are on the right track. And I really love hearing from previous success stories. In each case, they just keep getting better! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Definitely a bit of a different kind of Friday story – and fun to read – I like the spiritual, stoic, questioning aspect. Good luck with your continued growth, Heather.

  10. I am currently going through the same challenges that you talked about in your story! I am so glad you wrote this story and discussed these, it’s good to hear that someone else has gone through the same challenges I am trying to figure out in my own life right now. My current job does revolve around helping people but not in the way that I am passionate about. I am currently doing a lot of research and soul-searching and trying to figure out what I can add into my life to fulfill this passion without giving up the financial stability of my full-time job. I have three different avenues I am looking down- primal health coach, yoga instructor, or doula. What program did you use to become a registered yoga instructor?

  11. Yet again another great and inspiring story. Hopefully this can inspire others out there onto their journey of health in their lives.

  12. I love your story!!! Thank you for sharing, especially on the meditation subject. I resisted meditation for so long. Now I can’t believe I waited until recently, it has made the most profound impact on my healing.