Overcoming Addiction Included Changing My 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. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I don’t often receive video success stories, and when I do it doesn’t always work out to share them on the blog. That said, today’s video fits the bill in every way. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. These stories always make my week.

Hi Mark, I know you have a thousand success stories a day, however I just thought you might enjoy this one today. I firmly believe that part of overcoming my addiction to alcohol and drugs was changing my diet through the Primal way of eating. The video below is my story of how I beat the odds, overcame addiction and prison, and now help others to adopt this “awesome” way of living.

Currently, I’m a personal trainer in the Fayetteville AR area, also a Nutrition educator for Natural Grocers—teaching keto and low carb and doing online nutritional consulting as well. I hope to be a Primal Health Coach soon as I pursue my next certification.

I’m hoping that others will see, if nothing else, the power that nutrition and lifestyle have over brain function to overcome addiction and addictive behaviors.

You rock bro, thanks for your time!

Zach Johannsen, Muscles and Veggies Fitness



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48 thoughts on “Overcoming Addiction Included Changing My Diet”

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  1. Very inspirational story, Zach. I’m currently looking at a career change from a somewhat typical corporate job to a health/life coach. It’s scary but energizing and your story shows (yet one more time) that the time has come to take your life and health into your own hands and make the change. Thanks again and good luck on your journey!

    1. You can totally do it! I’m going after Primal Health Coach next. I’m always working towards the next cert. Thanks so much!

  2. WOW. Just WOW. I almost cried, that was so inspiring. Just amazing!

  3. Wow, what a wonderful story. This young man turned his life around through Primal Blueprint. Addiction and mental illness all can be controlled through a change in diet. Mark this opens up a whole new slant on your program. Thank you so much for all the hard work you do to make this world a better place. Now if I can just convince my medical Doctor.

    1. Thanks Vanessa!!!! I’m hoping others with addictions can improve their diet, gut health, and brain health to Live Awesome! like Marks slogan. Cliche but totally true

  4. Great Work! Bookmarked your site to check out later! It is amazing how giving your body the proper inputs allows for so much clearer and healthier lives. Don’t know you, but proud of you!

  5. One of my brothers died in his addiction, and he also suffered with colon cancer and serious gastro-intestinal issues. I believe that if he had discovered Primal Blueprint principles he may have been able to kick his addiction and recover. Your message and example is so inspiring, Zach, and you are helping save lives. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Andrea, my sister deals with adrenal problems from the stress I put her through in and out of prison. I totally agree with you, and I think my mom and dad would both be alive if P.B. principles were around then. Thank you for reading and watching lady!

  6. Wonderful story and so happy for you that you beat the addiction. The Primal Blueprint and Mark are truly amazing.

  7. oh no! Zach is too popular! Video success story glitch; here is the message:

    Unable to play this video at this time. The number of allowed playbacks has been exceeded. Please try again later.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story Zach. Very inspirational and congratulations on what you have achieved in the past (almost) 3 years. Keep it going !!!

  9. Zack, I ve been reading the success stories for 6 years give or take. There are a lot of amazing ones for sure. This is my favorite. Having had compulsive food, alcohol,substance and exercise /diet issues myself and having found solace (and sobriety and freedom from cravings and compulsions) in Primal living your story hit home. Grok on my friend!

  10. So sorry to hear about your losses, Zach. Happy to see that your past has inspired you to be the best you can be! Heading over to your website to check it out. You are inspiring!

  11. Totally totally blown away by such an articulate and heartfelt story of loss, pain and suffering then a transformation into a person that seems to have a light shining from him. I’m sure you’ve considered this Zach but what you endured and emerged from makes you a much better life coach than if your path had been less difficult. Your parents would be very proud of you for sure.

  12. Zach, very inspiring. I’ve read all the success stories, and I’ve watched yours. Yours is the first one, I think, that I commented on. You are doing amazing things and have really turned your life around. I also believe that alcoholism and sugar/grains have this connection you spoke of. I don’t drink, anymore, but still find it challenging getting off the sugar when I’m stressed. It’s so obvious to me, but for some reason I struggle. I hope your story inspires me to try just a little harder.

  13. Ironic I should come across this right now. I was just, 20 minutes ago, talking about addiction (I come from a long line of addicts) and how I think there is a huge connection between food and addiction. So many addicts give up one form to take on another. Food being one. I myself have struggled and in fact, continue to struggle, but I find inspiration from hearing stories like yours. Some of the greatest people I have ever known have come from roads of heartbreak and addiction to truly inspire and transform the minds of others. Admittedly I should be working (web designer and all that…), but for some reason, I decided to pop on Mark’s Daily Apple for a little inspiration and there you were!! Thanks so much for sharing this and I really wish you the best of luck…(“I am a great believer in luck. I find the harder I work the more of it I have.”) in the future! Keep sharing and inspiring!

    1. Thank you J. and I’ve seen over and over again that people quit drinking and drugging and they drink 5 pots of coffee and smoke 3 packs of cigarettes, not to mention what they are eating. I’m hoping to get this message out there to people that overcoming addiction has brain healing component thats involved by healing our gut, fixing our diet, and forming new habits. Thank you for reading, and thank Mark for letting me share on this platform.

      1. You ARE getting the message out there…my fiance spent half his life in and out of institutions (group homes and prisons}, and who he is as a father and person amazes me every day…who he has become as opposed to who he was is unfathomable to most, but he also is very conscious of the mind, body, spirit
        connection, and he, himself, has utilized it to overcome addiction. (Over 7 years)

        I am an advocate and firm believer in the power of change and growth. More importantly, learning from experiences (of ourselves and others). As an individual with my own history and past, I am more apt to truly connect to someone who has been down the rocky road (not just the ice cream variety) than someone who has not necessarily known the same types of struggles. I think the inspiration comes from the learning process and the success DESPITE the odds. This gives proof to the ultimate power of the unity of mind, body, and spirit! This is a great outlet to share and inspire others.

  14. That video brought tears to my eyes! What a victory! I hope you also find a way to bring your knowledge to prison inmates as well as all the other great teaching you do.

    1. Thank you so much! hopefully i can reach more people including prison inmates on this topic. If only we could the Primal blueprint as mandatory reading in prisons!

  15. Very inspiring and moving story, Zach! And glad you got to meet Mark after reading Primal Blueprint changed your life. I know you are now helping a lot of people with a variety of issues but I think the focus on addiction, which is such a major and growing problem in the U.S., is especially important given the overall lack of success in treating it.

  16. Zach, this is one of my absolute favorite success stories, and I’m so grateful you shared it with us. I used to work in a program for college students in addiction recovery, and I saw how much nicotine, caffeine and sugar most of the students used every day. I didn’t have science to back it up, but I always wondered how much this cycle made their ongoing recovery harder. I think this is a whole new branch of recovery science (not to mention Primal science) that is completely untapped. Thanks for leading the way and making such a difference in others’ lives. I agree with HealthyHombre—the difficulty of your past experiences I’m sure makes you a more effective and relatable coach. Grok on!

    1. I could not agree with you more Jen. I’m not done talking about this topic. It’s time people include the paleo primal way of life to help combat addiction! Thank you for your kind words.

  17. Zach: your story, message, energy and enthusiasm are absolutely inspiring! Thank you for sharing with such grace and passion. It seems like you are meant to be a health coach. Your clients are so fortunate to have you in their lives!

  18. Wow! What an incredible story! So sorry for losing your parents at such a tender age. But you are prevailing and truly an inspiration. Keep up the great work!

  19. What an inspiration, Zach! I almost didn’t watch, because I’m 60 and I was looking for stories closer to my age. I’m so thrilled that I watched!! My sister is currently in prison for some things and it all started with drug addiction. There is a history of addiction in my family as well as diabetes and cancer! I used to be a Corrections Officer and your story has an outcome I always wished for for the inmates I supervised. Never did I dream my very own sister would be an inmate one day! I’m retired now and as I write this, I am about 35 pounds overweight with sore joints, back, hip and neck problems and stomach issues. Wondering if I have thyroid issues and leaky gut as well. I know it’s past time to get on the ball and take back my health. I stopped smoking in 2009 and the pounds have crept on since retiring that same year. My mom is 81 and has Metabolic Syndrome and is a cancer and quadruple bypass survivor! I want to change my eating and health issues before I end up like she did.
    We are both embarking on what we are calling the “year long junk food sabbatical” and hoping to adopt the Primal/Keto way of life throughout this coming year. Have purchased Marks new book on that very thing and just started today. I’ve gone Primal before and done the Whole 30 but never stuck to any of it. I’m praying that this yearlong commitment will break that failure to follow through! I’m also praying that my Mom can get off most, if not all, her meds!
    Again, thanks so much for the video! I’ve shared it on Facebook and I’m sure it will inspire others as well. Kudos to you for breaking that cycle, Zach!

    1. Thank you so much bro! Your comment made my day today! You sound like a decent C.o. 🙂 As you can imagine I met a few who weren’t so decent. My entire story is on the podcast app and on youtube if you want to hear the whole thing. Thanks for sharing it too!

      1. I will sure listen to your podcast. Thanks for responding. Ya, I like to think I was a decent CO, but I’m sure some of the inmates didn’t think so. And I know what you mean about there being some not so decent CO’s too! I guess there’s good and bad in everything.
        Keep up the good work, Zach! You are truly an inspiration and I’m sure your story will touch others, as it has me! You had me in tears watching the video!! It really gave me hope for my sister and other inmates I grew to care about at work. Super proud of you and inspired! Take care of yourself!

  20. Thanks; really intresting post with research behind it. Indeed, nutrition and brain supplements can further improve our health and assist us in overcoming addictions. My personal favourtie though is experiencing new things in life; not only it can increase our dopamine levels and make us feel happier, but also allows the opportunity to cross-off things from our bucket list.
    Thanks again

  21. WOW!!! You just totally switched a gear in my brain!!
    How awesome that your sister sent you the book at the time she did.
    I am working on my gut health for my mood and after years of addictions.
    You are already changing lives Zach! Thanks for sharing this, seriously powerful !

  22. Great job Zach! Your story is inspirational and massively motivating to me as I have been struggling with my addiction to drugs for the last 5 years. Just seeing and hearing your story makes me feel like I can get out of the hole I feel like I’m in! I’ve just started the ‘21 Day Keto reset’ today I’m super excited ? hope you get your Primal Health Coach cert… many thanks bro