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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...

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November 16 2018

Primal Changed the Lifestyle of My Entire Family

By Mark Sisson
13 Comments

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 story is not one of miraculous weight loss or diseases cured, but I have experienced great relief from autoimmune conditions such as eczema, endometriosis and celiac. Primal found me when I was not particularly looking for it, but it has ended up changing the lifestyle of my entire family.

I gave birth to my first child in October of 2010. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2009, so had been eating gluten free for quite some time. However, I had embraced gluten free products such as GF breads, cereals and granola bars not realizing that they were probably making me feel much worse. I thought, like many pregnant women do, that the high carbohydrate, low fat diet I was following throughout my pregnancy would help stave off the frequent nausea and hunger pangs I was undergoing.

After having my son, I felt strongly about wanting to breastfeed him and didn’t have any issues with keeping up with it. This made me very happy and it felt so natural and nurturing. At his 1-month check-up, the Doctor noticed that my son had developed severe eczema all over his body in patches, but mostly on his face. His poor little face was covered in red angry looking rashes.

Our doctor suggested that the breast milk that I was providing may be the culprit and that we should switch to formula because it would be way too hard to embrace the type of diet that might help. I, not wanting to stop breastfeeding, asked what type of diet she had in mind. I was willing to give up anything to help my son. She said, “You need to stop eating any dairy, soy, and gluten.” I was a little nervous to try, but I figured that I had already cut out gluten for quite some time so attempting to get rid of the other 2 couldn’t be all that bad.

While searching online for recipes without dairy, soy, or gluten in them I came across this website and started learning all about the Primal/Paleo diet and lifestyle. I started to read article upon article and blog post upon blog post about it. When you are breastfeeding a newborn, you have quite a bit of time for reading! I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it and that it made so much sense to me. I decided to give it a try and leave all grains, legumes, non-fermented soy, dairy and refined sugar behind. It was the best decision I ever made.

Over about a month or so of adopting this diet, my son’s eczema dissipated. That was an amazing result in and of itself, but even more amazing to me was how I had begun to feel. As a first time Mother of a newborn baby I should have been absolutely exhausted and running on fumes. But surprisingly, I had more energy than I could remember ever having in my whole life. I don’t think that I realized that I had been missing out on this great supply of steady energy until I experienced it firsthand.

In addition to the increased energy I also noticed positive changes like not being hungry every 2 hours and needing to be constantly snacking. I also found that during workouts (my usual workouts included running with a jogging stroller) I had more stamina and could perform high intensity sprints throughout. Before embracing Primal/Paleo, that would have been out of the question.

Another benefit I experienced was the fast rate at which I lost all the baby weight and then some more as well. I was down to 10 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight in just 6 months after giving birth. While I was a healthy weight when I got pregnant, it was still a nice bonus that came along with the whole lifestyle shift.

When it came time to wean my son when he was around 18 months old, I didn’t even think twice about wanting to stick with the new diet and lifestyle. I had also done a lot of research by this point, and I knew that my son would be so much better off by eating this way as well, especially throughout his developmental years.

My husband played along very nicely throughout the whole transformation. He would still have beer and an occasional “treat” while out with his buddies. Mostly though, he saw how our son had been healed, and he saw the positive changes in me and he couldn’t ignore the source. He also experienced more energy and stamina when pursuing his hobbies of mountain biking and dirt bike racing.

In 2012 I became pregnant again with our second child. This time I maintained a Primal/ Paleo diet and lifestyle throughout the entire pregnancy. Even though my first pregnancy was conventionally “healthy”, this one was a lot better. I had much more energy and kept up with pre-natal yoga, running and walking until the very last week. I was also able to give birth naturally (no pain meds at all) in a birthing center with a midwife. My second birthing experience was vastly different from the first (in a hospital with an OB-GYN) and I partly attribute my diet and lifestyle changes to the fact that it was such a smooth delivery and overall a very positive experience.

In 2014 my husband and I, sick of desk jobs where we sat all day, decided to buy a farm in the Midwest, raise our own meat and have a big garden. My husband luckily found an IT job which allowed him to work remotely and also permitted me to quit my 9-5. This was a big change for us and allowed us to make a lot of positive lifestyle changes. I got to spend a lot more time with the kids, we had way more outside time as a family, and we learned how to raise and butcher animals for our own consumption.

My children (now 7- and 5-years-old) have both been eating mostly Primal since they were introduced to solid foods (at 6 months). For their first few years of life they didn’t know that it is not what is normally consumed by most children on the SAD (Standard American Diet). My son once saw a picture of chocolate ice cream in a book when he was a toddler and naturally thought it was meat. I am forever grateful that we found this way of eating and made the lifestyle changes that we did. I am excited to see my children grow and develop further with such good nutrition as a basis.

I have now been Primal/Paleo for 7 years and am very grateful for resources like Mark’s Daily Apple and various others that have helped so much along this journey. I am aspiring to become a Nutritional Therapy Consultant to help others with similar health hurdles to myself. I blog about holistic nutrition and movement at eatmoverestheal.wordpress.com

-Erin Anderson

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13 thoughts on “Primal Changed the Lifestyle of My Entire Family”

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  1. When my boys were tiny, they were covered in eczema too… they were allergic to everything (even their own dog)… modern day doctors couldn’t help so I set out on a journey and discovered ancestral/primal living (things like nose-to-tail foods that our DNA evolved with, the things that our DNA still expects in the modern world to heal and be healthy). My boys haven’t been back to a doctor’s office the greater part of a decade and they’re the strongest, healthiest and happiest boys you’ll ever set your eyes on; no more allergies!

    This became my “why” in the world which, in part, is why I love that you and hubby have pursued your primal passion (your own “why”) with farm life and the website. Congratulations, Erin!

    1. Thanks! And I am so glad to hear that about your boys and their allergies. It’s amazing what real food can accomplish.

  2. Erin, do you or your husband have myopia (nearsightedness)? And if so, has your kids’ primal diet prevented them from developing it themselves?

    Just curious as I’ve read anecdotal reports of that happening.

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. Hi Emily,
      Neither I or my husband have myopia, no. That is very interesting though!

  3. What a great story! Having just been diagnosed with Autoimmune issues, I look forward to checking out your blog.

  4. What a beautiful story. It is so frightening what the SAD can do to our children. My ex husband and father of my daughter had terrible eczema and skin conditions and refused to consider diet as a treatment. I breastfed my daughter for 16 months hoping this would help her. (So far no sign. She’s 11!) my why is my own health and my daughters health. I want her to understand she has a choice and the power to improve her health. I wish you all the best.

    1. Thanks so much! I wish you and your daughter all the best as well 🙂

  5. I still love these Friday success stories. Way to go Erin and family!