Primal Living at Any Age: One Stubborn Senior’s Testimonial

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!

In addition to asking about whether Primal is useful for seniors, MDA members often ask about how to get stubborn senior fathers, grandfathers, husbands, etc. to go Primal. Since I am old (71) and was fairly stubborn when I started Primal, my story may be of interest. (I am sharing what I know from personal experience, but what I have to say may still be relevant if you’re younger and/or female.)

Four years ago, I had been faithfully following most conventional health care wisdom, aside from always refusing statins. However, I had given up gluten many years before. In the past, I had done Atkins, vegetarianism, veganism and Macrobiotics. It was then that Mark spoke to my running group, which I had joined to successfully walk a half marathon. What he said made sense, but I stubbornly refused to completely give up daily white rice, white potatoes, corn tortillas, dairy, or beans. And I sure wasn’t going to fast when there was food available. But I did take some advice.

Harry Before PrimalThe first picture shows me later that year at a Dickens Faire, still looking like one of Scrooge’s ghosts. I had seen some health improvements, but my waist was 46 inches. (I wasn’t weighing myself because I had read in MDA forums to “throw away my scale.”) I gradually became more and more Primal. So how did that work out?

Last year, I had what may have been a transient ischemic attack (TIA). This year, I had ventricular tachycardia. I have a pacemaker/implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), hearing aids, arthritis and type 2 diabetes.

So, is this a success story or not? It is, in fact, a great success story in my opinion. After the TIA, or whatever it was, my neurology improved greatly—no more senior moments, which had been very frequent. My handwriting and printing are better than any time since perhaps 8th grade. I have a greatly improved reaction time, better coordination and balance, and I don’t bump into things anymore. It seems like my brain was just rewiring itself. I credit Primal, although I have no proof.

As for the attack of ventricular tachycardia, I had no chest pain, dizziness, nausea, etc.—just a very fast, irregular heartbeat, so I called 911. The ambulance took me to an ER, where they zapped me. There was no apparent damage. Again, I credit Primal. The cause of the attack goes back to an angina attack eleven years ago that damaged the ventricle. The docs said at that time that I had congestive heart failure. Primal is not to blame for it and no doubt has helped me live longer than statistics say I should have lived (5-10 years). I do vigorous aerobics and water aerobics. I’m not even sure I needed the pacemaker/ICD. That was mostly for the peace of mind of my family.

I also didn’t absolutely have to get hearing aids, but they let me hear birds and people with high, soft voices, like my grandson. Losing weight through Primal improved my low and mid-range hearing, which is now normal. I lost fat in my ear canals.

Although I do have some arthritis, it seems to have gotten better. It’s mainly in my feet (too many decades of them being in little coffins—i.e. shoes—to heal quickly), hands (old injuries and still too many hours at the keyboard) and neck/shoulders. I’ve tried the standard Primal suggestions, including avoiding nightshades. The latter didn’t seem to matter, and I am not giving them up permanently unless they make a big difference.

My biggest challenge now is the diabetes. My glucose was well controlled by Metformin and diet for the first seven years after being diagnosed. Earlier this year, however, it shot up; probably because of antibiotics I had to take and going too heavy on healthy fats. It was a vicious circle: as my glucose went up, I consumed fewer and fewer carbs, but more and more fat. Wrong! Both increased insulin resistance. I am still working on finding the right levels and types of fat and carbs, and getting enough exercise.

Harry after PrimalRemember that top hat in the first picture? Unless I pad the sweat band, it falls down over my eyes. The coat makes me feel like I am wearing a tent. My pants are now a loose 40 slim instead of 46 baggy. I’m hoping to reach 38 soon. Every part of my body is healthier. The second photo is me now at a steampunk event.

To me, the improvement in my mental health has been just as dramatic. I have already mentioned the neurological changes. I am self-diagnosed as having been borderline Asperger’s Syndrome most of my life before Primal. Four years ago, the thought of looking at someone’s face made me scream inside and want to run away. Now I enjoy it. I’m sure I have also been bipolar throughout my life—not just including depression, but also manic periods, which included many inappropriate actions. That seems to be gone. I credit Primal.

Ironically, after starting out so stubbornly, I now am about 95% Primal. Of course, Primal/Paleo thinking about white rice, white potatoes and legumes has changed. But I rarely eat white rice. I go easy on potatoes and often have them prepared to increase resistant starch. I only eat traditionally soaked beans, but I do eat them several times a week. I still eat (organic) corn tortillas, but only a couple about once a week instead of a couple per day. Dairy is mostly a condiment rather than one of my primary food groups. Nut butter is probably my greatest weakness. But I have replaced peanut butter with almond and cashew butters. I probably eat a bit too much of them, but it is an improvement.

If Mark had given a strict Paleo talk when I heard him speak to my running group, I would have dismissed the whole movement and not gotten all these benefits. I am only Paleo because of Mark’s real world approach. If you are trying to get an old coot like me to go Primal, don’t assume you have to get him to do it 95% correctly–not immediately or even ever. As Mark says, 80% is enough to get the benefits. Don’t keep saying, “But…but…but….” Would I be even healthier if I had gone strict Paleo four years ago? The question is meaningless. For me, it was gradual or not at all.

Do not say, “Pretty soon you will think bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc. are tasteless, disgusting crap.” My feelings toward all of those foods are completely unchanged. I love them, even plain, gluten-free ones. I just know I need to avoid or go easy on them. I also have a pet peeve: do not talk about cauliflower “rice” or cauliflower “mashed potatoes.” For someone like me, to whom these are comfort foods, it just sounds stupid. Even if it’s cut up to look like rice, call cauliflower what is: cauliflower (or even “riced” cauliflower). Also, try other Paleo alternative foods that strict followers don’t like.

Observe how Mark Sisson goes about promoting primal: He does so without rants, but with a sense of humor, reasonableness, and a forgiveness of human nature. Do likewise when trying to reach others about Paleo.

If you want to nab a Primal convert, catch the old non-Paleo coot when he is receptive, like when he is having his fifth cold this year (you can mention that you never get them anymore). Focus on the key tenets of primal: eliminating junk foods, sugar, seed oils and wheat. Also, remind them to get enough vitamin D and become more physically active. I have more thoughts on my website.

No matter what you try, failure is a possibility. But failure is certain if you nag or do a shrill strict Paleo rant.


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  1. What a great transformation story! Love the steampunk photo 🙂

    Here’s to many more years of health & happiness for you!

    1. I don’t like the long rant about people “ranting” about primal. That could be said about every subject on earth, so people already know it. No need to single out primal enthusiasts. Very patronizing.

      1. @Erik W: It would be difficult NOT to single out primal enthusiasts, given that this is a story about going primal, on a primal blog, about all things primal. 😉

        I actually like this approach to success stories. I was also turned off to primal initially because of the zealotry of some followers here and elsewhere (and I’m only 43!) Fortunately, I read the science, rejected the foolishness, and adopted about a 90% primal lifestyle.

        It hasn’t cured all that ails me (and my skin worsened substantially), but it’s certainly been positive overall.

      2. I actually thought that was a good advice “rant”. The subject is primal not something else. I can really use this advice as I am in the throes of writing up a little primal program for a friend who is not as enthusiastic or in the know about this and I think I am a bit too gungho for her. She would do well starting off gradually also. It was actually a good reminder for me.
        Thanks Harry.

  2. Halfway through reading this I said to myself that this must be Harry M. Great job Harry. You have always been one of my favorite Primal rascals.

  3. Congratulations Harry! I love what you said about the mental health benefits of Primal– eating/living properly is about so much more than just the physical effects. That said, you look about 12 years younger in that 2nd photo than in the 1st– well done!

  4. brilliant brilliant brilliant
    totally agree with this…do the best you can, do what you can, you are not a failure for enjoying potatoes, potatoes are natural they are not chipped and fried in seed oils, they are earthen fruit pulled from the ground (easy known i’m irish)
    this post nails it for me – all those rants on the forums are so so off putting, you have it sussed.

  5. Great job but I must say that if I bother to attempt to convert anyone it’s because they ask about something related and I won’t coddle anybody. They either care enough or it’s “more steak for me” as I see it. I’m at that Robb Wolf stage where my patience is thin. It’s worth mentioning that 80% is usually close enough though, because also like Robb says, Paleo is not a religion and you can cheat on a marriage but not on a diet.

    1. Concur 100 percent on the Robb Wolf comment.
      After preaching to like 1000 and having a conversion rate of 0, my patience is exhausted. That is the Cassandra effect

      1. Wow, that’s a bad conversion rate. I have converted about 6 out of 20.

    2. That’s why I follow Mark not Robb. If you want to say “Not my circus, not my monkeys,” that’s your decision. Personally, I support Mark’s goal of helping 10 million people to better help.

      1. I agree, Harry, even though I follow them both. I like to think this is everyone’s circus. And while, you can’t “win em all”, so to speak, I’ll still answer questions when asked, and share info as I come across it. Nice story, by the way. 🙂

  6. Congratulations Harry!

    I agree, pushing people too hard and rubbing their noses in your diet is only going to alienate yourself.

    I agree with regards to grain-based foods – I love them. That said, I don’t find them difficult to avoid. I guess I love the feeling I have from eating primally more.

    Great story Harry!

  7. You make a great point, Harry, about how to talk to people. Primal/paleo ideas are so unusual when people hear it. I’ve found reducing it to the absolute simplest terms is the best way to go.
    I say things like “try lowering your carbs.” “it’s about health not just about losing weight.” “Give it a try for a month.” things like that. No mention of what should or should not be eaten, and no specific amounts.
    Later I might let slip that I have so much energy that it’s “awesome.”

    1. I find that others rarely notice what I eat. Once in a while someone will say, “Don’t you like spaghetti (or bread, dessert, whatever)?” Like you, I keep it simple. My healthy weight and appearance speak for themselves, so I just say, “I feel a lot better if I stick with a Paleo diet.” These days just about everybody has heard of Paleo so it’s not unusual to see the wheels turning as they make the connection. If they have questions I’ll go into more detail, but I stopped trying to convert people a long time ago.

  8. I agree completely with your comments about cauliflower – I like it just fine, but it ain’t potatoes or rice, no matter how you dress it up! I too call it “riced cauliflower” and “mashed cauliflower. Also, I am so glad to hear from someone your age advice for a better way to talk about this lifestyle for the more… curmudgeonly persons among us 🙂 I wish I had the benefit of this wisdom last year when trying to get my father-in-law to embrace it. I think I was a little overboard and scared him off…. he doesn’t like to talk about it with me anymore 🙁

  9. Thanks, folks. Yes, I am Harry M., known in the forums as hedonist2, a name I took early on. It no longer seems as appropriate. I have now reached a 38 inch waist.

    1. Harry your comments about bipolar and the loss of the manic episodes especially, really spoke to me. Their loss was a completely unexpected bonus when I became Primal. And oh if only I’d found Primal decades before (wincing at the inappropriate behaviour memories).

  10. Love, love, love this article. The mental health aspect of Primal is so important! The brain has to be impacted by what we eat: it is an organ of the body! Thank you for sharing your story and showing the health benefits of Primal living can be achieved at any age.

  11. Finally! Someone who agrees with me on cauliflower “rice.” It is not rice at all, it is cauliflower. There’s nothing wrong with cauliflower, so don’t pretend it’s something else, just eat it.

    Also, really fun photos. I had no idea there was such a thing as a Dickens Fair – the idea of Christmas music and Victorian costumes is utterly delightful.

    1. +1 regarding the cauliflower. I’ve never seen the point in trying to make Paleo food into a non-Paleo substitute.

    2. Nope, I’m not into imitation foods. Just good tasty foods that stand on their own.

  12. Love the perspective. Good advice and great reminders. Thanks.

  13. Good story, congratulations!

    I once thought to sell my wife’s grandfather on primal, for no particular reason, though, as he was 94 and openly admitted to be tired of living that long, lol. He was in good shape, still able to walk, still cogent. When he passed, according to the ME there was no apparent reason, he just… stopped. Anyway, selling him on primal (lwo carb, to be accurate), I thought at the time of the old joke: A man is about to face the firing squad. The officer holding him asks if he has any last requests. The man says, “no”. The officer asks, “nothing? What about a last cigarette?” The man answers, “no thanks, I’m trying to quit.” 😀

  14. As always, I’m glad to hear another round of benefits and achievements courtesy of Primal living so thank you for your story, Harry. The comments regarding cognitive and mental health benefits were particularly interesting. I have a friend who will be very interested to read about it.

  15. “Do not say, “Pretty soon you will think bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc. are tasteless, disgusting crap.” My feelings toward all of those foods are completely unchanged.”

    I’d say that my feelings towards foods I don’t eat or seldom eat on a more Primal/Paleo are not unchanged: I don’t think of them as disgusting, and I still think they taste fine. I’m just not in the habit of eating them, so I don’t crave them. If you get up and eat cereal first thing every morning, you’ll really want cereal because it’s morning. It’s metabolic and psychological entrainment.

    We often say: “I know what I like.” The more accurate statement is: “I like what I know.”

    1. Pasta, potatoes and rice..I’d like to know if a single person on here eats them straight up. A good sourdough bread I used to eat plain, but that’s about it.

      I used to love PPR with lots of butter, garlic and herbs with salt and pepper. Eating them with nothing? I’d almost consider disgusting.

      1. Raises hand. Of course, I prefer them with something on them but I like them plain. I don’t eat much pasta at all but I wouldn’t find it disgusting on its own. I do eat plain cold potatoes, e.g. for breakfast. And I would be happy to eat plain jasmine or basmati rice.

        1. I’m with yah there, Harry! I’m always amazed at people who say (like Barry Sears, I think, who is in Tom Naughton’s “Fat Head”?) that “we” don’t actually like (just) pasta — we like the fat and salt we put on it; the pasta is supposedly just a carrier.

          I’m what the Monel Lab in Philly calls a super-taster — every single thing I put in my mouth has a massive (sometimes overwhelming) taste-effect! (Alas, that has meant I have always been (figuratively) “borderline psychotic” about foods… Even as a baby in a high chair, if my mom (a good cook) tried to get me to eat veg — no matter how she fixed them or mixed them — I would spit the vegetables back at her. (I still would! {shudder}) I remember many many hours trapped at a table that I was “not going to leave until I ate those”! Even now (I’m 58!), I think the veg aisles in the market look AMAZING — and when I try the pretty things? YUCK!

          So, it’s yet-another ‘division’ in the primal / paleo / low carb / broken metabolism / young-and-healthy / old-and-ill / Crossfitting / diabetic / etc.etc.etc. horde of us out here, trying to find the path that suits!

      2. I have and could eat all 3 without anything on them. I still eat white potatoes plain. Of course, with butter and salt its better.

      3. Would people here, before primal, eat salt, butter, or garlic without pasta? It’s a packaged deal for most. When I see English muffins, I want the crunch with butter and jam.

      4. The short version is that there are a lot of people on the forums who really do like lots of potatoes and rice. I only like potatoes as lard-cooked potato chips. I like rice is a comfort food but it bumps the carbs too high (for me) and makes me gain fat.

        While I understand that it is a complete fail to push Primal on people — my success rate is 1/3 and I tried not to be a zealot — I’m a bit uncomfy with allowing 80/20. It’s one thing to have canola oil at a restaurant where you can’t control it, but I’ve seen people take every latitude in the name of 80/20, such as a regular cheat meal or pasta twice a week or chocolate bars. For most people, that will certainly fail as primal, especially in weight loss or if there is a wheat sensitivity.

      5. What is wrong with potatoes? They are just starchy tubers – perfectly primal. Sure, in general, you don’t want too many starchy tubers, but when you want something with a few extra carbs, there is nothing wrong with them. I think of them alongside sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, beets, carrots, and winter squashes as the primal comfort foods. I eat them mashed with their skins, and lots of butter, or fry them in coconut or olive oil, or bacon fat, to slow down the absorption of the starches.

        But I am only talking about REAL potatoes here, NOT the potato flake things…

  16. Thanks Harry. I’m 67 and I’m sort of a newcomer/returner to primal. I was raised primal but when I was grown I discarded those old-fashioned foods for burgers, fries and pizza, amongst other things. It required severe knee inflammation for me to take paleo seriously. I followed a link from another site to MDA and immediately appreciated Mark’s style. I think that’s helped me hang in long enough for the new habits to take hold. Being rid of the pain and the 20+ pounds as a side benefit has caused me to see the wisdom of my father’s words, “Eat that fat. It’ll put meat on your ribs”.

  17. Congratulations, Harry! You are sensible, perceptive and down-to-earth.

    I always enjoy reading your comments, and I must say your second photo is very dashing — looks as if you just stepped off the set of “Gunga Din”!

  18. Good job, Harry. I always enjoy your comments as I just turned 70 and like to read posts from all the “seniors” on this site.

    I’m not diabetic and don’t take statins or any meds for that matter. I, too, most definitely credit the Primal lifestyle.

  19. Don’t discount the role your pacemaker plays in your health. When my 85-year-old father (non-Primal, but a real meat-and-potatoes guy) got his pacemaker, he kept saying he couldn’t believe how much more energetic he felt and how much better he was sleeping. I hadn’t noticed how lethargic he had gotten; it was a noticeable difference.

    1. I do feel somewhat more energetic. A week after getting the pacemaker/ICD, I went to the Ancestral Health Symposium at U.C. Berkeley. I spent 3 days walking up and down the steep hills of the campus without being exhausted. But in general, there hasn’t been a huge increase in energy. Keep in mind that many people who get pacemakers are in bad shape. I wasn’t. I’m glad I got it though.

  20. Can anyone with a more scientific background explain why Harry’s insulin would go up if he lowered carbs and raised good fat? Is it the Metaformin? To me this is so counterintuitive.

    I was about to forward this to my dad, who is a senior, and thinks it’s ok to eat anything as long as he takes his insulin. He had a bad spike of 300 blood sugar at one point, but this didn’t scare him, and he will not listen about diet.

    I’ve tried to give him Gary Taubes’ book, he’s read the Primal Blueprint and I’ve forwarded the Wheatbelly Blog to him. Made no difference.

    I just really worry about his health as he ages.

    1. My guess is there’s an increase of protein in addition to the higher fat. Although not a contributor to higher blood sugar, higher protein can raise insulin levels.

    2. Perhaps… increasing fat quickly, when the body is not used to it and isn’t producing enough bile, say, means that the fats are replacing the carbohydrates. Fat is metabolised in the intestine more so than protein and carbohydrates, so there is another reason for the lag in glucose (or ketones or tryglcerides – whatever ends up floating around in there) like a turbo charger lag. As digesting food takes energy and especially if the body is glucose dependent due to long-term habits, the body (may be with cortisol) will release glucose from muscles and the liver glycogen). This may cause a secondary (or more – ripple) of insulin to mop up the excess glucose. Perhaps… increasing the fats more gradually. Say, using the fats to blunt insulin spikes of carbohydrates (more butter on the GF bread than bread) and gradually increasing. Staring with coconut and lighter fats like chicken and lard and butter, if tolerated and one ‘does’ it. I have read that protein can become glucose through gluconeogenesis, but I reckon that in this situation, one should increase protein to cut out the carbohydrates to a level that suits the person whilst the body converts to fats. Take my advice, It hasn’t done much for me. That’s not true, I am just impatient or have raised expectations!

      1. Going high fat/low carb often does help with diabetes. However, people in the MDA forums repeatedly told me to eat more carbs. I wasn’t going super-low but around 40 g/day. If you go too low on carbs, your body may get worried about having enough and hold on the the ones you have. Mark has a post about this: marksdailyapple[dot]com/does-eating-low-carb-cause-insulin-resistance.

        High fat can cause insulin resistance. I have eaten a fair amount of fat since starting Primal; I just increased it thinking it would help. Anyway, my n=1 experiment tells me to eat more carbs, especially resistant starches, and go lighter on fats.

        1. I don’t do low carb, I do do lower carb (that isn’t hard in a carb-centric society). If one moves around a bit (low level exercise) and has low stress, carbs can be stored as fat and used later which should be ok. My grandfather had hay-fever all his life and he got to about 70-75 and it just simply went away. I suspect a person would have to be very up tight to not relax a bit about life in their 70s. A lesson for us all. I like Mark’s idea that older people can be active and productive. I will pay for life when I am old (assuming I am not dead, ha ha). I have dabbled in low carb (I don’t understand grams, but what I can make out some low carb ideas allows a carrot a day kind of thing) and I will in the future no doubt, but carbs do have a place, especially at times, even if comfort food or when you are in the mire raising children. As Mark says, you need a tribe, there is sometimes a cost, but I won’t go on! Thanks for sharing your wisdom Harry. Good luck with the future.

      2. I’m a T2 diabetic. I can keep my blood sugar great (last A1c was 4.8) on low carb, high fat, but also have to restrict calories to keep from gaining weight. At first it was disappointing to not be able to eat more than 20g carb a day, and fewer than 800 calories (really!!! It’s a myth that everyone will lose weight on 1200 or 1400). However, that’s just my personal reality and I’ve learned to live with very high insulin resistance and a super-efficient metabolism. I don’t eat Primal just to keep the weight off, it’s how I survive without complications. Bulletproof coffee every morning helps, though it uses up about a quarter of my daily calories. I’m 67.

  21. Harry, you are a true success story and I hope your ticker and diabetes will stay under control. I enjoy your website and your frequent posts here on MDA, and look forward to many more as we age gracefully (or cantankerously) as Primal “elders.” Let the good times roll.

  22. I’m over 95% Primal; two or three ‘Ryvita’ biscuits a day and rice (maximum 50 grams dry weight) with an occasional curry and that’s it so far as grains go. I’ve still got quite a bit of weight to lose, so I go easy on potatoes, kumara (sweet potatoes) and bananas. I might increase them for maintenance carbs once I reach my target weight.

  23. Congratulations Harry. You look great. I can relate to improvements of the mind.

  24. Thanks for sharing, Harry and congratulations! I have to say your words of wisdom about not preaching Primal to people, I take to heart. We recently had our in-laws come to stay with us and at the end of the week, dismayed, my MIL said, “How could I ever cook for you two now if you come and stay with us?” I said, “Easy, meat and veggies.”

    I sent her two links, the definitive guide to grains and the blog about the Primal eating plan and she was very positive in her response. So you’re right, we don’t have to beat people over the head, just show them some benefits and let them come to it when they feel comfortable. Great example you’ve set!

  25. What a great story. It’s so awesome to read someone in his seventies (and admittedly stubborn) adhering to not only a primal diet but thinking about increasing resistant starch as well. I love it! Keep up the good work.

    1. Nice to hear your story, Harry! Here’s another stubborn 71 year old T2 diabetic who’s sort of nearly primal (still eat too many digestive biscuits) and is finding ways to increase resistant starch. To begin with I farted a lot, but as time wore on and I kept increasing the gassy foods I stopped startling those nearby 🙂 Something in the internal ecology has changed. Need to get blood pressure down and at least slow the mild arthritis. I accidentally drifted in the primal direction after discovering my diabetes. I found out what raised my blood sugar and stopped eating it. I ended up a well controlled diabetic on no meds eating mostly meat and veg with plenty of fats of all kinds. The seriously senior moments all my docs told me were the unavoidable effects of age turned out to be the avoidable effects of the pills they’d been prescribing and eating too many “healthy grains”.

  26. I don’t try convert others – I just keep doing.

    I don’t even have a name I use for my way of eating – though it’s in line with paleo/primal.

    Occasionally I’m told that things I eat, maybe or are unhealthy ( eg eggs and butter are unhealthy and cause heart disease etc), though my good health seems to contradict their concerns and is a bit confounding to them I guess.

    Though I notice eating behaviors of people around me are changing to more natural foods and a change is also noticeable in their body shape and a more healthy appearance.

  27. I almost want to nickname this guy the paleo curmudgeon. Awesome on your journey. I always tell people to ease into it. It’s easier to sale that than call them idiots and tell them they need to go 100%

  28. Congratulations! And thank you for speaking out. Not enough of us older folks speak up enough, and our experiences with primal are quite different from those of the younger people. Like you, I feel like the clock was turned back 30+ years!

  29. You look great Harry, congratulations. I’m also glad that you’ve had relief from mental struggles, my own is more with anxiety than anything else. I too have taken small steps and often eat things that aren’t truly paleo. It would be overwhelming to me to do this in a “perfect” way so I just go along and do what seems reasonable. I still look at bread and cake as something that is very good that I can’t have, but pasta and rice are unimportant so I’m lucky there.

  30. Congrats and well done! I truely believe that everyone has to experiment with what fuel works best for their body and commend you on finding your equilibrium. I agree about the strict paleo rant. I find that the results speak for themselves and eventually those open to a change, will ask. I honestly just point them to marksdailyapple and then they can delve into it as much or as little as they want.

  31. Glad to hear your story here Harry. I enjoy ‘hearing” your regular comments as well. Your comfort foods are similar to the ones my husband likes. He is primal at home and not so much at work if he goes out. However, he has converted to heavy cream in his cafe mocha instead of non fat. He really enjoys pancakes, sweet rolls, cake, pie…. all the stuff his mom made growing up. However, he does not enjoy the mental fog that comes with them. It has been a slow process with his change like with you. He will come back from business trips with tales of talking with people about this way of life/eating …… talks the talk and soon walk the walk more? He’ll figure it out. I had already quit eating the wheat and then realized it was grains in general that were my issue (tossed them all). That’s when someone said “that sounds like paleo” so google and I found this site shortly thereafter in search of recipes. All that stuff I got rid of were always my “uncomfortable foods” instead of comfort food. On the way in they were fine but the days/weeks afterwards were uncomfortable for sure. Now I look at them with fondness but with the memory of the consequences so they do NOT “call my name” anymore. 🙂

    1. Oh, I’m going to use “uncomfortable foods” from now on. Or maybe “discomfort foods”. I have just come out the other side of two long days of longing to fall face-first into any of my old “discomfort foods” but stayed strong by looking back over my records and seeing how much better I am than I was.

      My list of no-nos is pretty long though, as I’m following the Autoimmune Protocol for autoimmune diseases. Has a very positive outcome for them, so it’s worth the fuss, but it can get wearing.

  32. I continually read the recommendation that dairy should be eliminated. I basically started my primal journey during Lent last March. I ditched sugars, most all grains, and all processed foods. I do eat hard cheeses, and butter. These are important staples for me and I see no reason to give them up. I obviously can tolerate these dairy products well so I see no reason to eliminate them. Since going primal and keeping those items in my diet, I too have enjoyed weight loss (wasn’t over-weight to begin with) but was gaining in the wrong places, my eye sight have improved, I have great energy, lost the grain brain fog, don’t have dry skin anymore, and have an overall sense of well being. I also don’t have gas or bloating which was the reason I decided to eliminate the heavy carb diet I was eating. Some of us obviously have no trouble with cheese and butter. I get tired of people thinking everyone needs to give up dairy to be healthy. I am living proof it can be part of a healthy diet. Of course all of the cheese and butter I eat are from pastured cows not injected with hormones or antibiotics.

    1. I’m glad you are doing well. Dairy is definitely Primal, even if it is not Paleo. I have some butter, cream, sour cream and occasional milk – all local, organic, minimally pasteurized, and cheese from grass-fed cows. It had gotten out of hand when I was boosting my fat. I could drink a glass of heavy cream and be happy. But I still use a moderate amount of dairy.

      1. I am really glad to hear that, because without butter, heavy cream and cheese, I would not have succeeded with this way of eating. The high fat keeps me full and satisfied. I can now go 7 or more hours between meals if I need to.

        Recently, I was flying from Durham to Atlanta. Had lunch at noon and finally after a few delays, boarded the plane at 5:45, Ate two sticks of cheese and some nut butter for a snack at 4:00 while waiting. We ended up having to sit on the plane for 2 hours before takeoff due to bad weather. While everyone else was starving and scrambling to eat as many bags of those nasty pretzels they serve to keep from going into some metabolic crisis, I was sitting pretty, totally content and unaffected by hunger until 10:00 that night when I finally got home.

        I have never been happier since I started this way of eating.I feel liberated from the tyranny of the vicious hunger cycle I used to be a slave to; eating and being hungry again 2 or 3 hours later. I believe the high fat I eat has set me free. I do eat plenty of veggies too. It’s not all fat and protein. Dairy is a big part of it though, and all the glorious changes I have experienced tells me to continue with what I am doing. I don’t drink milk though. Never liked the taste.

        1. I’m glad Primal is working well for you, Tiff. I used to panic at the thought there was no food nearby. Not any more.

          As I say in the post, I don’t drink much milk. My preference would be to drink heavy cream, or at least 1/2 & 1/2, but that’s too much fat and calories for me right now.

  33. Steampunk
    is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.

    1. From a visual perspective, Steampunk would be how Victorian and Edwardian people might have envisioned “science fiction” when things were powered by gas and steam, versus electricity. Some movies that seem to embrace the steampunk look (either in part, or entirely) would be “Wild, Wild West,” “Return to Oz,” “Lemony Snicket’s Tales of Unfortunate Events,” “Young Sherlock Holmes,” “The Golden Compass,” “Sherlock Holmes” (with Robert Downey Jr.), “Stardust,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” and that’s all I can think of at the moment.

      The steampunk fashion/attire actually branched off the Goth movement, specifically the dark Victorian and Edwardian-inspired attire that romantic Goths would wear to the Goth clubs (there is much cross-over these days). If you ever go dancing at a Goth club, don’t be surprised to see Steampunk represented there. For Goths, it’s black. For Steampunkers, copper/brass/tan is the new black.

      1. Good answer. I enjoy 19th century reenactment, with or without the science fiction aspect. I also do California gold rush reenactment, with historic accuracy. Adding steampunk accessories makes it even more fun. Here is my little steampunk web page sacsteam[dot]org.

        Not so sure about the “gas and steam, versus electricity” though. I would say electricity and steam but not gas. When I go to an event, there are always some people doing “diesel punk”, which is ~1920-50.

  34. Hey, Harry!

    Congratulations on going Primal! You look fantastic. And we have indeed met in person, most likely at Steampunk L.A. a few months ago (yes, I do a few re-enactment/cosplay events, as well). I was the steampunk jungle explorer “gone native” with the toucan perched on top of my pith helmet, the war paint, baby tiger on my belt, tribal staff, and faux leopard skin across my torn shirt.

    I’ve been doing Primal/Paleo and some CrossFit now for a few years, have been to 2 Primal weekends in Oxnard, and enjoying life since.

    Keep up the excellent work, fine Sir!

    -Russell (aka: Agent Evan Ellipsis)

  35. what a nice testimony – and I like many of the points raised – especially this:

    “My feelings toward all of those foods are completely unchanged. I love them, even plain, gluten-free ones. I just know I need to avoid or go easy on them.”

    well said

    and this:
    “Mark’s real world approach”

    and I like how you described all this because delivery is SO MUCH! And well, I also think that sometimes words are secondary – because when you look at a person and can see they are doing something right – well then you want to know there story or blueprint –

    cheers and best wishes to ya Sir!


  36. Where has it ever been said that FAT increases insulin resistance. On the contrary, fat is the only thing that doesn’t raise blood sugars, in return it doesn’t need insulin, allowing you to use less insulin is a good thing! Despite physiological insulin resistance which is a harmless thing, not at all like regular insulin resistance, i don’t see where this statement came from. Maybe you’ve been listening to CW to much, like the whole Paula Deen and her butter fetish giving her diabetes (load of bull btw). Any more facepalm moments and I’m gonna get a headache. I simply couldn’t read any farther, good luck getting past your diabetes running from fat.

    1. AND I just looked for where the ‘eating a high fat diet icreases insulin resistance’ came from. Essentially it says fat makes you fat, being fat increases insulin resistance. So in other words IF you belive fat makes you fat(it doesnt) and that’s what makes you insulin resistance. So since we know fat doesn’t make you fat, that means fat doesn’t make you insulin resistant, BEING fat does. CW pseudo science at it again.

  37. So interesting to read that your glucose went out of control after antibiotics. This is exactly my experience and nobody (even my doctor) thought it is true!

    I am prediabetic, on Metformin currently and on (mostly) paleo since a year. All was well until I had to take antibiotics. I immediately gained 7kg and started to feel miserable.

  38. I love this. I was someone who was not very active or made healthy choices for the most of my young life. It was when I was approached by someone in a simple, non-patronizing way that I thought – hey, living healthier is actually something tangible, doable and, as with everything, doesn’t have to be perfect. 80/20 rule ftw.

  39. The cauliflour rice bit made me chuckle. Personally I mostly prefer it to the real thing, but I’m a sushi fan and for that, real rice it isn’t. For the honesty and reality check rather than pandering to what an online forum wants to hear, thumbs up from me.

  40. In senior age, all you need to do is take a proper and healthy diet with exercise to be mentally and physically fit. Drinking plenty of water, spending time with nature, and a daily 60 minutes walk prevents you to fall in diseases like arthritis and kyphosis. Further, it is also helpful in controlling excessive cholesterol in your body which can be harmful to your heart.