Thanks to Primal Living, at 49 I Look and Feel Better Than Ever

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!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2I’ve been thinking about submitting my success story for a while, but held back because it wasn’t super dramatic. I didn’t lose 100 pounds or reverse diabetes. But I am more confident, energetic and adventurous than ever as I approach my 50th birthday, and it all started with upgrading what I was putting into my body.

I’ve always been relatively healthy, and I give a lot of credit to my family. Despite growing up in the 1970’s, there was no Tang or Tab served at 110 Glynn Lane. My mom bought organic bread from a local bakery, and fresh produce from a co-op. Some of our meat was even grass-fed since my grandmother lived on a wonderful farm.

It was because of the farm, however, and the fact that some of the animals I knew by name ended up on my dinner plate, that I became a vegetarian at the age of 11 or 12. I read Diet for a Small Planet and learned to combine various carbs to get enough protein. I stayed away from most of the fake meats but ate plenty of pizza and ice cream.

I was never a naturally athletic kid and was totally intimidated by sports since my gym teacher made fun of me. But I was active so weight was never an issue.

I had a different issue, however, which was acne. It started in my early teens and just never quit. I was on every possible prescription med, up to an including Accutane not once, but three times. It would clear my skin up for awhile, but it was dry and peeling.

I also always had digestive issues, which was diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. Oh, and I had some blood sugar issues too. So I was basically eating carbs all the time, which I now realize was what triggered the digestive stuff.

Fast forward to my early 40’s…nothing really changed. Still slim and in pretty good shape, but still plagued by acne and digestive stuff. And still an ovo-lacto vegetarian, eating fish from time to time. I read one of Carol Alt’s books about raw food and was hooked. Almost overnight I became a mostly raw vegan.

I soaked seeds and nuts and drank green smoothies like crazy. I discovered coconut oil and lots of good stuff that I still use and love. I also ate tons of dried fruit. This raw thing had to be the answer for my skin…I was putting so much good stuff into my body.

Unfortunately, my skin got worse. Nothing like severe cystic acne in your 40’s. The digestive stuff worsened too…despite being now painfully thin, I was bloated and uncomfortable. Some mild, underlying anxiety became pretty extreme. I was a hot mess. It couldn’t be what I was eating, right?

It was an article by Dr. Mercola that finally got my attention. He said cutting grains, dairy, and sugar could clear my skin, as long as I got plenty of high-quality protein and non-starchy vegetables. I started by adding pastured eggs. I cut out all the dried fruit and soaked and sprouted grains. Eventually, I started adding some grass-fed beef and wild caught fish.

My skin improved literally overnight. I could feel the inflammation subsiding each day.

I’m not sure how I first found MDA…I was always following links to different health related websites. But once I found it, I was hooked. I loved Mark’s direct but entertaining approach, and I felt like I had found a real community, even though it took me years to post a message!

So what makes me a success story? Well, I changed my diet because I wanted to clear my skin, and nothing else had worked. But there were more and more successes along the way. One day I realized that my digestive issues were a thing of the past. And the anxiety…gone, as my brain was getting the high quality saturated fat that it needed. Because of my interest in health and nutrition, I enrolled in the health coaching program at IIN. And that opened my eyes to even more. I finally saw that it wasn’t just about eating the right food and exercising. There was so much more—spirituality, career, and relationships all affect our health.

As I feel better and better in my own body I keep growing and changing. The girl who was intimidated in gym class now loves trying new things like indoor rock climbing and stand-up paddle boarding. I’m the first one to join in on silly pool games or a mechanical bull competition.

FullSizeRender_3This new found confidence and fun-loving attitude led me to do something that I had been thinking about for years. I started a blog to share my love of healthy living in a fun, playful, and sometimes slightly inappropriate way. I love showing women how they can feel happy, healthy and hot by making some simple changes to what they put into, and on, their bodies. I talk about food, beverages, cosmetics and travel, along with goofy commentary about popular music and what I am wearing.

I am having a blast doing this, and love when I hear from women who are feeling better than ever after following my tips.

I want to say that there is nothing inherently wrong with being a vegetarian or vegan. It works for some, and it’s much better than following the standard American diet. But I can truly say that at 49 I look and feel better than ever in so many ways, and it all started with following a Primal lifestyle. Thank you to Mark and the entire MDA community for providing a wonderful forum that really brings people together.

IMG_2361People often ask me what I eat. My days starts with a huge blended green drink, some of which I save for later, and coffee blended with coconut oil and collagen peptides. Later I’ll have pastured eggs over veggies if I’m home, or raw nuts and an apple if I’m out working on my blog. Lunch is a salad or leftover veggies with protein. Sardines are a favorite. Dinner is a small portion of high-quality protein and lots of veggies. If I want carbs I have sweet potato, but I usually don’t. Treats are dark chocolate pretty much every day and a glass of wine or two on the weekend. I love what I eat and feel great.

My story is not over. It is just beginning. Now that I have completed IIN, I would like to complete the Primal Health Coach program next. My blog is continuing to grow as more and more people jump on the happy, healthy and hot bandwagon. I plan to write some ebooks in the same fun, playful style, as well as offer some actual health coaching so I can work more closely with people. I also plan to write The Happy, Healthy and Hot Guide to Life, which will be published by Primal Life Publishing.

Thanks for reading!


TAGS:  guest post

About the Author

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

72 thoughts on “Thanks to Primal Living, at 49 I Look and Feel Better Than Ever”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. You’re an inspiration that there’s always a good time to make the positive changes that you need in your life. Way to go!

  2. Wonderful story, Elizabeth! I’m going to start checking out your blog.

  3. I had TERRIBLE acne growing up. There was definitely a genetic component that slapped me harder than some folks, but changing my diet and lifestyle is what let me heal it as I got older. I’m so glad you found your solution too. Great story.

    1. Thanks Dan, and I agree with the genetic component. But changing what you put into your body can definitely help!

  4. Happy, healthy and hot – I like that! You look great and much younger than your years. Every success story is a great ad and motivator. Well done!

    1. Thanks Grokesque (and great nick name!) I have always found these Friday stories so motivational…it’s really exciting to actually be one!

  5. Kudos Elizabeth!! You, like Mark, are an inspiration to guard our health with zest.

  6. I had terrible anxiety too, so I definitely feel your pain there! Getting off sugar roller coasters was a huge benefit for me. I’m so happy you found your solution too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. PrimalDan, glad you found relief for your anxiety too! Getting off sugar and adding more fat was crucial for me.

  7. I love hearing stories about people reclaiming their health and then following their passions/talents as a result. Your blog looks awesome, Elizabeth.

  8. Congratulations, Elizabeth! I checked out your blog a month or so ago. It’s awesome! We have similar dietary backgrounds. I ate a lot of dried fruit for a while, and in addition, during my 20’s and 30’s, I ate way too much whole grain cereal. IBS has been a struggle, too. Thankfully, it’s getting so much better. I don’t think all those cold high fiber cereals did me any favors. I’m glad you shared your story as feeling vibrant and having the energy to pursue dreams and goals is invaluable. I wish you the best with your blog, and I always look forward to seeing your smiling face here! My story will be here someday, also.

    1. Thank you so much Laura! I can’t wait to see your story here as well. And it’s amazing how life changes when you put the right stuff in your body!

  9. Awesomely inspiring story!
    I never had terrible acne, but more than I liked, and I could never get rid of it. But after I changed my diet and cut out dairy it disappeared! Dairy seems to be the main culprit for me because I will still get spots if I eat something that contains it.
    I’ve also got IBS, but it’s not completely gone. That’s probably because I too often give in to temptations and eat foods I shouldn’t. But your story has inspired me to eat better. I want to feel good too! Too often I feel bloated, tired and sluggish. Life is too short for that!

    1. Thank you so much Kristen! And I agree that dairy is a culprit for many people. You totally deserve to feel great…and it makes me feel so good to know that I am inspiring you.

  10. Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth. I have a similar story, am 56 now and still maintain the health and physique I want, pretty effortlessly. I also was introduced to this diet/lifestyle by Dr Mercola first, then found MDA. And I eat lots of really dark chocolate 🙂

    1. So great to hear, Lisa! And funny what similar paths we followed. Love the Lindt 90% dark chocolate. Food is so much more enjoyable when you don’t need to worry about it!

  11. As an ex P.E. teacher I apologize for the way you were treated by yours. Inexcusable in my book. But that aside, kudos to you for taking charge of your life and constantly looking for solutions. It was a winding path but you seem to have landed in an excellent spot.

    1. Thanks Sharon! And I’ll bet you’re an awesome PE teacher. Mine was really old school (this was back in the 70’s) and thought he was being funny.

  12. I’m so glad you shared your story. I, like you, haven’t made the miraculous transformation but there are so many “little” things that have improved SO MUCH! Some days I just want to shout it from the highest place I can find so that others can find this relief, too! You’re amazing, your story is amazing and inspiring and you amazing for sharing. THANK YOU!

    1. Thank you so much Sandy!!! And I know what you mean about wanting to should from the rooftops. I really had to push past some fears to start the blog, but now I just want everyone to know how great it is to feel good!

  13. Great story. I am going to check out your blog. What is the link? Being 50 I think I can relate. I have a step daughter with acne issues. Her diet is so horrible but I’m not sure how to get across to her how important diet is for the skin. I will share this article and pray she takes it to heart and explores primal principles. By the way your skin is glorious!!

    1. Hey Pam, I wrote a reply to you on Friday but somehow it never got posted. Really hope some of these tips help with your step daughter’s acne!

  14. Well done Elizabeth! I have certainly suffered my share of anxiety. Maybe that was someone else’s share, I don’t know. So glad it’s much reduced now.

    1. Vanessa, so glad your anxiety is reduced. It’s such an amazing feeling. For me the healthy fats made a huge difference. I was eating some good fats as a vegetarian, just not enough of them!

  15. Congrats on your success, Elizabeth! You’re such an inspiration and I love your positive daily commentary.

  16. I’ve been waiting to see your success story up here! That’s really awesome, I can’t imagine dealing with acne for so many years! I love reading stories of ex-vegetarians reclaiming their health. I just started eating *fully* primal 5 days ago, I’ve never made it this far and I’m so happy and I feel dedicated for once, and the cravings are dissappearing, which is awesome because pregnancy cravings are strong!
    Anyway, lovely story, and you look radiant!

    1. TF thanks for the compliments, and congrats to your for your dedication. I really think cravings go away (or are at least greatly reduced) when we give our body proper nutrition. And I know those pregnancy cravings can be crazy…good luck with everything!

  17. Hi Elisabeth what an inspiration, your story matches your posts 🙂

  18. Good on you Elizabeth. Great to read that you’re overcoming some of those long term problems and feeling better than ever. Seems a common theme here…..keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Thanks Ian! It’s amazing how much better people feel when they start giving their bodies what they need!

  19. Elizabeth you are the bomb! Neat to get a little more background about you even though I’ve been reading your blog for a while. We like the same brand of sardines LOL and you turned me on to collagen, which has really helped some skin problems I was having despite a pretty clean Primal / MIND diet I’m on.

    I was a vegetarian for 12 years, ate a lot of eggs and drank whey protein shakes, but started adding sardines, salmon, chicken and turkey to my diet. One part of me feels a little guilty about eating meat, but I think an optimal diet that maps best to our DNA includes some meat. You are so right about healthy fats, I take in a lot of coconut oil and olive oil.

  20. Thanks for checking in HealthyHombre, and I always enjoy your comments on the blog! So happy the collagen is helping you…I can’t live without it! It was weird for me transitioning to meat too, after over 30 years. Even though I tried not to make a big deal about it, being a vegetarian was a big part of my identity. I definitely feel better with some high quality, ethically raised animal protein…supporting local farmers who take good care of the animals takes away the guilt thing for me. And so funny about the sardines…can’t find too many people who actually eat them!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story! Where can I find the collagen you put in your coffee?
      I’m also wondering if you count carbs or calories, or just rely on how you feel to decide how much or how often to eat.

      I’ve been primal for 3 years now, but slid to a 70/30 for the last 9 months or so..too many paleo baked things (sugar is close to an all or nothing proposition for me. If I eat it I tend to want more.) What has worked well for you in staying away from sugar? My husband is happy to be a 60/40 guy, and loves his sugar, so it’s in front of me more than I wish.

      Great success story, and thank you for all your contributions here on MDA

      1. Hey Kay! I don’t really count calories or carbs…I try to listen more to how my body feels. But I keep a food diary from time to time…it really worked for me when I seemed to gain a few pounds without changing anything. When I really looked at it, I realized I was doing some mindless snacking, even if it was on healthy stuff. And I totally know what you mean about the sugar…it can suck you in pretty quickly!

        As far as the collagen peptides, I like Vital Proteins, If you go to my blog ( there are links for it in many of the newer posts. Down at the bottom of the post I have a section called “shop the post.” It is definitely there in the post that just went up, called “People always ask me…”

  21. Congratulations Elizabeth! What a wonderful story! I always enjoy reading your insightful comments on Mark’s Daily Apple as well! I will go check out your blog!

  22. Great to see your story, Elizabeth! I followed a link to your blog a while ago from here. I am a few years younger than you and it’s very inspiring to read and see women in their forties (and older) being healthy and strong – and hot, of course!

    I was a vegetarian, too, in my late teens and early 20s, but I started to feel I missed fish and the oils and nutrition that came with it. I also love tinned sardines and mackerel! I then decided that if I didn’t like the way meat was produced, I could just choose ethically produced meat rather than none at all.

    I know exactly what you mean about PE teachers, I hated gym and games at school. Interestingly, I have always been an active adult despite this.

    Great story!

    1. Wow, Tanya, we have a lot in common. I eat sardines all the time…have yet to try mackerel I will have to pick some up. Thanks for checking in!

  23. Like you, I grew up in the 70’s. I’m 51. I actually used to eat Grape Tang right out of the jar! Yuch! I now follow paleo/ primal nutrition. My husband makes awesome sardine cakes with a pork rind breading. Yummy!

    1. Wow, Vicki, those sardine cakes sound great. I just made salmon cakes last night…I always make extra so I’ll have leftovers. Glad to hear from someone else that survived the 70s!!!!

  24. I think you could have got the phrase ‘happy, healthy and hot’ in one more time.

  25. I love your story, Elizabeth! You are so inspiring. I especially love how you are following your heart, being true to yourself, enjoying life and pursuing your dreams – love it!!! I’m so excited for your book, too!!!

  26. Elizabeth!
    You are amazing and so inspiring to women. Thank you for your post! I too thought I was eating well and healthier by adding dried fruit to my Paleo diet which was a mess plus added and unnecessary carbs and weight to my body. I love Mark’s site and Primal Blueprint. Now both me and my husband are following this amazing lifestyle fairly strictly. My dream in the near future is to share it with friends, colleagues and my co-workers. So many people I know are very overweight and can’t seems to find a way to keep their weight off. I hope I can help them in the future.

  27. Oh, I have been following this lifestyle diet for sometime and I am 61 years old. I try to be my best and take care of myself. I am always looking for ways to improve my health. Love your blogs too!

    1. Kukana, I know exactly what you are talking about with the dried fruit. It’s so easy to go overboard. Lately I’ve been sticking to berries, although I do tend to eat a little more fruit in the summer. And good for you for always looking for ways to improve your health. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog and hope to hear from you in the comments:)

  28. Great story! Even if it doesn’t seem like a dramatic change to others, it is still a big deal in your life, and definitely worth celebrating. (I had the same experience switching to a paleo lifestyle.)
    I saw in your picture that you were at a Wegman’s, in PA, and I wondered if you could be near me. So I checked out your blog, and you mentioned the Broad Street Market, which means you are close by! I shop there every week. 🙂 I’m just glad to know there are other like-minded, MDA-following people in this area!

  29. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am in my 40’s and have been diagnosed with ‘adult acne’ which I now realise is probably down to the high carb diet I have consumed for years to fuel my long distance running habit. I have just tuned into MDA after my sister a sufferer of Lupus, connected with it and feels amazing for the first time in years. Thank you again for sharing.

    1. Amanda, thank you so much for checking in…so glad you are discovering this lifestyle. Acne can be so frustrating!!

  30. Such a wonderful story you have mentioned here. I’ve first time visited your blog today and found really interesting things here. Also, I’ve bookmarked your site as well. Thanks for sharing this.