“The Healthiest Sick Guy” You Knew

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!

Like most, I grew up playing sports in high school. I ate a “healthy,” low-fat SAD diet. Junk food was never allowed in the house. My only exposure to junk food was at friend’s houses. The closest I ate to cookies were graham crackers. Chips? No, we had dry saltine crackers.

I think my mom’s theory was, if it doesn’t taste too good, it can’t be that bad for you. She really tried. The first time my sister ate a cupcake she ate the wrapper not knowing it was there! You can’t make that kind of stuff up.

As a kid, I ALWAYS had stuffy sinuses and sore throats. I would develop bronchitis three to four times a year. To get to the bottom of it, an allergy test was performed. The results showed I was sensitive to dust mites (they live on everything, including us), cats, and dogs. We had all three.

The doctor’s orders were no pets in my room, and my pillows and mattress had to be wrapped in a plastic liner beneath the sheets. Nothing ruins a good night’s sleep like a noisy tarp under your head. It was fun convincing my friends I wasn’t a bed wetter. I swear I wasn’t. Really.

Entering my teens, bronchitis continued occurring even though I was following the bubble boy protocol. Strep throat became a yearly occurrence too. Maybe now it was my poor diet? Food at home remained “healthy,” but friends had cars and fast food was common.

Turning 18 I became what “non MDAer’s” would call a health nut. No longer participating in sports, I began working out, and eating “healthy.” I ate lots of veggies, heart healthy whole grains, and avoided saturated fat like the plague, no junk food whatsoever.

In college, alcohol consumption on the weekends became common. Everyone else drank but also ate terrible. Fast food, fried food in the dorm, late night pizza, alcohol, and yet they rarely got sick. One day my roommate said to me, “You’re the healthiest sick kid I know, you work out all the time, eat better than anyone I know, yet you’re always sick.”

I was lean and “in shape,” but he was right. Bronchitis and strep throat were still VERY common into my adult years. Z-Packs were like Tic-Tacs! Again determined to find out why, back to the allergist I went. There were no more cats or dogs, so what was it?

Between feeling like a swarm of fire ants were attacking me, and the red reaction patch on my back the size of a volleyball, I thought this time we had gotten to the bottom of it! I don’t remember the name, but was told I was allergic to pollen that “at certain times of the year gives people problems.” I found this odd because I had a year round problem.

Onward I went, “the healthiest sick guy” you knew. This label was discouraging; I was going to school for Exercise Science and wanted to help people become not only fit, but also healthy.

After graduating college I moved to Colorado to intern at a sport performance clinic. Nothing like elevation changes to let you know when your sinuses are acting up. One weekend, a visit from a friend led to a few nights with beers. By the time he left I woke with a familiar itch in my throat and stuffy sinuses. At this point in my life I rarely drank and wondered why alcohol affected me this way and not others?

It’s sad to think this was the “aha” moment (maybe getting drunk can solve your problems. Kidding). I wondered why I felt so bad and my friend didn’t. Maybe it was something in the beer? Our beer of choice that evening was a micro-brew wheat beer.

A few days of Googling wheat allergy symptoms led me to the Paleo diet, and eventually onto MDA. What I read seemed so simple and logical. Why was I only hearing about this now? I gave Primal a go, and a few weeks later my sinus congestion was gone! My daily morning phlegm, no more! That constantly itchy throat? Gone. I haven’t experienced bronchitis since. In fact, I hardly ever get sick.

Breathing better is huge. I’m a big hiker and love being outdoors. Today, if I consume wheat, the stuffy sinuses and itchy throat return. I haven’t tested it, but I’m confident if I continually ate wheat, bronchitis would return.

Luke Hiking

This journey has brought me more than the ability to breath. I sleep MUCH better now. I’ve never slept well in my life, EVER. I can’t state how much of an improvement this has been. My entire life I’ve dreaded going to bed, no matter how tired I am.

On average, I would lay in bed for one to two hours each night, regardless of what time I went to bed or how tired I was. That’s ridiculous, right? Now I easily fall asleep. No hitting the snooze button, I wake up refreshed.

Being an active person, I noticed another awesome change. The idea of “hitting the wall” disappeared. In high school I worried about getting what I called, “the rubber band body” during football practice. Essentially I was describing a blood sugar crash. Things change when your breakfast isn’t Honey Bunches of Oats, orange juice, and wheat toast with peanut butter and honey.

After moving to San Diego, I found a new and demanding hobby, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I get tired while training, but feel like I can train all day without ever hitting the wall and experiencing that “rubber band” crash feeling.

To this day my journey with food continues. I’ve joined local CSAs, began growing my own greens, and sourcing quality meat products (to the best of my finances). At times intermittent fasting has become an incredibly valuable tool.

Future Food

A Typical Meal

I used to require eight meals a day to function. Skipping a meal meant I’d become a dizzy, miserable, “hangry” monster. I would freak out! Imagine a seven-month old baby crying for food. Now imagine that baby being a 6 foot, 190 pound grown adult, capable of communicating with words about how hungry and miserable he feels. That should give you an idea of what I was like to be around.

Now, going ten hours without food while working an active day training clients, isn’t a problem. Hunger comes on slowly and steadily. It is a gentle reminder that it’s time to eat, not a complete code red, meltdown-system failure!

Obviously my personal health gains have been tremendously important to me. However, I want to say thanks for what this journey has helped me do professionally. As a personal trainer, the nutrition I promote now is far different than what it was after graduation. I’ve always understood that you can’t out train nutrition, and that is the first piece of advice I share with clients. The second is to check out a website called Marks Daily Apple.

Countless numbers of my clients, friends, and family members have regained control of their weight, energy, and relationship with food by using a Primal/paleo approach to eating. I’ve been so enthused about what eating this way has done for me, that it inspired me to share it in person. Last winter while visiting my family in Illinois, I hosted a fitness seminar that lasted three hours. Two of those hours were spent presenting the basics of eating a Primal/paleo diet; including recipes and the resources and tools to make it happen!

It was a great success! A handful of the group took the plunge and are experiencing amazing results first hand. Having resources like MDA, The Primal Blueprint, MDA success stories, and other leaders in the ancestral health community to point people towards, validated the nutritional suggestions made during the seminar. So Mark, thank you for that! You have created a ripple effect that you may not be aware is taking place!

Luke After Primal

I also want to say thanks to the MDA community. It’s refreshing to read encouraging, positive, and inquisitive comments and discussion. Most places online, whether a YouTube channel, blog, or Facebook post, you can’t look past the first page without finding a rude, racist, degrading, or otherwise nasty comment. On MDA I see none of that! What a great place to send people who are looking for direction!


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103 thoughts on ““The Healthiest Sick Guy” You Knew”

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  1. Good job! Very similar to my story, brainwashed into thinking I was healthy but really being skinny fat/inflammatory/sick all of the time. Keep it up! 🙂

  2. I am so happy for you! What a long journey to find your allergen.

    Now you can get a dog!

    1. I was thinking the same thing! Did you get a dog? 🙂 Great story and I enjoyed your humor. You mentioned that these message board comments are always positive and I agree. I believe it’s because most of the comments are from happy people because they follow the primal diet and feel great!

    2. Hey Luke,

      Congratulations! You look great. I want some of that food, man! What time is dinner?

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. Yet another instance of grains being detrimental to someone’s health.

    Your account of beer is interesting because it’s something I’ve noticed in myself. I can drink beer, but I feel a sense of heaviness. I used to be able to drink several pints in one sitting. Now that I am largely grain free I have to force myself to finish even one pint.

    Again, thanks for sharing.

    1. Yeah beer is a tough one, I get that it’s a hard thing for many to give up. I won’t lie and say I never indulge (no wheat based beers) but it better be a pretty good reason.

  4. Very well written and thoughtful story. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story, Luke. I had the same result when I gave up grains, regarding allergies. I gave them up because of horrible digestion problems, but the cessation of my chronic allergies was a lovely, unexpected bonus. It always amazes me how many people who complain about chronic allergies respond with, “oh I could never give up bread” when I tell them my story. So I’m glad you’re having an impact on people! Keep up the good work.

    1. I would point those people to Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis. He does a good job explaining the chemical interactions that cause wheat to be so addicting. It is amazing that we can convince ourselves to think “I can’t live without” a certain food.

    2. When I told someone their solution would be giving up wheat and sugar, they said “You mean all the good stuff? I couldn’t do that,”

      I don’t get it x.x

  6. Let me say that your story about allergies, and reactions to wheat etc., is right on.

    When I am serious MDA (90%) I don’t even have to use my inhaler (which is for EIA- exercise induced asthma)

    But you have inspired me as have many on this site–along with Mark– to get serious about more natural/organic food sources.

    While they may cost more, if you IF and eat only to satisfy your hunger, you probably save money (and your health) in the long run.

    Congrats on figuring it out– and keeping on.

    1. Dave I’m not perfect on organic local either. I do the best I can. I have an unfair advantage in San Diego, there’s a farmers market every day somewhere. And most stores carry quality food. I’m from Illinois and know it can be hard. I used to just focus on the dirty dozen list.

        1. The Dirty Dozen list is compiled by the Environmental Working Group and refers to the produce with the highest pesticide residues. EWG’s recommendation is to try to buy these foods organic. (There is also a Clean Fifteen list of foods with the lowest residues; good to know if you can’t afford all-organic.) The 2014 Dirty Dozen are: apples,
          strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines (imported), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas (imported), potatoes, hot peppers, and kale/collard greens. Geat story Luke–thanks!

  7. Another fab, uplifting story! I completely agree Luke- The MDA Community is encouraging, positive and full of intelligent discussion!

  8. Thanks for sharing Luke and it’s wonderful that sleep has become restful for you, what an awful way to live. My older son, now 15, has giant meltdowns when he gets hungry. We always start looking for military schools to send him off to (in our imaginations) when it happens because it is unbearable. I skew towards paleo and my husband pulls the other way so I can say that some of the food we serve is solid and most of our dinners are just a meat and a vegetable. At this age I think the boys should be eating some grains, because it’s all around us.

    1. Yeah I really can’t express how life changing good sleep is (not surprising). Personally I require more fat than before to have sustained energy. At 15 it’s hard to keep the junk food out, when kids are on there own at at friends houses. Maybe that’s where the energy swings come from?

      1. I am also a frequent eater because I begin to feel weak and light headed or shakey if I go more than a few hours without eating. And I am definitely moody when I get hungry, so I’ve learned to always be prepared and take safe snacks, or at least keep a banana or some almonds in my car/bag just in case. Did you work up to intermittent fasting or did you just notice that you could go for longer periods of not eating without the side effects? I’ve assumed I have an insanely fast metabolism these days (I take martial arts and am about 90% Paleo, 100%gluten free) but I hate feeling like my activities and life revolve around whether I have access to food or not. I did a whole30 last fall, and I remember feeling like I was hungry 24/7, even though I was eating a lot of food and increasing the amount of fat I consume.

        1. Danielle, I began intermittent fasting due to an early morning work schedule. I wouldn’t always be hungry on days it started at 6AM. Knowing there might be a gap in the schedule at 10 to eat, I started skipping breakfast without any negative effects. I found that on days I ate breakfast hunger came on sooner so fasting made since.

          Martin Berkham from Lean Gains has a lot written on this. If I remember correctly, he speculates a heightened insulin response to meals in the morning is due to Cortisol levels peaking during those hours. If you’re insulin sensitive this can cause the excessive crash post breakfast that many people complain of.

          Obviously eating more fat than before helps pull it off! I too have an intense appetite and metabolism, and when I do eat I EAT! Hope you can figure it out, being a slave to food sucks.

      2. I usually eat 3-4 eggs and a small amount of starch in the form of sweet potatoes or fried plantains, all cooked in bacon fat which I save from my regular consumption of bacon. It’s a sizable portion for my 5’1″, 115lb frame, but I still find myself feeling hungry and wanting a snack within 2-3 hours. Do you start those 6am mornings on an empty stomach and have your first meal at 10? Perhaps I should ditch the starch and add some bacon or sausage or other form of fatty goodness instead.

        I will definitely have to check out Lean Gains to see what the author has to say on the matter. My coworkers have begun referring to me as ‘the hummingbird’ because of how much and how often I eat! It is my only complaint since switching to a Primal/Paleo lifestyle. Thank you for the tip!

  9. I love stories like this! I can somewhat relate, although my problems were mainly digestive, I always looked super healthy but inside it was another story until eating paleo. The sleep is an amazing part of it too. So glad you feel great and are spreading the message to clients as well!

    1. Thanks Michele! Glad you too are feeling the impact of Primal eating. I’m lucky and never (to my knowledge) had digestive issues. That can be quite the process to heal, so congrats on figuring it out. I’m sure it helps with the running!

  10. Hey Luke, thanks for sharing your story. Most folks have no idea that there are a lot of slender folks that feel like crap. Great job.

    1. Thanks Nocona, I agree. I think there’s also a lot of people who don’t realize how crappy they feel!

  11. Isn’t it amazing how many things get fixed simply by getting rid of the grains? It’s probably mostly wheat that’s problematic, but I feel better when I avoid most grain products. I can eat rice once in a while. It doesn’t mess with me the same way wheat does, possibly because it’s grown differently and lacks gluten.

  12. So many of these success stories are about discovering wheat allergies and intolerance.

  13. What a great journey, thank you for sharing Luke. MDA and this community is amazing, positive and knowledgeable. It is a great resource. Wishing you many years of health, happiness and success!! Grok on…. 🙂

  14. Great story with an important lesson. Never assume. Recently I gave up oatmeal. I’d been eating it my whole life without issues but I noticed over the last year or so I would be nauseous and groggy for hours after eating it. Not every time, but the times I would get nauseous were becoming more frequent. So one day I had a sweet potato instead. Everything else stayed the same (cinnamon, two teaspoons of fish oil, and coconut oil for some creaminess) plus four eggs and some pistachios Guess what? I felt amazing. Been doing it for two weeks now and I no longer feel drowsy after breakfast, no nausea, and I feel so light and peppy that I could easily work out right after eating if I wanted to. Plus, sweet potatoes taste SOOOOO much better than oatmeal. It’s like having pumpkin pie for breakfast every day! So my lesson was, things change. What may be fine in your twenties may not work in your forties. Bodies change. Something that was fine can now become an irritant. It never ends.

    1. Clay, great point. Never assume. I agree things change over time, being dialed in enough to notice is the hard part. Not that you need to, but it would be interesting to see how you feel after a big bowl of oatmeal now?? Nothing like a little self experimentation.

      1. If I really missed oatmeal I would for sure. But it was never high on the satisfaction meter, so I don’t feel the urge to roll the dice and see if I can eat it and not be nauseous for three hours.Now if I had a problem with eggs, well that would be devastating 😉

  15. Yes, life-long nasal congestion and drip left me soon after going Primal. I woke up one day and realized my sinuses were clear and had been for awhile. When I give folks the rundown of all the ailments I had that going Primal cured, they get glassy-eyed on me – they just can’t believe it. I guess they think it’s all a coincidence.

    Grok on, Luke!

  16. Thanks for sharing your story, Luke! Very inspiring. San Diego is amazing. My wife and I moved here last August and were blown away by all the farmer’s markets and access to organic produce. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to get going with a beef/meat CSA. They all seem maxed out.

    1. Curtis, Here’s a link http://www.cagoodfoods.com/#!order-beef/c1m8d
      to a beef CO-OP from Alpine that isn’t sold out. They have 20 and 40lb boxes. That’s a good size to test the water on. You have to purchase by tomorrow though. The 40lb box comes out to $7.50 a pound which is a really good deal. You can get Roasts at Wholefoods and Sprouts for $6.99 but only Chuck and Top Round. Looks like this one you would give you other expensive cuts at that price too!

      Sage Mountain Farm is good too, they’re at the Hillcrest farmers markets on Sunday. There’s two others I can’t think of at the moment. If you don’t get that one from the link, let me know and I’ll track down the names of the other two.

  17. Luke,

    Great post! Your story is a testimony for the health conscious that still buy into the whole grain dogma. You are a class act for pointing out that Mark has crated a positive and encouraging blog community. This is an open minded group that just wants natural and practical health solutions. Regardless of the well researched clinical studies and resources Mark provides to support his observations, there is no greater truth than looking and feeling one’s best. Thousands of positive n-1s can’t be wrong.

    Thanks for sharing

  18. Luke- here’s to you… success, happiness and the whole world at your fingertips. Cheers!

      1. Great job, awesome story! It’s nice seeing a Friday post from someone I see posting on here regularly. 🙂

  19. I’m jealous; my abysmal allergies have not improved one iota since going grain free. I’m going to have to try the autoimmune protocol, which after looking at the one on Paleo Mom’s site, is going to be tough. I’ll have to, at least temporarily, give up some of my staples – coffee, chocolate, eggs, dairy, bell peppers and hot peppers. *sigh*

    1. If you have allergies due to pollen it won’t make a difference. As long as your body mistakenly assumes that certain pollens are harmful invaders instead of benign, your diet will make little difference. As a life long allergy sufferer that had my chronically infected tonsils removed when I was 22 years old, about the only thing that will get you temporary relief is surfing/saline washes, exercise, and spicy foods.I have several friends who are in the same boat and the only thing that has really worked so far has been allergy treatments with months and months of shots to train your body to ignore the pollen.

    2. I’m sure you are going to take Mark’s advice and write down a positive statement that you can refer to when you start to waver on the autoimmune protocol.

      I did one of those a few months back for 30 days which taught me that I feel much better if I cut out my last dairy hope, goat cheese. It is tough but get your mind set to do your best and hopefully you will discover what is triggering your allergies. 30 days, not so much really if you get a good lifetime reward.

      A new adventure…..fun….right?

    3. Bummer. Hopefully you will have some success with the autoimmune protocol. I’ve worked with people who experienced relief from sinus and congestion issues by removing dairy. Sounds like it’s worth giving it a shot. Hopefully it’s just one of those and not all…good luck.

  20. Good on you bud, Beer is a tough one ill admit. Certain beers can make one feel awful. I find that Guinness, or good stouts, dont affect me and it is really refreshing and good with a meal. Really considering giving up alcohol for a bit, but it a real challenge in the summertime. Last summer i had been primal for about a month when i attended a bar b q one night and a buddys wedding the next. I didn’t eat any different, but had about 12 beer over the two days, went from a lean 206 lbs up to a puffy 211 lbs. within 3 or 4 days i was back down to 206 lbs, but wow i felt crappy.

    keep up the good work

    1. Ooooh beer is super tough for me because i heart it seriously. Learned a valuable intro into summer lesson last weekend (Memorial Day). Went to a bday bbq and drank maybe four beers (Corona, Bud light Lime) bad, bad, bad stomach for about four days after, YUCK! Lesson embraced, will take a nice gluten free ale where ever I go so that I don’t feel like I’m missing out but don’t have the horrible after effects.
      Great story Luke, emailed it to my older brother. Fingers crossed!

  21. Wow. Great story. I can completely relate to this from the beginning, even how you ate as a kid to the training in martial arts (1st degree in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu here), sounds a lot like me! When I stray, I pay!

  22. Congrats Luke! Isn’t sleep extraordinary? I need some advice on ways to bulk up. I’m 5’9, and I just recently passed the 130 threshold at age 23. Thanks

    1. Yes sleep is amazing!. Personally, I’m not a fan of “bulking” and cutting like the traditional body builder. I would rather remain lean and have muscle gains come slower. Primal it’s a lifestyle right, gaining muscle can be too. As someone who also doesn’t easily put on muscle I appreciate your journey. It’s gonna take some time, but if you gained 15-20 pounds of muscle in 1-2 years, that would be huge!

      In a nutshell you have to lift heavy, while eating big. I would still focus on eating Primal while I eat big.

      Many people lose weight eating Primal, lets face it, there’s not a lot of calories in stuff like broccoli. Using veggies as a way to source quality calorie dense fats like coconut oil, grass fed butter, olive oil, will be helpful. You need ample protein. You can source that from your typical Primal sources Steak, Fish, Eggs, Chicken. Fatty cuts will help add calories. I would also suggest sneaking in other calorie dense foods like coconut butter, nut butters (minding your O6 O3) and other foods that pack a caloric punch. I still think you should mind your hunger hormones, and hopefully heavy lifting the hunger will be there.

      You gotta lift heavy! Focus on the big movements Deadlifts, Backsquat, Split Squats, Push Press, Bench Press, Pullups, Bent Over Rows. Not saying you can’t do some ancillary stuff like biceps but I wouldn’t spend much time on it. Bicep day won’t get you there. The big lifts will stimulant your central nervous system to promote growth!

      Now that I’m thinking about it, Mark has done a really good post on this. Give it a read!


      1. Thanks so much Luke for the in-depth post. I have been following most of the guidelines listed above with the exception of a few workouts. I do not even bother with isolating muscle groups at the gym. I’m going to read the article and continue to eat calorie rich meals. I’ve put on about 8 pounds of muscle in under 4 months thus far following those guidelines. I guess I’m a culprit of the get big fast economy. I’m going to read Mark’s post and check out the book “Body by Science.” Thanks so much for the information. Also, congratulations on your journey. Very few people deserve to live in pain.

        1. Michael, If you’ve put on 8 pounds of muscle in under 4 months as a “hard gainer” you’re doing good! Now it’s just a time game. Keep at it. And yeah don’t fall for the get big fast economy.

  23. Do you still eat dairy? I’m just wondering because I have the same lung issues and don’t eat wheat anymore either but still have problems. What does your diet consist of now?

    1. As far as dairy goes I eat “Grass Fed” cheese, occasionally some Full Fat Greek Yogurt (Fage). That’s it for Dairy.

      I keep it pretty Primal. Breakfast is typically Eggs cooked in coconut oil, sometimes a side of Bacon and Asparagus, if I’m not fasting. I grill a lot. (you can BBQ 365 days here in San Diego). Average meal is some protein paired with a heap of veggies (Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Mashed Cauliflower, Asparagus etc) and some piece of fruit. I eat lots of sweet potatoes post hard-workout. I’m okay with potatoes too.

      My “cheats” would be 90 percent dark chocolate and the occasional indulgence of Corn Tortillas or corn chips and salsa. Being intolerant to wheat can be a blessing in disguise. Wheat is in most nutritionally void junk food that I would crave, so it’s easy to say no. Oh and I will still occasionally have alcohol.

  24. What this story points up is, that you can be theoretically as fit as a Mallee bull as we Aussies say, but your health can still be far from optimal.

  25. A great success story told with great humour and positivity but I can’t believe no one has commented about your gorgeous smile Luke! Not flirting, I’m married with kids, just needed to give you an honest compliment! God bless ????

  26. I wonder how much gluten is needed before exercise induced asthma or PN drip starts?
    My daughter (13) has developed these symptoms after a cold. She takes relieiver pump everywhere with her, complains of breathing issues early evening and mornings, takes cough fluids at night to “ease” her, has had multiple clinic visits with no real diagnosis of what is wrong. However she has had blood tests in the past and has anti gluten antibodies, so I sensitive to gluten.. Maybe I should encourage to drop wheat?

    1. John, if esp if the puffer is not helping her, have her evaluated for vocal cord dysfunction by an ENT. Google it. A viral infection can be a trigger for this disorder. It looks a lot like exertion asthma, does often present also mornings and evenings, and can be treated easily with breathing exercises.

      I would still drop wheat :). I have one food allergy that brings on asthma (chocolate) and eliminating it was a miracle. Otherwise, I am allergic to every pollen on Earth so allergy shots really helped me a lot. If this IS asthma, she should also be on preventative meds. If she doesn’t have a diagnosis, consider finding a pediatric allergist if you haven’t.

      Good luck, I’ve had asthma my entire life and this crazy vocal cord disorder for the past year and it is really, really scary to not be able to breathe.

    2. John, I agree with Juli in getting rid of wheat (actually all grains for me). It was so different to wake up and go to sleep without that feeling that an elephant was standing on my face/chest. I would in years past get rid of milk and OJ thinking it was the culprit. No change, get rid of wheat and it was a huge difference, get rid of the rest of grains and now it’s hard to remember those mornings/evenings. 🙂

  27. Great story! Your before sounds so much like my daughter. I am making my way increasingly toward all-in paleo but family doesn’t seem to want to come along. Question…did you ever test positive for a food allergy? My daughter tests negative for every single thing…yet classic allergy symptoms almost all year round (phlegm, cough, skin rashes). Just curious.

  28. Well I have to chime in on this This is Lukes Dad. And I can tell you every word of this is true. My son has been an inspiration to many many people. I am very proud of him. He is very dedicated to helping people find there Healthy Self that is inside all of us just waiting to bust out. MDA has been a great site to get indepth info on so many health related subjects. Get a chance read some of my son’s other posts. Many are very motivating. He lives his values and will not sell “the Lie” on Health. Damn wish it were true that I could really get those six pack abbs in 3 weeks!! Anyway Good job son!!!!

  29. Fantastic Friday as always. Thanks for spelling it out so well Luke. Improved sleep is one of my favorite bonuses from this lifestyle too. Just interested, how does your family react to your improved health? Your folks wanted you to eat healthy, but just went about it the “wrong” way. Are they with the program now, or skeptical?

    It’s great to hear someone who works in the fitness industry spreading the word. Keep up the good work.

    1. Great question. They are not a 100 percent Primal, but they do pretty good! They cook most of their meals, eating mostly a whole food based diet. Some snack stuff like popcorn and a few crackers might still be eaten by my mom, but far and few between. My dad used to be a sugar monster and removing that has caused multiple health concerns to clear up. Every time I travel home I find them doing better and better, which is cool!

  30. I love the positive comments. Hadn’t thought about it til you reminded me!
    I look forward to the success stories sure, but also to reading the reactions. No other blog or site has such lovely regulars. Mark, you bring out the best in us physically and otherwise. THANKS !!
    And Luke you are so lucky to have worked this out early.

  31. Great story Luke, and so similar to mine. Sick all the time as a child with sinus, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia. Hospitalised many times, had allergy tests galore, and a sinus operation at 16. Winter was always terrible, being sick all the way through. This lasted through to my late 30’s. I started a new diet to lose weight and within 4 weeks I could breathe through my nose. I didn’t ever know this was possible! As time went on the asthma improved, and I got through last winter with no bronchitis. Researching how this new diet had made such a difference led to this site. Sites like this have been invaluable in allowing me to explain the science to my friends and family( including convincing my husband to give it a go). I have had to cut out milk and limit my dairy intake as well. But the difference to my life is absolutely worth it.

  32. Luke it is great to read your story. I have had sinus headaches all my life. I tested positive for grass and oak tree pollen but still had sinus headaches throughout the year. I was just resigned to always being susceptible to them. When I gave up dairy and wheat my sinus headaches improved remarkably.

  33. Hi Luke
    Great story and great results 🙂
    Question – how do you stay paleo on long hikes ?

    1. Jo, Most of the hiking I do are day trips so being without food isn’t much of a big deal. When I do take stuff, I’m packing Jerky, Apples, Nuts, Uber Bars, or some homemade Coconut based bars. Laughing Giraffe company makes some good coconut based bars that are pretty handy. They also make some grain free granola type stuff. Whole food sells it, it’s pricey but for those times you want some caloric density, it’s pretty good.

  34. The sentence that brings it home:

    “Hunger comes on slowly and steadily. It is a gentle reminder that it’s time to eat, not a complete code red, meltdown-system failure!”

  35. This is one of those stories that makes me feel like all will be well with the world one day! The fact that you learned this early (I was the sick healthy person until 40’s!) and are in the field you are means that the ripple effect will also spread from you. You are in a great position to change literally thousands of lives, I hope that you feel this! You have a great voice (positive, even) that many will respond to…now go out and change the world!!! 🙂 So glad for you that you found this!

    1. Suzzanne, Thanks for the very encouraging comment. That means a lot, truly. Thank you!

  36. This article really spoke to me. I was one of those moms who fed her kids everything the U.S. government told us to in their 1970s reports, i.e. eat lean meat sparingly, whole grains to the max, low fat everything, etc. I have had horrible allergies and sinus troubles for years, as did my son. I am sorry about following those pyramid guidelines now, that is for sure. As of now I have been eating primal since finding the primal blueprint in May 2013, and this spring, I had the fewest problems that I have had with allergies and sinus and throat/voice issues in many, many years. Thank you MDA, primal blueprint books, and everyone who comments.

  37. Great story and I really appreciate your comment at the end about nasty comments. This is a unique place and I forget sometimes about how supportive this community is; it’s helped me stay on track for almost 3 years!

  38. That was pretty much my experience with eating wheat. I had chronic respiratory infections my entire life. In my early 20s I thought about going to an allergist but never did. They were debilitating, lasted over a week each time, and I’d get them every other month or so. Several times a month in the summer. For years, I remember being sick every year on my birthday. I’d have to call in sick for work because I could barely open my eyes with all the sinus pressure, and good luck actually mentally processing anything other than my extreme desire for a swift death. When I went gluten free, I wasn’t expecting that change. I was a month into my elimination diet when I realized it was my birthday, everyone around me had sniffles (I never *only* had sniffles…), but I was perfectly fine. Since then, I only get respiratory infections if I’ve had gluten. I might get sniffles for a day with everyone else, but the infections are few and far between. In fact, I ate a few bites into a “corn tortilla” the other day before realizing it was actually just a flour tortilla with cornmeal thrown in, and within 24 hours I developed sneezing and a drippy nose. Several days later, I’m still dealing with chest congestion and cough.

  39. Sometimes you can get decent Lamb and other meats at Windmill Farms in Del Cerro across the 8 from SDSU. Thanks for the link. Usually the good beef is outside my budget.

  40. Wow very good story

    this is really nice

    Now, going ten hours without food while working an active day training clients, isn’t a problem. Hunger comes on slowly and steadily. It is a gentle reminder that it’s time to eat, not a complete code red, meltdown-system failure!

    congratulations not-anymore-hangry-monster

  41. Congrats on getting healthy – not just ‘in shape’.

    Interestingly you graduated from an Exercise Science degree and worked in the field but still didn’t know about proper nutrition and had to stumble upon it it by your self using google.

    A bit like the average medical doctor graduating from years of medical school and not knowing anything about keeping people healthy.

    Now wonder why the average person is ignorantly following the wrong path – not healthy and getting worse.

    Anyway enough of the negativity 🙂
    I’ve seen your website in the past after reading your many previous comments – I see you ‘walk the talk’.

    Well done.

    1. Mitch, That’s interesting yes. I even took nutrition courses in college. IMO there is a huge gap in what is being taught, and what current researchers are finding. I think the same holds true for the Exercise Science portion. I know many people will disagree and I think that school is useful, but I don’t look at it as the Holy Grail for learning. I think the ability self educate right now is exploding, it’s really exciting.

  42. Amazing really how food intolerance can cause such pervasive health trouble.
    Your story is very similar to mine. I love hearing how people have found there way here!

    I’ve been off the wagon since March and I’m already feeling repercussions. Today is an IF day to reset my motivation. Supper tonight will be a juicy steak with grilled veg. (and your picture has my mouth watering for it already.) I’ll have to power through the “hangry” until then.

    PS I though I invented that word. lol

  43. I’m so glad to read your story. It reminds me of my own issues. It’s great you found what was causing your problems and fixed it instead of just following along what you’d been taught you’re whole life. It’s really hard to break away from what “everybody knows” is true. Like how everybody knows whole grains are good for you! Breads are the base of the food pyramid so you should get most of your calories from your breads. Yeah right!

    I used to have constant nasal problems too. It was so bad I complained to doctors and they told me it’ll just be that way for life since we live in a high pollen area. It was a huge negative impact on my life feeling like I need to blow my nose all the time and a constant feeling of phlegm in the throat. I always wondered how I have this sort of issue even in the winter when all the pollen is gone.

    Now it’s pollen season again and everybody else is having runny noses but me. I didn’t even think about the change of diet being the reason why I have no more problem with phlegm and mucus.

    I still have some wheat item on occasion. But before I was having breads daily and with every meal. Just like my school and family taught me to do. I think it was the constant exposure that made it so bad.

  44. Thank you so much for this article! My 5 year old daughter has had chronic sinus congestion for most of her life. She is also a mouth breather and very heavy snorer and a very restless sleeper. After talking to several friends I learned she could possibly have enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils. We took a trip to her pediatrician and after xrays he said they seemed normal, however there was some inflammation in her nose. He prescribed Nasonex for a month and we went back this past Friday for a checkup. I have seen no change in her in a month although the doctor said her nose was slightly less inflamed. Then, I read this article over the weekend and have read a handful of articles since. I am now wondering if her sleep apnea type problems and chronic sinus congestion could be caused by dairy/grain allergies. She is a pretty healthy kid with a cold or two each year although this past winter she had strep for the first time. Her pediatrician gave us a referral to an ENT which I believe may still be worth checking out, but I would love some thoughts on eliminating some foods from her diet to see if that helps the problem. Obviously, I don’t want to put her through a surgery if I can treat it naturally.

  45. Great story Luke! My ‘ah-ha!’ moment was similar to yours – I went to an Extreme Beer Fest years ago with some friends and after having a very small glass of barley wine I got so ill – I gave away my drink tickets, left to get some food [pizza, which probably didn’t help…], but spun and was sick for over 8 hours afterward. It led me to realize I’m very intolerant of barley and malt products… especially maltitol, which is used as a sugar substitute in a lot of products, including my favorite gum at the time.

    Later on after eliminating barley I realized that grain in general caused enough inflammation to make my knees and hips hurt at the end of the day and I only realized it wasn’t due to ‘tough workouts’ when it kept happening after a surgery and a few weeks of no-workout recovery time – a lifelong issue that went away, never to return when I went primal.

    Congrats on your success and thanks for sharing!

  46. Awesome job Luke! My undergrad is Exercise Science, also, and it’s AMAZING how I never learned the negative effects of grains/wheat/gluten…only heard, “You need carbs for energy.” Keep up the great work of passing your knowledge forward!

    1. I wish I would have started researching and reading stuff outside of the required reading in college. It would have been fun to push the teachers for some in depth explanations. Like how there isn’t any essential carbohydrates, I would be curious to hear their responses.

  47. Sounds similar to my experience. I was a milk-and-corn-syrup-formula fed baby with horrible colic, as a child was allergic to chocolate and had frequent bronchitis (I also lived in a house with two smokers), and developed colitis as a teenager. When I went to college I got strep throat at the beginning, middle and end of every single term for four years. I outgrew some of these symptoms as I got older but only developed others. I’ve found that avoiding both dairy and wheat is the key for me.

  48. Wow, reading your story was like reading my own. I’ve always been a sickly “health nut” and got a BS in Exercise Phys, moved to Colorado and am finally figuring out what health actually is, which is 360 degrees different from what I learned in 4 years of college plus additional training. Just grateful I figured it out sooner rather than later. Enjoy your new found health.

  49. Just the boost I needed today. I have no allergies and am a good weight, but I’m doing primal for the hubs who has all the conditions you describe, Luke. He’s trying so hard to ditch the wheat, but after 40 years it’s a meal by meal struggle. Thanks for the encouragement and congrats on your success.

  50. Thanks for your story…I have suffered all my life with hayfever and as an adult with asthma. I too have had the allergy tests and doc came up with dust mite. My diet is not fantastic and I do love my wine. I read all of these comments but get a bit overwhelmed by so much info. It is time to see if this lifestyle change is for me…I cannot spend my life sneezing and being miserable more days than not.
    I am also carrying about 20kgs excess weight…I will start with eliminating wine and grain. Wish me luck!

  51. “Hunger comes on slowly and steadily. It is a gentle reminder that it’s time to eat, not a complete code red, meltdown-system failure!”

    This is the best way I have heard this change described! It is so true. A couple of weeks ago, my roommate from a few years ago came to visit me for a few days and was shocked when I skipped lunch without thinking. She told me that when we lived together if I skipped a meal there was hell to pay.

    I had almost forgot about that, and thought how amazing it is not to be enslaved by food.

    Great to hear your story! Continue inspiring others! (Oh yeah, and you’re a cutie!)

  52. Luke,

    I’m a big fan of your story, and greatest congratulations. I’m just getting my feet wet adapting to an NSNG (no sugar, no grains) lifestyle after being diagnosed with coeliac disease. Mark’s work with Paleo is really excellent, and I’m a big fan of Vinnie Tortorich if you haven’t checked his site out yet.

    It’s overwhelming me a bit that you remind me of an old friend that I haven’t seen in about a decade.

    Shoot me a message at extoleum014 (at hotmail). If I ran into who I think I did, tell Randy hi for me.

    Otherwise, I’m looking forward to helping my friends and family out seeing stories like this one. I grew up a sick kid around a few others and things seem to always be trending positive later on down the road.


  53. I have year round problems with allergies so your story hits home! I’m ready to go primal today, this may be the very thing I’ve been needing!