The Only Side Effects I Have Are Feeling Better and Better!

It’s Monday, 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 Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I was 13-years-old when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, I’m 31-years-old now. I was born and raised in a tiny northern California community, 75 miles from access to any specialist. Can you imagine my limitations to healthcare options?

It took the doctors 2 months to diagnose the disease, and by then I was extremely ill. Because of where I lived, I had to travel an hour and a half to see my Gastroenterologist. My GI doctor immediately put me on steroids and pharmaceuticals. The medications helped mask the symptoms, and I started feeling better.

I was eventually referred to a doctor in San Francisco who was up and coming with the latest medical research. That GI put me on a biologic drug called Remicade. For those of you who don’t know what biologics are, have you ever seen those TV commercials advertising for Humira or Remicade? Towards the end of the commercial the narrator spends about 2 minutes listing the scary possible side effects. Back then, there weren’t many of those commercials yet, at least not for this new type of medicine. In a moment of desperation, my parents agreed to give it a try. It would get my sick body into remission, right?

For a couple of years, every 6-8 weeks, I visited different hospitals and care facilities to get the drug. It’s given intravenously—through an IV—and it would take between 5 and 6 hours for the entire IV bag to drain into my blood vessels. It was painful and would sting. I was given Benadryl to knock me out (more drugs!), so I was able doze off uncomfortably while I waited for the medicine to finish draining.

Once I started college, I moved to another city and found a GI doctor there. I was in remission so my new GI took me off Remicade. Since the day I was diagnosed (up until 6 months ago), there have been certain medications I had never stopped taking. In the years to come, I battled with the disease. I would get sick, and my doctor would prescribe a new pharmaceutical or antibiotic for me to try or increase my dosages. Sometimes when I got well enough, I convinced my doctor to take me off the new meds and decrease my dosages. Throughout those years I was in-and-out of remission, and yet Crohn’s was always lingering like a computer virus waiting for its moment to attack.

I can’t tell you how often my family listened to my emotional pleas, crying and desperate for relief. It was messing with my mind and emotions. My moods were constantly up and down—tired, unmotivated, depressed…I had a mental fog hanging over me. And I was in physical pain. Have you ever had a constant pain that doesn’t go away? I was used to it, and I dealt with it, but I didn’t want to accept it. I frequently declined invitations to do things because I didn’t feel well. Furthermore, I was often physically incapable of doing what I desired and loved most: traveling. I worried in the back of my mind that I was becoming more and more socially isolated. Was this changing my friendly and outgoing personality? My mind craved to do things, but my body wouldn’t allow it.

Ever since I had been on medications, my liver showed early signs of sickness. During a check-up in college, a doctor found a nodule near my thyroid. A couple years ago, I suffered extreme headaches on either sides of my head. I had 3 surgeries in one year relating to Crohn’s. My wrist started squeaking and creaking one day, only to find out I had “arthritis.” I got a crazy rash attack on my face one summer. My hair and nails were fragile and weak, and my skin was dry. My weight was constantly up and down. And I was regularly sick with the common cold or flu. These were side effects and symptoms of imbalance in my body. My body was crying for help.

Eventually I got ill again, and the meds stopped working. My doctor’s only option was to put me on another biologic drug. I wasn’t going to allow that in my body again! So I became my own advocate. I found a Holistic Nutritionist, who I call my Angel. The minute I met her, I knew it felt right. After telling her my story, the first thing she said to me was, “I can help you.” I burst into tears. She was so positive of her abilities to help me, and I trusted her with my whole heart.

One year later, I’m happy to say I am in complete remission and off ALL pharmaceutical drugs! I’ve never in my life felt better—physically or mentally. I’m not going to lie and say it was a walk in the park. It took dedication, desire, and a strong will. But I did it—I dove head first into the Alternative World of Healing and haven’t looked back since. I absolutely love my new health protocol. And I feel GOOD about what I put into my body. I love the healthy food I eat, following a Paleo and Ketogenic diet. It has proven to work for me, without any terrible side effects. The only side effects I have are feeling better and better! And the side effects from the medications have since subsided and gone away. I took action, listened to my intuition and decided to do what felt right for me.

Why am I telling you my story? I want you to feel inspired, to take action and be your own health advocate! If you don’t like what your healthcare provider is telling you, get another opinion. Not all opinions are created equal. Not all health practitioners are created equal either. And not all practitioners listen and care about what you want. I want to stress this: IT IS IMPORTANT TO FIND A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER WHO MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD. Who listens to you. Who will work with you. Who will try what you want. It’s important to find the right balance for you. Finding my go-to person has been extremely rewarding because I trust her and I have a special bond with her. She’s proven to me (as my current health status shows), that by following her advice, my natural health protocol is working. I have the capacity/ability to continue getting healthier…it’s only a matter of time.

There is a ton of information out there, and it can be difficult to navigate through everything. Which brand do I use? Which technique is best? Which product do I choose? It can be overwhelming, all of the information we sift through daily. I’m not here to tell you what you should do. I believe each body is different, and what your body is asking for may be different than what my body needs. Since meeting my Holistic Nutritionist, I’ve found other inspirational health coaches who I follow and get information from—such as Mark’s Daily Apple. I believe he is a valuable and knowledgeable source, and has lots of information, advice and recipes, which have helped and guided me.

Seventeen years ago, Crohn’s Disease changed my life. But I’ve chosen to listen to my gut instincts (no pun intended) and do what is right for me.

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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20 thoughts on “The Only Side Effects I Have Are Feeling Better and Better!”

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  1. Mark —
    Proofreader here. Since the testimonials are on Monday now, you might want to change “It’s Friday, everyone!” in the box at top.

  2. “Become your own health advocate”. Amen.

    It’s almost 2019 and most doctors still go right to prescribing killer drugs as the first step.

    1. Yes yes yes! Learning about other ways (such as anti-inflammatory diets, eliminating personal food triggers, herbs, supplements, etc) to address certain issues that prescription meds are generally prescribed for has been such a valuable and eye-opening experience. I’m amazed to keep learning how many things can be addressed by a change in food consumption and adding some key nourishing supplements.

  3. Thanks for adding the disclaimer at the bottom. I have Crohn’s disease and diet intervention hasn’t helped reduce my inflammation – only pharmaceuticals have helped. I love the primal lifestyle but every case of IBD is different.

    1. Yes Naomi, each case is different and very personal. I’d like to add that I’ve also added specific supplements to support vitamin and mineral deficiencies my body was lacking, in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes. It all helps! Diet is very important, but sometimes not enough when the body needs more…I hope you’re feeling better! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any personal questions…I’m not a doctor or specialist, but if I can help or offer advice, I’m happy to! There’s a lot to consider when the body is trying to heal, but I’m a true believer in functional and holistic medicine.

    2. Naomi,

      Everyone else that I know, or know of, has been able to kick Crohn’s with diet intervention. They may have all had to do various variations on the theme, but diet was key. Inflammation comes from something. And in the cases of issues such as this, it more than likely comes from something one consumes. Have you tried the GAPS and AIP diets?

      I’m just trying to help. Best wishes!

  4. Thanks for telling your story! I’m inspired by your proactive approach and perseverance in finding what was right for you. Brava, and onward!

    The allopathic approach just falls woefully short for so many people. Dietary changes might not make enough of a difference for everyone–I’m someone who has had mixed results–but I’m convinced that taking SOME action toward health is better than none.

    1. Which is not to say that anyone who needs meds is doing it wrong. Sometimes meds are necessary, too. But hey, if we can alter our health through primal lifestyle changes, so much the better!

    2. Yes Sylvie, finding the right protocol can be difficult, and sometimes it takes a little trial and error (which I personally know can be frustrating when you’re feeling so awful and want a quick fix!). I’ve learned and discovered that holistic health is a multi-dimensional, layered/level approach…and once you’ve found someone who can help guide you through the process, you end up learning so much about yourself in the process. It’s pretty remarkable. I hope you are able to find what works best for you! 🙂

  5. Sorry to hear about such a difficult journey you’ve had, but congratulations on your side effects! You look amazing, happy, and healthy!

  6. Hello everyone! Thank you for taking the time to read my personal story. 🙂 I wrote this article for my blog called Honor thy Gut. Many of Mark’s articles inspire my posts…I also write about my healing journey, healthy tips, advice, recipes, etc…all things healthy!

    Please check it out and feel free to follow along if you feel inspired to do so! It’s a happy and inspirational place.

  7. Larissa, Awesome story of healing. So many chronic illnesses seem to be related to or caused by whatever we eat. Congratulations!

  8. Thanks for your story. Our experience is similar to yours. We notice there is a theory gaining ground that Crohn’s is not an autoimmune disease, instead it is an insufficiency of the innate immune in clearing bacteria. I have always wondered if living more primally helps because it removes burdens from the immune system to allow it to function more optimally. What do you think?

    1. I think that could very well be true. You should look into a series that just aired for free online called Interconnected – it’s about the microbiome. There are 9 extremely interesting and fascinating episodes about “autoimmune disease”, cancer, depression, autism, etc. and how they may be linked to the microbiome. Check it out, it’s absolutely worth the time to watch!

    2. That’s very interesting…I believe Crohn’s is tied closely with the immune system and the immune’s inability to do it’s job (for many reasons, including: pharmaceuticals/antibiotics killing off all the good guys, poor diet & GMOs, toxins & heavy metal toxicity, etc). When there’s not enough good bacteria in the gut, the body can’t fight off all the “bad guys.” In effect, the immune system gets overworked & very tired..and it just can’t do it’s job at protecting the body anymore. Then we start seeing inflammation in the body, and an autoimmune condition is born! (Just a personal theory, but could be…).

      There’s a documentary being aired for free right now called Interconnected. It’s about the microbiome. Very interesting stuff!!! I think you’d enjoy it. Check it out!

  9. Thanks Mark, for sharing such an inspirable information with us. I too agree with your words “If you don’t like what your healthcare provider is telling you, get another opinion. Not all opinions are created equal. Not all health practitioners are created equal either.”

  10. What an amazing and inspiring story! The article is so well written it gives the reader a truly vivid picture of the author’s incredible journey from sickness to health. It takes a lot of courage to pursue an alternative course of treatment and I am happy for Larissa that she found an approach that has worked and is still working for her. Good luck on your search for symptom relief and wishing you long lasting good health and happiness!

  11. Great story, Larissa!

    I have ulcerative colitis and have tried a myriad of diets, eliminating foods and later adding one back one at a time, tried some supplements, but no change in my condition. Of course I have gone the medical routine too. UC comes and goes.

    Stress could be the cause of UC, so I have tried prayer, meditation, changed my frame of mind and that has helped sometimes.

    I would like to find the little nugget that has caused my UC and a fix, but, in the meantime I need medication and to eat whole foods.

    Any suggestions or thoughts??

    1. Hi David,

      One of the first things my Holistic Nutritionist did when starting my protocol was add specific supplements that nourish and heal the gut, such as (but not limited to): l-glutamine, a very good probiotic, and digestive enzymes. I also started a very good multi vitamin, a good dose of minerals, and some herbal supplements which started a slow & safe detox as well. I also had a micronutrient blood test done to see vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and began taking supplements for those deficiencies. (There’s quite a lot of supplements I’ve taken to list here, but if you’d like more specific information, feel free to send me a private message [email protected])

      Building up the immune system is very important, as well as healing the gut. As you know, food is a very important factor for these…eliminating trigger foods and adding nourishing foods is key (foods high in antioxidants were very important for me because the results from the micronutrient test showed very low antioxidant and immune levels).

      I believe that following a strict diet & regimen were the most important things I could have done, which contributed to my healing. (Look for AIP diets and/or very strict Paleo diets…Mark’s recipes are great and nourishing as well!) Bone broth is great, and prebiotic foods as well.

      And I completely agree with you: stress is a very important thing to eliminate and figure out how to manage! I still work on that, but as I started healing and feeling better, my depression began to lift, and so did the stress. Have you tried EFT? Or acupuncture? Those are fantastic tools as well.

      Have you read anything about Leaky Gut? If not, I encourage you to look into it. This is an article I wrote about leaky gut:

      I hope this information helps and you start to get some relief!

      I know personally, I couldn’t have navigated through all of this without the guidance and support of my Holistic Nutritionist, as well as my family and friends. So make sure to surround yourself with positive and supportive people…it makes all the difference!