This Primal Business Gets Better and Better

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-1-2You want success stories? I’ve got success stories. Okay one to be exact, mine. These success stories are terrific by the way. When the subject comes up with somebody and I tell them about Primal living and MDA, I always tell them that if they do nothing else, at least read the success story every Friday.

I don’t have a significant transformation to share. I guess that’s why I never thought about writing in but I’ll give it a shot. I was logging into our company affiliated, heath provider website one day, when I noticed an offhand box on the right saying something like “Never eat these five foods if you want to lose weight!” For some reason I didn’t ignore it like I typically would. It led to a site featuring Isabel De Los Rios and what she said sounded logical and it began to open my eyes. It got me halfway there. I adopted her suggestions and got more interested in the subject. I began noodling around the internet and quickly found Mark’s Daily Apple.

I can picture myself hunched over my laptop with that “Wow” expression on my face. “Holy grass fed cow, this guy makes a whole lot of sense.” I am an engineer by trade and to have all the supporting data, studies and references were and are critical to me. After all those wasted years of avoiding egg yolks, thinking I was all that because I ate whole wheat (with a pompous attitude to boot), and scolding people about the evil of cholesterol, I had to pause for a moment to consider this big change I was contemplating. I remember thinking that if this guy Mark is just some internet wackjob I’m going to be dead within a year by eating this way. But it felt right and I jumped right into the lifestyle. I didn’t find it difficult at all. It’s so much easier if you believe in something and are excited about it. It was a few years ago but I don’t remember having any of the negative symptoms other people report.

And nothing bad happened. I did notice that my total cholesterol went down right at the beginning. The truth is, I have done a boatload of reading since then (for instance I slogged through Peter Attia’s “The Straight Dope On Cholesterol,” until I finally understood it all) and I don’t know what, if anything, those lipid numbers mean. LDL cholesterol may have a correlation to LDL particle count, but it’s unclear to me. Armed with all my new found knowledge, I marched into my cardiologist’s office to impress him with my fancy learning. He was polite and patient but cared not a lick for anything I had to say. He is conventional to the bone and responded by saying he wanted to start me on a low level dose of statins because my LDL cholesterol was too high. I had done enough reading at that point to know there was no way I would take statins. If anybody is aware of a primal cardiologist in the Connecticut area please let me know.

Let me tell you about the things that did happen. First, of course, was the excess weight. Although I was fairly active, I had been trying to lose 20 lbs for a long time but couldn’t do it. Now they came off easily. (Full disclosure; I have gradually put 10 back on and it’s perplexing. I suspect I am not quite as occasional on the dark chocolate as I should be. And some of it is muscle gain.) The next thing I noticed was that the chronic arthritis in my thumbs went away. And then amazingly, I began to sleep really well. What a joy. After decades of lousy sleep I had given up hope and accepted it as part of getting older. I was now sleeping through the night…every night. It was, and is, fantastic.

Although I don’t limit how much I eat, it’s not heaps because I am rarely ever hungry. According to CW I should be roughly the size of a grizzly bear based upon all the butter, bacon, animal fats and such that I joyously wolf down. (Oh chicken skin, how I missed you.)

beforeThis one blew my mind; I no longer have to use suntan lotion. I was known for not going to the beach unless I was camped out under an umbrella and I would still burn if I didn’t lotion up. Now I’ll stay out in direct sun sometimes just to test it, and the worst that happens is I get a slight tinge that doesn’t hurt and doesn’t peel. After that there is no burning whatsoever. The not so great aspect is that I can no longer get a tan on my torso and I have to walk around the beach with a major league farmer’s tan. I used to be able to tan very easily. Here is a picture to prove it. It’s also my “before” picture.

Speaking of lotion and skin, I have always had to lather lotion on my hands all winter or they get incredibly chapped. This winter I noticed that I hardly had to put any on. This Primal business gets better and better. Finally, if I do catch some type of bug or cold, it seems to me that the symptoms are only half as bad as they used to be.

Did I mention the joy of walking away from running most every day? I ran for years and hated and dreaded every step. Thank Mark alrighty, I am free at last. I was also known for napping in my car every day at lunch. Now I walk instead. This, along with exercise first thing in the morning, seems to do the trick. Before work I mix it up with things like sprints, burpees, rope jumping, body weight stuff, etc. We hike, bike and kayak on weekends. My wife Darlene and I also regularly have epic games of badminton. I have gotten an ultimate Frisbee group together one night a week at work and a foursome to play pickle ball once a week with another group. Like the man says, make it fun.

afterAs for food, it’s been not nearly as hard as I thought. I don’t miss pizza or bread and I once thought that would have been impossible. I miss popcorn a tad but even that’s not hard anymore, and I do cheat every now and again. Five Guys French fries are my kryptonite. (Tell me that peanut oil is not all that bad come to think of it and make me a happy man, Mark.) Darlene is partially on board and she prepares terrific Primal dinners. She is not buying into the offal though. We keep chickens now and enjoy them as pets, but we are loving our free range eggs. I got some Exo cricket flour bars and didn’t even hesitate. They were yummy. If there is a world apocalypse one day I won’t even wait until the food runs out, I’m going straight to bugs. (That chicken is not hiding a gut.)

I hunted down a Certified Primal Blueprint Expert here in Connecticut and we are arranging for her to come in and make a presentation for one of our company “Lunch and Learn” sessions. I am really excited about that. I might even bring a batch of my cookies made with macadamia nut flour, yacon syrup and Lily’s chocolate chips. I believe they have to be some of the healthiest cookies in the world. We just tried Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise today and it was as good as I hoped it would be. My lunch most days is real turkey breast in red cabbage leaf with gouda cheese (vitamin K2), and avocado. With the way I eat I get more raised eyebrows than a hippie at a young republicans convention, but it’s okay. My family comes for dinner every week. They are used to eating our Primal meals and are open minded and complimentary.

I am permanently and passionately Primal. I will end with a story to illustrate. About a year ago I was traveling on business. There was very little time between connections and I had to run through the airport like a fool. Well I must have gulped something weird in the terminal air, because when I got on that plane I started a severe coughing jag that I could not control. I was making everybody on the plane uncomfortable. It was bad enough that I was wondering if I should get off for medical attention. In fact, the flight attendants came over and asked if I was having chest pains and were close to booting me off. I wasn’t, but I was a little scared. A nice lady sitting by the window offered me some type of mint candy to help, and even though I wasn’t positive I wasn’t dying, my only thought was “no way am I eating that sugar!”

Thanks so much for what you do Mark!

Russ Anderson

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53 thoughts on “This Primal Business Gets Better and Better”

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  1. Well done with your success story, everyone’s transformation is significant whatever the extent.

    Thanks for giving me a laugh and cheering me up today.

  2. What a great story Russ and so similar to my own. My husband and I have been primal for just over a year. My numbers are better, I no longer burn in the sun, hardly ever get sick and when I do it’s short in duration. Best of all it was my husband’s cardiologist who recommended going LCHF to start with. Unfortunately she’s at the Lakes Region General Hospital in NH, but a call to the office might be able to get you a referral to someone in CT. Best of luck in finding someone in your area who believes in the Primal way.

  3. Great going Russ!!!

    Your comments about not needing hand cream in the winter and sun lotion at the beach is true! The past couple of years I’ve noticed the same.

    I work with about 150 engineers and many of them could use MDA! (I am the only one standing up at my desk) –and your story of bringing in a certified PB expert inspired me to look for one here in Tennessee (Nashville) and try the same with my engineering group.

    Actually it’s a great suggestion for any company or group–even my church!

    Keep spreading the news!

    1. I’m curious about the sunscreen issue. Do you just not burn anymore no matter what? Russ mentioned I think that he doesn’t tan on his torso? Wonder what the science is behind that. I assume the issue of not needing lotion for dry skin is because of the added fat in the diet?

      1. Hi Vicki

        Thanks for the feedback. I spent about 3 hours with my exposed back in direct sunlight last Saturday as I sanded our deck. I got some burn but it didn’t hurt much and now six days later there is no peeling. In the old days it would have hurt plenty and I would have peeled for sure.

        Russ

      2. Since I’ve been a Grok devotee I have noticed like Russ– that 30 mins or more in the sun gives me a little color (and I’m somewhat fair skinned— as opposed to burning.

        I never use sunscreen or tanning lotion, but as I have mowed, walked, run, hiked,. etc. I have been burn free for a couple years now. I also like Mark’s advice about getting 15-20 mins a day of direct sunlight. The vitamin D alone is important, but the feeling of God’s sun on my skin is just awesome.

      3. I read somewhere that sunburn is a sign of vitamin imbalance but there were no specifics offered. I am a typical English Rose and have burned horribly in the past. This tendency seems to be gradually changing with Primal eating in that my skin is more tolerant of the sun. I do still burn on my décolletage sometimes but this may be due to a particularly bad case of sunburn gained under the fierce Gran Canarian sun which has sensitised this area. I hope in time this too will heal fully.

        One of the loveliest boons of Primal is the transformation of my skin. It is plump and soft with a very healthy natural tone. Prior to Primal it was terribly dry and needed much cream to prevent soreness and further drying. These days I don’t need to moisturise and have no need to wear make-up. Natural beauty as Nature intended.

      4. I very fair skinned, and I normally burn and blister when I’m in the sun too long. I also hate using sunscreen, and I bicycle and backpack a lot, so that puts me in a bad position – though I usually take the stance that the sun is natural and sunscreen is not. I wear a hat, wear long sleeves, etc.

        However, my point is, while I haven’t noticed any greater resistance to burning, I have noticed that some troublesome brown spots on my cheekbones have faded away until they almost match the surrounding skin. My doctor never mentioned them as a cause for concern, but they looked very much like patches of damaged skin to me, (a little rough and they would peel a little bit even when the rest of my face was not sunburned). Now that area of skin looks pretty much healthy. I credit that to the primal diet.

  4. Great story, thank you for sharing. I envy your chickens and may be more likely to feed the bugs to the chickens and enjoy better eggs.

    1. I would try the bugs, but amen to feeding them to the chickens too! Does it irk anyone else when they read, “Vegetarian Fed” on a carton of eggs?

      1. Yes! WTH? Chickens eat bugs. That’s what chickens do. Vegetarian chickens? What exactly are they feeding them, and where is the protein coming from for all those eggs? Crazy-making.

        1. It’s to reassure you that they haven’t been fed ground up dead chickens.

    2. Markterring 101. Nearly everyone thinks vegetarian fed chickens is a good thing and as the practical alternative feed is fish products and with the oceans under enormous overfishing vegetarian feed is not without merit.

      You just can’t sell “bug fed” chicken eggs, only the cognoscenti would buy them.

      But yes, especially considering that chickens are the closest living relatives of the T-Rex, it bugs me.

      1. I found “pastured” eggs at WF. Anyone know if that is legitimate, or misleading marketing?

  5. Nice job! You look very happy, and that counts for a lot in health. Maybe your current weight is where your body feels happy?

  6. Congrats, Russ!

    I need to do some more investigating into my diet now solely based on your sunscreen observation. I am horribly sensitive to sunscreen and so are my kids, and while I’ve read that diet can make a huge difference, I’m now inspired to see what we can be doing better. Just in time for summer. 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Hi Annie, if you need more sunscreen than your body naturally can provide, I suggest using oils. Particularly raspberry seed oil has a high natural sunscreen, up to about 50 spf, you can buy it online from some organic shops. Other oils are also worth checking, do a google search and you’ll get more alternatives. Happy summer! 🙂

  7. Thanks for sharing, Russ. Love your writing style. You should be blogging.

  8. I have to say ditto to two things in your success story. 1)After years of slathering my whole family in sunscreen, we now hardly ever need it. 2)I no longer have to lotion myself and my hands up all winter to survive the “drying” winter. It’s pretty amazing!

  9. I think the transformation is pretty darn noticeable myself! You look WAY more fit in your After picture! And being able to sleep well and consistently is a feat in and of itself. I’ve been 80/20 Primal since 2009, and love it but the Success Stories always have a bolstering effect for me so thank you for sharing your story!

  10. A lovely lighthearted piece Russ and you do look great in the second pic!

  11. Love your story. Cracked me up. Ditto to the fries. Could care less about sugar, but fries…..

  12. Great post!!

    Could we please get the macadamia flour chocolate chip cookie recipe???

    1. Katie, Thanks for the nice word. Here is the recipe. I hope you enjoy them.

      •3 cups Macadamia Nut Flour
      •2 tbsp. Coconut Flour
      •1 tsp Baking Soda
      •1/2 tsp Sea Salt
      •1/4 cup Coconut Oil
      •1/4 cup Yacon Syrup
      •2 whole Eggs
      •1 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)
      •1/4 tsp Almond Extract (optional)
      •1 cup Lilly’s Dark Chocolate Chips
      •1/2 cup toasted Sliced Almonds (optional)

      Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine macadamia flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt and set aside. Mix coconut oil and yacon syrup in a mixer or by hand until creamy but not fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add whole eggs and extracts (if using) and mix for 2 additional minutes. Slowly add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix briefly. Add chocolate chips and toasted almonds and mix until well combined. Place large rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, about 1-inch apart. Flatten slightly, to approximately 1-inch thickness. Bake until set and golden, about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them because the bottoms will burn. Makes 25 – 30 servings.

  13. Russ, I have had the same thing as far as not burning! I noticed a few summers ago I would lather the sunscreen on my kids and forget to put it on myself. I never burn whether it be in a pool for hours or at the beach. I still put it on my children ( we use a good brand) but honestly if I don’t reapply they are fine. I truly believe it’s the grass fed/pastured meats we eat. I have no proof but I feel like these animals are outside getting the sunlight they need, we consume them and then we somehow benefit from the way nature intended animals to be!!! I don’t know. Just my silly theory but I’m enjoying getting my tan on!

  14. An engineer with a sense of humor?? Is this a new primal benefit that we haven’t heard of before?

    1. Jim,

      My husband is a civil engineer; and he has a great sense of humor! I’ve read studies that prove the more educated a person is, the funnier they tend to be. And my husband adopted the primal blueprint lifestyle when he was 55, is in the best shape ever, has amazing numbers, and just turned 60 in March! We joke that his doctor is jealous of his great numbers and amazing health! Jealous, or unhappy because he is not a return customer!

      Russ rocks!!

  15. Congrats, Russ. I’m looking forward to submitting my own success story someday. Good luck on your “Lunch and Learn” session with the PB expert!

  16. About your request for a “primal cardiologist” . Dr. Stephen Sinatra is an award-winning cardiologist and I think he’s in your area. He doesn’t describe himself as primal but he must be very close, given the videos he does on food. They would easily pass a primal analysis. He is certainly not CW.
    http://www.drsinatra.com/about-dr-sinatra/

    1. Thank you very much maidel. I have made previous inquiries to Dr. Sinatra’s office and he is either retired from practice or not accepting new patients unfortunately.

  17. Hey, Russ, there is nothing un-Primal about fries. But instead of buying them at Five Guys, just make them at home with a healthy, saturated fat! I save bacon fat just for this! And you don’t need a lot of cooking skill to make homemade fries. You can make them in an ordinary pan, and you don’t need to deep-fry them – just turn them over. YUMM!!

    1. I’m could go Forrest Gump on alternative fries but won’t. My fav alternatives are celery root fries and eggplant fries.

  18. Great success story, Russ! I love that you found a PB Certified Expert to make a presentation at one of your company’s “Lunch and Learn” sessions. Awesome way to spread the word!

  19. No primal docs I know of but Natura Medica in Mystic are open minded. I speak from experience.

  20. This is one of the funniest Friday stories I have read
    And I trust you that you are not hiding a gut behind the chicken

  21. Well written Russ and good work overall. I have had a lot of the same good things you mention, but I sure wish I could sleep well every night. I am an entrenched bi-phasic (?) sleeper whenever I have to get up in the morning. I sure wish that would become a thing of the past.

  22. Nice work Russ. You look like your posture has improved, and you look very fit in your after photo. As someone else said, perhaps your body has just settled in its own “happy place”. I too have much improved skin and I sleep really well now compared to before – even just those two benefits alone are well worth the change I reckon.

    You write really well, your story gave me a real chuckle on a Saturday afternoon (here in Australia!). Keep it up, and I say take those cookies to your “lunch & learn” day. Every head you can turn away from CW is a win in my book.

  23. Sorry I just don’t believe the suntan lotion part of the story. I really think we have a boas when it comes to eating primal, doing something new etc. That your mind manifests into a reality. I just don’t buy it. I went primal for a time and it did nothing to heal my dry skin, etc.

    1. Hi Kim, I think that just because it didn’t work for you doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for other people. I went primal ages ago and am still not ok, turns out I have leaky gut syndrome which has been messing with hormone systems, giving me systemic inflammation and a lot of other stuff in my body. There could be a million reasons you didn’t improve during your trial, for many of us paleo isn’t the magic pill it can be for others, but it’s a first step in the right direction. That’s my take on it anyways. Keep fighting to feel better! 🙂

    2. Kim

      For what it’s worth, those skin related things didn’t happen for a while. I believe I went primal in 2011. I noticed the sunburn (or lack of) last summer and the hand lotion thing just this past winter.

      Russ

  24. Great story and amusingly written. Thanks. I now need to embrace Primal wholeheartedly instead of halfassedly as I’ve been doing for nearly 3 years.

  25. I just started on Primal, and I am on statins. My provider put me down on my chart as a “medication high risk” because I wasn’t taking them the way I should and I forgot to bring them with me on vacation! If you consistently don’t follow doctors orders it is possible to get dismissed! (I know because I actually work for the Physicans group my provider is in). So I hope my cholesterol comes down enough that he takes me off of them, because if I stop taking them against his orders he may boot me! LOL
    Anyway, good job Russ! I love reading everybody’s story, such an inspiration! And by the way I have already lost 4lbs. this week. Yay!

  26. Hey-ho from a fellow engineer! Nice work, and thanks for the entertaining Friday tale! I wish my would advocate this stuff, but SAD posters abound in the coffee room (along with the ubiquitous “Safeway cake”, with what my friend calls “frosting made from White-Out”)! 🙂