We Have More Energy to Be Better Partners, Parents, and People

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!

It has been an ongoing struggle to “find the time” to write this letter. As Mother’s Day has recently passed and Father’s Day is approaching, I think the time is NOW!

My name is Cailey and I am soon-to-be 31 years old. I am a wife, a mother of two daughters, and a speech-language pathologist at an acute care hospital. Our journey began 5 years ago when my fabulous, 60-something, mother-in-law introduced me and my husband to the book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” by Gary Taubes. Our initial reaction was wariness and disbelief. My husband and I have always been relatively healthy children and young adults; however, by the time we married in 2007 conventional wisdom had led to a 30 lb and 5 lb, respectively, weight gain from when we met in 2002. My husband’s weight gain was gradual, evenly distributed, and no one really noticed. In private I would lovingly joke “baby got back.”

Hal and Cailey Pre-primal - 03/07

Cailey and Husband Hal Pre-Primal - 06/06

Hal Pre-Primal - 03/07

After many heated family discussions about health, we are all passionate and opinionated people, my husband’s interest was piqued. My mother-in-law (pictured below) generously bought almost every single person in our family, The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson and my husband was hooked. As my husband devoured all material related to the primal/paleo lifestyle, I decided to go along for the ride.

Cailey's Mother-in-Law, Leanne - 10/12, Post Primal

At this time I was in my first trimester with my first daughter. The first thing we did was cut out breakfast cereal and replace it with eggs. My self diagnosed hypoglycemia vanished along with my need to snack every 3-4 hours to prevent nausea, the shakes, and general moodiness. We were about 50% in line with primal/paleo eating. Consequently, I gained 50 lbs and it took 18 months to lose the weight (in part due to well meaning friends sending casserole after casserole). By the time my daughter was ready to eat solids we were so entrenched in this lifestyle we never hesitated in choosing to avoid all baby cereals and grains.

Cailey Pre-Primal - 4 Months After 1st Baby, 10/09

Fast forward a couple of years and I was pregnant with my second daughter, my husband had lost the 30 lbs and eradicated years of heartburn, and my mother-in-law had slowly infiltrated the minds of friends and family. At 75% in line with paleo/primal lifestyle I gained 23 lbs, 9 lbs to lose when I left the hospital, and lost it in 3 months.

Hal Post-Primal After Finishing Xterra Sprint Triathlon - 07/11

Hal Post-Primal Active Daddy, 07/11

Presently, our family is 90/10, our eldest daughter is 4 years old, and her staple foods consist of: turkey/cheese roll-ups, kimchi, fermented pickles, nuts, plain yogurt, berries, and local meat and veggies. She has a deeper understanding and appreciation for food that will make her “strong” vs food that will make her “sick” than most adults I interact with daily at work in healthcare.

Caily and Daughter - Post-Primal

Cailey Post-Primal 4 Months After 2nd Baby, 10/12

We are very fortunate to live in a progressive college town in north central Florida with access to local grass fed and finished meats, local cheese, and local and organic veggies/fruit from our CSA (community supported agriculture). The primal/paleo lifestyle works in perfect harmony with the local food movement. This lifestyle IS living in accordance with the land and part of how we will move forward as a society and thrive. Paleo/primal living is mindfulness in action and a reminder of the interconnectedness of everything. In Be Free Where You Are, written by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk says, “one string bean contains the whole cosmos in it: the sunshine, rain, the whole Earth, time, space and consciousness. You also contain the whole cosmos.”

Colarulli-Knowles Family Post-Primal, 04/11

Cailey and Hal Post-Primal, 07/11

As we received the countless benefits of this lifestyle we shared it with everyone we possibly could and pissed off a few people along the way. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to listen and one must meet others where they are at. So, instead of shouting from the rooftops, we now politely use our indoor voices, and show rather than tell. As the musical group The Avett Brothers so eloquently put it, “decide what to be and go be it.” When people see how happy, strong, and healthy you are they will ask, “What do you do?”

We have incorporated the primal/paleo lifestyle into our daily routine. In doing so, we have more energy and time to be better partners, parents, and people.

  • Backyard gym/play set (pull ups, push ups, squats, shoulder presses, and planks) we all play together
  • Family walks
  • Own 1 car, if possible (forces both of us to commute to work by bike or bus)
  • Join a CSA or go to your local farmer’s market (you will see and try things you never knew existed!)
  • Limit eating out (saves money, time, and poor eating choices, ie. bad oils)
  • Do not buy packaged food (if it can live indefinitely in a box, it is not fit for human consumption)
  • Intermittently fast instead of eating crappy conference, cafeteria, and fast food
  • Make time for cooking, everyone has the time, it’s what you choose to make time for that matters
  • Involve the family in food prep (my 4 yr old uses a real knife to cut soft veggies/fruit)

It is impossible to emphasize how much simpler yet more meaningful the paleo/primal lifestyle is for my family. I have attached some pictures of us. Sorry, no dramatic before and after shots, I love them as much as you do. Just grateful people smiling back at you!

Hal, Cailey and Daughters

Finally, I have to come come clean and be honest about the timing of this letter. Of course, it is a big whole-hearted thank you to Mark. You have changed the course of my family and friends lives. This is also a late Mother’s Day present to my evolving, full of life and love, mother-in-law, a true inspiration for me. Lastly, a love letter to my husband for Father’s Day – someone who is always ahead of the curve, inspires me to do better, and makes our world a kinder, gentler place.



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101 thoughts on “We Have More Energy to Be Better Partners, Parents, and People”

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  1. What a great story and what beautiful photos! You look like you have a great family 🙂

    ps – I wish my mother-in-law was Primal!

    1. Me TOO! Mine just bakes sugary cakes and pies for my baby daughter.

  2. Yay for great mothers-in-law! (I plan on being an awesome one in a few years :-))

    And kudos to you for listening, too. You all look wonderful, and I love how you have incorporated all the principles into your lifestyle, not just your diet. The benefits of primal are exponential and go way beyond weight-loss when we do that.

    And I bet your MIL thinks you’re awesome too!

    1. Alison, the importance and influence of a good MIL cannot be overstated. I know your comment was directed toward Cailey and my mom, but I am also fortunate to have an amazing MIL in Cailey’s mom! It would be crazy not to accept their unconditional love and acknowledge their free lessons on life. As the band, The Head And The Heart sing, “My momma once told me, you’re already home, do you feel loved?”

      And yes, for us, primal is not a diet…it cuts to the core of our body, mind, and soul!

  3. You are a beautiful family!

    It is actually quite a blessing that you didn’t have to first become very unhealthy before finding out about the Primal lifestyle. Give your mother-in-law a huge hug for loving her family enough to buy Mark’s books for all of them. And you deserve cudos for being smart enough to act on it.

    Go forth and inspire the world, “using your indoor voice”. I love it!

  4. Great story, well done to all of you (MIL included) for making Primal look great – it still really is the best way to convince people or at the least get them thinking! You look like you have a beautiful family and a very primal attitude to life.

  5. wow, what a great transformation! there IS a noticeable difference in the before/after shots. you all look really healthy after, and like a happy, energetic family! i also became more primal with each of my 3 pregnancies, and our 3rd child has eaten grass fed liver, and barely any grains or seeds of any kind!

    1. Thanks Jenny, that’s awesome about your pregnancies and the wee liver eater! Cailey and the girls aren’t much into the organ meats yet, but I like my liver with sautéed onions, blueberries, and a splash of sherry…yum!

  6. Fabulous….Mother-in-law, please explain??? Only kidding of course, those typically don’t go toether. 🙂

    Excellent story. Whole family, whole health! Awesome!

  7. I love the dramatic “before and after” shots too, but it’s SO much better for you that you didn’t have to go down that rabbit hole first.

    What a wonderful gift your mother-in-law gave you in pointing you along the path. I love it when people LISTEN and then TAKE ACTION. Yay you!

    1. +1. And your mother-in-law looks fantastically healthy and happy. If this is what the future family looks like, vote me in.

  8. Cailey,
    We have so much in common! I am a mother of two myself, and found MDA about 6 months ago when my youngest was 6 months old, he is now one and I have a 4yo daughter. I cut out rice cereal (much to the disapproval of my MIL) and I am currently having trouble getting my boy to eat anything unless puréed. My MIL thinks it is all bc I stopped the cereal ( seriously I read the ingredients!! And also had the pediatrician tell me it is only filler, so why on earth are we targeted with this crap to feed our babies???) anyhow, I guess I am asking if you have any tips on switching him to real food, or if this was even an issue for you?? Mom to mom your story is SO inspiring….and I know just what u mean about wanting to shout out on a mountain top, but I usually get a glazed over blank stare when I tell people we don’t eat bread. Lol

    1. Pdawg, try the book Baby Led Weaning. If your child is used to purees, then give them portions of what you’re eating first (real, solid foods!) and let them work on that for a long time before you give a puree. I think many parents lean on purees into toddlerhood because they don’t have the faith and patience to let their kid push around a plate of real food for an hour before they finally take a nibble. Kids can be slow, messy eaters, but if they are hungry, they will eat. Good luck!

    2. My Mom would cook up the giblets from the whole,fresh chickens she bought and then grind the, in the blender. That was our baby food. She also fed us soft boiled eggs. Good luck!

      1. Thanks Ara, I have tried the eggs and it was a no go. He will eat a few things, so I am just going to keep trying.

    3. I read a book called “French Kids eat anything” and whilst it’s not a diet book exactly it did give me insight to how other nations feed their babies. I loved it and wished I knew some things about this when I had small children. My youngest is 16.
      It’s available on amazon very cheap and worth the money in my opinion…. the French feed their babies VERY differently to how I learnt (Im an Aussie). No cereals, no snacking, no rewarding with food. I cannot say enough about how it opened my eyes to how we set out kids up for food problems such as emotional eating…
      Good luck xo

      1. Thanks for the book recommendation Jane! I’m going to see if our library carries it. On a parenting book related noted, Cailey and I are fans of the Conscious Discipline approach by Dr. Becky Bailey. It’s been helpful for us though like all things some of the suggested interactions are tough to turn into regular habits.

      2. Jane,
        I agree. My 4 year old is an awesome eater. Not so much veggies, but loves fruit and any kind of meat. I started her out on SAD, but I am determined to feed my son as primal as possible from the start. I swear in America it is just unheard of if you don’t shove goldfish or any other kind of cracker down their throats at all hours of the day. My daughter still tries her best to graze, but I know when she has eaten a scrambled egg, and half a almond flour waffle for breakfast she can wait until lunch. Lol

    4. I agree with Alison, if they are hungry enough they will eat as well as allowing them the time to play and eventually get the hang of what is expected. My daughter is one next week and the transition foods we started with were scrambled eggs, avocados, banana, blueberries, salmon, and grass fed ground beef (minced in food processor and mixed with water). Hope this helps.

  9. What a great and inspiring story Cailey! You all look wonderful, full of life and happiness.

    1. Hedgie thanks for the awesome comic relief! One of my favorite comments of the thread 😀

      I beliebe you may have coined the new primal parent slogan!

  10. What a wonderful Mother’s Day present to your fabulous mother-in-law. It’s amazing to me, reading these testimonials, how often one loving (and in-the-know) friend or family member sets transformation in motion with a gentle nudge or recommendation.

    Your family is beautiful. 🙂

  11. That beard! Hubba hubba. I love that picture of your daughter being thrown so high. You all look so happy and healthy.

  12. No words can describe the joy I feel in my life and love shared with you my sweet Cailey! I truly am the luckiest man in the world…even if it would appear from MDA that our dear Mark Sisson takes that title 😉

    Thanks to all of you primalistas for the kind words of support, especially to all of those amazing success stories that have come before and served as seeds to inspire ours!

    As Cailey already so eloquently expressed, thanks to my amazing momma for everything she is and does in selflessly benefiting the lives of all those around her…you are the house of light that keeps our ship safe in the night!

    And thanks to the countless primal/paleo/ancestral health bloggers (many of which Mark links to from MDA) for the free resources and the spirit of community you bring to changing the world through your own life stories and your open book, online journals, one blog post at a time.

    I look forward to reading and replying to the comments throughout the day and tonight.

    Namaste and Grok on!

    1. I love your families story! I have to admit I am jealous that you live in a part of Florida where grass-fed meats are easily available! Keep rocking a great life! 🙂

      1. Hey Sharon, sometimes grass fed/finished beef is easier to get than we might first assume.

        Most Publix super markets carry the ground beef from White Oak Pastures in South Georgia. They are a 5th generation ranch with a strong ethical standard for managing the land and caring for their animals. We recently had a larger order shipped directly to our home from their ranch. They raise cattle, pigs, lambs, chickens, and turkeys all using a rotational pastured polyculture approach.

        There are also lots of small ranchers selling their meats as “animal feed” at farmers markets around the state. Thanks for the kind words…and together let’s build the Florida market for humanely raised local meats!

        1. Great you mentioned White Oak Pastures, I order from them. It’s simply cheaper to order a bunch at once than what Publix or Whole Foods charge. We live in Naples, FL. Honestly we haven’t been able to source anything local, with the exception of organic produce. I will keep purchasing from White Oak even though I would prefer to find sources locally. I’m hopeful that one day something will pop up closer to Naples. I know one guy who brings in grass-fed beef to our local farmers markets but he is much more expensive than Publix, Whole Foods or White Oak. I think for the most part Florida is progressing nicely when it comes to organic produce and humanely raised meats. Thanks for responding!

    2. Great post Cailey! Thanks to you and Hal for sharing Mark’s message with me and Melissa! I remember how skeptical we were at first, but know that you’ve changed our lives for the better too!

      Love you both,


      1. Mike, we love you and Melissa like our own family! Thanks for all you bring to our lives. I am glad that you both find the primal lifestyle as fulfilling as we do! Looking forward to our next feast…preferably after some off road pedal time in the saddle 😉

  13. Wow, what an awesome story. Very inspiring! You are right living your story is way more affective than preaching!

  14. “She has a deeper understanding and appreciation for food that will make her “strong” vs food that will make her “sick””

    I LOVE that. Food that will make you strong vs food that will make you sick.
    I´m going to shamelessly steal that and use whenever I can!

  15. Such a good decision to “now politely use our indoor voices, and show rather than tell.” I would love to swoop down and implement better food choices for the whole community but that is a power trip and not really helpful. Anyway, I am still working on the transition myself so can’t actually show yet.

  16. Wow what a great Letter, who needs transformation pictures when you have a story like that! Very inspiring!

  17. Cailey’s mother-in-law is the beautiful, loving, intelligent woman that she described. In fact, she is the great lady who fulfilled my dream of three years by marrying me three months ago!

    1. Congratulations, Denny! Since you are commenting here I imagine your health has also benefited from your wife’s wisdom. Lucky you!

    2. Denny, we are honored to have you in our family!…of course it doesn’t hurt that you came bearing dinner plate gifts from rod and rifle 😉

      When’s the first run of wild turkey smoked in that new green egg?

  18. What a lovely treat it was to read about your family’s journey. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I agree wholeheartedly about cooking for yourself–that’s one of the things I’m working on. Eating out/picking up prepared food is a hard habit to break (at least for me) but I’m making progress, and your story was great positive reinforcement!

  19. Go Gators! I also live in the same progressive town and I LOVE the food options we have. Maybe we should start a primal meet-up!

    1. Ruth and Casey, Go Gators indeed!

      A primal meet up could be in order. Several of our primal leaning friends are at the forefront of the local, sustainable food movement here in North Central Florida. Look into Slow Food Gainesville, Citizens Co-Op, and Forage Farm to get the dialogue started.

  20. Beautiful family! I’ve been trying to introduce my boyfriend in my primal lifestyle because i know that if i want a family with him we need to be in the same channel to succed with our future kids and as a couple, thank you your story is really inspiring 🙂

  21. A terrific story. Wonderful that you are passing on this great way of life to your little ones. Makes me wish I could have known the primal way of life when my children were young. It is harder at this point for them to see the light, but at some point in their lives I am confident that they will. Great job!!!!!

  22. This is so lovely- you are a gorgeous family! Your little girls are beautiful 🙂 you all look so happy and healthy! What a great start to life you are giving your girls!I just found out I’m pregnant, my husband and I are so happy, I hope our baby is as healthy as your lovely girls 🙂

    1. Congrats to you and your husband on the pregnancy Sophia! Good luck to y’all in this new and exciting stage of your life adventure. I’m not sure how far into the pregnancy you are, but Cailey and I took the Bradley Method natural childbirthing classes with our first daughter and found it to be quite complementary to the primal lifestyle.

      Despite Cailey’s love letter to me, I should be praising her selfless bravery in starting our girls off as primal as it gets with two unmedicated, all natural, vaginal childbirths! Us groks are weenies compared to the strength and power of you grokettes!

  23. If all young couples could have this kind of a holistic approach to life what a great world we’d have.

    1. Thanks for the kind words George! Times they are a changing…at least from where I perceive. Holism is the new black and what the hell good am I when I forget that “I am.”

      The way I see it, Mark and his genius Primal Blueprint and Primal Connection are the gateway drugs to the self realization that “we are what we eat”…literally! And I don’t mean just from a nutritional sense.

      Whatever we eat, it is a piece of our Self. So the question that keeps arising to me is…did this piece of me live a beautiful life before it became today’s meal? If it lived as a slave in a warehouse, drugged up and standing in its own feces, or pulverized and packaged in a box, etc., then I dishonor mySelf by eating it.

      The primal lifestyle is a virtuous circle that I believe will help to restore our health and more importantly the health of the systems within which we are embedded. One day when I become a meal for the soil, I hope it rejoices in the pleasure that I lived a good life to nourish its existence!

  24. Holy crap. You guys hardly looked unhealthy or out of condition in the “before” photos, but in the “after” the transformation is just profound, particularly in the smiles. You’re both literally glowing with vitality (and I presume a big dash of joy as well). Outstanding result, it’s very heartening to see your entire family thriving 😀

    I can also sympathise with the need to use the “indoor voice” when discussing the benefits of paleo. When someone isn’t really listening to your “better” argument, the urge to simply give them a louder one can be hard to ignore.

  25. That did my heart good, and you guys look amazingly, vibrantly healthy. When I first looked at the Before pics, I thought, they look pretty good considering SAD diets, etc. But then the Afters came up and, wow, what a glow you all have! How lucky your children will get to grow up Primal and have what I hope will be abundant health.

  26. Wow! It is so good to see young people healthy, happy and rearing their children in the same way. Well done.

  27. Amazing…you can see the health, happiness and transformation of your spirit in your eyes…I like to think of paleo as not a lifestyle…but just a way of life…the journey that brings you to your true divine self. Thanks for sharing your journey and I wish you much love and happiness as you go forth.

    1. Tazie, so true and if you only knew the depths of the transformation of spirit within as we’ve walked this primal life. If we could only see through each others eyes?!

      Thanks for giving us a brief glimpse into the beauty seen through yours! Wishing much love and happiness to you and yours as well.


  28. Wow….I love the Friday posts/testimonials and this has to be the best yet! I too love the before and after pics but this is to the point through and through…Love

  29. What a great story, thanks for sharing. We are in a similar position with regards to family and friends – it’s nice to know there are others like us out there. We have also found the softly, softly approach works best. All the best to you and your family!

  30. Phenomenal story!! What a wonderful change for your family!

    (And having lived in a particular north central Florida college town – with great healthcare – you are absolutely right – it is a fantastic place to support this lifestyle change. I miss it!)

  31. As Cailey’s mom I can attest to this loving relationship with shared values and vision. As an Italian mom, it is so difficult to respect the ban on pasta and bread, but I respect their decision. They truly live this life of love and happiness. I am so lucky to be a part of their happiness.

    1. Rosemary, what’s appears difficult to one, appears effortless to another. Your holiday meals are both delicious and quite primal friendly! You are the salt of the Earth and a gift from the Mediterranean 😉

      I am so fortunate to have a mother-in-law like you who inspires me, humbles me, and approves of me just as I am. Nothing in my life, nor in Cailey’s life, would be possible if not for the love and friendship given by our great mothers! I love you!

  32. Beautiful story – happy and healthy kids, loving parents, caring and respectful grandparents, exercise/play set, high quality food and a beautiful quote from Thich Nhat Hanh. To me the title of your story says it all, “…The Energy to Be Better Parents, Partners and People.” With my excess energy, I take time to look inside my heart of hearts hoping to find the whole cosmos.

    I’m not an anthropologist, but it seems to me that most, if not all, primitive people had some kind of spiritual life – shamans, magic mushrooms, sacrifies, etc. I’m wondering if it was because they ate healthy foods and had good habits that gave them that extra energy to relax and be quiet and look inside. Just wondering….

    1. Thanks Nate! I love your perspective and sense of wonder. I believe there is something to your question/comment.

      Have you seen the documentary, cave of forgotten dreams? It sure seemed like the cave dwellers likely had a deep spiritual connection to their food chain and the web of life around them.

      Maybe sometimes it’s as much what we don’t eat? Some of my best hours are during my intermittent fast days.

      To paying attention to the silence and wisdom waiting within!…

  33. Speaking as a loving brother to Cailey, her family is as Happy and Healthy as she has described. I am lucky to be a loving Uncle to two beautiful girls, as they learn good eating habits that they will carry throughout their lives. They truly live what they preach, and with ever increasing gentleness preach what they live.

    1. Cory, our girls are lucky to have you as their Uncle!…and I am lucky to call you my brother! Looking forward to the next family gathering!

  34. Nice story that shows the PB effect over time. Your family couldn’t receive a nicer Mother’s Day/Father’s Day card.

  35. Ditto to all of the above – those smiles tell the whole story. What a beautifully written piece too. Aloha !

  36. Reventon, Tina, Earl, and everyone who commented on this thread, thanks for making this gift from Cailey to my mom and me so special!

    No words can adequately capture my gratitude for your kind thoughts. All I can say is Grok On as we all work toward igniting that “Primal Glow” within everyone we touch!

  37. Good story, I enjoyed reading it! It is fun to see people enjoying healthy food and healthy living. And how nice to see parents giving their children a good start! Some parents will give their kids just anything to eat, and watch them put on weight…. Children don’t know any better, they will eat what they are served. Your children are lucky to have primal parents.

    Living primal in nutrition and exercise myself, I hope your story will help inspire others to take the step!

  38. Beautiful story and beautiful family! I admire your approach to sharing the lifestyle through example. It’s hard to be so passionate about it and not try to convert everyone…NOW!

    I’m a 60-something like your MIL, and moved to ancestral/primal/whole food-only nutrition about 4 years ago. Over maybe 3 months, changing nothing but the quality of my food, lost 20 lbs. that I didn’t even realize I had accumulated. My body settled into it’s natural balance, and my weight (high school weight) hasn’t varied more than a pound or two over those 4 years.

    I look at my 4 year-old granddaughter and know that my food choices have been, and will continue to be, a positive influence on her health and well-being.

    I live on the west coast of Florida, and make a regular run up to that part of the state to visit farmers and ranchers that raise organic vegetables and grass-fed meats. I’ll keep supporting them and hope others will too!

    1. Grok on Mike, that’s an awesome story! Congratulations on going primal and sticking with it for these last four years. And as someone who spends his life’s work on sustainability issues, I want to personally thank you for directly supporting Florida’s farmers and ranchers.

      Florida has so much potential to be a primal/ancestral health hotspot. We have fantstic weather year round, we have amazing coastal resources, we grow some wonderful vegetables and fruits and nuts, we don’t have a suitable climate for most of the cereal grains, and we are a huge cattle ranching state while some of our best private lands are those managed as naturalistic grazing habitats. Unfortunately almost all of the cattle get sent to CAFOs out of state.

      For anyone who lives in Florida and thinks to themselves, I should eat as local and seasonal as possible, they almost have to become a primal adherent by default. What should that tell us about what “the system” is forcing compared to what “the ecosystem” gives through grace.

      I hope the primal lifestyle and the nascent ancestral health movement in general can become the catalyst for a new paradigm in Florida! If anyone out there has ideas for how I, or any other folks with the passion or the connections, can help to facilitate this change please reply to this thread to light the fire!

    1. glorth2, you gotta try it!

      It’s actually a single speed (i.e., it has a freewheel) so I’m not quite to the true fixie club (yet). I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. The trail system from the location of that Xterra sprint triathlon in the photos is not so great for a fully rigid rig (the saw palmetto roots destroyed my hands that day as your arms and hands become your front shock). While there were a handful of single speeders, I was certainly the only fool riding fully rigid.

      But for most of Florida, my Misfit diSSent is the bomb! She is feather light, accelerates with no delay, climbs like a mountain goat, never breaks down, and always sings in tune with the trail and the rider. Sure, my riding style has changed as I have to get out of the saddle more for climbs and to simply alter my center of gravity or cadence, etc. But for everything you give up in gears and shock absorption, you gain tenfold in riding experience and the sheer bliss of its simplicity.

      I will finish by stating that the layback titanium seatpost is a necessity as it almost serves as a rear shock! Unless I move to a truly mountainous state, it’s hard to imagine ever going back to a geared/shocked rig.

    2. glorth2,

      p.s. Ditch the Camelbak drip as well! I see everyone on the trails all dressed and tech’d to the hilt and I think what the hell is the point?

      Toss a couple of water bottles in cages, and free your body and mind from the burden of all that crap. I rarely drink during my rides anyway (even during my annual 50 miler in the Tour de Felasco).

      I believe Mark has even posted some thoughts and scientific article links on the benefits of modest water intake (vs. the common water/sports drink overkill) during endurance events.

      Grok (and ride) on!

      1. Thanks for the response. I fully confess to being a gear whore. I just got myself a Rocky Mountain Element 950RSL (FS, carbon, etc) and worked with the shop to customize it. The thing is a dream. I can just stare at it for hours. I also rock the jersey and spandex and have a hydration pack. I find that convenient not only for the water but, I take my 15 and 12 year old boys riding and they share in the water sometimes and I bring spare parts and tools along. If the weather’s not insanely hot (like it was yesterday) I don’t bring a bottle with electrolyte stuff but that’s about it. I understand Mark’s theory and am fine with it but I’d rather be safe than sorry. On road rides I usually stick to one water bottle unless it’s brutal out or a longer ride. Good luck with everything man!

        1. Thanks and likewise glorth2! Your custom rig sounds sweet, and don’t be fooled by my rigid SS, I lust over the gear like everyone else 😉

          Though my wife enjoys a good rail trail ride, I’m hoping I can convince my little girls to join me on the cross country trails when they get older. Kudos to you as the awesome dad who takes his boys along for the ride…that is fantastic!

  39. How truly inspiring! You don’t know how lucky you are to have a partner, not only on the same page with you, but actively leading your family in this lifestyle.

  40. This brought a tear to my eye, the two of you are absolutely beautiful. I am so lucky to call you my friends. I am intrigued by your passion and commitment and am exploring a transition of sorts for our family, and Chris is on board! I love you and miss you. XO

    1. Awww, Deeds we love you and Mull-diggity too!

      Wish you were here so we could celebrate your transition over a meal. Keep us posted on your new lifehacking adventure and send along your personal wisdom from lessons learned. Word to the AF!

  41. This just might be the best story I have seen on here. My heart is smiling. What a beautiful story of healthy life and honest love.

  42. Former FL gal, forever primal gal. Thanks for sharing your awesome story and inspiring me and countless others.

  43. “My mother-in-law (pictured below) ” : oh yeah.
    “My self diagnosed hypoglycemia vanished along with my need to snack every 3-4 hours to prevent nausea, the shakes, and general moodiness. ” = Our house is a happier place with bacon&eggs too!
    Good going … but what’s a “speech-language pathologist”?

  44. Wow! I am so inspired by your images alone! What a fantastic story. I am also a mother of 2 (4 and 2.5 year old boys) and narrowing in on age 37. My husband and I have really tried to change our lifestyle in a very similar way. We’ve tried educating ourselves, buying different food, etc. What really holds us back is our 4 year old. He WILL NOT EAT much beyond bread, cheese, granola and cheerios. Do I make him starve? So we’re at a cross roads. When I have been able to cut those awful sugars out of our diet, I feel so much better. Wish me continuous strength!