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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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!
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.