Remember Tara? Derek? Paul? Albert? These are just a few of the Mark’s Daily Apple readers that sent in their success stories a year or more ago. Their stories were an inspiration to us all. Testament to this fact are the emails I receive from fellow-PBers asking how they are doing. Today we find out.
You may recall that when Tara sent in her story at the end of 2010 she had been Primal for a year and a half, and had finally found solutions to a litany of health issues that doctors couldn’t. Derek had ditched grains and in the process lost weight, acid reflux and exercise induced asthma. Paul had gone from 300 to 150 pounds and gained self-confidence. And Derek had gone from 270 to 175, and was studying to be a personal trainer. Are they still Primal, happy and healthy? Read on for updates from each of them.
I hit my lowest weight of 135 lbs late last year and have since been in a maintenance phase, experimenting with what my body performs best on and what I can cheat with. I found that being 135 was actually too low for me – a problem I can honestly say I have never had before in my life – so I started eating breakfast occasionally, eating rice in small quantities, increasing my dairy and allowing myself chocolate more often than before. Basically, I undid all the “tweaks” I had done to lose that last 10 pounds. I’m back up to 145 lbs now and feel great. I had been considering plastic surgery to deal with some of the loose skin on my body, but gaining a little weight back has taken care of that issue naturally.
I’ve also been dealing with fructose malabsorption. This issue has been a tricky little devil. Things like carrots, apples and artichokes are now off the table, as are coconut flour and coconut milk. I’m not sure if I’ll have to abstain from these foods for the rest of my life or just until my gut heals, but the more I research the issue, the more I see that it is pretty common for a condition that no one has ever heard of. I’ll be doing a post about it once I have some definitive answers for myself.
I have decided that I don’t want to be a personal trainer and have signed up for the CHEK Holistic Life Coach course instead. A holistic, natural approach is much more appealing to me than the unrelenting world of fitness, body building and chronic cardio. I am also writing a Primal-related book. I’m very excited about this book but I’m not ready to reveal what it’s about yet. I’ll save that for the next update. 😉
I still blog at www.primalgirl.com. I recently had a couple posts about a nasty autoimmune condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa that I managed to put into complete remission. The response to those posts has been overwhelming. I’ve been receiving comments from all over the world – not only are people grateful to finally put a name to what they’ve been suffering from, apparently my website is the only place on the Internet that provides constructive instructions on how to deal with this skin issue naturally. Most doctors don’t know how to diagnosis it, let alone treat it.
My twin boys are 3 ½ now and the time I spend cooking and feeding them leaves me a little anxious about how much more time this is going to take when they are 16-years old – and how much the grocery bill is going to be. They are eating more than my husband and I combined and are growing like weeds. Right now they’re the perfect weight for kettle bell swings (37 lbs). It’s a lot of fun for them, but they don’t realize that Mommy can’t quite do 56 sets of 90 KBS every hour, on demand. I’m working on it. My shoulders are very developed. 😉
I continue to biohack myself and remain committed to the Primal lifestyle. I recently started up a Primal Meetup group to get together with some of the wonderful people I met at PrimalCon and to meet others also following this lifestyle. It’s been wonderful connecting with people in real life. I still remember how I used to look, feel and perform before I went Primal and I can honestly say, I’m never going back.
I recently took a road trip out to New Mexico. Had to stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.
I think I sent you my initial story about two years ago? Anyway, if I recall, my wife had just become pregnant then. The pregnancy went great, no issues. She gave birth to our son almost one year ago (June). The birth went well and our child was born healthy, with the standard struggles of a new mom learning to breastfeed. One year later my wife is at her pre-pregnancy weight and fitness, with no struggles to lose the weight gained during pregnancy at all. I have maintained my weight and put on a bit of muscle just from doing less cardio (too busy to ski all day long), and spending more time lifting when Alex naps. I still don’t have any of the exercise induced asthma that I used to suffer from, which was my biggest health improvement from ditching the standard American diet.
We spent last winter skiing all the time with Alex. I think I skied about 50-60 days with the little bugger on my back, both nordic and backcountry, so that was great exercise! Now that spring is here, he’s in the bike trailer and we drag him around every evening. Thus far he’s pretty much spent every day, outside, in the mountains. He loves it, you can see it calm him down if he’s been cranky.
Since I contacted you two years ago, we’ve continued to eat “Primal”, making an effort to eat a wide range of high-quality, whole foods. We are not carb phobic in the slightest, in part because we are both active. Over the past few months, I have also started soaking/sprouting/fermenting buckwheat groats to make incredible “fast food” such as crepes, waffles, burritos, and pizza crust. We still don’t eat any sort of cereal grain, and neither my wife nor I have any desire to. Interesting though, the pressure people put on you when you tell them you’re not feeding your child little bits of highly processed baby snacks and all the other garbage made for babies. The pressure got heavy enough that my wife started to cave in a bit, then we discussed the meritless advice, and went back to feeding our youngster real food.
Anyway, our story wasn’t that dramatic, but I really think changing our diet is what helped my wife to finally get pregnant. We are both convinced of it. On that note, I am back in school working on a graduate nutrition/public health program. I’m hoping to transition out of ER nursing and work in obesity counseling in some capacity. Hopefully one day I can lead more people to this “way of life”, which I don’t necessarily call Primal. I like to think of it as living like your great Grandma did. Eat real food from good sources, move more, stress less, cut back on all the extra “stuff” in your life, simplify, sleep, hang with family.
I think your website, and some of the other big bloggers, are doing great things. You are raising awareness on nutrition and health, but also equally important, on lifestyle changes to improve health. Too many messages out there don’t include the entire package, your message does, and that is what makes it so valuable. I’m sure the message will continue to evolve as we gain more insight, but I hope the message keeps getting out to more people, because it’s a profound discovery once people find it.
The last time we spoke I was going through very comprehensive knee surgery and working on getting my fitness back after a six month rehab. Shortly after that, near the end of 2011, myself, my brother, and our friend started a software company for our app Out of Milk and we ended up moving to San Francisco to get the company going strong. This has led to certain challenges, as trying to eat a clean diet in a city that loves it’s carbs and sweets makes it difficult when your life revolves around working lunches and meeting people for drinks and food! Luckily, there is an amazing Primal San Francisco Facebook group that helped me find the places I need to get my diet back on track. I’ve discovered the grass-fed meat scene is actually quite large here, and I’m enjoying a great selection of tasty animals!
The main problem for me has been that after my knee surgery it was difficult for me to continue maintaining a high level of fitness and I needed to figure out how to stay fit and healthy while doing the following:
1. Running a business
2. Not destroying my knees any further
3. Keeping the diet clean while doing #1 and #2
I’ve been a CrossFit fanboy on the MDA forums for a very long time, and after weeks of fighting it… I gave up the sport. I found that for me, personally, I was pushing my body too hard too often and not giving myself enough time to rest and recover to perform at both the gym and at work. I’ve since started training using a combination of kettlebells, pullup bars, rings, and a rowing machine. I love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and by slowing my training down to a method less intensive on the body I’ve found that not only is my strength increasing but my ability to go into BJJ and not be sore, tired and achey is vastly improved.
When we first moved to SF I actually put on about 10 pounds while exploring all of the amazing restaurants, and once I realized what I was slipping into I immediately started focusing on meals from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook(s) and in less than a month was back on track to my normal weight. I thought giving up CrossFit would immediately turn me into a fat slob, but I guess all the articles you’ve written about not having to kill yourself while exercising really were true!
To sum things up: Lots of life changes, a completely new workout regimen, and still working on getting my knees back under me… but I’m getting work done, rockin’ the bjj, and eating lots of meat and that make’s life pretty great.
Oh yeah, and in case you want some pictures!
The first picture is a random shot from our first day in SF! The second picture is myself, my dad (used to be a professional gymnast and is nearing 60), and my brother who is now down almost 100 lbs total.
After writing you back in February last year I focused on learning as much as I could about nutrition, biology and sports science, let’s say it just got me hooked!
I am now working as a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist in Spain and still eating Primal of course! Having experimented a bit with carb intake I can safely say that while your carb intake curve is more than accurate for most folks, advanced trainees may need a bit more to perform well. What has worked for me was limiting nuts (those omega 6’s can really get you inflamed) and getting my carbs from potatoes, fruits and yams (sometimes a little quinoa goes well with meat).
I’ll leave you a pic I had taken while enjoying some time outdoors in this lovely weather!
As always, many thanks for encouraging people to improve themselves and to strive for better health and a better life altogether!