Friday, June 30, 2017

Testimonial: Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Changed My Life!

Testimonial written by: Yadi V.

AIP changed my life!!!
I began this diet, or should I say lifestyle, in January 2017. I began the diet because of an autoimmune disease I have called hidradenitis suppurativa. This condition features pea- to marble-sized lumps under the skin that can be painful and tend to enlarge and drain pus. They usually occur where skin rubs together, such as in the armpits, groin, and buttocks. I know some docs still argue it’s not an autoimmune disease, whatever it is… I unfortunately have it. I’ve been dealing with it since I was a kid but didn’t get diagnosed until the beginning of 2016. I went through a few specialists and finally met a great dermatologist that was able to diagnose me.

Before 2016, I would maybe get a flare up every 3 years or so. I’m not sure what made my body just go AWOL that I began to get a flare up every other day, and finally I would have 4 enlarged lumps (HUGE) that would just not go away for about a year. I was desperate for answers, I needed to make this stop and go away. As an extremely active person, it was beginning to effect my day to day life. I have an office job during the day (which meant I couldn’t really sit since I would have flare ups) and at night I’m a fitness instructor. EXTREME PAIN while teaching my class FYI. I began treatment with my dermatologist… antibiotics, weekly shots, ointments… nothing worked. I switched primary docs, I told him about my disease and he then suggested surgery. UMMM, what?! I didn’t want to go with just ANY surgeon, so I looked up a great surgeon that specialized in hidradenitis. GREAT doc, awesome work… we even scheduled my surgery! A few days after I had booked my surgery, I just knew this wasn’t the route for me. I was 4 months away from my wedding (May 28, 2017) I didn’t want to have major surgery right before my wedding, so many factors came up. I went with my gut feeling and cancelled the surgery.

The next day after canceling I remembered about a few YouTube videos I have seen about people dealing with hidradenitis. They kept talking about a certain diet that controlled their symptoms, suppressed the disease, etc. I didn’t want to take on this diet when I first heard about it because at the same time I was dealing with my flare ups, I was also going through other medical issues. I was a mess in the summer of 2016. In and out of the hospital, throwing up, horrible diarrhea, and this all happened and kept happening for 6 months (before I started the diet). At the time, my docs were trying new things with me, testing me for everything possible, and nothing helped or would show up. The only thing that did show up was that I had Atrophic Gastritis, which was not caused by a bacteria (that was confirmed with a biopsy). It was another autoimmune diseases on my plate. I noticed the confusion in doctors faces when I would see them. I’m a healthy 28 year old women, worked out 5 times a day, would eat what I thought was “healthy”… my symptoms just didn’t make sense. I should also mention that I was taking lithium at the time to treat anxiety, which also completely messed my body up.

So, back to the YouTube videos! I saw some people opening up about the hidradenitis and how they were on the paleo diet. I had nothing to lose at this point so I remember waking up super early one day, went to Sprouts and bought SO MANY GROCERIES. I was determine and had so much faith this diet would work!
NOT KIDDING, I began the diet on a Sunday… by THAT Friday… the lumps that have been active for about a year just went away. I legit cried! It was an amazing feeling to know I could control this with just food. AND NOT TO MENTION that getting on this diet also helped with all my stomach issues I was dealing with at the time. I was already a pretty fit thin women, I had dropped 25 lbs. from all the diarrhea and throwing up. Everything I ate would make me sick, etc. Once I got on this diet, my body just bounced back. I haven’t thrown up or had diarrhea or had FLARE UPS since I began this diet. And the anxiety… I haven’t had an anxiety attack since I began the diet. I am CERTAIN the diet is what helped.

I recently started to reintroduce foods into my system which has been amazing. Unfortunately because I do have atrophic gastritis, I still have so many limitations on foods, but I have never felt this great, looked this great. Oh and let me tell you about my body! Like I mentioned, I’m a fitness instructor a few nights out of the week and my body has never looked this defined, like EVER. I hate to call this a diet because it really is a lifestyle. It’s not an easy one, its a lot of dedication but trust me, NO REGRETS! I will NEVER go back to eat the way I was eating before. I feel amazing and pill free. No medicine whatsoever.
People saw how great I was doing that they began to get on the Paleo diet. I’ve had people come up to me asking me about it because their parents have an autoimmune condition, and later find out that their parents are doing way better now that they’re doing paleo. It really was a blessing for me to get on the Paleo lifestyle. I can’t say enough great things about this. AMAZING. LIFE CHANGING!


from The Paleo Diet

I Thought I Was Cursed to Live a Sort of Half Life

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!

Lyme Disease. Fibromyalgia. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Multiple Sclerosis. Adrenal Fatigue. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

These are just a few of the diagnoses that I’ve received over the past 8 years. It was the summer of 2009 when I was hit with a mystery illness so severe that it forced me out of school and out of my job. To say I was terrified would be a gross understatement, and it was a long and winding road to recovery.

My triathlon training was put on permanent hiatus, along with my graduate education plans. My social life dried up in a matter of weeks. Everything in my life came to a grinding halt, and I had no idea how to get the gears going again.

Since my illness wasn’t, and still isn’t, well understood by the medical community, I was put in charge of my own treatment. Thankfully, my research background came in handy, and I scoured the Internet for anything and everything that I thought might help. I filled up my days with a regimen of pills and powders, and tried to use each second I had to read about potential explanations and cures for this mysterious disability I suddenly found myself with.

I considered myself lucky that I was able to finish my bachelor’s degree in Health & Human Sciences, mere weeks before the illness hit. I drew on as much of this knowledge and training that I had tucked away in my brain, as I attempted to navigate this tricky new path. I withdrew from the world, living in a fog of complex and confusing symptoms, day after day. Many of my friends fell off the map. I had no ability to produce income. I lost touch with my passions. I could barely leave the house on most days. My life as I knew it, was over.

The medical community put me through the ringer during that first year of my illness, ordering every possible test that they could justify to my insurance company. And while I did get the occasional positive result, all in all, the dozens of pokes and prods gave us no helpful answers, and my future was still unclear. I was labeled with numerous syndromes and other “wastebasket diagnoses,” and told to go home and rest more. So that’s what I did.

Thankfully, I can say, things did get better, albeit at a snail’s pace. Slowly, my body regained some strength and I was able to return to work very part time after nearly a year of absence. A year or so after that, I began taking some gentle yoga classes again, and started having hope that I was finally on the road to recovery. But I was still struggling day after day with pain, brain fog, dizziness, heart palpitations, and inexplicable exhaustion. It was a struggle to make something out of my life, and I wondered if this was as good as it was ever gonna get. I thought I was cursed to live a sort of half life from then on. I was only 23 years old.

My mornings consisted of disgusting vitamin shakes, which I attempted to mask the taste of with ice cream and sugary syrups. I was choking down pills and injecting myself with B-12 on a weekly basis. Although, looking back, I can say that I got a lot of things right, my diet wasn’t one of those things. For some unknown reason, healing with food never really occurred to me, despite my background in health and nutrition. I somehow decided that being a vegan was a superior choice, and so I eschewed meat and eggs in favor of grains and processed foods. In my mind I was doing the “right thing,” but I know that my body was struggling under the weight of all of those chemicals, preservatives, and other pro-inflammatory ingredients. I officially became a “junk-food vegan,” and continued on my way, wondering why I wasn’t getting any better.

Fast forward another year or two to my major relapse of 2012. Just like they had in the very beginning, all my symptoms came flying at me full-force, and I was knocked back down to square one. I was once again, terrified, confused, angry, and housebound. Frustrated and determined to find the answers, I launched into another round of doctors and specialists, of more testing and treatments. I did manage to gather a few new leads, and I ran with those as far as I possibly could, exhausting every resource I had in a desperate clawing for the truth of my illness. But nothing surfaced. Instead, I pawed through pages and pages of negative and normal test results. I fell into a deep depression, which lasted for several months, dragging everything around me into a dark, black hole.

Looking back, I see that my relapse was my wake up call. I needed to change the way I was going about this whole thing, and really take a wide-angle approach to my healing. I needed to get serious about what I was putting into my body, and the kinds of thoughts I allowed to control my mind. The paleo diet had been circulating in the back of my awareness for some time (after all, I went to Colorado State University, home of Loren Cordain, a pioneer of the movement), and I decided to start incorporating some meat back into my diet.

I distinctly remember my first bite of meat. It was a grass fed ribeye steak, which I seared to medium-rare perfection in my cast iron pan. I cut off a hunk and chewed it with reverence. It tasted SO good. And I kid you not, within about 30 minutes of eating that steak, I felt a surge of energy in my body. My brain felt clearer. My cheeks regained their color. Even my pain level went down a few notches. In the end, it wasn’t research studies or articles that changed my mind- it was my own personal, visceral experience with food that brought me to the primal way of eating.

Over the next several years, I experimented with my diet, making changes here and there to find what helped me to feel my best. I did elimination diets and cleanses, and finally ditched dairy, which apparently had been the cause of my skin issues all along! I started incorporating supportive herbs and starting making veggies the star of every meal, instead of just the side dish. All of these changes didn’t cure me, but I believe that they were key pieces in my continued recovery. With each and every meal, I knew I was making a choice, and I was either helping or hindering my healing process.

As these things tend to do, this period of awakening extended into all the areas of my life, and I started investing in my growth in other arenas too. I got back in touch with my meditation practice, and regained my spiritual compass. I started becoming more mindful of my relationships and of spending more time in nature. I revamped my home environment, and switched to natural and non-toxic body products and cleaning supplies. I read up on the health effects of things like EMF radiation, endocrine disrupters, and too much screen time. I took my self-care to a whole new level, and stopped making excuses for treating myself like crap.

And as each month passed, I could feel a tiny bit more of my energy and clarity returning. I am eternally grateful that I had established all of these healthy routines and had a solid stress reduction practice by the time my next challenge arose. In 2015, my partner of eight years decided she wanted a divorce, and I was forced to move out of my beloved home, without a penny to my name. Those few months were some of the hardest I’ve ever had to endure, and I’m confident in saying that my nourishing diet, sleep hygiene, and meditation habit played important roles in helping me to cope. In the end, this horrible experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise, and offered me a new opportunity to grow and recommit to myself and my healing journey.

After sifting through so much information and from my personal experiences over the years, it became apparent that I had a wealth of wisdom and guidance that I could share with others. Friends and strangers began asking my advice on diet and supplementation. My itty bitty blog started seeing some traffic. I realized that I was becoming a valuable resource for others struggling with chronic and mystery illness, and that I should explore some kind of credential to help me make this into a career. I completed my Reiki Master/Teacher training, after seeing firsthand the power of energy work in activating the body’s inherent healing mechanisms. But I knew my education wasn’t going to stop there.

The Primal Health Coach program stood out to me for several reasons: First, I loved the laid-back philosophy and the emphasis on reconnecting with our natural state of joy and vitality. I don’t respond well to militant or restrictive ideologies, and I didn’t want to put that kind of energy onto my clients either! Second, it was well researched and well organized, making the process easy to navigate and the content was worth the investment. And lastly, I knew that the Primal Blueprint brand was a legitimate and respected one in the health community, and the support they could provide would be priceless.

I’m so thrilled to be a health coach now, and I know that my own experiences give me the passion I need to help others who are searching for answers, just like I did. I am confident that my own unique blend of nutrition, spirituality, and radical self-care can work wonders, because it has in my own life! The primal way of life is all about getting back in touch with our natural state of wellbeing, and I wake up grateful every day for this opportunity to share that wisdom with everyone around me. If you are looking for a way out of chronic illness and into a place of chronic wellness instead, I can be your guide. It is my dream that we all can make empowered decisions for our health, and feel as well as possible, each and every day!

Melani Schweder


The post I Thought I Was Cursed to Live a Sort of Half Life appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Summer Dinners // Cold Peanut Noodles

This is how we’ve been spending our summer afternoons, which often turn quickly into evening:

(Bathing suit from Athleta!)

And when we come home, usually dripping wet and hungry, with pool bags to unpack and showers to take, dinner is often the last thing I think about. Thus, I’ve been trying to prepare my dinners in the morning. While I have done some crockpot meals lately, it’s just a bit too hot for that, so I’ve been trying to make more cold salads.

This chilled peanut-butter sauced noodle dish is great for a quick dinner after the pool or a soccer game. I’ve had it three times this week!

Per usual, it’s really easy to make. Begin by cooking some pasta. I used whole wheat spaghetti, but soba noodles would be great too!

With two minutes left to go, add in whatever summery vegetables you like (or cook them with the chicken). Options include: peppers, zucchini, green beans. I used Dragon’s Tongue beans from my garden!

While pasta cooks, cut chicken into one-inch pieces and brown in a separate pan.

Meanwhile, prepare sauce with the following staples. I love to use these cubes of frozen garlic and ginger if I am making a sauce or soup.

Heat the sauce on low until everything is melted and combined, and then toss into pasta.

Add the chicken and herbs…

And chill until dinnertime, whenever that may be!

This dish also makes a great picnic food, since it’s very portable in a tupperware and doesn’t need to be heated up. I took some to Sarah’s for our swim date this week and we all had noodles with dinner!

Cold Peanut Noodles with Chicken


Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 pound dried noodles, such as whole wheat spaghetti or soba
  • 2 cups loosely packed beans (or other veggies)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh herbs to taste


  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cut into one-inch pieces.
  2. Cook chicken in olive oil until cooked through and brown. Set aside.
  3. Cook pasta according to directions, adding any vegetables like the beans in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.
  4. To make sauce, combine remaining ingredients in a sauce pan and heat and stir until well mixed.
  5. Pour onto noodles and toss well to combine.
  6. Add minced herbs
  7. Store noodles in the fridge and serve chilled.
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Chilled Peanut Noodles with Chicken #eatrealfood //

When dinner is already made, you have more time for summer fun – and nose kisses!

The post Summer Dinners // Cold Peanut Noodles appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food