Mark Sisson has a fascinating case history from an Australian mother of young twins who ditched the carbs and started following Mark’s Primal Living approach after giving birth two years ago and after years of various symptoms including irritable bowl syndrome (IBS), acne, exhaustion and mood swings. Although she didn’t have much weight to lose, she has been able to cut her workout times dramatically and has seen major improvements in other areas. This is an extract from Mark’s Daily Apple…
Literally within a few days of giving up gluten and other processed foods, my IBS symptoms disappeared. It was like being given a magic pill. My acne cleared up and I began to sleep more deeply. Whereas before I was grumpy with tiredness all evening, I could start to function in the evenings and become more social. I could easily jump out of bed to go to a crying baby in the middle of the night, and suddenly had no trouble getting up in the mornings even with very little sleep. I did succumb to the low carb flu and it took quite some time to adjust to the low carbs without experiencing hypoglycaemia (probably at least a month). After this I could finally go to a work meeting without the panicked thought that my blood sugar would drop and I would not be able to string a sentence together.
There were also issues that were resolved by eating primal that I did not even realise were issues – for example, I used to get very sweaty feet and had to use foot deodorant if I wore stockings. After going primal my feet stopped sweating and I haven’t bought a can of deodorant since. Things that used to stress me out no longer stress me. I am able to focus better at work and am more productive and even tempered. My husband, who is primal by default (i.e. he doesn’t want to eat primal but there is nothing in the house that is non-primal) has effortlessly lost 6kg, even though he eats non-primal at work and when he is out on the weekends.
I jumped on board with the primal way of exercising. Even though I was very reluctant to give up my beloved spin classes, I soon realised that while spinning gave me a momentary endorphin high, I was left with the inevitable blood sugar crashes and intense carb cravings. I now lift weights 2-3 times per week and sprints once per week, with walks whenever I can fit them in. (I must admit that I have found walking the hardest thing to fit into my schedule, as it is the most time consuming. While I can sneak in a cheeky 20 minute sprint session while my kids are playing, to keep 2 restless toddlers in the pram while I walk for an hour is near impossible).
I can’t say that being primal has been some magic bullet in terms of weight loss, although I didn’t have much weight to lose. I certainly shed fat and put on lean muscle after the pregnancy, and my weight is now held stable at about 52kg, which is slightly over my pre-pregnancy weight. It has also taken me about 18 months of healing with good food and supplements to get my hypoglycaemia under control. I can now control my blood sugar and cravings by eating very low carb throughout the day, and can even handle some carbs last thing at night. If I have carbs in the morning I know that the rest of the day will be ruined as I try to play catch-up with my falling blood sugars.
I would have to say that the biggest gift that being primal has given me is time and energy to spend with my twins and husband. I no longer have to spend hours on a treadmill or cross trainer, and can rather focus on playing with them. At the same time the biggest challenge that I have faced is trying to feed my twins primal food, and all of the resistance that I face from family and those around me. My father, who is a doctor, jokes that he is going to call child services on me for feeding my children coconut oil and clogging their arteries. However, now that I have been primal for nearly 2 years and am so happy for it, they can see that there is some merit in the efforts that I go to in order to feed my children well.