Monday, March 28, 2016

My Primal Journey

It is time I talked about the "Primal" part of The Primal Transplant.  Primal comes from the fact that I follow the Primal Blueprint and try to live a primal lifestyle.

What is the Primal Blueprint you ask?

From Mark Sisson, author of "The Primal Blueprint" and the Mark of "Mark's Daily Apple":
The Primal Blueprint is a set of simple instructions (the blueprint) that allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that’s the primal part). 
Our ancestors evolved over millions of years under certain environmental conditions. These conditions (the foods they ate, the amount of sun they got, the sort of movement that was required of them to survive, etc.) shaped their genome. While the world has changed in innumerable ways in the last 10,000 years (for better and worse), the human genome has changed very little and thus only thrives under similar conditions. Simply put, if you want a good future you better listen to the past. And that’s where The Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple come in. Showing you how to direct gene expression toward fat burning, muscle building, longevity and wellness, and away from fat storing, muscle wasting, disease and illness.
Mark promises to help us " direct gene expression toward fat burning, muscle building, longevity and wellness, and away from fat storing, muscle wasting, disease and illness."  That is one heck of a carrot to toss out in this world of increasing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and food intolerances.  Sounds almost too good to be true doesn't it?  Well... here... let me tell you my Primal story.

If you have read my previous posts, you know that I had a progressive lung disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).  My lungs were going to be the death of me.  In April of 2014 I was referred to the Heart/Lung Transplant Clinic at UT Southwestern to be evaluated for a lung transplant.  They concurred that I needed a transplant, but I was too heavy (read fat) to get listed.  At the time I weighed over 250 lbs and my Body Mass Index was over 33%.  To even be considered for a transplant I needed to get my BMI down to 27% or so.  I had to lose 40 pounds, it really was a life or death necessity.

I found the Primal Blueprint through an IPF social forum.  One of the members, Bill Vick, had IPF, and was able to run a 5k.  This was pretty amazing to me.  Bill and I shared a doctor at the UTSW Lung Specialty clinic, and she confirmed just how well he was doing.  Bill led me to the Primal Blueprint.  I bought and read  Mark's book.  It just made so much sense to me.  I knew that sugary foods made my cough worse and made me shorter of breath, and I knew that lots of carbs and processed foods are what made me fat.

On May 5th 2014 I started the Primal Blueprint 21 Day Total Body Transformation, I dove into the Primal Blueprint head first.

To make a long story short, by October of 2014 I had lost enough weight to considered for transplant.  I was evaluated and placed fairly high on the list in November, and received the call on December 31st.

I received my bilateral lung transplant on January 1st of 2015.  I left the hospital on Jan 9th, one of the faster post transplant recoveries for the center at that time.

I lost the weight and received my new lungs, so why continue with the Primal Blueprint?

I stick with the Primal Blueprint because it is so much more than a weight loss program.  Cutting out grains and processed sugars minimized the symptoms of my lung disease pre-transplant.  IPF is often associate with a chronic cough.  This cough can be debilitating for the IPF patient.  When I started following the PB, my cough all but went away except for the times when I did include grains in my diet.  Hamburgers were an important part of my life :).

I also use the Primal Blueprint to counter the side effects of the anti-rejection medications that I will be on for the rest of my life.

Other positive results of following the Primal Blueprint include getting rid of my back and shoulder acne, a couple of stubborn skin sores dried up and went away, I stopped losing hair, my finger and toe nails were stronger, and I had a heck of a lot more energy.  I was able to work, with help from my employer, up to the day I was called for transplant.

During my last hospital stay I had two nurses comment on my lack of fat for them to inject meds that are supposed to be injected into the fat on your stomach, one nurse comment on how thick my skin was as she was giving me an IV, several people  commented on how good I looked and how well I was doing as a lung transplant recipient,  and one respiratory therapist mentioned that I had the highest lung capacity of any lung transplant patient in the hospital that she had seen in her 6 years at an RT.  It seems the Primal Blueprint is working for me.

I swing and lift kettlebells.  I can finish a project without having to stop to rest several times while doing it, and have energy left over to enjoy the rest of the day. I can walk until I get there.  Seriously, I can walk until I get to where I'm going, no matter just how far that is.  There are still lots of things that I cannot do, but the list of things I can accomplish is pretty awesome.  Oh... and the weight loss?  I've lost over 100 lbs since beginning the PB and my body fat percentage is near 10%.  I have a little loose skin, but not nearly as much as you would think, and that is disappearing relatively rapidly.

Eating whole foods is only one part of the Primal Blueprint, it is a lifestyle that includes play, sunlight, sleep, movement, lifting heavy things, avoiding poisonous things, and using your mind.

The Primal Blueprint just makes sense.

Note: I am very proud to be affiliated with the Primal Blueprint.  You can find my affiliate disclosure statement here.