Going Primal allowed me to lose 80 lbs in 1 year and get off of all prescription and over-the-counter medications. I saw huge improvements in every aspect of my life and health, and couldn't have been more happy with my results.
One of my biggest complaints pre-Primal was my digestive issues. I was taking an antacid or an acid-blocking pill at least once a day, sometimes as often as 3 times a day, plus I was taking courses of Prilosec once or twice a month, and several days a week I needed anti-diarrhea pills. By going Primal I was able to eliminate all of those medications, but I still never quite had normal digestive function. I still got diarrhea, which would alternate with constipation. I still got painful gas and bloating after meals sometimes. I ended up getting really neurotic about my digestion, and would experience anxiety nearly every time I left the house. I didn't want to go places if I didn't already know ahead of time where the bathrooms were. And forget going somewhere like a park where there wasn't any bathroom at all.
This isn't an uncommon story in the Paleo and real food blogospheres. I can't tell you how many other posts and comments on posts I have read describing a very similar story. Huge improvements in health, effortless weight loss...but poor digestion remains, and sometimes even gets worse. The common 3 suggestions are to 1) try eliminating FODMAPs 2) go on the Gut And Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS) or Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) 3) get food allergy testing. However, compelling success stories are rather rare, or they take a very long time to produce. I was REALLY not thrilled about the idea of spending another year or more on an even more extreme diet than I had already done, and getting testing is rather cost prohibitive without insurance.
Right after we moved to Miami Beach in March 2012, I felt like things really hit rock bottom with my digestion. It got to the point that I would cry over my situation. I was so frustrated and felt so limited in what I could do. My thoughts throughout each day were dominated by food, worrying about my stomach, and actually being afraid of eating. But, around this time, one of my husband's old friends, Anthony, announced that he was going to be hosting a Flowing Zen intensive Qigong workshop in Miami over Memorial Day weekend.
I have to admit: I was skeptical about Qigong. I almost didn't sign up for the workshop (but thankfully Andy signed me up anyway) and then I almost didn't go when the weekend came (but again, Andy talked some sense into me). It was one of the most important and powerful weekends of my life. Ever.
I simply stopped having diarrhea and started having normal, regular bowel movements. It was like night and day. I almost couldn't believe it. And now, 6 months later, things are better than ever. I'm still re-training my thinking so that I'm not so neurotic about food and bathrooms for no freaking reason. I need to de-identify as being a sick person, because I'm not one anymore.
I've been practicing once or twice a day nearly every single day since that workshop, and I have a long list of improvements, aside from the digestion:
- improved mood and much more optimistic outlook on life
- better concentration
- more self-confidence, less shy
- WAY less stressed out
- symptom-free menstrual periods (another area that improved drastically with diet, but was still bothersome at times)
- improved sleep quality
- less need for sleep
- better recovery after workouts
- more stamina and increased productivity during the day
- hair and nails grow noticeably faster
- rock solid immune system! I used to catch every bug that went around, and so far I have dodged six at work!
- food tastes better
- by practicing eyesight qigong, my vision has improved quite significantly and I have gone from -4.25 in each eye down to -3.00 during the day at -3.25 at night
Why does Qigong work? I can't explain it with science, but there are a lot of published articles in PubMed Central examining it in a controlled manner. I haven't spent as much time as I'd like reading these articles. But, I am so pleased with my own n=1 experience that I don't even care about having a scientific explanation. It just works!
I would encourage anyone looking to fine-tune their health and manage their stress to seek out a good Qigong instructor. I can wholeheartedly recommend Sifu Anthony at Flowing Zen. He has tons of happy students with success stories even more profound than my own, and he does weekend workshops not only all around the US, but also the world.
Note: I just want to make it clear that I am not being compensated in any way to advertise for Flowing Zen. On the contrary, I pay him money to teach me! This is a genuine review, and I'm just so happy with my results that I want to scream it from the rooftops!