20Jul
Last Updated: June 26, 2018

All of my life I tried really hard to be healthy. I followed the Conventional Wisdom of a low fat high carbohydrate diet for 25 years—from the age of 14 I didn’t touch fat. I wouldn’t even eat an avocado as it was too fattening. I thought eating fat would make me fat. I believed in calories in versus calories out and worked out at the gym 3-5 hours per week. I was a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor and passed on this gospel to other women like me desperate to “lose weight & tone up.” I spent 10 years in the corporate world as a Recruiter as well, practically chained to the desk by a headset 10 hours per day—a stressful environment with recycled air, no breaks, too much coffee and too much partying. I was lucky enough to become a Mum to two gorgeous kids Sam (now 9) and Milly (now 7). All the while continuing with my low fat “healthy whole grain” way of eating and mega gym sessions. Being a Mum didn’t fit with my corporate job—I was glad to leave the lifestyle but missing the six figure salary impacted the family finances somewhat.

At 38 I had a massive health crisis. My main symptom was nausea—imagine morning sickness or a hangover—all day. I had headaches (waking in the night to take Nurofen just so I could go back to sleep), it took me ages to go to sleep and I woke frequently. I was utterly exhausted and needed to sleep for 3 hours every afternoon. I was constipated—going to the toilet only 3 times per week—I had heartburn (shocking during pregnancy), bloating and cramps. I was sore all over from plantar fasciitis in my feet, sore back, sore neck and sore head. I was always getting a cold, had allergies and hay fever. I felt disconnected, negative and had judgemental thinking—I was overwhelmed, even by the laundry. Everything was “too hard”—I couldn’t help think “what’s the point?” These dark thoughts weren’t anything I could slap an affirmation on. I developed a phobia of flying and of the kids getting sick. I was a ragged libido-less housewife and a shouty Mama. A million tests at the doctors confirmed that there was “nothing wrong with me.” Maybe I had IBS but the Dr told me there was no drug for that. So there I was feeling like crap, losing my mind and wondering if this was just “normal.”

In a dark moment, to my surprise I blurted out “I should just go gluten free!” so I did and committed to it on Facebook—like you do! My friend Kirsty said I should try Paleo. I had never heard of this Paleo before and was gobsmacked to hear the ridiculousness of it! No grains? No dairy? No legumes? No alcohol? No sugar? What the hell?? But still, the anecdotal evidence was inspiring and compelling and hey—I was desperate! I committed to a Whole30 with the plan to get back to my Helgas bread as soon as possible! I soon found Mark’s Daily Apple and binged out on every single Primal Blueprint Podcast!

After a MEAN detox (they say the worse the detox, the more you needed it!) I popped out the other side feeling much better—and convinced I would never return to the old way of eating. I saw our local Naturopath Rae Powys and she diagnosed me as having small intestine bacterial overgrowth (which caused the nausea) and leaky gut. My Whole30 turned into more of a Whole60 with a liver detox thrown in too. I couldn’t believe that I could reclaim my health like that JUST by changing what I ate. My nausea disappeared, my feet stopped aching, I started sleeping like a husband and most of all I felt HAPPY and connected and in tune with my intuition, like I was supported and guided (and I also now go to the toilet as many times in a day as I used to in a week!!! TMI?)

I felt called to help other women realise that their health problems were not their fault and they were not alone—and to undo some of that damage I did spreading the low fat myth myself as a Fitness Instructor. I qualified as Primal Health Coach with Mark Sisson’s Primal Health Coach course and work with women on a one on one basis, run quarterly 21 Day Challenges and facilitate Primalsistas Wellness Hub for ongoing support. I found the Primal Health Coach course thorough and in depth and delivered in a digestible way! Sitting down and reading course content would never have worked for me so I tuned into the MP3 Audio files like I would do with a podcast and then sat the tests on my iPhone—totally doable for me!

I started to blog to help spread the truth about food and the feedback that I got was that people were time poor and Primal cooking was time consuming. There was also a lot of “falling off the wagon.” That’s when my Primal Alternative food line was created! I created recipes for Seasonal Paleo Bread (using pumpkin in the winter and zucchini in the summer), Paleo Fruit Toast, Grain Free Cookies, Paleo Pizza Bases as well as gut nourishing Gellies. All of these products are deemed as “low risk” so I could produce them from my domestic kitchen (with council approval) to sell to the public at local farmers’ markets, cool cafes, gourmet pizza shops and health shops.

The feedback was that Primal Alternative range of Breads, Pizzas, Cookies & Gellies was LIFE CHANGING. It made going Paleo/Primal more doable and sustainable and you didn’t need to “fall off the wagon” just because you fancied pizza night or a nice cookie with your cuppa. And hoorah—I now was able to earn a decent income that fitted around my kidsno more need to choose between family or finances. I was following my passion for Primal as well and doing something that I loved. This brought me great fulfilment and took the pressure off the family finances. Being a regular face at the markets gives you a sort of mini celebrity status in the community and people seek your advice on their gut health whilst purchasing their Paleo Bread. I would never have had the confidence to speak as an expert in my field without the Primal Health Coaching qualification. I found the final three modules by Christine Hassler to be essential. Until then all I was doing was preaching about Primal—I wanted to tell them EVERYTHING. Cue major overwhelm and decision fatigue. The coaching aspect of the course has really helped me develop my coaching skills, meet clients where they are at, help them define their goals and work towards smashing them.

After about 18 months of me producing the Primal Alternative range the Universe whispered to me to franchise the successful business model to empower creative Mums like me, with a passion for Primal, to run a successful business from home. Primal Alternative home cooks are called “Primalistas”. Franchising took a lot of work! I needed to speak with Solicitors, Accountants, Costing Specialists, Barcode specialists, Councils, Web Designers, Finance Companies, Graphic Designers, Printers, Suppliers and well…you can imagine that the women I described pre-Primal would not have had the courage, strength or passion to even contemplate this.

I launched primalalternative.com on Boxing Day 2016. My vision is to bring Primal Alternative to the whole of Australia, America, New Zealand and the United Kingdom by empowering Thermomixing Primal Mums with their own business. The Primal Alternative recipes are faff free—easy measure, mix and bake methods—no artisan baking skills required! I am creating a national brand of local producers and we connect in an online community—think sisterhood, support and success.

Investing in a Primalista Licence grants you access to the online training course in how to produce, package and sell the Primal Alternative range and gives you the licence to produce under the Primal Alternative name. Everything you need to get started is included in the course: recipes, labels, suppliers, pricing, sales, marketing, “how to” videos and business cards. This is a done for you, walk in business model. The Primalista Licence is flexible—it is a lifestyle business to fit in with your family so you choose how many hours you want to work. There is ongoing support from me and even one on one Primalista Coaching to set your personal vision and make it a reality. Baking is manual labour and this definitely isn’t a get rich quick thing—but I genuinely believe this offers Paleo Mums a decent income doing something that they love from home. Primalistas make a difference to their community and that is a great feeling.

My goal for 2017 is to get Primal Alternative FAMOUS so that Potential Primalistas get to hear about this trailblazing business idea—so many thanks to the Primal Health Coach Blog for showcasing my story like this, I am grateful. You can find me at primalalternative.com or on the Primal Alternative Facebook page. I would love for you to reach out and connect!! In May 2017, I am launching the Primal Alternative Podcast on the Wellness Couch to showcase real people, with real stories about real food. You can work with me one on one or join my group seasonal 21 Day Challenges.

Helen Marshall

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