My Story

For the purposes of this website, my life was pretty boring until 2005. And then at the age of 24, out of nowhere, I had a stroke.

2005 – a few months after the stroke

I had always considered myself to be pretty healthy, and had no major health issues prior to that. The stroke occurred as a result of a lesion (most likely a blood clot) in the right side of my pons. I lost fine motor function on my left side, which was not very fun considering that I’m left handed. Besides having to learn how to walk again, I had to re-learn how to write, play guitar, hold a fork, etc. Luckily, my young brain quickly recovered, and after a couple months of physical therapy I was pretty much back to normal. A lot of excellent doctors treated me, but no one ever figured out what caused the stroke.

2006 – hospitalized for a month for autoimmune diagnosis

A little over a year later I noticed that I was having a hard time exercising. I kept thinking I was just way out of shape. It got so bad that I was out of breath even from walking, so I went to the doctor. I then spent the next month or so living in a hospital, being tested for a wide range of possibilities – long story short is they settled on a narrowing of my pulmonary arteries, most likely due to inflammation, that was causing my shortness of breath. I was diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disease Takayasu’s Arteritis, which is characterized by the narrowing of arteries due to inflammation (but only rarely in the pulmonary arteries). The cause of this disease, like most autoimmune diseases, is not known. So then I spent a year on heavy immunosuppressant therapy; we tried a combination of steroids and other scary drugs, and they worked for the most part. I would still get winded upon exertion, but I could at least function.

2007 – about a week after surgery

In the fall of 2007 I went to California to have a pulmonary re-sectioning surgery performed, where the doctors would remove the inflamed tissue surrounding my arteries and enlarge the arteries using parts of a cow’s pericardium. I often joke that I sometimes crave grass. It’s a pretty scary procedure, something they call a standstill operation – in order to get to the arteries, they had to perform a full cardiopulmonary bypass, deep hypothermia and full cardiac arrest. As you can imagine, when you’re clinically dead for 8 hours there’s a pretty good chance you won’t come back. It was a scary moment in my life, and I am so grateful for my supportive wife and family for being there to help me through it. I made it out okay and now I have a killer scar and some crazy stories. Unfortunately, it didn’t ease my symptoms – I was on the same amount of medication with little or no improvement.

2007 – immunosuppressant steroids caused weight gain and other side effects

Flash forward to 2010. My continuous steroid and immunosuppressant medication therapy was starting to take its toll, even though I was trying to slowly taper off the steroids. I felt lousy almost all of the time, and worse still was the fact that I couldn’t foresee it getting any better. I then happened across an article that mentioned this crazy diet modeled after cavemen that eliminated grains, and it could reverse autoimmune symptoms. Within a week I had devoured The Paleo Solution and just about every Paleo resource I could find, and switched my diet. My inflammation markers decreased significantly within a month.

2011 – about six months after adopting the Paleo diet

Since then things have been much better. I’m not cured – there’s no mistaking that I still have a serious autoimmune condition – but the Paleo diet has absolutely helped. I started exercising for the first time since 2006. I was able to get off of steroid therapy, which was causing all sorts of side effects (weight gain, brittle bones, memory issues, shingles, and so on). Lastly, my wife and son have joined me on this crazy journey, which gives me comfort that we’ll all three live long, healthy lives.

152 thoughts on “My Story

  1. What an incredible story. I know a man in his 30’s who just had a stroke and they are suspecting MS also. He has lost 2 chunks of time in his memory, like his wedding and birth of his kids :'(
    So sad.
    I will be passing your story onto him as well as the Paleo info.
    Holding on good thoughts for you to regain 100% wholeness- sounds like you are on the right track!

    1. Nancy, I am just reading this. Not sure if your friend with MS has got any better. Here is another solid reference regarding MS and significant improvements through diet…also Paleo with small adjustments (no eggs). Check Dr. Terry Wahls website and her book Minding My Mitochondria.

      1. Hi Maria, I just saw your comment! Happy to say he did regain his memory and eyesight and I think is mostly back to normal amazingly enough. Not really sure of all the details since they live in another state, but I did pass all the information to my friend- his mother in law but as I’m sure you know many people just aren’t interested or ready. This particular friend has type 1 diabetes and many other disorders but just refuses to change her diet whatsoever and is pretty much completely disabled now. I just don’t understand that kind of thinking.
        I have been reading Dr Wahls latest book- the Wahls Protocol and have found the missing pieces to my own health journey in there. I am several days into the Wahls Paleo Plus (stage 3) of the diet and although it will be a hard fight I am expecting a serious transformation. Despite not eating the standard American diet for the last 30 years and being nutritionally minded my health has slipped for many reasons. Time for a serious change.
        Thanks for checking in Maria!😊

        1. Please contact me as soon as possible. My dear friend has the exact same auto immune disease as you and he is currently in the hospital and has been here for almost 3 months and has had numerous invasive surgeries with no answers and no relief! PLEASE CONTACT US!
          Brad Boggs 208-971-1426 –
          My name is emily lynch 208-699-3598

          1. Hi there. I have also been diagnosed with this disease. I have underwent a double lung transplant and heart bypass. Just within the past month I have had 2 clots removed from my heart . This disease is very rare. Just thought I would share, would be happy to speak with anyone who needs support.

  2. Incredible story, brother. Thank you for choosing to use your struggles and triumphs as a catalyst for education and enlightenment. Yours has been one of the handful of websites that have served as an invaluable resource for me as my wife and I adopted the paleo principals for ourselves.

  3. Awesome story!!!! I’m on day 3 of paleo and about to make poi and round roast (from your recipes) for my family of 5 for dinner tonight – excited!!! Praying for continued recovery for you! Thank you for your fabulous website.

  4. Hi – I got here from Highbrow Paleo. Yours is an amazing story & I thank you for sharing it. My son had a stroke last summer at age 26 shortly after shunt revision surgery. He had/has minor effects on his right side and has mostly recovered. I would love it if he decided to take an interest in paleo, no luck so far but I keep hoping!

  5. You have been so much in such a short period of time. I really hope that this lifestyle will continue to help improve some of the autoimmune inflammation. I’m really enjoying reading your recipes too, so thanks for the good food and for sharing your story.

  6. Wow, your story is really scary! I’m so glad that you stumbled across the paleo diet, because I bet the doctors didn’t mention anything about that to you :) Glad you’re doing much better now!

  7. What an amazing story! I’m in awe. I’ve recently adopted a more paleo diet and I can certainly feel the difference. Love your blog and your inspirational story. I’ll definitely be checking back. Delicious wishes!

  8. God Bless You and Your Family, and I am going to check out this Paleo diet.Thank You and Many Wonderful Blessings to You and Yours. Kathy

  9. What an inspiring story. Unfortunately it is also a view of the state of conventional medicine. Treat the symptoms, not the cause. If only you had found the Paleo diet before the surgery.

  10. You are so young and such an inspiration to the rest of us. Thank you for sharing your blog and ideas with us. I hope to browse through your site and provide healthier meals for my family. Thank you once again!

  11. Very inspiring! After reading your story and about the Paleo diet, I am inspired to try to work this diet into my life. Though I think it would be a long long road for me. I don’t get to cook much, work and travel doesn’t help. But I think I can make some choices in my food ordering.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    1. Lots of paleo options out there! Just saw on amazon approved paleo bars and shakes!!!
      Never say never…, if your health depended on it you’d do it in a heart-beat!!!

  12. This is an incredible story. Wow is the only word I kept thinking as I was reading this. I hope you continue on this road to recovery and I can’t wait to read more from your blog! All the best.

  13. Thanks for sharing your story. I don’t eat Paleo exactly – I started using a way of eating called “The Idiot-Proof Diet”, which is basically ultra-low-carbing, and found it fixed my chronic heartburn and other problems. I love this way of eating, it really doesn’t feel like a ‘diet’ (as in “Die with a T”, as Garfield would say)!

  14. Amazing Man!!! My Wife has also been diagnosed with and auto-immune disorder. Like you, she has switched to the Paleo diet, and is recovering slowly. Stories like your story give her hop for the future. Thank you so much for sharing

  15. I stumbled on this website through Google (searching for almond flour pasta). Thanks for sharing your paleo story and posting all these awesome recipes! It’s always a chore to look for paleo-friendly foods that is presented with good design and sharp images, so I really appreciate the fact that you continue to post such awesome recipes. Keep it up!

  16. Awesome story and message. It’s sad hat many of us only come to looking at the whole person and not just one aspect after facing some kind of life threatening or terminal illness. I’m really frustrated by the medical community and their approach that MD means More Drugs. Paleo (or Primal) works and take a second to read my interview in Paleo Magazine to find out why. I’m only of of thousands of similar stories and we need to all make some noise so the Doctors and most importantly the teaching hospitals look at what’s taking place with diet, exercise and lifestyle.

  17. Thanks for sharing- as I had a stroke too.. in your 20’s it doesn’t seem possible. I’m trying out this Paleo diet to help with Lupus symptoms and APS- seeing your story makes it that much easier to give it a go.. thanks and keep it up! :)

  18. Amazing story and thank you for sharing with this website! Inspirational to us who have autoimmune disorders (I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue in 2007.) My husband also developed diabetes that same year (hereditary in his family.) I have also heard of the Paleo diet. A very good diet to be on. I am not on the diet however I strictly adhere to completely gluten free. I still struggle some days as I developed Celiac at a later age so not as easy to bounce back. I also get very sick from even the slightest touch from gluten i.e. cross contamination as well.

    I wish you the very best in your healthy journey!

  19. I really enjoyed your story and will look up Paleo Diet on line. Four of us in this household need to make sure we eat gluten free – and it is hard, but reading stories like yours helps! Go luck to you!

  20. Russ, someday you’ll tell the rest of the Russ Crandall story and the folks that are impressed and inspired by your story now, will be blown away. You’re an amazing dude with an awesome family. I won’t wish you luck because you don’t need it, your determined enough to get what you want without luck being a factor.

  21. Mom and I were talking today and she told me that she told Grandma Colleen all about your website. So grandma had to check it out and is now a total fan and on the Paleo train and says her arthritis already feels better after just a week and she loves the site. Mom was also mentioning how great of a job you do on this website and just what a wonderful guy you are all around and how much she enjoys spending time with you and Janey and Ollie and I couldn’t agree more. So I asked Charlie if he’d ever seen your site and he said no so we just spent a little while looking around and reading posts and contemplating buying a t-shirt soon (you shold have a baby one on there) and I just had to let you know that you are pretty awesome and I remember the whole story and how scared I was for you and how happy and grateful I am that you are okay and that you have been a friend for all of these years, even if we only see each other sparingly. Hug the fam for me and it was nice to see you a few weeks ago and basically we just love you Russ!

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I reach out to u because i came across this story and saw on ur post that u also have takayasus- im 28 also have TA id like to hear what has help u manage TA better i need some

  22. I just came across your site when looking for a good eye of round recipe. Wow what an inspiring story you have! I will pass your story and your site on to many. Keep on moving and your family are pretty awesome.

  23. The mysterious ways of the world at work? I’m just bobbing around the Internet looking for Christmas Roast ideas and I get totally distracted by comments on a website written by a guy with a humorous name. So, I decide to read his blurb thinking it will explain why he chose his amusing name. What a surprise, the blurb is not about the name at all, but about a very trying and scary time in the man with the funny blog name’s life. All at I time when I’ve just been told I’m going to have scary and trying times for the rest of my life. The culprit? Evil inflammation, which apparently can take on an insidious little life of it’s own. I will take this as an otherworldly thump on the head and go back to bobbing around the Internet, this time looking for info on the diet. Thanks for sharing.

  24. My own experiences (Celiacs, arthritis,fibromyalgia, etc) have taught me that this diet is no less than a miracle for those of us with autoimmune problems. It will help you like nothing else can for inflammation in your body and all the problems that arrise from it.

  25. Wow, that’s a phenomenal story. Diet is profoundly important in our lives too. We needed extra help though. One of my family members has large cell arteritis. The drugs really took their toll. I thought we had exhausted every option. Zija is a product made of Moringa oleifera. On Zija, suddenly the need for the pharmaceuticals plummeted. I really want to talk to you about this.

  26. What an amazing story. I found your wonderful eye of round recipe and we are trying it tonight. Will let you know how it goes.

    You are an amazing person. There is a certain calm tenor to your writing style that I really like. Your son and wife are blessed indeed.

  27. What an amazing story. I have yet to learn about your condition in Physician Assistant school, so thanks for educating me on your journey. I too have an autoimmune disease with a lot of inflammation, perhaps I should start going Paelo. Best of luck to you!

  28. Glad you are doing so much better. It’s always inspiring when people find natural ways to heal themselves. Nature really does provide us with so much, we just need to trust it and pay attention.

  29. Just came upon your story,hope things are still going to plan for you and your family.I have Guillian -Barre Syndrome with Aman variant ,I will be looking into the Paleo diet and give it a shot thanks for sharing with us.

  30. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I also have an autoimmune disease (UCTD) and numerous other issues and diseases that are a result of a the UCTD. I’m on lots of medications including an immunosuppressant when I am healthy. My parents are on the Paleo diet and have had great success. I was just given the go-ahead from my doctor to start. In fact, since I’ve been sick all winter and unable to take the immunosuppressant. Now that I’m starting to feel better my doctor has agreed that I can stay off of it for three months while I try the Paleo diet. My prayer is that I won’t have to ever go back on it. I started on Sunday and feel better already!

  31. Wow, very inspiring story. So glad you made it through it all to live and tell us all about it! Just found your blog and love your recipes! Thanks for sharing!

  32. “most autoimmune diseases, is not known”

    Ever had a vaccination? A shot for travel?

    Autoimmune diseases are usually caused by virus’ being on purposely given to the public at large. Go and have a virus work up to see what you actually have.

    In the mean time I think you would find this exceptionally interesting.

    ‘The Exploding Autoimmune Epidemic – Dr. Tent – It’s not autoimmune, you have viruses.

  33. Wow… I am a scientist and my research area is white matter injury during stroke. It’s stories like yours that give me the motivation to work at my budding but very stressful career. Also, your blog is amazing. I’m gluten sensitive and I found a lot of excellent recipes that I’d like to try. Keep it up!

  34. I’m excited to have come across your site. My grandmother had Takayasu, apparently one of the first cases diagnosed in a Caucasian woman. She suffered for 20+ years before her diagnosis. I’ve always wondered if dietary changes would have helped her. It’s wonderful that they are helping you.

  35. Truly excellent site. I came here looking for recipes that I could modify for GAPS diet. I too have an auto-immune disease, diagnosed 22 years ago at the age of 12. The paleo diet wasn’t enough to bring me to health, but the GAPS protocol worked wonders. Again, excellent recipes and site.

  36. Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been looking into why I’ve not been feeling great either, with various symptoms I won’t bore you with. I will suggest getting a 2105 or 2100 Stool Profile from Metametrix tho… to look for bugs.

    I have a PPTU – which means they found dna of a protozoan parasite. Is it possible you have something similar?

  37. I can relate, I have an auto-immune disease myself and have moved across the country, travelled across continents to seek treatment. I got off steroids, because I figured out it was wreaking more havoc on my body so I did the LEAP program and started eating clean, and it helped a lot. I’m still not 100% better, so it’s a process, but thanks for sharing your story and your photographs on your blog are great!

    I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, not that you need any help gaining followers, but I linked to your blog regardless so my readers could discover yours:)

    Rakhi, xx

  38. Glad to hear things are going decently for you. Have you heard of MTHFR? I think I will always wonder every time I hear of a young person with stroke/clotting issues, if that person has MTHFR. God bless you as you continue on your journey!

  39. I’m so glad you’ve posted your story. I too have an autoimmune disease (lupus) which can sometimes confound my doctors. I was on loads of medications but have adopted the paleo diet about a month ago. I’m currently attempting life sans all medications and so far, so good.

    I love the way your website is laid out. It’s very easily navigated. Thanks so much!

  40. I came across your page when I was looking for a recipe for Pork Sirloin Roast. Thank you for sharing it. While I don’t follow a Paleo diet, I have a friend that does and swears by it. Good luck to your continued success. You look very healthy and would never know that you suffered so many health issues.

  41. A very inspiring story.
    Originally, before I found out you are married and age, I was going to say how cute you are.
    You still are, but I am way past that predatory age. My kids are older than you are. :-)
    Thank you for you and your love of good food and nutrition,

  42. What an eventful journey you have had (there’s the understatement for the day!)

    I stumbled upon your site when I Googled for a recipe and here I am. I have Celiac (another autoimmune disorder) and I have been struggling with weight gain since my dx. I guess once my villi was active and absorbing nutrients again, it really started working! Anyway, a fellow scientist friend recommended that I read up on the Paleolithic diet and I landed here. Seems simple enough to make the change from GF to all out Paleo. And I guess I kinda knew along that eating GF processed food was the culprit. But man, when you haven’t had bread in so long, you go a little crazy. ;)

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. You’ve epitomized what my GI doc has been saying for years: a GF diet is benificial to so many people, not only people with Celiac/Gluten intolerance.

  43. About 30 yrs ago I felt chronically horrible. Went to many doctors, underwent countless tests. They all said there was nothing wrong, except for one doctor who told me I was in the first stages of MS. I would not accept this, so started my own research, spending afternoons in the local university library, pouring over countless medical journal articles. I found nothing. Then one day while in a thrift store, I saw a book, “Cerebral allergies.” (can’t recall the author). What was described in that book fit my issues. I went to the allergist and asked for guidance to do an allergy elimination diet. He humored me and agreed. Within 3 weeks of basically eating nothing but unseasoned baked or boiled beef and a limited number of vegetables, my symptoms had all but vanished. By then adding certain items, I discovered an allergy to grains.

    As a student of prehistory, I’ve since learned that many of the foods considered “healthy” today are not at all like the foods we “grew up with” as a species. Also, as a species we grew up eating a wide variety of foods, and these during their season only. Studies of present day hunter gatherer societies show that as a species, we probably ate about 1/3 lean meat and 2/3 vegetal resources. Fats and sugars were a luxury rarely procurred. Consumption of grains was minimal or non-existent (and surely not the hybridized grains we have today). The Paleo Diet comes closest to the diet we as a species “grew up with.”

    There is an excellent epidemiological paper done back in the 1990’s by Ashton Embry … “Multiple Sclerosis, Best Bet Treatment.” You should read it. I learned a lot from that paper when I first accessed it in the mid-1990’s.

    It’s amazing that you survived not only your illnesses, but especially your treatments. I wish you many years of good health.

  44. I’m so happy that this diet has worked for you. My sister had Takayasu’s disease, had bypass surgery, valve replacement, etc. They told her it wouldn’t be the disease that would kill her, it would be the meds. And they were correct. After twelve years on prednisone, it caused a ruptured aorta. She died instantly a week after having a partial hysterectomy. I’ve just found out that a medication that I’ve been on for five years causes pancreatic cancer. I have recently been diagnosed with pancreatitis. The doctors know what these meds are capable of doing and yet, they still prescribe them without telling the patient (in my case, anyway) the dangers. Good for you, keep up the good work. I am especially interested in your gluten free pizza, I have celiac disease. So, I am going to try it.

  45. I do have an auto-immune disease that affects my throat and my ability to breathe. I have been looking into eating the Paleo way and couldn’t find anything for Vasculitis, GPA which is what I have. I admire your courage and your willingness to share your journey with us.

  46. I am so glad i found your page. My daughter has the same disease and she is only 12 years old so when we found out that she had takayasu’s arthritis it really broke ours hearts and ever since then I have been looking for people with the same problem to see what they do to live a better life. I am going to try this diet that you are on. Thank you very much for sharing your experience and if there is any way you could continue sharing more with us, I think we would all appreciate it.

  47. Hi there! I love your story and how after the doctors weren’t giving much hope of being able to live a healthy life, you took it upon your self to find health again. I, also, was diagnosed with Takayasu’s Arteritis. The initial diagnosis was in Sept 2011. I suffered 2 strokes in November of 2012. After the strokes I lost my ability to walk, comprehend what I was reading more that a couple of sentences, write, and verbally express myself. I had open heart surgery in of February of 2013 at the Cleveland Clinic (the doctors down here in Nashville wouldn’t touch me… They told me the surgery would be too complex). At my 3 month follow up, the specialist told me that I had recovered the quickest and best out of all of her patients that have had this surgery. One thing I didn’t mention is that I changed my diet about half way through and added a very important whole food supplement to it.. Juice Plus+ it is fruits, berries,vegetables and grains that have been juiced and dehydrated at low temperatures in order to keep the enzymes and phytonutrients in place. I had been on 60 mg of prednisone, now I’m down to 4mg and have been able to get off of other medications. I am since on a couple of medications but have plans to be off of them in the near future! I thank God that He put a friend in my life that cared enough to share nutrition and Juice Plus + with me.

  48. Loved reading your story. You are very brave. I can relate on a much lesser scale. I too have adopted a diet to reverse the effects of an autoimmune disease. So glad it is working out for you. Keep up the good work!

  49. Dear Russ Crandall,
    I have a question for you;

    Recently, my grandfather was diagnosed with Wegener’s disease, which is an autoimmune disease. Wegener’s granulomatosis is a rare condition where inflammation of the blood vessels impedes normal blood flow. I saw an article on your story. You have Takayasu’s disease; which narrows your arteries due to inflammation and caused your stroke. It is identical to the mechanisms of Wegener’s.

    At the moment my Grandfather is on several immunosuppressant medications which have completely knocked out his immune system. He has PNEUMONIA in his lungs which he cannot fight off because he has no immune system. He is also house-bound because even the smallest cold could kill him.

    My questions for you are:
    What are all the names of the medication you were on during your immunosuppressant therapy?
    Specifically, Were you on any medication to suppress your immune system?
    How long were you on the diet until you could get off the medication to get your immune system back.
    And you said you are still taking 1 drug that you have to continue to take; What medication are you on currently?

    We would be grateful for a reply, it is urgent. Our hope is that if we remove the source of the allergy, he can get his immune system back to fight off the pneumonia so it won’t kill him (and he can get out of the house).

    My email is:
    Thanks. – Lane

  50. So glad the diet is working for you. My two boys and I have autoimmune disease as well. (mine is thyroid, their’s is brain.). You might want to look into low dose naltrexone, an excellent immune modulator for autoimmune diseases and cancer. It’s low cost and works very well alongside Paleo diet. My thyroid meds have been decreased and autoimmune symptoms are gone for the most part on it. One of my children’s condition looks to be headed to remission, and the other child’s severe symptoms have reduced by 60% or more. Amazing, low cost, and highly effective.

  51. What an incredible journey you have been on!!! Thanks for sharing yourself with the world. You are looking great and hopefully are feeling great. Best Wishes!

  52. Incredible journey. I love your blog, and your content surrounding the Paleo / whole foods lifestyle. Just pre-ordered your book on Amazon. Thanks!

  53. I randomly came across this site while trying to figure out how to prepare an eye round roast for Christmas. Its in the oven as I write an smells wonderful. Your story and this season bring into focus what is truly important. Thank you!

  54. Hi.. I read your story and im so happy to hear you are doing much better::
    I also have Takayasus Arteritis. Im 28 i live in California, i was diagnosed with TA when i was 17
    I have been on medications ever since..
    Im currently on methotraxate. I have not had any extremely scary symptoms, but after hearing your story i want to try to change my diet.. Im so bad at eating healthy..
    But i want to make a change for once.. I hope u can help me

  55. Russ, amazing blog, amazing writing, amazing life you’ve been given and re-given! We love your blog!!! We love your family! Thanks for all you’ve shared with us! Blessings, J,A,E

  56. Russ – you are an amazing young man. So happy that you have found what works for you and that you are doing so well. I am excited to be able to share your wonderful Website with many of my Family and Friends. Keep up the good work. ; – ))

  57. What an incredible journey you have been on. The paleo diet seems to make so much sense although for me not eating lentils would be especially hard as my other half is Indian and it is very much part of Indian cuisine and the type of food we eat for now. Maybe I should look further into the paleo diet – you never know!

  58. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have been grain free for 17 mos and after being sick with chronic fatigue and fibro for 21 years, I am now healthy. I am passionate about helping people becoming grain free. I appreciate having another reason for giving up grain. Yours is a remarkable story.

  59. I like your story and am glad you are well.

    I do wish you’d consider wording some claims to more accurately reflect the entire context of the point upi seem to be making.

    For example:

    Lastly, the foods we eat today are less nutritious due to soil depletion and negligent mass-farming practices. These three factors contribute to a weakened system and an increase in food allergies and autoimmune-related health issues.

    There may be truth in the claim but the terminology “less nutritious” is too vague. The context is avoided hence the big picture including the alternative(s) omitted. As a beneficial diet for inflammatory conditions, lowering markers of same, I get that. I’m a crohns suffer myself which means if there are inflammatory effects to be had with an autoimmune problem, I get them. In fact so many conditions are tied to inflammation and immune response it is amazing.
    But the sort of loose use of the word science as having shown this or that is no more convincing than the same claims that science made about grains and low fat. Finally, the elephant in the room, that small farming is and always will be necessarily a boutique expensive thing for folks with discriminating diets and who can afford or choose to afford them. As such, all good.
    Boutique farming to get the missing nutrition (again too vague) while others who cannot avail themselves to it lack nutrition due to lacking food makes me think of the local scandal that should have a headline “Whole Foods cuts down wooded area to build new location”

    Moderation. We can still feed lots of people. It is cool how people grow bandwagons.

    You may like Bioregionalism, by Kirkpatrick Sale, he would have been an early 80’s advocate for Paleo.

    1. Hi, thanks for the feedback. My science-related writing is vague on purpose because this is a page dedicated to cooking, and not nutrition, and I’m not trained or certified in that field. My graduate degree is in Healthcare Administration, so I have a fairly good understanding of extent of our nation’s declining health, but I certainly don’t have a solution. I understand your expectation of a more researched reasoning, and I think there are plenty of great sites for that discussion. I should mention that nowhere do I write that small, local farming is the solution to soil depletion and mass-farming practices, nor do I assume that this is the key to our nation’s problems – an extensive overhaul of many of the western world’s current practices is probably necessary for optimal health for our population. Those are issues far beyond the scope of this recipe blog; my intention is to start the dialogue on health and provide tasty recipes along the way.

      1. And that’s why I love you! You focus on the positive things we CAN do with food in a way that’s positive! We’re all tired of being sick, or overweight and hearing about what’s wrong with us and what we eat or don’t eat. Thank you so much!

  60. Hi Russ!! Your story is mind blowing inspirational and your blog is sOo mouth watering!! But there was something else that caught my attention and brought me here in the first place…..the title of the blog. Would you like to shed some light as to why you decided to call it The Domestic Man?

  61. Ah that inflammation–I hear it all the time, so glad you are able to keep it under control and trying to prevent with Paleo. I also I’m trying to prevent inflammation from taking it’s toll on myself and my family by becoming aware of the food I eat especially how where it comes from and how it’s grown. Viva la wholesome food!

  62. Russ, what an incredible journey you have had and I’m humbled that you shared your story. Thank you. I had no idea when I met you, Janey and Oliver at Walt Disney world in 2013 that there was a reason you were eating a gluten free diet. I have heard stories about gluten allergies being misdiagnosed as autism! I’m excited to get your book and make a change as well. Hugs to You, Janey and Oliver!

  63. Inspiring story, great blog. I am a type 1 diabetic, have Addison’s disease, ulcerative colitis and a host of other conditions-your blog has been very helpful to me. We are the same age and its just nice to have someone my own age who has experienced some of the same types of struggles, makes the world a little smaller. Keep up your amazing work!

  64. I’ve been eating Paleo for awhile… I stumbled across your website and was interested in your book, but convinced myself that I do not need yet another Paleo cookbook (I have a bit of an obsession)…until I saw your US Navy uniform! And now I have to buy it!! Go Navy :)

    -Navy Wife

  65. Dear R,

    Thanks for sharing your life, healthy receipts and inspiring moments with us. I have always been a passionate healthy eater and a big fan of the blog.

    I do hope there are more interactions between you and us followers, where we create a supportive community for everyone who has a passion for healthy food of life.

    I invite you to check out this blog platform I am a user myself and think it provides the functions/tools to build that interaction between you and us fans!

    Don’t ever stop being inspiring!


  66. Wow! What a story. Thank you for being an inspiration to so many, especially people on a similar journey – a journey back to health after a serious, life-threatening event. Stumbled upon your blog today reading a post from Cheri Lucas Rowlands on News about the release of your cookbook. So, first time visitor, but following you now.

  67. Thanks for sharing your story. I just happened to come here from Skinny Taste and was interested in the man behind the recipes. My sister is gluten free and so is my mom, I’m sure I’ll be back many times to get some awesome recipes.

  68. Russ, thank you for this site. Its been a resource for quite some time, and also seems to be a life-saving intervention for some people!

    I have a slightly more philosophical question, especially since you are in the health field (or were trained for it). What about the emotional side of the search for a cure? Do you or did you have anger at the doctors who saw you, the hospitals that kept you, the pharmaceutical companies that told you what to take, and the system that educated all of them?

    It seems like the level of disgust and frustration that an average person feels when they find out how fundamentally wrong the health “system” is can’t even compare to someone like you, who nearly died several times in the process and no doubt racked up a crapload of medical expenses.

    This is a very personal question but it would be helpful to others, I think, to address those feelings and how you are dealing with them or successfully put them to rest. Thanks again.

  69. Have you seen Sarah Ballantyne’s blog and her autoimmune protocol? Some of her ideas might be helpful. Her book is also quite good.

    Love your cookbook, we are working our way through it. So refreshing to have a book with delicious recipes that we can actually eat!

  70. Your story is so amazing! I was recently diagnosed with Takayasu’s arteritis as well (I’m 20 years old) and I was really hoping that if you had time, you could send me an email ( as I have some questions regarding this diet and the specific disease before I get started on the paleo diet.
    Thank you so much, I really hope to hear from you

  71. Thanks for sharing your story. I found out that my body has a high level of inflammation so I’ll be starting an anti inflammatory diet soon in hopes that I can beat it naturally. I love your blog and will be purchasing your book take care.

  72. You are incredible. You embody all of my interests and inspirations as a Dietitian. Thank you for being! :)

  73. Dude, you are an INSPIRATION. Thank you for sharing your challenges and taking the time to illustrate your persistence in such positive words. I’ve signed on to follow your blog, and will check back often. Thanks!

  74. hi sir , im sherry from Philippines.. im 21 now, i also suffering now the takayasu arterities and i had my mild stroke when i was 19 years old .. my doctor said that takayasu is not treatable but then beacause of your story you gave me courage ^_^ , sorry im not fluent in english . lol . :)

  75. verryyy goood, thank you verry much for telling the story, i really m. i have takayashus to, but know really tiny of this, so thank you…

  76. Wow, what a story! Isn’t it amazing how much dietary can help?
    Just curious, have you ever been tested for Lyme Disease & co-infections?
    It can cause strokes, heart issues, major inflamstion & mimic autoimmune issues.
    Heart issues & shortness of breath are just a couple things that I had because of
    Lyme disease.

  77. Hi Russ – I came across your website last year when I was browsing for recipes. Your story is such an inspiration! We heard about the paleo diet after my husband and I had a marked difference of opinion on this Bio Meridian test done by a nutritionist I had gone to with the children which resulted in a gluten free diet plan. All three of them were diagnosed 7 years ago on the moderate end of Fragile X Syndrome with ADD/ADHD but four years ago I knew I had to refine their diet more than just cutting out certain refined/processed foods. My husband found a blog on the internet by a chap who was using the paleo lifestyle to manage his epilepsy. Then last year I did a lose and shape up course at my local gym and the meal plan was based on the paleo diet and wow – what a difference! I’m 47 years old now and since changing my habits, my digestive system is much better and I’ve barely put anything back on (save a couple of lbs here & there) whereas before I would have a long trek – literally! – back to where I was before the school holidays. I’m now more of a size 10 than a 12 (UK size, that is).
    I know the kids will never be cured, as FX is a chromosome disorder and they were born with it. But fortunately their schools have good, fresh meals and I give them a decent, freshly cooked paleo meal at night. This has contributed in some way, I believe, to keeping their blood sugars on an even keel, rather than them fluctuating all the time. However, about four years ago, we felt we had no choice but to put them on medication for the ADHD, but my hope was to some day ween them off their medication and manage things solely with diet. Whether this will actually be achieved remains to be seen, but at least we are giving them a good start with diet. There is the odd sugary ice cream or crumpet that creeps in there now and again, as they are children, and it is difficult to explain to them the nitty gritty of how food affects the body – with out them losing the plot!
    So I now frequent the butcher’s and farm shops for more local, fresh produce, which has cost a bit more, but you can’t put a price on your health and longevity. I love some of your recipes and have printed a few of them off for my recipe binder.
    Thanks for such a great website and your inspiring story!

  78. I am sorry to hear of your condition, but I’m glad you’re improving. I don’t know what it feels like to suffer from a disorder, but I have lived with someone who did.

    My wife of nearly 22 years died from an auto-immune condition called Multiple Sclerosis after suffering from it for almost a quarter of a century.

    There is still no cure for the disease, and not really much in the way of effective treatment but the research through the MS Society continues, and it is important that a cure AND effective treatments for the symptoms are found soon.

    I am walking — yes, walking! — through the entire west coast of Scotland to raise funds for the MS Society in the UK. Please take the time to share my story and encourage others to participate.

    Oh, and thanks for sharing *your* story.

  79. Hey man just found your blog, awesome story and glad you have found at least some relief! I was suffering from frequent gout attacks and I was pretty overweight until I found the Paleo Diet and I can tell you it’s changed everything for me too (45lbs lighter, no gout issues) Anyways just subscribed, thanks for sharing your story!

  80. Hi my daughter was diagnosed with Takayasu this year she is only 14years old, I was told that her condition is already in an advanced stage , she is currently in hospital for two weeks . the doctors recommended that she must be treated with chemotherapy . thank you for sharing your story it has given me hope

  81. Thank you for sharing your story. My brother also had a stroke (in his 30s), was paralyzed on his left side and is still working toward recovery. I found you because of your pork adobo recipe. I am filipino – american and never made pork adobo! It was great… I am adding this recipe to my collection.

  82. I have Takayasu. I’ve had one stroke and a heart attack, open heart CABG and Aortic bypass. Inetersteting to see, I’m not the only one.

  83. I would like to know why no eggs, I’m following a paleo diet, I have GCA very similar to you, I believe that trying to re-introduce dairy in my diet cause the inflammation but if I need to cut off eggs, I will, I lost a lot of weight, from 130lbs to 88lbs, eggs are protein they are free range and organic so is all my food, I also have celiac.

    1. Hi Louise, I don’t eliminate eggs from my diet. They have been known to affect those with autoimmune issues, and I’ve tried several periods without them and have only had negligible improvements, so now I limit them to about 4-6 a week and that seems to work best for me. If you tolerate them fine I wouldn’t recommend avoiding them.

  84. Mr. Crandall,

    We believe that both Takayasu’s arteritis and giant cell arteritis are caused by persistent varicella zoster virus infection, which causes shingles as well as a vasculitis, and are currently treating a patient with Takayasu’s with intravenous acyclcovir and have shown evidence of the virus in the arteries. If you are interested in further studies, kindly contact Dr. Maria Nagel at University of Colorado School of Medicine.

  85. Just ran across your website & read your incredible story. Thank you for sharing it with us!
    My husband and I are both ready to go Paleo – you’ve inspired us :)
    Thank you for all these amazing recipes ~ I just used the picked turnip recipe :)

  86. I just stumble upon your story and read your incredible story. I myself have TA and suffering for over 20 years now. I need guidance…..please enlighten me about the paleo solution.

  87. I’m about to make an eye of round roast.. got distracted.. thanks for being strong and never quitting. Guaranteed you are your families rock.

  88. I happened upon your website while looking for a spicy but low heat Panang Currie Paste, your recipe hit the nail on the head perfectly. Congradulations on your personal strength and resilience. Your website is not too shabby as well…..from Canada
    Best Regards
    Dan Montague

  89. stumbled upon your blog while searching Takayasu Arteritis. my little sister was diagnosed in August 2013. She didn’t respond as well to the treatment, but it is inspiring to know that you have!

  90. I was just diagnosed with Takayasu’s arteritis myself and I’m still in the early stages of treatment. It is nice to know that I’m not alone.

  91. Hi Russ,
    In my kitchen in South Salem NY. I really liked your website and just put my Eye of the round roast in on 500. Fingers crossed !

  92. Oh, Russ. I thought I knew your story, but those pictures really made it real for me. I’ve been a working California RN for over 40 years so those images tell me a lot. I think your personal story is why I gravitate toward your book, your page and recipes more than the more didactic proponents of Paleo. I’d like to follow Dr Perlmutter, but I feel lectured to. Thanks for sharing your story and letting us be part of your healing while we heal ourselves and develop a better relationship with food.

  93. I am a 37 year old Caucasian woman and I too have Takayasu, diagnosed six months ago after I had a series of embolisms in my left lung and arterial blocks in both subclavian arteries. Lucky for me (if you can call it that) the fact that I also had an undiagnosed coagulation disorder led to have emboli sooner and thus diagnosing the Takayasu sooner, however I am left with lasting damage and clots in my lung that may have to be removed if it begins to cause heart failure. As a parent of 3 year old twins, this diagnosis was devastating, and as a nurse, I envision the worst because I see it daily but I am focusing on the positive, grateful the damage was minimal, and trying to view it as a wake-up call to change my life to prevent further damage if I can.

    I know at this point these medications are essential, I also know they have a myriad of terrible side effects in both the short and long term, and I hope to be able to stop them at some point. I had been considering giving a paleo type diet a try to minimize weight gain and stabilize my blood sugars (prednisone!), but when I read your post that was the cinched the deal.

    Three weeks in, and I’m feeling pretty good on this diet, and my weight is finally holding steady. I’m tapering prednisone and hoping that lifestyle changes will allow me to continue to do so. Thank you for your inspiring story and for giving me some hope that nutrition can be a powerful contributor to my healing. My doctros have been absolutely amazing with their rapid diagnosis and treatment, but there is little info out there on this disease and anything in my control. This gave me that.

  94. Hello. sorry you had a rough go of it, but thank goodness you seem to have figured it out for good. I am 51 and just diagnosed with a brain tumor. I just finished with 6weeks of radiation and now grasping for anything that will with put this tumor into remission and take away my symptoms. In your writings and travels have you come across tumor pts who have used your lifestyle with success. Brain tumors esp Agioblastomas grow with sugar. I was told to stop eating carbs and read meat. If you actually read these post I would love some feedback if you are able. Thanks.

  95. Thank you for putting out this blog. I’m sorry you have gone through all of this. My son has had to go on a paleo diet. He cannot have any type of sugar refined/processed. He loses reality because of this. We’re still trying to find out what’s going on. No one seems to know why. Thank you again and good luck to you.

  96. I think I am a bit over whelmed…don’t know where to start on this or really even how. My daughter passed away from a disease called Wagners Grandulomatosis. Actually from an off-shoot of that called Churgg Strauss Syndrom. My other daughter suffers from PCOS which I believe I also had when I was young. Additionally I believe that many of my issues started when I was younger and lived in an Air Force Base in Hawaii. They fogged DDT regularly and as a young child my friends and I ran behind the truck and pretened to be in heaven. I now think I was in a hell. I still believe that that was the beginning. So many health issues that I just get tired of talking about them. Food is difficult because I love everything and I hear so many different storie, advise and opinions. I know I don’t have forever to figure it out!!!

    I just don’t know where to start.


    1. My father eventually passed from Wegener’s when he was in his eighties. Usually you get it at a younger age. He was nearly dead when diagnosed and we transferred him to Johns Hopkins Hospital. I truly think if you are diagnosed with something like that there are certain drugs to help it. That being said I also devoted my like at the time to keeping him healthy, along with the medication I made sure he ate all the right foods. You need to be your own best advocate on this disease. I know all the doctors say it is not genetic, but I believe in some form or another it is passed on. My father was also in a war and who knows what he was given. Don’t give up! Try anything that you think will help, but I think the right diet is definitely the way to go. Good luck!

  97. I read most of your story and immediately recognized what your problem is. Have not read all the replies but needed to tell you that you are majorly deficient in the mineral magnesium. Your diet was deficient and all the physical activity you were involved in depleted your body of the most important mineral our body needs. Everyone seems to know about calcium but don’t know that magnesium is more important. Your intake of calcium and magnesium should be 1:1 ratio or more in mag. Find the book Magnificent Magnesium by Dr. Dennis Goodman. You will be amazed at the info contained in this softbound book. 50% of mag is in your bones, only one % in blood stream and 75 – 80% of Americans are deficient. It helps to regulate over 300 enzymes and functions in our body and is the 4th most available mineral in the world. Even if your blood work says your mag is ok it isn’t. Take a red blood cell serum test. It’s possible to take in IV’s, tablets and a topical gel. When you changed your diet you started to get more and it helped you but you still most likely need more. I never did this before but I felt compelled to let you know. God put all this on the planet for our good. Hope it helps you. Praying you will not just think this is the rambling of an old woman but will look into it and try it. And don’t forget the very important Sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D3, and potassium. Only God knows why I happened to see your story!!!!

  98. Thank you so much for giving me the hope I needed. I am a 64 yr old female that eats a healthy diet and am active, that is until recently when all of a sudden I couldn’t walk without pain or lift my arms past my waist and was always tired. I have been to countless doctors from rheumatologists to neurologists endocrinologists and they all have there own agenda. The only common demoninator was to put me on a course of prednisone which I refuse to take. I feel the risks far out weigh the benefits. When I asked if there was something in my diet I could change they all emphatically said NO! I was not willing to accept this I felt there had to be something else I could do, and then I came across your article. I truly think you have something there. I am starting to eliminate some of the trigger foods and incorporate some others. Since I already eat a pretty healthy diet it should not be so hard. I think a combination of the Paleo and the Mediterranean is the way to go. I was eating more cheese than I usually had and was eating a lot of red grapes. I have eliminated them and have seen a slight decrease in symptoms. I didn’t eat much wheat before but I will now elimate is from my diet and see how that works. I will be eating more root vegetables and most definitely using some of your recipes. Looking forward to more of your insight into this.

  99. Hi Russ!
    My name is Ariadna and I’m the co-producer & comunity manager of
    Speechless, a documentary about aphasia directed by Guillermo F. Florez.
    I would like to share our website and facebook page with you, just in case
    you are interested in it!
    I have been reading your website and I think
    it’s amazing! I was thinking if you would be interested in writing a post
    for our blog ( talking about your
    personal expirience as a young stroke survivor and of course, also about
    The domestic Man project. I think it would be very inspiring for thouse
    who’d read it! Please, feel free to contact me and discuss about it!

    All the best!


  100. Hi Russ,

    I really enjoy your recipes and have added several of them into my personal weight loss program.

    The recipes that I have tried have a great deal of variety and taste.

    I would ask, is there a way to add nutritional information for each recipe on a per serving basis?

    Good luck and thank you.


  101. Hi Russ,
    I have been living with Takayasu Arteritis for 14 plus years. In 2006 had aortosubclavian bypass procedure at Cleveland Clinic. It has been a journey for me as well. I felt I should send you a note and say that I hope your TA is and stays remitted. I found my own irregular pulse in 2001 after some similar symptoms and it took a while before the testing got me to an angiogram, carotid dopplar and then on to Cleveland and starting a series of Steroids, methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, and then ultimately the Bypass and cellcept. I have been looking for some sort of ‘sign’ to what a good diet could be for me. I am digging into your information on the website as I can see you have been researching with Autoimmune diseases like this in mind. I am an eye doctor in Indiana and I have been doing a lot of study on Omegas and the possible role in reducing inflammation. I believe that inflammation is a key root to damage that occurs in many health conditions including my, your TA. I think our diet in America is simply dangerous with all the preservatives and processing.

    I would love to talk with you anytime about the TA as I know no one with the condition aside myself.

    Best Regards
    Andrew Hogue OD

  102. Wow, really inspirational story. I’m so glad to hear that the Paleo diet has helped you with your health problems. Although my story isn’t nearly as scary as yours, I struggled with horrendous IBS for 2 years before a wonderful functional healthy practitioner put me onto Paleo, I really hope more people learn about the incredibly important role diet plays in our health.

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