About Us

Meet Marybeth

Marybeth Shirley is a Primal living mentor helping midlife and menopausal women achieve optimal health and their best life. With 12 years of coaching experience, her specialty is Primal/Paleo diet and intermittent fasting. 

Marybeth’s methodology focuses on a return to Primal routines and an evidence-based approach to balancing hormones in menopause and addressing adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues.

Coming in 2023, her signature program Navigating Menopause the Primal Way is a 10-week journey that teaches women the foundations of Primal living with practical tools to make long-lasting change.

Marybeth is also the founder and CEO of Primal Island Paleo Foods.

 

How I got here...

I know what it’s like to feel like you’re doing everything right but to still be struggling with your health and weight.

Like most 50-something women, I’ve lived through a lot. About 25 years ago, I moved from Seattle to a lovely small farm on Whidbey Island with my girls when they were 2 and 4.  We ground our wheat for homemade bread, grew our vegetables, had our own milk goats and cows as well as butchering our own animals.  Modern organic homesteading at its finest!

Or, at least I thought. 

Little did I know that the significant symptoms I was experiencing (along with one of my daughters) were directly related to the freshly baked wheat, other grains and all natural sugar (maple syrup and honey) I so proudly served each day. My diet was not working for me.  I had migraines, depression, anxiety, eczema, needed to lose some weight and had insomnia to name a short list. I felt terrible and was exhausted all the time and could barely stay awake until bedtime.

This was my turning point...

Then, I became pregnant with my son. I had a C-section and within 4 months I also experienced a devastating loss when my first-born daughter passed away just before her 6th birthday. In my grief, I found myself overeating (all those grains) and drinking multiple breve mochas each day. I was even more exhausted, while trying to navigate my way and my family’s way through this loss. Fresh baked bread and butter were my staples.  Thank goodness I had my two kids to get up for each day. I was committed to showing them life was still good and in order to do that I needed to get healthier.  

I finally decided to stop overeating and self medicating with food. I wanted to lose weight and try to address my other symptoms that were interfering with my daily  ability to parent at my best and set a good example of healthy habits.   I found the Primal/Paleo diet and it changed my life. Not only did I easily lose the weight but it helped me resolve my other symptoms.  I was so excited about Primal Nutrition that I started a Paleo specialty foods company.

Menopause forced me to find a stronger approach to health...

For years I easily kept off the weight with little effort.  That is until I became a certain age, hit peri-menopause and ran myself into the ground with adrenal fatigue. I could barely get out of bed. Everything I thought would work forever quit working.  Things change when women hit menopause and maintaining health is hard.  We need to fine tune our diet, exercise, sleep and lifestyle once again. I am now back on track after working my way not only through adrenal fatigue and menopause (ever evolving) but through hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease as well as Epstein Barr Virus and Lyme Disease. 

When we enter menopause woman often experience symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, heavy and irregular periods, hormonal migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, vaginal dryness, sexual dysfunction, dry skin and hair loss.  All of these affect a woman’s quality of life significantly.  Unfortunately many women live with these symptoms for many, many years without relief.

Now I know beyond a doubt what works for midlife & menopausal women...

I have traveled across the country to learn from multiple doctors and now have crafted a unique approach to optimizing health for myself (and you!) by combining nutrition, fasting and moderate exercise as well as teaching you how to advocate for yourself when doctors tell you there is nothing you can do.  With my distinct Primal perspective I start where you are at and we go at a pace that is doable for your specific needs.  

My life today consists of healthy Primal foods, intermittent,  extended fasts, daily long walks, resistance training and some weights. I’ve been able to significantly reduce or eliminate my menopause symptoms and also help my clients do the same with the 3 main pillars of a Primal lifestyle.  I am passionate about health coaching because navigating this time in life is so difficult on your own.  Doctors do not necessarily know how to help and often place blame and tell women that they need to just eat less and exercise more. This is terrible advice. It is not your fault and I can support you on this journey. 

 

I continue to live on beautiful Whidbey Island in the PNW with my children Rose and Rowan, and my husband Gabriel.  We keep my daughter Kathrine’s presence alive in our family by warmly telling stories and sharing our favorite moments we had with her. All our lives are a “deeper and richer cup of coffee” because of her and we are grateful.

My simple, direct and customized approach...

I specialize in Primal/Paleo Nutrition, Intermittent Fasting/Time Restricted Eating and Primal Exercise. I can also coach clients that are interested in Keto, Carnivore, AIP, Whole 30.  I can distill all of these in an easy to implement way that fits into your daily life and routine.  I am an expert at navigating restaurant dining as well.  

I’ve optimized my own personal plan for healthy longevity. At this stage of my life, I want to give back. Navigating Menopause the Primal Way is all of my knowledge distilled into an actionable plan, coming to you in 2023- are you ready?

In real life I love...

Whidbey Island!

I spend much of my time walking and working with my husband, Gabriel, on our 10 acre family farm. I’m grateful for this gorgeous place that is my home.

Seeing my kids

I love hiking with my son Rowan who is just a couple hours away at college, and spending time with my daughter Rose, who also lives on Whidbey Island and is an electrician.

My "furry" kids

I enjoy playing and hiking with my adorable mutt, Maggie.  I also spend a lot of time loving on our five (yes, five!) cats. Every farm needs some farm cats.

All things health

I obsessively listen to health and wellness podcasts and enjoy books on the topic too. I also run another business with paleo products called Primal Island.

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