Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
9 Feb

10 Real-Life Reasons Why the Primal Blueprint Works for Me

puzzlepiece2copyThere’s been a lot more talk in the mainstream recently about “caveman” diets and barefoot training. Primal/Paleo/Evo seems to be gaining in popularity and may be nearing the critical mass needed to garner mainstream appreciation. John Durant appeared on Stephen Colbert last week, Art De Vany was featured in Der Spiegel, Born to Run is a NYT Bestseller and my book recently made the top ten Health and Fitness titles on Amazon. Even so, we Primal types still get those occasional looks of derision or incomprehension when we show up at the gym with our Fives on and a bag of homemade jerky hanging off our belt to do a quick 15 minute HIIT session. I think there’s a sense among outsiders that the Grok fairy tale trumps the science within the Primal crowd – that the notion of living like a caveman is a cute ideal but irrelevant in a 21st century high-tech context. Of course, it’s not true; science always leads the way here at MDA and on most Primal/Paleo/Evo sites. But even with the science completely supporting the idea that we ought to emulate our hunter-gatherer ancestors in many aspects of life, I still hear things like, “I trust my doctor too much to give up the statins and start eating fats.” Or “I’m lazy, undisciplined, and I love good food too much to be able to change this late in my life.” Hey, me too! So for those of you who are looking for more detailed rationale why living Primal is best for everyone (including your doubting spouse and your parents), here are my 10 Real-Life Reasons Why the Primal Blueprint Works for Me.

1. I’m lazy.

Ironically, I spent 25 years of my life pursuing high level fitness and peak health through hard work, discipline, sacrifice and misery. That didn’t work out for me. I’m over it. Now I just want the best results with the least amount of pain, suffering, and sacrifice. I jokingly tell my ex-triathlete buddies, “I’d rather look fit than be fit.” Of course, the irony is that when you actually do what it takes to look fit (eat right, cut the Chronic Cardio, sprint a bit now and then and lift intensely two or three times a week ) you become VERY fit. And healthy. And happy. And more productive. The best part of Primal Blueprint living is that you can get appreciably better results with significantly less time, less effort and less sacrifice. Instead of the old 20-30 hours a week I used to put in training, I now train less than three hours total a week. I try to play the rest of the time.

2. I love good food.

Some people mistakenly think the Primal Blueprint requires giving up eating good food. Nothing could be further from the truth. When I was a college endurance athlete, my buddies nicknamed me “Arnold,” after Arnold Ziffle, the pig on Green Acres. I could eat more than just about anyone in school (including the football linemen). I ate everything and enjoyed it all. But I became a slave to the carbs and to the hunger that they generated every three hours of my life. Later, when I retired and researched the damage I was doing eating grains, sugars, hydrogenated oils and all the other stuff I consumed to fuel my massive cardio efforts, I feared I might have to suffer a lifetime dearth of gustatory delights if I wanted to keep my boyish figure. Never happened. Primal eating reprograms the genes in a way that takes the edge off hunger, while assuring more-than-adequate energy and stable blood glucose levels. Now, I eat as much as I want, whenever I want from a list of fabulously tasty foods. I just avoid eating most things from that other list. Hunger doesn’t drive my life the way it used to. When I sit in a restaurant with a rare 20-ounce rib eye steak, a bowl of butter-sautéed mushrooms and a glass of fine Cabernet in front of me, I never feel sorry for myself that I didn’t order pasta or that I won’t be having the bread or potatoes or rice. And for dessert, if I’m still hungry, I’d really rather have another lamb chop or a bowl of berries than a slice of cardboard cake or mucous-inducing ice cream. Worst case, I can have a small taste of the latter and be satisfied.

3. I like to play.

I spent a fair amount of my life training for grueling endurance contests (marathons, Ironman triathlons, 24-hour relay running events). Only just recently did it occur to me that I NEVER really had fun while I was competing or while I was training. Admittedly, I could sometimes get into “the zone,” but that’s really only a temporary zone of less pain. I did appreciate the valiance of my efforts and certainly felt pride in my accomplishments, but from the time the gun went off until I crossed the finish line, I never once could truthfully say, “Isn’t this fun?”  In contrast, today I plan most of my (minimal) training around being able to participate in fun activities later. And while I don’t necessarily see play as “workout time,” it is most assuredly contributing to my fitness. Primal Blueprint training gives me the functional strength and endurance to jump into an aggressive Ultimate Frisbee game, stand-up paddle and surf for two hours, take a 90-minute trail hike with sprints thrown in, play a round of golf, or snowboard for five days in a row. I stay fit so I can play at stuff I find FUN.

4. I like to sleep.

I used to feel guilty if I slept too much. As if I were missing out on something that might be taking place while the lights were still on somewhere. Now I get at least eight hours every night and embrace the idea that I am NOT wasting time, but am recharging the batteries and will probably live longer as a result. I think most people would prefer to get adequate sleep, but feel like it’s a sign of weakness that they “need” eight or nine hours. It’s not. Sleep is integral to health.

5. I don’t like being sick.

No one does. At the peak of my endurance career, I got colds and flus five to seven times a year. I also had severe seasonal grass pollen allergies. The nature of Chronic Cardio training (all that cortisol) and the obligate high carbohydrate diet (all that sugar) kept my immune system so trashed that anything that was going around was going to take me down with it. And stuff is always going around. The Primal Blueprint works because everything about it is contemplated to support or boost the immune system and not trash it. My allergies have long since disappeared. I rarely get any kind of cold or flu now and, if I do, it’s with no real down time and over quickly. Many people argue that this benefit alone is worth the switch to Primal.

6. I’m vain (I want to look good naked).

The Primal Blueprint exercise laws are designed to sculpt a lean, muscled and balanced look without being overly “huge” or disproportional the way bodybuilders can get. It works perfectly for both men and women. I often say here that 80% of your body composition is determined by how you eat. The remaining 20% is a combination of genetics and exercise. If you dial the eating in properly, it doesn’t take very much exercise to optimize muscle size and strength, and to cut the last few percentage points in body fat. Notice I said optimize and not maximize. Think Calvin Klein underwear and SI Swimsuit models as opposed to swollen Muscle&Fitness or WWF cover models.

7. I like to be tan (vain part 2).

Sorry, I never understood the porcelain skin thing. I notice the dramatic effect a lack of sun has on my disposition as much as I notice it on my skin if I skip a few weeks (winter sucks – except for snowboarding). Getting adequate sunlight daily is an integral part of the PB as it has been for humans for millions of years. Vitamin D is critical to maintaining good health. As I say in my book, I honestly believe we’ve seen an increase in overall cancer incidence as a result of (ironically) heeding the advice of doctors to stay out of the sun. I think everyone would rather be outside for a while every day if they knew it was not only NOT harmful, but beneficial. A slight tan just looks good, and it’s indicative of a healthy Vitamin D status. Getting sun also improves mood and productivity as numerous studies continue to show.

8. I’m not organized.

If you saw my desk you’d probably cringe. Stuff all over it everywhere. Same goes with my training style these days, and I love it. I almost never train with anyone, because I like being able to head out the door on a whim and go sprint or hike or bang off a few hundred pushups. I hate having a set training schedule or the idea of having to meet someone at such and such a time to work out together. Don’t get me wrong, I do train with friends once in a while, but the Primal Blueprint training outline fits my fractal, sporadic, random, intermittent, flakey and spontaneous nature. If I don’t feel like training today, the PB says “take the day off – you’ll be stronger and more focused tomorrow.” Not to be outdone, the Primal Blueprint eating style is also unorganized. Not set meal times, no regimentation, no calorie-counting or portion control. Eat when you want and as much – or not – as you want. Of course, none of this is to say you HAVE to be disorganized to benefit from the PB. If you’re organized, it works that much better. But for those who eschew schedules, the PB is perfect.

9. I want to stay uninjured.

Downtime from injury sucks. As I said earlier, I want to get more play time now as I get older. I recognize that my body doesn’t recover from workouts as easily as it used to. I also notice that I have to pay attention to potential soreness a bit more. PB fitness provides a set of guidelines and workout styles that foster balanced, functional strength. It actually focuses on injury prevention and avoidance, while building muscle and burning fat.

10. I like certainty.

I’m a skeptic at heart (OK, I’m actually a cynic). I hate investing my precious time, money, energy or emotion in anything I don’t feel confident will yield dividends. It has to be based in science, rational thought and real results. Conversely, I hate thinking that some of my choices in exercise, diet and health may have been wrong (as they were so egregiously when I followed Conventional Wisdom). I need to have confidence that my choices are good ones. The research backing the PB is the most solid there is. Evolutionary biology and modern genetic – and epigenetic – science are proving that we have remarkable influence over how our genes express themselves throughout our lives. Stuff we do and things we eat turn genes on or off. It’s that simple. Intervals and Tabata work have been proven over and over to be more effective at increasing speed and stamina than Chronic Cardio. The dietary science of low-carb is nearly irrefutable now, as more and more researchers and docs begin to understand the true nature of insulin and they rethink the cholesterol hypothesis. Look, there is no right or wrong here. You can eat Twinkies and smoke cigarettes for the rest of your life and you still might reach 90 or 100. But I have never in my life been more certain of anything than I am that the Primal Blueprint way of eating, exercising and living is the optimal way to have the most energy, the most fun, look the best and live the longest. And I know I can do this for the rest of my life.

What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comment board and thanks for reading!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Yes on #8. Anyone who has ever dabbled with Weight Watchers can tell you point counting really sucks the fun out of eating. And scrutinizing nutritional labels really sucks the fun out of grocery shopping. My new Grok-method of grocery shopping = me wondering around the produce section looking for colorful things to toss in my salad. 100% spontaneous. 100% delicious.

    Furious Mittens wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • I am having a tough time. I love eating this way. But it seems, and maybe because I am 59(!) but feel and look a lot younger, that I am gaining, gaining too easily. It’s like every time I do a great day, I gain weight anyway and I can’t afford to gain more! I did recently stop doing my day work and am starting a new business, so I am not out of the house as much, meaning besides exercise, I am not moving as much!
      I even did good exercise days and still didn’t get lighter or gained??

      What can I do?????

      Denise wrote on October 17th, 2011
      • Stop looking at the scale. When you are making good choices for your body, your body will reward you. Continue on the path of healthy eating and increase your vegetable intake. Also, take time to relax everyday and tell yourself positive thoughts such as…
        “I enjoy large glasses of fresh water
        People are much more attracted to me already
        As the days progress, I feel stronger and healthier
        I release all excess fat
        I release all desire to consume fats and sweets
        I visualize the ideal figure for my height and bone structure
        My body is being shaped according to my liking
        I enjoy my body
        I am becoming healthier and stronger as I achieve my ideal figure
        The fat is melting away as it is consumed by my body
        I enjoy exercising to help my body consume the fat” -from Slimming Down and Loving It!

        Inessa Zaleski wrote on January 24th, 2014
    • You’re right – counting calories, tallying points, and weighing food all take the joy out of eating. It leads people to agonize over their food choices and develop a negative association with eating.

      But real food doesn’t make you fat. We all require tons of vegetables, quality meats, and flavorful fats to become lean and achieve optimal health. It’s a blessing that we don’t need to starve ourselves, sip cabbage soup, or eat dinky branded dinners to get ripped. We just need to refuse to eat low quality, calorie-dense processed foods in favor of REAL food.

      Abel James wrote on October 18th, 2011
      • Okay, I have been working out consistently for several years. I have had a few knee surgeries and I have recently been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. I am 60 pounds over weight and no diet or lifestyle change has helped. I have been on EVERY DIET you can imagine and nothing works. I have done P90X, Basic Weight Lifting and nothing? Any suggestions or reasons why this will work.

        At whits end

        Therookster wrote on September 28th, 2012
        • You can’t lose weight if your thyroid isn’t functioning properly. How about your adrenals? Have you had your cortisol levels checked? Removing grains from your diet might help your thyroid start working properly.

          mommydoc wrote on September 28th, 2012
        • Agree with mommydoc here, got to get your vitals checked over. Paleo diet can do so much but best to get checked out to see if you’re starting off with some severe imbalance/ issue in your body.

          Maybe try blood tests for thyroid function, and maybe try naturopath if you are open to homeopathic remedies.

          Patrice wrote on February 6th, 2013
        • To add regarding your knee surgeries, I would recommend working out with a highly trained individual who have knowledge in functional movements (squats, deadlifts, clean, jerks, etc). Avoid isolating muscle machines at all costs!! PROPER (and this is key because most people do not know what proper means) squats actually put little-to-no stress on your knee itself and builds up the hamstring and quadricept muscles, ultimately strengthening your knee.

          I had majory reconstructive knee surgery on my left knee (re-woven ACL and removed meniscus) and I work out a CrossFit gym where proper lift techniques are held in the highest regard. My knee is fantastic. If you don’t want to work out at a CrossFit gym, read “Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training” by Mark Rippetoe – this explains proper barbell techniques, what to do and what not to do. That being said, it’s also good to have someone to critique your technique in order to improve.

          Once you start to strengthen those knees, and lift heavy (assuming your thyroid isn’t hindering weight loss) you will start to lose weight. Lifting heavy, as Mark Sisson indicates, is key to weight loss!

          Best of luck.

          bmiller wrote on May 24th, 2013
    • Amen to that!!!
      I HAAAAATTTTTEEE keeping track of what I ate it’s so flipping tedious! Whenever I was dieting it always ended with me frustrated thinkin.. how the frack does anybody have time to do this with all the weighing and measuring and researching and the “20 min workouts” that are really more like 45 min after warmups and stretches and cool downs. Conventional dieting makes me grumpy!

      Jennapher wrote on March 21st, 2013
      • Hehe. OK!!! I totally agree.

        Zsaire wrote on September 25th, 2013
  2. I don’t like being manipulated by corporations: Things like high fructose corn syrup or msg hijack our biological reward systems, making us think they are good, when they really aren’t. This is good for corporations when they make us addicted without having to actually put nutrients in the food.

    Daryl wrote on February 9th, 2010
  3. I hate to admit it, but I’m now a proud owner of a pair of Vibram Five Fingers shoes. Went on a hike for the first time with them yesterday – in the snow.

    Fine, I can see what the fuss is all about.

    Damn you Grok Straps! What have you Paleo nerds done to me?!

    Matt Stone wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • You will wear ridiculous footwear and eat red meat and love it, muaaaah hahahahaha

      Trey Parker wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • I love My VFFs. 5-6 miles every other day on pavment or varied trails. No problems what-so-ever. Oh, to go truly barefoot, thats the next great leap! Enjoy.

      J.B. Aloha wrote on February 20th, 2010
      • Bought VFF’s but then injured toe and just said “what the heck, just go barefoot!” Now the VFF’s sit in the closet with all the other shoes. Try Invisible shoes for closest to barefoot.

        Winnie wrote on August 1st, 2012
    • Hi Matt! Have you tried Barefoot Ted’s sandals? Easier to get on…

      Ingrid Hastings wrote on December 30th, 2010
    • I am up to 2 pairs of vibrams. I love the new bilika LS!

      Primal Recipe wrote on July 22nd, 2011
    • Man, your toes gotta be able to curl and grip and grab as you run. These Gork straps are every cave dwellers dream! I wish they made these for football back in my day! With metal cleats… LoL! I would have been thrown out of every game!
      Keep runnin!

      Rory Stone wrote on June 10th, 2012
  4. I started PB because I liked the idea of not having to run for an hour a day to “be in shape.” At 23, having no cartilage left in my knees, knee caps that constantly pop out of place, and arthritis as a result, the idea of being able to cut out hour after hour of running was truly liberating (more running = more pain). Being able to adapt workout schedules to how my knees feel on any given day let’s me not feel like I’m a fat/lazy a$$ on the days I don’t work out. Then add to the fact that I can eat all this delicious food and not have to worry about my weight or count calories or try the next fad diet… the lifestyle is priceless!

    Holly wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Holly, I suggest you learn to run and move like Grok runs and moves…

      Knee pain due to misuse will become a thing of the past.

      BFT

      Barefoot Ted wrote on February 11th, 2010
      • Ah, but every Grok and Grokette would have done what they were good at. In a village between the sea and the planes, the thinkers, runners and lifters would have hunted the deer, the climbers, walkers and those with good eyesight and a good sense of smell would have gathered and the swimmers would have fished.

        Sure, everyone may mix and match. If fish was in short supply, the swimmers may hunt and gather. But, most of the time, you would have done what your body was good at, not what you’re uncomfortable with. I’m more of a walker and weight-lifter. It feels good and keeps me healthy. I have the odd burst of explosive energy, but mostly I walk, climb and carry stuff about with me.

        Everyone should TRY and do a bit of everything, to see what they’re good at and develop a bit of every skill, but, after a childhood of say, swimming, your joints may have specialized to an extent, meaning swimming is more comfortable (and more fun!) than, say, climbing. Yes, you CAN climb, but remember that swimming works better for you.

        Alice wrote on September 29th, 2012
  5. 11. I like not having high blood sugar.

    12. I like confounding and confusing my doctor when he looks at my blood work.

    13. I like not being hungry!

    14. I like not feeling guilty about eating things that taste good.

    15. I like having dropped 70+ pounds in six months with no effort.

    16. I like not having to use a wheelchair.

    Griff wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Awesome!!!

      gilliebean wrote on February 9th, 2010
      • I love making doctors look stupid….I am a cancer survivor….The oncologist tested my blood and my hemoglobin was that of “what cross country runners in the olympics usually blood dope to get to” …illegally.

        During chemo i did my research. Went to a chiropractor who did natural diet stuff. He put me on the Paleo diet. That’s enough for me.

        kev wrote on February 10th, 2010
        • I’m pretty new to Paleo diet myself but am having a great experience with it. My mom was just diagnosed with cancer and I am looking for information on Paleo diet and cancer and can’t find much. Do you have any sources? Her doctor told her to eat a diet high in whole grains and drink carnation instant breakfast drink with whole milk to try to put some weight back on!

          Heather wrote on November 8th, 2010
        • well i’m not an expert on cancer, but I can tell you for sure that whole grains and carnation instant breakfast are NOT going to cure cancer. i cannot believe how uninformed doctors are. a strict paleo diet would probably be very beneficial, but also here is a link to another source i trust… http://www.naturopath4you.com/IfYouHaveCancer.htm

          Brendan wrote on November 11th, 2010
        • OMG. That is terrible advice!. I hope you have come up with a lot better alternatives to that advice. I would recommend going off of dairy altogether, eat organic fruits and vegetables, have her eat 6 smaller meals a day, 3 regular and 3 healthy snacks. Also doing a series of colonic hydrotherapy cleanses to clean her colon. There are a couple of really good books out there right now. I have a book coming out this Fall on eating healthy as well, but not addressing your mom’s concerns. The books I do recommend are: Healing Cancer from the inside out; Mike Anderson. and
          Cancer, step outside the box, by Ty Bollinger. Excellent resources for alternative healing of diseases, including Cancers. I also recommend taking Apricot seeds, but they have to be very organic. I get mine from: go on line and put in: info@apricotsfromgod.com Jason Vale. And also Marks book on the site you are on of course!! Good luck. Look for my book this fall of 2011 called. The Nuts and Sprouts of Healthy Eating. by Gael D. Meyer

          Gael wrote on April 22nd, 2011
        • Everything about that comment from the doctor is just wrong! If she went raw vegan during this process she would benefit dramatically and also combine that with having a series of colonic hydrotherapy cleanses to clean the colon out of very old waste. gael.

          Gael wrote on May 2nd, 2011
        • Kev, Do you use a water ionizer to keep your body in the alkaline state?

          Jeannette wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • Wow Griff that is awesome! Keep up the good work.

      Matthew Odette wrote on February 10th, 2010
      • This is in response to Heather concerning her mother’s cancer diagnosis. Here’s another great book in addition to the ones Gael suggested. Killing Cancer Not People by Robert Wright contradicts a lot that we think is good for battling cancer. Read it, it makes sense! it can be ordered throught the American Anti-Cancer Institute.

        Jeannette wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • GREAT for you!

      lisz wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • 17. I like not gaining any weight when I’m pregnant! (vain part 3)

      18. I like having a baby that doesn’t get sick.

      Peggy wrote on May 8th, 2011
      • I dont understand…dont you have to gain SOME weight during pregnancy to be healthy? Assuming you werent overweight pre-pregnancy…

        Amy wrote on June 28th, 2011
        • Amy, the wt you gain during pregnancy should only be the weight of the baby and the supportive fluids. Gone are the 30-40# weight gains. Most ob’s recommend only 15-20#. You only need 300 extra calories per day to have a completely healthy baby. Quality calories, of course.

          lazrguppie wrote on August 9th, 2011
      • This is so awesome to hear. I’ve always wanted 3-4 kids, but will be having them in my 30′s (I’m 28 now, been married 2 yrs). I swore I wouldn’t look like the women in the midwest where i grew up, where pregnancy is used as an excuse for laziness and incredible indulgence. Especially since it would be harder to get the weight off in my 30′s.

        becca! wrote on July 7th, 2012
    • Double awesome!!!!!!!

      Betty wrote on October 17th, 2011
  6. After 30 inches of snow Saturday and 20 more expected tomorrow, amen to “winter sucks.” I can’t wait for the spring day when I can find a warm place outside to soak up a little sun and make some natural vitamin D.

    Great list!

    lbd wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • So you are in the Baltimore – Washington DC area too. Tomorrow should be fun.

      Seth wrote on February 9th, 2010
  7. If I had to try and rank it:

    1) I love meat. Yeah, I’ve found some good recipes here and I’ll choke veggies down to be good to my body but I love the meat portion of my meals more than anything. I’m not 100% carnivore but I love that meat is important to a primal diet.

    2) I want to look good naked.

    3) I can’t believe that I feel better at 40 than I did at 18. When I was 18 I was in a rock band and eating McDonald’s and Taco Smell non-stop. I still looked good naked but I didn’t feel like this. I “feel” thin.

    4) The meat that’s good for you is good for the environment too. How cool is it that grass-fed beef and pastured poultry are good for your body and the best thing from a humanitarian perspective? Win, win. Well, kinda.

    5) I don’t like junk food anyway. I was never a sugar addict but I would occassionally rock a 3 Muskateers with a Yoo Hoo. Now, I can’t imagine eating that stuff and even my occassional sweet tooth is satisfied with much less now. It’s not real food.

    6) I hate being sick.

    7) Cows not chemists. That’s right. I think that God gave us what we need for the most part. Butter tastes better and I know what’s in it. Butter wins.

    8) If we’re wrong I still enjoyed my food. Quality of life is more important to me than anything. No way I’m spending my life eating something I don’t want to.

    9) I like having fun. I hate gyms and I hate running. If I can look like this and feel like this with some mountain biking and skiing, I’m there.

    10) I like to cook, so I don’t mind staying home and cooking up yummy meals.

    glorth2 wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Im with you there with loving meat! Definetly my favorite part of every meal. I’m working on buying and eating grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and eggs etc. Looking for good affordable options here in Buffalo. It is totally worth it. But a lil difficult with a family, budget etc

      Jeremiah wrote on April 6th, 2011
      • Affordable choices in Buffalo is pretty easy. I go to the lexington co op, which is easy for me because I live in the elmwood village area. All their meats are grass fed, or naturally pastured. Some great choices for real food

        Goose wrote on December 7th, 2012
  8. Amen to not being constantly hungry! My husband can’t believe how I’m no longer a ravenous, cranky beast if I don’t eat within 3 hours of my last meal.

    I can’t really get on board with the tan thing, though…I’m a burner. I burn, peel, and am all porclain and freckles afterwards again. I burn through my hair, for goodness sake (yes, it’s blonde, and fine). It’s uncomfortable, so I just weat a hat in the summer, and only stay out in the sun for play (when I may well resort to sunscreen). I don’t use it spring/summer/fall…I’m far enough north that the intensity of the sun isn’t much of an issue except for in high summer.

    Jennifer wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Jennifer,
      You might try astaxanthin, 4mg to 8mg per day. You will find you can stay in the sun much longer without burning. I can mow without a hat for 3 or 4 hours in hot southern sun. I will get a little red but not really burnt and be just tanned the next day. Before astaxanthin I would have been burnt and peeling badly.

      Bill wrote on July 3rd, 2010
      • To add to this, try Neptune Krill Oil (its all essentially from the same company so brand does not matter). Krill eat algae, astaxanthin is found in algae. Absorption is much higher than taking straight astaxanthin because the krill have already converted astaxanthin into a usable form (esterified astaxanthin).

        ORAC value: 378

        Also contains vitamin A and E; can’t get much better than nature

        Krill is like fish oil on ROIDS, without the back acne of course!

        Trevor wrote on April 1st, 2011
    • My hair is blonde, thick and luxurious! And I still burn through it! Especially around the part!

      lazrguppie wrote on August 9th, 2011
  9. haha, great list. I’m still a bit skeptical about going totally paleo, but it’s hard to argue with your points. Who doesn’t like being lazy, eating good food, and having fun doing it?

    Brandon wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Type A personalities?

      Griff wrote on February 9th, 2010
      • True. I’m definitely not Type A.

        Brandon wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Ya, I was a tad skeptical at first…even after pouring over the success stories. But then my husband and I read “Wheat Belly” last weekend, and we cut out wheat starting on Monday. I’m still struggling with sugar and coffee, but had already been eating more produce and less processed foods, so ditching wheat wasn’t hard. “Wheat Belly” has all the science, history, etc. So my skepticism went out the window :)

      becca! wrote on July 7th, 2012
      • Hmm… sounds interesting. I will have to read that. I think that the PB lifestyle has attracted me the most because of the no grains. I’ve always realized how much I don’t care for grains and how I never feel great after eating them. I’m doing the PB more as an experiment on myself and so far I feel great and think more clearly off of grains. : )

        Lexie : ) wrote on September 17th, 2012
  10. I am especially a fan of Numbers: 1, 4, 5, and 8.

    One little post correction to be had… Number 10: remarkable influence over how OUR genes express themselves.

    WOWO wrote on February 9th, 2010
  11. As a certified Type-A personality, I can say:

    a) I love eating a truly gigantic salad, topped liberally with toasted pine nuts, homemade salad dressing (made with olive oil — the horror!), and STEAK while my mostly female co-workers stare jealously and slurp their fat-free yogurt. WIN!

    b) I love any excuse to sleep 9 hours a night. But also, I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them I regularly sleep 9 hours a night. WIN!

    c) I love recording new PBs in the squat cage while all the other girls climb rapidly nowhere on the Stairmaster. And then I destroy them in hockey. WIN!

    Sparrow wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Amen to destroying all the other girls in hockey!

      Animal wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • Is the stairmaster bad? I thought it might be primal since it was like climbing stairs. I do this at least twice a week but am worried it might be bulking up my legs. Thoughts? Thanks

      Jennifer wrote on May 27th, 2010
      • Overall, I think you are thinking too much about it. Primal movement is about doing what you want more than what you think you should.

        I think the Primal-ness of a stair-climber is more based on how you use it, rather than the equipment itself. Are you using it for your slow and frequent moving, or for your High-Intensity Interval Training?

        I assume you are female, and it’s pretty rare that women have to honestly worry about bulking up. If you are following a primal diet, your body will balance itself out to create a toned look. Larger legs that are toned and muscular (like my wife’s) are still attractive. Stick-skinny legs are not. Don’t stress about it.

        Jesse wrote on February 26th, 2011
  12. Amen to sunlight. Winter does suck and I can’t wait to get the hell out of Michigan. I use to literally hate winter and now do my absolute best to enjoy it.

    But, there is nothing like playing a round of golf in the morning or afternoon with some buddies or your family members. Unfortunately this is only possible for half of your life if you live in Michigan.

    I am not fully onto Primal living but I am getting there. Once I am on my own I am going 100% Primal. I know I will love it to death and will be more happy and healthier because of it.

    Amen.

    Todd wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • I grew up on the Iowa/Illinois border, and ran away 3.5 yrs ago…all the way to Seattle. Ya, it rains…but doesn’t pour like out there. The best part? You can be active outdoors ALL YEAR ROUND!!!! No hypothermia in winter, no heat stroke in summer. :D People are most health-conscious too. My reaction when first visiting Seattle: “Where are all the fat people?” hehehe

      becca! wrote on July 7th, 2012
  13. Great list!

    For me, the best thing about the Primal Blueprint is how natural and effortless it is to maintain. In my fast-food, carb-junkie days, I used to dread the idea of any restriction in my diet, thinking it would make life miserable. What’s the point of eating healthy, I thought, if it just means a long life of tasteless food? Little did I realize it was my own tastes that needed fixing.

    When I finally tried dropping grains and sugars, I was shocked at how quickly my appetite adjusted downward. All that carb-rich food that comprised the bulk of my diet doesn’t even look edible to me anymore. These days I rarely indulge a carb craving, but when I do, it’s fruit and it tastes amazing — better than any candy or dessert ever did.

    Also, I’ll second the praise for the Vibram Five Fingers. Mine just came last week, and running through the grass in them is liberating beyond belief!

    Timothy wrote on February 9th, 2010
  14. Now that’s a post with PASSION! Well said my friend! Very visceral (isn’t that primal word?), and HUMAN. No softening agents used in this post. Good stuff Mark – I am really diggin the post over the past few months!

    Ryan Denner wrote on February 9th, 2010
  15. The Primal Blue Print works for me because it virtually cured me of a freak form of diabetes I contracted four years ago, at 23 years old as a non-overweight person. No more insulin shots and blood sugar swings.

    Brandon wrote on February 9th, 2010
  16. The thing I like most about the Blue Print is that — contrary to what a typical “health” program may lead people to believe — there is actually a lot of flexibility and simplicity in it.

    A lean and healthy body should never be so complicated, and should never sacrifice the fine things in life.

    Best,
    Johnny

    Lean Couture wrote on February 9th, 2010
  17. Mark, you think you’re lazy? I’m so lazy I’ve been following Doug McGuff’s Body By Science Big 5 routine that involves heavy lifting only once a week (at most) with only one set per exercise. 12-15 minutes per week, and if I miss a week due to traveling or something–no sweat! And I’m seeing great results on the BBS routine.

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Me too! Great workout routine.

      jeff wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • Me too! I don’t follow their exact routine but the concept at least.

      HKay wrote on February 11th, 2010
  18. The Primal lifestyle accomodates so many of us because…it’s so damn accomodating! Kick grains to the curb, eat as needed, be active as you should and the rest takes care of itself. Like others who have mentioned similar thoughts – I’m 41 and in the best functional shape of my life. I’m doing more pushups than ever, my body fat is leaner by the day and I’m getting better and better inventing primal recipes on the fly. Tonight I had chicken breast that I cut up – put it in egg wash, drizzled it with coconut flakes and then fried it in coconut oil. Then I put all of that on top of a Big Ass Salad with peppers. Pure joy and a filling meal. I’m loving this way of life for all the reasons Mark mentions, all the ones already listed and all the intangibles that go with great health. Grok On!

    Jeff P (P stands for Primal) wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Oooooh, your chicken sounds really good!

      Scout wrote on February 10th, 2010
  19. I started eating primally out of vanity, pure and simple. But then it got pretty excited to be eating eggs and bacon for breakfast — seriously, if I IF for a day, I’m probably going to eat breakfast for dinner because it’s so awesome!

    Sprinting for 15 minutes is way better than chronic cardio, and I was already privvy to the advantages of weight training, even as a female.

    And then I discovered that good meat and steamed veggies are actually never boring. Good meat is just, good.

    The longer I stay primal, the less I want junk food. I feel a craving for chocolate chip cookies coming on, but I think it’ll be from my own homemade almond cookies with some dark chocolate chips instead of the garbage from the grocery store. But that’s the 80/20 principle for ya!

    Deanna wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • I would love to get a copy of that almond cookie recipe if you’d share!
      Sounds like, as you said, a good 80/20 moment and especially great for secretly coaxing friends in on the primal thing too. ^^

      Lisa wrote on February 10th, 2010
      • This is a yummy recipe w/ almond flour. I don’t use the agave, and usually sub a little bit of honey.

        http://www.elanaspantry.com/chocolate-chip-cookies/

        Scout wrote on February 10th, 2010
        • these cookies are awesome! I also love Elanas brownie recipe–best brownie ever without all of the sugar and flour

          Pinkskyy wrote on February 10th, 2010
  20. I am form land down under and I will disagree about tan thing, to cancerish

    Zobens wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Then you’ll be interesting the study that shows that Australian office workers get more skin cancer than the lifeguards… and that geographic epidemiological study of skin cancer in the US shows that most of it is crowded around the northern US, where there’s a lot less sun.

      Dave, RN wrote on February 10th, 2010
      • Link pls, I moved here from Europe. And at the beginning I was not aware of sun, cos I was not used to. And jeez I can see effects on my skin. Not I surf every weekend so not sure I am office worker

        Zobens wrote on February 10th, 2010
  21. Echoing everyone else. For me it has been very liberating. No longer a slave to 6 meals a day or being hungry. You wouldn’t think if you ate all day, you’d be hungry. Eating 3 squares and an occasional snack if I feel like it.
    Fasting for 24 hrs once a week and not going all grrrr if I miss a workout. Never liked running so sprints hit the mark even at age 50.

    Hiking, playing, oh my…what a life!

    Pamela wrote on February 9th, 2010
  22. I dont get herpes outbreaks anymore I used to gulp down 1 pill of valciclovir a day to keep the outbreaks to happen if I did’t take the pills in a week I would get the outbreaks.Now I been primal for 5 months without the pills and haven’t have an outbreak, besides having lost 30 lbs in those 4 months and 4 inches of waist!!!

    beast1910 wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • Hey, I just got on this site, and am fighting to get back paleo and crossfitting after a year of due to a major back injury. Now I have OTHER setbacks. Can you drop me a line at my email, I have some questions for you with the recent new blows…

      Matt wrote on September 2nd, 2013
  23. I love that my husband and I lightly chat with people about their own eating habits and constantly have to explain why rice for dinner isn’t going to cut the cravings of hunger! Keep in mind I am typically looking at someone who is very overweight and trying to cut their “fat and calories.”

    Marissa wrote on February 9th, 2010
  24. I love:

    1) Going to a restaurant and never feeling ‘guilty’ about it.

    2) Ridiculous amounts of consistent energy

    3) Finding excuses to workout (I love weights and just dance around / hike the rest of the time) rather than not to

    4) Not owning scales but having visible abs for the first time ever

    5) The taste of coconut oil :)

    6) Marks Daily Apple!

    6) Working in a nutrition centre and eating bacon in front of the co-workers miserable fat-starved cracker-stuffing faces, while they look on in envy…

    Lekki wrote on February 9th, 2010
    • I agree with the abs thing! I use to weigh myself obsessively and eat as little as possible and I have never had as flat and muscular tummy as I do now. Paleo Rocks!

      holly wrote on September 7th, 2011
  25. Feeling amazing feels amazing.

    That’s why we do it.

    Stabby wrote on February 9th, 2010
  26. The best bit for me is the relationship I now have with my brother as we Grok on together :-) priceless.

    Kelda wrote on February 10th, 2010
  27. I have flirted with the Primal Blueprint for 6-8 months now, and in fact it was the final influence that got me over my 16 years of vegetarianism! I tried moving directly from vegetarianism to PB for a while and it was a nightmare as I knew nothing about even how to eat most meat, not to mention cooking it!

    I have to say, after leaving it for a more conventional diet (Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle and I finally got abs), I LOVE carbs. I love beer, I love taco shells, I love pasta…. etc. etc.

    What I can’t imagine is leaving them out of my life for the rest of my life. One of the big reasons I was interested in meat was so I could enjoy the delicacies of the world. It seems that if i switched over to the PB I would once again be unable to eat a HUGE percentage of the world’s food.

    Are there any travel bugs out there? What do you do? Just always get whatever American food (steakhouse) you can get? The rest of the world eats carbs in everything, just like they eat meat with nearly everything. Doesn’t make it right, but it sure makes it hell if you want to enjoy high tea at the Peninsula Bangkok, a proper paella in Barcelona, or hash cakes in amsterdam :-D

    Marc wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • Before wholeheartedly embracing the PB, I think many people feel the way you do right now. For someone who loves tacos, how to eat one without the shell? What’s a burrito without the tortilla? A hamburger without the bun? Chicken curry without the rice? It all seems a bit overwhelming.

      But, once you really decide to eat primally, the starches begin to seem like useless fluff. The taco shells, the tortillas, the buns, rice, bread, mashed potatoes, are simply vehicles for delivering the good stuff. Just eat the filling and you discover that’s where the flavor really is.

      I still love to go for dim sum. I simply remove the wrapper from the shumai. I love Italian food, but that doesn’t have to mean pasta. Every ethnic cuisine has non-starch choices, but you can always have a little taste if you want and fill up on the healthy food.

      Sharonll wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • Perfection isn’t the goal, excellence is. Avoid this ‘all or nothing’ mindset.

      Samson wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • I’ve found that since I’ve started eating Primal(6 weeks now), occasional carby meals aren’t as debilitating. Foods that used to put me in a coma for an afternoon don’t have much of an impact if they aren’t eaten often.

      I can eat out with my brothers without being a stick in the mud about restaurants and still lose weight. (12 pounds since New Year’s)

      Kelly wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • Believe me, the appeal of carbs goes away a lot faster than you think it will. My husband and I had our first wedding anniversary on December 27th, only four months after I went Primal and cut out grains, and when we had the traditional bite of wedding cake-that-had-been-saved-in-the-freezer-for-one-year, it tasted disgusting! Overly sweet, and then I had the wheat allergy reaction from hell. No, I can’t imagine eating sweets or bread or any of the high-carb, grain-and-starch-laden foods we all used to think of as “normal.” They’re not food for humans!

      Griff wrote on February 14th, 2010
  28. As an aside I’m often struck by how everyday traditional language/idioms seem to “support” the Primal way:

    “Chewing the fat”
    “Bringing home the bacon”
    “Beauty sleep”
    “Daily constitutional” (a bit archaic this one meaning, I guess, “to walk daily”)
    “Red blooded” or “fire in the belly” surely an instinctive reference to hormonal levels ; )

    I find that my “argument” for primal seems to be more compelling for people when I drop in these terms-connecting up what feels traditional with what they thought was new or faddish.

    But then they’ll often talk in terms of “daily bread” ah well…

    Mark Tyrrell wrote on February 10th, 2010
  29. Great stuff, I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t miss anything I’ve stopped eating and I enjoy the exercise that I do and it is never a chore. My mood is way better and my energy levels have doubled. What a revelation living this way has been in just a few short months. I think your last point is the most valid though Mark. I can do this for the rest of my life.

    Keith McNeill wrote on February 10th, 2010
  30. Great list and additions! I’m losing weight and getting back in touch with how my body moves. My body also seems to have re-set itself to be comfortable eating 2 meals a day, instead of worrying that I won’t have something to snack on all day long when my blood sugar drops from the insulin roller-coaster I used to ride everyday.

    Julie wrote on February 10th, 2010
  31. -I like experimenting to make new recipes. The first time I made primal pancakes I was amazed that the banana/egg mush resembled a flap jack!

    And the consistent energy levels go a long way in keeping me focused throughout the day.

    Matthew Odette wrote on February 10th, 2010
  32. Wow Mark, what a great list of reasons!I love it! We are just about to embark on a Paleo challenge at our CF so this will be great info to help people get on and stay on the program.

    Now, if I could only get my 16yr-old, type 1 diabetic son to see the the primal light, all would be well!Teenagers sure do love crappy food!

    Anne wrote on February 10th, 2010
  33. I have just done six days of snowboarding, and I was wondering how PB it was. Apparently it is :-).

    Grop wrote on February 10th, 2010
  34. “…my fractal, sporadic, random, intermittent, flakey and spontaneous nature.” More proof I’m in the right place. :)

    Caveman Sam wrote on February 10th, 2010
  35. True regarding the recent coverage… I saw a bit on France 24 about the “cro magnon moderne”…or something to that effect. Of course, as with the coverage stateside, they tend to focus on the guy eating the raw steak in front of the camera rather than the science, results, etc… so don’t be surprised if everyone still thinks we’re all nuts!

    Animal wrote on February 10th, 2010
  36. #11: I hate moderation of the foods I really like. I love the idea of eating until complete satiety without compromising my health.

    #12: The psychological and physiological effects of the PB reinforces the fact that there is nothing inherently wrong with human nature. Being in good emotional and physiological terms with our animal side is very gratifying.

    SerialSinner wrote on February 10th, 2010
  37. Here’s another positive for PB, less dental work! I went to my dentist yesterday who always get on me about me disdane for flossing and my love of Java. I admit I don’t brush 2-3x per day for 2 minutes, etc… Yesterday the hygenist was amazed that I had no tartar and no coffee stains. Sad to say I didn’t change my oral hygene, just let go of my carbs.

    David Marcon, DC wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • *laugh* I know! A friend of mine who’s always had dental problems said to me after going Primal a month ago, “You know, it’s a lot easier to get your teeth clean when you stop eating carbs!” Yeah, because that’s where the plaque (and the tartar!) come from.

      Griff wrote on February 14th, 2010
      • Although I’m still at that point where I go on and off the wagon (I’m not primal, although it’s tempting, but I have been low-carbing off and on), I still keep my carbs considerably lower on average than the way I ate in my ignorant days.

        I went five years without a dental visit due to lack of insurance. When I finally went in a couple weeks ago, I had tartar on my teeth, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the dentist was expecting. I’ve got one molar way in the back going bad, but no other cavities, and even the gingivitis I had was mild and probably set off by the tartar, which is gone now.

        I haven’t even been using fluoride toothpaste for most of the last 5 years. I am now, because that’s what’s in the house, but my usual preference is fluoride-free.

        My daughter had a cavity starting on the side of one of her teeth but in the last six months I’ve upped her fat and vitamin A intake. That alone seems to have made a big difference. The dentist had made note of the impending cavity, but this time around it wasn’t there anymore.

        My daughter’s teeth get dirty, though. So do mine. We can’t keep our teeth pristine all the time because no matter what you’re eating, it’s going to stick to your teeth in some way.

        I think something else is going on there. The dentist Weston Price noted that among the isolated cultural groups he evaluated for their dental health, they could have teeth so dirty there was green slime all over them, yet not one cavity nor tooth out of place nor misaligned jaws.

        I really think something changes in the chemical environment in the mouth, or maybe something inside the teeth themselves, when we don’t eat right–something that works independently of how clean our teeth are. I feel like dental medicine relies a bit too heavily on the Everybody Knows fallacy rather than on real science, and it’s a shame. We might have figured this out by now, and saved the health of countless, countless people.

        Dana wrote on April 7th, 2010
        • I’d say there is quite a lot out there about dental health, carbs and grounding has an effect too, if the polarity is out of whack then the tartar sticks more I gather, but it is not promoted as the dentists want to make money, just like Big Pharma. That’s why we are sold fluoride toothpaste instead of changing the diet as you did to repair your daughter’s tooth. The fluoride not only damages the teeth, but health too and especially intuition, they wouldn’t want us all healthy and knowing! Lol!

          Same for my thoughts on No 7, of course sunshine is good for us and it would promote better health and no doubt fewer cancers, amongst many other things, especially better mental health, but that really would lose Big Pharma big bucks! Think of all those anti depressants, chemo and sun tan lotion that wouldn’t be sold? They keep us unhealthy to make money by scaremongering. Anyway, off my orange box and back to thank you Mark, great site, great info and materials, just wish I did not have chronic pain syndrome and a disc gone in my back and could do the exercise stuff, it would make my life so much better! Keep up the good work!

          JQ wrote on November 20th, 2013
  38. I like this theme a lot – the fact that you have to tailor your lifestyle to your interests. What’s the best exercise? Simple – the one that you’ll do. If you’re struggling through a particular diet, exercise program, and “lifestyle” in general, you’re not going to succeed. You have to arrange your life so it is in tune with how you are as a person.

    Hugh wrote on February 10th, 2010
  39. I’ve been eating mostly meats and veggies for just a month now. I do a 5×5 workout 3 days a week that I really enjoy doing. I’m very happy that my belly is shrinking. Clothes are fitting better. Most importantly, I feel great. No after lunch crashes. The only downside is that my grocery bill is higher but well worth it.

    Rob wrote on February 10th, 2010
  40. I have been doing this for two months now. I have lost 40 lbs and feel so much better.

    I am not 100% primal. I like ranch dressing too much, but hey, no potatoes, bread, pasta or cereals has made a HUGE difference in me. I am learning more and more as I read and repeat more and more!

    Leathermarshmallow wrote on February 10th, 2010

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