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. Great post except I don’t fully agree with #7. Yes, I used to love being tan too…a pure vanity thing. However, last June at 32 years old, I was diagnosed with skin cancer (a basil cell which is very minor). I was told that I was very young to be getting this and it was partly caused by not wearing sunscreen in the sun. I had to get surgery and it was on my face. Fortunately, it is far off to the side.

    So I’ve changed my tune on wanting to be tan and embrace my beautiful white skin. I still try to get as much sun on the warm days but will always wear sunscreen. I encourage every one else to do so as well. Sometimes vanity is not worth the consequences if we have a chance to prevent bad ones.

    MandyGirl77 wrote on February 10th, 2010
    • Pale white skin is the most beautiful on woman.

      C2H5OH wrote on February 15th, 2010
      • I agree, nothing better than beautiful white skin. I live in california, where the culture is definitely against that look, but I managed to find the perfect girl with porcelain skin ; )

        certaindeath4 wrote on March 25th, 2010
        • LOL! OMG….LMAO!!!!!!!

          Chase wrote on March 25th, 2010
    • Do you wear sunglasses a lot? Just asking for the data point. I heard something a while back about skin cancer being more likely in people who wear them. It wasn’t a mainstream site, obviously. I think the hypothesis went that our eyes help mediate our skin’s response to sun exposure, but can’t do the job if they’re fooled by dark lenses.

      I guess I just can’t see how people in the old days got by without constantly burning or succumbing to skin cancer when they had neither sunscreen nor sunglasses. Even coconut oil’s alleged SPF isn’t that high.

      Dana wrote on April 7th, 2010
      • In the old days, most people didn’t want to be tan. It was a sign of poverty, of being a field hand. Ladies covered up. Bonnets, long sleeves, long dresses. And in caveman days, not all of us were developing in sunny regions. Those of us hailing from Celts often come with light eyes and even lighter skin. Overcast skies provided protection back then.

        Jessie wrote on March 9th, 2014
  2. Yo Mark,
    If I can be snowboarding when I am 56, then I am in.

    I have been doing P90X and a somewhat primal life style and I am Truly in the best shape of my life.

    I used to have back and joint pain all the time. All gone. I feel great, I have a great attitude and life is a blast again.

    If only more could see the benefits that you share here as well as exercise and a healthy lifestyle there would be a lot less sick people and a hellvu lot more kind, happy folks.

    Grok on!

    Dennis wrote on February 11th, 2010
    • Fell out of bed feeilng down. This has brightened my day!

      Keyanna wrote on May 2nd, 2011
  3. OK I’ve only been at this for about 3 weeks, but I have lost 12lbs, don’t get hungry much, and feel awesome. I’m 48, still kinda chunky but 180lb at 5’7″ isn’t bad for a guy. Not exercising, because as in point #1 I am lazy.

    My personal opinion on cardio is that Og the caveman only ran under stress/flight/fight situations, whether being chased or chasing something, releasing a rush of adrenaline and whatnot which isn’t such a good idea on a sustained basis. I’m sticking to that even if it’s wrong ;)

    There’s a guy at work who goes on about all the running and hiking and stuff he does, but he’s still fat and he eats utter crap. I win.

    Oh and at the beginning I made myself think “poison” whenever I saw junk food, and now it’s a pretty immediate association.

    Forty2 wrote on February 11th, 2010
  4. Mark/All,

    I’ve stumbled across this website and I think it’s very informative and backed up with easily accessible scientific data. It’s compelling.

    Now I have no agenda, indeed I’ve cut grains out almost entirely over the past 10 days. My question is what is the assumption and / or scietific evidence regarding longevity of the human lifespan and the Primal diet. The grain dominated diet is certainly compatible with longevity.

    Apologies if you guys have already covered this, I’d be happy if you could point me in the right direction.

    Sincerely,

    Chris

    Chris wrote on February 12th, 2010
    • Read GAry Taubes. He covers the lot in his amazing book. Bit of a tome, but it’ll blow your mind. I found it really helpful to have all the science laid out in a trustworthy manner as in his history of the science of nutrition.

      gruntle wrote on October 13th, 2012
  5. Mark and everyone,
    The biggest reason i chose PB is because it is actually something I look forward to doing. I am 61 years old and I have chosen to go into a new career on retirment-personal fitness training for older folk and life coaching. I also find CrossFit training a perfect match for PB.
    Jack

    Jack wrote on February 13th, 2010
  6. I would have to agree whole heartedly with number nine! I severely broke my wrist in December snowboarding, Mark, and now I have a plate and six screws in it, along with a second surgery. And it SUCKS having to have down time. I guess a good thing though for my body, they do need breaks once in awhile. However, I would rather say when it is a good time to lay off of training, not be forced into it.
    Great post.
    Jenn

    Bionic Woman wrote on February 13th, 2010
  7. ~ I want to have more babies, and live to see them grow up.

    OK, I’m not yet converted. I saw the thing on the Colbert Report last week, and now it’s 6:00 AM and I can’t sleep, and I’ve been reading Paleo-Diet websites for three hours.

    I have one son. My pregnancy was horrific. I became anemic, I lost *way* too much weight, couldn’t hold food down… and I nearly died after giving birth to him. My son’s 18 months old now, and I’m just starting to realise that perhaps all of that was because I WAS UNHEALTHY TO BEGIN WITH!!

    Sure, I wasn’t overweight, and I wasn’t sick… but I lived on cake and High Fructose Corn Syrup. I mean, I love food, and I love to cook and I love healthy food… but I like my pint of Ben -n- Jerry’s for dessert, too.

    Still, I can’t shake the fear that I might not live through another pregnancy like the last one. Something has to change, and since I can’t trade bodies with someone else… perhaps I should treat mine own a little better?

    Alyson wrote on February 14th, 2010
    • Would I really have to give up potatoes? Does it matter that I’m Irish? ^_^

      Alyson wrote on February 14th, 2010
    • Hi Alyson

      It sounds to me like you’d certainly benefit from getting on to a more healthful diet before thinking about another pregnancy, that’s for sure.

      This is my story – my son was born 5 weeks premature weighing 6lb 4oz and suffered (we now know) a huge plummet in sugar levels immediately after he was born (he’s now 21). It was a horrific delivery, forceps and no pain relief. I was very, very wary of having a second, but two and a half years later took the plunge. There had been no explanation for his early arrival. During the second pregnancy I came across a very switched on consultant who on reviewing my past history ordered me a glucose test (it is now done routinely.

      Lo and behold I was a gestational glucose intolerant, in fact just before her birth I became gestational diabetic but as she arrived didn’t have to have any further treatment as the condition disappears on delivery and 6 weeks post natal blood screening showed I had returned to normal. During the period between diagnosis and her birth I controlled my sugar levels through a convential diabetic altered diet – about 6 weeks.

      Although 5 weeks early just like my son she had no problems other than being 51b 12 oz and not fitting any clothes for a month or two!

      My point – it’s really important to be in good shape to start with, I wish I’d known about PB then because it’s clear to me now that I’ve always been sensitive to insulin/glucose and the difference I’ve seen in my own well being since dropping the grains and sugars is huge and I was already eating what is considered healthy, I didn’t eat processed foods but I did rely heavily on grain-based carbs for fuel.

      As for potatoes, as I train a fair deal I do have some potato to replace burned carbs on days where I do more than is outlined by PB, see Mark’s thread about compromises for Athletes. But I do find that generally I just don’t need or want them.

      Give it a try for a week or two, I was amazed the difference it made and found I simply don’t miss the things I thought I would. And the benefits far outweigh not having a sugar binge!

      Good luck, it takes a lot of courage to put yourself through another pregnancy after a bad experience. My second delivery was natural and uneventful with just one midwife present and went a long way to removing the horrid memory of the first.

      Or you could just rejoice in the fact you did come through and enjoy your son without risking any more and both eat healthy together :-)

      Kelda wrote on February 14th, 2010
      • Thank you, Kelda!
        I spoke with my husband about PB, and we’re both looking forward to next month, where we are going to experiment with the lifestyle for the whole of the month. Me letting go of sugar, and him letting go of cheese… this should be interesting. ^_^

        Alyson wrote on February 14th, 2010
        • The crucial bit I think is cutting out the grains and the added sugar for the insulin control. I still have some good quality cheese as do many PBers, low carb with benefit of calcium etc.

          Good luck!

          Kelda wrote on February 14th, 2010
    • Oh yeah, there’s definitely a difference between women who eat properly for their biological needs, and women who don’t, in terms of how childbirth goes.

      Weston Price noted that when he was studying Inuit people in the far north. They had some hospitals up there built by the white folks and at first, they never saw Inuit women there for childbirth. Doctors would run out into the wilderness to attend births and the baby would be born before they got there.

      Then white people’s stores appeared on the scene stocked with industrial and over-refined foods. Suddenly they began seeing Inuit women in the hospitals with problem births, with labor taking 10 hours and more.

      I was poorly nourished during my second pregnancy in particular. I had a nasty inflammatory response in the first trimester where my knees swelled up like inner tubes and every joint hurt. I couldn’t even turn over in bed. My daughter was born with a kidney defect and urinary reflux, and when her teeth came in they began decaying almost immediately. Come to find out I was probably borderline deficient in vitamin A and animal fats, and had probably been for some time.

      They’re actually telling pregnant women to go easy on liver during pregnancy, and trotting out the usual low-fat propaganda. It’s unconscionable.

      Dana wrote on April 7th, 2010
  8. Very interesting reading through this great and informative thread. I had stopped eating grains several weeks ago. I have been doing my own version of PB I guess before I knew about this site or PB. The interesting thing about the last few posts to me is the fact that I have been using cheese alot and I really love cheese. The idea of letting go of cheese is daunting.

    Robert wrote on February 14th, 2010
  9. I’m frustrated that when anybody mentions the fact that grains are compatible with high-longevity, nobody responds. I seem to remember this happening in a number of threads.

    Has anybody seen the TED talk about longevity:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100.html

    This talk profiles communities with the highest longevity. All are characterized by low meat consumption, all have plenty of conventional carbohydrates in their diet, and the 7th day adventists eat an entirely vegetarian diet.

    So, either the other factors mentioned are more important than diet (in which case why can’t I just address those other factors and eat foods I like, such as corn, wheat, brown rice, legumes, etc), or a moderate- to high-carb diet is directly causative of longevity.

    Please, informed people of MDA, say something this time!

    Marc wrote on February 14th, 2010
    • I can understand your confusion. I own Mr. Buettner’s books and videos, and the important thing to realize is that he is mainly finding correlations, not causes. They live long and they do this. Is that proof? No, but it is worth considering.

      There’s also some contradictions involved. The website, Bluezones.com, has a list of tips. Tip 2 is to eat foods that satisfy. In this one he mentions whole grains, which I have never found to be satisfying. Tip 3 is to eat nutrient dense foods, which does not include grains when compared to vegetable and meat options. Volume wise, many low carb folks eat more veggies than meats, so we’re not that far off of the recommendations.

      Also remember that these people are extremely active. In Ikaria for example the terrain is very hilly and they are walking up and down hills in order to do anything. Okinawans traditionally grow most of their vegetables themselves. When you are putting out a lot of energy carbs don’t have the same impact.

      Finally, I think a lot of people treat Primal as a strict regimen. For me, studying humans in their “natural habitat” is the starting point for diet selection rather than the end. You can vary quite a bit if you know your body.

      You’ve inspired me to go through my Bluezone books again. Maybe I’ll do a writeup of the differences and send it to Mark when I’m done.

      Kelly wrote on February 15th, 2010
    • I don’t care how long I live if I spend the last twenty or thirty years having to take ten medications a day and needing help walking around my own house.

      I keep bringing up Weston Price on this post–I’ll mention him again. He counted cavities in several ethnic groups around the world, comparing the traditional members of those groups with members who had adopted an industrial diet.

      It was fascinating. I need to go back and double-check, but the Swiss had the highest incidence of cavities even in the traditional, isolated group he evaluated. I believe they had the highest dairy intake plus grains. The group with the lowest incidence of dental caries was the Inuit, whose traditional isolated groups ate virtually no plant foods at all.

      Your teeth are one of the first places that symptoms of poor health show up. If you’re losing them, you need to stop and re-evaluate what you’re doing.

      If you’re eating a low-animal, high-grain diet… you’re probably losing them, or would if not for modern dental care.

      We didn’t evolve over millions of years with dental clinics on every corner. Grok never had a word for “dentist” in his language. Worth considering.

      Dana wrote on April 7th, 2010
  10. Hi, I’m not familiar with the Bluezone or the longevity study you are referring to, but I would make this comment. In this age of technology longevity doesn’t necessarily imply good health, a long life may be of inferior quality being ‘held together’ by various medications.

    A society that has high levels of physical activity will certainly fair differently from one that does not. During the 1940s in the UK (and into the 1950s; rationing didn’t end here until 1954) people were much healthier because many food items now so prevalent were restricted (notably sugar)they were also much more active as fuel was severely rationed and they were involved in much more manual labour.

    The very fact one group grow their own vegetables makes it less likely that their diet is full of processed foods I would imagine so in reality they may well be eating closer the Primal ideal than may appear.

    At the end of the day you have to make your own decision, that’s what I’ve found so empowering about PB, I feel as if I’ve taken my health back into my own hands and am now making conscious decisions about what I eat. As Kelly said it is a template rather than strict rules.

    Try it, if you don’t like it or find it works for you, fair enough, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

    Kelda wrote on February 15th, 2010
  11. There is significant genetic diversity in human metabolism. Other posts in Mark’s blog have mentioned lactose tolerance. It seems to have developed in humans in post-paleolithic times.
    http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTX038968.html

    The Inuit have a VDR mutation adapted to a low-calcium diet.
    http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/abstract/168/9/1141

    A genetic study of Hemochromatosis indicates the C282Y mutation has an origin of less than 1500 years ago.
    http://www.scripps.edu/bcmd/pdfarea/issue_20_98/lucotte.pdf

    I think the primal diet is a good idea for people with non-agrarian ancestors (i.e. Inuit, Sami, etc). For those with agrarian ancestors I think traditional grains (oats, barley, and possibly wheat) are good.

    Ralph Doncaster wrote on February 18th, 2010
    • Agrarian people got away with their diets as much as they did because they used fermentation to prepare their foods. This also explains why so many peoples have utilized dairy foods. They either drank the milk raw or they fermented it–either way it was richer in enzymes than what we have in grocery stores today.

      And for all that, these people still suffered from more chronic diseases than did their meat-eating counterparts in other areas of the world. If you look into the field of paleopathology you will find some really interesting accounts of this.

      Animals that naturally eat grain also have the ability to either secrete the enzymes or house the organisms that help them get the most out of that type of food. We have neither. We do make a limited amount of amylase, but not enough to overpower the chemicals in seed foods that behave as antinutrients (phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, etc.).

      If you’re going to eat grain, I’d look up the Weston A. Price Foundation and learn about how to prepare it properly. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that obesity rates and mineral deficiencies and such have skyrocketed at the same time that Americans are eating more and more whole-grain foods, and I don’t think it can all be explained by the carbohydrate content. Add in the vegetarianism fad and you basically are left with people who don’t eat enough of the foods with the most bio-available minerals, but DO eat the foods that act as chelating agents to remove what minerals *are* consumed almost as quickly as they’re eaten.

      Dana wrote on April 7th, 2010
  12. I love the fact that at 37 and for being overweight, I am keeping up and in fact surpassing many of my younger colleagues physically!
    My tummy is shrinking and I feel (literally) better!
    One of the most remarkable “side effects” I have noticed is that my hair is not falling out by the handful any more and feels thick and healthy.
    I have more energy, and my girls have loads of good energy….no more agressive hyperactivity.

    Lyn wrote on March 5th, 2010
  13. I started this past Tuesday at 216 pounds. today is Sunday im 208 pounds. Im eating all the time, just sticking to the Blueprint, I had one bad cupcake on Friday but I didnt beat myself up. I threw some kettlebell training in there, and I have lost 8 pounds! Thank you Mark!

    Malcolm Paulino wrote on March 28th, 2010
  14. Wow! I just stumbled on this website and I find all this information relating to a diet and lifestyle which is close to man’s ‘natural’ habitat and abilities/capacities very interesting.
    I am 35weeks pregnant now and I intend to explore the possibilities of following this diet after childbirth.
    One question though, I haven’t noticed any comment from any African or black person. Our own history and natural habitats is different from most ‘Westerners’ so I wonder, does it matter? – Please can someone reply? Thanks

    Cats wrote on April 21st, 2010
    • Primal living is based on the hunter/gatherer lifestyle, rejecting the rise of agriculture, which took place about 12,000 years ago. At that time, all “races” were hunter/gatherer societies, with no real difference in diet- everyone ate what was locally available.

      In addition, the hunter/gatherer lifestyle is still being lived in some areas of Africa.

      A good intro to the rise of agriculture is the National Geographic documentary entitled, “Guns, Germs, and Steel” which is also a very interesting (but very technical) book.

      Jesse wrote on February 26th, 2011
  15. How about… “I don’t like being hungry ALL THE TIME.” like I was on any other low-fat, carb fueled “diet” I ever tried.

    fixie wrote on May 10th, 2010
  16. I’m 40 and have fought being obese my entire life. I’ve probably lost and regained 150-200 since I was a young teenager. I smell food and I want to eat. It’s almost almost a genetic curse…as if my brain tells me to eat when I smell food. My mouth does indeed actually water when the smell of food meets my nostrils…

    I’ve only been following Primal for 8 days and the difference is remarkable!! The main thing? I DON’T GET HUNGRY! It’s the most amzing development! Before, I followed the tiring “6 small balanced meals a day” routine and was starving, especially when eating grains. With Primal, I almost feel guilty that I’m only eating 3 times a day and sometimes I don’t want that much! The Primal lifestyle is going to save my life.

    jbourneidentity wrote on May 18th, 2010
  17. I’ve now been primal for a few weeks… diet wise. However I purchased VFF last October & wear them every chance I get. Of course that’s when I’m not going barefoot! What a remarkable difference eating primal has done for me! Thank you Mark for being in tune with Grok! My life has forever changed… now I have the challenge of convincing the rest of my family to read PB, & enjoy the benefits of being in control of their appetites, and general, wellness & physical condition. And of course having some fun along the way too! Wish I would have known about Primal eating, exercise, and lifestyle 10-years ago! Oh well, better late than never.

    DavidB wrote on May 27th, 2010
  18. Ok, I found this website by accident because I was looking for websites on living without grains. In a nutshell, I’ve been tested for food allergies and can’t find any to answer the problems of gastric/intestinal distress, Gerd, sinus infections and growing breathing problems (exercise-induced asthma) and clogged ears. Doc told me to go on a diet of organic veggies, fruits, ocean caught fish and introduce organic meats gradually and he called it an ‘allergy elimination diet’. I was to eliminate all grains, dairy, sugar and processed anything. Only eat whole, nature foods. Within four days I felt the best I have felt in a long time!! I had so much air moving in my lungs I felt like I could run around the world and not get winded. My joints stopped hurting and I noticed they are not as puffy looking. My skin is crystal clear, smooth and I look as if I have had a face lift. And…can I say weight-loss? It’s dropping off of me with very little effort and I feel a little guilty for all of the food that I’m scarfing down. I’m not used to eating this much, and having weight fall off!!
    Wow, I now know that what I’m eating is the primal way of eating. I am looking forward to reading your book and getting your cookbook so I can expand our menu with all of the wonderful foods to eat.
    Thank you very much for the great website and fantastic information!

    Cassandra wrote on June 2nd, 2010
  19. Your doc is one of the few very smart docs out there – kudos to him!

    Primal Toad wrote on June 8th, 2010
  20. Mark,
    I’ve really come around to the primal way of eating. Slowly but surely, I’m eliminating all the garbage I’ve been eating. Definitely some challenges, but I think it will certainly pay off. Thanks!
    Dave

    Dave wrote on July 1st, 2010
  21. Jeremy shut up please

    Yodaddy wrote on July 3rd, 2010
  22. Jeremy,

    The Primal Blueprint is intended to be more of a lifestyle alteration than simply a “diet” so please stop trolling the site with the “And what if the weight comes back, as it does for 90-95% of dieters?” responses to every single post.

    Maybe it’s not for you, perhaps you enjoy your grains (not a problem), nobody is trying to take that away from you. The primal blueprint has worked out for a lot of people, so shut up and use the freedom you have to seek out a lifestyle that grants you the ability to be productive and contribute to something that is actually of interest to you rather than trying to tear down the people that are here trying to make legitimate efforts to better their health. It’s pathetic.

    TruthPatriot wrote on July 4th, 2010
  23. Yes, Jeremy, please go back under your bridge and harass the billy goats. You are flaunting your own ignorance and are annoying and repetitive.

    And oh yes, you might consider getting a life.

    Kansas Grokette wrote on July 4th, 2010
  24. Oh, no wonder trolls come here to rile everyone up.

    You do know that they think long-winded, angry rants are funny, right? That the bitchy dogpile is the intended result? You can ban ‘em, but they’ll just proxy hop and come back and taunt you a second time.

    This means responding to trolls only serves to make the responders look stupid. Just sayin’, it’s Intarwebs 101.

    Ginger wrote on July 4th, 2010
    • Ginger,

      If making educated statements about why that person needs to shut the hell up makes all of us look stupid, then I guess we’re guilty of being intellectually superior. What a tragedy.

      TruthPatriot wrote on July 4th, 2010
      • Exhibit A

        Ginger wrote on July 5th, 2010
  25. I like a low carb diet; it agrees with me. But you go ahead and eat like your proverbial, never-existed caveman and take his 30-year lifespan and I’ll eat like I do and keep my average of 75 years. Thank you very much.

    drawlr wrote on July 6th, 2010
    • Because, you know, cavemen’s short lifespan had everything to do with their diet and nothing to do with large predators, weather exposure, lack of medical care, etc.

      Meanwhile, I’m going to live longer than you will, and I’ll be healthier while I do it, too.

      Griff wrote on July 6th, 2010
  26. Mark,

    I recently read The Primal Blueprint and I believe the information is great for both your physical appearance and long-term health benefits. I have recently incorporated some of Grok’s principles into my lifestyle and have noticed fantastic results, specifically in my body fat percentage and energy levels! Keep up the great work!

    Alykhan

    Alykhan wrote on July 8th, 2010
  27. I’ve been really enjoying the Primal lifestyle. Less than two weeks and ten pounds down. Great energy, sleep, testosterone levels, food and workouts. I literally was going to sleep at 7PM every night before PB. Iwas completely exhausted, depressed and lethargic. Can’t believe in two weeks, I feel so much better. Eating meat, fish, veggies, fruit nuts and seeds has been incredibly liberating. I feel like I have to hunt a little to find the right food, but that’s part of being primal!!

    Grok On!!

    John wrote on August 14th, 2010
  28. I started eating Primal 5 weeks ago. I am a 50 year old female and have fought with my weight my entire life. I would excercise 7 days a week, 1-3 hours per day. NOTHING WORKED! My 57 year old sister read the PB and loved it. I purchased the book and the cookbook and since have lost 9.5 pounds. I have cut back my workout to three days a week of weights, tennis every other day and walking the other days. I could keep writing of how PB has changed my life.
    THANK YOU!

    Debra wrote on August 15th, 2010
  29. Just curious, have you had any blood work done recently and what did it look like?

    Dave wrote on August 30th, 2010
  30. 11. i like bacon

    cynthia wrote on September 22nd, 2010
  31. Legumes make my stomach stormy, i feel hungry almost straight after eating rice, and bread makes me feel like a slug. If i eat a homemade, grass fed beef burger with shredded, unsweetened cocunut and vegetable(almost raw, not over cooked in any case), then i don’t have these issues. I’m a third through Mark’s book, and although i knew much of what ids written through previous research, it’s an extremley readable…..read. Really doesn’t take himself seriously, no pressure, but very well informed book. Damn glad i bought it.

    Rollo wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  32. Number 1 is really ironic. What I used to consider good food now gives me stomach pains and makes me feel lousy. It’s only through eating primally that I have discovered what really good food is like.

    Steve wrote on October 2nd, 2010
    • Oops, I meant number 2

      Steve wrote on October 2nd, 2010
  33. Wow, Mark, I really *loved* this article …

    Part of what I love is your honesty. Isn’t it amazing people can go for years doing something they *hate* without ever really questioning it, because someone along the way told them it was “good” for them? Lol, thank goodness we are all putting that sort of thinking behind us …

    I listen to my body. If my body doesn’t like it, if I’m not getting joy out of the process, then I’m not doing it anymore. This is why I cancelled my gym membership some years ago … and I *love* to ski so I’m out there in the mountain air all winter long :)

    Some of your other points, I feel the same way about energy healing … it makes everything so much easier … I use my acupressure system every single day, and it keeps my vitality at peak levels. Among other things that happened, effortlessly, just like with your program, my blood pressure dropped, my weight dropped (no need for a scale anymore), my skin healed, my emotions stabilized, I felt happier, and my chronic pain went away … now this is something that feels inherently motivating to do every day because the benefits are so wonderful and so obvious.

    I’m glad we connected over the summer, and I’m going to be dropping by here more often to hear what you have to say :)

    cheers,
    Erika

    Erika Awakening wrote on October 8th, 2010
  34. mcdonalds and laziness will make you a ruin :D

    alecs wrote on October 15th, 2010
    • mcdonalds it’s cool:)

      Yaboon wrote on October 16th, 2010
  35. All these points describe me exactly!

    Joan wrote on November 3rd, 2010
  36. Great reasons, I also think this should be the way to go

    Jeff wrote on November 10th, 2010
  37. im a filipino, and i love the fact that i can cook all the meals that i grew up with just minus the wheat and carbs. i lost 20lbs in a month just cleaning up my diet with this. thank you!

    alvin wrote on November 17th, 2010
  38. The more I read about primal eating the more i am finding it is solid advise.
    One of my clients has agreed to become the guinea pig for our guinea pig project where we are going to test out different workout and eating solutions to help him lose weight and get healthy. I think I am going to go with HIIT style training and primal eating and to be honest I’m not sure I will need another strategy.
    We are going to post his results online so others can see the results! So the proof will be in the pudding. Thanks for the great post that shows why this is the best approach for the average guy!
    Jeff

    Jeff wrote on November 22nd, 2010
  39. I found this PB lifestyle while researching ketogenic diets for the treatment of epilepsy. My neurologist said while she didn’t see any harm in giving it a try, she also didn’t see why I would bother given that my seizures are under good control on meds. What I want is to be able to cut back on the meds that are undoubtably putting a strain on all my organs.

    So the prospect of being seizure free and less pill dependent would be my # 11 on the list. I’ll see how it goes and report back. Anybody else out there in a similar situation?

    Robin Beers wrote on November 27th, 2010
  40. Mark,

    It has been over a year since I adopted the primal blueprint. I have lost about 30 pounds and look and feel great. Thanks for all you do!

    David

    David Grim - Get Fit Get Lean wrote on January 4th, 2011

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