2011 Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge Updates

We’re now three weeks into this year’s Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge. (PDF) How has your journey been thus far? Staying the course? Have you turned the corner on the low-carb flu? Have you ventured to try any of the “optional” mini-challenges? Hit up the comment board below with your progress report. I’d love to hear how you are doing.

I imagine most of you are crushing this year’s challenge. In any case, I know that many of you have been busy. As part of this year’s 30-Day Challenge contests, you’ve created videos showcasing your talents in the kitchen and submitted pictures of your Primal life. You’ve shared your struggles (we all have them), success stories, and your favorite Primal recipes. You’ve put on elaborate Grokfeasts, bringing your friends and family members together for a Primal celebration. I’ve literally received thousands of contest emails since this challenge began. Now it’s time for the world to see your creations.

For the next week I’ll be publishing Mark’s Daily Apple reader-created content. That’s right. One week every year MDA is effectively run by you, the readers. So check back daily to see how other members of the community live their Primal lives and to vote for your favorite contest entries.

Stay tuned for Primal Blueprint Recipe Videos. They’ll be published for the next couple days, starting today, followed by a poll to determine the winning video. This will be followed by some awesome picture montages, featuring hundreds of pics you’ve submitted. Then we’ll see some Primal Blueprint Workout Videos and Grokfeasts along with polls for each.

A few points of interest:

  • I’m counting only eight Grokfeast submissions so far. Today’s the last today to join this contest and your chances of winning aren’t half bad, so gather your friends, snap some pics and shoot me an email by midnight tonight.
  • Due to the short notice, your chances of scoring the Primal Blueprint Workout Video prize package are looking good. I only have a few submissions for this contest so far. The deadline is tomorrow night, midnight, so get filming for your chance to win a bunch of Primal workout gear.
  • You can view all the contests and winners of this year’s 30-Day Challenge contests here.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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49 thoughts on “2011 Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge Updates”

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  1. Going strong. I’ve lost 24lbs, but after starting crossfit last week I’ve hit a plateau. Building muscle? anyway I’m sticking with it and feeling great.
    yesterday I made almond flour crackers, cooked 4 lbs. of butter into Ghee, and peeled and chopped 25 lbs. of green chile!

    1. 25 lbs of green chili!!! Where are you from? I’m from southern New Mexico where we have killer green chili. Last year I roasted 50 lbs. Over the weekend I made green chili stew. Not 100% primal, it had a few potatoes… but so worth it.

      1. I’m in Albuquerque – the chile is from Hatch, we stock up every year. (this was actually bag #2 this year – we were worried about running out!) Green chile stew with potatoes is hard to pass up, but chile goes on everything!

        1. My chili was from Hatch too 🙂 I grew up in Las Cruces. I live in Washington state nowadays. Green chili does go on everything. I’m going to make some red chili sauce in the near future. Time for some tortilla-less red enchiladas.

        2. Love the Hatch Chiles! We are lucky enough to get them here in Colorado too. Use them to make a Primal ‘Chile Relleno Casserole’.

  2. Foraging is not too hard either. Any decent restaurant has options and seems to be used to providing low carb options. I challenged myself to eating at a cheap buffet style restaurant with limited results though. there was a salad bar with good veggie choices, but all the cooked veggies were boiled to death. All the fish was breaded, all the meat looked rather processed. I choose hamburger patty things which probably had questionable fillers and additives and guacamole which probably had similar problems. Anyway that place is scratched off the list.

    1. You are right in that foraging at restaurants is not difficult. Meat and veggies are an option at 99% of all restaurants it seems like. Or, their is always a salad. Or, just fast! Buy a larabar and eat that instead if you don’t want to eat the restaurant food.

      It takes time to learn and adjust but its well worth it!

  3. My goal was to read the fitness e-book, but my password doesn’t work. Can someone email me a copy?

  4. No primal friends here in Seattle, so no “Grokfest” challenge!

    1. You probably don’t have to only invite people who are already primal! What a better way to introduce your (not yet)primal friends to the concept??

      That said…I didn’t host a feast, and I didn’t make a video….But if I had, they would’ve been non-primal folks.

      I mean…we still have friends over for dinner – and we don’t adjust the menu! It’s still no grain, no sugar, even if we’re entertaining. No one’s complained yet!

    2. I know! Where are our fellow Seattle-ites? I saw a young fellow sporting a Grok t-shirt in Whole Foods this summer but was too shy to say anything….

  5. *sings*

    Whenever you or Mark wants to show
    How you’ve gone to a Primal-Pro
    You need a montage…
    Primal-Living Montage!!

    (Always fade oooout in a montaaaage….)

  6. My weight is about the same but my waist has shrunk a bit (or my belt has stretched LOL). A few unforeseen snafus have messed with the routine exercise-wise but we’re adjusting. Still haven’t sorted out how to work around chronic hip and shoulder problems exercise-wise, but most days the exercises don’t aggravate them – just the last couple, so I need more massage and stretching ATM.

    I got inspired by the post-menopausal post, as I’m headed that way myself, so I got onto Fitday and have been tracking my input and output (food and exercise) with an eye toward where I might have been going wrong. Also working toward eliminating the last of the gluten in my diet in response to concerns about my Hashimoto’s diagnosis (autoimmune conditions often showing up together and all that).

    Have definitely been walking more, alone and with my kids, and not making as many excuses not to do so – yeah, it’s rainy and cold, so wear a raincoat and boots and suck it up. LOL

  7. Ay! I’m not kind of pissed off that my flip died and the video part on my camera lasts for 10 seconds. I hate to make excuses but what does one do in this situation? I’m in Hawaii and know one person that lives here.

    I could use my computer… ay, maybe its worth a shot!

    I can’t believe their are only 8 grokfeasts submitted… wasn’t their like 30 last year?!

    Maybe people are now organizing their fun they had over the weekend.

    Either way, I can’t wait to see the photos and videos!

  8. Only half my grokfeast clan showed up. 8( Despite the fact that it was a failure immediately for the contest, we had a fun day at the beach/park chasing my dog and feasting on some great primal fare.

    For my 30-day challenge, I’ve been avoiding dairy. It was difficult the first couple days (mostly because I kept forgetting I wasn’t eating dairy, ha), but I am doing great! I’ve been using bacon grease or coconut oil with cooking and I’ve had a couple drinks with almond milk in them. Dairy is pretty easy to avoid. 8)

  9. I’m following along the challenge although not officially part of it. I’ve really abcked off on dairy over the past few weeks and feel fantastic, my skin has also never looked better. Excited to see the entries!

  10. Was all gung-ho for this challenge, esp. for trying to get off sugar. Lasted quite a while and then noticed Haagen Daas was super cheap at the grocery store. Did some walk-bys of the store freezer and then decided to grab just one container. Was so sugar-hungover the next day.

    But did the same thing again this week. So, two slips in 3 weeks. Not bad for me. We don’t eat any grains, I have been lifting heavy things and sprinting on my bike (only form of exercise I can do right now).

    Truth be told, though, I used the upcoming anniversary of my mom’s death as an excuse. I am really starting to see how easily I can convince myself that it’s ok to eat the sugar even though I know it makes me feel so poorly.

    So, back to the challenge I go . . .

  11. I’ve been eating beef and healthy fats every day for a month (been primal for longer, but haven’t tweaked my fat/protein/carb ratio till now) which was my goal. My hair is falling out at an alarming rate, I have a lot of bruising, and my heat intolerance hasn’t gone away. I’m more irritable than I have ever been and am still depressed. I’m thinking I’m taking too much thyroid med for my current lifestyle? Is there anything else it could be? I already supplement vit D, magnesium, iron, omega 3.
    I’m feeling so discouraged.

    1. I have Hypothyroidism. Don’t adjust your meds without getting your bloodwork done and see a dr. Something is off so go get it checked!

    2. Hey thanks for sharing. This is one of the friendliest communities I’ve ever been a part of, and we care about you.

      What’s your veggie intake like? Are you eating good, fresh stuff like spinach and broccoli? Have you used FitDay or something to check your nutrient balance?

      I’m sorry you’re suffering, what does the doctor say about your symptoms?

      I know it can be so hard when you’re feeling discouraged, but the Primal Laws about sleep, sun and play are so important for you right now! Have you taken time to play today? 🙂

      Know that you are loved and there are so many here willing to help.

      1. thanks! That is all good advice. I have been using fitday and seem to be doing well on the nutritive scale. I have an appointment with the doctor in 2 days so we’ll see how that goes. I’m taking a play day tomorrow! Going to visit a friend 😉

  12. Finally got past the craving phase! I’ve only lost about 7-8 lbs but it’s a start.

  13. Well I had a bbq this weekend, but I forgot about the contest. It wouldn’t have worked because I provided my friends with buns and chips, but everything else was pretty close. Unfortunately the only thing we got on video was when I did a shot out of my friends belly button… and that video is never seeing the internet! Really working on the play this challenge.

  14. I’ve only lost 4lbs so far (194 down to 190, 5’11”). What gives? I’ve been pretty consistent with the nutrition and the exercise with a few slip-ups. I am struggling w/ keeping it to 2 glasses of wine per night.

    1. JO3_H,
      I’m your same height and weigh 180-ish…I have to say that the progress was pretty slow for me once I got to the 190 mark (I started around 205). The first 10-15 lbs come off fast and as you get closer to the ideal weight for your frame size, you body seems to resist dropping pounds a little more.

      Some things to keep in mind though: Have you been checking body fat percentage or any other health markers besides weight alone? It’s quite possible that you’ve stayed almost the same weight but that your body composition has changed (i.e. you’ve “exchanged” fat for muscle). This is very likely if you’ve been doing your heavy-lifting workouts on a regular basis in addition to eating a high protein & fat diet. If you’ve lost very little weight, but reduced your body fat %, then you’re right where you want to be. 5’11 and 190lbs is actually an awesome place to be if most of your body composition is muscle.

      If you’re certain this isn’t entirely the case, then it’s possible that there are carbs and excessive calories slipping into your diet that you’re not fully aware of. For me, a common issue is over-indulging in red wine and nuts (almonds in particular). Although calorie counting is not as important if you’re eating primal, calories and portion sizes still do matter. Dialing in your carb intake a little more may help too. Focusing on eating foods that are both primal AND low carb is the key if you try this (some foods that are primal friendly can still be high in carbs if you over-indulge). Some people may drop weight steadily at a 100-125g of carbs/day intake wheras some people may need to go a bit lower than that before they see the weight start to come off. Experimenting with carb reduction could be the missing link (if you’re eating lots of fruit or other natural sugars, you may want to reduce them for a little while).

      One other note on the red wine, I would limit your wine nights to only nights when you haven’t done weight training. Excess alcohol intake is often cited as being detrimental to muscle repair and growth.

      1. Excellent points. Thanks! I did take some measurements… need to check them again.

  15. I’ve lost 7 pounds so far, and my energy levels have skyrocketed. I just finished P90X, and I’m transitioning to Primal Fitness stuff now. I love it, I did my first sprint workout this weekend and holy crap it was so hard!

    Surprisingly, I’m actually spending about the same amount of money each week on food as I was pre-Primal. I expected it to be more expensive. I’m also struggling to find grass-fed beef to buy.

    I’ve dropped an inch on my waist and I’m feeling more confident with my looks.

    Thanks Mark for sharing the Primal Blueprint with me!

    P.S. I’ve got my parents (53 and 56) excited about Primal. They’re staring this week!

  16. Three weeks into the challenge I can definitely say that I haven’t made it even halfway to Primal, but the half I have accomplished has done me a lot of good. Weight’s down about 4 lbs, which means it came off faster than I put it on. Blood pressure is down too, by about 30 points systolic, which is WAY more than most medicines will do and without the nasty side effects. No more sugar crashes– that’s a big plus as I work in a lab and lunchtimes can be erratic; not to mention it cuts down on those snack binges too. My new study food is a few squares of dark chocolate and a Larabar, instead of half a bag of chili Doritos. I still need to exercise but for the moment I am enjoying getting my biochemistry under control. Thanks for the challenge and the support!

  17. So, I have been eating primally for about 6 months. In that time I have dropped 35 lbs. The past month however, I have not lost any weight. I’m a little disappointed in terms of weight loss, but I feel like I am living a more balanced life these days. I have been playing with the 80/20 rule for the first time and really like it. I’m more like 90/10. I have “splurged” a couple of times on corn tortillas and potatoes – no wheat. My biggest personal challenge is a consistent exercise program. That is my next goal.

  18. I’ve lost 10 pounds and dropped two sizes in clothing! I feel great! (Wish I looked better in the recipe video, the camera added those 10 pounds right back on!) I’ve slowed down a bit with the weight loss and followed Mark’s advice of putting my meals into dailyburn. Wow, I forgot how many carbs fruit and nuts have! I’ve been hitting the maintenance area real well, which is why my weight has stayed at 10 pounds lost! Time to rev up the veggies, meats and fats!
    Kim 🙂

  19. I’ve lost 10 pounds and some inches. I don’t look like Bertha Butt Boogie anymore. My depressive episodes aren’t as frequent anymore and don’t last as long. I’ve been hiking a lot lately and this has really improved my mood. I’m still unemployed, have health insurance issues, etc., but my outlook has changed and I KNOW primal living has everything to do with that. I live, spend and save very, very deliberately now. This has given new and positive meaning to my life. Thanks, MDA!

  20. I have only lost 1 lbs in 3 weeks, and .25 inches in the waist. I have not have any cheat meals, and watch my fat/protein/carbs. I am also reading the Primal Blueprint. Does anyone know what % I should be eating fat/carb/protein? My goal is 1500 calories, of that 75g (20%) carbs, 150g (40%) protein and 67g(20%) fat. I noticed that on average, my carb intake is about 75g, my fat is 70-80g and my protein is low, 110-120. My sugar intake is about about 30g a day. What am I doing wrong?
    I do crossfit 3 x week, zumba and yoga 1 x week and walk a lot at lunch and home (.5 mile). I am trying to reduce my fruit and nuts (which I eat every day), but I need to maintain good fiber.
    Some stats: 27 female, 154lbs, goal is 145lb, borderline hyperthyroid but plan to ween off medicine month before blood tests (because I dont think my thyroid is bad).
    any feedback?

    1. I’m a newbie and I know this post is old but it seems like chronic cardio is your issue! Hope its been resolved and your lean and mean

  21. I’m down 10 lbs. Measurements went from 36.5-27-39.5 to 35-25.5-39. I’m 5’5″ and right now 128 lbs. And that’s without workouts and falling off the wagon the first weekend. No dairy. Hopefully I’ll actually start working out this week and burn some of that fat!

    1. Oh, also, I fit into some of my old jeans, and my favorite shorts from last year. This spring those shorts were trying to crawl up my butt, now they sit where they’re supposed to. Yay!

  22. So far I’ve lost 8 lbs., broke through a weight loss stall with IF daily 18/6 and dropping all wheat and grain products. I haven’t been working out regularly, too busy with school, but I have really been enjoying this challenge.

  23. I’ve been wearing my skinny jeans for 1.5 weeks now! Weight is fluctuating a bit but overall definitely lost about 1 – 2kg.

  24. Lost 4lbs. Not as much as I’d like but going in the right direction. Still have a few sugar cravings mostly if I eat fruit. I’m going to try to cut out fruit and see if this kickstarts the weight loss.

  25. Besides gaining 4 lbs back (because I’ve been doing a ton of hiking and appatite went up) I also stumbled upon an interesting giant rock…
    I call it The Boobrock.

    Anyone else see the resemblence or am I just dirty?

  26. Hi all,
    So I am down about 8lbs. To be honest, I was hoping for more of a loss but I still have a week to really ramp it up. I think my biggest problem has been that when I signed up for the challenge, my social life got jam packed! In other words, the alcohol hasn’t always been in moderation;) Craving wise I have been ok until this week….I am sure it will pass but let me tell you, I could inhale a bowl of pasta right now! Oh and I did have a small bite of a muffin… My 5 yr old son made them, I had to try them! And they were really yummy:) but it was just a bite- my son actually said,” only a bite Mommy, you know… No grains!”

  27. 33 days and counting… primal now and never looking back! 15lbs lost September… 330lbs in july… did a juice reboot/fast for 30 days not perfect yet lost 30lbs. total of 45lbs in two months.

  28. I am just starting to settle into being primal.

    I love the feeling of hunger coming on slowly & naturally instead of “if I don’t have food right now I’m going to kill a baby and eat that!”

    And I have been learning from my screw ups that when I eat non-primal food, it just makes me want to eat more non-primal food which is not the direction I wish to go in. And also that it stuffs up my natural hunger for the day. The result of this is that I have learnt the 4 seconds of yumminess is not worth it so I don’t cave in anymore.

    I have found the biggest challenge is that my workmates are forever offering toxic treats around to my work team and when the toxic treat on offer is sour cream & chives flavoured potato chips, willpower alone is not enough!

    I have developed a great technique to work around this – always have a block of Green & Blacks 85% dark chocolate stashed in my work draw. I politely decline the toxic treat, and dig into my choc. Every bit as yummy as toxic treat but far far better for me and doesn’t make me feel like I am depriving myself of anything.

    So yeah, settling is a good way to put it.

  29. I found a terrific source for local grass-fed beef and lamb (chicken, too, although I haven’t gotten it), eggs, and non-homogenized milk. I don’t drink much, but like it once in awhile. So now, about 90% of my meat intake is local, grass-fed. I’ve finally remembered that I don’t NEED meat on salad to make a meal–I can actually make a salad and have leftover protein with it. I’ve complete failed on staying away from poisons, though–I haven’t been able to concentrate on alternatives to diet Coke during the workday. It’s the only place I drink it, though.

    One major benefit I’ve seen from concentrating on being primal is that I can accidentally do IF–if I get busy, I can go 8 hours without a blood sugar crash, so I’m not eating as much for energy (as opposed to being hungry). Yay! And with the weather getting slightly cooler, It’s easier to get outdoors more.

    I’m pretty sure Grok didn’t have to work two jobs, though–it’s a good thing I’m eating right, because I’m definitely having trouble with time to play right now!