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

30-Day Primal Health Challenge Update

The following is a slightly modified version of an email that went out to all Mark’s Daily Apple readers who openly expressed (either in the comment boards or via email) their interest in being participants in the 30-Day Primal Health Challenge. We thought we’d publish it here to offer our services (we’ll, as always, do our best to answer all comments and emails) to all participants and to request your feedback. We’ll be publishing weekly reader-experience updates, so if you’d like to share your story feel free to drop us a line.

Also, Charlotte of The Great Fitness Experiment will be going Primal for this challenge (she’s a sucker for experiments). She has put together a good summary of Primal guidelines for her readers. Check out her blog post in addition to our archives of over 1,200 blog posts to get you off on the right foot!

This is a special email to all 30-Day Primal Health Challenge devotees. As the post stated, this is a simple experiment to see what living 100% Primal 100% of the time is like. All you have to do is act as if.

At the end of the challenge we hope you can take something positive away from the Primal Blueprint, and more importantly that you can learn something about yourself and the lifestyle you had been leading.

Over the course of the 30 days you may lose weight, gain muscle, see increased energy, sleep soundly, and be able to more effectively handle stress. You may also find making lifestyle changes (however small) exceedingly difficult. (It is a challenge after all!) Because of this we will be offering special help and support to all participants.

If you have any questions about the Primal Blueprint, are having trouble sticking with the challenge, or need some advice or encouragement just drop us a line via email or leave a reply below for all to weigh in on.

For this challenge we will also be opening up our blog to the voices of challenge participants. Share your story – difficult hurdles, successes, triumphs, results etc. – with fellow MDA readers, so they can use it as encouragement and guidance in their efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle. If you are interested in providing regular weekly updates and/or your final results feel free to send us an email by the following dates:

July 9 – 1st week results

July 16 – 2nd week results

July 23 – 3rd week results

July 31 – 30 day challenge results

The challenge will officially begin today, July 1st.

Thank you for your participation and please stay in touch!

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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. I’ll be sending in my results on the dates listed. Thanks for all the support!

    Cheryl L. wrote on July 1st, 2008
  2. I’m SO interested. Two questions:

    1) Black organic coffee – yes? no? (What about herbal teas and whatnot? Or is it water only?)

    2) I don’t eat meat, and haven’t for several months. Is there anyway to dodge the meat consumption? I am assuming there is not. What about breaking the cycle of my vegetarianism? Fish for a week, then chicken, and then beef? Something like that? Or does it matter?

    I am going to be the most needy primal being you know by the time this thing is over!!

    By the way, do you know any ways to measure body fat percentages without spending a ton of money? I have a measuring tape and a scale and a $20 body fat analyzer from Walmart (pssht).

    Thanks!

    Cara wrote on July 1st, 2008
  3. Yay, so excited about this! Have been going strong for two whole days now and am feeling good.

    Cara – I’ve been vegetarian for well over a year now (and vegan before that) so I totally feel your pain. I’m starting with fish & chicken. Haven’t had the stomach to add red meat or pork back in yet although I plan to. I eat lots of eggs & shrimp too.

    As for the body fat testing: the most accurate way is hydrostatic testing. If you have a university near you (or you are a student), you can often get it done there for fairly cheap (here it’s 20$). The next best method is callipers. If you go to a gym, have someone experienced measure you before a workout. Last best thing is meausring yourself (callipers are about 20$ for a cheap pair). IMO those BF scales are beyond worthless… Good luck girl!!

    charlotte wrote on July 1st, 2008
  4. Thank you for the quick response! I called the Y and scheduled a skin calliper test for tomorrow. (I estimate 23% body fat… 170lbs, 5’11) It’ll only be $10. :)

    I have been reading all the entries Aaron suggested, and I am overwhelmed with information! (Mostly from going through the comment section.)

    I agree with eating a low-carb diet without processed foods, but morally I have evolved in such a way that I feel killing is wrong. I am going to do some research into local farmers that I can purchase meat from (this is Oregon, I’m sure they’re around!).

    Just the other day, a squirrel ran in front of my car. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a bump in the road, convinced I can killed it I began crying. I know it sounds silly, but a life is a life is a life. I used to mock people like me.

    Anyway, I am going to *compromise* and eat fish, and maybe even pick up some chicken. I have no problem with eggs. I’m assuming veggies burgers are highly processed, so none of those.

    Thanks for all the help, Charlotte & Aaron. :)

    Cara wrote on July 1st, 2008
  5. Im going to try harder to fit the primal model this month. I was doing pretty well in San Diego at college where I was just cooking for myself but now that I am back home with my family its a little harder. I love cooking for them but they (especially my yonger siblings) love rice, pasta bread sweets.

    Its going to be an even bigger challange to work the primal style into a family that has been doing things a particular way for a long time.

    Stephen Hubbard wrote on July 1st, 2008
  6. Cara – you sound just like me! Too funny. I decided to buy my meat through my local farmer’s market (yeah, not just for produce anymore!) because it is humanely raised and slaughtered, not to mention grass fed and organic and all that. I’m sure you can find something similar in Oregon (I’m from Seattle!).

    I totally hear you about the squirrel. I would have cried too. And then mocked myself. And then gone home and blogged about it. Ahem.

    charlotte wrote on July 1st, 2008
  7. Cara, not only is coffee OK, but I recommend a little heavy whipping cream in it if you are so inclined! Accumeasure makes a great little plastic bodyfat tester that works as well (or better than) what the pros use. http://www.amazon.com/Accu-Measure-Fitness-2000-Personal-Tester/dp/B0016KGDDQ/ref=nosim/105-9456596-6693216?SubscriptionId=09FVDRT8TEJ64C2A7Y02

    Charlotte, thanks for taking the lead on this. I know this is a big move for you, and I can’t wait to get your feedback on this 30-day experience.

    Mark Sisson wrote on July 1st, 2008
  8. I was doing a lot of push-ups, and injured my forearm. Moving it caused a lot of pain (I’ve been typing one-handed). Is it okay if I didn’t work out yesterday because of it? I have broken down the missed workout into pieces, which can (and will) be added to other workouts in a manner that won’t overwork my muscles.

    Tricia wrote on July 2nd, 2008
  9. I’m taking the challenge. I hopefully will be sending my results on the prescribed dates. I’ll also add my “modifications” and any “cheating” – which I hope is none and a little workout info! You know you want it! Thanks!

    Alex wrote on July 2nd, 2008
  10. Tricia -

    If you have a real injury you should avoid exercising. It sounds like you may need to see a physician in case it is more serious than you suspect. Use common sense here and never push yourself into something that may be dangerous for the sake of keeping to your workout regimen.

    Aaron wrote on July 2nd, 2008
  11. I’ve been living nearly completely primal for the last three weeks, and am excited about this challenge. Wanted to officially let the world know that I’m taking the Primal Plunge. This will be especially challenging as I’m spending a full week on the road this month touring with my band, and I think the extra motivation of taking part in this challenge will help keep me on track and avoid the temptations of “road food”.

    Matt wrote on July 3rd, 2008
  12. Glad to hear it, Matt. Let us know how things go. Cheers!

    Aaron wrote on July 3rd, 2008
  13. I am so eager to hear how everyone is doing!!! The 8th just cannot come fast enough for me. Is anyone running a blog where the PBers are staying in semi-frequent contact? Once a week might not cut it for me.. I have been bugging Charlotte almost daily!! ;)

    Cara wrote on July 6th, 2008
  14. Ok, I’m late getting started but I’m in. The challenge itself pushed me…I’ve been ready to try for a while now I think. I’ve got alot of bad habits to act “as if” I don’t care about or need to feed, but I’m gonna give this a try. A menu to start up would be nice because I don’t have to think about what to eat, but I’m sure I can manage. Think positive & “as if”!

    Freda wrote on July 7th, 2008
  15. I will definitely be taking this month’s challenge. I am completely excited. I just got the book on Tuesday and haven’t been able to put it down. Good luck to everyone!

    Chris wrote on June 25th, 2009
  16. I’m interested in trying this 30 day challenge, however I’m vegetarian and am allergic to cow based dairy- (but can have goat and sheep milk/cheese/yoghurt.) Does anyone have any alternative recipes that still follow the primal guidelines?

    ThebigE wrote on August 13th, 2010

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