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

The Definitive Guide to the Primal Eating Plan

Scale

Do the Math

In my recent Context of Calories post, I explained how the different macronutrients we eat at each meal (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) have different effects in the body. I suggested that, despite their raw calorie values, it’s far more important to get a lasting intuitive sense of how much of each macronutrient you need and when you need it (or not).

But how do you do that? How do you figure out the proper number of calories – and breakdown of fats, protein and carbs – to accomplish your fitness and health goals? To lose weight? Lose fat? Gain muscle? Maintain status quo? Run marathons?

In fact, most popular daily diets look at overall calories as the main factor in weight loss and weight gain. The age-old conservation of energy Conventional Wisdom says that “a calorie is a calorie.” From there most diet gurus generally prescribe some formulaic one-size-fits-all breakdown of fats, protein and carbs. A classically trained Registered Dietician will tell you that protein should be around 10-15% of calories, carbs should be 60% (and mostly from whole grains) and fat under 30%. This macronutrient breakdown stays the same regardless of how much weight you need to lose or what other goals you might have. Barry Sears has his 40/30/30 “Zone” diet. The USDA bases everything on a choice of between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day. But, as I said earlier, it’s not that simple. Calories do have context.

The human body uses these macronutrients for a variety of different functions, some of which are structural and some of which are simply to provide energy – immediately or well into the future. Moreover, with regards to energy conservation or expenditure, the body acts as both an efficient fuel storage depot (and as a toxic “waist” site) as well as a potent generator of energy, depending largely on the hormonal signals it gets. It will store glycogen and/or fat and it will build muscle – or it will just as easily tear them all down and use them for fuel – based on input from you: what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, what you’re doing before or after you eat – even what you’re thinking when you eat. Yet because your body always seeks to achieve homeostasis over time, the notion of you trying to zero in on a precise day-to-day or meal-to-meal eating plan is generally fruitless (yes, Charlotte, some fruit is allowed). The good news in all this is that falling off the wagon once or twice this week won’t have the immediate disastrous effect that you might imagine – as long as you can keep your average intake under control and understand how the various macronutrients function over time.

Which brings me to the crux of today’s discussion. Not only is it nearly impossible to accurately gauge your exact meal-to-meal calorie and macronutrient requirements, doing so will drive you crazy. In fact, to accurately figure your true structural and functional fuel needs (and hence to achieve your goals) it’s far more effective to look at a much larger span of time, like a few weeks, and aim for an “average” consumption. Then you can review that average daily intake over weeks or months and adjust accordingly. Below, I’ll give you a way to figure a “jumping off” point to start with, but remember, our genes are accustomed to the way our ancestors ate: intermittently, sporadically, sometimes in large quantities, and sometimes not at all for days. Their bodies figured out a way to maintain homeostasis and preserve lean tissue and good health through all this and so can we. Our genes want us to be lean and fit. It’s actually quite easy as long as we eat from the long list of Primal Blueprint healthy foods and try to avoid that other list of grain-laden, sugary, processed and otherwise unhealthy foods. Realistically, we also want to allow for the occasional party-splurge, a pre-planned (or accidental) intermittent fast, an over-the-top workout or even a week of laziness. Where most people get into trouble is in miscalculating their energy needs over extended periods of time – not day-to-day. They don’t see the average amount of carbs creeping upwards, or they figure they need x amount of calories, but don’t have a clue as to what kind of food those should be coming from.

I start with these four basic principles to guide my Primal Blueprint eating style:

1) 80% of your body composition will be determined by your diet. Yes, exercise is also important to health and to speed up fat-burning and muscle-building, but most of your results will come from how you eat. I’ll write more on this later, so just trust me on this one for now. Suffice to say, people who weigh a ton and exercise a ton, but eat a ton, still tend to weigh a ton. I think I’ll have that made into a t-shirt…

2) Lean Body Mass (LBM) is the key to life. I’ve said it many times on this site: lean mass (muscle and all the rest of you that is not fat) is directly correlated with longevity and excellent health. Rather than strive to “lose weight”, most people would be better off striving to lose only fat and to build or maintain muscle. Since other organs tend to function at a level that correlates to muscle mass, the more muscle you maintain throughout life, the more “organ reserve” you’ll have (i.e. the better the rest of you will work). Refer back to rule #1 and eat to build or maintain muscle.

3) Excess body fat is bad. Most human studies show that being significantly overweight increases your risk of nearly every disease (except osteoporosis – because ironically it responds to weight-bearing activities). Fat just doesn’t look that great either. See rule #1 and eat to keep body fat relatively low.

4) Excess insulin is bad. We’ve written about it here a lot. Chronic excess insulin may be even worse than excess sugar (and we know how bad that is). All animals produce insulin, but within any species, those that produce less insulin live longer than those who produce a lot. Eat to keep insulin low.

Here is how I use these principles to guide my individual macronutrient intake:

Protein

Steak 2

Protein takes priority. If there is ample glycogen (stored glucose) and the body is getting the rest of its energy efficiently from fats, protein will always go first towards repair or building cells or enzymes. In that context, it hardly seems fair to assign it a “burn rate” of 4 calories per gram. It’s like saying the 2×4 studs that support the walls of your house can burn nicely if you run out of firewood. They will, but I prefer to burn other fuel first. At a minimum you need .5 grams of protein per pound of lean mass/per day on average to maintain your “structure”. If you are moderately active you need .7 or .8, and if you are an active athlete you need as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of lean mass. That’s at a minimum, but it’s on a daily average. So a 155 lb moderately active woman who has 25% body fat (and thus) has 116 lb of lean body mass needs 93 grams of protein on average per day (116 x .8). If she gets 60 or 80 some days and 110 on others, she’ll still be in a healthy average range. And even if she exceeds the 110, it’s no problem if she’s eating low carb because the excess protein will convert to glucose, which will reduce her effective carbohydrate needs (see below). At 4 calories per gram, that’s between 320 and 440 calories per day in protein. It’s not that much.

Carbs

Vegetables

If you’ve forgotten everything you ever learned in biology, just remember this and “own” it: Carbohydrate drives insulin drives fat (Cahill 1965, and Taubes 2007). The idea in the PB is to limit your carbs to only those you need to provide glucose for the brain and for some reasonable amount (certainly less than an hour) of occasional anaerobic exercise. And the truth is, you don’t even need glucose to fuel the brain. Ketones from a very-low carb diet work extremely efficiently at that task. Either way, ideally, we would like most of our daily energy to come from dietary or stored fats. Typically, (if you are at an ideal body composition now) I use a rule of thumb that 100-150 grams of carbohydrate per day is plenty to keep you out of ketosis (and ketosis is NOT a bad thing) but away from storing the excess as fat if you are the least bit active. Don’t forget that your body can make up to 200 grams of glycogen from fats and protein every day, too. On the other hand, if you are looking to lose body fat, keeping carbs to under 80 grams per day will help immensely in lowering insulin and taking fat out of storage. On the other other hand, if you are insistent on training hard for long periods of time, you would add more carbs (say, 100 per day extra for every extra hour you train hard). It becomes a matter of doing the math and experimenting with the results.

Ironically, it’s tough to exceed 100 grams of carbs even if you eat tons of colorful vegetables – as long as you eat like our ancestors and consume no grains, no sugars and few starchy vegetables (potatoes, yams, beets, legumes, etc). Even if you eat a ton of vegetables AND a fair amount of fruit, you’ll be hard pressed to exceed 150 grams of carbs on average per day. Our remote ancestors couldn’t average 150 grams of carbs a day if they tried, yet they had plenty of energy and maintained their lean mass. At 4 calories per gram that’s only between 400 and 600 calories per day. Add that in to the protein above and our sample girl is barely at 1,000 calories on the high end. So where does the rest of the fuel come from?

Fats

OilCan2 1

Learn to love them. They are the fuel of choice and should become the balance of your Primal Blueprint diet. Fats have little or no impact on insulin and, as a result, promote the burning of both dietary and stored (adipose) fat as fuel. Think about this: if protein and carbs stay fairly constant (and carbs stay under 150), you can use fat as the major energy variable in your diet. Feeling like you need more fuel (and you’ve already covered your bases with protein and carbs)? Reach for something with fat. Nuts, avocados, coconut, eggs, butter, olive oil, fish, chicken, lamb, beef, the list is a long one. 100 grams of fats per day would only add 900 calories to our girl’s daily average, putting her at between 1620 and 1940 calories a day. Even if she averages somewhere between 1400 and 2200 calories per day over a few weeks, as long as she pays attention to protein and carbs, her body composition will shift to lower body fat and more desirable lean mass. If she decides to do some walking, a few brief intense weight sessions and a sprint day here and there, that process would accelerate greatly. If she gets to a point where she’s content with her body fat, she can even add in a little more fat to provide energy that she previously got from her stored fat.

The main thing I’ve figured out from eating this way for years is that I don’t need nearly as many calories to maintain health, mass, and body fat as I once thought I did – or as the Conventional Wisdom says I do. I eat 600-1000 calories per day less than when I ate a carbohydrate-based diet, yet I maintain slightly lower body fat and slightly higher muscle mass on even less training. Remember: 80% of body composition is determined by diet. The best part is that I don’t ever feel hungry because I base my eating on exactly what my 10,000-year-old genes want me to eat.

For a look at my upcoming book, The Primal Blueprint, click here. I’ve included a sneak peek at the jacket artwork, a PDF of the table of contents and full chapter summaries.

Further Reading:

Definitive Guides to:

The Primal Blueprint

Grains

Fats

Cholesterol

Insulin, Blood Sugar and Type 2 Diabetes

Stress, Cortisol and the Adrenals

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. Hi Mark, so how many grams of fats per pound of lean mass/per day on average do you recommend?

    Gus wrote on January 28th, 2011
    • Gus, whatever it takes. The calculations are all in the book, but figure protein first, carbs second and fill the rest in with fat. It gets intuitive very quickly. No specific grams per pound.

      Mark Sisson wrote on January 28th, 2011
      • I’ve been experiencing some fat cravings. Like… I cooked some delicious Italian sausage for lunch and ate several spoonfuls of the hot fat from the pan. EW, right??? I also drizzled some over my green beans.

        My tummy is very happy but I feel a little disgusted with myself. I guess it’s better than craving cookies, but does anyone know why I’m craving FAT?

        elizabeth wrote on February 1st, 2011
  2. Hi! First time poster here, my co-worker sent me this site because he is following your plan and has seen great results. I have been browsing your website, and I am having a hard time find recommendations for vegetarians. Is it possible to follow this plan as a vegetarian?

    Megan wrote on January 28th, 2011
  3. I do like a lot of what you say and the premises of the diet. But, what I have learned and read suggests that we are closer to about 5000 years behind our “culture evolution”, not 10,000. Is there a reason you are attempting to base it closely on 10,000 years ago? I often think that the 5000 years makes a lot of sense, especially when we consider that more and more people seem to be becoming tolerant of grains (I do realize that most people believe they are tolerant and are probably not, but it seems that some people truly are). I am curious about your ideas on this. Oh, and I am NOT one of those grain tolerant ones… LOL

    Shantelle wrote on February 10th, 2011
  4. More tolerant of grains? There are things happening on a cellular level when we eat grains (not to mention insulin response)that we don’t even know about and people with aches, pains, heeadaches, hormone imbalance mood swings…probably from the processed foods they are eating. Thems GRAINS.

    DBeee! wrote on February 10th, 2011
  5. JUST found you, and glad I have~! I’m wondering, Mark… what about dairy? Goat cheese? Almond milk unsweetened? eggs? Thanks!

    Dianna wrote on February 11th, 2011
  6. also…….. meant to ask, what if I do not live near a beach? what kind of surface do you recommend for the sprint?

    Dianna wrote on February 11th, 2011
  7. So how would i go about figuring out the amount of carbs that i am eating through out the day?

    Chanel wrote on March 9th, 2011
  8. Hi Mark…

    I’ve searched all over to find some good advice on my particular situation because it’s so extreme. Here goes…
    I’m 73 years old, 5’8″ and weigh around 350 lbs. I need a rollator to get around and because of congestive heart failure I get winded with not much exertion. I move around my apartment, and except for taking the elevator downstairs to check my mail a few times a week and going to the laundry room, that’s pretty much it. I have no idea how many calories I burn a day but it can’t be much. Is there anything that you know of that might be helpful for someone like me? I really don’t want to be buried in a piano case if I can help it!

    Jim

    Jim Flanagan wrote on March 10th, 2011
  9. I’m pretty convinced but I do have a question that is keeping me in confusion about these carbs. If say I want to aim for 150 grams of carbs a day cause I know i’m active, is fiber also accountable? Whenever I input fiber out of the total carbs i’ve eaten it subtracts. I’m guessing cause your body burns calories just passing fiber? I honestly dont know why but what role does fiber play with carb intake? If i eat say 95 grams protein, 100 grams fat and 150 grams carbs and 15 grams of it is fiber does it add up to 1820 calories or 1880? http://www.scientificpsychic.com/fitness/macronutrients.html i’ve been using this site to check my macronutrients

    steff wrote on April 29th, 2011
  10. I am finding this conversation fascinating, and inspiring, but I have some trouble buying the premise that our primal ancestors were healthy. They were lean, most likely, but healthy? ON what do you base that assumption? My understanding is that people lived to be about 35, if they were lucky, in the times when the most available source of food was meat. I’m aware of the plethora of diet-related diseases today, but I am curious how you came to the conclusion that “early man” was somehow much healthier than we – as a population – are today.

    Cassandra wrote on May 23rd, 2011
    • The 35 year average thing is really misunderstood. People weren’t simply dropping dead at age 35 from bad health or some bizarre early onset of old age. The 35 year mark is an average lifespan of a population. And it’s heavily skewed downward by things like infant mortality, mothers’ deaths in childbirth, and a hostile environment full of dangerous animals and other natural perils. Those people that survived to adulthood and avoided being eaten or otherwise killed tended to be quite robust (they had to be, in general, otherwise life selected them for removal) and lived within the normal age range of human beings. Our dramatic increase in the average age we have today is due to scientific breakthroughs in sterilization and infection prevention, vast improvements in the infant mortality rate, and far fewer people being eaten by lions and killed by exposure to the elements.

      JTW wrote on July 22nd, 2011
  11. Mark,

    This was very helpful; especially the sample girl you referenced. Those stats are similar to mine. I weigh 155lbs, body fat 24% and LBM is about the same. I’ve been struggling with my paleo mainly because the lingo/terms I’m not always familiar with, so many times I just don’t understand what everything really means. This article was very helpful, but now I’m wondering if I’m eating to much protein. According to your sample I should be around 4ounces a day, but I’m definitely eating WAY more. What is too much? Thank you Mark – I greatly appreciate you!

    Elena wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • This reply is so late you will probably never see it, but 4 oz of meat is not 4 oz of protein. More like 25 grams of protein, or less than 1 oz. Read nutrition labels.

      Roy wrote on January 28th, 2014
  12. Mark, do you have an easy way of figuring grams!? I am totally confused about how to figure it.

    Dianna wrote on July 14th, 2011
  13. Mark,

    You express that ketones work efficiently to fuel your brain. While I agree with that in terms of a person in starvation mode who needs to utilize all they can in order to avoid death, how do you address the risk of ketoacidosis? I was also wondering what specific formal medical or nutrition training you’ve had?

    J wrote on July 26th, 2011
  14. Interesting information. I was wondering – you mention things like butter and olive oil. What’s your take on fats like lard or beef tallow?

    Oliver wrote on August 6th, 2011
  15. This is legitimately a beautiful article. I just wish people weren’t so narrow-minded and against saturated fats, fats in general. People are so stuck on their high glycemic index “heart healthy” whole grains that the government tells them they should eat, they won’t accept anything else, won’t accept what their genes want them to eat. There needs to be a food revolution.

    Mounir wrote on August 15th, 2011
  16. While I really appreciate that your example person was female, what’s with the “girl” crap? Are you writing diet advise for children? No, didn’t think so. You wouldn’t be writing boy if you had used a male example, would you? No, I didn’t think so. The appropriate word to use is WOMAN. Women read your site and women take your advice. Try showing us some respect.

    Nancy wrote on August 16th, 2011
    • Try not taking offense to stupid stuff and try not to take stuff personally.

      Bennett wrote on October 7th, 2011
  17. So no oatmeal,rice,or pasta? I was with you until you said that.I’ve never heard this before. I know processed grains are unhealthy but I’ve only heard good things about whole grains.

    Cherelle wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • Google “Whole9 grain manifesto” and read about grains. Interesting.

      MR! Stoner2udude wrote on September 27th, 2011
  18. I have the no sugar, no dairy, and lots of water down…I have never eaten them. However I am a carb whore, for lack of a better word, I love pastas, potatoes, breads, etc. HELP!

    Elisabeth wrote on September 13th, 2011
  19. Mark,
    PLEASE HELP! I eat 1,200 calories a day (at the most) and I usually don’t get over 100 grams of carbs a day and I try to work out regularly but I still can’t lose weight. I supposedly have a normal thyroid but no matter what I do I can’t lose. What do you suggest?

    Amy wrote on September 13th, 2011
    • Try eating more fat. Your caloric intake is probably too low.

      Roy wrote on January 28th, 2014
  20. If you dont mind I have a question, I have been following a exercise routine that im sure most have heard of, p90x. When I first started it I was on a low carb high fat moderate protien diet most call atkins. I was only taking in about 25 net carbs a day. I heard alot of Stuff that i would have trouble growing anymass and i wouldnt ever be able to get below 10 percent body fat thus never getting to see the abs I was wanting to see eventually. the next 30 days I struggled with the eat clean mainly do to carb cravings again, and reduced cals. I lost half the wieght I had the proir 30 days and had half the energy I had when I was in deep ketoisis. My sleep has went crazy, i either cant sleep or cant wake up, where i was going on 6 hrs daily and was happy and rested. Can I shave body fat to below 10% on this type of diet, still enjoy my meats, olive oils, bacon, whole eggs, hard chesses. and what would a acceptable carb intake really be for a dialy intake and stay in keto and will adding say a grapefruit or apple a day blow me out of it.

    scottie wrote on September 14th, 2011
  21. Impresive Mark. The more I read more I learn. The problem is that as I have dyslexia the studies looks great but reading them, that is a lot of work. Your blog is great but I as many millions of people with dyslexia or ADHD have very difficult to follow, sorry for that and for the gramatical errors. Could you explain all that in an easy way. I got the carbs and the curves. Great. Now, the fat is a little difficult. Boys and girls here write to much questions and as a snowball it goes big as it rolls. Why? Because I don’t know if I have to be under 100 grams fat a day or it doesn’t matter?
    Calories, I am between 1400 and 1800 a day. Shall I count them too?
    Keep my carbs as you wrote in your book (great book) between 25-85 grams/day.

    I am 42, 72 kg my BMI is 22,5 and my body fat is around 17%

    Four days of lifting heavy weights and one day of sprint or cross. Walk everyday and bike a lot. Take the subway for long distance and walk for shorts.

    I will love to get under the 10% as you. How?

    Please help me in a easy reading way :)

    Girardi wrote on October 1st, 2011
    • Those are my questions too Girardi. Don’t know how to regulate the fat and protein for the weight loss. I am getting from the site that higher protein is for weight loss but then how much fat do we need for say a 260 pound man or a 110 pound woman. Surely we should not be eating the same!HAHA The site is great but I find it a bit hard to navigate around to get my answers. Good info though!

      joan wrote on March 11th, 2012
  22. I wish I could do this. But a high fat intake causes me spasms and a great deal of pain. Besides, I have to be careful with insoluble fibre (can’t just eat a plateful of spinach). I am wallowing in self-pity as before my current digestives woes started and when I was normal I used to go low-carb if I wanted to lose the little bit of flab around my middle and it was always successful. Now I cannot do that. I am a tall active female and apparently need 2000kcal to maintain my weight. You can quickly work out how it is impossible to maintain low carb and low fat (25% is just about do-able before I double up in pain). Not sure you can suggest anything, but was good to read all this and am pretty convinced it helps healthy people. By the way when you say 100g of carbs, is that net carbs?? Thanks.

    Susie wrote on October 21st, 2011
  23. I’m 5’7″ and weigh 200 pounds, and thanks to the primal style diet, I have lost 10 pounds and 4% body fat in one month alone. I work out in the gym 4 days a week and do three days of walking for an hour. The strange thing is, I am only eating 1608 calories a day on average, some days barely topping 1300. I am not hungry at all, and yet I am way under what I have been told I should eat, about 500-600 per day on average more than I currently eat. It’s great to know that this is okay.

    Ryan wrote on October 24th, 2011
  24. Susie,
    Have you had your gallbladder checked? Sounds like it may need to come out.

    Lisa wrote on October 24th, 2011
  25. So I have some questions about this diet.

    1. Why don’t you guys eat raw meat like all the other omnivorous/carnivorous animals?
    2. Are there any primal athletes winning marathons, ultra-marathons, etc?
    3. How many of you guys go out each day and kill the animals that you are going to eat? If someone wasn’t doing it for you, could you do it yourself? (rhetorical)
    4. Why is it that meat tastes so bland/bad without cooking/salt/spices/oils?

    Just a few of my questions… I have many more but I don’t want to waste anyone’s time! Thanks.

    Peej wrote on November 7th, 2011
    • You’re not wasting anyone’s time; but many of the answers to your questions can be found, with a little initiative, throughout Mark’s website and on many other reliable sites, some of which are often linked through this one.

      With regards to your questions..

      1. We do eat a variety of raw meats, such as all kinds of fish, raw eggs, and other things such as steak tartare. Eating raw meat can have many benefits if it comes from a clean source (grass-fed organic beef, for example). But cooking meat also heightens and develops its flavour, gives it a more palatable texture, and also kills bacteria (not a big deal for those of us who eat raw fermented foods on a daily basis and are eating meat from clean sources).

      2. There’s an interesting post kicking around in this site’s archives somewhere that says the average Grok could perform as well as our top Olympians, or possibly out-perform them, on a daily basis. I’m not sure if any of our top Olympic athletes follow the Primal lifestyle… you should look it up. But I’m sure eating/living Primal would give any athlete the advantage.

      3. Yes, some of us do have hunting licenses, or [hobby] farms, and the time to hunt and slaughter our own food. But there are great local farmers and hunters who do that for those of us who have specific jobs which do not lend themselves well to Primal living. But why does it matter if someone could do it or not? Most people who follow this lifestyle have been brought up in a Western society, so they have not been exposed to killing, skinning, butchering animals. These skills are often not being passed down the generations. Thus, many people don’t have the stomach for it. But if everyone was brought up with the idea of killing your
      own food, then I’m sure they’d never give it a second thought or cringe. In fact, I think most of us living Primal would probably like to do that at some point, even just to try it. Personally, hunting game and killing livestock has given me a deep appreciation for life. It makes me feel even more thankful for the food I eat since I chose the animal, and was with it each moment until it died. It makes you feel enormously responsible. It’s a very strange- but undeniably natural- exchange. The first time (if your first time was during adulthood) feels a little surreal. But after that.. it just makes sense. But, like I said, very time consuming, so not exactly practical year-round.

      4. See answer #1. And meat does not taste bland without things added. Ever had sashimi (somehow, methinks not). Try eating unprocessed, whole foods only for a couple of months, and then try different meats plain, seared over high flame or roasted just on their own to caramelize the skin; Fire really does the trick. But all meats have subtle flavours, often which are difficult for the average Westerner (who eats processed foods on a daily basis) to detect and/or appreciate. But, salt and spices certainly enhance meat’s flavours, and can make something that tastes decent on its own taste absolutely amazing and memorable.

      If you have more questions, you should read through the archives on Marksdailyapple.com, rent some books on the subject from the library, and just do the research. Seek and ye shall find.

      Christina wrote on November 20th, 2011
  26. Hi Mark!

    Am wondering if you can help. I am committed Vegetarian – actually most Vegan – I eat yogurt in the am. I am interested in your diet but I have an allergy to soy, so I am wondering what you recommend. Thanx!

    claudia wrote on November 20th, 2011
    • Soy is not recommended on this diet anyway, since it is a legume and not considered optimal for the health. We eat mostly vegetables, meats, eggs, a little dairy (this is optional), nuts and seeds and some fruit.

      Sabrina wrote on January 1st, 2012
  27. Hello Mark,

    I wonder why you don’t advocate eating everything raw. Why not question the whole idea of cooking? Or are you, and I am not seeing it?

    I have been eating raw meat, eggs, fish, dairy, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds for close to four years and see no need to destroy proteins with heat.

    I teach this approach to parents who consult with me and see great thriving families, with children who grow up primal in every way (parenting ideas included.)

    Just food for thought for your to consider.

    Warmly,
    Naomi Aldort
    Author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves

    Naomi Aldort wrote on December 12th, 2011
    • Hi Naomi,

      Mark is interested in approximating the eating habits of our Paleolithic ancestors. They had fire and cooked their food, and therefore so do PBers. You might be interested in Richard Wrangham’s book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.

      Tess wrote on December 30th, 2011
  28. Just started reading the blog entries and your philosophy regarding diet/exercise. Although I have always subscribed to anything healthy in moderation (including grains) I have an open mind. I have two concerns: the first is that I LOATHE meat of any kind, and eat primarily tofu, fish and eggs. Second, I’m training for a marathon. Didn’t certain tribes in Africa and South America routinely run marathon distances? So perhaps our ancient predecessors did more than just sprint periodically? Just wondering…

    Roxy wrote on January 19th, 2012
  29. great information!!!

    larry wrote on February 9th, 2012
  30. Is it possible to do the primal plan when someone will not eat steamed or stir fry veggies. We don’t have an abundance of varieties where we live and only raw veggies everyday seems sort of boring and I am afraid he will not like eating this way. He eats broccoli,cauliflower,radishes,carrots,celery,cucumbers. Maybe a little peppers and kohlrabi when we can get it. He will eat greens so thats good. What do you think? He is trying to lose weight but with so many veggies out there not only do we not have them available but if we did,most of them he won’t eat. Im thankful he eats what he does though!!

    joan wrote on March 11th, 2012
  31. I am genuinely interested in this nutrition plan however I have a lot of food allergies including nuts and egg yolk and some fruits. Many plans require eating these things so I have to over look them. Are there work arounds or alternatives so I’m not eating the same 3 things?

    A wrote on March 30th, 2012
  32. Any advice for cellulite? If I eat of fat it gets vorse.I am told low fat for cellulite works best.
    Any advice?

    Julia wrote on March 31st, 2012
  33. This is a very interesting post to me. I started eating like this about a month ago, with great results. My only issue – I am a vegetarian, so I’m getting nearly all my protein from legumes (and Muscle Milk). I’ve made improvements in my diet (less processed food etc) but there is still room for improvement. Do I have to start eating meat to really follow this?

    Michelle wrote on April 4th, 2012
  34. I am very glad to find you. I have a blinding eye disease (uveitis), no cure yet. They believe inflammation has caused this. I have started eating grass fed beef, broccoli, spinach, eggs.
    With your help I am trying to find the lowest inflammatory foods to eat. My eye exam is better this month since eating only the above foods mentioned. Thank you very much, I do not want to go blind. I am reading everything you send me, working on fruits/veggies that are low or no inflammation.
    I am also a barefoot woman, if I have to wear shoes, they are water shoes.
    Keep up the great teaching, I will eat very little food as long as I do not go blind.
    Grok on,
    Ann

    ann wrote on April 4th, 2012
  35. Overproduction of ketones can lead to ketoacidosis in the bloodstream which is harmful to the body’s vital organs. Because it causes the blood to be so acidic, it “interferes with basic body functions, causes the loss of lean body mass, and damages many body tissues.” (p. 125, Nutrition: A Functional Approach. Thompson, Manore & Sheeska, 2010) This condition can lead to coma and eventually death.

    Where have you read that producing ketones on a regular basis is not bad for you?

    Rebekah wrote on April 6th, 2012
    • Hey Rebekah; Ketoacidosis is usually only an issue for diabetics, healthy individuals can typically tolerate ketosis without the condition evolving into ketoacidosis. you just excrete the excess ketones through urination.

      Wgrace wrote on April 7th, 2012
      • as a healthy person, if you ate like 0-5g carbs per day, and kept yourself dehydrated all the time, and consumed TONS of sugars and medicated yourself with insulin prohibiting drugs; then maybe your body would allow the ketones to build up.

        Wgrace wrote on April 7th, 2012
  36. I currently live in poverty, having a budget of $30 a week on food after cutting as many expenses as I possibly can. (No, I don’t pay for internet, I’m at the library haha :) ) I want to try the paleo diet for a month to see how I feel. Considering that whatever work I can actually find (10 hours a week) in the poor neighborhood I live in, is all physical labor. Some calculators online said I need 3000 calories a day. I’m not sure what to do or how I can afford to eat this way. Any help would be appreciated!

    Dave wrote on May 2nd, 2012
  37. I’ve been the Primal Blueprint for 1 month and the pasr week and a half I’ve started to re gain the weight I lost. I have been drinking diet soda could this be the problem.

    Bert Stanley wrote on May 15th, 2012
  38. Please help and tell me how this diet can fit with a person who is on coumadin

    J ah wrote on May 26th, 2012
  39. I recently came across this website and found myself incredibly intrigued by its proposals. I am scientifically literate in the field of chemistry (though not chiefly in biochemistry) and decided to do some research and came across some great research. The best article I’ve come across to date is “Low-Carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism,” Westman EC, et al., The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007). Although it is a few years out of date, it still serves as an excellent review article on the subject of low carbohydrate diets.

    For some background, I am in my late twenties and I suffer from all of the diagnostic indicators of metabolic syndrome. I am overweight. My BMI currently exceeds 30. I have elevated blood pressure. I have elevated triglycerides, LDL, low HDL, minor amounts of albumin and creatinine in my urine, abnormal/fluctuating thyroid hormone levels, etc…. (And yes, I do see a physician regularly, to alay any fears you might have after that laundry list)

    I have decided to perform my own experiment and have cut grains, dairy, and refined sugars from my diet. I have supplemented it with plenty of leafy green vegetables, meats, and the oils suggested by this website. I am currently recording my body weight, fat percentage, weight percent water, and blood pressure at roughly the same time every day.

    Although I have only been at it a few days, I have noticed some weight loss. A loss of 1 percent body fat, and I have maintained the same weight percent water. My blood pressure seems to have already decreased somewhat (no throbbing in the ears any more, at least). Most significantly for me, however, is that I don’t feel ravenous all day and I have been coming in well under my daily caloric allotment.

    I’m very pleased so far and will update you in a few weeks.

    Mike wrote on May 26th, 2012
  40. What’s your view on the recent emerging buzz that the typical hunter-gatherer tribe eats only once a day? If humans can only absorb around 35g of protein at one time, this would mean that even H-Gs eating very high protein diets would ACTUALLY be on very low protein diets. This is huge no?

    mike wrote on May 29th, 2012

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