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Primal Blueprint and Military Training

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  • Primal Blueprint and Military Training

    So I am considering joining the Army National Guard, and wanted to get your guys's thoughts on what to eat in boot camp. Usually you get three meals a day and thats it. Sometimes you get the MRE's which are packed with calories, but when you get to go to the cafeteria, usually you get a choice of what you want to eat. Do you think it is possible to continue eating Primal while there and do you think that eating primal while there would give one enough energy to get through the training days. They are very long days with a lot of fitness worked into it. Any thoughts on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    I went thru Marine boot camp and I will tell you, it doesn't matter. You burn thru so many calories a day it won't matter what you eat and you really won't care either. I don't remember getting a choice of what to eat, but its been almost 20 years since I went thru, so things have changed I am sure. If you decide to go, good luck and welcome to the brother hood!


    • #3
      It's been 10 years since I went through Army basic at Ft. Benning, but here is my take. You will be experiencing a high level of stress, sleeping less, being physically challenged everyday, and required to retain lots of information. Don't worry about your diet. You're going to be burning through lots of calories and you most certainly do not want to run out at any time. You also most certainly do not want to be known among your Drill Instructors as a picky eater. Do everything as fast and efficient as you can, keep your mouth shut, and stay off the radar.


      • #4
        I appreciate the advice guys. I am familar with the stress levels that I will be exposed to. I have been through a brutal police academy and when I was in college I went through OCS for the Marines. My question though is, because of the exercise and all the stress if I have the opportunity to go primal as much as possible do you think I will have enough energy and calories to get through training and feel better. Or maybe a better question would be, if one has the ability and opportunity to go primal during boot camp, would that be enough nutrients and carbohydrates to make it through training efficiently. I remember when I was in OCS for 6 weeks one of my biggest weaknesses was after eating I would feel like I was going to fall asleep. This feeling was familar before going primal a month ago when I would eat lunch at regular restaurants and have grains and processed foods. I would get in my patrol car and feel like I could go right to sleep. Now since going primal, I have not felt like that in a long time at work. So again, if I have the opportunity to go as Primal as I can without getting crazy about it in boot camp, do you think this is a good idea and do you think I can perform as well without eating the grains and high carbohydrate foods?


        • #5
          My best advice would be to see what you think when you get there. I don't specifically remember the types of food we were eating, but my guess is that you are going to have a hard time finding enough Primal foods to fill your energy needs. In the beginning, meals will be fast and furious, with little time to get it down your neck, let alone pick through any of it. But as you progress through the training you'll get a bit more time to look at what you're eating. I wouldn't worry to much about it. I know that non-primal foods really kill my enrgy levels as well now, but you'll have so much going on and it is such a change that I don;t know that you'll have time to pay much attention to it. Good luck! Joining the military was one fo the best decisions of my life. The time I spent in and experiences I gained are invaluable assets that will pay me dividends for the rest of my life.


          • #6
            Avoid sugar and wheat as much as you can. And thanks for serving!
            Ancestral Health Info

            I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

            Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.


            • #7
              Try to choose more meat and veggies, avoid the pasta and fries and bread, and hit the salad bar up. Most of the mess halls here (Canada) are good and offer several choices and usually one is more "primal" then the others. There is always a well stocked salad bar and I found it was the same when I did a trip to the US and stayed at a USMC station and various other army bases. There was loads of food and several choices of what you could eat. Just remember to eat lots, water and best of luck to you.


              • #8
                Stay primal till the day you leave. I don't know what the army boot camp offers food wise(Navy here, 25 years ago at that), but I lived on fruits and eggs for breakfast. Actually, that's the only meal I really remember much about. Hell, I wouldn't worry much about it.


                • #9
                  1. You will probably need the calories. You will be working from 0400 or so until 2100. They have to give you seven hours for sleep (with a few exceptions) and they will work you hard the rest of the time. We did two PT sessions a day, plus getting smoked, plus marching everywhere, plus the other training activities. Because of the activity level, everyone will come closer to their ideal weight. Bodybuilders and tubby guys lose weight, stick figures gain. I was consistently at 160 all through basic training, but my composition improved dramatically.
                  2. The amount of time you have to eat is very limited. I used to shovel my chili mac (and everything else)onto bread, then stuff it down. You likely won't have time to get a proper salad from the salad bar, if they offer it.
                  3. The choices you have are limited. It might be breaded chicken or a pork chop in some kind of cream sauce with mashed potatoes (from a box). Do the best you can, but you'll need everything you can stuff down in that time. You'll have to eat MRE's pretty regularly, which are nowhere close to primal. You won't have the opportunity to buy any food.

                  The only thing that I noticed about my diet in Basic was that fruit juice made me sick- the sugar rush was so bad I would feel sick to my stomach for about 20 minutes, after which I would be fine.

                  Did you do OCS or ROTC? Those aren't the same, and every OCS graduate I know became an officer, at least for a while.

                  I agree with pretty much everything posted above me too.

                  Anyways, I'm still in, and if you have any questions about the Army, send me a message.


                  • #10
                    I'm currently in the army reserves as a medic. When I went through training 3 years ago, I ate better than I ever have in my life. Eggs, bacon, oat/corn meal, raisin bran with almonds added (the salt on the almond surprisingly made the cereal taste amazing), 2 biscuits, a peanut butter sandwich, a banana, and milk for breakfast; 2 turkey sandwiches and a fresh spinach salad for lunch; and meat, mixed veggies, two pieces of wheat bread, and some kind of soup for dinner. That must have been about 3,000-4,000 calories a day... but I still lost weight. Maybe about 15 pounds.

                    Don't worry about your diet. Your body will use every calorie you take in before you can count them. Not from just the level of activity, but your metabolism will be running haywire too.

                    It is ideal to stick to a paleo diet at basic, but this is not practical, so do not let perfect be the enemy of good.
                    "All of God's creatures have a natural habitat... my dinner plate." -Me


                    • #11
                      I went through bootcamp 14 years ago (holy shit, is that right?). We had no choice of what to eat. You stood in line, got what you got, and had about 5 minutes to woof it down.

                      You will be under enough stress while you are there to worry about eating primal. If you have serious issues with grains, don't go. I'm serious. With the "Grade D Not for Human Consumption" food they serve in the military, you will not avoid gluten, fillers and other poison.


                      • #12
                        Wow this post couldn't have come at a better time. I just finished my applications for the Canadian Forces as well and was pondering the same thing. Good luck to you!
                        You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
                        Margaret Thatcher


                        • #13
                          I went through Marine OCS about 35 years ago and ate everything they put on my tray. I don't recall having much of a choice of what to eat, though if I had it to do over again....well, I wouldn't do it. lol. but if I somehow had to do it, the only thing I would differently would be to skip the desserts, especially ice cream.

                          To echo several earlier comments, you will be kept so physically active and overall stressed that your body will burn off everything you eat. So, while in boot camp, eat as much as you can. After those 3 months, you can go back to primal.
                          Live your life and love your life. It's the only one you get.


                          • #14
                            I entered the Naval Academy in July '99. I don't think Primal/Paleo even existed back then - it was all Atkins and South Beach. Regardless, it was 100+ degrees outside and humid as all hell on the shores of the Chesapeake. We had 20-30 minutes to ingest as much food as humanly possible - while making sure to take small enough bites to only have to chew 3 times before swallowing. I lost a ton of weight that summer - probably 20-30 lbs and was burning through 3-4,000 calories per day, or so they told us.


                            • #15
                              Be aware that after eating primally you may briefly gain weight at the start (I did) This will however quickly be either turned into muscle or will just waste off. Through my reserves out of the field I was able to eat primally, and generally burnt of the ratpacks (MREs), but in my regular training pretty much ignored primal living during term time. However, if you can, eat primally on leave to clear the system a bit (something I failed to do)

                              Good luck,