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What is the 20%

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  • What is the 20%

    I have read before on previous posts (and I think it was in the book too) about eating 80/20. Eating primal 80% of the time. What does that mean really?

    Does it mean 20% of the time we can have the sweat potato's, brown/wild rice, fruit (which I am really missing a lot...I want to eat everyday), Cheese, Yogurt, or Cream?

    Or does it mean that 20% of the time you do not eat primal and you can have grain or beans?

  • #2
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating sweet potatoes and fruit, they are not part of the "20%"

    The 20 % is non primal junk that you can eat if you cant carry out a full primal diet, mind you, ice-cream and doughnuts would not be something good to put in the 20%

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    • #3
      Wait...I thought I could only have fruit sparingly other than berries. So I can have a fruit every day that is not a berry i.e.an apple, pear, banana, pineapple...? Would I be allowed to have a banana for a snack and sweet potato (or rice) for dinner every day?

      Not missing the ice-cream and doughnuts all that much. Never had much of a sweet tooth, but I am missing a nice whole grain turkey sandwich once in a while.

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      • #4
        Mark's 80/20 rule is meant to accommodate primal living in a modern world. We have lots of temptations and etiquette-induced things that Grok certainly did not have.

        I'm 95-100% primal most of the time... the non-primal things I'll eat are: alcohol (red wine & whiskey, mostly), dark chocolate, restaurants (I live in NYC, it's kind of a way of life here) - sometimes not-good oils or added sugars, or ??? are in the food, friends' homemade food (1 bite if it's not something I LOVE), something I'm craving, food specialties of a locale I'm visiting (when in Rome...), etc.
        I'm definitely not going out of my way to get my 20% in...

        for me, part of primal is not feeling GUILT if I want to eat out, or take a bite of SO's homemade liverwurst sandwich or dessert on my birthday, or... whatever - I just know these things should be moderated, and never be more than 20% of my diet.

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        • #5
          it means booze! eat your damn fruit and sweet potatoes ferchrissakes.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MarCar View Post
            Wait...I thought I could only have fruit sparingly other than berries. So I can have a fruit every day that is not a berry i.e.an apple, pear, banana, pineapple...? Would I be allowed to have a banana for a snack and sweet potato (or rice) for dinner every day?

            Not missing the ice-cream and doughnuts all that much. Never had much of a sweet tooth, but I am missing a nice whole grain turkey sandwich once in a while.
            Yes, fruits are perfectly fine, so are sweet potatoes


            In my opinion rice would be in the 20 %
            and of course, any bread would be in the 20%

            Fruits and Sweet potatoes are safe though, as long as you exercise

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            • #7
              Mark states in the book, that the 20% rule is to "Strive for perfection," but realize that perfection is impossible. If you are in a situation where being Primal isn't allowable always easy to pull off, don't beat yourself up over it.

              I believe he stated there was a problem once you fall below 80%, unless situations are happening that kinda necessitate it.

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              • #8
                Thank you so much for this clarification. This is very helpful. And for weight loss by eating the 80/20...without measuring...it is still successful?

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                • #9
                  I fell off the primal wagon since going primal back in early August. I had a cup of peanut butter chocolate ice cream (OMFG) last night with the family. I'm not beating myself up since this is the first time I've eaten non-primal in almost 3 months (intentionally). Back in my SAD day I would've had 3 to 5 times that amount.

                  I'm down to 191 from 208 and following Mark's PBF 2x a week. I guess this is my reward for dropping 17 pounds in less than 3 months.
                  Last edited by amerikian; 10-19-2012, 11:47 AM. Reason: editing
                  SW (207lbs) 8/1/2012
                  CW (188lbs)
                  Primal Since 8/1/2102

                  Bike commute to work 20 miles/day ~ rain, shine, or snow.

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                  • #10
                    Definitely eat the fruit. I eat a lot of fruit. Yesterday for example I had two bananas and five pomegranates. Oh and also a glass of blackberry smoothie.

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                    • #11
                      And what about Cheese, Yogurt, or Cream? I imaging the cheese would need to be full fat and/or goat cheese and the cream should be heavy cream from grass fed cows. The yogurt might be tricky because so many add sugar. So I guess it would have to be plain greek yogurt...just add berries and honey?

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                      • #12
                        It just means if you screw up or eat something you shouldn't, you don't have to go all neurotic and declare that you failed at Primal eating, so you should go back to eating pizza and donuts every day. It means when that happens you go "oh well, that was my 20%" and go back to eating as primally as your lifestyle permits.
                        The Champagne of Beards

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                        • #13
                          I think eating wheat with your 30% rather negates the primal experience. For me, the 20% gives me flexibility to have a drink when I want to, eat some milk chocolate when I feel like it, and use artificial sweeteners and drink coffee. It gives you a little flex room in an otherwise clean lifestyle.
                          F 28/5'4/100 lbs

                          "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Damiana View Post
                            I think eating wheat with your 30% rather negates the primal experience. For me, the 20% gives me flexibility to have a drink when I want to, eat some milk chocolate when I feel like it, and use artificial sweeteners and drink coffee. It gives you a little flex room in an otherwise clean lifestyle.
                            If you're not sensitive to wheat, it's no worse than anything else you list. I personally feel like artificial sweeteners negate the primal experience, but your 20% is up to you

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MarCar View Post
                              Wait...I thought I could only have fruit sparingly other than berries. So I can have a fruit every day that is not a berry i.e.an apple, pear, banana, pineapple...? Would I be allowed to have a banana for a snack and sweet potato (or rice) for dinner every day?

                              Not missing the ice-cream and doughnuts all that much. Never had much of a sweet tooth, but I am missing a nice whole grain turkey sandwich once in a while.

                              Fruits and tubers are in the YMMV category. As in I would say eat to your activity level. Rice IS part of the 20%.

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