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  • 80/20 rule

    Hello,

    I would like to hear from you primal veterans regarding the 80/20 rule. Does this mean that you have 6 cheat days per month where you indulge in non primal foods? Or is it more of 80% of the food you eat daily is primal and 20% is not? Are there certain things that are off limits even within the 20% allowance? Have you made improvements using your version of the 80/20 rule?

  • #2
    You will find any or all of those things. I personally do not ascribe to the 80% rule. At least 98% of what I eat is primal. I use small amounts of real sugar on occasion.

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    • #3
      I see it as that I do not have 100% control over what I eat. Sure, in a perfect world I might have total control, but since I like to eat out with friends occasionally or get invited to a party etc, there are times I have to eat food cooked in a questionable oil or suck it up and eat a brownie. That is the 20% (well, far less than 20% but you get the point) that I just have to deal with as being part of modern life/society.

      Of course, there are times I choose to eat whatever. I consider that as a grown man making a decision. I do not break out a calculator to see if it is 20% or 26% or 9% or whatever.

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      • #4
        People interpret it in different ways, as it should be, I think. If it gives you comfort and helps you stick to an overall healthy lifestyle by allowing an unusual (read: non-Primal) meal once a week or certain off-days per month, do that. Do whatever makes you happy, though I think the idea also includes "within reason". It's probably not advisable to make one meal a week 5000 calories of pure high-fructose corn syrup.

        For me, 20% is not controlling my food environment (questionable quality of oils and whathaveyou in restaurants) all the time, as well as sweet treats that may or may not have gluten/grains. I might have some bloating or indigestion, but it's worth it to me for my sanity.
        Depression Lies

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        • #5
          My 20% is used to cover binges.
          Primal since 9/24/2010
          "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

          Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools
          MFP username: MDAPebbles67

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          • #6
            I'm with canio6; what I eat at home is primal, but if I am out at happy hour, dinner with the family, holidays, etc, I generally just eat it and deal with the consequences. I don't break out the calculator afterwards.

            Ones personal policy on such things can be pretty variable, however. Some people can enjoy a cheat day without consequence; but for some it seems to result in fixating on it, then bingeing and completely falling off the wagon. I wont lie; im pretty glad I can count myself in the former category and not the latter

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            • #7
              Today my 20% will be the CAFO steak I'm having for breakfast and our department is going bowling at lunch so I'll be having a Cobb salad with blue-cheese dressing at the bowling alley. That's the sorts of things I use the 20% for, although I don't go around calculating whether it's 20% or 2%.
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by canio6 View Post
                I see it as that I do not have 100% control over what I eat. Sure, in a perfect world I might have total control, but since I like to eat out with friends occasionally or get invited to a party etc, there are times I have to eat food cooked in a questionable oil or suck it up and eat a brownie. That is the 20% (well, far less than 20% but you get the point) that I just have to deal with as being part of modern life/society.
                Co-sign.
                I do not use any of the 20% alone because I sincerely prefer unrefined food now. My old indulgences were just lazy convenience and the harmful elements like soybean oil certainly don't add anything to the pleasure. If I want pancakes or ice cream badly enough I'll make it myself.

                My 20% is filled by social occasions that qualify for a "gourmet exemption" like invitation to a quality (non-chain) restaurant or homemade dessert.
                37//6'3"/185

                My peculiar nutrition glossary and shopping list

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dradok View Post
                  Hello,

                  I would like to hear from you primal veterans regarding the 80/20 rule. Does this mean that you have 6 cheat days per month where you indulge in non primal foods? Or is it more of 80% of the food you eat daily is primal and 20% is not? Are there certain things that are off limits even within the 20% allowance? Have you made improvements using your version of the 80/20 rule?
                  It just means you didn't go "off your diet" if you drink a couple beers on your annual camping/rafting trip or if you're on a date and order french fries that you know were cooked in hydrogenated canola or soybean oil on occasion.

                  It's about not beating yourself up and acknowledging that life doesn't permit perfect adherence to the principles of Primal. If you try to add up how many days/meals/times you can "cheat," while staying under the 20% standard, you're doing it wrong.
                  The Champagne of Beards

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                  • #10
                    Does this mean that you have 6 cheat days per month where you indulge in non primal foods? Or is it more of 80% of the food you eat daily is primal and 20% is not? Are there certain things that are off limits even within the 20% allowance? Have you made improvements using your version of the 80/20 rule?
                    1. No, if I cheated 6 days per month I'd be bloated with heartburn 30 days per month.
                    2. No
                    3. For me, no. I still eat some grains on occasion and I know that veg oil creeps in sometimes when eating out, hence heartburn.
                    4. Yes, but I eat primal more like 95% of the time. I don't think an actual 80% of healthy foods and 20% unhealthy would work for me.

                    The best thing for me about 80%/20% is the reminder that when I have a cheeseburger or cake that I haven't undone all of my good eating and should still stick with the program.

                    http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                    Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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                    • #11
                      I use my 20% to account for the 'real world' factor, it stops me stressing about the fine details when eating out (the macros are still good but it probably isn't cooked the way I would at home) this said, I will order steak and not pizza with garlic bread and dough balls.

                      Personally I would avoid the idea of a 'cheat day' as it sounds like a challenge to eat as much junk as you can for one day, for me this would undermine the whole deal.

                      I do indulge in occasional wheat-based treats; when roasting local grass-fed beef I'll cook some Yorkshire puddings (in dripping, of course!) Wheat in moderation doesn't cause me any upset or trigger binging, but I treat it like a garnish in terms of quantity. (I indulge in a weekly tin of beer too.)

                      Having said that, I am very strict in avoiding deserts, large quantities of sugar make me feel awful (last time I couldn't sleep after eating half a serving of home-made lemon meringue pie - a previous favourite) I have also had cravings in the past when I've eaten too much sugar, this hasn't happened recently though, so perhaps it was part of my transition.

                      At the end of the day the 80/20 rule helps us all stop getting obsessed with perfection, which means we spend 80% of life eating healthy instead of spending 6 weeks 'perfect' before giving up.

                      These days my 'treats' are mostly primal, like spending hours making a fabulous beef rendang (if you haven't tried this, google 'Rick Stein beef rendang recipe' and try it - it's regarded as one of the world's most delicious foods for a reason!)

                      One final thing - don't ever feel that you have to explain yourself to other people if you 'cheat' there is only one person you are answerable to when it comes to health, and that's yourself. (I'm still working on this one.)

                      Good luck with finding your own personal balance.

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                      • #12
                        Thank you all for your comments! When browsing these forums it is easy to get the impression everyone is so disciplined all of the time. Unfortunately I do not have as much discipline as I would like, but I want to give primal living a try.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dradok View Post
                          Hello,

                          I would like to hear from you primal veterans regarding the 80/20 rule. Does this mean that you have 6 cheat days per month where you indulge in non primal foods? Or is it more of 80% of the food you eat daily is primal and 20% is not? Are there certain things that are off limits even within the 20% allowance? Have you made improvements using your version of the 80/20 rule?
                          I recommend the close to 100% as possible rule, especially if you've had ANY degree of addiction/dependency in the past with refined carbs/sugar, etc.
                          Rebooted Body -- Ancestral Health + Modern Psychology | The Rebooted Body Podcast

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                          • #14
                            Dradok, a word of caution. If you would like to give Primal a try, you probably will have to be VERY strict for 6-8 weeks. There is a metabolic shift that occurs. During this delicate transition, your body is looking for ANY excuse to go back to its old sugar-burning ways. Therefore, cheating of any kind, especially with wheat and sugar, can easily derail that shift and you're stuck back at Square 1 and you have to start over.

                            Once you've fully dialed into Primal, you can relax a little into 80/20.

                            People interpret 80/20 in different ways, but here's how I see it:

                            80%: (follow this for the first 6-8 weeks)
                            Fully grass-fed pastured unprocessed meat (eggs cow chicken pig wild game)
                            Local and/or organic veggies.
                            Sweet potato
                            Fats: Butter, olive oil, coconut oil

                            20%: (notice we're still generally no-grain primal)
                            CAFO mass produced meats
                            Big Ag pesticide veggies
                            Rice and white potatoes (you milage may vary)
                            veggie seed oils
                            legumes like lentils, peas, and dried beans.
                            Non-butter dairy; for me it's whey powder and half&half
                            Diet sodas
                            Natural sugars like honey and maple syrup, occasional sugar cane juice
                            dark chocolate (72% or higher)
                            non-beer alcohol
                            Occasional Pringles :razz:

                            Cheating:
                            Beer (but that's because I never really liked it; others have it)
                            Processed sugar and candy
                            High fructose corn syrup
                            Wheat and corn of any kind

                            The 20% does not refer to number of days. It is NOT "6 days of being good and 1 day of pizza binge." You are allowed 20% of questionable foods, and cheating foods are not allowed at any time.

                            (and yes, we cheat. Twizzlers are my downfall.)
                            Last edited by oxide; 05-23-2013, 10:19 AM. Reason: How could I have forgotten CHOCOLATE???
                            5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.

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                            • #15
                              When browsing these forums it is easy to get the impression everyone is so disciplined all of the time.
                              Oh, people have non-primal foods a lot more than may seem obvious. And a lot of people have weird ideas of cheat foods that really are fine to eat- fruit comes to mind. I think foods you need to avoid come down to you and your body.

                              My "primal foods" are any fruit, meat, cream, butter, coconut milk and vegetable except for regular potatoes.
                              My "not primal, but I'm not that concerned foods" are cheese (I don't eat much of it), rice and potatoes. I don't eat rice and potatoes often at all.
                              My "this isn't primal but screw it" list includes milk chocolate, primal baked goods, maple syrup, sugar in my coffee on occasion and good ice cream. I also know this list can make me fat and I'd call this the list that is most of my 20%. I eat from this list once or twice a week. I f i was not trying to lose weight, I might consume this list more frequently.
                              My "yeah, this isn't primal and is probably going to make me feel like crap list" includes a bun for a burger, a really awesome pastry or cake, alcohol and meals eaten out fall in this list. At this point, I'm not going to eat Chips Ahoy or Domino's Pizza. But yeah, I just ate an eclair from the french bakery near me. I don't call it cheating. I call it enjoying something on occasion that is really well made and special. To be fair it doesn't make me feel like crap.

                              That said, yes, when I first started Primal eating something like an eclair would trigger wanting to binge on crap. Now it doesn't.

                              http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                              Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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