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Thread: Question: Primal Blueprint "transition" - is this healthy? page

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    ineverlose's Avatar
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    Question: Primal Blueprint "transition" - is this healthy?

    Primal Fuel
    Hi everyone,

    I've been eating Primal for about 8 months now, with a few "slips up days" here and there, but I always manage to return to Primal eating (it just feels so right). My wife, on the other hand, has been pretty much in a "transition period" for a while now...she's definitely made some very positive changes (reduced grains dramatically, less sugar overall, etc), but she's far from fully "on" Primal.

    So here's my question: she's worried that eating higher fat while still "moderate" carbs (some grains, some sugars, etc.) is doing her damage. She's 27 years old, works out every day 1+ hours (yes, I know), she's very trim/lean/strong and has not gained any weight eating this way ("half" Primal) - she has actually lost weight. I've done a lot of reading and research on the topic, but I figured I would turn to the community for some answers that I've been unable to find.

    In my opinion, this situation can be summed up as follows:

    - Eating half-primal, half-conventional: the higher fat is not what's hurting her...it's the carbs and sugars she's still eating that would be responsible for any "damage" to her body.
    - Due to her intense daily exercise, the moderate carbs (some grains and sugars) are probably not hurting too much (evidenced by the weight loss) - although her intense daily exercise is likely the reason her body craves the carbs.
    - Cardiovascular health - again, the higher fat is not the problem...the carbs would be the cause of any inflammation leading to heart problems. BUT is the high fat, along with the moderate carbs, hurting her cardiovascular health? In other words, if she was going to eat the carbs anyway, would the higher fat be problematic as far as heart disease goes?

    Is this correct? I'm just trying to make sure I'm understanding everything I'm reading correctly. Obviously, I know that a full transition to Primal would be better than what she's doing right now. But I also believe that her reduction of grains, sugars, etc. is far better than where she was before. Any advice, information, or help would be much appreciated! Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Griff's Avatar
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    Half-transition is still not going to give her the benefits she needs. She has to go full out, no sugars, no grains, or it won't work.
    Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

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    I think your analysis is correct.

    It seems to be paleo conventional wisdom that if you don't eliminate all grains and sugar, then you should go low saturated fat and cholesterol. That's the old fallacy of blaming the bandage (LDLs) for the cut (inflammation.)

    The devil is in the details. You say "carbs." Carbs, per se, are fine if she is losing weight. Grains, especially wheat, are harmful. White rice, potatoes and yams are OK if she is using the carbs.

    The principle of 80/20 is built into primal. No need to do 100% unless you are dealing with obesity or serious illness. "Some sugar" - most of us eat some dark chocolate. Does she eat a sugary dessert every day? Or does she do a cheat a couple times a week?

    Is she eating clean food? Organic, unsprayed, grass-fed, free range, unprocessed? Eating clean will reduce inflammation.

    If I were you, I would support the changes she has already made.
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    ineverlose's Avatar
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    Thanks for both of your replies so far!

    Griff - I totally agree with your statement that a full transition is the only way she will gain "all the benefits she needs". I'm wondering though - is this kind of "half transition" dangerous? Or is just "not optimal"?

    Hedonist - Having not yet read anything about "paleo" specifically, I did not know that that was part of the conventional wisdom in that community...interesting! I have to say - the majority of her carbs do come from things like potatoes and wild rice, but the occasional pasta/pizza/cake/cookies get thrown in from time to time. As for desserts, she still typically has dessert every day (usually some kind of dark chocolate)...but I would say maybe 2-3X per week it's a cookie or some ice cream. She also is eating MUCH cleaner food (since I am doing the same) overall, and she is supplementing (like me) with fish oil and vitamin d. I'm 100% supportive of the changes she's made (plus she looks great!)...I just want to make sure I'm providing her with the best advice and knowledge, as I'm really the only one reading and researching the topic.

    Thanks again, everyone, for your time!

  5. #5
    Hedonist's Avatar
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    I would say that your wife is more than 50% primal. Maybe not 80% but closer to that than 50%. Perhaps look into some of the delicious sounding primal desserts posted here and on the web.
    Ancestral Health Info

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    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.

  6. #6
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    Yes I'd agree, Hedonist...she's probably closer to 60% to 70% primal. I know that 80/20 is built into the Primal Blueprint...I guess another way to phrase my question is - is 60/40 considered "better than CW lifestyle", or is it actually dangerous? From what I'm reading, I'm leaning more toward the "better than CW, but definitely not optimal" side. Any other opinions out there?

    Dr. Bork Bork - I agree! I started cold turkey too. It was tough (and still is every now and then), but it worked for me. So far, for my wife, it hasn't worked, unfortunately.

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    Sue's Avatar
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    I think you can just say to your wife if she starts to gain weight should probably lower the fat if carbs moderate - but how much fat and how much grams of each is she having? Your wife should just be allowed to eat what she wants to - she is eating less of the crap so that's pretty good in my opinion. She may eventually go all the way.

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    Sue - I totally agree...to me, the way she's eating now is WAY better than before (same with me). I really don't give her a hard time at all about her diet, since I know she's doing much better than before. She's actually the one who keeps asking me about her "half and half" way of eating...she's really more concerned that it may be dangerous (for cardiovascular health in particular) than I am. Like I said, I just want to make sure I'm telling her accurate information when she asks me questions. Thanks for the advice!

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    I think you're doing a good job advising her.

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