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  1. #1
    Pantera's Avatar
    Pantera is offline Senior Member
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    Did you go hardcore at first or did you ease into the diet? What worked best for you?

    Primal Fuel
    A recent post about sweet potatoes got me thinking about my experiences and what I've read about other people's experiences in relation to primal living.

    The way I see it, there are two main camps:

    Camp A - strict paleo: those who give strict paleo a try from the get go.
    This means people who eat mostly: unlimited meats (mostly or entirely grass-fed), fish (mostly or entirely wild caught and with none or little added salt) veggies and controlled quantities of fruit, nuts and maybe cook with ghee.

    Camp B - primal with compromises: those who ease into primal living by removing or replacing bad habits slowly or being more lenient towards food that are not ideal but are not as bad as others. This means people who regularly resort to the 80/20 principle and/or use dairy other than ghee almost daily, use flax, nut flours, dark chocolate, drink alcohol regularly, use sweet potatoes frequently, etc.

    Note: I know...I know... there's a continuum in between these camps. But for the sake of the exercise, pick the one that best represents your situation when you answer.

    I'd like to test my hypothesis about which group does best in terms of results and ability to stick to primal living. There are arguments for both sides. The strict ones could experience better results in the short term and become motivated by them or they could feel very stressed about giving up all foods at once and give up too soon. The other group could have an easier time with sticking to primal living initially but could be either tempted by periodic cheats or they could experience slower results and lose motivation.


    I understand this is probably highly dependant on each person, but I'd like to know what you did and how it worked.

    Additionally, to avoid adding too many variables into the post, I'll avoid considering what you do in terms of exercise as significant.

    Please state:

    I'll post my answer later to avoid influencing others from the get go.


    1) How long have you been eating primal:

    2) What was the main factor for you to switch from your previous eating habits:

    a) Wanted to lose weight / body fat.
    b) Wanted to improve health or prevent potential health problems.
    c) Other (explain):

    3) To what degree would you say you have achieved your goals so far?

    4) When you started eating primal, which camp were you in (read Camps' descriptions above)

    5) Which camp are you in now?

    6) What do you think was the key for primal eating to work for you (if it has worked so far)?

    7) Tell us a little more about how much Camp A (see definition above) you are these days (eg: state 90% and mention that you use butter daily, drink coffee and eat dark chocolate).

    Note: The "bold" effect is added on a line by line basis to be easy to keep if you copy&paste.

    Thanks in advance for sharing!
    Last edited by Pantera; 04-20-2010 at 08:57 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Jokaman70's Avatar
    Jokaman70 is offline Senior Member
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    1) How long have you been eating primal:

    Since December 30th, 2009.

    2) What was the main factor for you to switch from your previous eating habits:

    Wanted to lose weight / body fat and wanted to improve health or prevent potential health problems. Also, my profession's in the health and fitness industry and I can't thrive, career-wise, as an obese man.

    3) To what degree would you say you have achieved your goals so far?

    I plan to have lost 60 LBS by this Friday, I'm 4 LBS shy but I'm pushing hard. I've also lost nearly 30 inches. And my blood pressure's dropped, dramatically.

    4) When you started eating primal, which camp were you in (read Camps' descriptions above)

    Camp A-ish. I ate dairy (cheese, butter, full-fat yogurt) and I added some salt to my foods. And DARK chocolate VERY sparingly.

    5) Which camp are you in now?

    Still A-ish, although I've moved on into a no-carb lifestyle - beef, pork, chicken, seafood, eggs, butter, grass-fed beef tallow, olive oil, cheese (2 oz. daily) only. I still add some salt to my food and I won't stop.

    6) What do you think was the key for primal eating to work for you (if it has worked so far)?

    Eating a lot of the "right" foods in the beginning to avoid cravings and IF'ing which has helped me to discover hunger vs. psychological cravings.

    7) Tell us a little more about how much Camp A (see definition above) you are these days (eg: state 90% and mention that you use butter daily, drink coffee and eat dark chocolate).

    85%, I don't plan to eliminate dairy, tea, or salt from my diet. In time, I'll probably even reincorporate potatoes back into my diet in strict moderation. Grains, sugars, and vegetable oils are gone from my diet forever (special occasions excepted) but the rest is up for negotiation.
    I began this Primal journey on December 30th, 2009 and in that time I've lost over 125 LBS.

  3. #3
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    1) I have been eating primal three weeks now, but I was in the maintenance carb stage for 1 year before without knowing about PB and GF but not oatmeal/GF grain-free
    2) The main factor for the switch to primal was twofold 1) weight that would not come off any other way 2) to see if it would help with my Lupus symptoms including constant muscle fatigue that made exercise, which I used to do rigorously, a painful battle
    3) The degree I have achieved so far is a bit shady. I have not weighed myself as it hasn't been a month yet and I see my nutritionist for a BF test next week so we'll see. However, I can tell that things are fitting differently. More importantly, I have had significantly less trouble weaning from prednisone (nasty drug they put me on for lupus) which means I'll be off in a week! I have had ZERO cravings for sweets from the get-go and have been satisfied with my meals- not with the "full but still hungry for something" feeling. And I can walk more and my strength is starting to return.
    4) When I started I was already not eating cow-milk dairy, gluten, or much fruit, since starting I would say a strict Camp A. I have a very all or nothing attitude about these things and honestly don't find it too hard to follow because I'm completely committed and it isn't a drastic change for me. I salt sparingly.
    5) Now, I am still exactly where I started, moved carbs down from 75 ish the first few days to under 50 every day.
    6)The key was getting my protein amount right (not too much) so that I could eat enough fat and then making sure I hit my targets, I am a very visual person so I like tracking on myfitnesspal.com
    7) I'd say I am 95% Camp A- I do salt sparingly and don't see giving up that little bit or giving up my cup of green tea in the morning. I do use goat butter every other day. Eventually when I move to maintenance stage I will add in the occasional dark chocolate and of course fruit will make a comeback.
    Last edited by trigirl85; 04-21-2010 at 03:54 AM.

  4. #4
    Dryden's Avatar
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    1) How long have you been eating primal:
    About a month. I have tried living "whole, all natural" before, but the health benefits didn't resonate six years ago like they do today, so I couldn't stick with the plan. Plus, I was going by CW's guide to "all natural." To put it bluntly, one slice of wholesome wheat bread makes me want to vomit, so all those prior attempts were doomed to failure right from the start. Primal nutrition is far, far easier, (not to mention intuitive) because now I don't feel I'm supposed to be forcing myself to choke down a slice of wheat toast every morning.

    2) What was the main factor for you to switch from your previous eating habits:
    a) Wanted to lose weight / body fat.
    b) Wanted to improve health or prevent potential health problems.
    c) Other (explain): All of the above. As explained in the meet & greet thread, I have recently lost several immediate family members to heart attacks or cancer, and also recently welcomed two beautiful baby daughters into the world. I want to be there for them past the age of 65.

    3) To what degree would you say you have achieved your goals so far?
    At various points in the past 15 years, I've been a skinny 150, a "skinny-fat" 170, and just a plain fat 185. I am presently down to a much leaner 151 lbs on my 5'9-1/2" frame and am gaining muscle mass by the day. I was extremely active and played many sports growing up. I tried lifting routines for a long time and always gave up in frustration since I was a "hardgainer." Having been on both ends of the spectrum, being rail-thin and not being able to add muscle can be just as discouraging for a young guy as being overweight. After one month of Primal nutrition and dabbling with some P90X workouts, for the first time in my life I am seeing visible definition of pectoral muscles, abs, and "guns!" I feel more athletic today at 35 than I did when I was "in the best shape of my life" when I was 16 or 17 and hadn't yet begun dabbling with cigarettes, alcohol, and other less pleasant substances.

    4) When you started eating primal, which camp were you in (read Camps' descriptions above)
    Camp B - Primal with compromises.

    5) Which camp are you in now?
    Camp B - Primal with compromises. Two months ago, I smoked about a pack a day, ate fast food every afternoon for lunch, sometimes for breakfast too, sucked down Pepsi like it was going out of style, and generally lounged around on my butt too much. I decided I needed to make a change for myself and my family when my sister passed away from cancer at the age of 45 in February. I quit smoking cold turkey and am now going into Week 6 without a cigarette. I replaced Pepsi with water. I replaced my McD's Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit with a homemade omelette every morning, and I've traded in Whoppers and Chicken Strips for a Big Ass Salad every day for lunch. If I change nothing else, just those four little things alone will make me a far, far healthier person and probably saves me around $6,000-$7,000 a year. What I've realized this time around is that I don't need to "diet," I need to commit to a lifestyle overhaul. I can do that living primally yet not feel guilt because I indulge in an ice cream cone at DQ with the kids once a month, or because I had the corn for dinner plus one dinner roll since the wife made the meal a couple nights ago. I can't completely give up every food I like, and I can't choke down foods I don't, so I'm not going to try. But I can show restraint to have a small serving of corn once in awhile instead of a huge steaming pile of it, and nibble on one dinner roll and savor it instead of eating three with a boatload of margarine dripping off them.

    6) What do you think was the key for primal eating to work for you (if it has worked so far)?
    Pretty much covered already. I like meat, eggs, nuts, fruits, and veggies, and can live with the rare slice of white bread instead of being forced to suffer wheat. 80/20 'cures' guilt.

    7) Tell us a little more about how much Camp A (see definition above) you are these days (eg: state 90% and mention that you use butter daily, drink coffee and eat dark chocolate).
    As I slowly cut more and more harmful things from my diet, even despite some compromises, and become acclimated to eating salads and experimenting with more and more veggies, I drift further into Camp A and am now more willing to venture into the all-Organic, grass-fed territory. I prefer to go slowly, always keeping in mind that I'm better off today than I was yesterday. All-Organic veggies is the next step, particularly since anyone that is eating a Big Ass Salad everyday, such as myself, is going to want to cut the mass produced lettuce outright since it carries so many pesticides. I'm eating veggies I previously hated, or at least thought I hated, and am eating more wild-caught seafood as I come to grips with the fact that EVERYTHING I ate before was as likely to poison me as a wee tiny bit of mercury would if I ate fish more frequently than once or twice a month.

  5. #5
    MeatMe216's Avatar
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    1) How long have you been eating primal: feb 2010

    2) What was the main factor for you to switch from your previous eating habits:
    vegetarianism wasnt working for me. i was skinny fat and couldnt improve my body comp. I didnt notice untill i went back to meat, but my brain was foggy/sluggish. I didnt reazlize at the time of the switch, but having a stong immune system is great!

    a) Wanted to lose weight / body fat.
    b) Wanted to improve health or prevent potential health problems.
    c) Other (explain): all of the above

    3) To what degree would you say you have achieved your goals so far?
    im on the path. belly is going away, muscles are filling in. When i started i could do one "cheater" pullup (not from a full hang) now i can do multiple sets of 6-8. I havet gotten sick yet (i used to get sick every time the seasons changed) my energy and stamina is better then ever and still improving. im eating the most delicous food every

    4) When you started eating primal, which camp were you in (read Camps' descriptions above)
    first week i was probally about 80%, wanted to finish off my sprouted grain tortillas, pop corn, etc. But after noticing the improved gut function from eliminating grains/sugar i went pretty close to 100%. Ill still eat some cheese, put cream in my tea. I know im better off without dairy, but it doesnt effect me too much if im eating well. my fruit consumption has been getting lower and lower aswell. most days ill have none, some days ill have at most, 2 servings of fruit.

    5) Which camp are you in now? 95% and lovin it

    6) What do you think was the key for primal eating to work for you (if it has worked so far)? i was skeptical about the high fat content at first, but my body dont lie. i feel better then ever

    7) Tell us a little more about how much Camp A (see definition above) you are these days (eg: state 90% and mention that you use butter daily, drink coffee and eat dark chocolate).
    opps, i think i answered this already. ill add that i drink tea, only coffee in an emergency (as a musician, sometimes i have to operate way past my bedtime) i also endulge in 100%chocolate. coconut proucts, milk, oil, shredded have become permanent staples in my diet

  6. #6
    coach81's Avatar
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    Answers below:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pantera View Post
    A recent post about sweet potatoes got me thinking about my experiences and what I've read about other people's experiences in relation to primal living.

    The way I see it, there are two main camps:

    Camp A - strict paleo: those who give strict paleo a try from the get go.
    This means people who eat mostly: unlimited meats (mostly or entirely grass-fed), fish (mostly or entirely wild caught and with none or little added salt) veggies and controlled quantities of fruit, nuts and maybe cook with ghee.

    Camp B - primal with compromises: those who ease into primal living by removing or replacing bad habits slowly or being more lenient towards food that are not ideal but are not as bad as others. This means people who regularly resort to the 80/20 principle and/or use dairy other than ghee almost daily, use flax, nut flours, dark chocolate, drink alcohol regularly, use sweet potatoes frequently, etc.

    Note: I know...I know... there's a continuum in between these camps. But for the sake of the exercise, pick the one that best represents your situation when you answer.

    I'd like to test my hypothesis about which group does best in terms of results and ability to stick to primal living. There are arguments for both sides. The strict ones could experience better results in the short term and become motivated by them or they could feel very stressed about giving up all foods at once and give up too soon. The other group could have an easier time with sticking to primal living initially but could be either tempted by periodic cheats or they could experience slower results and lose motivation.


    I understand this is probably highly dependant on each person, but I'd like to know what you did and how it worked.

    Additionally, to avoid adding too many variables into the post, I'll avoid considering what you do in terms of exercise as significant.

    Please state:

    I'll post my answer later to avoid influencing others from the get go.


    1) How long have you been eating primal:
    For a little over 30 days now.
    2) What was the main factor for you to switch from your previous eating habits:
    Wanting to become leaner. (A)
    a) Wanted to lose weight / body fat.
    b) Wanted to improve health or prevent potential health problems.
    c) Other (explain):

    3) To what degree would you say you have achieved your goals so far?
    - I've had very good results so far, very pleased. Have not achieved all of them yet, but seeing good progress.
    4) When you started eating primal, which camp were you in (read Camps' descriptions above)
    Camp A- Hardcore...
    5) Which camp are you in now?
    Camp A.. hard core!!!!
    6) What do you think was the key for primal eating to work for you (if it has worked so far)?
    Staying as close to 100% primal. When I allow myself a "reward" I get in trouble...
    7) Tell us a little more about how much Camp A (see definition above) you are these days (eg: state 90% and mention that you use butter daily, drink coffee and eat dark chocolate).
    I'd say 98% - I drink sweetened drinks.. and occational diet drinks..
    Note: The "bold" effect is added on a line by line basis to be easy to keep if you copy&paste.

    Thanks in advance for sharing!

  7. #7
    BarbeyGirl's Avatar
    BarbeyGirl is offline Senior Member
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    1. I've been primal for a little over 7 months.

    2. I wanted to improve some minor, nagging health issues (like frequent stomach bloating) and better fuel my ambitious fitness program (metcon & lifting). I wasn't necessarily looking to get leaner, but I have, and I love it.

    3. I have achieved my goals, though of course tweaking is still needed depending on the details of my activities.

    4. I started closer to Camp A than Camp B. (That is, my food choices were a hint broader than the Camp A you describe, but I stayed almost 100% within my guidelines with very, very few "cheats.")

    5. I still eat more like Camp A than B.

    6. The key for me was really understanding what is going on in my body in response to food and activity. Hormones and sprints and macros, oh my!

    7. I'm Camp A on strictness; that is, I rarely make exceptions beyond my chosen boundaries. Said boundaries include a half-once or so of very dark (99%) chocolate a few times a week, nuts, a few ounces of dairy (butter and maybe some heavy cream and cheese) in a week. And, I go with conventional meat for economic reasons. I think I'm closer to A than B, though, because I don't make those weekly, or even monthly, exceptions for anything processed or sugary. Certainly not 80/20.
    Last edited by BarbeyGirl; 04-21-2010 at 05:28 PM. Reason: Computer crashed before I could answer all the questions!
    Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm! http://inthenightlife.wordpress.com/

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  8. #8
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    1) How long have you been eating primal:

    Since mid-January

    2) What was the main factor for you to switch from your previous eating habits:

    a) Wanted to lose weight / body fat.
    b) Wanted to improve health or prevent potential health problems.
    c) Other (explain): My sister had a heart attack in January, which spurred me to get serious about getting back into shape. I knew I was going low carb, but Primal Blueprint makes sense to me. I have followed Mark Sisson’s advice and articles over the past 10 years, especially when he was affiliated with P90x. After getting my lipid profile and full body scan, I cut out 90% of all grains. I occasionally have wild rice and I still have pancakes on Sunday.

    3) To what degree would you say you have achieved your goals so far?

    I am officially 29 days in and have lost 10 lbs on the scale. My clothes fit loosely now and my muscle tone is improving. Visually, I am looking better, but still way too soft. This is a slow and steady for me to really incorporate this as a lifestyle rather than a diet.

    4) When you started eating primal, which camp were you in (read Camps' descriptions above)

    Camp B – Primal with compromises. I will most likely stay in this camp given the flexibility. Also, if it works, why change it. 80/20 is a good rule.

    5) Which camp are you in now?

    Camp B. I do seek only grass-fed for home, but eating out I am at the whim of whatever restaurant I eat at or am required to eat at with clients, colleagues, etc. I just leave the grains on the plate and eat the meat and veggies.

    6) What do you think was the key for primal eating to work for you (if it has worked so far)?

    Making sure I have plenty of primal foods on hand. I try to plan each evening meal and make enough for lunch the next day. If I am at a restaurant and am able to take food home, I visually cut my portion in half and take the other half home or to my office for lunch the next day.

    7) Tell us a little more about how much Camp A (see definition above) you are these days (eg: state 90% and mention that you use butter daily, drink coffee and eat dark chocolate).

    ~80 to 90 %. Most meats I purchase are grass-fed or pastured. I only buy wild caught fish. If there is no option for wild caught fish, I don’t buy it. Veggies are 95% organic and/or locally grown. Fruits are 90% organic and/or locally grown and I mostly focus on low glycemic index fruits like berries. I only eat walnuts once or twice a week and only a palm full. I eat bacon (pastured and uncured) almost every morning. I also have a smoothie (Organic frozen berries, kefir, honey, ground flax, True Whey [grass-fed cows]) almost every morning, but especially on heavy lifting days.

    I use butter, olive oil, coconut oil at every given opportunity. I drink a latte (4 shots espresso, sugar-free flavoring and steamed milk) every morning. I eat dark chocolate ~twice a week. I have a glass of red wine with dinner…or at lunch every day. I also have a Whiskey and Diet Coke three or four times a week.

  9. #9
    MalPaz's Avatar
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    1) How long have you been eating primal:
    I was zero carb before coming to MDA. so ZC is considered primal...i was ZC for a year and in February i seeked out MDA and became a veggie eating primal.

    2) What was the main factor for you to switch from your previous eating habits:

    i was relapsing in anorexia and obsessing about every minute detail of meat eating, i hadnt gotten my period back, and wasnt gaining weight. i am here to find freedom, my menstruation and help others!


    3) To what degree would you say you have achieved your goals so far?
    i've added all veggies that i like, had all the starchy roots/tubers(when they were in season) and love MDA! starchy roots were a big deal for me, as i was obviously obnoxiously sared of carbs making the switch after a year ZC

    4) When you started eating primal, which camp were you in (read Camps' descriptions above)
    i was in camp A, nothing but meat and water

    5) Which camp are you in now?
    still camp A i guess- i have a cup of coffee in the morning, and use sour cream and butter. i would say this place is incredibly lax, easy, just eat meat and veggies... stop thinking so much... it seems like cheating almost because i have veggies!

    6) What do you think was the key for primal eating to work for you (if it has worked so far)?
    eat when hungry, stop obsessing and overthinking...just eat meat and veggies

    7) Tell us a little more about how much Camp A (see definition above) you are these days (eg: state 90% and mention that you use butter daily, drink coffee and eat dark chocolate).
    i dont work out so that may throw me out of the camp A crowd... but i plan to incorporate body bearing exercises once i get my knee okay'ed!

  10. #10
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    1) How long have you been eating primal:
    About a month. I was already about 80% there before I stumbled on to paleo though.

    2) What was the main factor for you to switch from your previous eating habits:
    It's a toss up between vanity (a) and health issues (b). I started low-carbing it to lose a little weight but noticed that when I didn't eat carbs my random headaches and nausea went away. How I feel is what motivated me to give paleo a try and what keeps me on track. My vanity is not strong enough to that on its own, LOL.

    3) To what degree would you say you have achieved your goals so far?
    I make mini goals every two weeks and have done better than 90% at achieving them. It would have been better but I celebrated the end to a tough two weeks with a little too much wine over the weekend (I usually have wine once week, I had it three days in a row). I feel pretty great about that and a little guilty - this is so easy and so pleasurable!

    4) When you started eating primal, which camp were you in (read Camps' descriptions above)
    CAMP B for about a week.

    5) Which camp are you in now?
    CAMP A.

    6) What do you think was the key for primal eating to work for you (if it has worked so far)?
    getting enough fats in

    7) Tell us a little more about how much Camp A (see definition above) you are these days (eg: state 90% and mention that you use butter daily, drink coffee and eat dark chocolate).
    I sometimes use butter for cooking. I drink a glass or two of red wine once a week.

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