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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 20, 2011

How to Deal with Common Primal Stumbling Blocks

By Mark Sisson
130 Comments

A 30-day Primal Blueprint Challenge wouldn’t be complete without you facing some actual challenges. Yesterday, because we’re all in this together, I asked you to share your struggles with everyone in the comment board. We all face hurdles everyday, but it’s not often that we get to discuss them with other like-minded individuals, let alone get advice on how to surmount them. Today, I’ll give my two cents. I’ve read through all your comments and collated them to arrive at a couple dozen to briefly discuss. In the future, this post will serve as a resource for solutions to challenges commonly encountered in the Primal lifestyle, an FAQ of sorts. If I’ve missed any major ones, let me know and I’ll see about including them.

Food

“I’m fearing the fat.”

What is it that you fear, exactly? Do you worry that saturated fat is going to induce a heart attack? Cause it won’t. Or maybe you’re worried eating animal fat will turn into fat on your body. Reasonable concern, but it won’t do that, either, assuming you don’t eat way more food than you need. And eating too much rarely happens when you’re focusing on fat, because fat is highly satiating. Fat, you see, is the perfect fuel source for the human body, and once you’ve gotten past the low-carb flu, fat burning mode feels really, really right. To get to know fatty acids more intimately, check out my definitive guide on the subject.

I’m all for fearing trans-fat and processed seed and vegetable oils, but good fats from meat, dairy, olive, coconut, palm, fish, and actual nuts? There’s no reason to fear those.

“I’m having trouble getting enough protein.”

It’s doesn’t have to be that difficult. First, consult this excellent resource containing the protein content of common foods. Then, make sure to include one of the protein sources at every meal. Just eat some meat, a couple eggs, some fish, and call it a day.

“I’m scared of getting too much protein.”

Healthy people can handle plenty of protein. It’s true that some patients with impaired kidney function need to rein in their intake, but protein doesn’t precipitate the problem. In fact, there is far more evidence that animal protein is health-protective.

“I’m fighting a major sweet tooth.”

Ah, the sweet tooth. A common nemesis, judging from the responses in the comment section. I’m sorry to say it, but you’ll just have to bear it out. Stick with the plan, and in time the cravings will vanish and you’ll notice astonishing, subtle sweetness is common foods. I would advise against going nuts with fruit or artificial sweeteners (although if you’re going to use one, go for stevia, which has ulterior health benefits) to satisfy a sugar craving, as they’ll just feed into it and fruit will become like candy (psychologically). Just hold out, let the cravings pass, and then you’ll be able to enjoy fruit and even a bit of honey without going crazy for it.

“I can’t give up grains.”

Sure you can. Like all difficult but necessary things in life, there’s a ten-step process for that.

“Staying Primal on the road.”

You’ve simply got to be prepared. If you’re on the road on a regular basis, and it’s not just a fluke, one-time road trip or vacation, you have to start planning. Fill a cooler with hardboiled eggs, jerky, fruit, veggies, and other snacks. Cook a big batch of steak the day before and pack it in ice; cold steak is delicious. Canned tuna, sardines, salmon, and oysters are fine choices, too. In other words, read my guide to staying Primal on the road.

“I’m running out of ideas for recipes that last the whole week.”

There’s a seemingly endless stream of quality Primal recipes going up around the net (just Google “primal recipes” or “paleo recipes”), but this page and the comments here should get you started for now. And don’t forget about the two cookbooks I’ve put out to address this exact problem: The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals. For weeklong batches of food, stews, soups, roasts, and curries are the ticket. The crockpot is your friend. Keep some homemade broth on hand, plus plenty of fresh herbs. The best part is that the cheaper cuts of meat are best for stewing.

Fitness

“I don’t know where to start.”

I’ve got just the thing: Primal Blueprint Fitness. It’s an extremely solid fitness plan for beginners looking for simple workouts, but it’s also good for more experienced folks who just want to stay in shape without spending a lot of time in the gym. You don’t even need any equipment, besides maybe a pullup bar (though any horizontal structure that can support your weight works). With PBF, you’ll learn how to lift heavy things, move frequently at a slow pace, and run really fast every once in awhile.

“I don’t know anything about…”

“Sprinting.”

Maybe you just don’t like running? Sprinting doesn’t have to be sprinting on a track. It’s just about moving yourself through space (or using a stationary machine to simulate moving yourself through space) at breakneck speed. You want to go all out, whether it’s on a bike, crawling on all fours, running stairs, or swimming laps. Leave nothing on the table. Here are a few more tips.

“Lifting weights.”

Strength training is an essential human activity, and it can be physically difficult, but it shouldn’t be scary. If you need assistance with performing the actual lifts, check out my guides to the five essential movements: the squat, the pullup, the pushup, the overhead press, and the plank.

“Moving frequently at a slow pace.”

Learn how to walk again. Here’s why you should. If you’re going to do so barefoot, learn how to do that, too.

“I’m struggling with my workouts. Like, I’m not completing them and I’m getting weaker.”

Sounds like you’re overtraining. First, establish that you truly are overtraining. Read this post and get back to me. If you are overtraining, read this post to learn a ton of ways to solve the problem. Eat more food, eat better food, reduce volume/load/intensity, get more and better sleep… those are but a few.

“I can’t find time to exercise.”

Focus on making your workouts shorter and even more intense than before. Think Tabata intervals at four minutes a pop. Take ten minutes out of the day and go sprint up a hill six or seven times. Do pullups every time you pass the bar (or ledge, or whatever you can use to do pullups). And while you may not have time to go for hikes or long walks, as long as you’re moving (through the grocery store, while chasing toddlers, through campus toward your next class, etc), that counts.

“I struggle to play.”

I find that people who can’t seem to play have one of two problems (sometimes, but rarely, both). They either can’t come up with any good ways to play or they can’t get out of their heads long enough to just let loose and get silly. For the former, I have a few suggestions. You can dance, you can play Ultimate Frisbee, you can play Grok tag, you can join a sports league, you can even wrestle with your significant other. You just need some ideas. But as for the guy who can’t bring himself to play, I suggest boning up on how absolutely essential play is to the human animal. We need it to form social connections, to learn how to interact with the world and its inhabitants. And most importantly? It’s simply fun. So do that cartwheel, throw that frisbee, and let yourself laugh. It’s going to be okay. I promise.

Sleep/Stress/Sun

“I get sleep, but I’m still tired.”

Sounds like you need better sleep. Luckily, I’ve got seventeen ways to get better sleep. I won’t go into detail here, but let’s just say it involves candlelit dinners of beef heart, sweet potato, and chicken liver.

“I struggle with shift work.”

Shift work stinks, but it pays the bills, so you gotta do it. And yes, sleep matters, and a happy circadian rhythm is good for your health, but neither put food on the table. But, by embracing your situation, eating strictly, training smartly, supplementing wisely, and tricking your body into thinking that everything is normal, you can definitely make it work.

“I can’t deal with stress.”

Nobody wants cortisol coursing through their body on a perpetual basis. If you truly can’t avoid stress (and I can’t, nor can most of humanity), then you have to mitigate it. To lessen its load. To reduce its impact on your life. Here are 15 ways to mitigate, avoid, and manage the stressors in your life. There are some lifestyle changes, some supplementation, and some dietary modifications, but they’re all effective.

“I burn too easily.”

Don’t slather on the sunblock. Instead, bolster your internal, endogenous resistance to UV rays by employing any number of dietary and supplementary strategies. In other words, eat more cooked tomatoes, drink tea, eat more animal fat, eat fish, and take some vitamin D – to name just a few.

“I struggle with my doctor’s recommendation that I avoid all sun.”

Look, it doesn’t take a lot. I’m not saying you should lay out for two hours every day and develop a deep, dark leathery tanned hide. I’m simply suggesting that you get 15-20 minutes of unfiltered sunlight on as much of your exposed skin as possible. Vitamin D synthesis in the skin happens pretty quickly, and for a fair-skinned person 15-20 minutes of full sun are enough to produce 10-20k IUs. Barring that, of course, you could just supplement with vitamin D, but I prefer to get it from the sun.

Family/Community/Friends

“My partner doesn’t support my lifestyle.”

We can all deal with people who don’t understand the Primal life, but as for living with someone who’s blatantly hostile to it? That’s tough. Luckily, I wrote an article explaining how to deal with an unsupportive partner. It boils down to being comfortable in your own (Primal) skin, letting your results be the best argument, securing a little section in the kitchen for your foods, and finding a supportive community elsewhere (like here on MDA – see The Forum).

“Family dinners are impossible.”

If you think regular family dinners are tough, Thanksgiving is even worse. Whether you choose to politely turn down the off-limit items, try to convert people to your way of eating, sneak in Primal replacements for neolithic foods, or give in and call it an “80/20 day,” do so with confidence and without guilt. This is your family, and you love (most of) them, but it’s also your life, your health, and your body – and you love that stuff too.

“I can’t explain the PB to friends without sounding crazy.”

No problem. Just give them this PDF. And casually lift the bottom of your shirt to wipe your face as you do it, revealing rippling abdominals that serve as silent testimony to the program’s effectiveness.

“I feel weird eating with others when bad food is around. I can’t handle the strange looks I get.”

Don’t give in to the mob mentality. Either stick to your guns with confidence or give in to the compromise without guilt.

“I hate bringing my own food to parties. I look weird and it isolates me from the others.”

If you’re at a party, rather than nurse your raw lamb liver carpaccio in a corner, bring something to share with everyone else. I suggest something covered in bacon. Bacon-covered dates, bacon-covered dark chocolate (or the other way around), bacon-covered balls of bacon bits. Everyone loves bacon.

“I struggle finding things to eat when out with my friends.”

Sounds like you need the Primal Blueprint guide to dining out. There’s always something you can eat. It may not be perfect, but you can definitely mitigate the harm.

I almost didn’t write this post, because judging from yesterday’s comments, you folks pretty much know what you need to do to get past these hurdles. You have great ideas, oftentimes totally different from what I’ve written about, and I love that. This is all a great big mutual learning experience, after all. So – that’s my attempt at condensing hundreds of struggles into a single, readable post. I’m sure I missed a few worthy ones, so let me know about it in the comment section. Grok on!

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130 Comments on "How to Deal with Common Primal Stumbling Blocks"

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Rashid
Rashid
5 years 8 days ago

good info

Issabeau
Issabeau
5 years 8 days ago

Here is another excuse for sprinting from a girls perspective. I don’t like my ‘twins’ to bounce all over the place while I haven’t found a bra that keeps them up and in place. I don’t want to carry them in my shoes in a couple years…

I would love to run, in fact I used to run ALL the time and everywhere. I was a late bloomer, then I don’t know what happened. Especially since going primal they seem to have gotten bigger. They’re quite fun in the bedroom, but that’s where the fun ends.

Lindsey
Lindsey
5 years 8 days ago

Seriously, I know how you feel. I hate running (and always have) for this exact reason. Swimming is your friend. No bounce, no extra weight…and they actually give you a little extra workout because of the ‘drag’.
Oh, and check out the ‘frog bra’ at Title Nine. It’s the one my doc recommended. 🙂

Jane
Jane
5 years 8 days ago

I just ran in Title 9’s 9K race in the bay area and visited their sports bra tent. Unfortunately, (my favorite too!) the frog bra is on hold until they find another manufacturer for it. But they’ve got some great replacements that are rated on a “bounce” scale. They had some really great no-bounce options — I used to wear 2 but have found that wearing just 1 really good one works (even as a DD gal).

Alison Golden
5 years 8 days ago

Have you tried wearing more than one bra? I often wear three.

I realize that might sound ridiculous especially as I’m not particularly well-endowed but I like it.

I usually wear a regular bra, a sports bra and and tank with a built-in shelf bra.

As I say, it might sound weird but it works for me. 🙂

Jennifer
Jennifer
5 years 8 days ago
LXV
LXV
5 years 8 days ago

Bravissimo.com has a few lines of sports bras, including one that goes all the way up to K. They’re more expensive than department store bras (and then you add shipping), but if you’ve got bigguns they really can’t be beat.

Issabeau
Issabeau
5 years 8 days ago

Ah thanks for all the tips. Def. gonna check out all the web sites recommended. 🙂

Marste
5 years 8 days ago

Enell bras. They’re expensive, and they’re tight (so make sure you get your measurements right), but they’re AMAZING. I wear a 34G and the Enell sports bras are the only ones that let me do all the leaps in my dance classes comfortably. (And I can jump pretty high. ;D)

Hollie Rollins
Hollie Rollins
5 years 8 days ago

Yes, Enell are great as well as moving comfort. Allison I was wearing three at a time as well, last year I got my “twins” reduced and lifted, but I still wear a great sports bra – Lock N Load Ladies 🙂

FoCo Girl
FoCo Girl
5 years 8 days ago

I’m with you. I have fallen in love with Title Nine’s bra line (both everyday and sports bras that defy the laws of physics)
http://www.shopbounce.com/home.do

Kathy
5 years 8 days ago

Okay, this is gross, but here is another girl reason I drag my feet when it comes to sprinting: those of us who have had babies can relate that, um, there can be a little “leakage” when doing all out sprinting and sudden stopping. Ugh!

Vanessa
Vanessa
5 years 3 days ago

Kegel exercises REALLY work. I had that problem too due to giving birth to 6 children. I was in trouble if I coughed, sneezed, did jumping jacks, or sprinted. Now I can do all. But you have to Kegel quite a bit and often. Like when you come to a stop light, or watching TV, or cutting up vegetables.

diane
diane
5 years 8 days ago

ok, i am a tandem nursing mama who is a 28J or something like that. so i feel your pain. i LOVE the jeunique bras – they don’t have underwire (which kind of freaks me out considering wires create electromagnetic fields and i don’t want two of them centered around my breasts). and i can wear these and jump on our huge trampoline with my kids.

Grace
Grace
5 years 7 days ago

Champion makes a jog bra that is incredible. I ran while I was nursing my baby with size E boobies and I was comfortable. Check them out at Title Nine Sports online. They give barbells to indicate how supportive the bra. I have heard that the Frog Bra is a good one too.

Milemom
Milemom
5 years 7 days ago

sigh, they don’t always last forever…love em while you got em.

Tanya
Tanya
5 years 7 days ago

Awww – sometimes I wish I had this problem. The ‘A’s really have no bounce – in fact after 4 kids they are kind of like skin flaps :). But I feel your pain indirectly, my sister in law has huge boobs and she hates them. Maybe a bra fitting seminar would help you to find a great bra???

Ames
Ames
3 years 11 months ago

I guess this is a question for girls but Mark, I would love to hear your opinion. Are bras primal? What would Grokette do? I realize that they are a blessing in the modern world, but I try to limit my bra wearing around the house, only wear them when I go out or some physical activity. I read that they can actually cause breast cancer. Don’t know about all that, but was wondering about other people’s 2 cents.

Mike
Mike
5 years 8 days ago

Alcohol is the thing I struggle with. 3-4 glasses of red per night is probably not quite paleo.

Kate
5 years 8 days ago

Me too. I sometimes dilute red wine with some seltzer water and sliced fruit. It helps turn 3-4 glasses of red into 1-2. Google tinto de verhano for a good recipe like this.

Mike Botta
Mike Botta
5 years 8 days ago

I agree with this one – it’s pretty tough to come home from work, and fight the urge to have a few beers or glasses of wine with dinner.

Also, to comment on the sweet tooth thing mentioned in the article – I HIGHLY recommend making a batch of Primal chocolate chip cookies and having a few of those every night. I’ve been doing that for about 2 weeks now, and am still losing weight like crazy. And besides, they are SOOOO FRIGGIN’ GOOD!!!

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 7 days ago

What recipe do you use? I need to do this.

ValerieH
ValerieH
5 years 7 days ago

Here’s a blog post from last week about dealing with a nightly wine habit.
A few years ago I went on the South Beach Diet. It was the first time I experienced having no sweet tooth (but I still wanted wine). I think once the body is well-nourished, those cravings go away. This blog post discusses using amino acid supplements to provide the brain chemicals the body is screaming for when you feel a craving. I have used amino acid supplements to help with carb cravings between meals. It worked very well for me.

http://www.cheeseslave.com/2011/09/13/how-i-kicked-my-wine-and-chocolate-cravings/

J Snyd
5 years 8 days ago
I’m glad you wrote this post Mark. While some people will pour through myriads of comments discussing these issues, many will not. To have all of the struggles listed and how to overcome them all in one post, is brilliant. I find it very beneficial for myself, but this is also a great one stop post for others trying to get on board the primal gig. I always find that when I’m dicussing with people about the lifestyle, that they never disagree on the results or the science, it’s always some inner conflict about not letting go of grains. This… Read more »
jason
jason
5 years 8 days ago

great post!

Harry Mossman
5 years 8 days ago

“Just give them this PDF. And casually lift the bottom of your shirt to wipe your face as you do it, revealing rippling abdominals that serve as silent testimony to the program’s effectiveness.” Haha. I love it.

This post is a wonderful resource.

Kate
5 years 8 days ago

I vote for the primal fitness ebook. Great resource 🙂

Alex
Alex
5 years 8 days ago

“And casually lift the bottom of your shirt to wipe your face as you do it, revealing rippling abdominals that serve as silent testimony to the program’s effectiveness.”

Man, that was gold.

Hal
5 years 8 days ago
My wife and I have been able to take to the outdoors without having to slather sunblock this year. Our son has some allergies to sunblock (breaks out in a rash, particularly on his face) and we decided to give it up completely, so we could get a better handle on when he needs to come out of the sun (by understanding and feeling when we need to get out of the sun). Works great, and we’ve effectively spent (an admittedly short) summer burn free. The worst we’ve gotten is “slightly pink” – a darn good improvement for the Northern… Read more »
Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 5 months ago
1] Take off the sunglasses – the eyes ‘need’ to see the sun to activate the part of the brain to get the message to the skin so it can protect itself. Read the book ‘Daylight Robbery’ 2] Going sugarless is the best…look at steak on the bbq…the marinated steak burns to black and the plain steak browns…a prime ingredient of most purchased marinades…sugar. In ‘Daylight Robbery’ the author recommends that it can take twelve months to clean the system of sugar and then you can spend time outdoors with very minimal burning. I used to get severe sunburn in… Read more »
peggy
peggy
5 years 8 days ago

“bacon-covered balls of bacon bits”
recipe link??? oh wait, Dave should have that!!
Issabeau: Moving comfort or Title 9 works for me.

To all: I work 3 to 5 jobs all the time. I still find time to walk my dog twice a day (move slowly, or quick), I do body weight stuff here at the office (ala 100 pushups, etc) & get in some sprints & other stuff. You either want it or you come up with an excuse…

Anna
5 years 8 days ago

Good post! I needed this to remind me that there are no excuses to skip too much on the Fitness part…

Matt
Matt
5 years 8 days ago

Great stuff Mark, I might start taking some vitamin D, try getting 15-20 minutes of good sun in the Uk!

Janine
Janine
5 years 8 days ago
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am currently dealing with a pissed off teenager (about not having chips)and have relented a bit for him to save my sanity, but I love all this back up info and will definatey use it for this week! I was also on a busines trip this weekend and I was overjoyed to find out catered lunch for the meeting was roasted veggies and cut up chicken breast, all laid out on a platter with optional pita with it, rather than all wraps or sandwiches! The Primal Goddess must have been taking care of… Read more »
Dan
Dan
5 years 8 days ago

Try making your own chips. Use a mandolin to slice potatoes (sweet is better) thin and fry in grass fed beef tallow. Much better than “canola oil and/or sunflower oil and/or soybean oil”

Sara Hofer
5 years 8 days ago
I agree, Dan. It’s hard to keep growing kids fed. Sometimes I feel like all I do is go grocery shopping and cook for the kids. If I keep them off the grains and the sugar, I think potatoes are fine (especially if they’re either local or good quality organic). Fried up in some bacon fat–yum! I think if we start beating them up too much over food they may do a 180 on us and we’ll find them in the back of a dark pizza parlor! Besides, in the end, I find that the meat is usually gone and… Read more »
Dennis Murray
5 years 8 days ago
I really have to second joining a sports league. I worked out in the gym for years – really, about 10 – before giving thought to trying a new sport with the fitness I’ve earned. I decided to try playing soccer – granted, I was never a soccer player in my youth so I was starting at age 33. Since then, it’s been one of my best motivations for eating and living a clean life and getting my gym work in. Now there’s a company team I’ll be trying to make and it forced me to be even more on… Read more »
Debra
Debra
5 years 8 days ago

Great advice!

Greta
Greta
5 years 8 days ago

The answer for “I’m fighting a major sweet tooth” really seems like a cop out. Or maybe it’s just ignorant. For lots of people, especially those with depression or women with imbalanced hormones, the cravings don’t go away and abstinence through willpower is a terribly ineffective way of dealing with them. The least that could be offered is a suggestion to supplement magnesium.

bbuddha
bbuddha
5 years 8 days ago

Giving up carbs really does kill the cravings. I dropped down to 20 grams/day (really low) after 3 days of that the physical cravings do go away. you do have to tough it out for 3 days. if you drop down that low you should slowly add back on till you hit your personal good carb level.

Milemom
Milemom
5 years 7 days ago

I agree. Sugar is like heroin. I don’t care about alcohol at all…just the celebratory glass of wine a few times a year… and I haven’t done drugs, but I’d like to be locked in a cottage on a remote island for a few days until I could get it all out of my system.
I would be interested in hearing about more supports for quitting, because hearing “just don’t eat it” is like me telling an alcoholic “just don’t drink.”

Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 5 months ago

Do a search on this site – How to Dog Whisper Your Food Cravings…

Quote:

“Craving candy? You may need sulfur, you inflammatory little nugget, you. Try garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or brussels sprouts. And pineapple works wonders.”

“Sugary snacks and starches such as donuts and bread – you might be dehydrated. Drink some water and get a little nutritional acid by way of a piece of fruit, such as an apple.”

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 7 days ago

I’ve had a MAJOR sweet tooth all my life and found that after eating Paleo for a couple of weeks I lost interest in the sugary morsels that used to make me buckle and binge. In fact, my sweet cravings were replaced by meat cravings..much more satisfying.

Leida
Leida
5 years 8 days ago

Fat makes me sick. I can handle salmon, no problem, but fattier meats, like bacon and pork roasts make me want to gag immediately, and if I eat them, I am sick on my stomach.

Hunger, and the absense substitutes with dryer, warmer feel to them. Nuts do it, but they are too binge-prone and too high in O6.

Milliann
5 years 8 days ago

Avocados & wonderous coconut milk & oil
their fat will really keep u satisfied.
Or has me & I went cold turkey from all sweets after drinking bout 1/2 cup between 2 cups of coffee & bout 1/2 gallon of sweet tea everyday along w/various other junk. If I would have known coconut milk would kill all my cravings i would have been chugging it a long time ago!!! My first week was great. Think I have a touch of carb flu since yesterday. so i upped my green intake 🙂

Jackie Kessler
5 years 8 days ago

Regarding the sweet tooth, I found that cutting out all chocolate for a week, then returning to having some high-quality dark chocolate (Dagoba, yum!) made it that much better — and at 27 grams of carbohydrates per bar, that doesn’t overdo it.

Randy Knapp
5 years 8 days ago

Jackie, I, too, find that dark chocolate (Lindt 85% cocoa for me!) works well. But for a real sugar craving, I go for fresh berries. I live near Seattle, so Washington strawberries (which are dark red all the way through) or blueberries really do it for me!

Jackie Kessler
5 years 8 days ago

Ooh, fresh berries! Now, if I could master how to whip up coconut milk a la whipped cream, that would be fabulous with strawberries…

Randy Knapp
5 years 8 days ago
Jen
5 years 7 days ago
Have you tried the method where you chill the milk overnight and then pour the “watery” part of the coconut milk off before whipping? I learned it from a local vegan class. I’m not vegan, but I like checking out their tips for using non-dairy milks since I’m allergic to dairy. I’m sneaky that way. 🙂 I found a video online that describes the method presented in the class here in town. Search for “How to Make Vegan Whipped Cream” on 5min . com. I don’t use the Thai kitchen brand because all the Thai kitchen coconut milk I’ve seen… Read more »
Dave, RN
Dave, RN
5 years 7 days ago

I lived in the Seattle area as a teenager back in the mid 70’s (Federal Way). WE grew strawberries and also had two cherry trees and two apples trees in our backyard. Those strawberries were huge…

Rojo
Rojo
5 years 8 days ago

Can I throw out softball as a sprinting suggestion? Most people dismiss it as the lazy stuff of work picnics and beer drinking and not exactly a calorie-burning heart-pumper. All that’s true.

But for the purpose of fitting in a few all-out sprints every week, an even mildly competitive softball game gets the job done. In my experience you’ll get 4 to 5 sprints in every game – hauling ass to first on a ground ball, running after the ball that got over year head in the outfield, etc…

Yeah, I’m not very good.

liberty_1776
5 years 8 days ago

My stumbling block is the social aspect of going out for beers/drinks. I can do the one and done, but have to leave. If I stay then next thing you know I am beer four…

Randy Knapp
5 years 8 days ago

So I hear tequila (100% agave), gin, whiskey and vodka have no carbs in them. I’ve become a tequila-man since going Primal. It works pretty well. 😀

Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 5 months ago

One suggestion I use is to turn up late, slowly drink your one beer/wine/spirit and leave when the first person goes…timing is important of course.

Or as a friend of my daughter does, implement the 8.30 rule which is his code to his wife [and friends] that it is time to go because the event has reached it’s ‘use by’. It can be 8.30 at any time during the event.

I have used both and the best part is that I felt I was in control…the more I do it the more positive I feel in keeping the friendships AND PB.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
5 years 8 days ago

I’m looking for ways to exercise more primally while pregnant. This summer I kept up some of the push-ups and pull-ups, but that’s really uncomfortable for me now. Other than going on good walks in my Vibrams, any ideas?

Jessica
Jessica
5 years 8 days ago

This hits all the highlights for me; I just got home from a trip to visit Mom and found it difficult to plan ahead for their grain/vegetarian/carb laden lifestyle.

She actually burst into tears when I told her I was going Primal a few months ago. I brought your book Mark and lightly, delicately made a few suggestions.

But now I’m back on the bacon w/ berries this a.m. YUM FREAKIN’ YUM.

Susan M.
Susan M.
5 years 8 days ago

My body is rebelling at being primal after all the junk it’s had the past few years. My feet are swollen up almost double and I gained 10 pounds of water weight in a week. I’m hoping in another week or so it’s going to level out. I’m backwards from normal – less salt because I’m not eating chips and crackers and salty snacks means water retention and bloat for me.

James
James
5 years 7 days ago

Salt causing water retention is a red herring, from what I’ve read. You can find some good studies on it, but there was one good one in particular. They provided all food so they could control the diet. For several weeks they provided them a “mediteranean” style diet with no added salt, and measured their blood pressure at regular intervals. Then for the same period of time they fed them the same diet but with a very high level of added salt. The difference? +1 on the systolic and +1 on the diastolic. Total. From no salt to heavy salt.

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
5 years 7 days ago

Read the Gary Taubes paper
“The Political Science of Salt”. He wrtoe it back in 1998. Very revealing. To sum up: don’t worry about salt. Wheat and sugar will increase your blood pressure though!

Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 5 months ago

Reintroduce real salt – Celtic or Himalayan salt – to your diet…and up your water intake if you haven’t already done so…

Todd
Todd
5 years 8 days ago

“This is your family, and you love (most of) them, but it’s also your life, your health, and your body – and you love that stuff too.”

I got a good laugh out of the most of them part.

Good post, Mark! It’s nice to get these refreshers!

Brenda Living Primal
Brenda Living Primal
5 years 8 days ago
I have been sprinting to the steps and then running up the steps at work. I have to often go up stairs to use the fax machine. My husband Jeff has been trying the sprinting up the steps 6 or 7 times in a row and he can’t believe the difference in his body. The other day Jeff says to me, “Lets race by sprinting to the front of the store and see who gets there 1st”. It was fun mixing it up with play, but I did think afterward that it was a good thing we didn’t run into… Read more »
homehandymum
homehandymum
5 years 8 days ago
Constipation, anyone? Going primal has meant I’m more aware of my body, what is going into it and what is coming out of it (!) Although I’ve struggled with constipation off and on for my whole life (yeah, since I was an infant!), giong primal has kicked off a relapse of constipation. I’ve followed links to the Fibre Menace/Gut Sense site, which I’ve found to be incredibly helpful, and I’m following his advice as best I can without buying his products – he does tell you is IN his products so it’s possible to closely approximate them from local sources.… Read more »
Alta
5 years 8 days ago
I’ve been primal/paleo for about 2 months now, but was struggling with the big C for much longer than that. I’d already eliminated gluten and dairy, which alleviated a lot of symptoms, but it wasn’t until I read Fiber Menace that somehow, everything clicked. I was already taking magnesium supplements, aloe vera juice, and probiotics, but I read the ingredients in his Hydro-C, and figured I’d try a bit of Vitamin C to alleviate my issues, in addition to lowering my fiber a bit (no more psyllium husk!). My, what a solution – it’s been a dream for 3 weeks… Read more »
Kathy
5 years 8 days ago

If you are super low carb (20-30 g/day) you can easily get constipated if you are prone to it. I used sugar-free Fiber Choice, one tablet twice a day and that solved it. Once you go higher carb (100 g) you might not need it any more.

Milliann
5 years 8 days ago

coconut oil AFTER meals 🙂

liberty_1776
5 years 7 days ago

Primal Dessert: One square of chocolate (>=85^ cacao) dipped in coconut oil.

Thankfully I have never suffered from the big C before or after my diet change. Try black coffee.

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
5 years 7 days ago

Yup. The caffeine will stimulate the bowels. Try not to need this though…

Tamera
Tamera
5 years 7 days ago

I’m so surprised to hear people become constipated on this diet. I actually suffer from it because of thyroid disease, but I will say since I started this diet my body functions like a well oiled machine. I have noticed my bowel movements slow down if I don’t eat as many veggies one day. Maybe try upping your greens and vegetables.

Tanya
Tanya
5 years 7 days ago

Squat to poop

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 7 days ago

Eat things fried in coconut oil and supplement with magnesium and vitamin c. Does the trick for me.

Jellerose
Jellerose
5 years 8 days ago
My sweet tooth was too entrenched to just tough it out. Instead I negotiated with it. I started by doing portion control. I planned my sweets into my other changes. I knew I was going to have them and didn’t stress over them so I didn’t feel guilty or like it was a failure. I think one of the biggest factors in being able to stick with this past the first month was cherry sour balls. No redeeming value other than they were small, I could usually stop with 2-6 once a day (mostly evenings), no grains, and they kept… Read more »
Jen
5 years 7 days ago

Congrats on losing 25 lbs so far! For a LOT of great almond flour recipes, look at Elana’s Pantry online, pecanbread . com, and check your library for books that have recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. That diet’s been around for a long time and is completely grain/soy/legume/refined-sugar free. There’s a big community of people who’ve been developing recipes using nut flours and coconut flour for _years_. Some of them are fantastic. The midas gold pancakes on pecanbread are great. And on Elana’s site, I can vouch for the breakfast bars and the biscotti. 🙂

Sal
Sal
5 years 8 days ago

It takes 10 min here in the Australian sun to know that sunscreen is one of those benefits of modern society. There is no way diet can substitute covering up and using sunscreen here unless you are a complete couch potato.

Belinda
Belinda
5 years 8 days ago

I just came back from Europe (to Australia). One day, after spending 4 hours in the sun there with no sunscreen on, I was a little bit pink. If I did that here, I’d have 1st degree burns! But I think it’s all about balance – not getting terrified of the sun, but not going crazy with it either.

Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 5 months ago

As a Queenslander and I swear I use very little sunscreen now since I have minimised sugar and starch and I have had no case of sunburn for many years…

Josh Frey
5 years 8 days ago

Compared to all the ridiculous fad/weight loss diets out there, primal is pretty damn easy in my opinion. Plus a whole lot healthier.

Nannsi
Nannsi
5 years 8 days ago

Meat, a green and a red/orange/yellow vegetable, flipped for a minute or two in the sauté pan and finished with real butter, and a salad with olive oil and lemon, or a piece of fruit with cheese or almond butter. Standard dinner, every nite (and breakfast too, since I’m intolerant of eggs 🙁 ). What’s hard about that? Easy, fast, available in any restaurant, and how anybody could think weird totally beyond me.

Nothing’s easier than Primal.

Eddy
5 years 7 days ago

True that. And it makes a whole load more sense!

Gretel
Gretel
5 years 8 days ago

For the sweet tooth thing I’ve resolved to Larabars, and I’ve recently made my own. Eating them with a bit of full-fat whipped cream cheese totally does the trick. Also making your own almond milk with vanilla bean and cinnamon makes a great sweet-tooth snack. Also, I highly recommend Mimi Kirk’s “Live Raw” book for awesome high-fat smoothies made with avocados and cacao powder. Soooo goooood 🙂

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[…] How to Deal with Common Primal Stumbling Blocks, Mark’s Daily Apple – Start preparing yourself for October 1! […]

Super Gaily Girl
5 years 8 days ago

Such good timing. The perfect post for a weary, lazy and slightly carby day 9!

Thanks so much!

Jim Ausmus
Jim Ausmus
5 years 8 days ago

You done good Mark, tks for directly addressing the (non-compliant) family issue. I’ll bring them along one slab of bacon (side of broccoli) at a time!

Aurelia
Aurelia
5 years 8 days ago

I have a pre-Primal lifestyle injury that prohibits me from high-impact activities. This has really put a damper on the traditional sprint and some play (no cartwheels here) but instead of running/sprinting I now hike with a heavy pack (or carrying a baby) and I sprint on my bike. As for play, I try to climb around on things in the backyard or even inside (visiting friends have gotten used to the dirty footprints and scuff marks on the walls) just as I did in my childhood years.

Adeline
Adeline
5 years 7 days ago

Very informative, thank you !

Aloka
Aloka
5 years 7 days ago

I find it very hard to avoid alcohol and I am out 2 to 3 nights a week. I know Mark says that occasional red wine is ok, but I am pretty sure that I am drinking way more than what he terms as occasional. What is occasional anyway?
For this year’s 30 day primal challenge I had decided to cut out alcohol and so far I’ve failed miserably!

Jan
Jan
5 years 7 days ago

Occasional alcohol? Just drink it occasionally every evening. Not recommended for breakfast although tequila, vodka and gin have no carbs. Maybe they’d be OK for breakfast. Eggs pickled in Vodka? Yum!

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[…] var arrAffiliates = { 'com' : '', 'co.uk' : '', 'de' : '', 'fr' : '', 'ca' : '', 'co.jp' : '', 'jp' : '', 'it' : '', 'cn' : '' }; var strUrlAjax = 'http://weightloss180.com/wp-content/plugins/amazon-affiliate-link-localizer/ajax.php'; #split {}#single {}#splitalign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}#singlealign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}.linkboxtext {line-height: 1.4em;}.linkboxcontainer {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;background-color:#eeeeee;border-color:#000000;border-width:0px; border-style:solid;}.linkboxdisplay {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;}.linkboxdisplay td {text-align: center;}.linkboxdisplay a:link {text-decoration: none;}.linkboxdisplay a:hover {text-decoration: underline;} function opensingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = ''; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = 'none'; } function closesingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = 'none'; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = ''; } Reader’s Request: How to “get healthy”How to Deal with Common… Read more »
Jan
Jan
5 years 7 days ago
Forgive me. I am English after all and have our national reputation to maintain. As a Brit I would like to see a recipe thread that caters for us. I love the recipes here but, you know, we eat different things, have different brands, and dare I say it, speak a different language. I have Mark’s cook books but don’t recognise many of the ingredients. You say zuccini and I say courgettes. You say rutabagas and I say “what on earth is that”? You eat a lot of Bison – we eat a lot of lamb. Just different – that’s… Read more »
Milla
5 years 7 days ago

http://wildsweetheart.blogspot.com/2011/09/great-british-midweek.html

I haven’t posted much yet:-) So nice to find fellow Englanders on MAD 🙂 I’m not technically English, but I live here, so I suppose I’m a Londoner. Grok on!

Rachel
4 years 11 days ago

I know this is a shameless plug but a friend has written a low carb cookbook with English measurements and food available and commonly eaten in the UK. It is available as an ebook on Kindle, Kobo and other sites. It is under the author name of Budding books.

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[…] For those who are considering switching to a primal diet, Mark Sisson suggests ways to deal with common primal stumbling blocks.  Read the full article here. […]

MDL
MDL
5 years 7 days ago
I found it kind of easy to give up rice, flour products, beans, and grains. Giving these foods up also helped with my 3pm sugar cravings, which I don’t have any more. I had a slip up a few weeks ago, where I gorged on pizza — but that was more turning to a “comfort” food in a time of stress — learned behavior for sure. The only sugar I use now is in my coffee, and I keep that to 2 tsps. per day. I also eat dark chocolate a few times a week, but that’s it. I have… Read more »
JLHDU
5 years 7 days ago

http://www.mgpr.org/MGPR/Guinea%20Pig%20Diet.htm

A buddy and I were joking this morning and came across a donation website…then I saw the below and it hit me. If these little critters can’t eat this stuff, imagine how dangerous it really is to us. It’s like, “Death by 1000 cuts.”

Check out the bottom of this website:

Absolutely NO Chocolate (Poisonous!!!), cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, yogurt drops or other “human treats.” There is research to suggest these items may contribute to fatal cases of enterotoxaemia, a toxic overgrowth of “bad” bacteria in the intestinal tract.

grainfree
grainfree
5 years 7 days ago
I really enjoy this website & all the helpful info & insights. I started Low Carb in Jan, going sugar & grain-free cold turkey. Made it thru the carb flu & then moved onto the Primal lifestyle. My health has improved 100%. I try to walk 15-20 miles a week & have dropped 12-15lbs & many inches. However my progress seems to have stalled. I can tell that I still have some unwanted fat to lose but it won’t budge. I do not eat sugar,grains and very few carbs. My diet consists of fresh eggs, meat, poultry, whey protein, fresh… Read more »
James
James
5 years 7 days ago
If I were you I would try cutting the fruit and nuts completely… Also, you should research whatever veggies you are eating, as not all veggies are created equal. If that doesn’t help, you can look into avoiding veggies which have a natural starch content. I’ve gotten a crash course as my sister has a medical condition that preclused ALL starch, and we’ve found that some produce has starch, and that the levels of starch can get really high if it isn’t harvested/stored/transported exactly right. Things like cucumbers and avocados. An avocado that was shipped properly comes up negative in… Read more »
grainfree
grainfree
5 years 7 days ago

Thank you for the reply. I am confused. I thought from reading Mark’s posts that avacados,root veggies, nuts etc.. were things we should be eating.
I don’t eat potatoes, rice,peas,legumes,grains. As I said I do eat some fruit in the form of berries, peaches,& some bananas. I usually eat green beans, leafy greens,tomatoes,squash,zuchinni,peppers in addition to eggs, meats & fats.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
5 years 7 days ago

Mark has several posts here on MDA dealing with your very problem. Try searching for “hitting a plateau” or “weight loss plateau” – something of that sort sort in the search box above and you’ll probably find something that may help you. Good luck and keep Groking!

Animanarchy
5 years 7 days ago

Awesome post. I bet this helps a lot of people.
I found it inspiring to stay on track.
With all the regular struggles I have to deal with I realize I shouldn’t be doing stupid things and adding any more extra, which I’ve been doing a lot of, so I’m taking some steps to fix those problems.
Step 1: detoxing myself from evil big pharma chemicals. Enough tripping – I don’t need more stumbling blocks.

DB
DB
5 years 7 days ago
I have no problem falling asleep. I could go to bed at 9pm, 10, 11…up to about 2am and will get up at 4 or 5am and feel great. I rarely sleep until 6am. My mind is alert when I wake. Staying in bed and trying to sleep longer is impossible. Later in the day though, I really want a nap. If I get one I feel great until I go to bed. If I don’t get a nap, then I have an hour or two of slugishness. Does anyone else experience this? I really would like to sleep 8… Read more »
Sharon
Sharon
5 years 6 days ago

DB..Sounds like you are doing fine with your present sleep patterns as long as you get a nap. If taking a nap fits in with your life then what is the problem? Not everyone is the same. No need to be concerned over something that isn’t a problem. Right?

Maybe you just need to schedule nap time each day if that is possible and go with what your body is telling you.

liberty_1776
5 years 7 days ago

Sometimes I crave the taste of baked sour cream cheddar chips so I chew a few and spit them out. Craving satisfied.

Cheating? Yeah. But I noticed I do not have cravings if I eat a good amount of red meat each day.

On days I eat fish my craving levels go up. I’ve been experimenting with adding avocado with various white fishes as well as chicken and I do not get cravings.

If I get a real cheese craving I pound some kefir.

Clotilde
Clotilde
5 years 7 days ago
My stumbling blocks so far have been that when I first started, I was really, really thirsty. I think I had gone into ketosis and my body really didn’t like it. I was having to get up int he night to drink more, but nothing satisfied the thirst. Anyway, I found that eating a bit of fruit was enough to keep me losing weight without feeling as though my insides were drying out. My current problem is what to do when you get sick. A coupl eof weeks in, and I came down with a virus and was too wiped… Read more »
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5 years 7 days ago

[…] How to deal with commong primal stumbling blocks […]

Hopeless Dreamer
Hopeless Dreamer
5 years 6 days ago

I am sooo glad I have been eating Primal for a while,and low-carb for many years before that. Now that I am dealing with pain from sciatica, it would be so much easier to grab ready-made food….but I am in the habit of making most of what I eat,and not eating packaged food this isnt setting me back. I was inspired by “Daveman” bouncing back from surgery, and I hope I can bounce back(gently!) from this enforced exercise break!

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[…] How to Deal With Common Primal Challenge Stumbling Blocks […]

mrplavick
mrplavick
5 years 5 days ago

I sometimes take care of my occasional craving for sweets by putting a few frozen dark sweet cherries in a bowl and pouring a bit of organice heavy cream over them. The cream solidifies and it’s very much like ice cream but without added sugar.

Idl
Idl
5 years 5 days ago
Here’s one that appears to be rare. I get sick whenever I try to change my diet. I get nervous, jittery. I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep. My stomach becomes upset and my intestines seem to shut down. I become impossible to be around; I’m not a party to be with when I’m normal..heh. I get crankier, depressed. My eyesight can get blurry. I try to wait it out, but at times I’ve become almost dysfunctional. I takes me a few days to go back to normal after I begin to eat the SAD (standard American diet) again. I wonder… Read more »
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