Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
4 Aug

How to Succeed with the Primal Blueprint

So you’ve decided to join the challenge. You’ve created your own Primal Challenge Journal and have publicly stated your goals for the next month. Now what? First things first. You have to know the basics. If you’re new to the Primal Blueprint the following article will be like gold to you. Revisit it again and again until you’ve committed the concepts to memory. The graphs and charts are visual representations of the principles that are at the core of the Primal health philosophy and give you a taste of what it is in my new book, The Primal Blueprint.

You’ve defined the “what”. If your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, increase energy or just generally look and feel healthier these graphics explain the basics of the “how”.

The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve

What’ll It Be? The “Sweet Spot” or the “Danger Zone”?

Carb Curve color

Carbohydrate intake is often the decisive factor in weight loss success and prevention of widespread health problems like Metabolic Syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. These average daily intake levels assume that you are also getting sufficient protein and healthy fats, and are doing some amount of Primal exercise. The ranges in each zone account for individual metabolic differences.

  • 0-50 grams per day: Ketosis and I.F. (Intermittent Fasting) zone. Excellent catalyst for rapid fat loss through I.F. Not recommended for prolonged periods (except in medically supervised programs for obese or Type 2 diabetics) due to unnecessary deprivation of plant foods.
  • 50-100 grams per day: Sweet Spot for Weight Loss. Steadily drop excess body fat by minimizing insulin production. Enables 1-2 pounds per week of fat loss with satisfying, minimally restrictive meals.
  • 100-150 grams per day: Primal Maintenance zone. Once you’ve arrived at your goal or ideal body composition, you can maintain it quite easily here while enjoying abundant vegetables, fruits and other Primal foods.
  • 150-300 grams a day: Insidious Weight Gain zone. Most health conscious eaters and unsuccessful dieters end up here, due to frequent intake of sugar and grain products (breads, pastas, cereals, rice, potatoes – even whole grains). Despite trying to “do the right thing” (minimize fat, cut calories), people can still gain an average of 1.5 pounds of fat every year for decades.
  • 300+ grams a day: Danger Zone of average American diet. All but the most extreme exercisers will tend to produce excessive insulin and store excessive fat over the years at this intake level. Increases risk for obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid

For effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and maximum longevity

food pyramid flat 2011sm 1

General Guidelines: 80% of body composition success is determined by diet. Limit processed carb intake (hence, insulin production), and obtain sufficient protein and fat to fuel and rebuild.

  • Protein: Average .7 – 1 gram per pound of lean body mass/day – depending on activity levels (more at times is fine).
  • Carbs: 50-100 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss. 100-150 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance. Heavy exercisers can increase carb intake as needed to replace glycogen stores.
  • Fat: Enjoy freely but sensibly for balance of caloric needs and high dietary satisfaction levels.
  • Avoid Poisonous Things: Conventional Wisdom’s dietary guidelines promote fat storage, type 2 diabetes, inflammation and obesity!
  • Eliminate: Sugary foods and beverages, grains (wheat, corn, rice, pasta, breads, cereals, etc.), legumes (soy and other beans), trans and partially hydrogenated fats, high-risk conventional meat and produce, and excess PUFA’s (instead, increase omega-3 oils).
  • Modern Adjustments: Some modern foods that Grok didn’t eat can still be included in a healthy diet
  • Moderation: Certain high glycemic fruit, coffee, high-fat dairy products, starchy tuber vegetables, and wild rice.
  • Supplements: Multivitamin/mineral formula, probiotics, omega-3 fish oil and protein powder.
  • Herbs, spices and extracts: Offer many health benefits and enhance enjoyment of meals.
  • Sensible indulgences: Dark chocolate, moderate alcohol, high-fat treats.

The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid

For functional, diverse athletic ability, and a lean, proportioned physique

fitness pyramid flat 2012

Exercising according to the three Primal Blueprint laws will optimize gene expression and promote Primal Fitness.

  • Law #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace strengthens the cardiovascular and immune systems, promotes efficient fat metabolism and gives you a strong base to handle more intense workouts.
  • Law: #4: Lift Heavy Things stimulates lean muscle development, improves organ reserve, accelerates fat loss, and increases energy.
  • Law #5: Sprint Once in a While stimulates the production of HGH and testosterone, which help improve overall fitness and delay the aging process – without the burnout risk of excessive prolonged workouts.

The Conventional Wisdom approach to fitness is clearly not working! Stress is excessive, weight loss goals are compromised, and many are misguided to pursue narrow fitness goals that are unhealthy.

  • Avoid Chronic Cardio (frequent medium-to-high intensity sustained workouts)
  • Avoid Chronic Strength Training (frequent and/or prolonged sub-maximal lifting sessions ending in exhaustion)
  • Avoid Regimented Schedules (instead, allow for spontaneous, intuitive variation in type, difficulty and frequency of workouts)

All this and much more can be found in my new book, The Primal Blueprint. Order a copy today and start getting Primal!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Nice all encompassing post Mark. I love the carbohydrate curve. It puts everything in perspective and it works! More importantly it works in a sustainable way that is completely enjoyable. I’ve lost 8 pounds effortlessly in one month.

    Best,

    Ted

    Ted wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • HI There,

      Question, How can I drop more body fat when I already only consume 50-100g of Carbs/Sugars each day; I consume plenty of organic protein, good quality fats; veggies; I sprint once or twice a week; walk everyday; and I do crossfit style workouts a couple times a week? I still don’t have the body of a greek goddess, but I am trying. Oh and I take the right supplements. What do I do?

      Thanks
      Carly

      Carly De Santis wrote on August 2nd, 2013
      • If you are eating like that and working out like that there is a good chance you are exceptionally healthy and look really fit. I would focus more on making peace with where you are at, loving your body now, and that wait for some inspiration to take things to the next level.

        Anthony wrote on August 30th, 2013
  2. I’m sure this will vary from person to person, but what is the maximum intake of carbs before you trigger a spike in insulin? I thought I read you don’t want to eat more than 30g in one sitting but want to see what the consensus is.

    Steve wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • Steve, it’s a good question, but there isn’t really a “maximum” level of carbs before triggering insulin. The quality of carbs matters a great deal, as well. A 20-oz Coke has the equivalent carbs of THREE pounds of carrots. Obviously, the coke will be disastrous for your blood sugar, but who is actually going to sit down and eat three pounds of carrots? The trick is to only eat primal or paleo-friendly carbs and focus on the fibrous, not starchy ones (unless you are especially active). Hope this helps!

      Abel James wrote on October 19th, 2011
      • Would you please define “especially active”? Thanks!

        Kathy wrote on November 17th, 2013
    • A friend of mine that is diabetic and on top of her diet has been instructed to keep her carbs at 26g or less per meal (3x daily) and she is right on target whenever she checks her blood sugar.

      wanda wrote on March 8th, 2012
  3. Thanks for the pyramids! I’m a visual person, so this puts things into perfect perspective. I need to add more vegetables to my diet, pronto.

    Min wrote on August 4th, 2009
  4. As much as I love PB 200-300 grams of carbs a day won’t always produce “insidious weight gain”:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/mikeroussell#play/uploads/30/lqJSSMhXKj0

    And Tom Venuto:
    “If fat loss is your number one goal and you want to achieve it the healthy way
    without losing muscle or energy, then you can’t go wrong with 50-55% carbohydrates,
    30% protein and 15-20% fat as your starting point.”
    “I gained more muscle in the off-season,
    lost more fat in the contest season (as low as 3.4%) and stayed leaner all year round,
    maintaining a 7-9% body fat percentage without much difficulty. I also moved up a full
    weight class. My energy was better. I was leaner. I was stronger.”
    “My small adjustment to 50-30-20 might have worked well for me simply because
    I have an endo mesomorph body type and I’m a bit carbohydrate sensitive, but it also
    worked for the vast majority of my 600+ personal coaching protégés. ”
    – Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle p. 163

    Everything else is solid, but this Carb curve is not telling the whole story, in terms of weight maintenance.

    JE Gonzalez wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • JE:

      There’s a great deal of explanation on here as to why Mark’s Carb Curve is the way it is. If you like the 50/30/20 ratio, you really don’t love the PB.

      However, http://www.fitnessspotlight.com just posted an interesting analysis of two relatively “high-carb” diets. The findings? As usual, it’s context: The sources of carbs matter more than the amount. So if you can get 50% of your calories from fruits and veggies WHILE maintaining muscle and losing fat, be my guest. It just doesn’t seem practical to me, having tried it myself before.

      BretMattingly wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • But the man you quote did say “in the contest season”. He’s obviously professionally highly active. That makes him atypical and probably means he can get away with a higher carbohydrate intake than others.

      He’s atypical and also note his objectives are limited “stay[ing] leaner all year round”.

      What he’s recommending for people like him for that specific purpose, even if it does work on those terms isn’t necessarily a good idea long-term and bearing other factors in mind.

      What most impresses one about Weston A. Price’s findings is this one fact: that every single traditional society he investigated had intakes of fat-soluble vitamins (principally A & D) at levels of at least ten times as much that in the American diet of the 1930s. The gap would be wider now.

      In my opinion, that one fact should make everyone stop and think – and question what’s become conventional about low-fat diets, too.

      Now this wasn’t just hunter-gatherers Price looked at, but also fisherfolk, herders, and some healthy farming groups, like SWiss in remote Alpine valleys. These people were eating an astonishing range of different things that varied quite a lot from group-to-group. But they all had this high intake of fat-soluble vitamins from animal fats. They also also all had superb health with an almost complete absence of dental caries, with unusually strong and well-formed bones, and with an absence of degenerative diseases of several sorts.

      The thing is these people were living closer to nature and were probably in better touch with their bodies, so they knew what to eat. You don’t just throw away all that accumulated experience and knowledge across vast periods of time.

      Once you know their intake of fat, with those all-important fat-soluble vitamins, was so much higher than ours, and begin to get some idea of how many biological processes those vitamins are involved in you can no longer look at popular low-fat diets with the same eyes.

      Maybe a high-carbohydrate diet is OK for this sportsman, at any rate in the short term, for those narrow purposes that he’s stated. But it would be disastrous for a child or a pregnant woman. And one also has to ask “Will it keep Mr Venuto well in the long run?”

      Mick wrote on August 4th, 2009
      • I have Venuto’s book and it has been a great reference for a number of years. But you are correct that it is focused on a much more active style of training than the Primal Blueprint with lots more cardio, frequent meals and carb burning. PB also says that if you are doing an extra hour of exercise a day, you could up the carbs by 100g. But the idea of PB is NOT to train so hard so frequently so that you can extend your useful life.

        Note that both TV and MS have about the same percentage of body fat. Absent other fitness or competition goals you may have, the question to ask is “what’s the easiest way to get there and stay there?”

        Dragline wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • The danger is looking at this for weight loss. The science is clear that genetically our genes are near identical to those of the hunter gatherers. We are healthier if we eat, move and interact as they did. Even modern day tribes are healthy. Endomorph, ectomorph etc. doesn’t really matter.
      Scott

      Scott wrote on January 23rd, 2012
  5. Great post Mark. Very good tips to live by.

    John Park wrote on August 4th, 2009
  6. So I’m following this pretty closely, my carbs are as low as possible (literally the only carbs I get are from a lone piece of fruit daily) and working out fairly frequently.

    What I’m not doing is counting my caloric intake.

    Am I still likely to lose weight?

    stork wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • We don’t count calories and we don’t actually count carbs. I hate math. If you eat the right things, you don’t really have to worry about the math. My husband has lost 44# and I have lost 32# following 80/20 primal (sometimes we cheat a little on the weekends). We do weights 2-3X/week and walk 5X/week. You will get more bang for your buck though if you swap out that piece of fruit for some veggies.

      Marlys wrote on August 4th, 2009
      • Problem as I see it is I’m trying to get super lean (lose stubborn abdominal/hip fat that doesn’t seem to want to go), not just casually drop some excess. Does it still apply?

        stork wrote on August 4th, 2009
        • Yes, but you can also try intermittent fasting if simply restricting the carbs does not do the trick for you.

          Dragline wrote on August 4th, 2009
  7. MDA viewers are indebted to all the free information he provides us Groks with. Buy his book; it’s full of great information! Mark is too nice.

    bfaber87 wrote on August 4th, 2009
  8. Nice robust summary of the primal blueprint. This helps me out in an analysis I’m currently doing of several different eating plans.

    Greg at Live Fit wrote on August 4th, 2009
  9. Thanks for the visuals, Mark! I have the book (love it!), but it’s nice to have it plopped right in front of me (how lazy am I?) I just LOVE that the base of the pyramid is slow movement–I’m a walker from the time I was a kid, so it’s very validating.

    Catalina wrote on August 4th, 2009
  10. Second day of challenge. My challenge for this 30 days is to add heavy lifting and do some sprints. I already do sprints swimming.

    Thanks Mark, nicely explained.

    thania1 wrote on August 4th, 2009
  11. Great Post Mark (as usual).

    One thing that I think should be emphasized more than it is:

    Eliminate: Sugary foods and beverages

    Specifically the beverages part.

    If weight-loss is a goal or even a desired side-benefit of adhering to PB then eliminating sugary beverages tops the list of easiest things to implement as well as probably the greatest impact.

    bender645 wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • For people who like “sugary beverages”. There is a tea out there, called Good Earth Original Sweet & Spicy. It is like a treat without cheating. It does not need to be sweetened at all but tastes wonderful!

      Andrea wrote on October 7th, 2010
      • Hey!! I LOVE that tea! It really feels like you’re being bad when you drink it. So satisfying!!

        Jessica wrote on March 25th, 2013
    • What about DIET Coke? Would one a day make that much difference? Also, what about Crystal Light drinks? I enjoy the Decaffinated Peach Iced Tea…can that be a staple drink on this diet?

      Kimberly wrote on January 28th, 2012
      • Whether to indulge in chemical sweeteners is a choice you will have to make. I would advise against it on several levels:

        1) The chemicals used for sweetening have been “approved” by the same governments that tell us we should be eating most of our calories in carbohydrates, and they are doing it for the same reason. There are big $$$ behind both the diet industry and behind the carbohydrate packaged food industry. Are the chemicals immediately toxic in small quantities? No. Are they GOOD for you in the long run? I would have to say that the jury is still out on that one.

        2) Indulging DAILY in sweetened drinks changes your palate. Since going primal, carrots are now SWEET to me, and 70% dark chocolate is now so sweet that I rarely eat it. It has really raised my ability to enjoy a wider variety of foods, and my cravings for sweets are pretty much gone.

        Philmont Scott wrote on May 4th, 2012
        • i totally noticed and agreed with you on the carrots, i can taste the sweetness in them. how weird?

          scott wrote on July 13th, 2012
      • yes it would because diet drinks/sugar-free items have chemicals in them!! our body’s response to chemicals is to coat it with bodyfat! most people dont know this. Im amazed when I serve people at my job and they consume artificial sweeteners/sugarfree syrup.

        Gabriel J Wigington wrote on May 8th, 2012
  12. Thanks for the pyramid illustration. I have been teaching my Anatomy classes for years that the USDA and even the new government pyramids are way off. Even the Harvard School of Public Health pyramid is flawed. Would you mind if I used your pyramid as a better choice comparison to those (giving you full credit of course!)?

    lbd wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • That would be perfectly fine, Ibd. Encouraged, in fact. Thanks!

      Mark Sisson wrote on August 4th, 2009
      • That is awesome! Thank you! I will be sure to show them your book as a reference. The misinformation fed to kids about nutrition is unbelievable. I try to do what I can to present an alternate viewpoint and encourage them to look at the science behind the claims. Thanks again,
        Laurie

        lbd wrote on August 4th, 2009
  13. Mark’s 30 day health challenge couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’ve made the decision to go Primal. However, I am finding it hard to get down to the weight loss regime for carbs. I am using the application Lose it! for the iPod touch to track nutrients. The following is what I’ve eaten today:

    Breakfast:
    – 3 egg omlette with onion, tomato, red pepper, mushrooms, 4 oz of top sirloin steak, and 1/4 cup of salsa
    – 1.5 cups skim milk

    Snacks:
    10 almonds
    Beef Jerky
    small Greek Salad with onions, cukes, tomato, olives, and feta.

    It’s 5:15pm and I’m at 60.5 g of carbs, 55.4 g of fat, and 81.6 g of protein.

    Seems like it will be tough to keep that level of carbs going. Suggestions for my last meal of the day? I’m thinking a salad with diced chicken breast or Mark’s cold tomato soup.

    John wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • Have you tried the Fitday site http://www.fitday.com
      It is a wonderful help with planning meals and tracking progress.

      Alan wrote on August 4th, 2009
      • Wonderful site but – you won’t believe this – I can’t find the ADD BUTTON!! They say it is “to the left,” but I cannot find it.

        I'mafan wrote on February 5th, 2012
    • Try for something with more fat. Just some nice (grass-fed or organic/hormone-free) red meat and some boiled or raw dark-green lefty vegetable sounds like a good dinner. To top it off, cook the red meat in butter. Lots of it. Mmmmmmmmm….. That’s what I had last night for dinner. :P

      kxf685gone wrote on August 5th, 2009
      • I concur.
        Thats basically every night for me.

        Wayne K Seymour III wrote on September 3rd, 2011
  14. I love this summary. Very concise and easy to follow.

    I also appreciate how each item was summarized in the book. This is a keeper!

    Mary wrote on August 4th, 2009
  15. Hey Mark? Can you explain the carb curve to me in relation to different sized/gendered people? I mean, do the ranges stay the same no matter who you are?

    Surely little 130 pound female me needs fewer carbs to lose or even effortlessly maintain than a 300 pound man would, right?

    FlyNavyWife wrote on August 4th, 2009
  16. Thanks for the great visual. It will definitely make things a bit easier at least conceptually. In practice on the the other hand…..

    Trey Crowe wrote on August 4th, 2009
  17. I second FlyNavyWife. I’m 5’3″, 105 lb female, and if I eat 100g carbs a day, I start edging up in weight. I certainly can’t regularly eat 150g a day and ‘effortlessly’ maintain my weight.

    Rachel wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • Yes, Mark makes a point when introducing the carb curve in his book that smaller, lighter people will have lower carb requirements and those that do lots of cardio will have higher ones. This is not “one size fits all”, but the relative proportions should work for most people. For reference, Mark says he weighs about 165 lbs and is at 8% body fat. If you weigh about 2/3 of that, you are probably looking at 60-100 g carbs in the maintenance zone, unless you are really active.

      Dragline wrote on August 4th, 2009
    • I am reading alot about “primal” or a “paleo” program. I agree with the fact that People are literally poisoning themselve because of the garbage being consumed. It appears that grocery stores are equipped to promote processed products, NOT food. In a nut shell all that’s being eaten are pure chemicals with no nutritional value. Then there are the boxed products, again, pure chemicals. I am obese becase I had an illness that put me in bed for 2 yrs, I am trying what is being said & I am feeling so much better, people need to open their eyes, eat like a caveman.

      Jan Mortimer wrote on September 18th, 2014
  18. 5’3″ and 105?!

    anyway :)

    wanted to chime in and say that the book is FANTASTIC.

    Im almostprimal (I tend to get way too many funcarbs over the weekend sometimes. Thanks to summer blockbusters & my penchant for movie popcorn) but am all the way primal with the workouts.

    great stuff conveyed so clearly and humorously in the Blueprint.

    MizFit wrote on August 4th, 2009
  19. Thanks Mark, this is great! Thank you for laying it all out, clear and simple . I can see me perusing this page a lot over the coming month.

    jamish23 wrote on August 5th, 2009
  20. I just wanted to know what you think an appropriate amount of healthy fat intake is for someone who is extremely active? I follow the protein and carb intake you advise, but seems like my fat intake at every meal varies. Just wanted an overall daily fat intake idea to keep my energy levels up.

    jj wrote on August 5th, 2009
  21. Why is conventional meat and produce listed as “high-risk”? High-risk for what, e-coli? Also, I’d think that high-fat dairy would be more acceptable (for a lactose tolerant person) than high-GI fruits or tubers (bananas, potatoes, etc.)

    Other than that, nice pyramid. It’s the best one I’ve seen yet and it’s much better than the oft-cited Harvard pyramid, let alone the classic USDA pyramid of old.

    Icarus wrote on August 5th, 2009
    • Also, you can eat a fair amount of vegetables and fruits and still stay under 50 grams of carbohydrates. For example, according to data on fitday, these are the approximate amounts you’d need to get about 50 grams for some common veggies & fruits (milk and liver included for comparison):

      -4.5 cups of whole milk (between 1/4 and 1/3 of a gallon) – 49.6 grams
      -3 medium oranges – 46.2 grams
      -1.5 lbs strawberries – 52.3 grams
      -3 lbs (!!!) raw spinach – 49.4 grams
      -1.5 lbs raw broccoli – 45.2 grams
      -3 lbs of fried beef liver, weighed raw – 51.6 grams (I don’t recommend such a large amount, though, as it might have toxic levels of vitamin a!)

      So it IS possible to eat a significant amount of veggies and fruits on a very low-carb type of diet. I think I’d get sick of spinach before I could get to 3 pounds…

      Icarus wrote on August 5th, 2009
    • Conventional meat has 1) added hormones, anti-biotics and who knows what chemical and 2) a much much higher omega 6:3 ratio than pastured meat.

      High-fat grass-fed RAW dairy sounds good, but homogenization of milk damages the healthy fats in milk and makes them much unhealthier for you. Pasteurization also doesn’t have the healthiest effect on milk either.

      But even raw grass-fed dairy should be taken in moderation because, as Icarus noted, dairy has carbs too.

      kxf685gone wrote on August 5th, 2009
  22. Hi Mark, you stated above:

    Carbs: 50-100 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss. 100-150 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance. Heavy exercisers can increase carb intake as needed to replace glycogen stores.

    I lift weights 3 times/week for about an hour, punch a heavy bag 2 times/week for approx 30 minutes(3 minutes on, 1 minute off) and run once per week (long sprints of 200-400 yards w/1-2 minutes rest inbetween for approx 10-15 minutes total).. Would I be considered a heavy exerciser with this routine? I feel great keeping my carb intake within the 50-100/day range, but would more carbs be beneficial to my glycogen stores and therefore help my exercise performance?

    Dan wrote on August 5th, 2009
  23. probably i’m wrong, but i can’t help felling uncomfortable with the PB food pyramid:

    wouldn’t it be better to place meat and fish at the basis and vegs./fruit on the second place?

    gn wrote on August 5th, 2009
    • We gotta remember to look at how our ancestors were able to eat. Most of their diet would have been things they could forage making meat secondary. Also, meat is very acidic and by eating tons of veggies (especially greens) we can guard against all that inflammation.

      Jessica wrote on March 25th, 2013
  24. gn,
    I was thinking the same thing about meat being the base.

    Rahsaan wrote on August 5th, 2009
  25. Great post. Love to see the charts and summations.

    JD wrote on August 6th, 2009
  26. what is the best to use as an oil for cooking? and for something like eggs is it better to use butter? or marg?

    Adam Buhler wrote on October 13th, 2009
    • For general cooking you can’t go past coconut oil. Eggs are delicious done in heaps of butter, good in coconut oil too. Extra Virgin Olive oil is fine as well if you keep the temperature moderate.
      PS: don’t say that M word too loud around here! ;-)

      Alan wrote on October 13th, 2009
    • Also, you might want to consider walnut oil for low-heat situations or cold-food use, avocado oil for up to moderate-heat cooking, and macadamia-nut oil for moderate to even medium-high (up to 375 degrees) heat cooking.

      Grass fed meat is best if it’s cooked pretty slowly anyway, and left rare or (at worst) medium-rare… so butter and the above oils are all magnificent for that kind of cooking (and all of them are great for salads!)

      Firestorm wrote on February 24th, 2010
  27. Thanks for this article. Very good read and good place for knowledge gathering. One question – Your recommendation on avoiding legumes is the only thing that is the exact opposite of most other sources of health information that I have read, including the age-old Ayurveda and the Chinese book of longevity. Any comments?

    Karthik wrote on January 9th, 2010
    • The recommendation against legumes is most likely due to the lectin content. Lectins are believed to contribute to auto immune disease and may contribute to cancers. The evidence for the cancer link is still weak but it is increasing as more is understood about lectins.
      For more info check out Robbwolf.com, thepaleodiet.com (Loren Cordain has some very interesting scientific articles here regarding these types of things) and westonaprice.org for soy info.

      Jay wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • And remember, just because a belief has been around for thousands of years (Ayurveda) does not make it right. People still believe in ghosts but I have yet to see any meausrable, observable, and repeatable data on the existence of ghosts.
        Lectins however have had studies with meausrable, observable, and repeatable results and the evidence thus far points to them being not so good for you.

        Jay wrote on January 12th, 2010
      • Hi! What wheat and legumes (and bananas, and potatoes) have in common is Amylopectin. All of the different types (Amylopectin A through E) is a toxic effect on the body.

        Veronica Lacaille wrote on December 9th, 2012
  28. Stupid question – does the amount of fibre in a food affect the carb count? If I’m eating 100 g of carb (fruit and veg) a day, but 25 g of that is fibre, do I count that as 75g or 100g?

    gcb wrote on January 20th, 2010
    • In the PB we count fiber as part of your total, so in your example that would be 100 grams. Grok on!

      Mark Sisson wrote on January 20th, 2010
  29. Any ideas on a low-impact replacement for sprints? Back just can not handle sprinting. Swimming would probably work, just not always possible.

    Kelli wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Use a bicycle. Real or stationary (probably safer).

      Frank wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • I came into this -super- unfit, with a lot of back damage (from carrying around hundreds of extra pounds). I found the CTS (circular strength training) routine to provide a good general fitness, and found that adding the occasional round with heavier-than-usual club-bells, and the addition of belly dancing (yes, even for guys!!!) made a HUGE impact on both my fitness and the alleviation of pain in my back — just a thought.

      Firestorm wrote on February 24th, 2010
  30. Hi Mark.. I was just wondering if yogurt would be alright in my diet for fat loss? I’m still certain that I stay under my 100g per day. A serving of yogurt for me only at breakfast comes to 30.2g grams of carbs, 10g protein and something like 25g of sugar.. but apart from the yogurt I have eliminated ALL processed sugar, the only type of sugar I get is the stuff from the fruit I eat.

    Thanks in advance!

    Daniel wrote on February 15th, 2010
    • Daniel, I eat yogurt most days and have been steadily losing fat with PB. I would suggest trying to get away from the yogurt with added sugar though. Now I eat plain greek yogurt with some added berries. While I was transitioning from sugared yogurt I added a small amount of jam, and gradually decreased the jam until I didn’t need it any more. When fresh berries are out of season (or just too expensive) I use frozen ones thawed in the fridge overnight.

      Laura wrote on April 22nd, 2010
  31. Does the restriction against legumes include peanuts (if it says so in the book, my copy is in the mail)?
    Tangentially: are peanuts considered Primal? They’re inedible raw, but are considered a great source of healthy fats when cooked. But…does cooking them oxidize the fats to the point that they’re no longer considered healthy?

    Jason wrote on February 16th, 2010
  32. I have been living the PB lifestyle for about 5 weeks now. I found out about it from doing P90X and Tony Horton’s FB page. I am a 42 year old Mom and have been exercising incessantly for most of my adult life. I am a 1/2 marathoner (and always kept up high mileage) and avid interval trainer/weight lifter. I was feeling burned out (after P90X) and tired of sacrificing my life for some unattainable fitness goal. I never looked like I was in the shape I was, eventhough I was/am much stronger than a lot of men I know. This program has let me ease up on the crazy exercise and lose fat for a change. I could never lose it like this before eventhough I always ate very healthy – it was the low-fat eating and too many carbs! I hope these breakthroughs continue so I can do other things with my free time!

    Rebecca Loughlin wrote on April 22nd, 2010
  33. if someone, namely me, has a lot of food intolerances how could they eat primal? The native americans never drank cows milk, which is why I figure more NA’s are lactose intolerant than any other race.
    so, i have tried all sorts of beef and pork, bought from many different places, including pastured, and i still cannot eat either meat. I can eat turkey and chicken and fish, though my husband doesn’t like the smell so cooking it is hard. i have a severe intolerance to all things dairy, so cheeses and milk are out. My intolerance to many different vegetables is rapidly rising also, green peppers, radishes, potatoes, onions, ginger are all out of my current diet. Oil is another thing i find makes me feel ill when consumed. Chocolate and caffeine have been gone from my diet for years. I now drink only water or white teas. I have a really hard time with most grains already, though i do love and enjoy wild rice. I suffer migraines or extreme discomfort when i eat anything on the above list. When I eat too much refined sugar i get a ‘fog’ headache.
    So, based on all these restrictions, is there any way i could go primal?
    would love to hear from other people who have food intolerances.

    PurpleSpongeBob wrote on May 26th, 2010
    • I have been in a similar condition. What I found is that the more things I removed from my diet, the more I ate the same foods over and over. The constant exposure to the same items allowed my immune system to become increasingly more sensitive to what I was eating. It was a vicious cycle.

      What has helped me: 1)to not eat anything every day, once every 4+ days is better; 2) identify 4 or more items for each food type (meats/veg/fruit/etc) and eat them in a 4+ day rotation; 3) always eat fruit with some form or protein, always eat veggies with some form of fat.

      I was already eating primal and this allowed me to continue to do so while restabilizing my immune system.

      A.D. Sevigny wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • PurpleSpongeBob I cannot tell you how exactly you describe my exact situation. I was wondering if you have had any results or any suggestion that you have followed that gave you positive results.

      Tim wrote on January 23rd, 2011
    • I have migraines, too. I’ve been trying to control them using Dr. Bucholz’ “Heal Your Headaches: the 1-2-3 Program” diet, which eliminates several of the foods that you mentioned. I had already gone low-carb a year before adopting the anti-migraine diet, so I was determined to keep to that (starches & grains don’t agree with my stomach & cause me to gain weight).

      You’ll probably end up eating a lot of chicken and allowable vegetables. Green peppers are not digestible by many people due to their skin. Shallots, leeks, & green onions are not supposed to be migraine triggers and may be a good substitute for onions for you.

      The recommendation to pair fruit with protein is a good one. I find that if Ii pair it with protein or fat, I’m ok; but if I eat it on its own, I also get a “fog” headache.

      Elizabeth wrote on March 2nd, 2011
    • Maybe look more into FODMAP’s. Fructose intolerance or HFI the more detrimental kind of fructose intolerance where you can not tolerate any form of fructose and sometimes galactose.
      I too have suffered all my life with adverse affects to fruit and veggies. I’m now in the process of do the tests associated with these intolerances.
      Maybe looking into them further might give you the answers you are looking for…..
      Hope that helps :)

      KarMar wrote on July 12th, 2012
  34. Wow, I can’t believe how succinctly you posted exactly how one should live to be healthy, lean and fit. I have tried to explain this lifestyle numerous times but for now on will just send people to this page.

    As for carbs, the recommendations here are pretty much right for me. I train a lot so I do get away with more carbs than I should eat. But ultimately carbs easily make me fat and lethargic.

    Great article!

    nathan wrote on May 26th, 2010
  35. I am dairy intolerant – my mom is native american.

    I am primal for six months and do not eat any dairy, potatoes, grains, chocolate or sugar. I have not eaten dairy for years, but my ND told me to give up sugar completely, period, about six months ago. I was having terrific IBS and my cholesterol was rising. She told me sugar raises cholesterol. So, I listened and sugar is a goner for me since November,2009.

    PB is easy to implement with your personal restrictions. Do not think of your life in terms of what you cannot have, but in terms of what you can have.

    If you haven’t already, get rid of grains, sugar and dairy. Entirely. You will feel so much better you will not ever want the stuff again.

    It sounds like you need to give your gut a time to rest and heal. In time you can re-introduce beef and pork. It may take a few months. It took me about 4 months to heal up to the place where I can now eat a tiny cracker without misery.

    I am O negative, so a big meat eater according to Eat Right for Your Type. I feel great on meat. Remember, the reason for rising anecdotal “intolerance” (I have been tested through a blood test for my intolerances) is your damaged intestinal track. Stop the offending foods, give your body a simple pure diet for a few months, and it will heal. You can re-introduce foods slowly over time.

    I have healed, you can too!

    Sandra

    Sandra wrote on June 6th, 2010
  36. I am looking at the Carbohydrate Curve graphic and wondering if the presentation of the data could somehow be flipped so that the ideal (Grok) is at the top instead of cornered at the bottom. In other words: put the superior state on top for quicker conveyance of the message?

    A.D. Sevigny wrote on June 25th, 2010
  37. Just getting started. Makes a lot of sense. Are raisins a good snack? Eat lots now.

    My wife was wondering the validity of Eat Right for Your Type and if the two diets are intertwined in any way.

    Wayne Sorensen wrote on July 17th, 2010
    • Like most dried fruit, for the weight, raisins are mostly sugar. Lots of fructose carbs. One quarter cup has 25 grams of sugar. Also, there may be other ingredients such as pesticides, canola oil, etc.

      ArcticBear wrote on July 18th, 2010
    • Like most dried fruit, for the weight, raisins are mostly sugar. Lots of fructose carbs. One quarter cup has 25 grams of sugar. Also, there may be other ingredients such as pesticides, canola oil, sulfites etc.

      ArcticBear wrote on July 18th, 2010
  38. Nice visuals. Thanks for putting two complex topics into such a simple and easy to understand visual.

    Dr. Peter Osborne wrote on August 14th, 2010
  39. I want to raid my pantry and throw away ALL the high carb stuff but the hubby doesn’t understand why. I really want to lose this extra weight that I have been carrying around since the birth of my daughter (over 2 yrs ago)!

    Marina wrote on September 9th, 2010
    • Hello! I had the same problem. I was completely convinced that Primal was THE WAY and he was totally wacked out by it.

      Just go ahead and delegate your own pantry or cupboard. At the least, just start making primal meals. If he starts gaining weight by eating his other junk foods in addition and sees you loosing it (which you will right away)… he will be convinced. Or better yet he will feel full with the meals you make and be loosing weight with you, which is my experience.

      Just wait until you cook up a hearty breakfast…

      Annie wrote on September 10th, 2010
  40. I’m 21 years old, 5’4″ and 115 pounds. I lost about 80 pounds on my own at home over the past little while, but I feel like I’m stuck with a higher body fat percentage than is preferable for someone of my light weight. I do lift heavy weights and do body weight exercises, accompanied by some cardio, but nothing has seemed to work so far at getting rid of the last excess bits of fat.

    About one or two months ago, I stopped eating grains. That helped my stomach problems a lot, but admittedly, I just replaced the grains with other carb sources (like quinoa, for example). I feel like I can’t function on a low-carb diet.

    I went low-carb/high fat for quite awhile (a couple of months) and the result was me having chest and stomach pains, from consuming too much fat — even if it was from a healthy source — and migraine headaches.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I feel like I have no idea what to do at this point. :(

    Liana wrote on September 12th, 2010

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