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

Midpoint Check-In: The Power of Community (Plus a Simple Comment Contest)

communityWith all the action around here, it’s amazing to me we’re already at the midpoint of the 21-Day Challenge! The flood of feedback, comments and contest participation has been awesome, and it’s all a reminder of how great a community this is. It never ceases to amaze me actually just how positive a group we have. Seriously, in all the blogosphere, I’ve never stumbled upon anything like it, and I have people tell me as much all the time. Sure, the growth and engagement that all the web number crunchers measure are stellar, but I’m talking deeper than that. I mean the genuine support that is shared here.

From day one of this blog (hands for how many of you were with us way back in 2006!), it’s been the case. People want to help people. There’s great conversation and healthy challenge on the boards, but the spirit of exchange is impressively constructive. Readers themselves have told me how much that collective energy impacts them – how they’ve tapped into it to get them through rough patches or to help motivate them toward bigger visions of thriving and transformation.

The fact is, it’s all too easy to isolate and live with the misguided view that we have to do it all alone – that we should do it all independently. Sure, maybe some of us can conceivably get to our goal without the support, guidance, sharing, etc. But why would we? What are we trying to prove to ourselves? Some people find it noble, but I think it’s just unnecessary. There’s something small and surrendered about the self-contained approach. The fact is, when you open yourself and your process to others, your view of that process and your vision of what’s possible become more expansive.

Likewise, when you’re feeling discouraged because of a setback or crisis of confidence, others can hold that promise for you. They can be the mirror for you. You may not be able to envision great progress on certain days, but seeing it in others – and imagining it for others as you encourage fellow readers on their paths – makes your own possibility of success feel less remote. A community holds optimism – and wisdom – collectively.

On that note, how goes the journey? What is everyone up to – trying, cooking, lifting, feeling, enjoying etc.? I want to encourage each and every one of you out there to interact today (and every day would be cool, too) on the comment board. In fact, it’s the focus of today’s Contest….

epic boxesThe Prize:

The EPIC bar is a 100% grass fed animal based protein bar. It’s paleo friendly, gluten free, and low in sugar. The names of their bars alone leave the mouth watering: How about a Bison Bacon Cranberry bar, a Beef Habanero Cherry bar, or a Turkey Almond Cranberry bar? Yes, please. To all three, thank you very much.

Catch EPIC bar on Facebook.

The lucky winner of this contest will win 3 boxes of EPIC bars plus an EPIC bar t-shirt. Retail value: $125.

BONUS: Use the code EPICHEARTSMARK at EpicBar.com and get free shipping on your order. Valid for five days.

The Contest:

Leave a comment on the board about what you’ve struggled with lately in the Challenge, and/or give your advice to others. Share your anecdotes, stumbles, questions and successes. Share the totally random and nagging craving you’re having, the annoying vestiges of low-carb flu, the odd sleep disturbances or dream patterns (not unheard of), the strangest comments you’ve gotten from various people, the hardest part in the process so far.

Likewise, offer your suggestions and encouragement to others. What strategies did you use to kick cravings? How did you motivate yourself to exercise on days you were tired and it was raining buckets outside? What did you tell naysayers that seemed to get them off your back? If another reader has a struggle or a question and you have an answer–go for it! A winner will be randomly selected from all the comments.

So, there you go! Throw in your questions and responses, and see the support of the MDA community at full throttle! I’m looking forward to reading how everyone is doing and what comes of all the great community feedback. Thanks for stopping in today, everybody. Here’s to an even more amazing and successful second half of the Challenge!

The Deadline:

September 26, midnight PDT.

Who is Eligible:

U.S. residents only for this one. Sorry international readers!

How the Winner Will Be Determined:

A winner will be randomly selected.

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. One of the coolest benefits of all these contest is being introduced to these great new products!

    Going to have to check out those epic bars.

    bjjcaveman wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • My family has been a challenge, too. When I started primal 2 months ago, my mother was on board, was understanding everything I was sharing with her, losing weight, feeling better and excited about it. My stepfather is not on board, and I catch him putting things like instant gravy mix into our food and trying to pass it off as “spice mix”. When I pointed out that corn starch was the first item on the ingredients list he got angry and mother told me to stop being “difficult”.

      MarieB wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • That stinks, Marie. Since your mom was on board and understanding can you get her to help rid the kitchen of anything that y’all shouldn’t be eating? That way your stepfather won’t have anything in the house he can use to sabotage your efforts?

        Sonya wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I share your difficulty. I go in and out of Paleo phases and my wife thinks I’m crazy. She gets frustrated at the fact that I’m “giving up so much goodness” in the form of carbs.

        Matt wrote on September 27th, 2013
    • I found MDA about 1.5 years ago, and it changed everything for me. After making changes to my diet, sleep habits, and attempting more play, my life has become more serene, healthy, and above all less stressful. Like so many others here I struggle watching my family essentially crash and burn. My parents are in their mid-50’s both struggling with extra weight. I can see all the side effects of system wide inflammation in both of them, and while they did make the attempt at primal eating they were unable to stick with it. I wish I could be there for a month, just to prepare meals, exercise with them, and allow them to experience the full benefits of paleo-living. I still struggle mostly with sweets, as I have always been a proponent of dessert first ;P but my own biggest challenge is having paleo friends in real life. I live in a tiny town in South Texas, and while I’m sure there are a few of us lurking out here it’s exceedingly difficult to find others without having to head to the next big town. This makes the online community extra special and important to me, especially the success stories. That’s my go-to place when I need motivation or inspiration. I’m also really excited about the paleo certification course as I work at the local health and fitness club, which affords me ample opportunities to try and tell people what the paleo-lifestyle entails. So- to everyone online- Thanks! And double thanks to those brave and adventurous enough to share their success stories!

      Crystal wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • What is this Paleo certification course you speak of? Did I miss something??

        Jennifer wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I sell EPIC bars in my office. I eat them all the time. They are excellent. My only issue is I wish they had MORE than 12 g of fat. Lol. The Bison is the best IMO, but everyone seems to like different ones for different reasons.

      Dr Jason Bussanich, DC wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Melt some butter and pour it over them

        Erin wrote on September 27th, 2013
  2. The hardest part about eating primal-y for me is the fact that I can’t really share it with my family. The logic behind it is sound, but to try and proselytize it makes me feel and appear pretentious and overbearing to people who don’t really want to change their lifestyle much. What sucks is that my family are unhealthy, and this will have an impact on their lives in the long run. This is a conflict that I can’t really resolve, except to hope that it all works out for everyone.

    aub wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Except it doesn’t really work out, they get sicker and you don’t. Even sharing the info won’t matter unless they want to change (which you said they don’t). Sometimes I try to fight the situation and sometimes I try to come to peace with it but it is difficult to see people you love in a slow (or sometimes fast) decline.

      Colleen wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Yes, I’m in the same boat. It’s true: You can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. In the mean time, I will keep showing the water to the horse so to speak, (In a kind, humble way) and rest easy knowing I let them know. The decision is each individual’s responsibility. (Though with a blog like this, once said decision is made you are definitely not alone! :)

      ninjainshadows wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • That is a challenge, and in my experience (almost a year primal) it doesn’t go away. You want to help, but you don’t want to preach. The closer the people are to you the harder it is to watch them do nothing. My step father has already had a heart attack and is now a type II diabetic. I desperately want to help but all I can do is be there when he is willing to change- people hate being preached to, even if they need it.

      As for talking about it to folks I’m not close to, I usually start by telling them what they have to give up – it makes for a short conversation. If they are still around after I tell them they have to give up beer, pasta, breads and most things in a cellophane wrapper, I will give them as much info as they express a desire to receive.

      David wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • The biggest advice that someone gave me about going primal is don’t be an A** hole. If you go out to a party, event, or friends house and they have non primal food, just eat small portions. Don’t be one of those guys that say “I cant eat that” or “I don’t eat that”. I have a couple vegan friends and it is very difficult to cook for them. One meal is not going to kill you or set you back that much.

        Josh wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • I hear you. “I can’t eat that” is annoying. But I think the better way to not be an A**hole is to be okay with not eating, or bring something to share that you can eat. Its a slippery slope to eat small portions of things that aren’t healthy. If you go out a lot, its not just one meal–its several meals. And then you’re back to SAD pretty quickly…

          tatiana wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • Hmmm… would you do the same if you were a vegetarian? Just eat a little bit of meat?

          I think this goes both ways. When I have eaten “just a little bit”, it sends a message that you’re not that serious / bothered about it; and next time they just roll out the pasta. On the occasions when I have, politely, stuck to my guns, next time they make the effort to be a better host.

          After all, it’s not you are who on the diet (we just eat real food); they are on the SAD.

          Scott UK wrote on September 27th, 2013
        • Exactly – there is a slippery slope – especially in family and friends perceptions. I can imagine that mine would say things like – well you ate ____ (fill in the food – dairy, grains, sugar, etc) at that party, why not at home or why not at my house? or why not at Thanksgiving dinner?
          They (and I) do better with firm lines – even at parties. I bring food that I can eat to events and don’t expect others to feed me. People have been surprisingly understanding about it, and because I am consistent (even on vacation and at parties) no one pressures me (at any time) to eat non-paleo. I just tell folks I “feel better when I dont eat ____ (insert food item)”. Bear in mind, I also have varying degrees of sensitivity to several non-paleo foods – eating them has literally painful physical consequences. Even eating a “little bit” of some of them is not fun. A fair number of people who are paleo or primal have similar food issues and for them, avoiding (short-term) pain, and discomfort and (long-term) ill-health is not being an a**hole. It is taking care of oneself, and once they understood how much it has helped me, my friends and family have been really great about it.

          Stella wrote on September 28th, 2013
      • my grandfather is a type two diabetic and he has changed decently. I finally convinced him by showing him MDA articles relevant to diabetes and asking him to do the diet for just three weeks. At the the end, he checked his blood sugar and was impressed, and I had only really gotten him to half ass it. I think asking them to try it for a specific amount of time, and then you’ll never bother them about it again is the best deal, because they think of how happy they will be to stop hearing it. then they feel great and change their mind

        James wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Here’s something I’ve found useful in engaging with others about the primal way – don’t start by telling them what they have to give up or deny themselves, instead focus on what they’ll be giving to themselves, like the gift of more energy . . . better sleep. . . more receptive tastebuds . . .time to play . . . less stress . . . overall feeling of well-being . . . increased libido (ahem, certainly one of the best outcomes of about 6 months on the primal path for this perimenopausal chick! I totally got my bloke on board with that one!)

        Michelle the Brit wrote on September 27th, 2013
    • Maybe they’ll end up sick enough to want to change their diets. If that ever happens you will be a wonderful resource for them, and there will be much opportunity for you to help. Until that day (if that day comes) let Love guide your desires rather than fear.
      You know, instead of worrying about them eating big macs, offer to make dinner for them now and again, promising a tasty Primal dish. And if they want to eat frozen garlic bread with your spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs? Let ‘em. Love ‘em. Hell, eat a slice yourself.

      Nack wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • You couldn’t have said it better :D. You would want nothing more but to see your family become healthier and happier through Primal living, but there always seems to be an invisible ego barrier(sometimes rather large, yet still invisible). If I could say anything to you, I would have to tell you to just stay strong. People will notice, appreciate, and respect your consistency with Primal living and they may in fact be indirectly affected by it. My Dad was always skeptical about my eating and health habits. But I think he saw the change in my life and the path it lead me down. I can proudly say that he has now adopted a Paleo diet and has already lost 35 Lbs! I guess in the end, words can only take you so far; it’s your actions that really change lives.

      Jeff wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Great post and I would have to agree. I have already seen a notice difference and exited to see what the next few months bring. Along that note, I have worked really hard to lose weight and get healthier and am finally doing it by going primal. My sister on the other hand, has gone the other extreme and opted in for a gastric removal (not really sure what it is called). She has lost weight but now has a 1/3 of her original stomach. I hope my example will rub off on the remainder of my family so they do not take that drastic measures.

        Josh wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • I really wish people would stop agreeing to those types of elective surgeries and docs would stop performing them. They do more harm than good. Totally ineffective! You still won’t be able to keep the weight off if you are still eating crap. The only thing those surgeries do is keep you from eating large amounts of food in one sitting. But that doesn’t mean you will be hungry again an hour later.

          Erin wrote on September 27th, 2013
        • *won’t be hungry again

          Erin wrote on September 27th, 2013
        • I have seen some people who have the surgery return being overweight. If you don’t change what goes in, there isn’t much sense to make your stomach smaller, you will still get heavy, it’ll just take more work since you have to eat in little meals every hour.
          I tell people I eat mostly good fat and meat and veggies. If they like how that sounds they ask more questions. I stress that the only fats I eat are the healthy ones like GF butter, lard, coconut oil. I found that a lot of people who are overweight like the sound of that.

          2Rae wrote on September 28th, 2013
    • I think many of us struggle with this same issue. For me, I’ll be coming up on 5 years primal in January. My family knows what I eat and don’t eat, but they’ll be damned if they go against conventional wisdom and follow suit. It’s tough watching them struggle with health issues and not see the correlation between that and their diet…or stress level, for that matter. I’ve tried to get them to change, but ultimately that change is not up to me. I’ve told myself many, many, many times that I just need to enjoy every bit of them for who they are and leave it at that, but it’s tough to sit and watch. Ironically, a couple of co-workers have started to change their ways after seeing what I eat and some good conversations…. go figure!

      Maureen wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Agreed – not being able to convince others in my family and friend circles has been the hardest part for me. I’m 3 years primal, and I’ve had to learn to zip my lip in many social situations. Still, I’m always watchful for that right moment!

      Second hardest is not having someone close who is “all-in” and as enthusiastic as me. It would be nice to be able to speak freely and share information regularly on the subject.

      Kevin wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • AUB, it is difficult to share with family sometimes but you must let them find their own way. You can continue to share the info and they will notice the changes in you ~ you will be the visible example. Also, adopt a new “family” within the primal community so that you have someone to share your healthy lifestyle. Don’t let your family cause you to fall back on your own progress. Keep smiling! :)

      Meg wrote on September 26th, 2013
  3. My biggest challenge during this challenge is eating liver….I tried making ramaki the other night and loved the bacon, water chestnuts and pineapple but the liver was just not easy for me to swallow, literally. Any other recipes, suggestions,please?

    Kara wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Kara, my neighbor, who is also conveniently primal and has been for a while, give me an idea when I had the same complaint. She suggested mixing ground liver with grassfed hamburger and cooking it up as a patty. I thought this made sense. Haven’t tried it, but maybe wrapped in a piece of nitrate free bacon, it would be pretty darn palatable.

      gardengal wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • If you can find lamb liver, give it a try. I had some last night with the onion gravy form the primal sauces and seasonings book. It was great – not really livery like beef liver can be. I also let the pieces of liver sit in a bowl with lemon juice for a half hour before cooking.

      Also, be careful not to overcook the liver. This leads to the off tastes most people associate with liver.

      His Dudeness wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • For chicken livers I like to finish them with a pat of butter, and season them with granulated or chopped fresh garlic, Thyme and Sage. This adds some great flavors.

      Mark wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • This is great, I’ve used it for both meatballs and patties http://www.primalpalate.com/recipe/beef-liver-and-onion-meatballs/

      Amanda wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • The only way I can eat it is making it into liver pate. If you can get someone else to make it, all the better. Then spread the pate on whatever or eat it with eggs or whatever else you can imagine. I top the pate with hot sauce right before I eat it. Easy to find recipes on the web. Just enter Primal liver pate and some recipes will come up. Chicken liver is milder than beef but either works. Don’t over cook the liver and soaking the beef liver in milk (not sure how long) is supposed to make it taste better although I haven’t tried that yet. You can make a big batch and freeze it in serving portions.

      Sharon wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I’m not a fan of the texture or flavor of beef liver myself. My friend cooked some liver and onions and I tried it because it quite literally had been decades since the last time I had tried. Same effect. So I added a fair amount of feta cheese. Now of course, the choice to do this all depends on your desire to eliminate/reduce dairy or to restrict dairy to certain types, etc. However, my lesson was that as strongly as liver is flavored, having something equally potent in flavor seemed to be a great counter. It turned out that feta even helped with the texture. However, it still wouldn’t be my first meal of choice. Good luck!

      Kevin Goldman wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I grind up the liver and mix it with hamburger at a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio. Then, I fry it up and put it in spaghetti sauce. The spaghetti sauce camouflages the taste of the liver. For a truly primal spaghetti, use zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) or spaghetti squash noodles instead of pasta. Yum!

      Laura wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I like that idea!

        Kevin Goldman wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • My liver recipe that makes my eyes roll to the back of my head:

      Slowly sautee white onion, sage, butter until sweet and sticky. Add chopped dried cranberries, s&p, and a hearty squeeze of orange juice. Add a good sploosh of sweet balsamic and scrape up all the sticky bits. Set aside.
      Put the pan at med-high, shove another knob of butter in. Sautee liver slices ’til they look like a beautiful steak (golden brown with a few dark edges). Rest (the liver). Deglaze with water and pour over resting liver. More butter. Sautee chopped almonds for a few seconds in the butter, then add kale.
      Then either toss onion mix and kale together like a salad and top with liver, or serve kale as a side with liver topped with the onion ‘compote’.

      I like it anyway!

      Sam wrote on September 27th, 2013
  4. I’m doing a Whole 30 at the same time as this 21-Day Challenge. I find it easier to refuse the “20-percent” just by being committed to the Whole 30. When I have to explain my “no thanks” to non-paleo people, I just tell them I’m in a nutrition contest. If they’re interested, I’ll tell them more. I found that just saying “I’m in a contest” stops the oh-just-one or it-won’t-hurt-you comments. I actually had a coworker bring me a cucumber from her garden on the day she also brought a box of doughnuts to share!

    Goldie wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I totally agree with you!! Having a “no cheat” mentality is easier for me than trying to do an 80/20 split. That’s really kind of your coworker! I went to a friend’s mom’s house for lunch the other day, and my friend just told her “Carrie only eats meats and veggies”… so she made grilled chicken, a big salad (and a bottle of olive oil on the side), and sides of cooked carrots and asparagus. It was perfect! I think people are generally respectful and helpful when you tell them you’re doing your best to eat well.

      Carrie wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I think I need to do this, too! I am struggling with sugar cravings. I have been mostly primal for a while and find it easy to avoid grains, but my 20% is usually pure sugar and it is far too easy for it to grow beyond 20%. Giving it up entirely for a while will help me re-set those sugar receptors and push me back towards fat-burning. I work at home so I don’t usually have to worry about my food choices, and while the CaveMan is anything but primal, he does most of the cooking and is totally supportive of my choices. He certainly loves the slimmer, more energetic me!

      I love the “I’m in a contest!” reply. Mmmmm! Homegrown cukes!

      CaveWoman wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • My favorite recipes for my sugar crazing or paleo date balls. There are a lot of varieties out there but they really do get you that sugar “high” naturally. Add protein powder to the mix and now they are packed with protein.

        Josh wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • What a fantastic idea!

      MarieB wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • “I just tell them I’m in a nutrition contest.”

      I am totally stealing this line. Thanks.

      Linda Sand wrote on September 26th, 2013
  5. One of the greatest and strangest things I’ve noticed since I started this contest is my ability to dream during sleep. A couple of nights ago, I had a dream about a large, gopher-like animal with a bright, colorful feather tail. It was awesome! I am so thankful for Mark and this Web site; they have caused me to feel more hope than I have felt in a very long time. Thank you!

    Deborah Goodman wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Just LOL’ed. That’s a pretty primal dream – I picture you creeping through the woods, following said creature with a giant spear!

      peter wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • YES YES YES totally. Grok on!

        ninjainshadows wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • That mythical creature sounds delicious.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 26th, 2013
  6. I have been waking up in the middle of the night for days straight craving a big bowl of vanilla ice cream. Yesterday I found a Paleo recipe for coconut milk ice cream, which I am making ASAP!!!! Ice cream has been my lifelong struggle!

    Lucy wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I totally agree! Ice cream is my main craving/struggle as well. I wish I could offer some advice as to how I get through this craving, but it is sticking with me and I’ve been Primal for over a year. Hope the coconut milk ice cream works!

      Sara wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Ice cream was always my struggle. Coconut milk ice cream is good, but frozen banana ice cream is better!! All sugars are natural from the banana. You still can’t gorge on it but it is a great treat to take the edge off the craving.

      Primalchef wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I’ve figured out a pretty good substitute: I use some unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 bananas (the green ones seem to give the finished product less banana flavor), instant coffee (masks the bananas and I also like coffee ice cream, but you could also add raspberries, cherries or anything else instead of coffee.), and whole milk.

      Blend these up and taste every once in a while. If its too banana-y, add more coffee. Too thick, add more milk, etc. Then pour it into a tupperware container. I also chop up some nuts and some 85% dark chocolate and stir into the container.

      I made some last night with heavy whipping cream, so we’ll see if it turns out to be creamier than the recipes with whole milk, which have ice crystals in them.

      MarieB wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • That sounds really good. Have you tried slicing and freezing the bananas, then blending the ingredients? Adding the nuts and chocolate bits at the end. If you try this, I don’t think you will need to add much milk.

        Sharon wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • I did freeze the bananas the first time, but stopped because I always forget to put them in the freezer! Will give it another go and without the milk! Thanks!

          MarieB wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I recently found a recipe for carrot ice cream, made with coconut milk. Still gotta try it, but it looks really good!

      Cheryl wrote on September 26th, 2013
  7. Well, so far so good. Sort of. I came down with an awful cold yesterday thanks to my son’s mutant preschool germs. My first thought was “Oh great, now I am going to blow it big time.” Usually when I am sick, I want to eat bread, cakes, and burritos. So far, I have been able to resist (it has been a HUGE challenge)! I have been trying to stick to the 21-Day Challenge and not cheat, and that has motivated me to stay away from the junk food. Also, I usually suffer from headaches on a daily basis, but I have noticed since I started this challenge I have only had 1! I have come to accept I would have headaches every day of the rest of my life, but now I see I can change that without medication! Loving this challenge! Oh, going on vacation this weekend, anyone have any easy tips?

    Shelby wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • When I head out on road trips- I stock the cooler with sliced deli meat and carrots, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli. I roll raw veggies in deli meat for snacks. If I’m eating out I can usually find something on the menu that’s a better bad choice – unless there’s a Jason’s Deli around…

      Crystal wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I agree with Crystal. I live in the Phoenix area and worked outdoors all summer. If you’re in your car, you can easily pack a cooler with some raw veggies, maybe a salad from any takeout place (which are among the better of the bad options at any fast food or takeout place – watch the dressings, maybe pack your own), and hard-boiled eggs, lunch meats. Nuts, seeds, and jerk work well, too. Mark Sisson posted on this once and it includes some links for making your own snacks! http://www.marksdailyapple.com/eating-healthy-food-travel/#axzz2g2B4ddEE

      Canned seafood is also great. Just have some forks handy and a can opener if you need. CAUTION: when you’re done with the canned seafood, it helps to have a place to put the cans. I bring along a plastic baggie (Ziploc) into which I put the used cans so I can keep them sealed and I put the baggie back in the cooler so the car doesn’t end up smelling like Fisherman’s Wharf!

      Enjoy the ride!!

      Kevin Goldman wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Almond or other nut butter is good too, and you don’t have to refrigerate it. Date-cashew balls are good for sweet cravings. Mustard, homemade mayo, olives, and pickles.

      Gina wrote on September 26th, 2013
  8. I really don’t have many cravings. Switching to a paleo diet has, actually, been quite easy for me. I am losing weight, and body fat, while gaining strength and muscle mass. My only problem is with sleep. No matter which “hack” (tea, reading, melatonin supplements,brief hot showers, pitch black room, etc.) I try, I just cannot fall asleep until past midnight. I’m going to keep looking for more tricks, and if anyone has any recommendations I gladly welcome them. Thanks!

    Grok on!

    Big C wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Do you have the problem of not being able to fall asleep because your mind won’t quiet down? That’s been one of my issues in the past. I found guided meditations worked very well for this, at least for a while. Might be something good to try if you haven’t yet.

      Rob wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Yes! Can’t quiet down my mind. I have tried guided meditation and didn’t work. Maybe I can try harder to focus?

        Big C wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • I have had this problem for most of my life. The thing I’ve found most helpful is turning off all lights & listening to random educational podcasts or iTunesU. For me, that takes my mind off my obsessive thoughts much better than most guided meditations, which I sometimes find downright irritating! The trick is to find a subject that interests you just enough to keep your attention off your demanding thoughts, without being riveting to the point that it keeps you awake. Keep it just loud enough to hear.

          Also, magnesium before bed really does help me as well.

          Paleo-curious wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • I realize that this solution doesn’t sound very primal on the surface, but in my mind it’s like being a child again, with a parent telling me a story before bedtime! I know story-telling has been around for a LONG time, & personally I find it amazingly soothing.

          Paleo-curious wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • It seemed to work well for me but I was also trying to cultivate more mindfulness in other ways at the same time (attempting meditation during the day – just focusing on my breath, mindful eating, etc.). So that could maybe explain why the guided meditations worked well for me from the start.

          My wife falls asleep listening to audio books. That could be another thing to try, it seems like a fiction book that you’ve already read before might work well.

          Rob wrote on September 27th, 2013
        • I have the over active mind issue as well. What helps me is to make sure I have pro-biotic in my diet. I buy different ones to make sure they cover whatever I may need. Then stay away from anything that will add to the yeast growth – like carbs in the form of sugar, wine, vinegar – which may help you calm down at first but the body will over compensate for that calming effect and bing, your eyes open after a couple hours of blissful sleep to only start again with the unending movie being played in your head.
          If I get up to play solitaire on the computer I put on some blue blocker glasses and use the f.lux so the blue light won’t make my brain think it’s day and time to get up. It helps to bore me so I get tired and it stops the part of the brain that is on that endless loop of worry about things I can do NOTHING about at that time of night.

          2Rae wrote on September 28th, 2013
    • Are you ingesting any stimulants like caffeine? Coffee is obvious. Chocolate has some. If so, eliminate them. If not, well, you could try taking a magnesium supplement and 1mg of melatonin after a hot bath before bedtime.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I only drink coffee (mild) early in the AM. I don’t eat chocolate that often. I have tried melatonin, but not mg. I will look into it. Thanks!

        Big C wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • A multi-B vitamin supplement might also help, especially if you have a lot of stress or busyness in your life. Good luck!

          Sharyn wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • htp-5 helped me in college 2 of those guys got me sleeping (i used to sit in my lobby till 6am because i couldnt fall asleep and didnt want to bug my roommate – took 2 htp-5 pills and in a lil bit slept great for 6-7 hours

      lockard wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • 5-Hydroxytryptophan, also known as oxitriptan, is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan.

        lockard wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • I had never heard of it. I will look into it as well.
          thanks!

          Big C wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I recommend moderate exercise if you’re not getting enough. That and a cold (cool) shower has really helped my body wind down at night. As for my mind, some basic math like 2×2 =; 4×4=16 and so on… helps divert my mind longs enough to doze off.

      Paras wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Live in Arizona where the cold water is hotter than your hot water. I turn my water heater on low during the summer because it is useless. In the winter, cold showers really do help. At the end of my shower, I do a 30 second hot, then switch it to 30 seconds cold, and repeat a couple times. This improves your circulation and rumor has it that it is better for your body.

        Josh wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • +1 for exercise. I had all kinds of trouble getting enough sleep until I committed to a consistent lifting program.

      Also, try not to read any George RR Martin right before bedtime. The ‘just one more chapter’ affliction rears its ugly, sleep-deprived head.

      Erok wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • For me, falling asleep earlier is tough because of a lifetime of building the habit of going to bed late. Or if I fall asleep before 11pm, I wake up a couple of hours later. One thing that usually helps is to be strict about waking up and getting out of bed early – like 6 or 6:30am. If I do that a few days in a row (especially over a weekend), generally I’m tired enough at night that I’ll fall asleep by 10:30 and sleep through the night.

      I always need an hour or so of downtime to myself before bed, so if I can just read a magazine or a book or even play a couple of simple games of solitaire, I can clear my head and sleep soundly.

      Mantonat wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Just be sure solitaire isn’t on your computer so the blue light isn’t suppressing your melatonin production!

        Kevin Goldman wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Could be cortisol dysregulation. I am working with a naturopath now to get it controlled. Allot of my 20% (of 80-20%) was given to cortisol-raising foods, like lots of black coffee, and no breakfast, wine every night. Also, night-owl habits, and intermittant fasting. My naturopath says he has never met a woman yet who did well with intermittant fasting (There are probably some who do well). You might lose some weight, but it raises cortisol and can dysregulate hormones. I didn’t even lose much weight, 2 lbs. over 6 months. But my abdominal fat stays put, religiously…..cortisol. Robb Wolf has an excellent chapter on how to achieve good sleep in his book. There are allot of things one needs to do.

      MFG wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I COMPLETELY understand the sleep issues, and it’s one of the most frustrating problems. As somebody who has tried about everything under the sun (or moon) to find ways to sleep, the one “trick” I’ve used the last 3 nights that has resulted in 7+ straight hours of sleep for me, which is unheard of, is about 2 hours before I go to bed, I’ve been having a glass of red wine, sitting in a room with dim lights and listening to jazz music. Yes, I know how all of that sounds, and there is some cheating on the 21 day challenge with the wine, but I can’t knock the success. One of the added, if not best benefit, has been Being Present, from the hunter/gather 10 habits, with my wife during this time which has also resulted in great….conversation :) which I’m sure only promotes some good sleep. I wish you the best on this b/c sleep has always been a huge issue for me,
      By the way, this primal community of folks is just amazing, and I couldn’t feel more blessed to have found this. The insight from Mark and everybody else’s comments have been such a positive, life-changing experience. Can’t thank everyody enough!

      BarefootBrad wrote on September 27th, 2013
  9. The code for free shipping is not working. I have 3 sample packs in my cart costing over $25.

    Steve wrote on September 26th, 2013
  10. My dreams haven’t changed much since going primal. I still have the dream that I show up to school naked. Weird.

    One of the things that helps me stay on track is planning my meals. That has been the BEST way to stay on track. I’m down 122 lbs with about 80 to go. It works!!!

    The Beckster wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • The question is: In your dream do you look good naked? hahaha

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Unfortunately, no. A few more months of primal living and I’ll start enjoying those dreams.

        The Beckster wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Good for you!!

      Kevin Goldman wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Something that helped me when I started my primal journey last year was having “to go” meals. Every day for breakfast I eat a turkey burger and green veggie with a couple tablespoons of butter. Lunch is a Big A$$ salad with either rotisserie chicken or steak and homemade balsamic vinegarette. I use little 1/2 cup containers for my dressing. On Sunday night I line them up and to each I add 2 T of EVOO, 1 T of Ariston Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tsp of minced garlic, an inch of basil from the tube, a tsp of dried oregano, and salt and pepper. I cut up lettuce for 3 days or so, cook up a chicken, and divide it up. On Wednesday night I make a nice sirloin and cut up more lettuce.

        I cook up a couple of pounds of turkey every couple of weeks and freeze each patty individually to throw in my work bag for breakfast. I’ve been using the beyond organic ground turkey from TenderGrass Farms. Good stuff!

        Making breakfast and lunch automatic works for me. Dinner is often in the crock pot . . . even in the summer! Made meatloaf and potatoes the other night in it. Now there’s some good leftovers.

        The Beckster wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • Wow, nice habits. Can I move into your house and make you my honorary mom?

          2Rae wrote on September 28th, 2013
  11. I biggest challenge is picking food while cooking. I am disciplined for whole day at work, have a hearty breakfast, then nice big lunch, fruit or primal snack in the evening but whenever I am cooking in the evening, I go crazy, I usually cook all three meals, tonight’s dinner, next day’s breakfast, lunch, snacks. I keep picking up and eating like a continuous feed. If I am making a meat stew, I’ll taste it for seasonings but this tasting leads to eating atleast 2-3 oz of meat before even serving dinner, if I am chopping nuts or dates, I’ll eat half of them. I eat half of salad veggies while chopping them, It all adds up. So if I am in kitchen for two hours, I’ll be eating something or the other before even serving dinner. I control so much but it has become a habit now for many years. How to get rid of this habit?

    Sriram wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • One way for me is to NOT start tasting, however, if it’s been a life habit it might take more. If I don’t want to eat I brush my teeth and drink mint tea. That way it’s enjoyable to have that in my mouth and I don’t want to mess it up with other flavors. (kind of like chewing gum but without the “sugar free” junk in it)

      2Rae wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I find that drinking a big glass of water helps–it makes me feel fuller when I’m cooking.

        Darcie wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Sounds to me like you have had your meal by the time dinner is ready. Maybe you should just count that as dinner and drink water or tea while everyone else is eating. Who says you need to eat another dinner just because everyone else is eating? Count it as a social occasion.

      Sharon wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Well are you gaining additional, unwanted “fat” weight? If you’re early meals are pretty hearty but you’re still hungry enough to chow down this much while preparing the rest, could it be your norm? Interesting dilemma. I eat pretty hearty but it is beginning to show one of my goals is to eat less overall and make more of it healthy fats and protein.

      Kevin Goldman wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Yes! I almost have a meal during my cooking spree. I am not gaining weight but definitely have trouble losing last 10 lbs for more than 2 years due to my this eating habit. I weight train 2 times a week and walk everyday for 20-30 mins. I can easily IF in the morning and not eat anything at work whole day. They have all sort of donuts, cakes cookies in office and I never care for them. I eat lot of fat and protein and veggies for my breakfast and lunch, also some starch. Its only in the evenings I see myself eating every single food which comes in my sight, all primal though. I am trying brushing and drinking more water when I start to crave more food.

        Sriram wrote on September 27th, 2013
        • Do you get enough sleep? Is your workday very stressful? If you’re dead tired or blown out by stress by the end of the day it’s SO much harder to resist cravings.

          Paleo-curious wrote on September 27th, 2013
  12. Biggest hurdle on the 21-day challenge: uncontrollable forces. Just bought brand new Vibrams for getting in your “move slowly”? Oh good, have some shin splints with those from running in clunky sandals the day before. Finally fixed those shin splints and finished up a great sprint workout? Let’s just break your toe on your non-Primal family members’ 12-count box of diet soda (I knew that stuff was bad for you!).

    But the challenge isn’t over, and no stopping yet! More pushups and planks until the feet heal, adjust the carbs a little lower to compensate, and just enjoy the extra sun as I sit in the back yard with my foot up. Sometimes the universe just likes to sabotage you. But in true Primal fashion, the best way to deal is just to roll with it. And adapt.

    Maura P. wrote on September 26th, 2013
  13. This has got to be one of the most, if not the most, positive groups of people on the internet. Do you ever read the comments on news sites??? Those people are just miserable. I really believe this kind of healthy lifestyle makes people more positive and optomistic. If you are feeling good and healthy, you just naturally spread the good feelings on comment boards and in all of your other daily interactions. I encourage everyone thinking about trying this lifestyle out to do it! Give it a honest hard as you can shot, stick with it and never look back. It’s life changing and you won’t be sorry :)

    Melissa wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Yes, indeed! :)

      Amber wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • word

      ninjainshadows wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I agree Melissa :) How can anyone be miserable when your lifestyle includes eating more bacon!

      I have been a mentor to several people over the last year that have changed their lifestyle’s to being more primal and the first comments I get are usually “I feel so good!”. The hardest part about making the change is that first step, but once your there it’s a great place to be.

      I feel good!!! and I knew that I would!

      Primal-Loe wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I have to cook my breakfast the night prior because I used to cook bacon but the smell would wake up my 3 year old who would then wake up the wife. That normally wouldn’t be a problem but I am up around 430 5 ish. I do love bacon.

        Josh wrote on September 26th, 2013
        • I try to fry up all the bacon in the big pack in one session, put it in a container so my husband can just take out what he needs/wants in the morning. My goal is to get my little guy grown up enough to do it instead of me, too much standing around waiting the bacon to fry. I’m not so good at watching grass grow either.

          2Rae wrote on September 28th, 2013
    • second that

      brian wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Use the oven for the bacon! You can crank through a package of bacon in 30 minutes using a pan and the oven on 400 degrees. No muss, no fuss and no dodging grease pops.

        Sonya wrote on September 28th, 2013
        • you use the broiler pan then? Hmmmmmmmm may have to get one of those. Thanks!

          2Rae wrote on September 28th, 2013
        • I just use a 9×11 dish lined with aluminum foil. :) It takes about 15 minutes for each batch to crisp up. I leave one batch floppy for reheating in the microwave when I’m ready to eat over the next few days.

          Sonya wrote on September 28th, 2013
  14. I am loving the Primal Diet. For the past three years I have been struggling with hip joint pain for no reason. I’m only 26 and couldn’t figure out why I had “grandma hips” before I was old enough to have cheaper car insurance.

    The hardest part of the contest (besides having four days of a coherent thought carb-flu) is finding places to eat when I am too lazy or busy to cook. I’m lucky enough to live in San Diego near a True Food Kitchen. That has been a lifesaver. They ahve many gluten free options. I’ve also recently bought their cookbook for some new food selections. This helps to get me out of the same food rut that I find myself doing with Primal/Paleo. Not all recipes are gluten free, but they come with such a heavy base of natural foods that it’s easy to modify to remove the grains and legumes which are usually just fillers.

    And honestly, thanks for publicizing this alternative to SAD. It’s hard to accept, especially in my mod-twenties, that my body was preventing me from being as physically active as I wanted to be. I’m so glad that this was here to stumble upon.

    Oh! And stay away from Pizza Hut if you have joint pain. For some reason I have an immediate painful reaction in my hips.

    Shireen wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Let’s face it – one of the biggest struggles when trying to eat primal is the convenience factor. I’m happy to prepare 90% of my own food, but there will always be times when you’re on the go and there simply isn’t time to cook a perfectly primal meal. The most effective tip I can offer that has saved my ass time & time again when trying to eat on the go is that most cities have some form of gourmet grocery store with a “Big Ass Salad” bar. If I’m driving around town and feeling hungry, I stop by and grab a salad with spinach, bacon, chicken, red peppers, feta cheese, pepitas, red onion, and mushroom, topped with oil & vinegar and Salt & pepper – put it in the little box, shake the hell out of it, and Voila: Primal Cobb Salad! (Or “Big Ass Salad” on the go.) Usually costs me $6 or $7 – I remember the days when I could easily spend that much on an a biggie-sized “Combo Meal” at the SAD burger joint, which I would usually leave feeling sick, sleepy, and unsatisfied. Another challenge we all face is the work lunch, which presents a challenge because usually there’s just a bare bones kitchen with only a microwave and a fridge, and limited time in which to prepare food. Canned wild tuna or salmon (BPA free cans do exist by the way) with lemon juice & dijon mustard makes a good salad – goes well with some walnuts or a small avocado, which I usually just eat with a spoon. Sometimes I even bring spinach and veggies and make a tuna salad salad. At first, I was that weird guy who eats salad out of a huge bowl. But now I actually have people asking me for advice on how to eat healthier. Good Luck!

      peter wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I do the same thing. There’s a grocery chain called Sprouts in the southwest, so I’ll go there for lunch and get a 1/4 lb. of deli roast beef (since it’s the most minimally processed deli meat), an avocado and some nuts from the bulk bin. Sometimes I’ll get a single-serving container of whole-fat plain Greek yogurt or a banana, or maybe a couple of loose carrots. It’s almost impossible to go to a restaurant and get a quick, cheap lunch that’s not loaded with wheat or other carbs, but I can get a filling lunch for just a few bucks at a good grocery store.

        For those who live in Denver or the surrounding area, Continental Sausage Co. makes a really good liverwurst with no preservatives or sugars – just meat and seasonings. It’s delicious and comes in an 8oz size, so I’ll eat half for lunch and put the rest in the fridge at work for the next day.

        Mantonat wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Vital Choice makes excellent canned salmon (and other products, too) and their cans are BPA-free, though not certified as such because “We have decided not to claim that our can linings are “BPA-Free” until we find a lab that can reliably test the linings … a search that so far has been fruitless.”

        Very delicious stuff!

        http://www.vitalchoice.com/shop/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=33&idcategory=222

        And, no, I am not a shill for the company.

        Wilma Flintstone wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I had bi-lateral hip bursitis before going paleo two-and-a-half years ago. Along with painful bunions. They are both inflammatory conditions. Shortly after going paleo I stopped having any pain from either condition.

      You should cut out the wheat entirely and see what happens.

      Pure Hapa wrote on September 26th, 2013
  15. I, too, have noticed increased dream activity. I used to never remember my dreams at all, but every time I go 100% (previous challenges, correcting course, or my initial foray into the paleo-sphere), I all of a sudden start having and remembering dreams. Fun stuff!

    I’ve found it easiest to answer questions about my diet/lifestyle by emphasizing what I DO eat. It doesn’t sound restrictive to people when they hear an average week’s worth of meals.

    Ware wrote on September 26th, 2013
  16. The hardest part about going primal for me is my office. I have a reputation for having a sweet tooth (put me within 10 yards of chocolate and I would find it and devour it) so any time someone has a treat they try to give me some. It’s meant with the best of intentions but its difficult to keep saying “no, I don’t eat that anymore”. I tried just taking some to dispose of later but it isn’t ideal.

    Rebeccah wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Make a funny sign or two: “Don’t feed the Rebeccah” or “Bacon treats only”

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Bacon treats only! Hahaha!
        I agree, bad food at the office is the biggest problem for me. Plus, going out to lunch with coworkers is actually one of the best ways to network and I find that usually even “good” choices at a restaurant and not that good. Bad oils, sugars and who knows what chemicals in sauces… it is difficult.

        Cherie wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I have the same issue! Day 1 of being Primal and someone walked around the office with a box of donuts. I’m not overweight by any means, so it’s very hard for me to keep saying no and have coworkers understand why. I’ve found that the more you say no, the less they’ll offer you treats in the future. Just remember to say no with a SMILE. :)

      Marilyn wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I am a cop so imagine working in a police station where donuts are everywhere. Yes cop’s eat donuts but some of us has moved up in life and eat bagels. Now, no donuts or bagels, but the temptation is always there. Stay strong.

        Josh wrote on September 26th, 2013
  17. My biggest struggle with my diet continues to be my colitis. I found mark and the primal community searching for a better way to health. Primal eating has kept my colitis in check, but not completely taken care of it. I’ve been experimenting with primal foods and which my gut finds more temperamental than others. It’s an experiment, and I hope to find the best foods for my gut. I’ve recently come upon ginger supplements which has helped my gut as well. Thank you Mark for keeping me out of the hospital with a new way to eat!

    Rob wrote on September 26th, 2013
  18. I’ve always had problems with adhering to Paleo when I do 80/20, so this time I went all in. I feel much better and it’s easier to adhere to in a way. Unfortunately I broke my elbow falling during a night run the day after starting this challenge so I’ve been concentrating on other aspects of the primal lifestyle and doing what I can to stay in shape. I think this may be the right focus for me at this time in my life.

    Fteswim wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Sorry about the elbow. :( I went on a killer hike my fourth day of the challenge and drove a cold into my lungs. I was SO disappointed because my goal was to exercise every day. I have had to let go of the hard hiking, sprinting, even taking a long walk for now. I have stuck to my goal of no beer for the 21 days. :)

      Meg wrote on September 26th, 2013
  19. I do well eating wise for breakfast & lunch and most of the time dinner, but about 8:00 hits, and I want to snack on ANYTHING. maybe cereal, maybe chips, something, anything.. Any thoughts? Maybe I’ll have to try an EPIC bar :)

    Jered wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • eat more fat!

      barb wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • My thought would be THROW AWAY anything you don’t want to be tempted to eat (and don’t buy more of course). Then boil up some eggs and bacon to keep in the fridge to snack on.

      2Rae wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • Boiled bacon! 😋

        Darcie wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I tend to want to eat in the evenings as well. I’ve found that a piece of fruit and a few slices of really good cheese are usually enough. If not I might have a piece of dark chocolate too! :) someday maybe I won’t feel the need to eat at night, but for now this is SO much better than the cereal binges that I used to have!!

      Emily wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I agree with all three of you, and one of my solutions has been to mix coconut oil with a little bit of honey or maple syrup, some vanilla extract, and some cocoa powder – keep it cool in the fridge, and it’s like having fudge, but it provides straight fat…good on several accounts. An alternative is to equal amounts of almond butter and coconut oil. Also delicious…and again, provides the needed fat while satisfying my sweet tooth and snack cravings. It was funny last night, because I thought it was too sweet, while my friend thought it needed much more sugar…

        I usually joke that “My drug of choice is sugar, and my preferred delivery method is chocolate”, but sugar and working out more have been my hardest thing during this challenge…fall gardening should hopefully help tremendously.

        Kerstin wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Celery with almond butter, or a spoonful of coconut oil, or a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes. Also try adding a little more fat to the last meal of your day – might keep the late evening cravings at bay.

      Mantonat wrote on September 26th, 2013
  20. I have about 15 patients on this and happy to report 14/15 are seeing fantastic results! However a couple is upset with me due to their pants already not fitting…

    Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on September 26th, 2013
  21. my biggest struggle is definitely dealing with an unpredictable schedule at work – several times this week so far I have had to work at times that I wasn’t expecting to, or to attend meetings that I thought would end before lunch, but instead be surprised when I find out (once already in the meeting) that it is going until 2PM and lunch is being brought in. In these cases, my work isn’t really amenable to bringing something else in, or to ask for a substitute (I’m a contractor working out of a client’s office). I realize that just holding off and being a bit hungry is fine, but I realize it opens up weak points for me, where I’m more prone to make decisions that aren’t best.

    Elizabeth wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I always keep a snack bag of nuts with me for those times when I need to eat but nothing being offered is acceptable. It doesn’t take a lot of nuts to keep my brain working while satisfying my stomach.

      Linda Sand wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Canned fish are awesome for inconvenient times! I joke that canned sardines/ tuna are my fast food! Nuts as Linda said are really good too!

      Jeremy wrote on September 26th, 2013
  22. Our 21 day challenge has encouraged me to try to primalize my son’s lunches more, making chicken (he can heat it up at school), fire ants on a log (with dry cranberries instead of raisens) and left over sweet potato fries was what he took today.
    My husband has been doing fairly well, bought some ice cream the other day, uh, not on the plan dear.
    Doing better in the sleep department for me tho, yay.

    2Rae wrote on September 26th, 2013
  23. The most effective way I found to get rid of annoying habits and routines was enjoying the curiosity and prospect of starting new habits.

    For instance: I never made breakfast for work, and while going primal made me get eggs and bacon from the cafeteria instead of pancakes and french toast, I never liked the feeling that I didn’t know what kind of eggs they were using, or that weird spray they used to grease their flat grill.

    I decided to ignore the easy routine of buying eggs and bacon every morning, and tried to make breakfast for the week during the weekend. The “breakfast meatloaf”/scotch egg recipe from MDA has been a welcome challenge for me – finding ways to make it better, using different ingredients. I’ve been doing this for weeks now – a new “habit” that I feel better about.

    Don B wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • A friend once told me that in order to get rid of your old habits you must replace them with new ones. Nice going! :)

      Cheryl wrote on September 26th, 2013
  24. My most difficult moments are when friends and family roll their eyes when I tell them that, yes, I’m still gluten-free, and that, no, I can’t eat cupcakes. (They look at me like I have an eating disorder.) Last night, I ate out with friends (for my birthday) at a restaurant that does not care a jot about dietary concerns of patrons. I mean, there are no notations on the main menu let alone separate menu, and the waiters look at you like you’re one of those people. When my dinner came with a gravy-type sauce, I just shut up and ate it, even though I figured it had gluten in it. Oh well. Today I start fresh.

    Mary Mac wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Yeah, sometimes you just end up eating the Gluten sauce because you’re at a restaurant and you end up with a plate of food and, well, you’re just kind of hungry so you eat it. At least the intention was good – as long as you generally intend to eat primal, you’re most likely to end up in the 80/20 realm of dietary strict-ness, which is way better than whatever conventional way you were probably eating before. So I say, stick with it, and good luck!

      peter wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • You are probably right. Some gravies start out with a roux- a flour butter mixture. You can ask to see if the gravy can be served in a side bowl.

      Question: It was YOUR birthday, you are a concerned eater at a restaurant that does not reflect YOUR food choices. Why eat there? I can understand if it was someone else’s b-day and that person choose to go to a restaurant they liked. But your own B-day? “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 27th, 2013
  25. The biggest challenge? — The weather.

    I live in the UK, as you have probably guessed. :-)

    Today was the first that that rain has not sabotaged my lunchtime walk! — I work in the middle-of-almost-nowhere and regularly go out for a walk at lunchtime. Except when it rains.

    But on the positive side: during my walk today I discovered that, after a long hiatus, the hens are back at the local farm where I used to get my grass-fed eggs! I mean, the hens are grass-fed and I buy their eggs. And also for the first time, I had a chance to talk to their owners who agreed that grass-fed yolks are the best. Next time I’ll try to steer the conversation towards paleo/primal… perhaps I found a local primal tribe by chance?

    Anyway, another reason for continuing with the lunchtime walks: to pick up delicious eggs. Two birds with one stone.

    JED wrote on September 26th, 2013
  26. My biggest challenge has been finding ways to improve my sleep. For a while I was using guided meditations while falling asleep and they worked really well. They stopped being as effective so I’ve been playing around with different things like reading for longer before bed, making sure the room is completely dark, using ear plugs, etc. Before I was having really vivid dreams each night and I lost that when my sleep took a dive. I’ve slowly been getting more of that back though. I’ve discovered I have extremely weird dreams.

    Rob wrote on September 26th, 2013
  27. Dinner is my downfall… I am in control of planning and making my breakfast and lunch, because I eat those on my own. Dinner is shared with the family and they aren’t on board with the primal way. So spaghetti, pizza, and other items are requested and made. I try to do my best to minimize those things and fill up on the salad.

    Matthew wrote on September 26th, 2013
  28. I have been working towards eating primal for about a half a year and felt like I was doing really well keeping an 80/20 going this summer. Yet, the results I am seeing in just 10 days of 100% primal eating is awesome. This combined with adding 3 workouts per week have made me feel much fitter!

    My arch nemesis is popcorn; I love it! My go to when I feel like snacking is to have a glass of water and 10 almonds. I think in the past my snacks have always been larger than what I truly need which is just something to take the edge off.

    CP wrote on September 26th, 2013
  29. I always crave sushi. With the rice. In soy sauce. Dry sashimi just doesn’t do it for me, although I do use the wheat free tamari instead of regular soy sauce. We also always have cake or snacks in the office. I find that the longer I am paleo the easier it is to resist. And most people know by now that I won’t touch that stuff. A co-worker recently made a passing comment to me when I walked out of the kitchen before the bday cake was served. My response is always that is makes my stomach hurt. When I say that people are just usually like, ok.

    I think parties with friends/family are the hardest. Sometimes there is nothing or practically nothing that I can eat. I usually eat before or bring my own food for me and my daughter (18 months).

    I think my daughter is the only child in her daycare class who is not allowed to eat the provided snacks (pretzels, cheerios, goldfish, etc.) She loves her fruit or veg snacks that I pack her though. Anyone who would prefer a pretzel to a blueberry is just crazy IMHO :)

    But it is hard because sometimes you feel like you’re not normal since everyone else except you is eating SAD food. I just keep telling myself (and my husband) “Common is the not the same as normal”. Eating food that comes from a package or contains grains may be extremely common, but that does not make it normal.

    Jules wrote on September 26th, 2013
  30. I have actually at moments forgotten I was doing the 21-day challenge. I have finally learned how to use the primal lifestyle to help me live my life, rather than worrying about what I am going eat every second of the day.

    So, I went to a grocery store to get ingredients for a new primal recipe I wanted to try, and I needed ground turkey. Unfortunately, all they had was the “healthy;” 99% fat free kind. I asked the guy at the meat counter if they had anything more along the 60% line, and he said no. Of course he gave me great advice in saying that I should get the 99% fat free because it would be best for me. I just had to chuckle at the idea that that tasteless turkey was better for me. :)

    Anyone else had funny CW moments?

    Froggy wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • I know we’re supposed to go for lean, but what is the difference between lean and fat free? Just the amount of fat? If so, what is the percentage I should be looking for?

      MarieB wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • You only really need to worry about lean if you are not eating local/free-range/grass-fed meats, i.e. conventional meats.

        Typically “lean” refers to less fat.

        “Fat-Free” or “Low-Fat” = Chemical Poo Storm.

        Griffin wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • I avoid lean altogether. I like the taste and feeling of satiation I get from fat.

        Primal Jim101 wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Coulnd’t find coconut flour in the organic supermarket, so I asked. I had looked in the flour section where the chesnut flour, almond flour etc. is. Was told it was in the fiber section (with the brans etc). I glanced to the fruit&veg section, thinking “I thought *that* was the fiber section”.

      I regret not saying that out loud!

      (on a side note, I think comments like that might have more effect than direct paleo pitches/lectures, because they make people wonder, instead of pull up defences. Curiousity is a great thing)

      Feather wrote on September 27th, 2013
  31. Primal cans be sometimes hard,
    When your husband eats oatmeal
    And you just want lard.
    He’s a fan of whole grain
    Thinks you’re being a pain
    Walking barefoot, getting sun, eating game.

    Victoria b.b. wrote on September 26th, 2013
  32. New discover: I loathe turnips. Craving: grilled cheese sandwiches and all the deep fried foods at the restaurant where I work. Weirdness: waking up every night at 3 AM. What I’ve been doing to cope: walk the dogs, run, crossfit, read, energy work, and checking here at MDA every day. :)

    Amber wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Amber, with the 3AM wake up – try pressure with your thumbs at the top of your rib cage in the middle of your arm pit. Just a bit of that may help you return to sleep, works like magic on me. My Chiro told me that is a pressure point that helps to relase the hormones that should have been released to keep us asleep…. worth a try?

      2Rae wrote on September 26th, 2013
      • That’s interesting, I am going to try that pressure point tip myself! I don’t wake up once I am asleep, but I have had trouble falling asleep lately.

        Toni wrote on September 26th, 2013
  33. I want to share my small success here: I am 12 weeks postpartum now and feeling better and dropping weight without difficulty! I’m keeping my challenge super simple for now, working on getting enough sleep, moving at least a little each day, and eating properly. I’m betting grok mamas lived similarly. :) thanks for the challenge, Mark, and thanks to this community for the supportive comments!

    Emily wrote on September 26th, 2013
  34. Maybe it’s because it’s autumn and my body wants to go into hibernation mode, but I’ve been craving carbs more so now than in the previous 18 months or so that I’ve been following a Primal diet. Sandwiches seem to pop up everywere – with crusty bread, molten cheese, stacks of meat (the good stuff, at least!), and creamy sauces. I gave in the other day and had a banh mi sandwich for lunch at a local coffeehouse. It was stuffed with marinated flank steak – from a well-known local rancher at least – and lots of shredded carrot, daikon, jalepeno, and cilantro. But the bread made me feel bloated and lethargic for the rest of the day.

    Feeling a little guilty and drained of will power, I decided that I can make delicious food at home entirely grain free. Since my carb cravings are still nudging at me, I thought that fruit would be a much better alternative than bread or pasta. This is what I made for dinner last night:
    – Hangar steaks seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper and garlic, pan-seared and finished in the oven to medium rare.
    – Onions and garlic caramelized in butter.
    – A salad of fresh mission figs, mizuna and mint leaves from my garden, shaved Parmesan cheese, and a dressing of olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic and just a touch of Colorado wildflower honey (about a teaspoon).
    – Kale braised with bacon fat, homemade chicken stock and a little more sherry vinegar.

    The figs were an indulgence – a delicious indulgence that didn’t spike my blood sugar or cause any digestive issues. The whole meal was satisfying and perfect and made me realize that I don’t need to give in to the temptations of convenience food or eat things that I will regret later. I loved sharing the meal with my wife, knowing that I’d sleep well and wake up still satisfied, with no need to jump back on the bread roller coaster.

    Mantonat wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • “I gave in the other day and had a banh mi sandwich for lunch at a local coffeehouse. It was stuffed with marinated flank steak – from a well-known local rancher at least – and lots of shredded carrot, daikon, jalepeno, and cilantro. But the bread made me feel bloated and lethargic for the rest of the day.”

      If a sandwich shops offers silverware I dump the filling off the bread and eat with a knife and fork.

      Linda Sand wrote on September 26th, 2013
  35. My biggest challenge is finding time for food preparation (and remember to add some extra fat to my meals).

    Jeff wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Ditto on the time thing. I think my plan next week will be to do big batches of cooking over the weekend so I am prepared for the busy week ahead. No excuses!!!

      Toni wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Butter = extra fat. Butter makes everything taste better.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 27th, 2013
      • I would concur with that!

        Don Donofrio wrote on September 27th, 2013
  36. The best advice I can give anyone taking the challenge, or continuing to be primal afterward is to not be afraid to ask for what you what.

    When I started going primal, marrow bones were easy to find but beef knuckles (joint bones) were not. When I started making bone broth I didn’t use beef knuckles because I didn’t have them and my broth was lacking in gelatin. I started ordering them online, but they were expensive and not always available.

    I started asking about them where I buy my grass-fed meats and they didn’t know what they were but said they’d ask the farmers who supply them. Sure enough, the next time a cow was slaughtered, joint bones were available and my bone broth had plenty of gelatin. Now I can get all the joint bones I want and my local natural foods store keeps them in stock. Once they started stocking them more people started buying them and now “soup bones” are quite popular.

    So, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

    Don Donofrio wrote on September 26th, 2013
  37. This year I got my daughter and son-in-law started on Primal. It’s been fun finding new foods like parsnips, rutabaga, acorn squash and brussels sprouts and then introducing them to the kids (the rutabaga got a ‘meh’, the others are regular parts of the menu now).

    My challenge has been that I’ve kind of hit a wall as far as vegetables go. I eat a lot of variety, prepared in a lot of ways, but suddenly it’s “not that again” when it comes to meal planning and prep. I had a serving of peas the other night just because they I hadn’t had them in months and I’m craving something different.

    A lot of this is because my job runs in cycles and I’m at peak-stress time right now. It saps me of the energy I need to cook and be creative in the kitchen, and I know I need the best nutrition possible right now precisely because of the stress.

    It’s a cycle. It’ll pass. I’m going to make the best choices I can while I get through this, but I’m not going to add to my stress by beating myself up over the occasional poor choice.

    Ted wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • different preparation methods (boiling, steaming, grilling, roasting, marinating, pureeing, keeping it raw) can give the same veg a variety of flavours and textures. Different ways to spice, marinate or dress also help.
      I love broccoli but can’t eat my way through a plate full of just that, making a mix of 2-3 veggies makes a big difference (flavour, texture and colour) and mix up your mixes as well.
      If you’re already doing this, I’m sorry I’m not more helpfull.

      Feather wrote on September 27th, 2013
  38. I have been paleo/primal for several years now and have successfully converted my husband and several friends. The hardest part of sustaining my primal lifestyle for me is that I always feel I am the encourager and not the encouraged in the process. This is why I love this blog so much!! I do love being a source of information to my friends and family (don’t get me wrong, I know what I know and I know what I don’t know and what I know is I don’t know everything), but sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone supporting and encouraging me when I want to eat an entire bag of sea salt and vinager potatoe chips or an entire chocolate cake…or both (depending on the time of month). That’s where you come in, Mark! This blog keeps me moving forward and helps me continue to strive toward my ultimate goal which is to be in the best shape/health of my life, every day of my life.

    Franki wrote on September 26th, 2013
  39. My biggest challenge is from my wife’s increased dream activity. I finally got her to try Paleo this month. She’s on Day 20 now, and has always talked in her sleep. Now she’s doing it a lot more! Oh well . . . doubt I’d change it even if I could.

    Cole wrote on September 26th, 2013
  40. I had a rough day at work last week, and as I was leaving, I told my supervisor I was going to skip working out and collapse on the couch after my long day. He responded, “are you sure today is the day for that? I’ve never regretted getting exercise.” Those wise words are a tape I keep playing in my mind, and it really motivates me to stay on track.

    As for food, I have discovered a new passion for cooking! The only problem I’ve run into is that eating paleo gets expensive quickly. Any tips for tempering that?

    Jennie wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Love the quote from your supervisor!

      Toni wrote on September 26th, 2013
    • Jennie,

      If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, you can get grass fed beef at pretty good prices. As well as wild salmon, coconut oil, organic vegetables and fruits, etc. I love their organic wild blueberries (frozen: I can just use what I need and keep the rest frozen. They’re really intensely flavored and not very sweet, so they’re good if you are limiting carbs.)

      Stick with it! Maybe you’ll find you feel so good it’s worth forgoing something else?

      Pat Browne wrote on September 26th, 2013

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