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

A Primal Blueprint Sample Menu

Last Wednesday I published The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve. In it I provided my recommendations for daily carbohydrate consumption. I received a lot of great feedback from readers. A couple readers, namely Patrick and Heather, requested sample menus to give them an idea of what a single day that comes in at around 100 grams of carbs looks like. I’ve done similar posts in the past (2 Minute Salad and My Daily Diet) but I thought I’d offer up something a little different this time. In this variation of eating like Grok in the modern world I’ve included pics that closely approximate what I eat on an average day, followed by FitDay macronutrient breakdowns (Click on the images to see a larger version. You may have to scroll down the page a bit to view the enlarged versions.)

Breakfast

A typical breakfast for me is a cup of coffee with cream and sugar and an omelet. Sometimes I’ll throw in a little cheese, but most days I go without it. The veggies change as well from day to day.

If it isn’t an omelet it might be some leftovers from the night before, or one of my balanced meal replacement shakes (link to my store).

Also, I don’t eat breakfast every day of the week. If I’m hungry I eat. Otherwise I don’t. You’ll find this is a common theme for me throughout the day.

coffee 1

omelet

Picture2 14 Picture3 11

Lunch

The following is a variation of my Big Ass Salad. This is where I load up on all kinds of colorful vegetables. The veggies comprise the bulk of the meal and vary from day to day. Mushrooms, bell peppers, red onions, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber and snow peas are some of my favorites. I also make sure to get some protein with this meal – some leftover chicken or steak from the night before, or canned salmon are regulars. This is usually my largest meal of the day and I always look forward to it. There are nearly endless permutations. Experiment until you find something you absolutely love. This will help ensure you keep coming back for more.

salad 1

Picture10 2 Picture11 1

Snack

If I’m hungry mid to late afternoon and dinner looks to be a ways off I’ll often grab a handful of nuts. Macadamias, walnuts and pine nuts are great, but I usually reach for almonds.

almonds 2

Picture4 10 Picture5 8

Dinner

For dinner it has to be a good cut of meat and a heaping side of veggies. Of course, this changes from day to day as well. Salmon, chicken (with the skin on!) and a nice rib eye are regulars, but I’ll often do lamb, pork or some other fish as well. If it isn’t Brussels sprouts it’s broccoli, squash, cabbage, the occasional sweet potato, or a stir fry with a good mix of veggies.

ribeye

brussels

Picture6 6 Picture7 4

After Dinner

Occasionally I’ll have some fruit with a glass of wine to wind down the day. Or if I’m beginning an overnight stint of Intermittent Fasting I’ll skip it altogether.

blueberries 2

redwine 1

Picture8 2 Picture9 2

Totals

Let’s take a look at the totals. If I ate all three large meals and the snack and the berries and the wine I’m still just over 2,500 calories. Truth be told I rarely eat all of this in a single day; unless I’ve been especially active.

But what we are really interested in is the carbs. This sample menu came in at 115 g of carbs which leaves us with plenty of wiggle room. This is the take home message: You can enjoy copious amounts of fruits and veggies and still never crack 150 g. It’s important that you let that sink in. What this means is that you don’t have to count carbs like I have done here if all you are trying to do is maintain your body composition. Even if you are attempting to speed up weight loss by keeping your daily carb intake to below 100 g you can see that it can be done with very little effort or thought as long as you stick to nuts/seeds, fruits, veggies, and meat.

Picture13 1

Further Reading:

Dear Mark: Post Workout Fasting

How To: Intermittent Fasting

Top 10 Ways to “Go Nuts”

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. I’m 43 yrs old 269 lb former Division 1 Defensive Lineman. I ran casino marketing for the last 15yrs in Vegas. I’ve drank 2 bottles of vodka a day 4 days a week and ate 7 meals a day with 3 being gourmet. I’ve partied very hard for 20 years in Vegas.

    I just retired moved to the country to take my life back. I have chronic gout my uric acid has been 11 for years. I developed hives when I eat Processed food or Gatorade I take allegro daily.

    I just started Crossfit 3 weeks ago and my trainer lives by Primal diet and lifestyle. I want to live and be healthy but I can’t eat very much except grains, fruit and some veggies.

    I’m desperate to find a diet that will work for me but I can’t eat purines my gout cripples me and the pills allpurinol I take are tough on my liver that has been abused.

    I’m begging for help I left a very good living to get healthy and have a real life with my new wife I don’t drink or party I’ve started a new life but need guidance on diet. Gout and primal?

    Dave P wrote on March 18th, 2012
  2. The only problem with fit day is that it miscalculates vegetable carbs.
    For example it thinks 100g broccoli had 6.6g when its more like 1.5g. Unless there is some carb loaded broccoli floating around that I am unaware of. I really struggle to get over 30g carbs in my diet. Then i end up knackered after two weeks or so. :(

    Lorah wrote on April 18th, 2012
  3. What program did you use to calculate the calories, carbs and fat percentages?

    Chris wrote on April 26th, 2012
    • nevermind … I read the post again. It’s fitday.com …

      Chris wrote on April 26th, 2012
  4. I went on a 33 day water fast recently for spiritual purposes. I had lost 45 lbs which was a nice side effect. A good portion of that weight was fat and few lbs of muscle. After I broke my fast with easily digestible foods in small meals, I switched over to PB to maintain weight.

    Obviously, I gained some weight, but I didn’t explode like everyone said I would. I gained back 5 lbs and have been maintaining that weight with PB. My muscles are growing back nicely and I’m getting back to my prefasted strength. I actually look better now with 5 extra pounds than I did after my fast.

    CW states that water fasting only drops water weight, retains fat, and consumes muscle. While true, you do lose some muscle during a long term fast, you burn a lot more fat. CW also states that fasting more than a week is dangerous. I fasted while working an active 45 hour work week where I’m on my feet most of the day. It also says that a high fat low carb diet with no grains or legumes is bad for your health, yet I feel better than ever on PB than I did on SAD or SKD(standard Korean diet). Mark, I love your program and I hope all of us MDA followers can continue to prove Common Wisdom wrong.

    eric wrote on May 3rd, 2012
  5. Mark,
    You mention time and time again in your posts that you can eat as much fruits and vegetables as you please and stay low carb. Do you mean only low carb fruits specifically? I usually have a banana (30g) and an orange (30g) and then steamed vegetables (30g). This already puts me at 90 without any extras from my fats and other foods. Will I have to cut out my fruits to hit my “sweet spot” of under 80-100g?

    karina wrote on May 10th, 2012
  6. Do you drink coffee with sugar? So, is the sugar permitted in this diet?
    And I would like to know how is the ph of the body (too acid or neutral) with the primal diet?

    Luigi wrote on June 15th, 2012
  7. I cycle about 30 miles a day 3 to 4 days a week and also am in cross country. Will the primal diet work for me? Or will it be too low carb because of the type of workouts I do?

    Sam wrote on August 1st, 2012
  8. My husband is 6ft tall, weigh 130lbs and is 4 years post diagnosis of Severe Congestive Heart Failure. He decided against taking any prescription drugs, preferring to try his luck with a gentle exercise regime and dietary modification. Today’s menu was as follows: Breakfast:- Pre-cooked pork-belly (eaten with all the fat) with mushrooms, tomatoes, marrow fat peas and two free range eggs all sauteed in Irish butter: Lunch:-A large cup of coffee with Jersey double Cream, Dinner:-Salmon fillet with mushrooms, tomatoes, one egg and marrow fat peas, again sauteed in butter. A second and third cup of decaffinated coffee with Jersey double cream. The only supplements taken are CQ10 (Ubiquinol 100mg), and 3mg of Taurine. In the evening he drinks two glasses of full bodied red wine and occasionally has a midnight pizza with spinach, tomatoes and lots of raw cheese. By gentle exercise I mean 2 or three daily walks of 4 or 5 miles in total. Not sure how to catagorise that nutritional approach but the word Primal hardly seems appropriate.

    Hilary wrote on August 3rd, 2012
  9. PS: Well at least I can categorize my spelling-Dreadful!

    Hilary wrote on August 3rd, 2012
  10. I was a NZ & australian jockey for 16 years .my diet was . lettus, portor house stake & orangers no milk in tea , 1/2 slice of toast 1/2 cup of tea at breakfast . I was very fit and not an ounce of fat .

    denys hadfield wrote on August 13th, 2012
  11. why doesnt that work for me… if i ate all plus an extra meal.. oats for breakfast too… ill go into keto all the time :( :S

    josh wrote on January 22nd, 2013
  12. So much disinformation on your site it’s alarming. Telling people they can indulge on fruits and veggies without counting carbs is wrong. A ketogenic diet prohibits all types of fruits and nuts, dairy, etc….you can only introduce them gradually into the second and 3rd phase.

    Saying that you can indulge in fruits and not count carbs or worry going over 150g is pure ignorance.

    You fail to mention WHICH fruits to eat and which ones to avoid.

    I can guarantee you that I can exceed 100g of carbs daily with “loading up” on fruits. Do you even need for me to give you examples ???

    Grapes, watermelon, citrus fruits, figs, dates, ripe bananas, mangos, and this is only naming a few. oh yeah did I mention figs and dates ??? :-)))
    Also any type of fruit juices is a BIG no no as you probably know.
    Some veggies are ALSO restricted on induction as they are higher in sugars.

    Sure, unlike refined sugars, fruits provide nutriants so they are not empty calories, BUT…not eating the right fruits and the right quantity can stall your weight loss, regardless of the number of calories you eat. For someone active and working out at the gym one should adjust carbs and protein intake accordingly, remember the the sources of energy the body uses in priority, glycogen stores in your liver, muscles, those have to be depleted first before your body switches to fat as its main burning fuel (Ketosis). You can STILL lose weight on fruits and carbs, only if you are at a calorie deficit – can’t lose weight otherwise. If you are on maintenance and very active, sure you can indulge a little on fruits, otherwise if you are on a diet and want to lose fat, and if you are insulin insensitive (pre-type 2) a ketogenic diet is a good thing – but none of this shit is good long term and you have to completely change your eating habits to maintain your weight because low carb or no carb is synonym of FAILURE for most people because it’s not done right.

    Also glycemic index – I go for fruits with low glycemic index. Ideally if you have large fat stores and want to accelerate things, it’s good to start with induction phase to flip the fat burning switch and flush your sugar stores….BEFORE gradually upping carbs and staying in maintenance.

    It’s impossible to cut ALL carbs, as a lot of healthy foods have carbs, however if you pig out on veggies and fruits and some of the healthy diet foods, you would be surprised of how you can exceed 100g. assuming you are a big eater.

    Staying under 100g a day is easy peasy……and never being hungry with the right amount of protein, fat and fiber….fiber….that is the key word.

    You can stay under 100g NET carbs daily on toast and eggs for breakfast, and a few portions of fruits for dessert, HOWEVER, if you have large fat stores it’s best to induce – however, eating fruits and carbs above the daily range for keto will stall your weight loss. Fat / Obese people and most sedentary peple have a shitload of fat stores AND sugar stores – you will be discouraged and have a hard time ridding of the flab if your sugar stores are always replenished and overflowing.

    Zimmer66 wrote on February 14th, 2013
    • Hey Zimmer66, welcome and stick around and check the website content out.

      There are multiple instances where Mark has stated as such regarding fruit, there’s even a book about it!

      MattyD wrote on February 15th, 2013
  13. Hi. I started the primal/paleo diet last summer and I managed to lose a total of 6 lbs….very depressing. Well, 5 have already come back on. What am I doing wrong? I keep my carbs under 30 gms a day.

    Lorie wrote on February 22nd, 2013
    • Hi Lorie,

      If you are still having problems, have your thyroid levels and your insulin levels checked. Be sure you specify INSULIN levels, NOT blood sugar levels. If your thyroid is low and/or your insulin is high, losing weight is nearly impossible.

      Nonnie wrote on July 21st, 2013
  14. Hi Mark,

    I live in New Zealand, and perhaps we use terms a little differently. When you say cream in your coffee – do you mean milk, whipping cream or a powdered cream product?

    Did atkins a few years ago – lost weight but could not stay on it. Have ordered some of your books based on what I have read on whe website.

    Glad you like coffee!

    Matthew

    Matthew wrote on May 15th, 2013
  15. i’m a vegan…so how would ur diet plan work for me? i’d like to try it without all the sugar, meat, eggs, milk. could u suggest a primal diet plan to suit a vegan? would be grateful.

    sheena s wrote on July 21st, 2013
  16. Sheena S, check out Tosca Reno and her Eat Clean Diet. Follow that but omit anything that’s not vegan, aswell as grains. It’s very restrictive but you can do it if you really want to.

    Melissa wrote on November 7th, 2013
  17. I’m going to be trying this. I am a sugar junkie, and eat waay too much junky, processed foods. I am also a binge eater, and am desperately trying to break the habit. Any tips would be MUCH appreciated!

    Melissa wrote on November 7th, 2013
  18. Mark,

    I didn’t see anywhere where you eat apples. Do you eat apples? Thanks.

    Kirk wrote on February 12th, 2014
  19. I just want to say I like your sample menu. I will definitely try to make some this real soon.

    Eric wrote on April 8th, 2014
  20. Nice work – this sounds promising. I would never imagine it can be that simple. I am totally curious now and can’t wait to give it a try. Thank you!

    Karen wrote on April 16th, 2014

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