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

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January 30, 2014

Try It for 21 Days, or Your Poor Health Back!

By Mark Sisson
131 Comments

Your Poor Health Back - Guaranteed!Over the years I’ve gotten all variety of excuses and complaints about why people couldn’t – or wouldn’t – try the Primal Blueprint eating and lifestyle strategy.

  • Some were just wholly anti-Primal/paleo from the get-go. They hated the “caveman” concept itself and dismissed it out of hand for that reason alone. (Bad Paleolithic past life maybe…who can say?)
  • Some argued I was irresponsible for encouraging people to eat fat – especially saturated fat.
  • Some argued I was insensitive for encouraging people to eat meat.
  • Some thought aspects of the Primal Blueprint eating plan were a “turn off.” (The offal recipes were too much apparently.)
  • Some thought I had it in for the food industry and all American farmers. (I promise you I do not grow all my own food and livestock in a personal biosphere.)
  • Some complained I couldn’t possibly expect people to adhere to such a difficult diet. (For the record, I don’t have any expectations of anyone and believe we all are responsible for our own choices.)
  • Some said they loved the principle itself but just couldn’t give up x, y or z. (I’ll let you all guess what x, y and z are.)
  • Some said they lacked the necessary willpower to make such a “big” change. (At least there’s honesty if nothing else.)
  • Some said they would try it but don’t consider themselves healthy or fit enough. (Yes, you read that right. Isn’t there an ecard floating around with this very concept? Please make one if not.)

I could go on (and trust me – it gets much more interesting and bizarre), but you get the gist. There are a million and one reasons not to go Primal. Too much work, too much change, too much money, too much hassle, too much bacon. (I kid.) The fact is, they’re the same reasons that are readily available to all of us when we want to avoid doing something good for ourselves. There are no limits on how to sell ourselves short, no shortage of ways we can keep ourselves as stuck as we want to be. It’s amazing how creative, persistent and “logical” we can be when we’re trying to subconsciously (or consciously) justify our M.O.

Of course, it all comes down to the ultimate question: how’s your way workin’ for you?

True, eating and living Primal doesn’t come automatically or easily for many people because it’s unfortunately so countercultural in many regards. It’s sad really – how far we’ve strayed from our innate blueprints, but it’s also why going Primal begins to feel so intuitively satisfying once you’re doing it and have made peace with the mismatch between it and conventional practice.

What if, in the middle of this cultural incongruence, you could find the health that you’ve wanted, the body that you’ve dreamed of, the life that felt good – amazing even. (Don’t believe it? Check out the Friday success stories.) Could you overcome the emotional inertia to make a foray into this uncharted lifestyle? Could you pick up hope again after maybe dozens of past disappointments (e.g. fad diets, exercises du jour, etc.)? Could you convince yourself to make an investment that begins with a mere 21 days?

Yes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Let’s think a little bolder for the moment. Let’s imagine 21 days – 3 weeks of your life. Does it seem like a lot? Imagine how many weeks of your life you’ve lost criticizing yourself or worrying about your health or sitting on the sidelines because you didn’t have the energy or confidence to be out there doing what you wanted to do. Trust me, for most of us we’re way beyond putting it in terms of hours. Maybe it’s more accurately months, years, decades. If you don’t do Primal for the next 21 days, what will those days look like for you? Will they make you happy and fulfilled, or will you continue doing and feeling the same old, same old? What do you have to lose by going Primal for a mere 21 days?

The thing is, you can try the Primal Blueprint and even the 21-Day Transformation without shelling out a cent. (Of course, thousands of people have found the 21 Day book and the Transformation program more than worthwhile, but you can find all the essential information on the site here totally free.) The point is, the only thing you have to lose is your subpar health and everything that goes along with it (e.g. the gut, the love handles, the daily fatigue, the poor sleep, the insulin resistance, the poor cardiovascular conditioning, the rampant inflammation, etc.). No, not everything will be fixed in three weeks, but I guarantee you will make the best progress you’ve ever made toward these comprehensive goals. You won’t feel the same. You won’t look the same or sleep the same or move the same. You’ll have crossed a threshold to which you won’t want to return because it feels too good on the other side of it.

If you’re unsatisfied with the results of the Primal Blueprint after three weeks, however, you’ll have full opportunity to return to every facet of poor health and excess weight you brought to the program. Yes, you’ll be free to gain back every pound, recalibrate every blood marker, and relinquish every metabolic shift, biochemical enhancement and epigenetic upgrade achieved during the three weeks (no overstatement there). If there isn’t a safer, more secure assurance for those who are afraid to change their health and life, I’ll eat my own book – glossy cover and all.

But let’s not stop there. If you don’t take my word for it, listen to the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken the path before you. Maybe they experienced some of the same self-questioning, the same emotional inertia, the same hesitancy or skepticism, but see what happened when they took the plunge. Listen to their stories of change and adaptation. Witness their success and visualize yourself with the same potential. Imagine life on the other side of 21 days….

Grokkers, what do you have to say to those on the fence (or even solidly on the other side of it)? What could your stories – how you made the eventual choice and what happened afterward – offer them as they weigh the option? The floor is yours, and your audience is listening. Thanks for reading and sharing, everyone. Grok on!

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131 Comments on "Try It for 21 Days, or Your Poor Health Back!"

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Susan
Susan
2 years 7 months ago

I made the move to “the other side” a year ago, and while there has been some slippage (a current remedial Whole30 is a godsend), I never want to go back to what I left behind: depression, lethargy, and all the poor choices that left this 60+ y.o. body and mind on the threshold of diabetes and the verge of absolute despair.

It’s not just about having boundless energy and a desire to experience all that living offers, but an entirely new outlook on all aspects of life. Thank you, Mark!

Julie
Julie
2 years 7 months ago

Susan, you give me hope. Thanks.
Signed, 56.5 years old.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 7 months ago

I just turned 51 on Monday.

Susie
Susie
2 years 7 months ago

Happy birthday!

Annakay
Annakay
2 years 7 months ago
I’ll be 71 years old on Wednesday. I’ve been Primal for around two years now and feel better than I did 25 years ago. My husband is T2D and primal eating controls his blood sugar with no bother. We’ve both lost loads of weight along the way. Before he died we watched my husband’s father, in his eighties, suffer from Dementia, being helpless, doubly incontinent and confused even halucinating at times and I swore we would not end up like that if I had anything to do with it. MDA has changed our lives and I would not change this… Read more »
Martha
Martha
2 years 7 months ago

I was in almost exactly the same place. One year ago this week, I got on the scale, joined a gym, and started reading. It didn’t take long to find this site. I went from a size 14 to a 2, while enjoying excellent meals. I can do real pushups. I take long, beautiful hikes. All my test results are good, and I feel wonderful. I’ll be sixty in about 18 months, and I rest easy knowing that I’ve prepped myself for the next decades as well as I could. Bring it on.

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
2 years 7 months ago

YES, Martha! This inspires me.

Camille
2 years 7 months ago

+1 Get it girl!

Myra
Myra
2 years 7 months ago

I started with a one week challenge 2 1/2 years ago at age 52. There was no turning back. This month I got my 2nd A+ on my blood tests, have more energy than ever, my body composition has changed so much that the last time I weighed what I do now (3 years ago), I was 3 sizes larger, and my outlook on aging has completely changed. At 55 I am healthier and have more energy than I did 30 years ago.

Chika
2 years 7 months ago

I love this! Such an inspiration reading about your transformation. #NoTurningBack

Mo
Mo
2 years 7 months ago
I’ll try to keep this short, but – thank you, all. My first year Primal, I lost 50 pounds and regained energy, but even more important learned that what I ate *mattered.* I’d never felt better in my life. I was always in a fantastic mood, etc. But then – I was unemployed for six months. It was awful, in every way you can imagine – financially of course, and socially, and ultimately morally. I have regained 10 pounds.Then I finally regained a job, but will not be out of the red for another month. Food has become a nuisance,… Read more »
Grokstar
Grokstar
2 years 7 months ago

” I endeavor to make the best choices possible on a given day…”
THIS
This is the essence of being successful in the journey to better health.
I wish you speedy progress on your financial recovery.

Caite
Caite
2 years 7 months ago

+1. It is the time and freedome from a lifetime of self-criticising,nagging judgemental neurotic foos related crap and self-hate that has most helped me. Still trying to lose the fat, but this time with misstep or bite of “Knock you naked” brownies at a superbowl party (err, um, hypothetically speaking only, of course) there is confidence of knowledge gained and the sure success ahead.

leida
leida
2 years 7 months ago
I have a very simple reason I do not eat grains. I am a woman about to turn 40. I can’t eat with an abundance of a male teen, no matter what. So, I want the tastiest food I can get for my tiny caloric budget. Grains don’t have flavor of texture, fruit, veggies, nuts and meat do. So, I don’t waste my ‘calories in’ pennies on grains. I like plants more than I like animals so I try to give the greens & serene a bit of a fighting chance and eat meat. 🙂 Yes, there are things that… Read more »
Meg
Meg
2 years 7 months ago

I just began my 21 day challenge on Jan. 27th (for the 3rd time) – I’m hoping that three really is a charm! I’m not aiming for grand weight loss but rather for a more active lifestyle, toned up body, improved energy and stamina. I want to feel good and be able to remain active for many years to come. I read MDA most days and really appreciate all the info, recipes, WOW’s and Friday stories. Thank you, Mark for everything. Off for an afternoon of cross country skiing!! Grok On! 🙂

Groktimus Primal
2 years 7 months ago

Just do it! You can whine and debate all you like but trying it out is the only way to know and once you do the ignorant will be silenced forever.

Brooke
Brooke
2 years 7 months ago

+1

Julie
Julie
2 years 7 months ago

I know one thing: what I’m currently doing ain’t working for me now so what have I got to lose? Even though I have a Las Vegas trip in two weeks, I plan on whole-30-ing through it (today being day 1) and primalling afterward probably.

2Rae
2Rae
2 years 7 months ago

Sigh, Got up early enough to check out the “life story” today at home so I could see the photos, I so look forward to Fridays….. apparently I’m the only one living in the future….. ahahahahaha, I suppose I will have to do Thursday first.
At least I got to see the daffodils blooming on my way in and right now the sun is shining here in Hillsboro Oregon, a welcome sight and a good consolation prize for NOT having two Fridays this week. 🙂

Erok
Erok
2 years 7 months ago

Daffodils? Already? You. are. so. lucky. Here in WI it’s nothing but white snow, black ice, and grey skies. I can barely remember what a daffodil looks like… We normally don’t see them until April, or March, if spring is early.

2Rae
2Rae
2 years 7 months ago
Yes, it’s comical that they come in early in that corner of the yard, however, I am grateful for the hope it inspires. We see the little green shoots sometime in December and the flowers make their way out late Jan or early Feb. However, our winter (mild) can dump snow on them as late as the end of March. It doesn’t kill them but they do lay flat on the ground for a few days and then perk up. One year we had our pink cherry blossoms peeking out from under a few inches of snow, made for a… Read more »
candy
candy
2 years 7 months ago

Timely. After a couple of months of indulging my sweet tooth and laziness, I needed some motivation. Primal February is a good start.

Resurgent
Resurgent
2 years 7 months ago

One cannot learn to swim by standing on the poolside..
Jump in..!

Aaron from Spokane
Aaron from Spokane
2 years 7 months ago
Two years ago I agreed to try to eat primal for a full month, along with two of my former housemates. I made it about a week and a half. I just got so…hungry. I’m 27 years old, male, 5’10”, and weigh a measly 120 pounds. On a good day. This despite the fact that I can eat like a Seahawks linebacker. The most difficult part of the primal diet for me was that I never felt full eating just protein, fats, and vegetables. I don’t really care for sweets at all. The thought of eating a Twinkie or some… Read more »
Danielle
Danielle
2 years 7 months ago
I had the same problem when I did my first Whole30. I was hungry ALL the time, and even the starches from fruit didn’t satisfy me. I think those of us with a higher metabolism just need more starches and carbs to stay full longer. I eat a lot more sweet potatoes now, and have significantly increased my intake of fats. Full fat yogurt, greens cooked in bacon fat with chopped bacon thrown in, cheese, butter, eggs, etc. Carrots and winter squash are also staples in my diet now. I am not as thin as you, but I also can’t… Read more »
Harry Mossman
Harry Mossman
2 years 7 months ago

Aaron, someone like you should be able to eat lots of starchy foods. Some of those foods are unfamiliar to me. White rice and foods made from it should be OK. Starchy roots and tubers would be even better. You shouldn’t ever have to be hungry on Primal.

Jesse F
Jesse F
2 years 7 months ago
Keep the rice. Keep the rice noodles. Heck, keep the wheat noodles for an occasional treat if they don’t bother you. Sweet potatoes and white potatoes are also good for weight gain, and you need to gain weight. My bet is that while you were “starving” you weren’t getting enough protein and fat. Also, start lifting heavy things. If your body doesn’t get the stimulus that it needs more muscle, it will never bother to grow any more than it currently has. Some of this “starving” is just conditioning, too. When I lived in Taiwan (Kaohsiung, 2009ish) my Korean friends… Read more »
Aaron from Spokane
Aaron from Spokane
2 years 7 months ago
Jesse, I lived in Kaohsiung for six years, near Cheng Ching Lake. They were some of the best years of my life. What part of the city were you in? I miss taking the ferry out to Cijin Island and eating some barbecued squid on a stick. To all, thanks for the replies. Since getting married six months ago, I’ve put on a little weight. I’ve been trying to eat more in the mornings, which has been difficult for me in the past. I definitely don’t do as many lifting exercises as I should. My wife is pretty skinny, as… Read more »
Krispy
Krispy
2 years 7 months ago
Aaron, Sounds like you’re yearning for http://www.nomnompaleo.com, the food blog of another superstar of Paleo cuisine, Michelle Tam. Check her recipe index for many Asian-inspired recipes, the first two of which (Asian cauliflower fried rice and Asian meatballs) might satisfy your craving for Asian food. Michelle and her husband, Henry Fong, have just produced their first cookbook (Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans). You also seem to have the same quandary with gaining weight that my 5’10” 120 lb son had prior to his starting to lift heavy things and drinking a post-workout protein and carb shake. He put on… Read more »
Brooke
Brooke
2 years 7 months ago
Aaron, it is my understanding that it is quite common for people who are thin to become incredibly hungry after going primal. Teenage and 20-something men often go through this, or so I hear. Once you start eating such nutrient-dense foods, your body can’t get enough of them, because it is finally getting all the nutrients it was missing for so long. You are always hungry because your body continuously wants more of those good things. Eventually, your appetite should go back to normal, but that might take weeks, months, a year? I don’t know exactly, it depends on what… Read more »
Aaron from Spokane
Aaron from Spokane
2 years 7 months ago
Brooke, Thank you for your response. You provided some good insight. One worry I have with the primal diet is that while it certainly provides plenty of nutrition, I may not be able to consume enough calories. For example, below is a roughly primal menu for one work day (allowing some starches): 4 large eggs – 310 cal Breakfast calories: 310 1 large stalk broccoli – 100 cal 1 large sweet potato – 160 cal 2 tbsp melted butter – 200 cal 12 large shrimp – 60 cal Lunch calories: 520 8 oz top sirloin steak – 550 cal 3… Read more »
Allison
Allison
2 years 7 months ago

This doesn’t seem like a lot of fat, maybe not enough for you? Check out Peter Attia’s site The Eating Academy for some ideas of how to get more fat in your diet. I also vote for keeping the healthy starches -you really don’t seem to have any metabolic problems.

Marisa
Marisa
2 years 7 months ago
Aaron, my husband is a tall skinny man. We did a whole30 and he got dangerously thin and his hormones got WAY out of whack. We couldn’t figure it out, since the only thing we removed was white rice, white potatoes, wine and chocolate. We added the white rice back in and it was night and day for him. I agree that there is a slant towards weight loss on this diet and that for people trying to gain mass or maintain (NOT ALL PEOPLE, I KNOW), white rice and white potatoes are the way to go. He was eating… Read more »
Laurie
Laurie
2 years 7 months ago
Aaron, IMHO you’re not eating enough fat, no where near enough. And 2,000 or so calories isn’t that much for a guy. How about adding bacon to breakfast? An egg only has 4.5g of fat. Okay, you eat 4 of them, but that’s a good bit of protein and not much fat to fuel you’re morning. Try entering your food into FitDay, a free online service that will break down fat, carbs, etc for each day. A high fat diet would mean around 65-70% of calories from fat, at least. Just glancing at your food list, it looks to me… Read more »
Brooke
Brooke
2 years 7 months ago

Aaron, you did not come across as argumentative at all, just bringing up relevant points. I hope you can find a healthy, doable solution for yourself.
Meanwhile, I’m still trying not to picture someone eating a whole stick of butter or a cup of olive oil in one sitting! I can’t (or don’t want to) imagine anyone doing that!

Aaron from Spokane
Aaron from Spokane
2 years 7 months ago
Thanks to Krispy, Allison, Marisa, Laurie, and Brooke for your responses. I appreciate your insight greatly. Krispy, it was great to read about your son’s results, especially given that we have the same body size. I’d be interested to know what his workouts consisted in order to get his weight gains. Without a gym membership, I sometimes feel pretty restricted to cardio and body weight exercises, and the occasional set of pull-ups at the park across the street from my house. I know I’ve read some posts on MDA about prison-style exercises and the like. I may have to start… Read more »
SumoFit
2 years 7 months ago

Aaron,

I grew up on a largely Asian diet — lots of veggies, rice, seafood, and chicken, with meat served more as a condiment. We only had steak and roast beef on holidays!

Also like you, I am very slim with a high metabolism. You should probably keep eating the rice, maybe bake something tasty with millet flour (the poor people’s rice).

I hope you find a good balance!

em
em
2 years 7 months ago

You know you can put butter on steak, right?

Dan from Aus
Dan from Aus
2 years 7 months ago

Aaron,

Perhaps you could have some bacon (mm… bacon) with your breakfast (or any meal really!), have some almonds/macadamias to nibble on during the day, throw in some avocado, or the odd banana to get some higher cal foods in?

AngelaT
2 years 7 months ago
It might not be as ideal as fresh hot bacon, but you could cook up a whole package at once at night and refrigerate it, and then grab a couple slices along with your hard-boiled eggs and go out the door!. Make ahead stuff and pre-prep might be your solution for breakfast. I’ve seen recipes for breakfast ‘muffins’ which are muffin tins lined in sausage or bacon and then eggs poured into the center and baked… I’ve done it, it’s good. Also I know smoothies are generally frowned on because so many people go nuts adding too many things to… Read more »
Beck
Beck
2 years 7 months ago

Hi Aaron- I’m not an expert on the fat/protein/carb balance based on body composition and weight loss/gain goals, but I have recently started my journey with cultured foods, which makes me wonder if you have “leaky gut” and are not absorbing enough of your nutrients, sending signals to your brain that you are not satiated. Read the info on culturedfoodlife.com. This site is not nearly as scientific as MDA, but there’s something to the world of cultured foods. This is the first time I’ve really been able to stick to my primal ways, bc I am digesting more efficiently.

HB
HB
2 years 7 months ago
I’ve found the best easiest breakfast to make the night before (actually I make a few and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days). I call them egg turnovers. They take about 5 minutes max to make. Put a tablespoon of butter in a largish frying pan, on high heat for a moment, add strips of bacon once the butter’s melted. I do about 3-4 at a time. The strips should be about 6-8 inches long, half a rasher here in Aus. Once one side is cooked, flip over then drop an egg on one end of… Read more »
Melissa
Melissa
2 years 7 months ago
I am so happy to have read your comment! I’ve been trying to adapt to a primal/paleo lifestyle for a year now but I too have the same problem of needing to GAIN weight not lose it. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to create a version of a paleo diet that will help me with that but still, a year later, I have not gained one extra pound. This has caused me to “relapse” back to grain foods on occasion just so I don’t feel like I’m wasting away. But everytime I am on blogs or am reading… Read more »
Melissa
Melissa
2 years 7 months ago

I thought about this lifestyle a whole year before I started. It seemed really hard and too good to be true and kind of silly. I got so sick, I thought well, I have nothing left to lose. Four days in, I felt so good, I knew I would never go back. 🙂

Kyle Sullivan
Kyle Sullivan
2 years 7 months ago
The biggest challenge I have expereinced when advocating the primal/ancestral eating style is that many people believe they are quite alright as they are. They do ok and don’t understand how their choices may be impacting their health in the short and long term. If they can’t see the changes almost immediately they lose faith. I feel like many have not experienced the boundless energy, freedom from intestional distress, acne, food cravings, that we take for granted. They haven’t been empowered by the beauty and strength that the body is capable of manifesting. They accept the ‘2:30 slump feeling’ as… Read more »
Karen
Karen
2 years 7 months ago
I have had this experience myself. I chose primal after I was diagnosed with RA and when I found out that my father is celiac (has been all his life but still eats SAD!!). People think that I am so unfortunate to have RA that I have to eat this way, but the longer I talk to them the sooner I hear that they are on statins and BP meds or have GERD or IBS or some other ailment – yet it’s as though they’d rather live with the pain – the “familiar” – than try primal/paleo. Makes you just… Read more »
Mike
Mike
2 years 7 months ago

The best thing about Mark is the fact that even though he sells his book and supplements, he gives away all the info in his book and tells you that you don’t necessarily need supplements.

He’s either the BEST or WORST salesman out there.

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
2 years 7 months ago
I’ve been primal now for nearly 3 years. I’ve taken it slowly. At times I have been more stringent with my eating, other times not so much. And do I feel it! I have always shied away from the 21-day commitment as I have been too afraid to fail: one step out of line=throwing the entire process out the window. I’m facing my fear this time and going to commit to this. There’s really no failure–I can simply keep improving. Try it out–like Mark says, you can always have your previous eating and lifestyle back.
David Churchill
David Churchill
2 years 7 months ago
My wife and I have been following the Primal lifestyle for a little over one year and for me it has been transformative. However, we have always enjoyed our red wine as it had become in a sense a part of the “food/dining” experience, and we were adherents to the 80/20 principle on the food side. But we finally decided to just do the Whole30 (just like the 21 day transformation program) Why I thought doing this during football playoffs and Super Bowl was a good idea I still can’t figure out! However, we both have never felt more energized,… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
2 years 7 months ago

Migraines-gone, metabolic syndrome-gone, ugly belly-gone, grouchy-gone, lack of energy-gone, tasteless grains-gone, stomach upsets-gone, hunger between meals-gone, colds and flu-gone………….sixpack-back, energy-back, health-back, nice to my mate-back, great food-back, run circles around people my age-back, must I go on? Time to get off the fence.

Dr. Mike Tremba
2 years 7 months ago

Awesome, Nocona-I’ve noticed many of the same things in my life-keep up the great work 🙂

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 7 months ago

Thanks Doc. I liked your website and you look great.

Dr. Mike Tremba
2 years 7 months ago

Thank you very much 🙂

Colin
Colin
2 years 7 months ago
I’ve been bouncing back and forth on the Primal/Paleo diet for a few years now. My reasons for vacillating on and off were all of the excuses listed above. I’ve known the merits of eating Primal, but I’d continued to eat junk for lunch every day for months. My wife and I recently enlisted in the Quantified Diet Study to ween ourselves off the SAD diet and on Primal. We’ve made small adjustments that have big impact and our lifestyles have completely changed with little to no effort after the first week. It’s a little boring to some, but my… Read more »
Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 7 months ago

+1–we do the same.

Anna
Anna
2 years 7 months ago
Primal became my default without me even really trying. I’m 22 and was dipping my toes in the primal lifestyle for at least a year before I realised recently that I had become totally immersed. Sometimes I forget I didn’t used to feel this good, because feeling as healthy as I do now is so effortless. I’m sensitive now to non-primal foods and when they take my body to its old state I appreciate the reminder that my lifestyle tweaks are entirely worth it. I can’t wait to take this lifestyle into older age and be as inspiring to others… Read more »
Doris
Doris
2 years 7 months ago
I hesitated a long time prior to plunging into a Whole30 sponsored through my Crossfit gym; just couldn’t get over that CW about whole grains, legumes, etc. It will be 3 years in March since starting. My biggest concern is that my husband is not at all on board with eating meat; he’s been a vegetarian most of his life for health, environmental, and ethical reasons. This despite the fact that he’s having gut issues that can incapacitate him for 3 days or more. I guess some people have to get really bad prior to going beyond contemplation and into… Read more »
oxide
oxide
2 years 7 months ago

My only objection to this is that 21 days may not be long enough of a transition for some people, especially heavy-duty SADs. There were several cases on the forum where a 10-day carb flu kicked in only after 21 days, or other cases where the person really had to ramp down the carbs before starting the 21-day clock. And I haven’t read any cases of this, but a vegan suddenly eating lots of meat may not be a great idea either…

Jesse
Jesse
1 year 8 months ago
Speaking as a one-time vegan who suddenly started eating lots of meat: it’s a totally great idea! I mean, at least, it was for me. Before the end of the first meat feast, I immediately started feeling brighter. In the months that followed, my gut and joint issues disappeared and my brain started working again. For sure, it might be a tumultuous transition for some, but I reckon 21 days is plenty of time to experience the value of the transition. For me, it meant regaining my potential – everything wasn’t such an uphill struggle any more. Also, I really… Read more »
Luke
2 years 7 months ago
Great post Mark. If you find yourself on the fence ask yourself WHY your considering starting in the first place. Dig really deep into that answer and discover what’s really important to you. Many people think “I need to get active” but why? If the answer is so you can be a more active parent, make that your focus. That will motivate and inspire you to see it through. Because “the doctor said I should eat better” or “I need to lose some weight” probably won’t! Lastly, just like Mark said you can go back to your old ways. Your… Read more »
Stacie
2 years 7 months ago

But I hardly think you would want to!

I agree with the specific mindset. This was true for me after struggling through the early winter and holiday season. Summer was fantastic–I was 90% primal and had some very specific athletic goals. I’ve been extremely frustrated over the last several months because it seemed like I didn’t have the willpower to remain primal or get back to primal a midst the darker days and holiday treats. Now I’m training for a triathlon and just like that I’ve focused back in and am doing and feeling great!

Kim
Kim
2 years 7 months ago
For the newly primal who are stuggling: I too would get so hungry as to fall off the primal wagon (and I’m a female in her 40s). I did this for a year and a half. I also had constant stomach distress. I thought it was fiber, so I decreased my vegetables and upped fat. I thought it was FODMAPs, so I eliminated those for awhile. I even tried GAPS – bone broth, probiotics and digestive enzymes. Finally, I sort of gave up, but still would not eat grains, beans or dairy (I’m lactose-intolerant) because of what I learned here.… Read more »
SumoFit
2 years 7 months ago

“What works for the masses might not always be best for the individual.”

Excellent point!

Krissy
Krissy
2 years 7 months ago
Thanks for this Kim… I’m 26 with IBS diagnosis since I was 14… I thought Primal would fix it but it seems to have coincided with some other underlying issues and I feel horrendous. Fatigued, pain, my hypermobility is worse (probably less inflammation but then conversely…) my IBS is worse too. At least my periods have come back which is a huge achievement but I’m baffled by all these talks of people feeling miraculously better. After years of distress I thought this would be my answer, but it just seems to cause flare ups! After my first go for 8… Read more »
AngelaT
2 years 7 months ago

I would definitely experiment–it sounds like you may need to work on healing your gut? Hopefully someone with more knowledge will chime in. I think the important take-away with primal is to experiment with real food to find what works for you (not going back to processed foods and chemicals)

Krissy
Krissy
2 years 7 months ago
I’ve been tested for everything under the sun (I got very very sick last year)… obviously all the doctors keep telling me is meds and grains… which I refuse to do. I don’t think I’ve eaten processed or packaged foods since I moved back from America in 2010 and I’ve kept myself away from meds (except one unfortunate round of apocalyptic antibiotics about 5 months ago). I shop organic and local from a farmer’s market and I’m fermenting things too… I promise I’m really trying! I think there might be quite a bit of hormone disruption and I’m terrible at… Read more »
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
2 years 7 months ago

Perhaps the issue is parasite related. Underground Wellness has a brief series with Paul Chek that talks about parasites and such. Dietary approaches, treatments, etc. Fascinating talk; that Paul Chek is a pretty “fun-gi”

Angela T
2 years 7 months ago

That’s why I like the Primal philosophy because it encourages finding what is optimal for you. I came across this and wondered if it might be relevant?

http://thesproutingseed.com/reason-your-elimination-diet-is-not-working/

Caite
Caite
2 years 7 months ago

Krissy, Have you checked out Stefani Ruper’s site:paleoforwomen? She does a great job discussing the differet and specific needs of women what with all our wonderfully craptastic hormones. And “at least my period came back”, which assumes you lost it for a time, suggests something that should surely be addressed. She has a flow chart of symptoms in her topic of PCOS (poly cystic ovary syndrome) that may be helpful to you,as loss of period is part of it.

colleen
colleen
2 years 7 months ago

Really think about gut healing. I have gluten allergy/intolerance, so taking that out helped a lot, but I was also having symptoms to everything. I started drinking lots of chicken bone broth and drinking kombucha every day. Even after just a couple of months it has made a huge difference. Everyone is different, keep trying. Probiotic supplements don’t seem to work as well for me, but the kombucha is a life saver. Make sure it has no added sugar. Ginger is great. Good luck. Heal yourself, get some energy, then worry about weight.

Deanna
Deanna
2 years 7 months ago
This. I started playing around with Primal back in 2009 and had some great success. While I was playing, it was fun, although I look back and realize that somewhere along the way I became the really obnoxious, judgmental born-again who thought 80/20 was weak but was gorging on frozen cookie dough behind closed doors. So healthy (not). In 2012, I stopped taking hormonal birth control and… Nothing… So I tried GAPS, I tried eliminating FODMAPS, I went zero carb for a week, I tried “safe starches,” blah blah blah. Over the holidays, I indulged, and I became so much… Read more »
Joe
Joe
2 years 7 months ago
I fell upon Marks website back in Oct. I lost 27lbs now have a six pack that I could never achieve even in my younger working out harder days. It was hard to figure out what to eat at first since I was use to just heating up premade food from a box. It took a bout 2 weeks. I started out eating a lot of of omelettes.i would also slice up a lot of veggies and dip them into humus or cream cheese. I work 12 to 14hrs a day as a truck driver come home and was spending… Read more »
Kathy S.
2 years 7 months ago
After going primal a year ago, and gently working on my husband for the past year to go primal as well (he hasn’t), I’ve learned that you just can’t flip that switch for another person. They have to decide for themselves that their health is so important to them that they’re willing to change deeply ingrained habits/routines, change their diet, change their daily schedule, and make recovering their health HAPPEN. If you like the taste of Girl Scout cookies more than you like sleeping through the night, and if you like pancakes more than you like being pain-free and having… Read more »
Susan
Susan
2 years 7 months ago

I don’t offer Primal to anyone, but to those who notice how I eat and live, ask about it, and then tell me why they can’t do this or that, I just say, “So don’t.” Other’s excuses aren’t my concern. They need to live with their choices.

Michelle
Michelle
2 years 7 months ago

I love how this way of eating makes me feel. I eat around 50 – 100gs of carbs a day and I have a very varied diet full of veg, a little fruit and lots of meat and good fat.

Thank you Mark for everything, you really have changed my life. I wish I had found you before I had my gastric sleeve op, but so glad I’ve found you now.

Thank you so very much.

Michelle

High Energy
High Energy
2 years 7 months ago
I’ve been Primal for 16 months and have seen the following improvements: No more sinus infections (used to get 2 per year). Toe fungus clearing up after having it for over a year (thought it was just all the running and sweating I was doing). Barely ever get headaches/migraines anymore Hoarseness of voice cleared No more sore throats Used to have cold fingers and toes all the time – not anymore! No more muscle cramping in the legs/calves! So – all that is GOOD! However … I’ve put on 9-11 lbs of FAT, yes FAT, not just “weight.” I’ve lost… Read more »
Erin
Erin
2 years 7 months ago

doesn’t hurt to experiment! it is clear high fat isn’t working, so try lowering the fat and more protein/starch.

Jade
Jade
2 years 7 months ago

I went Primal a year ago. I had huge issues with inflammation and was taking large amounts of ibuprofen just to get through the day. My hands, wrists, elbows, ankles and knees would ‘crackle’ when I moved and were sore and swollen.

Only days after giving up legumes, dairy and most importantly grains, the inflammation was totally GONE. I would be crazy to go back to the pain I lived with before.

Grok ON!

Grokesque
Grokesque
2 years 7 months ago

I started eating optimally over a year ago in the hope of losing weight. In this respect I have failed, however, I feel a million times better than I did a year ago. My weight is a symptom of imbalance in my body and I know I’m close to regaining balance and trust the weight will shift soon. For many people there seems to be a need for trial with different factors and this isn’t a quick fix, but it delivers. Thanks Mark.

granny gibson
granny gibson
2 years 7 months ago
Never say never. My husband, the sweet tooth, has an acquaintance who is Native American and they got into a conversation about diet. The friend is Paleo and gave him a glimpse of the benefits. Husband said “You sound just like my wife!” He shared it with me and we had a discussion. No sudden changes, but it might be a seed planted? At any rate, it took me off the Whacko list! 😉 I’m diabetic and contol it with diet. MDA is great for encouragement. I cook low-carb Paleo to the best of my knowledge and let hubby shop… Read more »
Craig
Craig
2 years 7 months ago
I’m new to this lifestyle. I still have bread a couple of times a week (I won’t give an excuse) but I am mostly primal. I love it, yet still feel deprived; why do the shinny boxes on the shelves of the markets full of sweets, chips and cookies look so good? I don’t want them, I just think about them because I can’t have them. If I eat any of that stuff now I have terrible stomach problems, great deterrent. I think the food industry has a lot to answer for and wish there was a primal market close… Read more »
James
2 years 7 months ago

Prior to going primal, I really thought I was going to keel over one day. I thought I was eating healthy (Food Pyramid) and doctors told me I just needed to go on blood pressure medication. Turns out, I had a severe gluten allergy. After going primal:
1. High Blood Pressure. GONE!!!
2. Dermatitis: GONE!!!
3. Asthma: GONE!!!
4. Joint Pain: GONE!!!
5. Stomach Issues: GONE!!!.
6. Insomnia: GONE!!!
7. Weight: At 6’3”, I’m holding at a steady 165-170. Lean and strong.

Going primal was the best decision I ever made.

Jemma
Jemma
2 years 7 months ago
I love reading MDA for info about all aspects of health, and I wish you luck in spreading your message of good health, but I have no intention of switching to a primal diet. Not because I don’t believe you when you say that it’s the best diet for good health, but because my health is not my only concern when it comes to diet. I choose to be mostly vegetarian because the sustainability of my diet is important to me and I think I can be almost as healthy eating this way. My diet certainly has more in common… Read more »
Paleo-curious
2 years 7 months ago
I’m glad to see a vegetarian with this point of view– I just recommended MDA to a vegetarian with autoimmune issues, & told her there was much she could learn here even without switching to a meat-eating protocol. I was vegetarian for many years & still don’t really have a “meat tooth” as my husband & sons do. I do eat meat now, but probably less than most folks here. What has changed most significantly for me is much more healthy fat in my diet, many more eggs, more calories, much less starch & sugar. Also much less chronic cardio!… Read more »
Challenge Mantra
2 years 7 months ago
Jemma, I was a vegetarian, too, and I still have the exact same concerns you do. I say do whatever feels right in your heart even if it’s never eating a bite of meat. I resented every time my husband asked me to read an article about the benefits of Paleo, but he asked me to read it with an open mind and because he was concerned for my health and the health of his parents (still lifelong vegetarians but his mom has had several undiagnosable issues since her late 20s). I agree with Paleo-curious that there are a lot… Read more »
Colleen
Colleen
2 years 7 months ago

It’s pretty simple for me:

Eat & move primal=feel great

Eat grains/sugar & lay around=feel bad

Not that it is always easy. Yesterday I caved in to a stressful situation and ate grains and sugar and felt like utter crap. A good lesson, learned again.

Today ate primal breakfast, walked, lifted, feel good.

Amber
2 years 7 months ago
I was lurking on all the Paleo websites for a while. I started to cut things out, but I was never very serious and didn’t see much in the results department. Then last January I finally decided to do a 21 day challenge and it was a revelation! Since then I’ve done 2 Whole30s and an 8 week Paleo challenge and I’m starting my next 30 day challenge on Monday! I still fall off the wagon time to time, but I always know I can get back on track with a good challenge. It’s so obviously that this lifestyle works… Read more »
Will
Will
2 years 7 months ago

Folks, it is sooooo worth it. 53 years old. Healthier than I’ve ever been, and loving the food. And yes, Whole30’s to reset are the bomb. In the middle of one right now. That, and following SimpleFit – and just loving life!

Colleen
Colleen
2 years 7 months ago

These are some things that have improved or disappeared by eating primally:

Fluid retention, bloated belly, achy joints, cracked heels, Hidradenitis suppurativa, constant irritation & angry outbursts, depression, lay on the floor tiredness, sore morning feet, terrible sleep, twitchy muscles, general itchiness, tinnitus, menstrual cramps, massive sugar cravings, anxiety, extreme salt sensitivity, constant hunger.

I used to take ibuprofen every day. I only take it a few times a month now.

Dan
Dan
2 years 7 months ago
Aaron, read the perfect health diet, it is a great book. Also I don’t think you need to justify wanting to eat rice because you want to gain weight. You can gain just as much weight if you stuff yourself with olive oil and avocado if you want. Eat what you love, and what feels right, I for one found out the hard way. To low carb for to long with my body type and activity level was a recipe for disaster. Find your own way, I think that is what this site is about anyway, not following along blindly… Read more »
RickC
RickC
2 years 7 months ago
I’ve been with the primal blueprint since March 2012 and have never looked back. I’m a 57 yr 5’10” male, and since the time I started down this path, the following results: lost 35 lbs – from 210 to 175 (maintained easily); all blood markers are excellent; no more acid reflux; and, no more joint pain – my knees and wrists used to bother me daily. Although, there are two problems with adopting this lifestyle: 1) you learn how to cook a lot better than with the SAD; and, 2) you spend a lot of money replacing all of your… Read more »
Madeleine
2 years 7 months ago
I was one of those dismissive types. I was a 80/20 vegan (never could completely give away that meat!). I thought the paleo/primal diet was a silly idea when I first heard about it, until I had a couple of “ah-ha” moments. I was doing a food diary and noticed how I felt/performed better after eating more protein. Then I heard about a study where the health issues of Australian Aboriginals were reversed after returning to their traditional diet. It started to make sense to me. I did a Whole 30 this time last year and have been paleo ever… Read more »
Deb
2 years 7 months ago

I am 63, female, and have been primal for 3 years. I had all kinds of problems with digestion, arthritis, etc. They are all gone and have been for almost 3 years. I attribute it to my lifestyle because nothing else I tried helped at all. Even medication!!! My doctor can’t believe it when I tell her the changes I made. Hopefully, everyone, if they would just give it a try, will see what I mean.

Allison
Allison
2 years 7 months ago
At 43: arthritis in hands and feet, gone. Exhaustion for three hours after lunch, gone. 20 pounds, gone (and still going). Constant sugar cravings, gone. Need to eat five or six times a day, gone. Huge stomach bloat, gone (I used to get asked when the baby was due every few months.) Plus, now I am on a very strict ketogenic diet for a cancer I am working to get rid of. I could never have transitioned to it as easily as I did if I hadn’t already been on a Primal diet for 18 months. I’m very grateful for… Read more »
cndnrose
cndnrose
2 years 7 months ago

Wow, I wish you luck and health on your journey

wildgrok
wildgrok
2 years 7 months ago
My experience with those “on the other side of the fence” is extensive: I have preached the gospel many times, but my conversion rate is ZERO. Now what I do is tell the people to talk to somebody else for illumination/conversion, because it is clear that there is some reason behind my record. But wait, I KNOW the reason: If you read the Iliad (or watched the Troy movie) you will recall Cassandra (daughter of Priamus, the king of Troy). Well, she was given by the gods the power of prophesy. But later the gods realized their mistake, they could… Read more »
Anna
Anna
2 years 7 months ago
Hello apples! To me, the very first trigger to the paleo diet was weight loss. I had tried many other diets, zone and dukan included, and they had had few effects. Bonus: they were boring, unpracticeable and there was no science supporting them. I was fascinated by the whole idea behind the paleo/primal diet: eating real food, choosing the quality, listening to my own body. More than everithing else, thou, was the fact that the theory was convincing. What I read made sense to me, there were studies to read, and I was convinced by the theory even before I… Read more »
Bill Zaspel
Bill Zaspel
2 years 7 months ago

Actions speak louder than words, so I’ve chosen to let my transformation speck for me. I am 20 days in and enjoying the journey. I know there are people close to me who will be astounded and ask how I made the change because they won’t be able to control their amazement.

JT
JT
2 years 7 months ago
If your on the fence, JUMP OFF AND JOIN THE TRIBE!! I beg you! I’ve been primal for about a year now and it’s literally cured my celiac symptoms. I had a lifetime of recurring canker sores (no longer!), dry skin, underweight, pain in knees etc. and that’s all behind me now (I’m almost 35). Now, life is full of long walks/hikes, barefooting everywhere, all the fatty, flavorful foods I can imagine (and bad cravings literally vanished), energy through the roof most of the time, 8% body fat, happier days, fun bodyweight workouts with no set schedule, more sprinting speed… Read more »
Marianne
Marianne
2 years 7 months ago
This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’d just given myself the “no more excuses” lecture this morning so am very grateful for today’s topic. I’ve been fairly Primal the last few years, but was slipping the second half of 2013 and into 2014. I absolutely know how much better I feel when more Primally focused, but sometimes when The Life Thing gets in the way I become scattered, and then, unfortunately, “feeling better” is just not a sufficient motivator. This time around I’ve decided to try some negative reinforcement rather than the promise of a reward–I’ve vowed… Read more »
Mark C.
2 years 7 months ago
I have been pseudo primal for the past month. I am not totally off SAD, but have cut WAY back from where I was. I am 30 and weighed my max last October, at 242 lb. I decided something HAD to change. My coworker told me about Primal and MDA and after an October test run (where I lost 6 lb before falling off), I am back at it, more motivated than ever, and enlisting the help of everyone around me that I can. Since Jan 2, I have lost 12 lb, twice as fast as I was aiming for… Read more »
Nack
Nack
2 years 7 months ago
i eat salads with “odd” greens and healthy meat at werk. i rave about putting bacon grease on everything (everything). i display an exaggerated countenance of disgust when somebody offers or recommends bread to me. (i use discretion with this one; i wouldn’t insult a baker so.) i lift with my hips, i do VitaMoves two or three times a shift in plain view of everybody. i live by example because it’s not pushy. When somebody decides to have a conversation with me, i listen to what they say and when i see they’re winding down i give a response… Read more »
BFBVince
2 years 7 months ago
Mark hits this pretty hard in this literature, blog post, etc. but most people don’t understand that they could feel so much better. They have lived with feeling ‘sub-par’ for so long it has become the norm. The primal lifestyle offers a new lease on life, a path to becoming the best you possible. 2 years primal and going strong. Many friends have joined in the journey and only hoping to recruit more. It feels so good when I see a friend start to get healthy again, lost weight, get their energy back, and start kicking a**.
Cathy Johnson (Kate)
2 years 7 months ago

71 years old here, and I’ll NEVER go back to conventional eating! No more heartburn/acid reflux, cholesterol normal, no more BP meds, lost 35 lbs effortlessly, mood swings are pretty much a thing of the past, I have LOTS of energy for an old girl, and I LOVE THE FOOD. I’ll have a bacon-wrapped steak with a huge salad, please…

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