So, you’ve decided to take up the challenge to go Primal or Primal-keto. Now what? First things first. You have to know the basics. If you’re new to the Primal Blueprint the following article will be one of your best resources. Revisit it again and again until you’ve committed the concepts to memory. The graphs and charts are visual representations of the principles that are at the core of the Primal health philosophy and give you a taste of what it is in my book, The Primal Blueprint.
You’ve defined the “what.” If your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, increase energy or just generally look and feel healthier these graphics explain the basics of the “how.”
The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve
What’ll It Be? The “Sweet Spot” or the “Danger Zone”?
Carbohydrate intake is often the decisive factor in weight loss success and prevention of widespread health problems like Metabolic Syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. These average daily intake levels assume that you are also getting sufficient protein and healthy fats, and are doing some amount of Primal exercise. The ranges in each zone account for individual metabolic differences.
0-50 grams per day: Ketosis and I.F. (Intermittent Fasting) zone. Excellent catalyst for rapid fat loss through I.F. Not recommended for prolonged periods (except in medically supervised programs for obese or Type 2 diabetics) due to unnecessary deprivation of plant foods.
50-100 grams per day: Sweet Spot for Weight Loss. Steadily drop excess body fat by minimizing insulin production. Enables 1-2 pounds per week of fat loss with satisfying, minimally restrictive meals.
100-150 grams per day: Primal Maintenance zone. Once you’ve arrived at your goal or ideal body composition, you can maintain it quite easily here while enjoying abundant vegetables, fruits and other Primal foods.
150-300 grams a day: Insidious Weight Gain zone. Most health conscious eaters and unsuccessful dieters end up here, due to frequent intake of sugar and grain products (breads, pastas, cereals, rice, potatoes – even whole grains). Despite trying to “do the right thing” (minimize fat, cut calories), people can still gain an average of 1.5 pounds of fat every year for decades.
300+ grams a day: Danger Zone of average American diet. All but the most extreme exercisers will tend to produce excessive insulin and store excessive fat over the years at this intake level. Increases risk for obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid
For effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and maximum longevity…
General Guidelines: 80% of body composition success is determined by diet. Limit processed carb intake (hence, insulin production), and obtain sufficient protein and fat to fuel and rebuild.
Protein: Average .7 – 1 gram per pound of lean body mass/day – depending on activity levels (more at times is fine).
Carbs: For keto eating—50 grams or less = keto adaptation and (generally speaking) quickest fat loss. For Primal eating—50-100 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss. 100-150 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance. Heavy exercisers can increase carb intake as needed to replace glycogen stores.
Fat: Enjoy freely but sensibly for balance of caloric needs and high dietary satisfaction levels.
Avoid Poisonous Things: Conventional Wisdom’s dietary guidelines promote fat storage, type 2 diabetes, inflammation and obesity!
Eliminate: Sugary foods and beverages, grains (wheat, corn, rice, pasta, breads, cereals, etc.), legumes (soy and other beans), trans and partially hydrogenated fats, high-risk conventional meat and produce, and excess PUFA’s (instead, increase omega-3 oils).
Modern Adjustments: Some modern foods that Grok didn’t eat can still be included in a healthy diet
Moderation: Certain high glycemic fruit, coffee, high-fat dairy products, starchy tuber vegetables, and wild rice.
Supplements: Multivitamin/mineral formula, probiotics, omega-3 fish oil and protein powder.
Herbs, spices and extracts: Offer many health benefits and enhance enjoyment of meals.
Sensible indulgences: Dark chocolate, moderate alcohol, high-fat treats.
The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid
For functional, diverse athletic ability, and a lean, proportioned physique…
Exercising according to the three Primal Blueprint Laws will optimize gene expression and promote Primal Fitness.
Law #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace strengthens the cardiovascular and immune systems, promotes efficient fat metabolism and gives you a strong base to handle more intense workouts.
Law: #4: Lift Heavy Things stimulates lean muscle development, improves organ reserve, accelerates fat loss, and increases energy.
Law #5: Sprint Once in a While stimulates the production of HGH and testosterone, which help improve overall fitness and delay the aging process – without the burnout risk of excessive prolonged workouts.
The Conventional Wisdom approach to fitness is clearly not working! Stress is excessive, weight loss goals are compromised, and many are misguided to pursue narrow fitness goals that are unhealthy.
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.