Greetings, readers! I’ve been so heartened over the past year with the great response to the book Two Meals A Day, which we launched in March, 2021. It’s particularly interesting to note how many new people have been welcomed into the fold of ancestral living via the portal of a mainstream-appeal book about healthy living. My writing partner Brad Kearns and I intended for this book to reach a broader audience outside the existing spheres of Primal/paleo and keto, so we placed the focus on ditching processed foods, emphasizing nutrient-dense ancestral foods, and eating less frequently—pretty simple! We’ve received great comments from readers who then discovered Marks Daily Apple, the many Primal Blueprint book titles, and generally became further captivated by Primal living.
It was also great to hear from many die-hard followers about how this book tied many insights and nuances of Primal living together nicely. It has become a popular gift for family and friends to gently introduce a new and sustainable way of ancestral-inspired eating and living.
Buoyed by this success, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Two Meals A Day Cookbook, filled with over 100 delicious recipes of incredible variety to appeal to a broad audience.
Introducing The Two Meals A Day Cookbook: Mouthwatering Recipes Plus a Great Overview of the Lifestyle
In addition to more than 100 fantastic recipes, the Two Meals A Day Cookbook also contains nine action items that will get you focused and inspired to take immediate action toward your goals, inspired by the original Two Meals A Day book. In this post, I’ll give you a quick overview of this juicy section titled, “Nine Steps To Success With Two Meals A Day.”
The Two Meals A Day Cookbook is available for pre-order at your favorite booksellers. Please visit TwoMealsADaybook.com to take advantage of some great pre-order bonus items, including discounts on Primal Kitchen products, an audio summary of the Two Meals A Day lifestyle, and a sneak peek of some of the great recipes. Just place your pre-order with your favorite bookseller and register for the bonus items at TwoMealsADaybook.com.
Nine Steps to Success with Two Meals A Day
Over the past 16 years at Marks Daily Apple, it’s been an extreme pleasure to interact with you on a deep level to explore all aspects of Primal living. I encourage you to read Two Meals A Day to enjoy a comprehensive presentation on all aspects of healthful eating and complementary lifestyle practices, but I believe you can get the essence of this way of life by carefully reviewing and “owning” the following nine compelling tenants from the book.
These are each covered in detail in the new cookbook, so here is a little teaser to enjoy for now:
DITCH THE “BIG THREE” OFFENSIVE MODERN FOODS
The most important and urgent dietary modification is to eliminate what we call the “Big Three” problematic modern foods: refined sugars, grains, and industrial seed oils. You will find these offensive ingredients in most packaged, processed, and frozen foods in the supermarket, and in most convenience store and fast-food offerings.
You can experience an amazing health transformation from eliminating these foods that inhibit the burning of body fat and promote carbohydrate dependency, insulin resistance, inflammation, and type 2 diabetes. Cleaning up your diet is the mandatory first step to escaping epidemic disease patterns and unlocking your genetic ability to preferentially burn fat for fuel. Don’t pass Go and don’t bother with any other details until you clean up your diet.
EMPHASIZE ANCESTRAL FOODS
Go Primal! While I strongly support personal preference as the driving force in your dietary choices, we must always honor our genetic expectations for health and choose from the natural plant and animal foods that fueled human evolution for 2.5 million years: meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, and of course the Primal-approved healthful modern foods, including organic high-fat dairy products and high-cacao-percentage bean-to-bar dark chocolate. From this broad list, you can certainly exclude foods you don’t enjoy and emphasize foods and meals that you have discovered work well for you. It’s important to choose wisely in each category, and this is possible even on a budget. To prioritize the most nutrient-dense foods from the Primal list, download Brad’s handy “Carnivore Scores Food Rankings Chart.” You’ll notice things like grass-fed liver, sardines and other oily, cold water fish, pastured eggs, and other budget-friendly items at the top of the rankings!
WHEN YOU EAT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT YOU EAT
Today’s epidemic rates of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, and all other diet-related diseases and dysfunctions are driven by eating too much of the wrong foods, too often. We’ve all heard plenty of commentary about the hazards of junk food and the wonders of nutritious food, but not enough attention is paid to eating frequency. When we eat and snack throughout our waking hours (even when taking care to consume nutritious foods), we can still inhibit fat burning and fat loss, promote systemic inflammation, overproduce insulin, and dysregulate important hormonal functions.
Of course, we need calories to fuel our bodies for busy days and ambitious workouts, but we have forgotten our magnificent, genetically hardwired ability to store, manufacture, and burn various forms of energy to enjoy active, productive lifestyles. Homo sapiens possess what I like to call “closed-loop functionality.” We can maintain steady energy and alertness all day long, regardless of the type of calories we ingest or how frequently we ingest them. These mechanisms evolved by necessity to survive the rigors of primal life, when there was no guarantee of a “next meal.”
The idea with Two Meals A Day is to naturally and gracefully progress from whatever your starting point is—without any pain, struggle, sacrifice, or deprivation—to enjoying a maximum of two nutritious meals a day with little or no snacking. While my typical daily pattern involves a midday lunch and an evening meal, there are many days where I’ll have only one major meal, paired with an extended fast or a mini-meal at another time of day. This strategy is especially effective when traveling, as I believe fasting during the journey and then immediately synching your meals to your new time zone is a fantastic strategy to beat jet lag.
DO IT THE RIGHT WAY
The comprehensive health benefits and fat loss potential of eating two meals a day is only possible when you are able to burn stored body fat effectively. If you try to jump into aggressive fasting or carb restriction efforts without first establishing the ability to burn stored body fat, you are going to struggle royally and trigger a prolonged fight-or-flight reaction. Eventually, you’ll experience the backsliding and burnout that are so common with ill-advised crash diets. Hence, it’s essential to proceed step-by-step toward metabolic flexibility; adopt a comprehensive lifestyle approach with attention to fitness, sleep, and stress management; and never take on any challenges that make you feel fatigued, frustrated, or discouraged.
A safe and effective way to hone skills of fasting and metabolic flexibility is to simply wait until WHEN (when hunger ensues naturally) to eat your break-fast meal every day. This takes the pressure off having to reach arbitrary mealtime goals, such as the more advanced 16:8 strategy. Even more importantly, the WHEN strategy will reestablish your long-lost hunger and satiety signals, which have been compromised by overeating and the regimented meal patterns that have become cultural norms.
GET YOUR MIND RIGHT
It’s easy to get frustrated, confused, and discouraged when pursuing diet and fitness goals with the typical “struggle and suffer” approach. It’s time to eliminate and reframe self-limiting beliefs, forgive yourself for past failures, and form an empowering new mindset that you deserve exceptional health and the body that you dream of. Believing this deeply (and reaffirming it regularly through journaling, positive affirmations, and making healthy choices) will help you stay focused and leverage small successes into long-term habits.
Strive to appreciate the process and not become overly fixated on results. Changes will come naturally when you feed and care for your body at the highest possible standards of health. If you notice old destructive thoughts and behavior patterns creeping into the picture, you can gently take control of your thoughts and emotions instead of panicking and backsliding.
FOLLOW A FAT-BURNING LIFESTYLE
Healthy eating is only one piece of the big picture. Complementary lifestyle habits can make or break your efforts toward dietary transformation. We have a critical need not only to optimize sleep but to constantly balance stressful daily life with sufficient recovery and down time. The most urgent objective is to minimize artificial light and electronic stimulation after dark. Cultivate calm, dark, mellow evenings so you can transition gracefully into a good night’s sleep. It’s also important to discipline your use of technology to achieve regular downtime from hyperconnectivity. This will allow your brain to refresh and refocus on peak cognitive tasks and renew your appreciation for live social interaction and the simple pleasures of life such as appreciating nature.
On the topic of recovery, devoted fitness enthusiasts must take care to avoid even the slightest whiff of chronic exercise patterns. Emphasize cardio workouts in the aerobic zone, make your high-intensity sessions explosive, precise in technique, and brief in duration. Increase all forms of general everyday movement, including the microworkouts that can be so helpful for dietary transformation and fat reduction.
INCREASE GENERAL EVERYDAY MOVEMENT
Increasing all forms of general everyday movement, especially taking breaks from prolonged periods of stillness, is just as important as following a devoted workout regimen. Calories burned during workouts don’t contribute to fat loss as much as we’d like to believe, but moving throughout the day prompts the genetic signaling for fat burning and appetite regulation. Walking should be the central focus of your movement activity, and you can also engage in dynamic stretching, calisthenics, briefs burst of explosive exercise (microworkouts), and formal movement practices such as yoga, Pilates, and tai chi.
Please don’t feel intimidated by another “to-do list” item of taking long walks or other prolonged cardio sessions to meet a movement quota. A few minutes here and there add up to huge benefits, especially as it relates to getting up from stints at your desk or on the couch. Similarly, while a yoga class can be a blissfully immersive mind and body experience, doing short pose sequences here and there on days when you’re pressed for time can augment your formal classes.
CONDUCT BRIEF, EXPLOSIVE WORKOUTS
Traditional fitness programming tends toward excessive and overly stressful steady-state cardio exercise, or the popular but often exhausting High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) protocol. Research is conclusive that challenging your body with occasional brief, explosive, all-out efforts of resistance exercises or sprints delivers phenomenal fitness benefits. This is the missing link for many devoted fitness enthusiasts!
The trick is to challenge your body with maximum efforts that elicit temporary muscular failure. This will prompt profound genetic signaling to become stronger, faster, leaner, and more resilient. While there are numerous benefits to leading an active lifestyle featuring assorted forms of exercise, you will get vastly more return on investment when you go hard once in a while.
Limit your all-out efforts to less than ten seconds so you can achieve maximum force production throughout the sprint down the track or during a set of aggressive kettlebell swings. Then, take extensive recovery time between efforts—at least a 6:1 rest-to-work ratio (10 seconds of work pairs with 1 minute of rest). While adding explosive workouts is critical to your success, you must also take extra care to avoid overtaxing yourself during these sessions. If you experience recurring muscle soreness after tough sessions, dial everything back a few notches so you don’t have to routinely allocate extra resources to repairing muscle damage.
PURSUE BIG BREAKTHROUGHS!
After you have done the hard work to ditch the Big Three toxic modern foods, emphasize nutrient-dense ancestral foods, and adopt the complementary lifestyle behaviors of excellent sleep, frequent movement, high-intensity workouts, and rest and recovery, you are poised to pursue ambitious body composition and performance goals. Advanced techniques can be very effective when you want to take those often-difficult incremental gains from good to great. To drop excess body fat and keep it off, you need to shock your body with occasional stressors that are brief and deliver a net adaptive benefit. The book contains helpful instructions to put into action things like extended fasting, fasted workouts, sprinting (“Nothing cuts you up like sprinting” is one of my favorite quips ever), and therapeutic cold exposure (watch Brad’s “Chest Freezer Cold Therapy” video for more details).
Remember, you can get a great kit of pre-order bonus items at TwoMealsADayBook.com. Order your copy from your favorite bookseller (links are provided at website) and then complete the bonus item form for instant access to these digital gifts, including a discount code to use when ordering your favorite Primal Kitchen products!
About the Author
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.