Things are going pretty smoothly in the House of Korg. At this point, the whole family’s got the dietary stuff locked in. They know what to eat, what not to eat, and it’s no longer a struggle. The low-carb flu has come and gone, the once-tempting foods frankly look kinda disgusting and downright unappealing. Son Kenny’s happily eating meat, Ken’s continuing to slim down, and Kelly no longer carries a feed bag to support her snacking habit.
The pantry has finally been purged. It was a big job, one Ken began immediately after that first chat with Valentina but only just finished because he had run out of garbage bags for all the old food (their pantry is a walk-in and just massive). When all was said and done, the food bank walked away with six hefty bags full of supplies and the Korgs had almost 100 square feet of empty space. Since Ken’s pantry replacements – canned seafood, coconut and olive oil, a big jerky stash, dark chocolate, loose leaf tea, coffee, and a small bag of rice for Kelly’s cardio carb-ups – only filled a couple shelves, the family has started using it for fitness equipment storage.
Speaking of fitness equipment, they’re amassing quite an arsenal between the three of ’em. Last week, Kelly happened to go for a quick lunchtime jog while wearing ballet flats. It was the first time she had run in something that wasn’t a high-tech running shoe with a big heel raise, and it was the first time she had run without her knee giving her trouble. Fascinated by the apparent connection between heel height and knee pain, Kelly decided to pick up a pair of Vibram Fivefingers to test. Fast forward a week and a half and Kelly has a half dozen pairs in every color and style stashed in the pantry; the VFFs apparently passed the test.
Ken and Kenny spend every Saturday together cooking up designs for unconventional, homemade workout equipment. So far, they have six slosh tubes of varying length, weight, and diameter; four medicine balls, made from basketballs and volleyballs; two big army duffel bags full of smaller sandbags, totaling up to 140 pounds each; rocks of various sizes, shapes, and weights; and a couple Bulgarian training bags made from tire inner tubes full of sand. It’s the classic father-and-son bonding experience with a weird Primal twist. Kenny’s your standard teenager, so he’s enjoying the time with his dad but not really appreciating the depth of the experience (you can’t really expect him to), but Ken? Man, Ken’s a sentimental mess. Every Sunday night in bed, he gets a little teary-eyed telling Kelly about his time with Kenny, the successes, the setbacks, the footrace/wrestling match they got into on the beach while gathering sand for the Bulgarian bag, the genuine enthusiasm in Kenny’s voice as he describes a new way to tweak the slosh tube design. It reminds him of when Kenny was a wide-eyed four year-old and the world and everything in it was new to him and Ken was the coolest, funniest tour guide in it.
Speaking of being in bed with Kelly, that’s another much-improved area. And not just the sex (which is fantastic), but the entire bedtime ritual is better. The dulling blue glare of the the plasma screen at the foot of the bed is gone, the TV disconnected. So when they turn in for the night, Ken and Kelly talk about their days, laugh, joke, and play around with each other rather than watch other people have fun, make witty comments, and live incredible lives onscreen. It isn’t glamorous or exciting, but it’s nice. And it’s certainly real.
This past week, Ken is realizing that the big secret of going Primal is that it’s really not about changes to diet, fitness, or what supplements one takes in order to “mitigate stress.” It’s not about hacking yourself, constantly striving to improve this or that micronutrient status or tweaking things until you finally figure out the minimally effective dose of sun/squats/sleep. Those are just tools to an end; they’re not the goal itself. The goal is getting to a state of flow, where everything just happens, where you make good food decisions without thinking or stressing, where you head outside for a hike not just for the forest bathing benefits but for the fact that walking around in the great outdoors is awesome, where it’s all internalized and regular so you can focus on the important stuff – family, friends, experiences, moments, love – without all the clutter getting in the way.
Those kind of subtle changes are the most monumental results of going Primal, even if they’d never be touted on the cover of a diet book. “Have more meaningful interpersonal relations with loved ones!” just doesn’t pop, ya know? But it’s the truth. And the Korgs are learning it.
Tell me about your path, your Primal story. What have you learned? What’s been hardest? Did the story of the Korgs ring any bells? Have you reached a state of flow?
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.