Midpoint Check-In: The Power of Community (Plus a Simple Comment Contest)

CommunityWith all the action around here, it’s amazing to me we’re already at the midpoint of the 21-Day Challenge! The flood of feedback, comments and contest participation has been awesome, and it’s all a reminder of how great a community this is. It never ceases to amaze me actually just how positive a group we have. Seriously, in all the blogosphere, I’ve never stumbled upon anything like it, and I have people tell me as much all the time. Sure, the growth and engagement that all the web number crunchers measure are stellar, but I’m talking deeper than that. I mean the genuine support that is shared here.

From day one of this blog (hands for how many of you were with us way back in 2006!), it’s been the case. People want to help people. There’s great conversation and healthy challenge on the boards, but the spirit of exchange is impressively constructive. Readers themselves have told me how much that collective energy impacts them – how they’ve tapped into it to get them through rough patches or to help motivate them toward bigger visions of thriving and transformation.

The fact is, it’s all too easy to isolate and live with the misguided view that we have to do it all alone – that we should do it all independently. Sure, maybe some of us can conceivably get to our goal without the support, guidance, sharing, etc. But why would we? What are we trying to prove to ourselves? Some people find it noble, but I think it’s just unnecessary. There’s something small and surrendered about the self-contained approach. The fact is, when you open yourself and your process to others, your view of that process and your vision of what’s possible become more expansive.

Likewise, when you’re feeling discouraged because of a setback or crisis of confidence, others can hold that promise for you. They can be the mirror for you. You may not be able to envision great progress on certain days, but seeing it in others – and imagining it for others as you encourage fellow readers on their paths – makes your own possibility of success feel less remote. A community holds optimism – and wisdom – collectively.

On that note, how goes the journey? What is everyone up to – trying, cooking, lifting, feeling, enjoying etc.? I want to encourage each and every one of you out there to interact today (and every day would be cool, too) on the comment board. In fact, it’s the focus of today’s Contest….

Epic BarsThe Prize:

The EPIC bar is a 100% grass fed animal based protein bar. It’s paleo friendly, gluten free, and low in sugar. The names of their bars alone leave the mouth watering: How about a Bison Bacon Cranberry bar, a Beef Habanero Cherry bar, or a Turkey Almond Cranberry bar? Yes, please. To all three, thank you very much.

Catch EPIC bar on Facebook.

The lucky winner of this contest will win 3 boxes of EPIC bars plus an EPIC bar t-shirt. Retail value: $125.

BONUS: Use the code EPICHEARTSMARK at EpicBar.com and get free shipping on your order. Valid for five days.

The Contest:

Leave a comment on the board about what you’ve struggled with lately in the Challenge, and/or give your advice to others. Share your anecdotes, stumbles, questions and successes. Share the totally random and nagging craving you’re having, the annoying vestiges of low-carb flu, the odd sleep disturbances or dream patterns (not unheard of), the strangest comments you’ve gotten from various people, the hardest part in the process so far.

Likewise, offer your suggestions and encouragement to others. What strategies did you use to kick cravings? How did you motivate yourself to exercise on days you were tired and it was raining buckets outside? What did you tell naysayers that seemed to get them off your back? If another reader has a struggle or a question and you have an answer–go for it! A winner will be randomly selected from all the comments.

So, there you go! Throw in your questions and responses, and see the support of the MDA community at full throttle! I’m looking forward to reading how everyone is doing and what comes of all the great community feedback. Thanks for stopping in today, everybody. Here’s to an even more amazing and successful second half of the Challenge!

The Deadline:

September 26, midnight PDT.

Who is Eligible:

U.S. residents only for this one. Sorry international readers!

How the Winner Will Be Determined:

A winner will be randomly selected.

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.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

387 thoughts on “Midpoint Check-In: The Power of Community (Plus a Simple Comment Contest)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. One of the coolest benefits of all these contest is being introduced to these great new products!

    Going to have to check out those epic bars.

    1. My family has been a challenge, too. When I started primal 2 months ago, my mother was on board, was understanding everything I was sharing with her, losing weight, feeling better and excited about it. My stepfather is not on board, and I catch him putting things like instant gravy mix into our food and trying to pass it off as “spice mix”. When I pointed out that corn starch was the first item on the ingredients list he got angry and mother told me to stop being “difficult”.

      1. That stinks, Marie. Since your mom was on board and understanding can you get her to help rid the kitchen of anything that y’all shouldn’t be eating? That way your stepfather won’t have anything in the house he can use to sabotage your efforts?

      2. I share your difficulty. I go in and out of Paleo phases and my wife thinks I’m crazy. She gets frustrated at the fact that I’m “giving up so much goodness” in the form of carbs.

    2. I found MDA about 1.5 years ago, and it changed everything for me. After making changes to my diet, sleep habits, and attempting more play, my life has become more serene, healthy, and above all less stressful. Like so many others here I struggle watching my family essentially crash and burn. My parents are in their mid-50’s both struggling with extra weight. I can see all the side effects of system wide inflammation in both of them, and while they did make the attempt at primal eating they were unable to stick with it. I wish I could be there for a month, just to prepare meals, exercise with them, and allow them to experience the full benefits of paleo-living. I still struggle mostly with sweets, as I have always been a proponent of dessert first ;P but my own biggest challenge is having paleo friends in real life. I live in a tiny town in South Texas, and while I’m sure there are a few of us lurking out here it’s exceedingly difficult to find others without having to head to the next big town. This makes the online community extra special and important to me, especially the success stories. That’s my go-to place when I need motivation or inspiration. I’m also really excited about the paleo certification course as I work at the local health and fitness club, which affords me ample opportunities to try and tell people what the paleo-lifestyle entails. So- to everyone online- Thanks! And double thanks to those brave and adventurous enough to share their success stories!

    3. I sell EPIC bars in my office. I eat them all the time. They are excellent. My only issue is I wish they had MORE than 12 g of fat. Lol. The Bison is the best IMO, but everyone seems to like different ones for different reasons.

  2. The hardest part about eating primal-y for me is the fact that I can’t really share it with my family. The logic behind it is sound, but to try and proselytize it makes me feel and appear pretentious and overbearing to people who don’t really want to change their lifestyle much. What sucks is that my family are unhealthy, and this will have an impact on their lives in the long run. This is a conflict that I can’t really resolve, except to hope that it all works out for everyone.

    1. Except it doesn’t really work out, they get sicker and you don’t. Even sharing the info won’t matter unless they want to change (which you said they don’t). Sometimes I try to fight the situation and sometimes I try to come to peace with it but it is difficult to see people you love in a slow (or sometimes fast) decline.

    2. Yes, I’m in the same boat. It’s true: You can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. In the mean time, I will keep showing the water to the horse so to speak, (In a kind, humble way) and rest easy knowing I let them know. The decision is each individual’s responsibility. (Though with a blog like this, once said decision is made you are definitely not alone! 🙂

    3. That is a challenge, and in my experience (almost a year primal) it doesn’t go away. You want to help, but you don’t want to preach. The closer the people are to you the harder it is to watch them do nothing. My step father has already had a heart attack and is now a type II diabetic. I desperately want to help but all I can do is be there when he is willing to change- people hate being preached to, even if they need it.

      As for talking about it to folks I’m not close to, I usually start by telling them what they have to give up – it makes for a short conversation. If they are still around after I tell them they have to give up beer, pasta, breads and most things in a cellophane wrapper, I will give them as much info as they express a desire to receive.

      1. The biggest advice that someone gave me about going primal is don’t be an A** hole. If you go out to a party, event, or friends house and they have non primal food, just eat small portions. Don’t be one of those guys that say “I cant eat that” or “I don’t eat that”. I have a couple vegan friends and it is very difficult to cook for them. One meal is not going to kill you or set you back that much.

        1. I hear you. “I can’t eat that” is annoying. But I think the better way to not be an A**hole is to be okay with not eating, or bring something to share that you can eat. Its a slippery slope to eat small portions of things that aren’t healthy. If you go out a lot, its not just one meal–its several meals. And then you’re back to SAD pretty quickly…

        2. Hmmm… would you do the same if you were a vegetarian? Just eat a little bit of meat?

          I think this goes both ways. When I have eaten “just a little bit”, it sends a message that you’re not that serious / bothered about it; and next time they just roll out the pasta. On the occasions when I have, politely, stuck to my guns, next time they make the effort to be a better host.

          After all, it’s not you are who on the diet (we just eat real food); they are on the SAD.

        3. Exactly – there is a slippery slope – especially in family and friends perceptions. I can imagine that mine would say things like – well you ate ____ (fill in the food – dairy, grains, sugar, etc) at that party, why not at home or why not at my house? or why not at Thanksgiving dinner?
          They (and I) do better with firm lines – even at parties. I bring food that I can eat to events and don’t expect others to feed me. People have been surprisingly understanding about it, and because I am consistent (even on vacation and at parties) no one pressures me (at any time) to eat non-paleo. I just tell folks I “feel better when I dont eat ____ (insert food item)”. Bear in mind, I also have varying degrees of sensitivity to several non-paleo foods – eating them has literally painful physical consequences. Even eating a “little bit” of some of them is not fun. A fair number of people who are paleo or primal have similar food issues and for them, avoiding (short-term) pain, and discomfort and (long-term) ill-health is not being an a**hole. It is taking care of oneself, and once they understood how much it has helped me, my friends and family have been really great about it.

      2. my grandfather is a type two diabetic and he has changed decently. I finally convinced him by showing him MDA articles relevant to diabetes and asking him to do the diet for just three weeks. At the the end, he checked his blood sugar and was impressed, and I had only really gotten him to half ass it. I think asking them to try it for a specific amount of time, and then you’ll never bother them about it again is the best deal, because they think of how happy they will be to stop hearing it. then they feel great and change their mind

      3. Here’s something I’ve found useful in engaging with others about the primal way – don’t start by telling them what they have to give up or deny themselves, instead focus on what they’ll be giving to themselves, like the gift of more energy . . . better sleep. . . more receptive tastebuds . . .time to play . . . less stress . . . overall feeling of well-being . . . increased libido (ahem, certainly one of the best outcomes of about 6 months on the primal path for this perimenopausal chick! I totally got my bloke on board with that one!)

    4. Maybe they’ll end up sick enough to want to change their diets. If that ever happens you will be a wonderful resource for them, and there will be much opportunity for you to help. Until that day (if that day comes) let Love guide your desires rather than fear.
      You know, instead of worrying about them eating big macs, offer to make dinner for them now and again, promising a tasty Primal dish. And if they want to eat frozen garlic bread with your spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs? Let ’em. Love ’em. Hell, eat a slice yourself.

    5. You couldn’t have said it better :D. You would want nothing more but to see your family become healthier and happier through Primal living, but there always seems to be an invisible ego barrier(sometimes rather large, yet still invisible). If I could say anything to you, I would have to tell you to just stay strong. People will notice, appreciate, and respect your consistency with Primal living and they may in fact be indirectly affected by it. My Dad was always skeptical about my eating and health habits. But I think he saw the change in my life and the path it lead me down. I can proudly say that he has now adopted a Paleo diet and has already lost 35 Lbs! I guess in the end, words can only take you so far; it’s your actions that really change lives.

      1. Great post and I would have to agree. I have already seen a notice difference and exited to see what the next few months bring. Along that note, I have worked really hard to lose weight and get healthier and am finally doing it by going primal. My sister on the other hand, has gone the other extreme and opted in for a gastric removal (not really sure what it is called). She has lost weight but now has a 1/3 of her original stomach. I hope my example will rub off on the remainder of my family so they do not take that drastic measures.

        1. I really wish people would stop agreeing to those types of elective surgeries and docs would stop performing them. They do more harm than good. Totally ineffective! You still won’t be able to keep the weight off if you are still eating crap. The only thing those surgeries do is keep you from eating large amounts of food in one sitting. But that doesn’t mean you will be hungry again an hour later.

        2. I have seen some people who have the surgery return being overweight. If you don’t change what goes in, there isn’t much sense to make your stomach smaller, you will still get heavy, it’ll just take more work since you have to eat in little meals every hour.
          I tell people I eat mostly good fat and meat and veggies. If they like how that sounds they ask more questions. I stress that the only fats I eat are the healthy ones like GF butter, lard, coconut oil. I found that a lot of people who are overweight like the sound of that.

    6. I think many of us struggle with this same issue. For me, I’ll be coming up on 5 years primal in January. My family knows what I eat and don’t eat, but they’ll be damned if they go against conventional wisdom and follow suit. It’s tough watching them struggle with health issues and not see the correlation between that and their diet…or stress level, for that matter. I’ve tried to get them to change, but ultimately that change is not up to me. I’ve told myself many, many, many times that I just need to enjoy every bit of them for who they are and leave it at that, but it’s tough to sit and watch. Ironically, a couple of co-workers have started to change their ways after seeing what I eat and some good conversations…. go figure!

    7. Agreed – not being able to convince others in my family and friend circles has been the hardest part for me. I’m 3 years primal, and I’ve had to learn to zip my lip in many social situations. Still, I’m always watchful for that right moment!

      Second hardest is not having someone close who is “all-in” and as enthusiastic as me. It would be nice to be able to speak freely and share information regularly on the subject.

    8. AUB, it is difficult to share with family sometimes but you must let them find their own way. You can continue to share the info and they will notice the changes in you ~ you will be the visible example. Also, adopt a new “family” within the primal community so that you have someone to share your healthy lifestyle. Don’t let your family cause you to fall back on your own progress. Keep smiling! 🙂

  3. My biggest challenge during this challenge is eating liver….I tried making ramaki the other night and loved the bacon, water chestnuts and pineapple but the liver was just not easy for me to swallow, literally. Any other recipes, suggestions,please?

    1. Kara, my neighbor, who is also conveniently primal and has been for a while, give me an idea when I had the same complaint. She suggested mixing ground liver with grassfed hamburger and cooking it up as a patty. I thought this made sense. Haven’t tried it, but maybe wrapped in a piece of nitrate free bacon, it would be pretty darn palatable.

    2. If you can find lamb liver, give it a try. I had some last night with the onion gravy form the primal sauces and seasonings book. It was great – not really livery like beef liver can be. I also let the pieces of liver sit in a bowl with lemon juice for a half hour before cooking.

      Also, be careful not to overcook the liver. This leads to the off tastes most people associate with liver.

    3. For chicken livers I like to finish them with a pat of butter, and season them with granulated or chopped fresh garlic, Thyme and Sage. This adds some great flavors.

    4. The only way I can eat it is making it into liver pate. If you can get someone else to make it, all the better. Then spread the pate on whatever or eat it with eggs or whatever else you can imagine. I top the pate with hot sauce right before I eat it. Easy to find recipes on the web. Just enter Primal liver pate and some recipes will come up. Chicken liver is milder than beef but either works. Don’t over cook the liver and soaking the beef liver in milk (not sure how long) is supposed to make it taste better although I haven’t tried that yet. You can make a big batch and freeze it in serving portions.

    5. I’m not a fan of the texture or flavor of beef liver myself. My friend cooked some liver and onions and I tried it because it quite literally had been decades since the last time I had tried. Same effect. So I added a fair amount of feta cheese. Now of course, the choice to do this all depends on your desire to eliminate/reduce dairy or to restrict dairy to certain types, etc. However, my lesson was that as strongly as liver is flavored, having something equally potent in flavor seemed to be a great counter. It turned out that feta even helped with the texture. However, it still wouldn’t be my first meal of choice. Good luck!

    6. I grind up the liver and mix it with hamburger at a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio. Then, I fry it up and put it in spaghetti sauce. The spaghetti sauce camouflages the taste of the liver. For a truly primal spaghetti, use zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) or spaghetti squash noodles instead of pasta. Yum!

    7. My liver recipe that makes my eyes roll to the back of my head:

      Slowly sautee white onion, sage, butter until sweet and sticky. Add chopped dried cranberries, s&p, and a hearty squeeze of orange juice. Add a good sploosh of sweet balsamic and scrape up all the sticky bits. Set aside.
      Put the pan at med-high, shove another knob of butter in. Sautee liver slices ’til they look like a beautiful steak (golden brown with a few dark edges). Rest (the liver). Deglaze with water and pour over resting liver. More butter. Sautee chopped almonds for a few seconds in the butter, then add kale.
      Then either toss onion mix and kale together like a salad and top with liver, or serve kale as a side with liver topped with the onion ‘compote’.

      I like it anyway!

  4. I’m doing a Whole 30 at the same time as this 21-Day Challenge. I find it easier to refuse the “20-percent” just by being committed to the Whole 30. When I have to explain my “no thanks” to non-paleo people, I just tell them I’m in a nutrition contest. If they’re interested, I’ll tell them more. I found that just saying “I’m in a contest” stops the oh-just-one or it-won’t-hurt-you comments. I actually had a coworker bring me a cucumber from her garden on the day she also brought a box of doughnuts to share!

    1. I totally agree with you!! Having a “no cheat” mentality is easier for me than trying to do an 80/20 split. That’s really kind of your coworker! I went to a friend’s mom’s house for lunch the other day, and my friend just told her “Carrie only eats meats and veggies”… so she made grilled chicken, a big salad (and a bottle of olive oil on the side), and sides of cooked carrots and asparagus. It was perfect! I think people are generally respectful and helpful when you tell them you’re doing your best to eat well.

    2. I think I need to do this, too! I am struggling with sugar cravings. I have been mostly primal for a while and find it easy to avoid grains, but my 20% is usually pure sugar and it is far too easy for it to grow beyond 20%. Giving it up entirely for a while will help me re-set those sugar receptors and push me back towards fat-burning. I work at home so I don’t usually have to worry about my food choices, and while the CaveMan is anything but primal, he does most of the cooking and is totally supportive of my choices. He certainly loves the slimmer, more energetic me!

      I love the “I’m in a contest!” reply. Mmmmm! Homegrown cukes!

      1. My favorite recipes for my sugar crazing or paleo date balls. There are a lot of varieties out there but they really do get you that sugar “high” naturally. Add protein powder to the mix and now they are packed with protein.

    3. “I just tell them I’m in a nutrition contest.”

      I am totally stealing this line. Thanks.

  5. One of the greatest and strangest things I’ve noticed since I started this contest is my ability to dream during sleep. A couple of nights ago, I had a dream about a large, gopher-like animal with a bright, colorful feather tail. It was awesome! I am so thankful for Mark and this Web site; they have caused me to feel more hope than I have felt in a very long time. Thank you!

    1. Just LOL’ed. That’s a pretty primal dream – I picture you creeping through the woods, following said creature with a giant spear!

  6. I have been waking up in the middle of the night for days straight craving a big bowl of vanilla ice cream. Yesterday I found a Paleo recipe for coconut milk ice cream, which I am making ASAP!!!! Ice cream has been my lifelong struggle!

    1. I totally agree! Ice cream is my main craving/struggle as well. I wish I could offer some advice as to how I get through this craving, but it is sticking with me and I’ve been Primal for over a year. Hope the coconut milk ice cream works!

    2. Ice cream was always my struggle. Coconut milk ice cream is good, but frozen banana ice cream is better!! All sugars are natural from the banana. You still can’t gorge on it but it is a great treat to take the edge off the craving.

    3. I’ve figured out a pretty good substitute: I use some unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 bananas (the green ones seem to give the finished product less banana flavor), instant coffee (masks the bananas and I also like coffee ice cream, but you could also add raspberries, cherries or anything else instead of coffee.), and whole milk.

      Blend these up and taste every once in a while. If its too banana-y, add more coffee. Too thick, add more milk, etc. Then pour it into a tupperware container. I also chop up some nuts and some 85% dark chocolate and stir into the container.

      I made some last night with heavy whipping cream, so we’ll see if it turns out to be creamier than the recipes with whole milk, which have ice crystals in them.

      1. That sounds really good. Have you tried slicing and freezing the bananas, then blending the ingredients? Adding the nuts and chocolate bits at the end. If you try this, I don’t think you will need to add much milk.

        1. I did freeze the bananas the first time, but stopped because I always forget to put them in the freezer! Will give it another go and without the milk! Thanks!

    4. I recently found a recipe for carrot ice cream, made with coconut milk. Still gotta try it, but it looks really good!

  7. Well, so far so good. Sort of. I came down with an awful cold yesterday thanks to my son’s mutant preschool germs. My first thought was “Oh great, now I am going to blow it big time.” Usually when I am sick, I want to eat bread, cakes, and burritos. So far, I have been able to resist (it has been a HUGE challenge)! I have been trying to stick to the 21-Day Challenge and not cheat, and that has motivated me to stay away from the junk food. Also, I usually suffer from headaches on a daily basis, but I have noticed since I started this challenge I have only had 1! I have come to accept I would have headaches every day of the rest of my life, but now I see I can change that without medication! Loving this challenge! Oh, going on vacation this weekend, anyone have any easy tips?

    1. When I head out on road trips- I stock the cooler with sliced deli meat and carrots, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli. I roll raw veggies in deli meat for snacks. If I’m eating out I can usually find something on the menu that’s a better bad choice – unless there’s a Jason’s Deli around…

    2. I agree with Crystal. I live in the Phoenix area and worked outdoors all summer. If you’re in your car, you can easily pack a cooler with some raw veggies, maybe a salad from any takeout place (which are among the better of the bad options at any fast food or takeout place – watch the dressings, maybe pack your own), and hard-boiled eggs, lunch meats. Nuts, seeds, and jerk work well, too. Mark Sisson posted on this once and it includes some links for making your own snacks! https://www.marksdailyapple.com/eating-healthy-food-travel/#axzz2g2B4ddEE

      Canned seafood is also great. Just have some forks handy and a can opener if you need. CAUTION: when you’re done with the canned seafood, it helps to have a place to put the cans. I bring along a plastic baggie (Ziploc) into which I put the used cans so I can keep them sealed and I put the baggie back in the cooler so the car doesn’t end up smelling like Fisherman’s Wharf!

      Enjoy the ride!!

    3. Almond or other nut butter is good too, and you don’t have to refrigerate it. Date-cashew balls are good for sweet cravings. Mustard, homemade mayo, olives, and pickles.

  8. I really don’t have many cravings. Switching to a paleo diet has, actually, been quite easy for me. I am losing weight, and body fat, while gaining strength and muscle mass. My only problem is with sleep. No matter which “hack” (tea, reading, melatonin supplements,brief hot showers, pitch black room, etc.) I try, I just cannot fall asleep until past midnight. I’m going to keep looking for more tricks, and if anyone has any recommendations I gladly welcome them. Thanks!

    Grok on!

    1. Do you have the problem of not being able to fall asleep because your mind won’t quiet down? That’s been one of my issues in the past. I found guided meditations worked very well for this, at least for a while. Might be something good to try if you haven’t yet.

      1. Yes! Can’t quiet down my mind. I have tried guided meditation and didn’t work. Maybe I can try harder to focus?

        1. I have had this problem for most of my life. The thing I’ve found most helpful is turning off all lights & listening to random educational podcasts or iTunesU. For me, that takes my mind off my obsessive thoughts much better than most guided meditations, which I sometimes find downright irritating! The trick is to find a subject that interests you just enough to keep your attention off your demanding thoughts, without being riveting to the point that it keeps you awake. Keep it just loud enough to hear.

          Also, magnesium before bed really does help me as well.

        2. I realize that this solution doesn’t sound very primal on the surface, but in my mind it’s like being a child again, with a parent telling me a story before bedtime! I know story-telling has been around for a LONG time, & personally I find it amazingly soothing.

        3. It seemed to work well for me but I was also trying to cultivate more mindfulness in other ways at the same time (attempting meditation during the day – just focusing on my breath, mindful eating, etc.). So that could maybe explain why the guided meditations worked well for me from the start.

          My wife falls asleep listening to audio books. That could be another thing to try, it seems like a fiction book that you’ve already read before might work well.

        4. I have the over active mind issue as well. What helps me is to make sure I have pro-biotic in my diet. I buy different ones to make sure they cover whatever I may need. Then stay away from anything that will add to the yeast growth – like carbs in the form of sugar, wine, vinegar – which may help you calm down at first but the body will over compensate for that calming effect and bing, your eyes open after a couple hours of blissful sleep to only start again with the unending movie being played in your head.
          If I get up to play solitaire on the computer I put on some blue blocker glasses and use the f.lux so the blue light won’t make my brain think it’s day and time to get up. It helps to bore me so I get tired and it stops the part of the brain that is on that endless loop of worry about things I can do NOTHING about at that time of night.

    2. Are you ingesting any stimulants like caffeine? Coffee is obvious. Chocolate has some. If so, eliminate them. If not, well, you could try taking a magnesium supplement and 1mg of melatonin after a hot bath before bedtime.

      1. I only drink coffee (mild) early in the AM. I don’t eat chocolate that often. I have tried melatonin, but not mg. I will look into it. Thanks!

        1. A multi-B vitamin supplement might also help, especially if you have a lot of stress or busyness in your life. Good luck!

    3. htp-5 helped me in college 2 of those guys got me sleeping (i used to sit in my lobby till 6am because i couldnt fall asleep and didnt want to bug my roommate – took 2 htp-5 pills and in a lil bit slept great for 6-7 hours

      1. 5-Hydroxytryptophan, also known as oxitriptan, is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan.

    4. I recommend moderate exercise if you’re not getting enough. That and a cold (cool) shower has really helped my body wind down at night. As for my mind, some basic math like 2×2 =; 4×4=16 and so on… helps divert my mind longs enough to doze off.

      1. Live in Arizona where the cold water is hotter than your hot water. I turn my water heater on low during the summer because it is useless. In the winter, cold showers really do help. At the end of my shower, I do a 30 second hot, then switch it to 30 seconds cold, and repeat a couple times. This improves your circulation and rumor has it that it is better for your body.

    5. +1 for exercise. I had all kinds of trouble getting enough sleep until I committed to a consistent lifting program.

      Also, try not to read any George RR Martin right before bedtime. The ‘just one more chapter’ affliction rears its ugly, sleep-deprived head.

    6. For me, falling asleep earlier is tough because of a lifetime of building the habit of going to bed late. Or if I fall asleep before 11pm, I wake up a couple of hours later. One thing that usually helps is to be strict about waking up and getting out of bed early – like 6 or 6:30am. If I do that a few days in a row (especially over a weekend), generally I’m tired enough at night that I’ll fall asleep by 10:30 and sleep through the night.

      I always need an hour or so of downtime to myself before bed, so if I can just read a magazine or a book or even play a couple of simple games of solitaire, I can clear my head and sleep soundly.

      1. Just be sure solitaire isn’t on your computer so the blue light isn’t suppressing your melatonin production!

    7. Could be cortisol dysregulation. I am working with a naturopath now to get it controlled. Allot of my 20% (of 80-20%) was given to cortisol-raising foods, like lots of black coffee, and no breakfast, wine every night. Also, night-owl habits, and intermittant fasting. My naturopath says he has never met a woman yet who did well with intermittant fasting (There are probably some who do well). You might lose some weight, but it raises cortisol and can dysregulate hormones. I didn’t even lose much weight, 2 lbs. over 6 months. But my abdominal fat stays put, religiously…..cortisol. Robb Wolf has an excellent chapter on how to achieve good sleep in his book. There are allot of things one needs to do.

    8. I COMPLETELY understand the sleep issues, and it’s one of the most frustrating problems. As somebody who has tried about everything under the sun (or moon) to find ways to sleep, the one “trick” I’ve used the last 3 nights that has resulted in 7+ straight hours of sleep for me, which is unheard of, is about 2 hours before I go to bed, I’ve been having a glass of red wine, sitting in a room with dim lights and listening to jazz music. Yes, I know how all of that sounds, and there is some cheating on the 21 day challenge with the wine, but I can’t knock the success. One of the added, if not best benefit, has been Being Present, from the hunter/gather 10 habits, with my wife during this time which has also resulted in great….conversation 🙂 which I’m sure only promotes some good sleep. I wish you the best on this b/c sleep has always been a huge issue for me,
      By the way, this primal community of folks is just amazing, and I couldn’t feel more blessed to have found this. The insight from Mark and everybody else’s comments have been such a positive, life-changing experience. Can’t thank everyody enough!

  9. The code for free shipping is not working. I have 3 sample packs in my cart costing over $25.

  10. My dreams haven’t changed much since going primal. I still have the dream that I show up to school naked. Weird.

    One of the things that helps me stay on track is planning my meals. That has been the BEST way to stay on track. I’m down 122 lbs with about 80 to go. It works!!!

      1. Unfortunately, no. A few more months of primal living and I’ll start enjoying those dreams.

      1. Something that helped me when I started my primal journey last year was having “to go” meals. Every day for breakfast I eat a turkey burger and green veggie with a couple tablespoons of butter. Lunch is a Big A$$ salad with either rotisserie chicken or steak and homemade balsamic vinegarette. I use little 1/2 cup containers for my dressing. On Sunday night I line them up and to each I add 2 T of EVOO, 1 T of Ariston Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tsp of minced garlic, an inch of basil from the tube, a tsp of dried oregano, and salt and pepper. I cut up lettuce for 3 days or so, cook up a chicken, and divide it up. On Wednesday night I make a nice sirloin and cut up more lettuce.

        I cook up a couple of pounds of turkey every couple of weeks and freeze each patty individually to throw in my work bag for breakfast. I’ve been using the beyond organic ground turkey from TenderGrass Farms. Good stuff!

        Making breakfast and lunch automatic works for me. Dinner is often in the crock pot . . . even in the summer! Made meatloaf and potatoes the other night in it. Now there’s some good leftovers.

        1. Wow, nice habits. Can I move into your house and make you my honorary mom?

  11. I biggest challenge is picking food while cooking. I am disciplined for whole day at work, have a hearty breakfast, then nice big lunch, fruit or primal snack in the evening but whenever I am cooking in the evening, I go crazy, I usually cook all three meals, tonight’s dinner, next day’s breakfast, lunch, snacks. I keep picking up and eating like a continuous feed. If I am making a meat stew, I’ll taste it for seasonings but this tasting leads to eating atleast 2-3 oz of meat before even serving dinner, if I am chopping nuts or dates, I’ll eat half of them. I eat half of salad veggies while chopping them, It all adds up. So if I am in kitchen for two hours, I’ll be eating something or the other before even serving dinner. I control so much but it has become a habit now for many years. How to get rid of this habit?

    1. One way for me is to NOT start tasting, however, if it’s been a life habit it might take more. If I don’t want to eat I brush my teeth and drink mint tea. That way it’s enjoyable to have that in my mouth and I don’t want to mess it up with other flavors. (kind of like chewing gum but without the “sugar free” junk in it)

      1. I find that drinking a big glass of water helps–it makes me feel fuller when I’m cooking.

    2. Sounds to me like you have had your meal by the time dinner is ready. Maybe you should just count that as dinner and drink water or tea while everyone else is eating. Who says you need to eat another dinner just because everyone else is eating? Count it as a social occasion.

    3. Well are you gaining additional, unwanted “fat” weight? If you’re early meals are pretty hearty but you’re still hungry enough to chow down this much while preparing the rest, could it be your norm? Interesting dilemma. I eat pretty hearty but it is beginning to show one of my goals is to eat less overall and make more of it healthy fats and protein.

      1. Yes! I almost have a meal during my cooking spree. I am not gaining weight but definitely have trouble losing last 10 lbs for more than 2 years due to my this eating habit. I weight train 2 times a week and walk everyday for 20-30 mins. I can easily IF in the morning and not eat anything at work whole day. They have all sort of donuts, cakes cookies in office and I never care for them. I eat lot of fat and protein and veggies for my breakfast and lunch, also some starch. Its only in the evenings I see myself eating every single food which comes in my sight, all primal though. I am trying brushing and drinking more water when I start to crave more food.

        1. Do you get enough sleep? Is your workday very stressful? If you’re dead tired or blown out by stress by the end of the day it’s SO much harder to resist cravings.

  12. Biggest hurdle on the 21-day challenge: uncontrollable forces. Just bought brand new Vibrams for getting in your “move slowly”? Oh good, have some shin splints with those from running in clunky sandals the day before. Finally fixed those shin splints and finished up a great sprint workout? Let’s just break your toe on your non-Primal family members’ 12-count box of diet soda (I knew that stuff was bad for you!).

    But the challenge isn’t over, and no stopping yet! More pushups and planks until the feet heal, adjust the carbs a little lower to compensate, and just enjoy the extra sun as I sit in the back yard with my foot up. Sometimes the universe just likes to sabotage you. But in true Primal fashion, the best way to deal is just to roll with it. And adapt.

  13. This has got to be one of the most, if not the most, positive groups of people on the internet. Do you ever read the comments on news sites??? Those people are just miserable. I really believe this kind of healthy lifestyle makes people more positive and optomistic. If you are feeling good and healthy, you just naturally spread the good feelings on comment boards and in all of your other daily interactions. I encourage everyone thinking about trying this lifestyle out to do it! Give it a honest hard as you can shot, stick with it and never look back. It’s life changing and you won’t be sorry 🙂

    1. I agree Melissa 🙂 How can anyone be miserable when your lifestyle includes eating more bacon!

      I have been a mentor to several people over the last year that have changed their lifestyle’s to being more primal and the first comments I get are usually “I feel so good!”. The hardest part about making the change is that first step, but once your there it’s a great place to be.

      I feel good!!! and I knew that I would!

      1. I have to cook my breakfast the night prior because I used to cook bacon but the smell would wake up my 3 year old who would then wake up the wife. That normally wouldn’t be a problem but I am up around 430 5 ish. I do love bacon.

        1. I try to fry up all the bacon in the big pack in one session, put it in a container so my husband can just take out what he needs/wants in the morning. My goal is to get my little guy grown up enough to do it instead of me, too much standing around waiting the bacon to fry. I’m not so good at watching grass grow either.

      1. Use the oven for the bacon! You can crank through a package of bacon in 30 minutes using a pan and the oven on 400 degrees. No muss, no fuss and no dodging grease pops.

        1. you use the broiler pan then? Hmmmmmmmm may have to get one of those. Thanks!

        2. I just use a 9×11 dish lined with aluminum foil. 🙂 It takes about 15 minutes for each batch to crisp up. I leave one batch floppy for reheating in the microwave when I’m ready to eat over the next few days.

  14. I am loving the Primal Diet. For the past three years I have been struggling with hip joint pain for no reason. I’m only 26 and couldn’t figure out why I had “grandma hips” before I was old enough to have cheaper car insurance.

    The hardest part of the contest (besides having four days of a coherent thought carb-flu) is finding places to eat when I am too lazy or busy to cook. I’m lucky enough to live in San Diego near a True Food Kitchen. That has been a lifesaver. They ahve many gluten free options. I’ve also recently bought their cookbook for some new food selections. This helps to get me out of the same food rut that I find myself doing with Primal/Paleo. Not all recipes are gluten free, but they come with such a heavy base of natural foods that it’s easy to modify to remove the grains and legumes which are usually just fillers.

    And honestly, thanks for publicizing this alternative to SAD. It’s hard to accept, especially in my mod-twenties, that my body was preventing me from being as physically active as I wanted to be. I’m so glad that this was here to stumble upon.

    Oh! And stay away from Pizza Hut if you have joint pain. For some reason I have an immediate painful reaction in my hips.

    1. Let’s face it – one of the biggest struggles when trying to eat primal is the convenience factor. I’m happy to prepare 90% of my own food, but there will always be times when you’re on the go and there simply isn’t time to cook a perfectly primal meal. The most effective tip I can offer that has saved my ass time & time again when trying to eat on the go is that most cities have some form of gourmet grocery store with a “Big Ass Salad” bar. If I’m driving around town and feeling hungry, I stop by and grab a salad with spinach, bacon, chicken, red peppers, feta cheese, pepitas, red onion, and mushroom, topped with oil & vinegar and Salt & pepper – put it in the little box, shake the hell out of it, and Voila: Primal Cobb Salad! (Or “Big Ass Salad” on the go.) Usually costs me $6 or $7 – I remember the days when I could easily spend that much on an a biggie-sized “Combo Meal” at the SAD burger joint, which I would usually leave feeling sick, sleepy, and unsatisfied. Another challenge we all face is the work lunch, which presents a challenge because usually there’s just a bare bones kitchen with only a microwave and a fridge, and limited time in which to prepare food. Canned wild tuna or salmon (BPA free cans do exist by the way) with lemon juice & dijon mustard makes a good salad – goes well with some walnuts or a small avocado, which I usually just eat with a spoon. Sometimes I even bring spinach and veggies and make a tuna salad salad. At first, I was that weird guy who eats salad out of a huge bowl. But now I actually have people asking me for advice on how to eat healthier. Good Luck!

      1. I do the same thing. There’s a grocery chain called Sprouts in the southwest, so I’ll go there for lunch and get a 1/4 lb. of deli roast beef (since it’s the most minimally processed deli meat), an avocado and some nuts from the bulk bin. Sometimes I’ll get a single-serving container of whole-fat plain Greek yogurt or a banana, or maybe a couple of loose carrots. It’s almost impossible to go to a restaurant and get a quick, cheap lunch that’s not loaded with wheat or other carbs, but I can get a filling lunch for just a few bucks at a good grocery store.

        For those who live in Denver or the surrounding area, Continental Sausage Co. makes a really good liverwurst with no preservatives or sugars – just meat and seasonings. It’s delicious and comes in an 8oz size, so I’ll eat half for lunch and put the rest in the fridge at work for the next day.

      2. Vital Choice makes excellent canned salmon (and other products, too) and their cans are BPA-free, though not certified as such because “We have decided not to claim that our can linings are “BPA-Free” until we find a lab that can reliably test the linings … a search that so far has been fruitless.”

        Very delicious stuff!


        And, no, I am not a shill for the company.

    2. I had bi-lateral hip bursitis before going paleo two-and-a-half years ago. Along with painful bunions. They are both inflammatory conditions. Shortly after going paleo I stopped having any pain from either condition.

      You should cut out the wheat entirely and see what happens.

  15. I, too, have noticed increased dream activity. I used to never remember my dreams at all, but every time I go 100% (previous challenges, correcting course, or my initial foray into the paleo-sphere), I all of a sudden start having and remembering dreams. Fun stuff!

    I’ve found it easiest to answer questions about my diet/lifestyle by emphasizing what I DO eat. It doesn’t sound restrictive to people when they hear an average week’s worth of meals.

  16. The hardest part about going primal for me is my office. I have a reputation for having a sweet tooth (put me within 10 yards of chocolate and I would find it and devour it) so any time someone has a treat they try to give me some. It’s meant with the best of intentions but its difficult to keep saying “no, I don’t eat that anymore”. I tried just taking some to dispose of later but it isn’t ideal.

      1. Bacon treats only! Hahaha!
        I agree, bad food at the office is the biggest problem for me. Plus, going out to lunch with coworkers is actually one of the best ways to network and I find that usually even “good” choices at a restaurant and not that good. Bad oils, sugars and who knows what chemicals in sauces… it is difficult.

    1. I have the same issue! Day 1 of being Primal and someone walked around the office with a box of donuts. I’m not overweight by any means, so it’s very hard for me to keep saying no and have coworkers understand why. I’ve found that the more you say no, the less they’ll offer you treats in the future. Just remember to say no with a SMILE. 🙂

      1. I am a cop so imagine working in a police station where donuts are everywhere. Yes cop’s eat donuts but some of us has moved up in life and eat bagels. Now, no donuts or bagels, but the temptation is always there. Stay strong.

  17. My biggest struggle with my diet continues to be my colitis. I found mark and the primal community searching for a better way to health. Primal eating has kept my colitis in check, but not completely taken care of it. I’ve been experimenting with primal foods and which my gut finds more temperamental than others. It’s an experiment, and I hope to find the best foods for my gut. I’ve recently come upon ginger supplements which has helped my gut as well. Thank you Mark for keeping me out of the hospital with a new way to eat!

    1. Have you looked at “how to fix your gut” on bengreenfieldfitness.com? It looks very thorough.

    2. A woman I used to work with got her Crohn’s into remission by using Elaine Gottschall’s Breaking the Vicious Cycle – The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which was recommended by her naturopath.

  18. I’ve always had problems with adhering to Paleo when I do 80/20, so this time I went all in. I feel much better and it’s easier to adhere to in a way. Unfortunately I broke my elbow falling during a night run the day after starting this challenge so I’ve been concentrating on other aspects of the primal lifestyle and doing what I can to stay in shape. I think this may be the right focus for me at this time in my life.

    1. Sorry about the elbow. 🙁 I went on a killer hike my fourth day of the challenge and drove a cold into my lungs. I was SO disappointed because my goal was to exercise every day. I have had to let go of the hard hiking, sprinting, even taking a long walk for now. I have stuck to my goal of no beer for the 21 days. 🙂

  19. I do well eating wise for breakfast & lunch and most of the time dinner, but about 8:00 hits, and I want to snack on ANYTHING. maybe cereal, maybe chips, something, anything.. Any thoughts? Maybe I’ll have to try an EPIC bar 🙂

    1. My thought would be THROW AWAY anything you don’t want to be tempted to eat (and don’t buy more of course). Then boil up some eggs and bacon to keep in the fridge to snack on.

    2. I tend to want to eat in the evenings as well. I’ve found that a piece of fruit and a few slices of really good cheese are usually enough. If not I might have a piece of dark chocolate too! 🙂 someday maybe I won’t feel the need to eat at night, but for now this is SO much better than the cereal binges that I used to have!!

      1. I agree with all three of you, and one of my solutions has been to mix coconut oil with a little bit of honey or maple syrup, some vanilla extract, and some cocoa powder – keep it cool in the fridge, and it’s like having fudge, but it provides straight fat…good on several accounts. An alternative is to equal amounts of almond butter and coconut oil. Also delicious…and again, provides the needed fat while satisfying my sweet tooth and snack cravings. It was funny last night, because I thought it was too sweet, while my friend thought it needed much more sugar…

        I usually joke that “My drug of choice is sugar, and my preferred delivery method is chocolate”, but sugar and working out more have been my hardest thing during this challenge…fall gardening should hopefully help tremendously.

    3. Celery with almond butter, or a spoonful of coconut oil, or a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes. Also try adding a little more fat to the last meal of your day – might keep the late evening cravings at bay.

  20. I have about 15 patients on this and happy to report 14/15 are seeing fantastic results! However a couple is upset with me due to their pants already not fitting…

  21. my biggest struggle is definitely dealing with an unpredictable schedule at work – several times this week so far I have had to work at times that I wasn’t expecting to, or to attend meetings that I thought would end before lunch, but instead be surprised when I find out (once already in the meeting) that it is going until 2PM and lunch is being brought in. In these cases, my work isn’t really amenable to bringing something else in, or to ask for a substitute (I’m a contractor working out of a client’s office). I realize that just holding off and being a bit hungry is fine, but I realize it opens up weak points for me, where I’m more prone to make decisions that aren’t best.

    1. I always keep a snack bag of nuts with me for those times when I need to eat but nothing being offered is acceptable. It doesn’t take a lot of nuts to keep my brain working while satisfying my stomach.

    2. Canned fish are awesome for inconvenient times! I joke that canned sardines/ tuna are my fast food! Nuts as Linda said are really good too!

  22. Our 21 day challenge has encouraged me to try to primalize my son’s lunches more, making chicken (he can heat it up at school), fire ants on a log (with dry cranberries instead of raisens) and left over sweet potato fries was what he took today.
    My husband has been doing fairly well, bought some ice cream the other day, uh, not on the plan dear.
    Doing better in the sleep department for me tho, yay.

  23. The most effective way I found to get rid of annoying habits and routines was enjoying the curiosity and prospect of starting new habits.

    For instance: I never made breakfast for work, and while going primal made me get eggs and bacon from the cafeteria instead of pancakes and french toast, I never liked the feeling that I didn’t know what kind of eggs they were using, or that weird spray they used to grease their flat grill.

    I decided to ignore the easy routine of buying eggs and bacon every morning, and tried to make breakfast for the week during the weekend. The “breakfast meatloaf”/scotch egg recipe from MDA has been a welcome challenge for me – finding ways to make it better, using different ingredients. I’ve been doing this for weeks now – a new “habit” that I feel better about.

    1. A friend once told me that in order to get rid of your old habits you must replace them with new ones. Nice going! 🙂

  24. My most difficult moments are when friends and family roll their eyes when I tell them that, yes, I’m still gluten-free, and that, no, I can’t eat cupcakes. (They look at me like I have an eating disorder.) Last night, I ate out with friends (for my birthday) at a restaurant that does not care a jot about dietary concerns of patrons. I mean, there are no notations on the main menu let alone separate menu, and the waiters look at you like you’re one of those people. When my dinner came with a gravy-type sauce, I just shut up and ate it, even though I figured it had gluten in it. Oh well. Today I start fresh.

    1. Yeah, sometimes you just end up eating the Gluten sauce because you’re at a restaurant and you end up with a plate of food and, well, you’re just kind of hungry so you eat it. At least the intention was good – as long as you generally intend to eat primal, you’re most likely to end up in the 80/20 realm of dietary strict-ness, which is way better than whatever conventional way you were probably eating before. So I say, stick with it, and good luck!

    2. You are probably right. Some gravies start out with a roux- a flour butter mixture. You can ask to see if the gravy can be served in a side bowl.

      Question: It was YOUR birthday, you are a concerned eater at a restaurant that does not reflect YOUR food choices. Why eat there? I can understand if it was someone else’s b-day and that person choose to go to a restaurant they liked. But your own B-day? “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

  25. The biggest challenge? — The weather.

    I live in the UK, as you have probably guessed. 🙂

    Today was the first that that rain has not sabotaged my lunchtime walk! — I work in the middle-of-almost-nowhere and regularly go out for a walk at lunchtime. Except when it rains.

    But on the positive side: during my walk today I discovered that, after a long hiatus, the hens are back at the local farm where I used to get my grass-fed eggs! I mean, the hens are grass-fed and I buy their eggs. And also for the first time, I had a chance to talk to their owners who agreed that grass-fed yolks are the best. Next time I’ll try to steer the conversation towards paleo/primal… perhaps I found a local primal tribe by chance?

    Anyway, another reason for continuing with the lunchtime walks: to pick up delicious eggs. Two birds with one stone.

  26. My biggest challenge has been finding ways to improve my sleep. For a while I was using guided meditations while falling asleep and they worked really well. They stopped being as effective so I’ve been playing around with different things like reading for longer before bed, making sure the room is completely dark, using ear plugs, etc. Before I was having really vivid dreams each night and I lost that when my sleep took a dive. I’ve slowly been getting more of that back though. I’ve discovered I have extremely weird dreams.

  27. Dinner is my downfall… I am in control of planning and making my breakfast and lunch, because I eat those on my own. Dinner is shared with the family and they aren’t on board with the primal way. So spaghetti, pizza, and other items are requested and made. I try to do my best to minimize those things and fill up on the salad.

  28. I have been working towards eating primal for about a half a year and felt like I was doing really well keeping an 80/20 going this summer. Yet, the results I am seeing in just 10 days of 100% primal eating is awesome. This combined with adding 3 workouts per week have made me feel much fitter!

    My arch nemesis is popcorn; I love it! My go to when I feel like snacking is to have a glass of water and 10 almonds. I think in the past my snacks have always been larger than what I truly need which is just something to take the edge off.

  29. I always crave sushi. With the rice. In soy sauce. Dry sashimi just doesn’t do it for me, although I do use the wheat free tamari instead of regular soy sauce. We also always have cake or snacks in the office. I find that the longer I am paleo the easier it is to resist. And most people know by now that I won’t touch that stuff. A co-worker recently made a passing comment to me when I walked out of the kitchen before the bday cake was served. My response is always that is makes my stomach hurt. When I say that people are just usually like, ok.

    I think parties with friends/family are the hardest. Sometimes there is nothing or practically nothing that I can eat. I usually eat before or bring my own food for me and my daughter (18 months).

    I think my daughter is the only child in her daycare class who is not allowed to eat the provided snacks (pretzels, cheerios, goldfish, etc.) She loves her fruit or veg snacks that I pack her though. Anyone who would prefer a pretzel to a blueberry is just crazy IMHO 🙂

    But it is hard because sometimes you feel like you’re not normal since everyone else except you is eating SAD food. I just keep telling myself (and my husband) “Common is the not the same as normal”. Eating food that comes from a package or contains grains may be extremely common, but that does not make it normal.

  30. I have actually at moments forgotten I was doing the 21-day challenge. I have finally learned how to use the primal lifestyle to help me live my life, rather than worrying about what I am going eat every second of the day.

    So, I went to a grocery store to get ingredients for a new primal recipe I wanted to try, and I needed ground turkey. Unfortunately, all they had was the “healthy;” 99% fat free kind. I asked the guy at the meat counter if they had anything more along the 60% line, and he said no. Of course he gave me great advice in saying that I should get the 99% fat free because it would be best for me. I just had to chuckle at the idea that that tasteless turkey was better for me. 🙂

    Anyone else had funny CW moments?

    1. I know we’re supposed to go for lean, but what is the difference between lean and fat free? Just the amount of fat? If so, what is the percentage I should be looking for?

      1. You only really need to worry about lean if you are not eating local/free-range/grass-fed meats, i.e. conventional meats.

        Typically “lean” refers to less fat.

        “Fat-Free” or “Low-Fat” = Chemical Poo Storm.

    2. Coulnd’t find coconut flour in the organic supermarket, so I asked. I had looked in the flour section where the chesnut flour, almond flour etc. is. Was told it was in the fiber section (with the brans etc). I glanced to the fruit&veg section, thinking “I thought *that* was the fiber section”.

      I regret not saying that out loud!

      (on a side note, I think comments like that might have more effect than direct paleo pitches/lectures, because they make people wonder, instead of pull up defences. Curiousity is a great thing)

  31. Primal cans be sometimes hard,
    When your husband eats oatmeal
    And you just want lard.
    He’s a fan of whole grain
    Thinks you’re being a pain
    Walking barefoot, getting sun, eating game.

  32. New discover: I loathe turnips. Craving: grilled cheese sandwiches and all the deep fried foods at the restaurant where I work. Weirdness: waking up every night at 3 AM. What I’ve been doing to cope: walk the dogs, run, crossfit, read, energy work, and checking here at MDA every day. 🙂

    1. Amber, with the 3AM wake up – try pressure with your thumbs at the top of your rib cage in the middle of your arm pit. Just a bit of that may help you return to sleep, works like magic on me. My Chiro told me that is a pressure point that helps to relase the hormones that should have been released to keep us asleep…. worth a try?

      1. That’s interesting, I am going to try that pressure point tip myself! I don’t wake up once I am asleep, but I have had trouble falling asleep lately.

  33. I want to share my small success here: I am 12 weeks postpartum now and feeling better and dropping weight without difficulty! I’m keeping my challenge super simple for now, working on getting enough sleep, moving at least a little each day, and eating properly. I’m betting grok mamas lived similarly. 🙂 thanks for the challenge, Mark, and thanks to this community for the supportive comments!

  34. Maybe it’s because it’s autumn and my body wants to go into hibernation mode, but I’ve been craving carbs more so now than in the previous 18 months or so that I’ve been following a Primal diet. Sandwiches seem to pop up everywere – with crusty bread, molten cheese, stacks of meat (the good stuff, at least!), and creamy sauces. I gave in the other day and had a banh mi sandwich for lunch at a local coffeehouse. It was stuffed with marinated flank steak – from a well-known local rancher at least – and lots of shredded carrot, daikon, jalepeno, and cilantro. But the bread made me feel bloated and lethargic for the rest of the day.

    Feeling a little guilty and drained of will power, I decided that I can make delicious food at home entirely grain free. Since my carb cravings are still nudging at me, I thought that fruit would be a much better alternative than bread or pasta. This is what I made for dinner last night:
    – Hangar steaks seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper and garlic, pan-seared and finished in the oven to medium rare.
    – Onions and garlic caramelized in butter.
    – A salad of fresh mission figs, mizuna and mint leaves from my garden, shaved Parmesan cheese, and a dressing of olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic and just a touch of Colorado wildflower honey (about a teaspoon).
    – Kale braised with bacon fat, homemade chicken stock and a little more sherry vinegar.

    The figs were an indulgence – a delicious indulgence that didn’t spike my blood sugar or cause any digestive issues. The whole meal was satisfying and perfect and made me realize that I don’t need to give in to the temptations of convenience food or eat things that I will regret later. I loved sharing the meal with my wife, knowing that I’d sleep well and wake up still satisfied, with no need to jump back on the bread roller coaster.

    1. “I gave in the other day and had a banh mi sandwich for lunch at a local coffeehouse. It was stuffed with marinated flank steak – from a well-known local rancher at least – and lots of shredded carrot, daikon, jalepeno, and cilantro. But the bread made me feel bloated and lethargic for the rest of the day.”

      If a sandwich shops offers silverware I dump the filling off the bread and eat with a knife and fork.

  35. My biggest challenge is finding time for food preparation (and remember to add some extra fat to my meals).

    1. Ditto on the time thing. I think my plan next week will be to do big batches of cooking over the weekend so I am prepared for the busy week ahead. No excuses!!!

  36. The best advice I can give anyone taking the challenge, or continuing to be primal afterward is to not be afraid to ask for what you what.

    When I started going primal, marrow bones were easy to find but beef knuckles (joint bones) were not. When I started making bone broth I didn’t use beef knuckles because I didn’t have them and my broth was lacking in gelatin. I started ordering them online, but they were expensive and not always available.

    I started asking about them where I buy my grass-fed meats and they didn’t know what they were but said they’d ask the farmers who supply them. Sure enough, the next time a cow was slaughtered, joint bones were available and my bone broth had plenty of gelatin. Now I can get all the joint bones I want and my local natural foods store keeps them in stock. Once they started stocking them more people started buying them and now “soup bones” are quite popular.

    So, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

  37. This year I got my daughter and son-in-law started on Primal. It’s been fun finding new foods like parsnips, rutabaga, acorn squash and brussels sprouts and then introducing them to the kids (the rutabaga got a ‘meh’, the others are regular parts of the menu now).

    My challenge has been that I’ve kind of hit a wall as far as vegetables go. I eat a lot of variety, prepared in a lot of ways, but suddenly it’s “not that again” when it comes to meal planning and prep. I had a serving of peas the other night just because they I hadn’t had them in months and I’m craving something different.

    A lot of this is because my job runs in cycles and I’m at peak-stress time right now. It saps me of the energy I need to cook and be creative in the kitchen, and I know I need the best nutrition possible right now precisely because of the stress.

    It’s a cycle. It’ll pass. I’m going to make the best choices I can while I get through this, but I’m not going to add to my stress by beating myself up over the occasional poor choice.

    1. different preparation methods (boiling, steaming, grilling, roasting, marinating, pureeing, keeping it raw) can give the same veg a variety of flavours and textures. Different ways to spice, marinate or dress also help.
      I love broccoli but can’t eat my way through a plate full of just that, making a mix of 2-3 veggies makes a big difference (flavour, texture and colour) and mix up your mixes as well.
      If you’re already doing this, I’m sorry I’m not more helpfull.

  38. I have been paleo/primal for several years now and have successfully converted my husband and several friends. The hardest part of sustaining my primal lifestyle for me is that I always feel I am the encourager and not the encouraged in the process. This is why I love this blog so much!! I do love being a source of information to my friends and family (don’t get me wrong, I know what I know and I know what I don’t know and what I know is I don’t know everything), but sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone supporting and encouraging me when I want to eat an entire bag of sea salt and vinager potatoe chips or an entire chocolate cake…or both (depending on the time of month). That’s where you come in, Mark! This blog keeps me moving forward and helps me continue to strive toward my ultimate goal which is to be in the best shape/health of my life, every day of my life.

  39. My biggest challenge is from my wife’s increased dream activity. I finally got her to try Paleo this month. She’s on Day 20 now, and has always talked in her sleep. Now she’s doing it a lot more! Oh well . . . doubt I’d change it even if I could.

  40. I had a rough day at work last week, and as I was leaving, I told my supervisor I was going to skip working out and collapse on the couch after my long day. He responded, “are you sure today is the day for that? I’ve never regretted getting exercise.” Those wise words are a tape I keep playing in my mind, and it really motivates me to stay on track.

    As for food, I have discovered a new passion for cooking! The only problem I’ve run into is that eating paleo gets expensive quickly. Any tips for tempering that?

    1. Jennie,

      If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, you can get grass fed beef at pretty good prices. As well as wild salmon, coconut oil, organic vegetables and fruits, etc. I love their organic wild blueberries (frozen: I can just use what I need and keep the rest frozen. They’re really intensely flavored and not very sweet, so they’re good if you are limiting carbs.)

      Stick with it! Maybe you’ll find you feel so good it’s worth forgoing something else?

  41. I beat carb cravings with avocado and crunchy chopped salads (cucumber, cauliflower, red onion, fresh herbs and spices, whatever veggies were in the garden and in season) that had an added bite from cayenne.

    My challenges have been roller coaster hormones of peri-menopause that make it hard to remain consistent with my paleo exercise. I simply yo-yo every two-three weeks for two-to-three week periods. When things are good, it’s very good (LOL), but when things are not in balance, my energy drops and I lose my commitment. It is quite a battle to try to control the scale during those periods or to even make myself exercise. I’ll be feeling great, doing great, then WHAM: Suddenly I feel the opposite.

  42. Aperitive time is the toughest part for me… 7.30 pm, that little glass of wine with the goat cheese and olives and… that little bit of grilled bread to put my roquefort and goat cheese on…

    I almost don’t even need the 21 day challenge for the rest (food, sleep, IF, exercise, all is on track most of the time all year long). So I use the 21 day challenge to try to shake the 2 things I am stuck on:
    1/ real IT (I have my pilates and walks and full body workouts but I don’t sprint..), 2/ and that too regular glass of wine + cheese..

    Wish me luck!

    1. Put your goat cheese in a pear. It’s amazing. I dig out the core and stuff the cheese in where the core used to be in each half.

  43. I suffered from chronic depression up until I started an 80/20 Primal eating style more than 6 months ago. Unfortunately once I started the 21 day challenge and went 100% it has returned. My struggle has been to figure out what is causing this without giving up the on the challenge. I upped my Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and now eliminating nightshades to see if I return to my happy self. Outside of nutrition I’m looking at external factors but taking it slow with one change a week.

    1. Maybe going 100% made you go too low on carbs? i know when I cut carbs a lot I feel energized and wired but if I have any anxious tendancy (too much work, pressure, bad news, no time to exercise etc…) it makes me feel like I had too much coffee.

      From what I understand carbs help release serotonin, the “feel good hormone”. Can make you more sleepy, less energized, bloated etc… But it could also have a relaxing effect.

      But it is a contentious issue.. https://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/09/carbs-and-serotonin-connection-after.html and https://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/08/do-carbs-keep-you-sane-midmorning-post.html VERSUS https://www.geneva-health.com/sciencehealth/lowcarb.html

      1. A caveat: i don’t in any ways compare my “too much coffee” with depression. Just want to point out that mentally it didn’t always have the most relaxing effect to go very low on carbs and maybe there is something there for you too. Especially if you compensate with protein instead of fat..

    2. I’ve suffered from chronic depression as well. For me the idea that I had to be “all in” with primal made me anxious and depressed. Trying to be 100% perfect took away my coping mechanisms. I’m still working on ways to chill out without turning to food or other destructive vices. My advice is to find a place to relax and tune everything out for a few minutes a day. I go to the tanner a couple days a week at lunch time and take a nap. I don’t think that’s primally approved, but I feel so much calmer, awake, and happier in the afternoon! You might also try taking a Sam-E supplement. Peace be with you on your journey!

  44. I struggled last night and gave into eating oreo’s – but back at it strong today- failure one time does not mean failure always

  45. My biggest struggle has been alcohol. It’s hard for me to limit myself to a glass or two rather than a bottle or two. I find its easiest to abstain entirely.

  46. My biggest derailer is cycles of poor sleep. Can’t sleep, low energy the next day, bad food choices, don’t exercise. In that case, my best way to not cut corners is to keep track of everything I eat. It’s so easy when you are tired to snack too much. Anybody else find that melatonin makes them MORE awake at night?

    1. My sleep was completely derailed the first 3 nights I used melatonin (2mg) after that it stabilized.
      However I found out after years of use that I didn’t need it, my own melatonin production was fine, and the melatonin I took every evening was an excess that my body most likely could not degrade fast enough, before the next dose hit. Lead to build-up and me being extra groggy for the better part of the morning.
      melatonin can work wonders for certain people, but don’t assume it is harmless just because it is a natural hormone. When in doubt, have your own melatonin curve checked, or stop for a week or 2 and see if there is a difference.

  47. My biggest challenge…..not eating the donuts and bars people bring to work. Seriously, I work for a health insurance company and we talk about how expensive diabetes is to treat…..uhg.

    I am not perfect though. I did have a bag of trail mix with candies 🙁

  48. My biggest challenger so far is sweets. I have a hard time not going for them when I’m stressed (and as a mother of toddlers, I’m often stressed.)

    What I’ve found works is having some very dark chocolate chips so that I get “just a little sweet” without killing my carb count for the day. And I’m trying to figure out my stress triggers so that I can avoid more of them or mitigate them in a less detrimental manner.

  49. This comment is more on yesterday’s topic of learning new things all the time (keeping your weapon sharp or whatever the heading was.) I have always lived my life this way, going from interest to interest. I have had several interesting careers. I’ve learned to play several musical instruments. I have engaged in numerous outdoor sports. Engaged in several crafts. All sorts of things. Anything I really truly like I stick with it (like Primal eating and fitness principles), but many of my interests come and go.

    I have never become a master at anything and always felt there was something wrong with living this way since our culture doesn’t value it, but I have also felt deep inside there was something completely natural about living this way. I have had a fabulous life so far and look forward to many more things to fail or succeed at. Thanks for recognizing this as part of being truly human.

  50. Hi there everyone, I’ve been primal for about 2 1/2 or 3 years now, and have had great success keeping my weight at an optimal level and generally feeling healthier and happier 🙂 I have played by the 80/20 rule pretty well, but for the past 8 years, I have struggled with chronic adult acne that just won’t go away (I thought it would get better with diet, but it has actually worsened as I have aged :-(…). I recently got my bloodwork done to measure my hormone levels (I begged my doctor to do this for me for peace of mind to see if it was out-of-whack hormones possibly contributing to my skin problems), and discovered that my cortisol levels were pretty high. With this information, I have been using this challenge to focus on stress management…going to bed and waking up at consistent times, walking at lunch out in the sun, practicing deep breathing, and managing how I react to unavoidable “stressors”. I am also participating in a strict diet challenge with others to avoid sugar to try to address any candida problem I may have, and so far I am 5 days strong with NO added sugar or fruit (other then small handfuls of berries that are permitted) in my diet, and a lot more leafy greens. This is all a part of a self-experiment to get to the root-cause of my issues and better understand my body, which goes along with what I have learned from MDA. Clearing acne can be a long and difficult problem to solve, so I struggle with how much time it takes, and the seeming elusiveness of finding a solution. My skin is slightly better, but still has a LONG way to go!

    Good luck everyone on your own personal challenges!

  51. I’m struggling with sleep and tech detox. I’m newly-returned to the primal community and I want to stay up till all hours reading the Twitter. But that screws up my sleep.

    I am however reasonably confident that I’m not getting the cold/flu thing that has put my boyfriend out of commission for 4-5 days now. And I just feel great. Healthy. Vigorous. Full of vigor.

  52. I struggle with breakfast. I never leave myself any time in the morning (another struggle) to cook. Any good suggestions for quick on-the-go breakfasts??

    1. Check out Nom Nom Paleo’s recipe index, she has several variations of frittata muffins, you can customize to your liking. Make ahead of time and refrigerate, great grab and go breakfast, or for anytime of the day.


      I’ve made them numerous times, several variations, always great!

    2. More on the egg muffing comment: breakfast sausage stuffed in muffin pan, then crack and egg and even some veggies if you’d like into the little sausage cups. Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 350 (or until the eggs are set), and bam! breakfast to go. And they really are good.

      You could also try intermittent fasting in the mornings. I started doing that couple months ago for two reasons. 1) I had stalled in weight loss and 2) I just really wasn’t that hungry in the morning. I have 1-2 cups of coffee in the am and then have a big ass salad for lunch nearly everyday. This change helped me drop about 10 pounds and I felt like I had increased energy during the day. Every now and then, I’ll wake up very hungry. Then I’ll make breakfast (bacon and eggs if I have time) or have an avocado or full fat greek yogurt with coconut sugar. I just try to listen to what my body is telling me. 🙂

      1. Thanks Stacie. I’m usually pretty hungry in the morning due to eating an earlier dinner most days. 5:30-6:00 dinner is pretty normal. So I usually get a good 12-13 hour fast most nights. I’m going to try those egg muffins for sure!

  53. Great comments, everyone! I have been primal since about January. I effortlessly dropped about 11 pounds to get to my goal weight and then some, to the point where my physician said, “Don’t lose any more.” These were pounds I thought I’d just have to live with, as a woman in my 40s. And happily, I never feel starving any more, as I did on the SAD. In recent weeks, I’ve enjoyed too many paleo baked goods, and lo and behold, my weight crept up 3-4 lbs. Cutting out desserts and a few times using stevia instead of honey in my tea, and I’m immediately back down the 3-4 lbs. I will make weekends for the goodies only. For the first time ever, I feel in control of my appetite and weight! Grok on!

  54. Loving my 21 day challenge. Been on the blog about 4months and I am hooked. For me my favorite part is experimenting with the cooking. The day the challenge started I had just came back from a vacation where I was a little bit lax and put on a few pounds. I am down 8 pounds already and feel great. Thank all of you for all the info and tips. It so helpful to hear other perspectives and encouragement. Later I will share a couple if my latest concoctions. Bacon Meatloaf anyone?

  55. My biggest issue so far has been that I’m EXHAUSTED! I paused to evaluate a bit and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t been eating enough food (isn’t that a funny thing to say??). In the transition of eating better, I’d weeded out plenty of junk, but I hadn’t necessarily upped my intake of good fuel enough. I’m trying to tweak things and see if it helps. Plus I’m also working on being dilligent to listen to my body and give it the extra zzzs it’s asking for.

  56. I love eating Primally and could care less about carbs, but good grief I cannot kick this f’ing sugar addiction. And it’s not even that I want or crave sweets, it is some sort of mindless, emotional psychological problem. I’ve done hypnosis (successfully sugar free for 5 months until I slipped back into old habits), EFT, and now I’m going to add on supplements such as chromium picolinate and give it one more go before I just sew my mouth shut and only allow myself to drink Primal smoothies through a straw.

    1. Do you use artificial sweeteners or eat a lot of fruit? That could be fueling your sugar addiction. Try eliminating all sweets/sweeteners for a few weeks, including natural ones.

  57. I have unbelievable B.O. since I tried eating primally. My urine literally smells like excrement and all my clothes smell terrible AFTER going through the wash. I don’t if I’m eating too much bacon or the wrong kind of fish.

    If anybody has experienced this and has good ideas how to deal with that I’d appreciate it.

    1. The only thing I can suggest is patience. Your body is probably going through a detox phase.

  58. I actually started my 21 Day Transofrmation the week before this one so in a way I just started over a week later…it has been AMAZING!! Being a bread and past lover my entire life I can’t believe how much I have NOT missed bread and pasta…not one craving for it…or my terrible sweet tooth…gone! I had a couple headaches the first couple days and that’s IT! AND I have already lost 10 pounds!! Had a baby six months ago and still trying to lose the baby weight so this is awesome!

    My only struggle is work…I would love to create a standing desk and get the tred desk but the boss is not supportive of this type of stuff…he even made me take my ball home that I was sitting on and loved and get a conventional uncomfy chair…I do have an app on my phone that gets me up every 45 minutes to do stretches/mini-exercises but I would LOVE to walk at work….if I get a bonus this year I am buying a standing desk conversion and the TredDesk on my own…praying for a bonus…

    Loving going primal…can’t wait to see what the next week, month, year brings!

  59. These EPIC bars look… epic?

    A protein bar is the perfect meal replacement when i travel

  60. Does anyone know of a good substitute for bean in chili? I LOVE chili with kidney beans, well I used to.

    1. I dice up a bunch of mushrooms and add them to my bean-less chili. Once they have been stewing for a bit they take on the flavor of the sauce.

  61. I started paleo after trying the atkins diet before my wedding, after two years of being vegan. Everything changed and my acne of ten years went away! When the 21 day challenge started, I was prompted to really start living out what I was preaching about the lifestyle that has helped me so much 😀

    I’ve always trolled MDA for tips and encouragement (hats off to Paleo Ron Burgandy for that), and consulted the forums for all of my unanswered paleo queries. You guys are the best! Seriously, thank you so much 🙂

  62. I kind of messed around at first, but just really committed to keeping my diet on track about a week and a half ago. A lot of things were much easier to let go of than I expected, but I have found that I have to think ahead much more! Probably the toughest thing for me has been getting enough sleep. I have to leave my house at 5:30am for work, which isn’t too bad on it’s own. However, it means that I have to be sleeping by 9pm at the absolute latest to get 8 hours of sleep. I usually end up hanging out with my girlfriend or other friends who work regular jobs, but I always end up about 2 hours of sleep short.

    It would almost be easier if they worked completely different hours than me — as it is, everyone seems to think: “well we all have work in the morning,” and I end up going to bed around 11. A lot of it is my fault as well — 8:30pm just seems so early to make myself start getting ready for bed! I know how good I feel when I routinely get 8 hours of sleep, but for some reason I always get this “second wind” around 7-8pm and don’t feel the need to go to bed.

    1. How about taking a nap? Late afternoon, before dinner, whatever works.

  63. Just wanted to comment on yesterday’s post of “10 habits”. What a great collection of good, healthy living information. This site never ceases to impress me with the continuous flow of motivation and inspiration. I am happy to report that I have inspired a co-worker to follow the primal path during this most recent challenge. So far she has made it through the “flu” and is feeling great. It’s a great feeling to have helped another person actually “get it”.

  64. This epic code isn’t working for me. EPICHEARTSMARK – no discount

  65. My challenge is finding the time & willingness to cook. I made it through low-carb flu, I made it through caffeine and sugar cravings that were off the wall. My IBS and GERD symptoms are improving, with the help of probiotics as well as eating primal. But I eat an awful lot of tinned fish and eggs because I’m so averse to cooking meat (before going Paleo I ate a mostly vegetarian diet). And I can feel myself getting bored . . .

    That said, I’ll keep at it! I’m convinced by the science and by my body’s responses so far that this is a healthier way to nourish oneself than the SAD.

    1. How about starting with some nice cold cuts? No cooking invovled. Plus you can wrap veggies in them. Or go full tilt and smear cold cuts over your body to help get over your fear of meat.

  66. I get together with a group of girlfriends every week for dinner where we take turns cooking for each other (been doing this for 10 years!). My biggest challenge has always been how to eat around the non-paleo food and not offend anyone! I know I could use this as my “cheat” day but it’s no fun to cheat when I feel awful the next day because of the large amounts of bread or sugar I ate. Anyway, last night was a pasta dish so I brought a bowl of zucchini that I peeled to look like spaghetti and raved about the awesome meat sauce that the host made. Yay! Just need to keep coming up with good substitution ideas like that..and showing them how delicious paleo food can be when it’s my turn to cook!

    1. If one of your girl friends was allergic to peanuts, would a dish be prepared with any form of peanuts? Probably not. Why not talk to girlfriends about your diet and pitch a compromise. Like one primal dish per meal. To get the ball rolling, provide one of Mark’s cookbooks that can be passed around like the traveling pants of the yaya sisterhood or tell them to check out NomNom’s site.

  67. My biggest challenge so far has been keeping my carb intake low in order to lose a bit more fat (I’ve already been primal for some time). I feel good on my new carb intake, but I do still miss my almost daily sweet potato and the fairly generous amounts of fruit I was eating before. I also don’t sleep as deeply since lowering my carb intake to around 50 grams a day, so I really hope my body adjusts soon! As far as successes go though, I have already lost 3 pounds since beginning the challenge! Talk about great motivation to continue well beyond 21 days!

  68. I had a bad case of the low-carb flu that seems to be slowly shaking off. At the advice of a friend I’ve been taking L-Glutamine to help with the carbohydrate cravings.

    1. I read an article about addressing carb flu when we started a diet similar to primal. His advice was to load up on healthy fat when carb flu symptoms hit-i.e. turkey legs cooked with butter, non-crispy bacon, coconut oil, anything with healthy saturated fats. Really helped my wife and I.

  69. Recently, I have been struggling with being too strict with myself. I feel guilty for eating a piece of fruit. So I have just been telling myself its okay and forgiving myself for the downs and celebrating the ups.

  70. The best part about primal living is its a blue print, when I started a year ago I was STRICTER THAN STRICT then after feeling great I started toself expirment on whats best with me its a great starting point for ANYONE! You can always modify ex. (Low carb, high carb) is enjoyable to see your full potential

  71. Death in the family has brought me closer to my sisters, and I have started 2 of them eating primal. I, however, have suffered from lack of motivation partly by getting my regular schedule completely rearranged. Bike was in the car for a week and it was raining so I didn’t have to ride. But I did. It didn’t kill me.

  72. Two pitfalls, alcohol and dairy – both of which I know keep me from my goals.
    Dairy is tough, especially at the tail end of summer when I still crave ice cream.

    Alcohol is tougher. Alcohol is too tied to friends and fun to give it up easily, plus this is my favorite time of the year for beer. Mmmm Octoberfest.

    Normally I do really well. I feel and perform better when I’m dialed in, but these two have been a struggle.

    1. Darrin, I was in your shoes with alcohol. I discovered my difficulties were mental triggers like: having a beer in my hand while grilling, Having a beer during breaks in yard work. Having a beer with friends. I eliminated beer and switched to wine and clears. (A sideways move). Then I reduced my intake by alternating drinks with waters. I do not do more than two consecutive drinks because then my moment kicks in. Alcohol is not known for logical outcomes. Now I do not drink often. The money I save is awesome. I still go out with friends and I will have one clear drink, maybe a vodka and water or a gin and tonic, then I switch to seltzer with citrus. The transistion was both easy and difficult at the same time.

  73. The hardest part for me so far has been keeping my carb intake between 50 and 100 grams per day. I had been eating mostly primal before the Challenge, but for the past few weeks I h

  74. The biggest thing for me is the lack of weight coming off. I know I just need to give it time, but it is hard sometimes to be patient. I hear all the wonderful stories about weight fall off of people but for me it is just not happening.

    1. Try upping your fat intake while decreasing protein a little and making sure carbs are always between 50-100 g. Also cut out nuts and any pre-packaged foods, and limit your dairy. This always seems to kick-start weight loss for me. You *will* lose weight, it *will* happen! Hang in there!

      1. Thanks, Amy. I’m with Sharon — a little frustrated about not losing weight. I’m in week 13 and, although eating has become a non-issue and I lost 20lbs and feel GREAT, I still have quite a bit of weight to lose and am at another plateau. I’m not really tempted by foods nor do I have unmanageable cravings, but I don’t like feeling stuck either. I’m doing IT and lifting heavy things… some days I just need a cheerleader, though.

        1. It is frustrating, sorry about that. Sometimes what will move me is a carb feed now and then (not often tho). Found some sweet potato noodles that worked well on one night of carbs.
          So you go girl! It’ll happen eventually. You’ll try different things and some will click and others not, just keep trying.

  75. my issue is staying on the wagon, so to speak. I feel great, breath better, etc when going primal for any length of time but something (usually stress and lack of time to make real food) leads me off. I rty to get some cooking done during the weekends but the kids naps are only for so long and there always seems to be a list of stuff to do. Guess I need to shorten the list.

  76. I am new to Paleo, I just happened to find this site about 1 week before the challenge began and decided to give it a try. So far so good, I am really liking the results after such a short amount of time.

    I have always been hungry and needed to eat every 2-3 hours. Last weekend I went 6 hours between meals and still had plenty of energy while remodeling my bathroom. My wife thought I had snuck off to Taco Bell when I went to the store. I never would have thought it was possible!

    I was always the guy who would eat anything and my co-workers are baffled how I came to this decision. They are constantly trying to get me to break, but are already commenting on the physical changes that I have undergone.

    Despite a trying battle with the low carb flu, I think that I am in for the long haul.

    Thank you everyone for all of the great advice here at Mark’s Daily Apple. This is a great place for inspiration and information.

  77. The hardest part for me so far has been keeping my carb intake between 50 and 100 grams per day. I had been eating mostly primal before the Challenge, but for the past few weeks I had let a bunch of grains and sweets back in when we went to a couple of fairs. Finding time to prepare some of the meals I want to try has been challenging because I spend most of my day chasing two little Groklets around the yard, so we eat basic things. On the up side, I get plenty of play time and taking them in their stroller for long walks on the hilly back roads near my house gives me plenty of time in nature, sunshine, and extended slow paced exercise sessions.

    my words of encouragement for others would be to take the guidelines of the challenge and see how you can get them to work with your life. You may be surprised at how well doing things in a more primal way can work for you!

  78. OMG!!! We love the bison, bacon, cranberry bars – just took them to be lunch while we were in Zion and Grand Canyon earlier this month. Yummy and satisfying!!! Our biggest struggle is staying clean when we go out to eat with friends…

  79. My biggest struggle is free donuts and cookies. I love them all, LOVE them. My wife made some paleo apple crisp which helps take the edge off my sweets craving, but i also cheated a couple times. I’ve replaced my daily beer with red wine. I’ve been doing the 80/20 for a few months this is my attempt at 100% and to see how it makes me feel.

    Overall, with only a couple slips in the challenge I do feel good not much different than 80/20 (except for cutting out beer), but I am extremely hungry all day at work. This week i’ve been bringing lots of food with me and eating a lot (all primal), I’m concerned that this may be driving up my calorie count and I wonder if I’ll see weight gain. How do you all stay satiated on primal diet during the day?

    For my heavy lifting / sprints yesterday I was done in less than 40 minutes. Warmed up with deadlifts, went 5 rpm for 5 minutes with cleans, then 1000m rowing for my sprint. Felt good, in and out of the gym quickly.

    Also, is anyone able to find grass fed chicken eggs? All the organic brown eggs i see are “free range” but fed grains. Its hunting season now so every weekend I am out searching for my free range, organic, nature raised venison and elk in the woods.

    1. I wanted to reply to your comment about feeling hungry all the time. I think it takes our bodies a little while to get accustomed to eating this way. I remember a post Robb Wolf wrote about feelings of hunger — is it true hunger for food? When I found myself hungry (and I know I just ate a good meal!), I would assess the feeling and determine if it was true hunger, or just a habit of munching… The first week of the challenge I was hungry a lot, but since I recognized that I was eating very well – protein, fat and veggies, very little fruit – I ignored the hunger feelings. I am now in the second week, and have ZERO hunger cravings. (Of course, I am not working out as much as yuo are, and I am a woman, so there will be a difference:) Also, much to my surprise, my clothes are feeling loser, and my pants are a lot looser – super exited!

  80. Biggest challenge for me would be abstaining from rice and pasta. I’m naturally inclined to eat both as I’m half Italian and Filipino. Sheer will power keeps me from eating either. Lately, I’ve just been adding more meat and fat to my diet to keep my mind off of the lack of grains. Don’t really crave grains when I’m eating a nice piece of spicy sopressata.

    1. From a former lover of pastas and rice — Nobody likes either. What we really like is the stuff on it. Think about it. Who eats a plain bowl of pasta with nothing on it? Who eats plain, boiled rice with no seasonings or anything else? We love the stuff we put on both the pastas and rice. So why waste time with the filler? Eat the good stuff — the stuff you would have put on/in the rice/pasta.

  81. My biggest challenge is to not let a little cheat (like a warm organic apple cider from the farmer’s market) spiral into an all-day cheat (like going out to sushi for lunch and topping off the day with ice cream).

    That has happened. But we get back on the horse.

    1. I feel you on that one. Yesterday, I “allowed” myself to have one of my favorite foods at lunch: deep fried seafood. After all, I was at a restaurant on the water and it smelled delicious wafting out of the kitchen. Combined with the fact that I skipped breakfast as part of my intermittent fasting plan, I caved and devoured the plate of fried goodness. Since my defenses were already down, I even allowed a beer to go with it. Although it was delicious, naturally I felt terrible about an hour later. I used this as encouragement to eat properly for dinner and made a Big Ass Salad with some grass fed flank steak. That seemed to get me back on track and I felt great this morning during my workout.

      Keep getting back on the horse no matter how many times he bucks you off!

  82. 2 words – Cheese balls.

    I can pass up the birthday cakes at the office, the leftover sandwiches and pizza from meetings, even the fresh bread and pastries that show up in our break rooms but if you put a bucket of cheese balls in front of me they will be destroyed, demolished, erased. I think it’s a combination of the salt, “cheese”, and crunch that makes them so darn irresistible to me. The good news is I don’t cave and purchase them very often but I crave them all the time.

    Anyone have any suggestions as a replacement for these chemical, carb balls? lol.

    1. I found these Beets and Sweets chips, they even sell them at walmart. They may not be the best but they are failry primal and satisfy my cravings by having just a few.

  83. Mrs. Griffin and I have been following along more-or-less diligently with the 21-day Challenge and piggy-backing the 21 Day Transformation book as well. So far:

    We’ve increased our slow-pace cardio with more regular evening walks,
    We’ve started Lifting Heavy Things (namely ourselves),
    We went on a 3-1/2 hour hike on Saturday through a Nature Reserve in a ravine near home,
    We’ve played frisbee,
    We had a celebration dinner on the Autumn Equinox,
    I’m standing more at work, (and moving more as well),
    We’re having a Grokfeast this weekend with our neighbours, and
    We’ve entered a few contests. We’ve even done some of the challenges that we can’t win in, but are participating nonetheless.

    For us, the benefit is that we are back on track. Our diet hasn’t been the issue but our lack of exercise has been. Now we’re trying to exercise more diligently and we’re trying new things. Mrs. Griffin thought she hated frisbee because she’s “not very good at it,” but we had a great time with lots of encouragement and running around (our aim needs some improvement). The Nature Reserve we walked through is a couple kms from home but we’ve never been there in the 10 years we’ve lived here.

    The thing we’ve struggled the most with are the lifestyle challenges, getting to bed on time, limiting social media, television, email, etc., especially at work.

    Oh well, there’s always room to improve.

    Thank you Mark and everyone else for taking us on this ride!

  84. Having been a lifelong smoker and drinker I had an epiphany a month ago and have not touched either. I’ve lost 26 pounds following the challenge and I’ve noticed my sleep patterns are really erratic, almost like they are resetting themselves to a healthier version! Thank you for helping me change my life to one that I am proud of!

  85. I am still trying to wrap my brain around bars – Paleo bars – because, they are still processed. So many companies have Paleo-friendly bars but people who are still trying to reach optimum wellness should not be eating these as daily snacks or as meal replacements, right? They should be focusing on the real deal meat, seafood, veggies, eggs, a bit of fruit — not a bar. I understand eating one while hiking or stuck on a plane, but a daily snack or in place of a Big Ass Salad?!
    I don’t buy bars, regardless of how “natural” they claim to be because I want to ensure I’m getting the most nutrition possible with each bite I take. If I cannot take that bite, due to travel or whatnot, then I choose to fast. I am fat-adapted and therefore can go without food for a day!

  86. I would love to be the one to give encouragement today, unfortunately, I’m in need of some myself. I’ve been eating primal since July and am very pleased with my weight loss. Every week my clothes are getting looser and looser; I love it! But, I am having extreme difficulty with MOVING! When I first started eating primal, I was extremely fatigued all of the time, so, of course, I didn’t have any energy to move at all. Now, I am waking up before my alarm and feel good when I get up; then, I head off to work and am there 9 hours or so and drive 40-45 minutes back home. I tell myself all the way home, “I’m going to do something when I get home”, but, when I get there and say I just wanna relax a minute and you guessed it, that minute turns into the whole night!! sigh………….So, my little talks I’m having with myself are doing nothing!! It’s pitiful! And, of course, I feel bad and put myself down for not doing anything. Has anyone else been where I am?

    1. What helped me get over that was to schedule about 30 minutes worth of household chores to complete each evening before I allowed myself to sit. The added bonus is that by the time the weekend rolls around you have more time to do fun stuff!

      1. I Love this idea!! That is absolutely something I think I would actually do. Thank you!

  87. I have been primal (mostly) on and off (desserts & the fun of trying new foods) again for 2 years. Desserts have always been a sticking point for me. I tell myself that gluten is bad, and sugar will kill me, but then i say “but it’s just once.” The problem is that that quickly becomes “just once” this afternoon followed by a “just once” this evening. And then sometimes a “just once” quart of Haagen Dazs every night for 4 days on top of that. Sugar is my brutal mistress. I want the freedom to partake every now and again, but it’s something that i really have to watch.

    To help me work on this lately i’ve set specific goals that must be met and worked towards before i can allow myself to indulge a bit. And then I also have a predetermined portion in mind as the treat. If i don’t then the whole quart will be gone in a sitting. My current portion is ~1/4-1/3 inch off the top. And i’m not allowed to do that more than twice a week. It’s working pretty well, too. Of course the more you go without sugar the less you want it, and so it’s helping to reduce the cravings as well.

    Another thing that is also helping me to get back on track after this last bit of time off the wagon (off the hunt? plain? barefoot, loin-cloth clad animal chase?) is to start counting carbs again. Even during my times of strict primal adherence i always had a bit of carb-creep, and it’s worse when i’m off track. So counting is helping to re-orient myself to the primal track.

  88. As I have been paleo for awhile, my most recent struggle is trying to eat right in my first year of college on a mandatory meal plan. There is free pizza, candy and other neolithic processed foods galore. It’s amazing seeing all the processed foods I see everyone else eat. Though I rarely have such cravings for them anymore, stress, hunger and isolation are potential triggers for me.

    Fortunately, I have gotten into the routine of ordering bunless grilled burgers (my school even uses all grass-fed beef!), hitting the salad bar and keeping my own arsenal of canned fish to stay on track. College sure is demanding, both physically (I have to walk around 2-3 miles a day with a heavy load on my back to get to classes) and mentally (all that studying!), but good food goes a long way to providing fuel. Keep calm and carry on.

  89. I struggle with eating too much. After a tough workout this morning, I was crazy hungry by noon. I ate totally primal – protein, veg and fat – by way too much to lose those last 10 lbs.

    I struggle with what to eat between meals. In trying to lose weight, I’m not eating fruit, nuts or dairy. Too many vegetables in a day cause gastro issues, so I usually snack on protein, like canned tuna. But if I’m already eating 4-6 oz. of protein for each meal, is that too much protein?

    I’ve been primal for a year and a half, but can’t get rid of the spare tire. I move slow, I sprint and I either lift heavy or do body weight exercise. It’s very frustrating.


    1. Fat, that’s what you need! Maybe coconut oil? Olive oil? Or fatty meat like bacon to help fill you up.

    2. It sounds to me like too much exercise for the amount of fuel. Did you eat before your morning workout? How much are you exercising? Are you using Mark’s exercise pyramid to help you regulate your exercise? Are you denying yourself the fuel you need by being so strict about what you’ll eat? It’s possible to try so hard to do this right that you end up doing it wrong which can also increase your stress which is not a good thing.

  90. My mother told me yesterday that her best friend, Edie, (my “second mother” of sorts) has been diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. The doctors told her to stick to a low-sugar diet, since cancer cells grow faster when provided with sugar. My mom called me to ask about my “Paleo thing” and I provided her a summary and then directed her to MDA’s website.

    My question is: Has anyone else started a Paleo lifestyle because of a cancer diagnosis? Do you have any advice or success stories that I can provide for sweet Edie?

    1. There is a success story on this site entitled From Cancer Back to Health. Check it out.

  91. Since I’ve been doing Primal for a while, I decided to use the challenge to 1) go 100% on eating and 2) focus on the aspects I don’t usually focus on. Because I’m in pretty good shape and exercise a lot, I’ve tended to ignore the 3-5 hours of “movement at a slow pace.” So I bought a FitBit, and that was eye opening! Now I’m trying to incorporate more slow movement overall, which is challenging, but also fun and relaxing.

  92. I’ve struggled with giving up my weekday morning mocha, partly because the coffee shop is right there when I get off the bus, it smells great, and the baristas are always so happy to see me! I have cut down to an 8 oz instead of 16 oz–baby steps!

    1. I hear you on that! I’ve started to keep a bar of dark (70%+) chocolate at home or in my desk and when I have a mocha craving, I pop one piece in my mouth as I sip on a coffee or Americano. The coffee melts the chocolate and it’s like a tiny version of a mocha in my mouth, haha!

  93. I think the toughest challenge is eating meals with other people. Whether it’s going to lunch with co-workers at a place like Noodles & Co. (ew), or going to someone’s house and they suggest, “Hey, let’s order pizza!” On my own, I’m fine making my own food or picking restaurants that I can get what I want, but with others’ it can be a real challenge.

    1. If you feel like going out for lunch and know a place that you can eat clean at, you can invite others to go with you. That way you can pass on noodle places and still be viewed as a “team player”.

      Can you I/F when presented with non ideal meal choices?

  94. I have been 85/15 primal since Juanry 1, 2013, and have lost 60 pounds, all my inflamation issue, and feel better than ever. The last few weeks prior to the challenge I started those Old Cheating Eating Habits. This 21 day challenge has helped me get refocused on 100% primal, and enabled me to lose an additional 7 pounds so far. The best thing is that I started this just to feel better from eating better, the extra benefit is the eight loss!

  95. I started about a month before the challenge began and I love it, this is how I have approached it, I have resisted the urge to tell people about what I am doing. I just go about my routine, my wife and kids understand that I have changed a few things. My co-workers give me a little hard time when we go out for lunch but it’s all in good fun. Even my beer drinking buddies have cut me slack for switching to hard cider.

    Here is what I notice is happening, and I’m not sure whether it’s the changes that are happening to me physically, or people noticing that it doesn’t take too much effort to do, or the fact that I have been able to lower my blood pressure enough to stop taking a prescription for it, but it’s creating interest. First it was a co-worker that asked me to share what I am doing and I told her about the challenge, then 3 more co-workers. The biggest shocker to me is my wife is taking part, and our kids like most of everything we are making.

    One of my goals is seeing my abs by Christmas, which is no easy feat when you are 47.

  96. I’ve been having the most issues with getting enough sleep. My legs and feet cramp at night, painfully. The muscles seize up and I have to stand and bear weight for the cramp to ease up. I’ve been supplementing with magnesium glycinate, 1200 mg before bedtime. This is barely keeping the muscle cramps in check. I do fall asleep very well, though.

    1. Diane, I’ve found having a little extra potassium helps get rid of my night leg cramps. I try to have a small banana or a few Brazil nuts late afternoon or early evening.

    2. I try to eat broccoli most days, it can add calcium and potassium. Helps to curb the “blow me out of bed” leg/foot cramps I can get.

  97. I would say that the biggest challenge that i personally face is staying on track in college. The only food available is usualy processed and not exactly primal, so much that at time in the dining hall I need to resort to fruit and peanut butter just to kill the hunger from the day. Will power builds upon its self, but the more times you give in to peer pressure and urges, the less likely you are to stand up to them next time.

    That being said, I am proud of everything I have done so far. The best strategy I have is staying with a friend group who is ok with me staying in on weekends to get a little more sleep and a girlfriend who loves to try new foods with me

  98. I’m enjoying the challenge this year. This week has been crazy busy at work, and I haven’t been able to get outside much, or go to CrossFit since last week. I feel confident though that good nutrition is 80% of the battle, so there’s a bit of comfort knowing that if I eat right, I’ll be okay if I fall short on the physical activity now and then.

    I’m continuing to encourage my family to jump on board with me.

  99. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve seen is when my brother started eating more Primal. He had enough energy and was losing weight despite having thyroid issues. All was going well, and then his doctor gave him the OK to go back to his old way of eating, and the progress halted for the time being. Just hurt to see progress be dismissed fairly easily.

  100. The no-carb brain fog was crippling for the first few days. The adjustment to the lack of carbs took about two days and during that time I could hardly focus or concentrate.

  101. I’ve been primal almost a year now. Despite appreciating so much about it, I am frustrated by the negative effects on my social life. Living in a small college town in Texas, restaurant options are VERY limited. Vegetarians are more mainstream here – in Texas! Who would have thought? I find myself dreading – or skipping – some social events (school potlucks and the like) because I know all the food will be yucky, and bringing my own food would be awkward or inappropriate.

    Worse yet is feeling rejected by friends and family here who frequently say, “I would have invited you over but…” followed by some variation of “I don’t know what to feed you.” I’ve explained, given website links, recipes, ingredients, and even food at times (all only when asked, of course). It seems so simple to me; I don’t understand why it is so hard for them. I wish they’d just invite me over, tell me the menu, and welcome my contribution, but I guess that goes against “southern hospitality.” (For the record, though, neither I nor my family are southern, so I don’t get what their problem is.)

    1. Maybe they feel judged and guilty for knowing they aren’t eating as well as you are? I would bring my own food (with enough to share with those interested) and let their problems be theirs. Just don’t pressure them to eat your way or to provide your food.

  102. I have been plagued by a sweet tooth. SO difficult to say no when the craving hits. My indulgences haven’t been crazy, but still, I’ve given in when I should’ve just left and taken a walk to eliminate the feeling that I NEEDED something I really don’t need.

    1. A sweet tooth is natural Sweet cravings can be linked to fat cravings. Bacon is already hyped up alot on here but it does have its place. I always keep lardons in the fridge. Lardons is bacon cut into small, square rectangles. I cook them on the fattier side and use country cut. Lardons travel well in aluminum foil. This helped me overcome sugar cravings when I first went primal. Caution: If you keep lardons on you animals may approach you.

      1. Or random people who are attracted to the fabulous smell of bacon.
        MMMMMMM B A C O N ! ! ! !

  103. So we are in our second month of Primal and I’m having issues with my hair. It’s so shiny and healthy now that my usual shampoo and conditioner are weighing it down and making it stringy. I’ve bought several “no residue” shampoos and none of them seem to be much better.

    Is anyone else having a similar problem? And have you found products that work?

    1. I stopped using them every day and use them as needed. Rinsing in hot water in the shower seems to work for me on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

    2. I stopped using hair products at all. I just use a wet washcloth on my hair and body with no soap at all. Mine seems to appreciate me not messing with its natural balance. I actually don’t have to wash my hair as often now.

    3. I use Dr Bronner’s and only every other day or every three days.

  104. My challenge is eating after dinner. It’s habit, not hunger. Once I slip, it’s a slippery slope for sure.
    (then I started reading the comments – now I’m challenged to not run out and buy ice cream)

  105. I too would like to give kudos to this community. Rarely do we get mean remarks and if we do, they are usually ignored or someone calls them out. It is a pleasure to not only read Mark’s blog but the comments. When I occasionally find myself on some random comment page at some other site, I am appalled at how mean and rude the comments can be.

    Honestly, eating Primal is no problem for me. Our whole family and some friends are on board as well. I cannot seem to keep any kind of exercise program going so I do my best to incorporate as much as I can into my daily life. I do not have a sit down job and am able to walk most places I need to get to. I could do more, I know, but don’t think it is going to happen.

    I have a good size garden to tend, I do housework, carry heavy (for me) loads of wet wash to hang on the line, practice balance when I brush my teeth, took up Tai Chi and I live with lots of stairs. I know I climb at least 10 flights a day and sometimes more. I need to add some sprint type thing on a regular basis. I think jumping rope would easily fit into my life. I will write it on the calendar to remind myself. Here I go right now to do that.

  106. Big Challenges for me are office parties and eating with Friends. No one is ever happy until you eat some of what they have or give you the “everything in moderation” schpeel. A simple no thank you never stops the speech.
    Solutions for me have been to simply load up on “the good stuff” and let them know that I’m in the 21 day challenge and encourage (not pushy, after all I’m not a vegan or anything :-)) them to give it a try given how good I’ve been feeling.

  107. 21 Day Challenge Struggle: Ridicule/funny looks at work.

    This is my first time participating in the 21 Day Challenge, and it’s realligned my Primal path.

    The minor struggle I’ve had, is reigning in the glass of wine after work. I got into a pretty regular routine of a glass of wine with dinner, every night, so I decided to break that habit and abstain for the 21 days. It’s hard to do on the weekend, but I have to say, I’ve been getting up Saturday mornings, going to the park and excercising – walking, sprinting, lifting weights – and feeling good!

    Now, the major struggle is that I started to stand at my desk for a couple of hours in the morning, and a couple in the afternoon. I put my keyboard and mouse on two boxes and raise my monitors. Well, my boss loves to make fun – he thinks I’m a bit crazy. Other people ask if I have back problems. When I say no, they get this strange look on their face, but I explain how unhealthy it is to sit for 11 hours a day, and how I have more energy when I stand. I’ve also started doing some isometric exercises, some leg swings, some torso twists while standing.

    Beside more energy, I’m sleeping better too!

  108. My biggest hurdle during the challenge is my wife’s eating habits. She refuses to get on board with the PB and even more vehemently refuses to exercise. It’s not holding me back with my own Primal lifestyle even though I’m the cook of the family. I don’t even mind cooking two separate meals, and have mostly given up on asking her to get active with me. My problem is that it just breaks my heart to see the woman I love making unhealthy choices. I just know that it will catch up with her some day. We are both young (Me: 34, Her: 31), but I feel like she can’t continue this lifestyle forever without negative effects.

    Anybody else in the same boat? How have you dealt?

    1. Same boat and we’re older — me 54; he 55. He already has a host of chronic conditions that would probably see vast improvement with the PB, but he refuses to join my “crazy a$$ed diet” in spite of the health improvements I’ve made in the past 2 1/2 years. Yes, it is heartbreaking, but he is slowly making some lifestyle improvements. Since I am the cook and do the groceries, if he wants any non-primal fare he has to go out and get it and prepare it himself. He doesn’t like to exercise, so I’ve resorted to stealth exercise — walking the dogs; slowly paddling back and forth the length of the pool so he has to keep up if he wants to talk to me (I know, not swimming, but it beats being rooted to one spot!), etc. After all of this time he has finally decided to do yoga once or twice a week.

      One of the things that I have learned with age is that we cannot change others — we struggle enough to change ourselves, lol! All we can do with those closest to us is to continue to be a quiet example, don’t pester them, and be available to answer questions when asked and offer encouragement.

      1. Excellent advice. Thank you Myra. I plan to continue this lifestyle in hopes that it will influence her in the future.

    2. You could stop cooking her food. If she doesn’t want yours she can provide her own; she’s a grownup. For exercise have you tried inviting her out dancing? Even square dancing fits in the move frequently at a slow pace if your go often enough. Don’t tell it’s exercise; just invite her to go dancing.

      1. Good thinking…I just may see if she wants to go dancing this weekend. (-:

  109. My struggle with being paleo is battleing the the thought “when does this end”. My mind is used to following plans for a month or 6 weeks and although I believe in this way of eating, love how it makes me feel and plan on sticking with it for the long term, I still think about life after paleo. I take one day at a time and make a choice to eat clean food, pass up the junk in the office and at parties and give my body what it really needs. At the end of the day I need to always remember that “off paleo” means stomach aches, foggy thinking and bloat….I love living without those things!

    I love this community, thank you Mark for championing this way of life!

  110. So let’s get started. When I first started this program my wife did not think that it was a good idea but after some convincing, she gave me permission to go ahead and do it. Whenever you start a program this extensive it is a very good idea to get your love one’s involved so that they can encourage you to do it. Also, she cooks a lot of my meals so it helps her out if I tell her in advance what I need to eat. So my struggle at the beginning was just that…starting.

    So far I have lost 5lbs and almost 2% body fat. My shoulders, back, and chest are toning up and my face is reducing. Everyone knows face fat is the hardest to get rid of. Haha. Another benefit that I am seeing is the reduction in inflammation in my joints. I have had three knee surgeries on my right knee and have always had inflammation. Sure enough, the majority of the inflammation in my body was coming from my diet. Kind of crazy. I also purchased “minimalist” shoes and absolutely love them. After the first week my feet and legs have adjusted. I am going to the zoo tomorrow so I will be walking all day so I will see how I feel after walking all day.

    Now on to negatives. The low car flu sucks and the first week was horrific for me. I had very bad headaches and I was tired. Also something that I noticed was when I would do full body lifting; I would burn out faster because of the low carbs. Going along those lines, I stopped real heavy lifting and have been doing more mace-bell, Indian club, and kettle bell training. I live in Arizona and this is the first week it has been “nice” weather (95 degrees) so I went to the park with my 3 year old, chased him on the playground, did pull ups, and bear crawls. Exercise is now less stressful because I don’t feel like I “have to exercise”.

    Anyways, I will continue on with the program and lets see how it works.

  111. I have been doing fairly well on the diet side of things so I am not changing too much there. I started with Primal at the start of this year and was able to lose about 18 lbs and have maintained that for a couple months at probably around 90/10. My biggest struggle is with the moving. I was always quite active but over the last several years my body seems to be fighting back. First I had to give up swimming because of my shoulders and then running because of my feet. For the last five years I have had chronic back pain and my feet just seem to get worse. I used to go to the gym on a regular basis but when that membership expired in the spring it didn’t get renewed, partly because I wasn’t happy with the gym anymore and also because I had just been laid off. I have purchased a few weights for at home but motivation is pretty low. I set up my bike in my living room and manage to get about 2.5 to 3 hours of slow riding in a week and recently started adding in some sprints on the bike. I walk to do most things around town but can’t do any long hikes any more. I am supposed to try some new treatments for my back and feet in the next month so fingers crossed.

    I have also been a lousy sleeper for most of my life- almost always wake up in the middle of the night sometimes for 2-3 hours. I have just started experimenting with magnesium so will have to see how that goes.

    1. Give bodyweight training a shot Joanne. You don’t need equipment or a gym.

      And, you can always modify exercises from difficult to easy (e.g. one-arm floor push-ups to two-arm wall push-ups).

      Mark offers this free — see his Fitness eBook (under Freebies [at the top of the page]). And a great book is Body by You (by Mark Lauren) at Amazon here:

      Here’s to your health! 🙂

  112. To be honest, I have not done well sticking to the health changes I’ve wanted to make during this challenge (or the past two months, for that matter). I jumped in to the Paleo/primal way of eating with a Whole30 in February and did pretty good through mid-July…and then I hit a wall.

    There has been a lot of change in my life the last couple months (multiple moves, boyfriend’s job loss, back to college full-time, ridiculous amounts of commuting) and this has seemed to be the first thing I let slide, first out of convenience (it’s much easier to eat SAD than primal when you’re constantly driving somewhere and not planning ahead) and now out of I don’t know what. I seem to follow every successful day or two with several days of epic fail (yesterday was McDonald’s, pizza, and maybe 6 hours of sleep).

    It’s just been hard for me to regroup. I know how wonderful I felt when I was sticking to it…I would like to feel that way again. I just need to figure out where and how to begin again.

  113. The low carb flu definitely one of the more annoying issues; but have started dreaming again far more vividly and often, like I used to as a child, so that does add something to bed each week! Keeping the warm full fat milk a little before bed for sure.

  114. I’m loving Paleo so far – weight has been falling off, and as someone with Hashimoto’s, that’s not exactly usual. No real trouble with cravings – my sweet tooth, which has always been legendary, has almost completely vanished!

    My biggest trouble is getting enough sleep, not because of my insomnia (though I’m pretty much a lifelong sufferer), but because of my son’s. If I go to sleep before he’s asleep, he’ll give up on falling asleep, get up and end up staying up all night. Usually followed by him missing school, because getting too little sleep causes him significant stomach upset. So I got to be between midnight and 2am, and then have to get up a bit after 6am to get the kids off to school. Some days I can go back to bed after they’re off, some days I can’t. I’m trying to experiment with afternoon/evening naps to see if I can sneak some more hours in, but in general I’m badly underslept, and have been for years now. I have noticed that even when I’m very sleepy, I have a lot more energy eating Paleo than I did before.

    My kids are not on board with the Paleo thing. They’re teenagers, and they aren’t at all keen on changing their usual daily foods. My husband is willing to try the foods, and doesn’t complain about being served Paleo meals at home, but doesn’t really buy the concept, and continues to eat much as he has before (minus some of the starch and sugar) outside the house, and to buy the kids the foods they prefer. I’m practicing patience, and having the boys try Paleo foods I’m pretty sure they’ll like. I’m hoping that over time the new recipes and foods will seem less weird, and more just like how our family eats.

  115. I feel like I am eating a lot more food this way than I was before and a trip to Costco that used to last my family two weeks is now only lasting a few days. Maybe it’s because of the fresher, tastier, ingredients, we are actually enjoying the food? I made a huge paleo meatloaf Sunday night expecting it to last me all week for lunches and it was gone by yesterday. My 1 year old loved it! 🙂
    My biggest challenge so far has been in planning and purchasing good food. I find myself scrambling at each meal to figure out what to eat and I don’t have to budget to go load up at Whole Foods or go out to eat every day. I need to make a budget friendly plan, go shop and stick to it.

  116. The hardest part for me has been starting a grad program in Nutrition and Food Policy. We’re doing a diet analysis now to see how well our eating aligns with my plate.

    Day 1 results? 60% of my diet form fat, 23% from protein, 17% carbs.

    I call that beautiful, and at the end of the semester I have to write a paper essentially on why this diet means I’m going to die of heart disease and high cholesterol within the next year, and what I need to change in my diet so that I don’t have such a morbid future.

    Regardless, I’m going to continue ignoring the pleas to add 6 servings of grain to my diet, and maniacally laugh when the program reminds me that I’m about to consume more than 1/3 of my daily caloric intake from breakfast, and am I sure I want to do that? Why yes, I am quite sure.

    1. Sounds like you’ll be in a position to influence Conventional Wisdom with your credentials when you graduate…Awesome!

    2. “maniacally laugh when the program reminds me that I’m about to consume more than 1/3 of my daily caloric intake from breakfast, and am I sure I want to do that? Why yes, I am quite sure.”

      Love it! By conventional wisdom, by the time dinner time rolls around, I can only have a small snack fo dinner. And the problem with that???

      Good luck on that required work of fiction at the end of the semester!

    3. I hope you are doing blood work along the way so you can document why you are not going to die next year when you have to write that paper. I also hope your instructor doesn’t fail you for being the healthiest person in the class.

  117. Even though I’ve been primal for about a year, I had my very first experience with someone being snarky towards me for not eating a piece of pizza! I couldn’t believe this woman’s comments (an acquaintance, thank goodness, not a friend). We were at a bar watching the football game Monday and I was about to leave. I mentioned that I was hungry and wanted to go home and cook, and she told me there was pizza. I simply replied, “I don’t eat pizza,” and she made a face and said, in a very mocking, childish voice, “Ooooh, I don’t eat pizza. I’m gonna go home and have a salad and be healthy!”

    I couldn’t believe it. Up until this point everyone around me has been so supportive of me and has never said anything about what I do and don’t eat (they’ve noticed the nearly 50 pounds that I’ve lost). So to have this woman I occasionally see react in that way really stunned me. She said she was kidding, but I think it’s a reflection on her own unhappiness with herself, and an attempt to make me feel bad about my life. Anyway, that was a very new experience for me, and I really feel for those of you who get reactions like that all the time.

  118. I struggle with feeling like I’m missing out on something that represents “the good things in life” (e.g., big bowl of popcorn). I find it helpful to literally count my blessings when these thoughts come up.

  119. I have been semi primal for a while now. Then in June my mom and I went on the 21 day challenge. Cutting out beer and tortilla chips(my only two non primal vices) Made a huge difference. I lost 15 pounds from June to August and have maintained the weight loss. Apart from the weight loss I love everything about primal eating, sleeping, and moving.

    The eating is overall effortless for me; my largest challenge is still tortilla chips with fresh salsa (In Texas with some of the best Mex food around, I don’t really care about the tortilla chip but it is an AWESOME vehicle for delicious fresh, tomato/jalapeno/onion/cilantro goodness)and food at work (today someone made chocolate cake from scratch. I am not even a sweet eater, but the mood hit me right and so I enjoyed.)

    Sleeping primally is 100% effortless. We live in a small town on a small road with no road lights, our normal schedule is in bed by 9-10 wake up at 5:30-6. We love sleep.

    Movement/Sunlight is the largest problem. At work in a windowless box from 6:45am – 5:30pm + commute. Arrive home and cook a primal meal, by the time supper is ready and kitchen is cleaned, sun is setting and I’m ready to tuck into bed. Also, my husband has a very physically demanding job, so when he get’s home he is ready to rest, and I am ready to move. One solution is I often turn up merengue or some other upbeat music while I am cooking and cleaning so that I move. Also, last night we went skateboarding, which we always love.

    For any of you first timers, press through to the end, it is well worth it! You will gain new insight to how your body works, and have a new love for yourself like I can’t explain.

    Happy Primal ya’ll!

    1. A friend made salsa from his garden and brought it to a bbq we were having and I was dying to try some, but had nothing to put it on. We brought some things for the grill including zucchini, so we cut one of those up into really thin slices and used that as chips. I was thinking, “Okay, I guess this will do…” (homemade tortilla chips tempting me from the nearby bowl), but it actually was really perfect. Didn’t detract from the salsa at all and was sturdy and tasty. Maybe give that a try the next time tortilla chips are challenging you and see what you think.

  120. So far the challenge has been great. It’s come at the perfect time, and I feel energized and ready to make big changes in my life (which, for me, is going to mean venturing back into the gym after years away and finally giving the weights a try). The first week I lost 4 pounds (I’m a woman, over 40), which surprised me because two days before my weigh-in I went carb-crazy on a short road trip, which included a bakery stop at the famed Czech Stop in the town of West, Texas. After a week of strict adherence (and a natural, surprisingly low carb intake), I indulged in a pimento cheese sandwich (it’s been MONTHS since I’ve had bread!), a couple of cream cheese kolaches, and a smaller pecan pastry roll. My calorie and carb total that day was scary. Maybe there’s something to the carb-load thing (even though I realize these are not the healthy carbs recommended), because I was shocked to see the 4-pound loss for the week just a couple of days later. (I also lost 6 inches.) I’m feeling great and optimistic! Keep at it, everyone!

  121. I’ve been primal for about a year and a half. I’m down 58 lbs but I still have a few to go. the hardest part is not screaming at my inlaws when they congradulate me on my weight loss in one breath and scoff at my food choices in the next. It’s bizarre.

  122. My biggest challenge going primal is learning how to relax and making sure I eat enough clean food during the day. The thing that gets me throught tho is you gotta want it for yourself badly enough to just do it and be healthy and happy

  123. What a perfect day for this message and challenge. I am feeling very alone and would love a big piece of vanilla cake…I started Paleo in january and up until now have done very well. Its comfort food time here in WNY and I am having a hard time not eatting apple pie, fritters and cobbler. I am trying to stay away from alot of nut flour so I limit what I will make paleo style. Its hard! I have found that if I read the label of a food item, the minute I read a non paleo ingredient I put it back and look for something good for me! Most days it works

    1. I sauteed up some apple slices in butter for awhile, added cinnamon and nutmeg and served them to my granddaughter with heavy cream. She doesn’t need to lose any weight, but loves to eat ‘healthy’. She loved her ‘pie and ice cream’. I keep trying to rethink food thanks to MDA.

  124. My struggle right now is being overwhelmed in several aspects of my life, both at work and home. I should catch a break at work soon, once the vacant position is finally filled, but it’s a State job, and those take forever to fill. I’ve tried looking at various paleo recipes to find one I think my husband, daughter, and I may all like and quickly give up. I’ve never gbeen much of a cook. My husband is dealing with quite a few health issues, that he knows would improve if he ate better, but he’s just not motivated to change his diet – depression and chronic pain make it difficult. His vision tends to blur after reading for a few minutes, but it’s not something glasses will help, so he’s not much help finding recipes. My own health improvements were mild, but I was already in fairly good healt, so that doesn’t exactly inspire him to try something new. My allergies, which are my biggest health issue really have not improved much, if at all. I think going dairy free for a while may help, but I may also be allergic to coconut. Fall allergy season is just getting started, so now is not the time to try to find out about coconut – too many other variables – pollen, mold, etc.

    I know that once the situation at work improves, I won’t feel as stressed by things at home, so that’ll improve soon too.

  125. My biggest inspiration has always been the success stories. Every Friday I wait until just after 8 am PDT to click on MDA and read about fellow Primalists who have made the change. I get inspired every week and always feel that twinge of disappointment when the stories are not up right away. Then of course you have to read the comments after the post and see the outpouring of love and support! The success stories are a big part of the reason why I am still primal 18 months into this and going strong!

  126. I’ve been Primal for over two years and by far the hardest thing is being the only one in the family committed to it. Dinners have become Primal for everyone just out of economic and practical need and nobody complains, but breakfast is still all about bread and heavily flavored coffee for the wife and kids. It hurts to watch them struggle with seasonal allergies, not believing there might be a connection despite my testimony.

    Wanting to jump up on the grocery store shelves and shout the primal truth in the chip aisle is starting to subside. Slowly. Being fat brings judgement, and heavy people still draw my attention but not my judgement. Now my attention is motivated by a desire to offer them the cure, but I despair that any comment would be perceived as judgement.

    On the bright side, after two years, people who I loaned the Primal Blueprint and 21 day Challenge books to early on are starting to ask for them back and I’m seeing friends adopt the lifestyle! It’s as if they needed to watch me to see if it was a fad diet and I’d suddenly gain back all the weight and more, or rather something that would last. Redemption is sweet and it’s worth keeping comments positive so as to not alienate up front. Managing hormones instead of calories for the rest of my life!

  127. Just attended the PB lecture last night at my Box. Super excited to hit it hard.

  128. Honestly, I’ve been primal long enough that my goal of tightening my 80/20 to 90/10 during the challenge isn’t very difficult. And I’m slightly OCD. 🙂 With that said, I just wanted to encourage all those out there who are just starting out or are struggling with Primal eating/living. Give it time, don’t give up – it will pay off in the end. I am the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been thanks to this lifestyle so keep at it! You can do it and I’ll see you on the other side. Grok on!

  129. I’ve ‘gone primal’ a hundred times and each time slipped back to my SAD ways. Thing is that each time I’ve done it alone. This time I’ve enlisted my family, my workmates and even my choice in music to all be supportive and help me hold myself accountable. It is do-able!

    I’ve noticed that the nutrition has fallen into line easily with this challenge and the night-time snacking is OVER so I’m working on sleep – has anyone else noticed an increase in slightly off and over vivid dreams? I’ve had some doosies lately!

    Thank you for this kickstart Mark! I’m tired of the bouts of imflammation, joint pain and massive guilt – put my foot down, said my piece and it stops now. The bars sound awesome and yes, the names are cool. 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win such a great item.

  130. The first week of my challenge was a piece of cake, er…I mean meat. I was in my own kitchen, cooking for my husband and visiting M-I-L, the later having no clue what eating healthy is. Then I received a call that my dad had a stroke and we immediatly left for northern CA, an 8 hour drive at best, a 12 hour drive with dogs and M-I-L. Gas station convenience stores should honestly be called “carbohydrate stores” that’s really all that’s available. We did find a restaurant near the hospital that would make omelets with your choice of ingredients, that was a lifesaver!
    Dad is doing well and we’re back home today, M-I-L has gone home and DH will eat whatever I cook for him!
    The only craving I really had during that time was a cappucino, I just ordered a black coffee and dealt with it.

  131. It took my DH a couple of years after I went Primal to come on board. He refused to believe that a breakfast of Cheerios wasn’t “heart healthy” like the TV commercial promises. Once he finally saw how well I was doing by permanently changing my eating habits, how good all the food tasted, etc., he was right there with me. So some people eventually come around, and I suppose a lot of others do not, but there’s always hope.

    A friend still gives me a bad time and gets snarky, but I just look at him and think to myself “Hey, I’m not diabetic and I don’t weigh 250 pounds and I’m not on a bunch of prescription meds” so I just smile and keep quiet. Believe me, the satisfaction is well worth not feeling the need to be snarky in return.

    So to those of you pestered by family/friends that give you a bad time, refuse to stop offering you “just a little piece of bread” or that “all things in moderation” crap or whatever else nonsense they conjure up, keep the faith, stick to it and you will prevail.

  132. Waaaaahhhhhh. I just sprained my ankle really badly at Crossfit today. This injury is going to be a huge difficulty for me both in training and how I adjust my paleo eating for less activity. I am so disappointed.

  133. Having no problem following diet. Only one bite of non-primal food (some rice protein in a chocolate suicide raw nut bar).
    Biggest problem right now: staying focused and keeping intensity at full throttle during my heavy lift sessions…

  134. I’m recovering from major surgery (a hysterectomy, about a week and a half ago), and I’m not sure how to eat over the next few weeks.

    Since January, I’ve gone from 200 lbs down to 160, eating primal, IF, walking and doing weight lifting and calisthenics. A lot of that work was in prep for this surgery.

    I’m tall and muscular, so if I never lost another pound, I would be OK with that. I’m a size 8 and look like a reasonably fit, thin person.

    I’ve lost the last three pounds since the surgery. I have no appetite, and I’m anemic. I’m sleeping two to four hours in the middle of the day. I also just caught my younger son’s cold, and possibly his bronchitis. I’m no longer really in pain; I’m just exhausted. Oh, and I’m a single mother with two school-aged kids. Friends and family have brought us meals, but it’s the usual pasta and rice dishes. I have decided not to be strict about calories or carbs for at least the next few weeks.

    I guess my question is, how do I eat in a healthy way while also supporting my need to heal after this major surgery? I don’t want to start a weight gaining process, but I also need to give my body the fuel it needs to heal.

    1. “I guess my question is, how do I eat in a healthy way while also supporting my need to heal after this major surgery? I don’t want to start a weight gaining process, but I also need to give my body the fuel it needs to heal.”

      Can you afford to buy from PreMadePaelo.com during this time of healing? It helps me when I can’t cook.

  135. My big challenge these days is sleep. I’m not getting enough of it. There are the days where I just simply stay up to late and those are very my fault (although partly fueled by being to busy during the day and afternoon to get some couch time in!) but many nights it’s just life happening. Summer makes for a busy work schedule, Some special classes I’m teaching that start early, a house to re-model (and I really really want to work on it!) that keeps me out in the evening and then a handful of ambulance calls to go out on that have mostly come at the littlest sleep possible kind of times. Sigh. This is an ongoing challenge. Unfortunately being busy and tired makes me want to eat anything that is easy and I revert to, at best, eating bread and practically living off of dairy products. Cooking takes time and I don’t want to spend any of the little I have left doing it!

    But I’ll work through it. I always do. I’m getting better about setting an evening time limit for the house work such that I can get the dogs walked by a decent time and off to bed. Tryig to at least lean towards other easy fast food stuff that is primal or at least not just starch, sugar, gluten, and/or dairy. Or coffee. Too much coffee!

  136. My challenges… work food (bagels, donuts, candy, cookies, blech), crazy high grocery bill (meat meat meat!!!) and late night eating (hello, chocolate!). I’m a work in progress!

  137. I want sweets all of the time! How do I get rid of these poisonous sugar cravings? I think it is made more difficult by the fact that I live in a dormitory where my meals are provided for me, so inevitably I have to gaze longingly at attractive desserts.

  138. The toughest part is daily food preparation, especially in planning for lunch, since you can’t trust what is in the cafeteria dishes. I’m planning on making big batches of food on Sunday.

  139. As a college grokette without a kitchen, this challenge has been especially, well, challenging. But it should be! I’ve been working on eating primally for about a year now, but having trouble with consistency. Social pressures, emotional times, lack of sleep–the list of excuses goes on and on for falling off the wagon as many times as I have. So, the way that I’ve seen this challenge, most importantly, is a time to revamp my mentality. It’s not a diet that I’m cheating on, it’s quality of life that I’m cheating myself out of when I go back to my SAD ways.

    I’m happy to say, that so far in the challenge, while I may have overindulged, it has been on the good stuff. I splurged on my budget a bit and bought primal pacs. I savored some extra dark chocolate after an especially stressful week. I’ve stopped beating myself up about the things I still need to do to fulfill the requirements of the challenge, and just enjoyed incorporating them into my days as best as I can.

    So happy to be a part of this community of all of you doing the same!

  140. Admittedly, I am not participating in this 21-day challenge. I have been online less frequently and did not notice its beginning. However, I did successfully go primal in the past and saw encouraging changes, so I am working toward it again, albeit, in longer than a 21-day challenge.

    Two of my greatest difficulties are 1) making more of my own meals and 2) cutting out, to a much greater degree, alcohol. I do not believe I am an alcoholic, but it definitely pushes me toward my 80/20 without few other considerations.

    I work two jobs and may be getting a third (only requiring a few hours a week, really). I want to eat mostly organic and so tend to show for small quantities at a time. The problem is my hours are crazy enough sometimes that I even let that wonderful, healthy, hard-grown food rot in the fridge. HELP!!! 🙁

    Anybody have tricks/suggestions to work on either?

    1. Get kitchen tools to minimize prep time, like a food processor, a hand immserion blender, a slow cooker, maybe a sous vide if you can afford it. Get different spices. I highly suggest you get the book “Well Fed” as batch food prep is laid out and it works.

      1. Thank you Ron, for the suggestions!! I’ll check on the book too!

  141. I have really struggled with the shared morning teas/ birthday cakes etc. Working in a school and being end of term makes it hard not to be involved and even harder to turn away the food! Bring on the Holidays!

  142. My biggest struggle right now is a friend who lives with us. He lost his job awhile back and eventually his apartment. He’s out of money. He complains about what we eat. He is a huge pasta eater. I am stressed. I want to help a friend but I feel like his Mother, when I say “my house, my rules, my money”. I am not buying processed garbage for him, I refuse and he will have to deal with it or leave, which it may come to if he doesn’t come around. I don’t want to lose a friend but I am not going to compromise our way of life to suit him.

    Yoga every morning helps.

  143. I find that my sugar cravings get completely out of control during my “special” time of the month, or sometimes before. Then, the next week, I have no desire for it at all. Any other Cave Women have this issue?

  144. Started this in mid August and love it! The hardest part was thinking I should eat because it was “time to eat”, but got over that quickly. I just am not hungry that often. Thanks for the free shipping on the Epic Bars – I ordered a sample pack. Wish there were samples of your Primal Fuel – I’d like to try before buying.

  145. I have been struggling with working Sprinting into my workout mix. I have a friend at work who has been doing some HIIT for some time now and I just had my first workout with him the other day. Kicked my Butt, but it was great and I am motivated again to Move (really!!) Rapidly a couple times a week.

    Also, I struggle with Beer!!! Pretty much nothing else, but Beer is sooo hard to give up!


  146. Everyone seems to have done so well that it makes a bit depressed. I had an amazing week and a half, but felt really bad after having a bit of bread and desert on Sunday and today a huge binge, which included muffins and biscuits — things I wouldn’t eat with such voracity. Perhaps the best explanation is having worked a night shift and have slept only 4 hours, maximum. It really affects you. Perhaps it’s just a way of undermining my own efforts. Anyway, congratulations everyone. At least I felt the difference until today and will try to use that to go back on track from the morning.

  147. Benefit – sleeping sooo deeply lately, dreaming every night!
    Challenge – dreading trying to keep this up when I a at school

  148. Of course I wanted to lose weight! And I haven’t yet… 🙁 But…I feel great! I have never felt this good in forever!!! And…I am not being so hard on myself. I can feel myself getting stronger and in a few years…maybe I will have lost some weight. My attitude has changed. I am not sure I really care if I lose weight or not.

  149. My biggest challenge is making breakfast before my husband leaves for work in the morning, because he’ll say he “ran out of time” if I leave it up to him to feed himself (ADD strikes in so many annoying ways). I work from home and am not hungry until mid-morning. So while I’m extremely glad he’s doing the challenge with me, I wish I didn’t have to face fried eggs quite so early. I just remind myself that it keeps him from stopping somewhere later and eating bad stuff! The man loves his carbs.

  150. I LOVE epic bars especially the bison bacon ones. I’ve been Paleo/Primal since last August, coincidentally when I started medical school. I’m mostly using this way of eating to achieve health, since I have a bunch of heart issues, a connective tissue disease, and PCOS. I had fallen off the bandwagon, drifting to a less than 80/20 lifestyle. And it was showing. So, I used this challenge to jump back on. Right now, I’m in one of the toughest modules I’ve taken thus far in medical school and find it hard to fine time for play, lifting, and getting adequate sleep. I try to get at least 8 hours a night, but that cuts down on my studying time AND I still wake up groggy. I’ve also tried to increase my walking to and from class and during breaks between classes but I still feel like I’m not tackling the activity part of this lifestyle to my best abilities. I am, however, eating pretty well and have been supplementing with magnesium, zinc, NAC, iodine, and selenium (from brazil nuts) and drinking Tulsi tea, since they are adaptogens and antioxidants to help reduce stress and keep my mind clear and fully functioning as I tackle these classes. Hopefully after my final next Friday, I can get back into the swing of things, activity-wise. I might extend the length of my challenge period.

  151. I keep working at going primal, right now I would say I am 50-60% and definitely can see how much better I would feel at 80%. The challenge is helping by being a fixed period of time to make a concerted effort. Thanks Mark!

    Walking and sprinting are my strong points. I still need to work on rounding out the other body area workouts. I need to do better with primal snacks and to eliminate grains.

    Glad the challenge isonly half way. Maybe I can make it yet.

  152. the hardest part for me was getting back in the routine of cooking. I was on a clean paleo diet for months and then started a new job. The stress caused me to head back into old habits of having a drink or two after work and by the time I’ve had that I don’t feel like doing anything. Getting a clear head though has been amazing. I think the hardest part of the challenge has been also forcing myself to go out and get 15 minutes of sunlight a day. It’s very rewarding though to make it out there and get it.

    One thing I did to really motivate myself was go out and buy supplements. I feel like if I’m investing myself financially in my health that I am more on board and the mental follows. Asides from having a square of dark chocolate, I’ve been feeling great!

    BTW good paleo breakfast smoothie recipe:
    2 egg yolks
    1 tbsn coconut butter
    1 cup spinach
    .5 cup frozen mango
    smidge of cilantro
    half an avacado

    I’ve been doing that for breakfast along with a couple of strips of uncured pastured bacon and I feel GREAT!

    I also ate some liver pate before i went to teach classes tonight after getting off work at my day job. It was like liquid energy. I ate it and felt so energized. I found myself training with the class rather then directing it… something I haven’t done in forever!

  153. My biggest challenge is getting involved with other people, being social. Embarrassing but true. I found the courage to step out of my shell recently when a co-worker was struggling with trying to rescue a cat that was abandoned recently when her neighbor died. She was facing financial trouble, a spouse that hates cats, a daughter that is afraid of cats, lack of knowledge about cats…yet she wanted to help. I got involved and helped out with getting the word out, and offering to talk with her family. Would you believe that spouse who ‘hates’ cats has fallen in love with this little stray, the daughter has overcome her fears and is cheering on the new family member, a big wheel in our company is footing the vet bills for a year, others have come up with food, toys, beds, carriers, grooming tools. I don’t take 100% credit for this, but I’ll take some it! I never would have become in anything like this before, mostly for fear of failure or being made fun of. But now I have courage! Must be the bacon.

  154. I’m so lucky to have quite a few primal mates in my office. Last year we did the challenge together and this year, too. We recently had a pot luck all day feast and it was awesome because most of the dishes were primal so it was easy for us to participate and enjoy the day with the rest of the crew.

    For exercise/play motivation, a friend and I volunteered at one of the mud run/obstacle course races locally. We’re no where near in shape enough to participate but just working behind the scenes and seeing all the enthusiastic participants has inspired us even more in our efforts.

    My biggest challenge, which seems pretty lame, is that so many of my friends are single and most of our outings revolve around events where there is alcohol and drinking. I do love my wine! I’ve been avoiding going out but can only do that for so long.

  155. One of my breakthroughs was owning the fact that I’m an abstainer not a moderator. 80/20 doesn’t work for me. I can’t eat 1 slice of pie on a special occasion. I either eat pie or I don’t. If it’s not on my list, it’s easy to say no. I need everyday to be a Primal Challenge. And that’s ok!

  156. The biggest challenge for me is being overwhelmed with work and life in general lately, and every time I think I’ve gotten out from under it for a bit, something else goes haywire. I’m dealing with it fairly well for the most part, and I think it helps to have been on the PB since February; I cope better than I used to. But still. I don’t get enough sleep and I’m running ragged all day, every day, and then I’m exhausted, and then I’m more likely to eat something horrible for me, and then I actually FEEL horrible which makes me feel even MORE overwhelmed…

  157. I have issue, like a lot of people. My problem has never been weight, I’m pretty thin, and most people who look at me think I’m in pretty darn good shape. I still have the sense that I’m underachieving. Sleep eludes me a good bit, and so energy gets shot up. Some changes I’ve made recently: I’m eating a ton more leafy greens. It helps. I haven’t done any super heavy workouts, as I suspect at some point I was overtraining and goofed up my hormones to some extent. I’m a little fragile, and prone to anxiety (maybe because of childhood and in utero trauma). Anyway, I think maybe for me, I just have to be even more strict than most folks, because going to bed early (computers are so addicting though) and eating tons of leafy greens has helped noticeably, even though I’m still not having the energy and oomph I know is inside me somewhere.

    So, advice? (Though I haven’t been super detailed) And to those struggling still, I’m with you, don’t give up, don’t overdo it, persevere, but intelligently.

    1. Great insights Jacob, I feel almost exactly the same way! I totally get what you are saying about the vague sense of underachieving, and I have the same problem about going to bed early enough. I appreciate your advice!

  158. My problem has been constant exhaustion, especially when walking (I by necessity walk a few miles a day). I have been Primal for a while, but while other problems are dissipating this one remains. Should I up carb intake? I eat mostly eggs and cabbage and leafy greens and broccoli and meat and fat. So I only get carbs a couple times a week as a sweet potato. Should I up fat intake? Ride it out? Walk more?

  159. Being able to interact with other Primal Lifestylers or interested people in my area is so motivating to me! About a year ago I helped start a Paleo meetup group in my city (Cincinnati, OH) and we have 92 members now!

  160. My difficulty has been cooking! I am accustomed to cooking. But I’m not accustomed to cooking everything that goes in my mouth…all day, everyday. A few “sugary” take-out salads made me realize that eating out isn’t easy to do eating primal. Sometimes it makes me prepare something new (I roasted my first whole chicken; I made homemade mayo). And that’s cool. But sometimes its like…dear God. Do I have to cook again? And wash more dishes? And buy more food?

    I know it will get easier as I get into a routine. But I’m not there yet. So its still a challenge.

  161. Those Epic bars are great! Our local natural foods market started carrying them about a month ago.

    So my biggest challenge is getting 8 hours of sleep. I have a toddler and I need to be sleeping an hour after he goes to bed to get 8 hours in before he wakes up. I find this so difficult because that time after he goes to sleep is my only time for cleaning up around the house, reading, exercising, showering, blogging. I don’t try to do all those things every evening, but there always seems to be something keeping me awake just a little longer.

    Anyone have advise for getting enough sleep when you have a young child? Perhaps this is something you just wait out? I know in a few years I’ll be the one waking him up! 🙂

  162. I tell ya, no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get visible abs. I have a low bodyfat percentage, and can sit up, with my back rigid (like Dracula), while hanging from my feet, but a six-pack has alluded me for years.
    And for others just leaving SAD behind; Remember, our bodies are not all exactly the same. Once you have made the switch from perpetual glucosis, to a more natural, primarily fat-burning metabolic state, you may well have to play around with your carbohydrate intake. The right amount will be where you feel the best (just make sure that you don’t accidentally hop back on the insulin cycle).

  163. My biggest challenge is my stomach! I’m not over weight and I am very active but I have a roll that will not disappear! I read Mark’s post about how he never does stomach exercises but I’m not having much luck. Anyone have any ideas? I do sit-ups, yoga, and concentrate on my posture etc. Also I have been eating primal for about 7 months. The easiest part of the challenge is the cooking ~ I love to cook from scratch! The new recipes have been fun and delicious.

      1. Recently on the forum there were a few posts on women and belly fat in the “Motivation Picture” thread. One poster commented that women should have some belly fat because it helps protect the womb. Makes sense to me.

        Even better are the inspiration pics! Go read it.

  164. Pasta! I don’t know why but spaghetti squash isn’t quite covering it. I’ll fast from all other carbs for the day and maybe up the ante a tad on the workout whenever I splurge.

  165. I noticed today that I had a lot of energy and no bloated feeling! I’ve recommitted to eating paleo since the challenge started, and it feels good!
    I also love reading all the comments and getting new insights. Thanks, all!
    My biggest challenge is getting exercise! I clean houses three days a week, and tell myself that is a lot of moving, but I know I could lift more heavy things. Right now I’m sticking with the healthy food– and getting my 8 hours of sleep!

  166. Has anyone had the experience where you absolutely love your mum,but somehow within 3 min of being on the phone with her ,you find yourself needing to do something or be somewhere? Well since turning my 73 year old mother paleo 2 months ago ,things have changed for the better, I now no longer have to hear about all the health complaints as they’ve all but gone and we have paleo food in common and I can stay on the phone until she’s ready to hang up. I also have an 80 year old father who has converted too and is loving it.

  167. I’ve been Primal for about four months and the biggest challenge just came up last week. I am pregnant! So I find myself panicking that my midwife (whose judgement and knowledge I highly respect) is going to ask me to change my diet. I am almost paranoid about what I eat and my exercise levels out of fear. I hate it! That kind of stress does not make things fun.
    Any ideas, o lovely MDA readers? BTW, ya’ll have been great support in this. Even my 2 Mt. Dew/day husband is on board!

    1. Congrats on growing the new person inside you!
      It’s not easy for everyone to be assertive, sorry, I’d give you some of my “old ageness” if I could. The longer you live the less you worry about the judgment of others so it gets easier.
      Who knows, maybe she would be open to learning all the research you have done and be willing to see you go on your journey with her blessing?
      Internally (maybe tell your self while looking into your own eyes in the mirror) you can tell yourself you are going to transform your fear about this into (insert the word you’d rather have – like confidence, resolve, etc). You may have to do it a few times but it’s worth the transformation, try it. That little person growing inside will appreciate it too.

  168. My mother and grandmother have noticed that I have more energy and that I have been eating more fat lately. They told me to stop drinking so much coconut milk because I will have a heart attack. Well I argued a bit then stopped because I figured there was no use convincing a Registered Nurse with a background in nutrition. Can’t convince them all right?

  169. Blah! I have been struggling on all fronts with this challenge. I’ve realized that it’s going to take work at every meal and every day. But I also know it’s worth it.

  170. I love that you are doing Paleo Challenges!! I have been living paleo since February and my bf since May. We have lost a combined 95 LBS!!! We love how much energy we have, we’re sleeping better, we look and feel better! This is such a great lifestyle!
    I think people’s opinions about everything can be one of the hardest to deal with. The pressure we get is crazy sometimes to eat something we aren’t interested in anymore or that will make us sick later! But it’s worth the hassle EVERY TIME!
    Your book got us into this lifestyle and we appreciate you every day!!

  171. my biggest advice is to allow friends or family members to come to this lifestyle on their own time/terms…i have preached and tried to motivate many friends/family and most people are resistant at first, claiming “i can’t cut out bread!” but i think if you educate people and allow them to think about it and approach this way of life on their own terms rather than “you forcing them in to it” they will usually reach the same solution. i’ve been trying to get my brother to go primal/paleo for a year now due to digestive issues and he was always resistant. but he told me the other day that he’s been doing it for a month now and feels great! he started by first getting rid of dairy, then bread and then we worked on the nuances together 🙂

  172. Struggling with avoiding soda. I know its bad for me but it helps me bridge the gap between meals! Ahh need to stop drinking it stat!

    1. You gotta ask yourself why you drink soda. Is it the sugar? Caffeine fix? The bubbles? Or all of the above?

      If it is sugar, try switching to coconut water. It is sweet and nature built in an overconsumption mechanism. Coconut water is high in magnesium, enough of it and it can act as a laxative. I buy mine on amazon. Breaks down to $2 per 16.9oz can. A 20oz soda at my work costs $1.50. I even use it in certain dishes I cook. One cannot say that for soda.

      If it is caffeine you need there are less sugary substitutes, like an espresso. One shot and down it. Even if you do not like coffee. Also can have a laxative affect. Or try a 5 hour energy. Personally I am not a fan of 5 hour energy or red bull, etc but Mark covered it in a past “is it primal” posts. I do coffee. Black. Like a real man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn.

      Bubbles is easy. Flavored seltzer water. Or even better, plain seltzer with a slice of citrus.

      Mixing coconut water with an espresso/coffee does not sound that bad. I would not add seltzer to it. Hope this helps in some way.

      1. Paleo Bon, you can’t have grown up in the South or you’d know there are whole cookbooks full of soda-based recipes! (Ugh!!)

        However, your concoction of coconut coffee sounds scrumptious, & I might even try it with a splash of seltzer!

        1. No, not from the south. Soda in cooking. That helps to explain the obesity and “the sugar”.

          I eat my own cooking Paleo-curious, so Saturday morning I will make my morning coffee with a can of coconut water and will report on it.

        2. This morning I used coconut water to make my coffee and it was good. Silky and sligthly sweet but still bitter. I still would not add seltzer to it because it would dilute the coffee. But if you have a CO2 injector and served it cold, that would be something.

  173. 1 more organ meat

    (since Lord Hubby does not ea any “strange food”, i.e., including most fish, meat with skin, bones, eyes or excessive fat. so it is even more difficult to prepare it myself)

    2. more vegetables (i frankly hate salad)

    3. more fermented veg. (see #2. i hate cold food & drink. actually i just hate being cold)

    4. more home meals

    5. sleep earlier

    6 less caffeine

    7 play piano more often (— conflict with #4)

    8 more sun (spend time outdoors, gardening, walking, swimming etc) (conflict with #4 & #7)

    9. don’t stress out about the “small stuff”

    above is not exhaustive (my work environment is very high stress)