Out With the Old

Over the next 29 days I’ll be bringing you tips, advice and guidance to help you get through each of the 14 mini-challenges. With well over 2,000 articles on Mark’s Daily Apple, I’ve written extensively about all things related to the Primal lifestyle; from solutions to common stumbling blocks, to simple hacks that produce big results with minimal effort. As such, many of the articles during this month will feature the best that MDA has to offer. Even if you’re a regular MDA reader these challenge articles will prove useful. Not only is it good to periodically revisit the fundamentals I’m sure there will be some articles buried deep in the archives that you’ve missed. And for all Primal Leapers, use this and future challenge articles to complement the Primal Leap Guidebook material.

In the world of Primal eating there is no place for Jamba Juice, granola, whole wheat pasta or even daily fruit juice. Yes, I know this may be mind-boggling, but it’s true that many of the things that Conventional Wisdom knows to be healthy are far, far from it. To accomplish this challenge you need to know what to ditch from your diet and why. Read the following articles for an overview and then begin taking steps to remove all of this stuff from your life.

Avoiding Poisonous Things

The Definitive Guide to Grains

Why Grains Are Unhealthy

The Definitive Guide to Sugar

Oils: The Good and the Bad

Are Beans Primal?

Top 10 Fast Foods in Disguise

Top 10 Junk Foods in Disguise

Okay, so maybe you’re still a little skeptical. That’s completely understandable. After all, you’ve been told your whole life that fat is evil and grains are nourishing. But what the heck? You’re willing to give this a shot, even if it’s just for 30 days, to see what the hullabaloo is all about. So where to do you start?

10 Steps to “Primalize” Your Pantry

How to Quit Grains

The Many Uses of Junk Food


For Challenge #2 success you need to be prepared for what lies ahead. Here are some FAQs along with articles that detail my answers and solutions.

I’ve been eating this way all my life. How will I ever change my ways?

How to Guide: Making the Switch to Primal Living in 6 Easy Steps

10 Baby Steps to Help You Get Primal

How to Break Bad Habits

How to Develop Good Habits

This seems hard. I don’t have the time, money, know-how, etc.

Today, We Shoot Down Excuses

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

What will I do without bread and pasta?

Primal Substitutes for Non-Primal Foods

Pesto Spinach Bread

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

What will I do without chips and crackers as snacks?

Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Snack List

What about fiber? How am I going to poop without it?!

Fun with Fiber: The Real Scoop

In Search of a Good Poop (or Sh*t Happens)

Squatting vs. Sitting: Pooping Posture

A Primal Primer: Prebiotics

I’ve got a sweet tooth! What do I do?

How to Beat Sugar Cravings

Why have my energy levels dropped?

The Low Carb Flu

Low Energy Levels on (the 2008) Primal Challenge

I’ve dropped 10 lbs in 1 week. Is this normal?

Water Retention and Weight Loss

I’m the only one in my family going Primal. It’s not easy. Any tips?

Family Dinner Time: Tensions and Struggles

You vs. The Mob

Diet Change and Partner Dynamics

How to Politely Pass on Dessert

How to Tell Friends About the Primal Lifestyle

Is it possible to dine out and be Primal?

The Primal Blueprint Guide to Dining Out

Fruit’s high in sugar. What should I do?

Best Fruit Choices

Can I still have coffee and tea?

Caffeine Talk

To Tea or Not to Tea?

The Dope on Energy Drinks


Alcohol Consumption and The Primal Blueprint

The Definitive Guide to Alcohol on a Low Carb Diet


The Definitive Guide to Dairy

Coming up with meal ideas looks like it might prove challenging. Any ideas?

Primal Blueprint Recipes on Mark’s Daily Apple

The Primal Blueprint Cookbook

Check back tomorrow when I’ll be pointing you toward useful articles relating to Challenge #1: Eat Lots of Plants and Animals, and for a new contest. Grok on!

TAGS:  is it primal?

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.

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40 thoughts on “Out With the Old”

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    1. This is day one for me! I purged the pantry and am ready to give this a committed 30 days! Thank you!

  1. I have been eating primally for about 6 months now. The best thing I ever did before I started was to do a candida cleanse. That completely eliminated any craving for sweets or grains.
    So when someone says that they could never give up either of those, I know it’s the addiction to those two things talking. Once the addiction is cured, it’s so easy to give them up.
    Now I can pass on sweets or breads very easily. No more does it rule my world.

  2. potatoes? I know they’re not recommended but I’d like to know more about why. Is it just the carbs or…?

    1. I have a post on potatoes in the works. It will be published post-challenge. Stay tuned!

      But yes, if you’re attempting to keep carbs low potatoes won’t help.

    2. Eat a sweet potato once a week if you wish to have your potatoes. Even twice a week won’t hurt if you aren’t limiting your carb intake but just want to eat primally.

      You make the decision. But if you wish to limit your carbs then avoiding them would be ideal.

      I don’t pay attention to my carbs because I don’t need to lose weight but even though I used to eat white potatoes all the damn time I rarely eat them anymore. I would say I average one potato per week and have done so for 5 months being primal.

  3. Right now I have been ramping up my efforts with my clients to get them all off grains, or at least, give up the ones full of gluten. Many have a very hard time decreasing their grain consumption at all, let alone going cold turkey. I’m sticking too them though, because I have witnessed first hand how much better you can feel when you stop eating things that cause inflammation in your body.

    1. It’s funny, when I tried just going gluten free, it was hard, hard, hard. When I realized that my body really meant it about the no more gluten thing and decided to go completely grain free, it was SO much easier. Somehow having all the “almost as good” stuff made me want the real bread and all that. Not having any of it is much easier, at least for me.

  4. I have been following Rule #2 to a T!! I feel absolutely amazing after being Primal for only 35 days or so! I have lost 24 lbs and staying strong! Check out my Primal Journal here on Mark’s Daily Apple called COUNTDOWN TO LOIN CLOTH! LOL On page 3 you can see my before pic and pic after just 12 days of being primal!

  5. I’ve been primal/paleo for almost 6 months now, and i poop better than ever!!!! Not to mention I feel better than ever!!!

      1. I also agree 100%. I have had times where my pooping hasnt been ideal. When this happens I think back to how I have been eating/living and its always when I verge off the primal path.

        I get back on it and BAM! Everything is back to normal 😉

  6. It’s funny. I went primal last summer and had tons of success, but a series of end of summer parties sent me into the downward spiral.

    So, I’m back at it again and feeling really motivated.

    The funny bit is that even though just this past week I’ve indulged massively in that bland, brown food in the photo above, I look at that picture and have no real deep down desire to eat that kind of stuff.

    How… dry… bland. I’ve thought a lot recently how most of our carb-loaded foods are just substrates for tastier things. How many people eat just plain rice? Or plain pasta? Or a slice of bread with nothing on it? Or just a cooked potato?

    Well, I’m off to broil up some fresh caught trout and veggies and hopefully get another pic and a verbal update on my tumblr blog.

    Oh, and I’ve shared this post on Facebook as well… nobody I know is biting yet though. Maybe once I show them my results…

  7. I’ve changed a lot in the past year and just finally gave up the diet coke (1 week and counting!) just in time for this challenge! It was the last of the poisons… now I just have to exercise and burn out those toxins!

    1. I’m with you girl! I am ditching Diet Pepsi which is the last holdout. It’s a bad, bad habit too. But now I like coffee… really good coffee. Just not like I liked DP! It might be the fizzy thing. I didn’t think I liked mineral water, but I tried San Pellegrino and really like it! This is going to be a hard nut to crack with work and then starting a graduate program next week.


  8. Wow…I thought I had read most of the posts here, but after looking at the list of links in this posts, I see I still have a lot of reading to do.

    We have been grain and legume free here at home for about 6 months, but have slipped on the bread at family functions a couple of times. I cleaned all of the grains out of the pantry months ago, but was still holding on to the pintos and lentils hoping they would be vindicated. This weekend, I dumped them into the compost bin. The beans are harder for me to give up than the grains…gonna miss Momma’s pinto beans. But I’m not going to miss the skin rashes and digestive issues.

  9. I went completely away from grains by May of this year. I slipped back into it when I suffered a job loss, and needed some really frugal eats. Luckily the unemployment stint didn’t last long. I’ve been going with better choices at the catered office lunches, and I’m headed to the pantry now and I vow to throw some things away.

  10. I’ve been off grains and sugar and most beans for a while thanks to my prediabetes. Giving up the sucralose is a bit hard.

  11. I’ve been eating primal for one month and feel great. Today, I ate a bowl of popcorn and was shocked by how lousy I felt afterword… headache, lethargy, low mood, sore tummy. Ugh.

  12. Ok, all of the oatmeal is out of the apartment, along with all of the artificial drink mixes and candy. I’d been meaning to get rid of them for a while and finally did it. All that remains is one lonely bar of 87% dark chocolate.

  13. Who needs grains as long as there are seeds and nuts, lol! My pantry isn’t completely primalised but that’s because Mr Kaz and the kittens continue to eat bread and muesli grains, sniff. However even they have pretty much ditched pasta, rice and white flour homebaked goods (because I don’t bake them anymore, har!).

  14. Great post!

    I just spent waaaay to long reading almost all of it through! Day three of the 30 days and counting. The oatmeal has to go!

  15. Perfect post for my friends I tried to convert to the “Primal side” last night at dinner. This will definitely help reiterate all the grain trash talk I spoke of!
    I had the pleasure to speak to a group of friends last night at a birthday dinner party about going Primal. They all were quite accepting of the idea which is quite unusual w/ so many grain advocates these days.
    One couple said goodbye as they ate their last grain/sugar sensation (a delicious bread pudding I had to say NO to in order to set the right example) as they will begin their Primal lifestyle today – lets hope they stick to it!
    Others were skeptical as they are avid cyclers and feel they would not be able to endure the long rides w/o loading up on carbs….. I urged them to simply increase carb intake on the days they will be riding (100 grams of carbs for each additional hr of exercise would do the trick right Mark?)
    I preached how my daily energy levels are through the roof….. I used to consume at least 2 Monsters (energy drinks) a wk…. now I have no need to even have a cup of coffee after my daily 6:30am rise.
    The amount of people I have been able to witness to lately has been amazing! I feel like a born again Christian preaching about God lol. This new way of life has made me feel like MILLION BUCKS and I am eager to encourage others to make the same choice.

  16. Must stop smoking! But, I have purged the pantry of all junk food. I just don’t crave those things anymore. Now if I could get the Little Sprouts to be more primal I could get rid of the Cocoa Puffs.

  17. When I started back on August 1st, I cleaned out the panrty of all the garbage. Now its stocked with nut butter, coconut flour, almond meal, walnuts, almonds, and the fridge has tons of eggs and bacon, fresh veggies and fruit. And as a treat I keep some dark chocolate in the freezer, usually 86%. So far so good.

  18. Hubby & I have been primal since April … 15 yr old daughter isn’t on board yet, but getting there. Finally cleared out the ‘snack’ cabinet this weekend and had room in the pantry since there are not packaged items there anymore! Our results have been great and have had fun spending money on new clothes! Will have to work on the winter wardrobe soon since nothing fits anymore! LOVING BEING PRIMAL!

  19. I think this is going to save me from becoming a type 2 diabetic. thanks. And it’s funny I don’t miss bread, pasta or cereal.