Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 20 2009

A Primal Blueprint Sample Menu

By Mark Sisson
137 Comments

Last Wednesday I published The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve. In it I provided my recommendations for daily carbohydrate consumption. I received a lot of great feedback from readers. A couple readers, namely Patrick and Heather, requested sample menus to give them an idea of what a single day that comes in at around 100 grams of carbs looks like. I’ve done similar posts in the past (2 Minute Salad and My Daily Diet) but I thought I’d offer up something a little different this time. In this variation of eating like Grok in the modern world I’ve included pics that closely approximate what I eat on an average day, followed by FitDay macronutrient breakdowns (Click on the images to see a larger version. You may have to scroll down the page a bit to view the enlarged versions.)

Breakfast

A typical breakfast for me is a cup of coffee with cream and sugar and an omelet. Sometimes I’ll throw in a little cheese, but most days I go without it. The veggies change as well from day to day.

If it isn’t an omelet it might be some leftovers from the night before, or one of my balanced meal replacement shakes (link to my store).

Also, I don’t eat breakfast every day of the week. If I’m hungry I eat. Otherwise I don’t. You’ll find this is a common theme for me throughout the day.

Fit Day Results Breakfast

Fit Day Results Breakfast

Lunch

The following is a variation of my Big Ass Salad. This is where I load up on all kinds of colorful vegetables. The veggies comprise the bulk of the meal and vary from day to day. Mushrooms, bell peppers, red onions, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber and snow peas are some of my favorites. I also make sure to get some protein with this meal – some leftover chicken or steak from the night before, or canned salmon are regulars. This is usually my largest meal of the day and I always look forward to it. There are nearly endless permutations. Experiment until you find something you absolutely love. This will help ensure you keep coming back for more.

Fit Day Results

Fit Day Results Lunch

Snack

If I’m hungry mid to late afternoon and dinner looks to be a ways off I’ll often grab a handful of nuts. Macadamias, walnuts and pine nuts are great, but I usually reach for almonds.

Fit Day Results Snack

Fit Day Results Snack

Dinner

For dinner it has to be a good cut of meat and a heaping side of veggies. Of course, this changes from day to day as well. Salmon, chicken (with the skin on!) and a nice rib eye are regulars, but I’ll often do lamb, pork or some other fish as well. If it isn’t Brussels sprouts it’s broccoli, squash, cabbage, the occasional sweet potato, or a stir fry with a good mix of veggies.

Fit Day Results Dinner

Fit Day Results Dinner

After Dinner

Occasionally I’ll have some fruit with a glass of wine to wind down the day. Or if I’m beginning an overnight stint of Intermittent Fasting I’ll skip it altogether.

Fit Day Results

Fit Day Results After Dinner

Totals

Let’s take a look at the totals. If I ate all three large meals and the snack and the berries and the wine I’m still just over 2,500 calories. Truth be told I rarely eat all of this in a single day; unless I’ve been especially active.

But what we are really interested in is the carbs. This sample menu came in at 115 g of carbs which leaves us with plenty of wiggle room. This is the take home message: You can enjoy copious amounts of fruits and veggies and still never crack 150 g. It’s important that you let that sink in. What this means is that you don’t have to count carbs like I have done here if all you are trying to do is maintain your body composition. Even if you are attempting to speed up weight loss by keeping your daily carb intake to below 100 g you can see that it can be done with very little effort or thought as long as you stick to nuts/seeds, fruits, veggies, and meat.

Fit Day Totals

Further Reading:

Dear Mark: Post Workout Fasting

How To: Intermittent Fasting

Top 10 Ways to “Go Nuts”

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137 thoughts on “A Primal Blueprint Sample Menu”

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  1. Thank you for this post! Its amazing how much food you can eat when its all wonderfully fresh and natural veggies, meats, fruits, and nuts. Its great to really see this visually.

  2. I was wondering if milk fits into the primal diet. And I don’t mean store bought pasturized milk, I mean raw unpasturized stright from the cow milk. That’s how I drink it (I’m fortunate enough to live in a state where you can get it leagally). I figure it’s good, with all that milkfat and enzymes. What do you think?

  3. Mmmm.. yummy. Looks a bit like my diet. I have also gotten into the habit of including a daily salad but for me its at dinner. My breakfasts are very light, usually no more than a handful of nuts and a fruit. I’ heading to lunch right now, going to make myself some scrambled eggs with some tender loin and dried tomatoes.

  4. Dave, RN –

    Dairy isn’t strictly part of the Primal Blueprint. It falls into the realm of occasional indulgences. Some people do better with dairy than other people.

    1. Hello Mark,

      Im wondering if you eat potatoes? Also, is your cholesterol in good shape with all the egg eating?

  5. Very interesting to see it all put together. I wish I could say my diet looked something like this, though admittedly mine would include more fruit and dairy (that would be the former vegetarian still pushing against too much meat). And there is that bloody love for fresh, homemade sourdough bread. Nothing quite like it.

  6. My wife and I have changed towards the Blueprint live style over a year ago. I say “towards” since there is still dairy in our diet and I do eat a few slices of bread most weeks (homemade: 100% whole wheat, yeast, salt, water, that’s it). People noticed the change and wanted to know how it was achieved. The request for sample meals must be the single biggest question we get about our life style. That’s why my wife started putting examples up (see website above).

    Mark, I’ll take my first comment here to thank you for this great free resource! I’ve found posts like this very helpful in the past, nothing like some concrete examples to go with the theory.

  7. This was fascinating! I have to say I’m kind of surprised at how little (comparatively) your protein intake is. For some reason I thought that eating meat/fish/eggs at every meal would make this a high protein diet but your 23% comes very close to the average of 18% and much lower than, say, Zone or Atkins. I shall have to think on this much more. I daresay you’ve caused me to have an epiphany of sorts regarding the Primal Blueprint.

    1. The Zone macros are for weight loss. On maintenance, the Zone would be about 20% protein ish, as extra fat is added once the desired body fat % is achieved.

  8. Primal Blueprint & weight loss questions

    1. If I consume MORE calories than my body burns in a given day, but my carb intake is less than 100g, will I lose body fat?

    2. If I consume LESS calories than my body burns on a given day, but my carb intake is greater than 300g, will I gain body fat?

    Thanks for your help. Steve

    1. YES, for 2 reasons.

      1) Hormones
      2) calories in does NOT equal calories out

  9. steve thats a great question! ive wondered a few times about that

  10. Steve,

    I will take a stab at this:

    1) eating primal will make it difficult to consume more than 2500 kcal/day. Mark ate quite a bit and only consumed 2,500kcal. What I am trying to say is that “over-eating” on the prial diet is actually tough, so question #1 is kind of moot. I have often wondered if it is even possible to get fat by eating only veggies and lean meat – but eating them in unlimited quantities.

    2) This one is much easier – yes, you will get fat – especially in terms of BF%.

    1. I have to disagree with #2. I do not participate in PB and eat grains all the time. It’s not unusual for me to eat 300g or more of carbs in a day. In no way do I have a high BF %.

  11. Steve, thanks to the “metabolic advantage” you get from eating low carb, it’s likely that if you consume more calories than you burn, but you keep carbs very low, you won’t store any more fat. That’s the good news. But it’s also likely that you won’t continue to lose your already-stored fat, since there’s no reason for the body to dip into stores when you are getting enough fat in real-time in your diet. Also, there comes a point when you could theoretically eat so many excess calories that not even the metabolic advantage (increased metabolism, energy dissipation through mitochondria) can keep up. If your excess calories come from protein, your body might convert some of that to glucose anyway. And the bottom bottom line there is that when you eat low carb, your appetite decreases, so you have to work really hard (like maybe to the point of feeling stuffed) to overdo it to the point of storing more fat.

    Now, on the other hand, if you eat in excess of 300 grams carbs a day but consume fewer total calories than your body burns, it is still possible to gain fat and lose muscle, especially if you don’t exercise. A 300 gram/day person has programmed his/her genes to burn sugar as a primary fuel (and to spare fat at all costs). At least the exerciser can burn off the glycogen/glucose every day and help you keep muscles going (and that’s still a slippery slope to fat). But that same person not exercising is in for a rude awakening. Glycogen stores can only hold 400 grams in an unfit person. Since s/he doesn’t burn that off, most of the daily 300+ grams carbs goes to either immediate brain fuel or is stored as fat. Muscles that aren’t worked atrophy, leaving less space to store glycogen. Plus, since they don’t need any more sugar, they become resistant to insulin. Insulin rises causing sugar to be converted to triglycerides and stored in the fat cells. The person gets fatter, less muscular, has less energy, is sick more often and wonders why cutting calories (without cutting carbs) didn’t work. They wind up giving up and going back to more calories – but now they have less muscle to burn the same amount, so they gain weight faster.

  12. Mark,

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I appreciate it.

    Thanks to Primalman too. Steve

  13. Thank you so much for posting this! I recently inputted a few days worth of food into fit day to check out my numbers and was pleasantly surprised by the results. I eat dairy most days (whole fat greek yogurt) and a few servings of fruit, but my carbs were under or right at 100 grams, even for yesterday when I had a splurge of some homemade peppermint ice cream. I gave up grains a year ago and have been cutting back on sugar and I feel great!

  14. That day looks familiar! Mine are a fair bit higher in dairy and cheese, but besides that, this looks like a perfect food day!

  15. Thanks for the sample menu Mark. I’m quite surprised to discover that my daily carbohydrate intake isn’t as high as I thought. I usually have oatmeal in the morning (using a quarter cup of oats) and a couple of slices of wholemeal bread during the day. Apart from that the rest of my carbs are pretty similar to yours.

  16. the only thing I would change is – substitute a piece of dark chocolate for the sugar (no necessarily with the cofee AM, maybe with the wine PM) but seeing sugar on your menu is like treason :))

  17. Great post Mark.

    You don’t seem to eat much fruit, or am I missing something?

    Also, what are your thoughts on chocolate, including 100% chocolate?

    Best regards,

    Glenn Whitney

  18. Sally,

    Would you care to post your peppermint ice cream recipe? We make our own ice cream every now and then and use sweetener to keep it low carb. We both love peppermint ice cream but haven’t created a good one yet. We’ve made really good cinnamon and a toasted almond also, both I think the wife found on the food network.

    Joe

  19. Thanks for the sample!!

    I am still confused about carbs and this statement added to that “This sample menu came in at 115 g of carbs. This includes fiber. Minus the fiber and we get 82 g for the net (or effective) carbs.”

    So if you are trying to stay in a Primal level (say 100-150) are you looking for total carbs or net carbs?

  20. Have you tried NuNaturals stevia in your coffee? A couple packets sweetens so nicely. Coffee with cream and stevia is such a treat in the morning.

    Good to see your menu, Mark. Is it detrimental over the long term to usually never crack 50g net carbs daily? I just don’t eat much fruit. A big salad of greens and low starch veggies doesn’t amount to many carbs.

  21. That looks like my menu! Everything except the coffee, that is. Omelet for breakfast, big salad for lunch, nuts for a snack, meat and brussels sprouts for dinner. Perfect. I am glad to see that I am eating like Mark himself.

  22. Mark,

    Little surprised to see sugar in the morning coffee. Is this for any other reason than taste? Also do you leave the sugar and cream out during a fast, as this would surely break the fast?

    Great post.

  23. Glenn, I didn’t eat much fruit on that day. I generally have some berries or an apple or other “low-sugar” fruit once a day. There’s not a lot of reason to have a ton of fruit for health purposes if you are getting lots of veggies.

    Several people commented on the sugar in my coffee. No big deal. a teaspoon a day is pretty minimal and it adds a tiny bit of sweetness to a big cup of coffee. The PB isn’t about deprivation. It’s about understanding the effects that certain foods and exercise have on your body and then being able to make informed choices.

    OLT, the net carbs thing can be confusing. It probably has a greater impact in your calculations as you try to lower carbs to the under-50 range (meaning you should use the net carb figure when looking for ketosis). I use the 100-150 range and use a gross carb figure (since using the net, I could conceivable take in 185 grams total but net it out to 145. That would defeat the purpose).

    As for never cracking the 50 grams/day barrier, I’d say it’s probably wise to have an occasional 150 gram day just to balance insulin sensitivity now and then. OTOH, going from under 50 every day to a 300 gram splurge will probably be uncomfortable.

  24. Mark,
    Thanks for sharing your meal plans, great post!

    For me, my biggest meal is breakfast, medium lunch, and small dinner. During the day i snack on a piece of fruit or nuts, but, i do not snack at night after dinner. NO night snacking at all!

    I see no wrong in a tad of sugar in coffee, isn’t there a little sugar in dark chocolate, don’t we all love that and not even think anything of it!

  25. Thanks, Mark. I’m late to comment and I’ll be reviewing this more closely, but this is a great post. There are some great ideas and I think I’ll have to try my hand at tracking my daily intake on Fitday.

  26. Thank you Mark for posting a sample of your meals for one day.

    I am trying to work out a compromise between your plan and Doug Kaufmann’s Phase One diet.

    Here is a recipe for a smoothie I make for DH and I.

    In blender, put in 2 handfuls of spinach, 2 cups water, 2 cups frozen blueberries, 2 scoops of your Responsibly Slim powder and one can of light cocnut milk. We love this!

  27. Which version of FitDay do you use; software or online? Are they both the same?

    1. hi, would love to know what app you used / use to track your food … really into the idea of tracking macronutrients overtime.

      thanks!

  28. It’s true, if you eat the right foods you never have to count carbs or calories. I’m living proof, I’ve lost 20 lbs doing this. Breakfast is eggs & bacon, veggie egg scramble, or whole milk yogurt with berries. Lunch is either beef vegetable stew (with plenty of cream) or a spinach salad with leftover chicken thigh and bacon-fat salad dressing, dinner is meat and veggies (plenty of butter) or a creamy full fat soup. Yum!

  29. I was surprised to see you take sugar in your coffee!

    Personally, I gave up sugar for the most part only using honey for an occasional sweetener (on those delicious primal pancakes) or medicinally, and the only actual “sugar” taken premixed with very dark chocolate (85% or higher, as in Lindt bars) during menses.

    I’ve found, oddly enough to me, that after drinking coffee without sugar, my tongue no longer feels coated and fuzzy. And I don’t miss the sugar! I only take 2 tbsp of heavy cream with my *decaf* coffee (I have GERD, and caffeine is rough on the tummy – thanks for your other article re: caffeine & reflux, btw – I feel validated finally!).

    And my monster salads – I make ’em in a medium mixing bowl, plates and soup bowls just don’t hold them. No point here, just gloating.

    1. I’ve been thinking of doing my salad in a mixing bowl, our regular bowls just aren’t big enough! I’ve always found that if i want to make a salad a meal, it needs to be gigantic and have lots of cheese, nuts and/or meat in it. Otherwise i just doesn’t fill me up and after, my tummy feels just as empty as before i ate.

  30. This looks very similar to my typical day. May slightly higher in the carbs. Only because Im trying to lower my weight and so am keep the carbs right down.

  31. Hi Mark,

    I do not like eggs so my breakfast is lacking. Do you have suggestions for alternatives? Should i just drink a protein shake and have a piece of fruit?

    Thanks,

  32. Average, that works. But so does a cold chicken leg, left over porkchop, flank steak, salmon, or anything else. No one said breakfast had to be eggs.

  33. Hi it’s Patrick (the impetus for the post: thanks Mark!)

    I had a question about balancing different nutrients. I notice that on a given day some meals may be only carbohydrate: blue berries and wine, or mostly fat: almonds. I could imagine other meals consiting of a few slices of meat, or just an apple. Is this ok, or should there be more balance meal to meal?

    The reason I ask is, as a crossfitter, the Zone is sacrosanct and a premise of the book/diet explains the importance of balance on a meal to meal basis. So, why/how is ok to just eat a handful of nuts, or bluberries, and how does this affect performance?

    Thanks,

    Patrick

  34. Patrick, the Zone is nearly impossible to stick with for each meal (without going bonkers trying to hit 40/30/30 exactly). Grok certainly didn’t eat like that at all. Any meal you have that’s low in carbs is non-issue, but even “carb-heavy” meals in the PB are still fairly low. They should consist of veggies or low-GI fruit that don’t really cause much of an insulin spike. Even if a meal here or there does have a higher-than-ideal carb content, it’s not thw end of the world. The PB is about avoiding the “chronic” high insulin that dogs most people day-in and day-out.

  35. Ha, we have practically the same diet except now I can start buying wine since I turned 21.

    I made some grass-fed bison liver tonight for the first time trying to get in touch with my inner Grok but found I could barely stomach the taste…are there any specific methods one uses to quell that horrible aftertaste that liver has?

    1. I know this reply is years late — but to anyone reading this — marinate liver in fresh lemon juice for several hours (you can add a little water to the juice if you don’t want to use up that many lemons), then cook it lightly in butter or broil it — don’t cook for very long, it should be slightly pink, otherwise it gets tough. Calf’s liver is the best. Chicken livers should be made into pate or cooked with scrambled eggs. They can also benefit from marinating in lemon juice.

    2. Try cooking it with celery, it takes the wild, gamey taste from meat. I have never tried it with Bison but it works great with Deer.

  36. Hi Mark,

    I love your site, your philosophy… everything. Question: in one of your posts you mention that a single meal should not exceed 400 calories. Yet in this one nearly all your meals do – your lunch and dinner are both over 800. I’m a bit confused. πŸ™‚

    I’m also confused about the sugar in the morning coffee. I love coffee, but cannot drink it unsweetened. So I’ve recently switched from sugar to Equal sweetener and as of today consume no sugar at all. Are artificial sweeteners worse than sugar? Or am I on the right track? Thanks!

    1. Maria,

      I have long since changed that 400 cal philosophy. Thanks for reminding me to go back and edit. And as for sweeteners, a little sugar in your coffee is not a terrible indulgence. Probably better that you go for table sugar than for Equal.

      1. That’s interesting, but not surprising. Sugar is natural, after all. I don’t really have a sweet tooth, I just like my coffee and tea sweet. Thanks for the feedback!

  37. Do you not consume dairy products? How are you getting sufficient calcium in your diet?

    As well, this seems like an awful lot of fat to be consuming.. over half of your diet??

  38. Why not just eat the egg WHITES?
    It takes away the cholesterol and gives you all of the protein….since all of the protein is in the whites.

    1. …Because egg yolks taste so damn good. πŸ˜‰

      Seriously though, I think the danger of cholesterol from egg yolks is GREATLY exaggerated. From the time I was old enough to eat solid food I ate eggs every single morning, not by choice but because I come from a poor country and had to eat what was available. So technically I’ve been eating at least 5-6 eggs a week for 35 years. My cholesterol is perfectly fine, and so is my overall health. It’s the same story with my mother, who’s also a fan of eggs and is 65… So far I see no good reason why I should toss those yolks.

  39. Mark, which program did you used for the charts ? It looks nice.

    1. “I’ve included pics that closely approximate what I eat on an average day, followed by FitDay macronutrient breakdowns (Click on the images to see a larger version. You may have to scroll down the page a bit to view the enlarged versions.)” Fitday

  40. Boy do I wish I were taller and bigger. at five feet tall and a whopping hundred pounds, I only get 80-100 g of protein a day. Keeping it in this realm has been my biggest challenge. I could easily eat twice that much. πŸ™

  41. HI Mark,

    I bought your book a little while ago and love it. I’ve always been very interested in origianl human diet and what we really should be eating. But old habits die hard, and I’m using the excuse that I am breastfeeding to eat too many processed carbs. I’m scared to cut back carbs too much incase it compromises my milk supply. What do you think? Thanks.

  42. My husband and I are really enjoying the mentality of how we, as humans, should be eating. Especially after watching Food, Inc., etc. Disturbing, that was!! My question is, I’m a fitness instructor and enjoy doing my own personal workouts, so I’m very active. I’m ALWAYS hungry and I know it’s not in my head, as my stomach is growling. I have a small snack 2x’s a day (in between breakfast/lunch and lunch/dinner. My question is, is it possible to over do it with the “good fats”, like oil and nuts? I have been following the Primal eating for about 2.5 weeks at about 85% and haven’t seen a budge in my weight. It’s really frustrating, in fact. I feel like I need that “ah-ha” for someone to throw in my face. What is it Mark??? Thanks for all this great info, keep it coming.

  43. I’ve eliminated starch and grains, with the exception of an occasional cheat, workout pretty hard about 4 times a week, and am at less than 19% body fat, BMI is 19%, and am a woman. I don’t have any heart disease.

    I love fruit and dairy though, and eat lots of that. Given that I’m not trying to lose weight and my heart is fine, is this acceptable?

  44. I eat very similar to this on a daily basis and have for some time now. One question I have is what would be a typical post workout meal for you. I’ve read so many contrasting articles about post workout nutrition I just thought your perspective would help not only myself but many other readers out there.

    Thanks

  45. I hope nobody buys into this diet! Of course fruits and vegtables should be increased but if your fat content is higher than your carbs you have got another thing coming. You need carbs to have energy that cannot be provided by fruits and veggies. Try this diet and when you are completely run down and have no energy it is because you need carbs. If you plan on working out at all on this diet you will become fatigued much faster. Look at any other website that talks about nutrition. Carbs always comes firsts. Don’t fall victim to this. Please!!! Do your research and follow a much more practical and successful plan.

    1. Dude. There are about 8 gazillion people who visit this website who have experienced exactly the opposite of the symptoms you describe. Try it, maybe you’ll like it.

    2. Actually, I have MORE energy on the low-carb diet. I used to be beat after 45 minutes of cardio, now I feel like I can go for another 45. And, the added benefit is that I no longer experience carb withdrawal (which used to hit me every 2 hours). No more shakes, headaches and dizzy spells… I don’t believe in vegetarianism or no-carb diet, but keeping the carbs at 100-150 g a day is beneficial for me. I was skeptical too, but I listen to my body, and my body is happier and healthier when the carbs are low.

    3. Really??
      I have not felt this good in YEARS, gone with all the “healthy” carbs is the spaciness, the bloated feeling, the LACK of energy, I feel GOOD, even structurally speaking…try it, before you comment maybe.

  46. I would have to agree with Holly! As a fitness instructor, P90X nut and avid athlete, I follow the Primal eating lifestyle, about 95% of the time, and that 5% is not coming from grains. Aaron is right that you do need carbs for energy and recovery, but they don’t HAVE to come from grains. I think anyone looking to embark on a new eating life plan, needs to do their research, as this may not be suitable to everyone, but I wouldn’t come on here and start bashing it and staying “don’t buy into it”, as then you insenuate that it’s a “gimmick”, and it’s anything but.

  47. I love this site… it seems to be tougher and tougher for people to just eat. With new studies every day, we have lost our connection to food and to our bodies. No other animal in the world needs experts to help them eat.

    We do, and it is nice to finally come across a real plan that actually seems to revolve around how we are supposed to eat, and did eat for many many years.

    SO thank you!

    I am in good shape and good health, but always striving to grow more.. mentally, physically, spiritually.

    That being said, where do I find your food calculator that I saw you plug your foods in in the above sample menus? It is a great tool.

    1. ”No other animal in the world needs experts to help them eat.”

      Took me a while to pick myself up from the floor laughing… πŸ™‚

  48. For those interested in a lower GI alternative to sugar, consider using acacia honey and chestnut honey. Not all honeys are created equal when it comes to GI. Chestnut honey blends nicely with coffee. Fructose is low GI, too (the aforementioned honeys are mostly fructose). Have a sweet day.

  49. This is a before post. Just found your website – I am 47years old – 115kg’s and 185cm tall with a BMI of 34!!! All created through a living plan of eat and drink whatever I want…. Constantly tired and misisng seeing my toes!! Today is day 1 and I will post with progress….
    Thanks

  50. Hi Mark – Thanks for your posts and for making so many of your books available for free, it really helps out us struggling grad students πŸ™‚

    Just a quick question for you – I’ve read your PB and PB fitness and I’m wanting to purchase the cookbook. Just wondering if the cookbook includes nutritional info for all of the recipes? Or if that’s something we need to calculate by putting all the ingredients into Fitday or recipecalculator, etc??

    Thanks so much!

    1. @Brittany, you’re very welcome. The original cookbook does not have macronutrient breakdowns. The one coming out in March has all new recipes and does provide macronutrient breakdowns.

  51. Very boring menu. I would hate eating the same things every day! To change it up, you might want to try some recipes from the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) which also follows Paleo guidelines most of the time. It is grain/starch free.
    Yes, you can eat things like pancakes on the diet, made with nut butter and bananas. How about making chocolate pudding cooking milk/milk substitute, eggs, gelatin in a pan and putting it overnight in the fridge, add chocolate baking powder and honey and blend it in the blender?

    My kid does best low carb and these are just a few of the things I feed him.

    Change it up or you’ll get burned out.

    1. protip: meat and vegetables can be cooked in so many different ways, you’re not really eating the same thing every day.

      have fun with that sugary pudding crap though!

  52. Can anyone tell me why bananas get such a bad rep when i consistently find that they are a low-mod GI fruit, depending on the ripeness of it. In fact, I have read in numerous sources that if they are eaten without brown spots/with greenish coloring, there GI number is between 35-50.

  53. An omelot for breakfast? Or any fried or scrambled egg? Doesn’t heating an egg to high temp pretty much destroy a good bit of the protein? Wouldn’t a boiled egg retain more nutrition? I’ve read a lot on nutrition and that’s my current understanding.

  54. I recently switched from fitday to livestrong’s “my plate” which is far easier to use.

  55. Hey Mark!

    What is the name of the program you used to depict us the meals and the nutritional value of each food (cals,fats,prots etc.). Where can I download it?

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  56. I am an Atkins eater and we were taught to use Net Carbs but I found that I consume way more dairy than I think I should although I’m still under 25 Net carbs a day. I use a great site – better than FITDAY – it’s called FATSECRET.com – it’s a lot easier to use than FITDAY. And trust me – I’m a lifelong dieter so I’ve tried them all! It breaks it all down for you just like Fitday but again it’s easier to use and offers a lot more. I’ve decided to go Primal and get rid of the dairy to see if maybe NOW I’ll lose weight. I’ve been doing ATkins for 11 weeks now perfectly and I’ve lost a total of 7 lbs. which is very discouraging. I know that grains and sugar are toxic and they make me feel horrible. For the first time in 11 weeks I had a bite of sugar…it was a small bite of banana cream pie and OMG! it was beyond sweet and I was up all night and my stomach…yikes! It’s just not worth it anymore when you feel so clean w/out it. It’s amazing how fast ones’ body can react to what you eat. I was lightheaded and just did not feel right. Crazy! The best thing about not eating those things is that I finally stopped being hungry and thinking about food 24/7…it’s a miracle! I can go an entire day w/out eating b/c I am simply not hungry and yet I still don’t drop a fricking lb! I even had my lab work done to see if it was my hormones or my thyroid and they came back perfect! Rats! I’m 46 so maybe it’s just age but I refuse to believe that. Then I read somewhere that it can literally take your body months – 4-6 months for your body to let go of the fat it’s holding onto b/c your cells want to stay the same size that they are so they replace the fat you’ve lost w/water until your body just can’t hold the water anymore and then all of sudden you lose the weight in what appears to be overnight. Here’s hoping! Unfortunately, I’m impatient and figure if I drop the dairy I might be able to finally see some weight loss. Wish me luck! I will say that after reading all here that I’m concerned that it may not work b/c realistically I’m totally under 80 carbs a day and I’m still not losing – so what on earth could it possibly be? I eat no sugar no grains, no fake sugar – olive oil, olives, veggies, coconut oil, meat, eggs fish, an occassional berry or 10 – maybe some nuts every once in a while, cheese, heavy cream(4 tlbs in my coffee), sour cream – I swear it’s gotta be the dairy?? I’m at about 1200-1500 calories a day and I eat 5%-10% carbs, 60%-70% fats and 20%-30% proteins – so what could it be? Mark any suggestions?

    1. Starving your body by not eating is definitely not going to help you lose weight. It will throw off your metabolism.

  57. Let me clarify that last part – I do NOT eat sugar, fake sugar, grains or anything WHITE or beans/legumes…I DO eat Olive oil, olives, tons of veggies, coconut oil, meat, eggs, fish, berries- very occassionally otherwise no fruit and occassionally some nuts – maybe an ounce but not often, cheese, heavy cream (4 tbls in my coffee every day- my only treat) and sour cream…Again, Mark? Any suggestions as to why I’m not losing b/c I’m totally primal but for the dang dairy! I think it’s the dairy and if I cut it I’ll finally start losing.

  58. Hey Mark, where do you usually find your potassium in this whole mix?

  59. I have been eating like this for about 2 weeks. Boiled eggs, fruit, coffee for breakfast. Salad with salmon for lunch and a protein and veggies for dinner. I eat fruit or veggies in between and I’VE NOT LOST ONE OUNCE! I was thinking of following your plan , but if I’m not losing weight doing what I am now, I’m afraid yours is not much different and that I still won’t lose.

    1. Two weeks is nothin’. I dropped a lot in the first week and plateaued for the next two. Your body does take some time to adapt to the program. Once you get over week 4, weight loss does accelerate a little more.

  60. What about the breakdown of extra animal proteins that acidify your system and taxes your kidneys? Those issues are usually brought up when you read about vegan diets and anti-high-protein diets.

  61. This website is known as a stroll-by way of for all of the info you needed about this and didn?t know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and you?ll definitely uncover it.

  62. Hi Mark

    Ive stumbled upon your website just wanting to know where to start and recipes for beginners?

  63. Hello I have a few questions one is I have diabetes which they say to eat more veggies and so on but I also have IBS and mine can be diarrhea. So I cannot eat alot of veggies like cabbage, corn and onions, peppers without having issues. Is there a way to follow what you recommend without alot of veggies? I like them they do not like me. I have started taking some probiotics and that has helped alot but for my diabetes I would like to follow more of their diet if there is a way that will not cause me such cramping and bathroom time. Thanks

  64. I was curious… I live in northern Chile and quinoa is a staple here… how does this fit in with the primal diet? It is very high in carbs but it is also very high in complete protein.

  65. in my part of the world, i can not find organic, freerange meat 95% of the time and i can never find grass-fed meat. all the fresh fish is either from farms or from polluted water. we do have free-range organic eggs and milk, but i doubt if the chickens and cows are grass-fed. we do not have raw milk. we have canned mackeral and sardines. in this case, what do you suggest? to eat regular chicken and beef?

  66. So where are you getting the 0.7 – 1gr of protein per pound? I lift regularly & I find getting the recommended dose of protein to be quite difficult.

  67. Hi Mark,

    I follow a similar meal plan, but I’m a little worried I’m taking in too much protein for my weight.

    I take in around 100g of protein a day, but I weigh 137 lbs and have a body fat percentage of 23%.
    Is this too much protein?

    Thanks very much!

  68. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL this is still awsome

  69. Question on protein utilization:

    I’ve read lots of material on diet and exercise and I remember reading that we humans can only metabolize about 50 grams of protein maximum per meal. There is also the warning that too much protein can be toxic, such as the kidneys or liver producing something akin to amonia. So, is this true or not?

  70. I’m 43 yrs old 269 lb former Division 1 Defensive Lineman. I ran casino marketing for the last 15yrs in Vegas. I’ve drank 2 bottles of vodka a day 4 days a week and ate 7 meals a day with 3 being gourmet. I’ve partied very hard for 20 years in Vegas.

    I just retired moved to the country to take my life back. I have chronic gout my uric acid has been 11 for years. I developed hives when I eat Processed food or Gatorade I take allegro daily.

    I just started Crossfit 3 weeks ago and my trainer lives by Primal diet and lifestyle. I want to live and be healthy but I can’t eat very much except grains, fruit and some veggies.

    I’m desperate to find a diet that will work for me but I can’t eat purines my gout cripples me and the pills allpurinol I take are tough on my liver that has been abused.

    I’m begging for help I left a very good living to get healthy and have a real life with my new wife I don’t drink or party I’ve started a new life but need guidance on diet. Gout and primal?

    1. I was worried about my gout episodes and eating primal, but the opposite effect has been true than what I worried about: I haven’t had gout since cutting out grains and suger!

  71. The only problem with fit day is that it miscalculates vegetable carbs.
    For example it thinks 100g broccoli had 6.6g when its more like 1.5g. Unless there is some carb loaded broccoli floating around that I am unaware of. I really struggle to get over 30g carbs in my diet. Then i end up knackered after two weeks or so. πŸ™

  72. What program did you use to calculate the calories, carbs and fat percentages?

  73. I went on a 33 day water fast recently for spiritual purposes. I had lost 45 lbs which was a nice side effect. A good portion of that weight was fat and few lbs of muscle. After I broke my fast with easily digestible foods in small meals, I switched over to PB to maintain weight.

    Obviously, I gained some weight, but I didn’t explode like everyone said I would. I gained back 5 lbs and have been maintaining that weight with PB. My muscles are growing back nicely and I’m getting back to my prefasted strength. I actually look better now with 5 extra pounds than I did after my fast.

    CW states that water fasting only drops water weight, retains fat, and consumes muscle. While true, you do lose some muscle during a long term fast, you burn a lot more fat. CW also states that fasting more than a week is dangerous. I fasted while working an active 45 hour work week where I’m on my feet most of the day. It also says that a high fat low carb diet with no grains or legumes is bad for your health, yet I feel better than ever on PB than I did on SAD or SKD(standard Korean diet). Mark, I love your program and I hope all of us MDA followers can continue to prove Common Wisdom wrong.

  74. Mark,
    You mention time and time again in your posts that you can eat as much fruits and vegetables as you please and stay low carb. Do you mean only low carb fruits specifically? I usually have a banana (30g) and an orange (30g) and then steamed vegetables (30g). This already puts me at 90 without any extras from my fats and other foods. Will I have to cut out my fruits to hit my “sweet spot” of under 80-100g?

  75. Do you drink coffee with sugar? So, is the sugar permitted in this diet?
    And I would like to know how is the ph of the body (too acid or neutral) with the primal diet?

  76. I cycle about 30 miles a day 3 to 4 days a week and also am in cross country. Will the primal diet work for me? Or will it be too low carb because of the type of workouts I do?

  77. My husband is 6ft tall, weigh 130lbs and is 4 years post diagnosis of Severe Congestive Heart Failure. He decided against taking any prescription drugs, preferring to try his luck with a gentle exercise regime and dietary modification. Today’s menu was as follows: Breakfast:- Pre-cooked pork-belly (eaten with all the fat) with mushrooms, tomatoes, marrow fat peas and two free range eggs all sauteed in Irish butter: Lunch:-A large cup of coffee with Jersey double Cream, Dinner:-Salmon fillet with mushrooms, tomatoes, one egg and marrow fat peas, again sauteed in butter. A second and third cup of decaffinated coffee with Jersey double cream. The only supplements taken are CQ10 (Ubiquinol 100mg), and 3mg of Taurine. In the evening he drinks two glasses of full bodied red wine and occasionally has a midnight pizza with spinach, tomatoes and lots of raw cheese. By gentle exercise I mean 2 or three daily walks of 4 or 5 miles in total. Not sure how to catagorise that nutritional approach but the word Primal hardly seems appropriate.

  78. I was a NZ & australian jockey for 16 years .my diet was . lettus, portor house stake & orangers no milk in tea , 1/2 slice of toast 1/2 cup of tea at breakfast . I was very fit and not an ounce of fat .

  79. why doesnt that work for me… if i ate all plus an extra meal.. oats for breakfast too… ill go into keto all the time πŸ™ :S

  80. So much disinformation on your site it’s alarming. Telling people they can indulge on fruits and veggies without counting carbs is wrong. A ketogenic diet prohibits all types of fruits and nuts, dairy, etc….you can only introduce them gradually into the second and 3rd phase.

    Saying that you can indulge in fruits and not count carbs or worry going over 150g is pure ignorance.

    You fail to mention WHICH fruits to eat and which ones to avoid.

    I can guarantee you that I can exceed 100g of carbs daily with “loading up” on fruits. Do you even need for me to give you examples ???

    Grapes, watermelon, citrus fruits, figs, dates, ripe bananas, mangos, and this is only naming a few. oh yeah did I mention figs and dates ??? :-)))
    Also any type of fruit juices is a BIG no no as you probably know.
    Some veggies are ALSO restricted on induction as they are higher in sugars.

    Sure, unlike refined sugars, fruits provide nutriants so they are not empty calories, BUT…not eating the right fruits and the right quantity can stall your weight loss, regardless of the number of calories you eat. For someone active and working out at the gym one should adjust carbs and protein intake accordingly, remember the the sources of energy the body uses in priority, glycogen stores in your liver, muscles, those have to be depleted first before your body switches to fat as its main burning fuel (Ketosis). You can STILL lose weight on fruits and carbs, only if you are at a calorie deficit – can’t lose weight otherwise. If you are on maintenance and very active, sure you can indulge a little on fruits, otherwise if you are on a diet and want to lose fat, and if you are insulin insensitive (pre-type 2) a ketogenic diet is a good thing – but none of this shit is good long term and you have to completely change your eating habits to maintain your weight because low carb or no carb is synonym of FAILURE for most people because it’s not done right.

    Also glycemic index – I go for fruits with low glycemic index. Ideally if you have large fat stores and want to accelerate things, it’s good to start with induction phase to flip the fat burning switch and flush your sugar stores….BEFORE gradually upping carbs and staying in maintenance.

    It’s impossible to cut ALL carbs, as a lot of healthy foods have carbs, however if you pig out on veggies and fruits and some of the healthy diet foods, you would be surprised of how you can exceed 100g. assuming you are a big eater.

    Staying under 100g a day is easy peasy……and never being hungry with the right amount of protein, fat and fiber….fiber….that is the key word.

    You can stay under 100g NET carbs daily on toast and eggs for breakfast, and a few portions of fruits for dessert, HOWEVER, if you have large fat stores it’s best to induce – however, eating fruits and carbs above the daily range for keto will stall your weight loss. Fat / Obese people and most sedentary peple have a shitload of fat stores AND sugar stores – you will be discouraged and have a hard time ridding of the flab if your sugar stores are always replenished and overflowing.

    1. Hey Zimmer66, welcome and stick around and check the website content out.

      There are multiple instances where Mark has stated as such regarding fruit, there’s even a book about it!

  81. Hi. I started the primal/paleo diet last summer and I managed to lose a total of 6 lbs….very depressing. Well, 5 have already come back on. What am I doing wrong? I keep my carbs under 30 gms a day.

    1. Hi Lorie,

      If you are still having problems, have your thyroid levels and your insulin levels checked. Be sure you specify INSULIN levels, NOT blood sugar levels. If your thyroid is low and/or your insulin is high, losing weight is nearly impossible.

  82. Hi Mark,

    I live in New Zealand, and perhaps we use terms a little differently. When you say cream in your coffee – do you mean milk, whipping cream or a powdered cream product?

    Did atkins a few years ago – lost weight but could not stay on it. Have ordered some of your books based on what I have read on whe website.

    Glad you like coffee!

    Matthew

  83. i’m a vegan…so how would ur diet plan work for me? i’d like to try it without all the sugar, meat, eggs, milk. could u suggest a primal diet plan to suit a vegan? would be grateful.

  84. Sheena S, check out Tosca Reno and her Eat Clean Diet. Follow that but omit anything that’s not vegan, aswell as grains. It’s very restrictive but you can do it if you really want to.

  85. I’m going to be trying this. I am a sugar junkie, and eat waay too much junky, processed foods. I am also a binge eater, and am desperately trying to break the habit. Any tips would be MUCH appreciated!

  86. Mark,

    I didn’t see anywhere where you eat apples. Do you eat apples? Thanks.

  87. I just want to say I like your sample menu. I will definitely try to make some this real soon.

  88. Nice work – this sounds promising. I would never imagine it can be that simple. I am totally curious now and can’t wait to give it a try. Thank you!

  89. Sensible, healthy and tempting! Good visuals. I have been eating this way for the past six weeks after eating probably 50-60% carbs. Have lost 12 pounds from 5’11”
    180 to 168, and latest cholesterol came in at 165 with ldl 86 and hdl 67. Really remarkable.

    I am recommending your book to all my patients.

    Love the blog btw

  90. You are eating 2500 calories. Im a 52 year old woman who is 5’2 and lightly active. I cant possibly eat that many calories to lose weight. Can you recommend what my calorie consumption would be. I have very little dairy.

  91. This looks delicious! I’m really surprised, though, how many people are saying it looks like a lot of food. From the perspective of someone used to CW diets, you are basically taking a day’s food, removing all the carb-based foods (bread/pasta/rice/potatoes/cereals/desserts) and replacing them with fat. I have no doubt that this is effective for health, weight loss and satiety, but it drastically reduces the volume of food.

  92. Dear Mark

    Today is my first day on my 21 day challenged And im already trying new things. Cauliflower rice was delicious and i like the coconut milk but i still have a sweet tooth, do you have any tips for delicious dessert thats not going to throw me off track.

    Thanks

  93. I just ordered my book! I have PCOS and having problems with weight loss as I creep up closer to 40. I read Primalgirl’s story and it inspired me. Please let me know if I will need to plan to be fatigued in the beginning due to low carb, etc. I have been on a roller coaster of ups and downs in my weight due to hormones/PCOS. I can be down 10 pounds one week, and up ten the next without changing a thing!! So frustrating. Hope to gain success with your program and be abel to mentor others.

  94. I will go along with your regime…pretty much what I do but there is a big NO I think, and that is you mention sugar with your coffee. Sugar in any form is not good for your body except through natural food, veg etc.,

  95. That’s one of the more liberating aspects of this way of eating. It’s a relief NOT to feel obligated to track every gram or balance macronutients perfectly. The results come from regulating hormones (especially insulin) and achieving satisfaction from a nutrient-rich diet. The changes in energy and improvements in body composition are just a huge bonus!

  96. Hey Mark!
    I have the worse water retention ever and it is not seasonal it is all the time…the water has caused pit edema and some days it isn’t too bad but then some days I’m so bloated I can barely stand it–I’m also premens so I have a water issue about every 1 1/2 weeks when I cycle- how can I get the weight down and water to go with it? I don’t eat grains at al and I’m not a sugary type of person, very little dairy…how should I balance to get it all to work for me–I also walk ALOT since I don’t have a lot of time for much else and enjoy walking. thanks for any advice!

  97. I have Hashimoto’s Disease, and finding it hard to loose weight. New to this website and would love pointers.

  98. I know I’m 9 years behind the times here. Question is, what if you’re an individual who is trying to gain weight? Add muscle mass/size/strength? Athletic performance?

    I realize the rest of being Primal helps with the athletic performance. Where does a 2500 calorie diet fit in? And you said you don’t always eat that much. You probably aren’t counting on a daily basis.