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Primal Blueprint Diet

While there will always be some debate on what the best nutrition strategy is, I believe that the principals behind the primal method are  about as close as you can get to an ideal nutrition strategy for the average person.

Nutrition needs vary from individual to individual based on energy requirements but in general a diet naturally low-moderate in carbohydrates with plenty of live, natural foods is the way to go.

More after the jump…

So what exactly is the “Primal Blueprint?”

The Primal Blueprint diet is way of eating that mimics the diet of our hunter-gather ancestors. It is naturally low in carbohydrates as it minimizes grains and starches. Carbohydrates come primarily from fruits and vegetables which are high in fiber and essential phytonutrients. Other staples of the diet include lean proteins and healthy fats.

Mark Sisson, an expert on primal eating and nutrition has an excellent book I’d highly recommend entitled the “The Primal Blueprint” that I’d highly encourage you to check out.


Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss

In my opinion this is probably the best book on nutrition that you can have in your library. I’ve included some excerpts of his book below for you to check out.

“Carbohydrate intake is often the decisive factor in weight loss success and prevention of widespread health problems like Metabolic Syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. These average daily intake levels assume that you are also getting sufficient protein and healthy fats, and are doing some amount of Primal exercise. The ranges in each zone account for individual metabolic differences.”

0-50 gramsper day: Ketosis and I.F. (Intermittent Fasting) zone. Excellent catalyst for rapid fat loss through I.F. Not recommended for prolonged periods (except in medically supervised programs for obese or Type 2 diabetics) due to unnecessary deprivation of plant foods.

50-100 grams per day: Sweet Spot for Weight Loss. Steadily drop excess body fat by minimizing insulin production. Enables 1-2 pounds per week of fat loss with satisfying, minimally restrictive meals.

100-150 grams per day: Primal Maintenance zone. Once you’ve arrived at your goal or ideal body composition, you can maintain it quite easily here while enjoying abundant vegetables, fruits and other Primal foods.

150-300 grams a day: Insidious Weight Gain zone. Most health conscious eaters and unsuccessful dieters end up here, due to frequent intake of sugar and grain products (breads, pastas, cereals, rice, potatoes – even whole grains). Despite trying to “do the right thing” (minimize fat, cut calories), people can still gain an average of 1.5 pounds of fat every year for decades.

300+ grams a day: Danger Zone of average American diet. All but the most extreme exercisers will tend to produce excessive insulin and store excessive fat over the years at this intake level. Increases risk for obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

General Guidelines: 80% of body composition success is determined by diet. Limit processed carb intake (hence, insulin production), and obtain sufficient protein and fat to fuel and rebuild.

Protein: Average .7 – 1 gram per pound of lean body mass/day – depending on activity levels (more at times is fine).

Carbs: 50-100 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss. 100-150 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance. Heavy exercisers can increase carb intake as needed to replace glycogen stores.

Fat: Enjoy freely but sensibly for balance of caloric needs and high dietary satisfaction levels.

Avoid Poisonous Things: Conventional Wisdom’s dietary guidelines promote fat storage, type 2 diabetes, inflammation and obesity!

Eliminate: Sugary foods and beverages, grains (wheat, corn, rice, pasta, breads, cereals, etc.), legumes (soy and other beans), trans and partially hydrogenated fats, high-risk conventional meat and produce, and excess PUFA’s (instead, increase omega-3 oils).

Modern Adjustments: Some modern foods that Grok didn’t eat can still be included in a healthy diet

Moderation: Certain high glycemic fruit, coffee, high-fat dairy products, starchy tuber vegetables, and wild rice.

Supplements: Multivitamin/mineral formula, probiotics, omega-3 fish oil and protein powder.

Herbs, spices and extracts: Offer many health benefits and enhance enjoyment of meals.

Sensible indulgences: Dark chocolate, moderate alcohol, high-fat treats.

For more information about Primal Eating including some great recipes check out Mark Sisson’s Blog entitled Mark’s Daily Apple.

Here are my top ten reasons why I think a primal diet is the best overall strategy for health, weight loss, and optimal energy.

1. The Primal Diet is NOT An Actual Diet…

Diets are restrictive in nature and work against the natural function and biology of your body. It’s not JUST about the calories…it’s about eating foods that actually provide your body with nutrition.

You can go on a 1000 calorie diet and restrict yourself all day long but if your diet consists of Lean Cuisines, Diet Cokes, and other processed-refined food you can forget about changing your shape. Just aint going to happen.

When you’re eating whole, natural foods your body will send the correct hormonal signals to your brain telling you that you’re full when you’ve had enough. These hormones (example: Leptin) aren’t activated when you’re eating processed-refined foods.

That’s why you could eat a whole bag of Lay’s Potato chips with no problem but would undoubtedly struggle eating even close to the equivalent amount of fat from a stick of real butter.

Fats aren’t a bad thing in your diet. Excess carbohydrates and processed-refined foods are the real problem.

2. Primal Eating Doesn’t Require Calorie Counting Or Food Points…

Who really wants to count food points, blocks, calories, grams,etc? It is tedious work and not something that most people are willing to do indefinitely. The reality is you don’t have to.

However, if you’ve followed me for any length of time you’ve heard me speak about the importance of knowing your numbers. It’s just a good idea to find out how many calories your body needs based off your unique metabolism. Remember, everyone is different.

That’s why I endorse the Resting Metabolic Rate Test as part of a serious weight loss program – and it’s why the RMR test is part of my twelve week “Trim In 12″ Body Transformation Program.

However, once you learn your numbers and get good at recognizing serving sizes (spend a week or two with a food scale and measuring cup) you’ll be good to go. Learn your numbers but don’t get too caught up in them. Simply get in your calorie windows then eat when you’re hungry from whole, natural foods.

3. Primal Eating Is Built On Consuming Whole, Natural Foods, The Way God Intended Us To Eat…

The majority of our country’s health problems related to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc can be traced back to the increased consumption of processed foods and too much carbohydrate.

The negative partitioning agents in processed food (all the unnatural sweeteners, fillers, chemicals, preservatives, etc) work to shuttle energy into fat cells instead of muscle cells, and the excess carbohydrate disrupts the natural hormonal balances in your body.

The modern diet literally programs your body to be fat, regardless of the calories.

Our bodies were simply not designed to run off of processed-refined foods and a handful of multi-vitamins for optimal health and function. Do we really need any more proof?

Sure we’ve extended the life expectancy through medical advancement and technology but all we’re doing is keeping unhealthy people alive longer.

There’s no question that the “real health care crisis” in our country is one of prevention and not of insurance.

It is my belief that God has given us everything we need to live optimally from the earth. The primal nutrition strategy is one that simply has you eating a close to the ground as possible. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the meaningless arguments of whether or not a food is “good” for you.

I like to keep it simple…If God made it, eat it, if He didn’t you should probably leave it alone.

4. Primal Eating Puts Your Body In A Natural Fat Burning State…

When you eat whole-natural fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats you feed your muscles- instead of  fat cells- with energy and vital nutrients. This helps to increase your metabolism (compared to wrecking it) by eating processed-refined foods and too much carbohydrate.

Eating primal helps to create the optimal hormonal balances so your body can respond to the demands of exercise by using excess energy (stored body fat) for fuel by your muscles.

5. Primal Eating Supports Lean Muscle…

Muscle cells need amino acids and along with numerous nutrients to rebuild and repair themselves. You simply can’t get the nutrition your body needs to support lean muscle when you’re eating processed-refined food.

You may be getting enough calories to meet energy demands but without the REAL nutrients you’ll quickly find yourself losing muscle. A lot of people overlook the hormonal connection of muscle and metabolism.

If you lose muscle you’ll lose hormones- and if you lose hormones you’ll have a negative effect on your metabolism. Bottom line is you must eat to support muscle if you want to maintain a lean physique.

6. Primal Eating Helps Improve The Digestive System…

When you eat whole-natural foods you provide your digestive system with the necessary enzymes, friendly bacteria, nutrients, and fiber it needs to function properly. On the other hand, eating processed-refined foods creates inflammation in the digestive system which is the precursor to numerous illnesses.

This isn’t just a matter of dealing with heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, or some other digestion related ailment. Inflammation in the body, especially the digestive system, will disrupt the body’s natural hormonal balances and can be a factor in serious illnesses like heart disease and cancer.

7. Primal Eating Naturally Lowers Insulin Resistance…

A primal diet is by nature low-carbohydrate. Not that it restricts carbohydrates, but it minimizes the “junk” carbs from processed-refined foods along with strachy carbs from grains. Unless you’re an athlete with a high energy requirements, fueling your body with carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables alone will be more than suffice.

The modern diet is simply to high in carbohydrates which over time causes insulin resistance making it more and more difficult to lose weight along with increasing the risks of diabetes and other health issues.

Does this mean you never eat bread, rice, or potatoes? Of course not, these foods are just eaten in moderation. Lowering your blood sugar by going to carbs from just fruits and vegetables is without a doubt the most effective and impactful thing you can do for your health and your weight.

8. Primal Eating Helps You Savor The Taste And Enjoy Your Meals More…

There’s a big misconception that eating healthy is going to automatically equal “boring and bland.” I have found the exact opposite to be true. When you switch over from a modern diet to a primal diet, a few interesting things will happen.

For starters you’ll start actually taste the food you’re eating. In a modern diet, especially one with lots of fast food, you tend to lose your sense of taste over time. This is due to the high amounts of sodium and preservatives.

When you start eating whole-natural foods your sense of taste will come alive and you’ll experience the richness and flavor of food like never before.

I’ve found foods that I didn’t care for before, I actually like now. Your body just takes a little while to adjust but when it does, you’ll find yourself actually craving some “healthy foods.” When you start combining herbs, spices, oils and other natural ingredients your meals will be anything but boring and bland.

There’s plenty of great recipes on Marks Daily Apple Blog or you can do what I do and just experiment to see what you can come up with.

9. Primal Eating Can Save You Money On Your Meals…

Another big misconception is that eating healthy is going to automatically cost you more money. This is a bunch of hooey! Let’s look at the immediate costs of eating whole-natural foods vrs processed-refined foods- (there’s no comparison to the long-term costs associated with your health and quality of life, but let’s deal with the here and now).

For starters, nobody said you had to buy all your groceries from Whole Foods. I love Whole Foods- it’s a great store but it can get a little expensive, especially if you’re on a food budget. The reality is you just need to get good buying in bulk and storing your food.

You can do that from Sam’s Club, Costco, etc. Take a look next time what a filet costs from Sam’s Club compared to the local grocery store.

If you buy in bulk and simply start using things like Tupperware, wax paper, Ziplock bags, etc, you can save BIG money.

Here’s something to consider…how many people today would even think about “canning” their fruits and vegetables? Or for that matter, would know how to do this?

I can remember my mother and grandmother canning vegetables from the garden in mason jars. Talk about being inexpensive. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that.

But anyway….I admit that I’ve not found the time to plant my own garden and can my own vegetables yet (although I’d love to). In any event, you still don’t need to go to that level to save money.

If you’re like most people you probably eat most of your lunches and at least a handful of dinners out each week. If you switch up to eating primal, and actually pack your lunch instead of going out, you’ll be amazed at how much cheaper eating ”healthy” can be.

You can do wonders with Tupperware and a microwave so don’t try to use the ”I’m too busy” excuse. If you like to eat out and you’re not worried about the cost then by all means do so (you can still eat primal and dine out).

But if you’re concerned with costs, buy your whole-natural foods in bulk and get good with storage. Test this for a few weeks and I think you’ll be surprised how much money you an actually save- and be healthier in the process!

10. Primal Eating Helps To Boost Your Immune System…

When you eat whole-natural foods you’ll increase your consumption of phytonutrients and anti-oxidants. This is your body’s defense against free-radicals, virus, bacteria, and all the foriegn invaders that cause sickness and disease.

You can ONLY get these ”good guys” (phytonutrients and antioxidants) from fruits and vegetables. They can’t be synthetically manufactured like a vitamin.

For more information on the Primal Blueprint Diet…

I highly encourage to learn more about the Primal Blueprint Diet to see if it may be for you. While I’m not 100% primal with my eating, I’m about 80-90% and have found it to be an ideal lifestyle diet. I recommend the nutrition principals to my Charleston personal training clients and regularly promote Mark Sisson’s books and resources.

For more information or to order the Primal Blueprint book.

For more information or to order the Primal Blueprint Cookbook.


Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston Personal Trainer, speaker, fat loss expert, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston Personal Training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Nutrition.

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