This week, I will discuss the book I am currently reading, The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. The focus of the book is not a weight loss or “diet” as in quick fix. It's a lifestyle program with an evolutionary slant, using the example of historical and contemporary hunter-gatherers as a model towards a healthier, happier and simpler lifestyle. The diet section will be familiar to anyone who has read about "paleolithic"-type diets. It focuses on eating meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, abundant vegetables, and fruit; organic and local when possible. He also suggests avoiding grains, legumes, dairy, all processed food, and reducing carbohydrate to less than 150 grams per day. These dietary suggestions appeal to me because they focus on real food .I also like that Mark is not all or nothing, making it accessible to everyone and emphasizing that any changes will bring benefits and hopefully lead to further lifestyle adjustments. He tries to create a plan that will be sustainable in the long run, by staying positive and allowing for indulgences. I have been eating “Primal” for the past few weeks, making my overall week about 85-95% on point. Although my diet was very clean to begin with (I have always emphasized whole vegetables and fruits, lean protein and nuts in my daily regime), there were a few points that I have adjusted to encouraging results. For me, I needed to increase my protein intake, remove soy from my diet, and cut out all grains including my breakfast stand by oatmeal. Here is a sample before and after of my eating habits.
½ cup old fashioned oatmealSliced banana ¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup almonds Apple
Pita pit small chicken pita, whole wheat with hummus and tzatziki, lots of vegetables
1/3 cup almonds
Café misto with soy milk
Homemade peanut sauce stir-fry with carrots, onion, peppers and chicken, ½ cup brown rice or soba noodles
Treat: beer, wine or dark chocolate
Fruit salad-berries, pear and grapefruit (Low GI)
Hemp hearts, almonds or hard-boiled egg
1/3 cup almonds
Coffee with 1-2 tbs heavy whipping cream
Spinach salad with mandarin, beets, green peppers, sliced lean steak 4 oz, hemp hearts
Apple, More almonds or egg
Homemade almond butter sauce stir-fry with spinach, carrots, onion, peppers and chicken
Treat: Beer, Wine or Dark Chocolate
The biggest point for me was that I noticed my cravings for carbohydrates (on my rest day, Whole Foods muffins call to me) have completely disappeared. I turned to fruit and vegetables to provide my carbohydrates and keep my body satiated with lots of protein and healthy fats.
Another point I have noticed is an increase in my recovery time after my training. I am currently working very hard on a Cross Fit program that is slamming me every session. Each session, my strength is increasing and my energy levels are staying high through-out the day.
So if you are looking to clean up your already conscious lifestyle or are starting from scratch, Mark offers excellent “primal” points to ponder. As with any “lifestyle” or diet literature, read, think critically, do some of your own research and focus on the overall message.
What I take from this book, which has been my personal philosophy for a long time, is to fuel your body with clean, whole and natural foods and keep space for those quality indulgences that make you smile. Allowing you to attain the results you want within a healthy, satisfying lifestyle.