Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge

I'm a firm believer in eating more like our ancestors did.  For most of us, that means fewer boxed foods, fewer desserts, fewer processed foods, more protein, and less vegetable oil, but I have to say that a big part of me believes that we just need to eat less.

"Eat less and move more" is one of those throw away phrases that fitness guys like to use to sound profound.  It's true, though, but it's not as simple as it sounds for so many people.  People have little concept of what less means, and more sounds hard. People are already tired, so they must be moving more already! ...and boy are they hungry! How can they be expected to eat less?

Our ancestors ate less and moved more than we do, but it wasn't done on purpose.  They moved because they had to work to grow food, get food and make food for starters. Also, some of the tastiest food was relatively expensive. Things like sugary desserts weren't daily things because of this. Over time, these things got less expensive and also became a habit. The reasons why are many.

I plan to go on and on, but not all in one shot. These rants are best served a little bit at a time. Savored.

In the meantime, let me tell you about the Primal Blueprint...

The Primal Blueprint goes back a ways farther than your grandma and grandpa, suggesting that we eat more as nature intended.  More hunter and gatherer, less farmer and storekeeper. It does not rely on your belief in cavemen, either, as primitive societies have existed in modern times, eating just what you'd imaging primitive cultures eat.

I'll net it out so you don't have to weed through the next website and find it out for yourself.  You'd just end up feeling tricked and pissed off, and you might run off on an emotional eating induced binge of Oreos. I can't handle that responsibility.

Primal Blueprint Foods

Yes - Meat, fish, eggs, poultry, nuts, seeds, veggies, fruit, squash, sweet potato, yam, some cheese and dairy
No - Wheat, corn, rice, oats, and other grains, quinoa, beans, peas and other legumes, sugars, juice

There's more, but those are the biggies. Deal killers for many, huh?  Bread is made from grains.  Rice and corn are grains. The no-grain thing is a tough sell. This would be a big change for many, so I expect some of you will now click away.

On the surface, it looks like a low carb diet, but it's not really. It's carb agnostic. Sweet potatoes and squash have plenty of carbs, as do fruits, seeds, and nuts. However, these foods are tough to overeat, primarily because they aren't sweet or particularly easy to chew and swallow. Try binging on a chicken.

I don't believe that low carb or paleo/primal foods are better at weight loss than diets that limit calories only, but as I said before, these foods are harder to overeat and not your fun foods for binging.

Personally, I believe in the long term health benefits of eating more whole foods and less processed foods. This may seem extreme, but it's free to try and only 30 days. What if you feel a lot better?  I don't think there's an argument that you could feel worse, is there? After you take away the fluff foods, it's just real and whole foods that I'm suggesting.

It's only 30 days, after which you'll likely be pleased at how you look and feel.  Try it for 30 days and make a decision then on whether to go on or start adding some of the "no" foods back in.

If you've made it this far, here's the Primal Blueprint 30 Challenge.

If you dig into the web site further, you'll tons of good stuff on health and fitness, training and working out, plus nutrition and recipes. Enjoy.

I can really use 30 days of knuckling down, so I'm in!


  1. Ok so I follow you and agree with a whole food diet. I don't understand the avoidance of grains, beans, legumes etc. I've always felt that any diet that talks about complete avoidance of food that is good for me is not the diet I would want to be on unless there is good reason. I'm curious about your challenge and am going to check it out.

  2. If I thought they were particularly good for me, I wouldn't be avoiding them, right?

    I avoid them for several reasons, the first being that they are purely optional. They are calories that I'd rather get from things that are more satisfying, like meat and veggies.

    The second thing is that they have a lot of calories for how satisfying they are (not very).

    Third, they may have properties that effect our life and health in the long run. The jury's still out on that one, but at least part of me believes it. Mark's Daily Apple is a good resource on this part of it. Do check it out.

    I don't avoid them 100%, but I try to avoid a lot of them. BTW, I've been eating all sorts of ways for years, low calorie, low carb, etc. This is a way to concentrate on whole foods that are closer to natural. As a plus, it's harder to overeat them, so getting and staying lean has been easier in many ways.


  3. Hello Roland

    I found a post you did a while ago on the TNT diet, and then came to your blog! I am also interested in mostly whole food/low grains approach to nutrition.

    Since 2003 I lost 70 pounds and now I'm planning to start the TNT program as soon as I have the nutrition part well figured out. You can see some of my before after on my Paleo Blog:


    I have also taken some new pictures to compare later on, but now I have no idea where or how the muscles would look like!!!

    So if you have any advice about starting the TNT program, or any other comment I would really appreciate it!

    Thansk Again Guy

  4. Hey there! I love the TNT Diet, and I've been doing it for years now. The Primal Blueprint is really like a next step. Tightening things up in a few areas.

    They actually result in close to the same thing, coming from different angles. Of course TNT doesn't limit things like dairy or processed meats as much. Personally, I don't think they are that bad, and still eat them (although I've set most of it aside for this 30 days).

    The earlier phases of TNT can be very primal-friendly, by choosing the sources of your carbs (you mentioned grains, etc.) and concentrating on getting grassfed and pastured meats, when possible.

    Personally, I like TNT's workout better than the PB's, but that's because I'd rather be bigger and more muscular. TNT also has carb and calorie strategies for building muscle when the time is right. I use the TNT timing strategies with my PB eating style. I've done well.


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