Saturday, February 5, 2011

Promises, promises.

The Primal Blueprint has a lot of promises packed in there and while I have not read the book itself, I follow the blog and community pretty closely. This are some of the "Primal Blueprint" claims (from

So the question is, does it deliver on these pretty profound assertions? Remember, I said I was an evidence-based person and I don't do things if they suck and feel like shit. So we've met one of my parameters: I feel GOOD. Okay, excellent. But now we've got to move on to the evidence based portion. As a member of Group Health I have access to these nifty health charts that show the progression of weight, blood pressure, BMI, etc etc. I also have access to my labs. I will be sharing this information here in hopes that we will in fact be able to SEE the evidence (if there is any to be had) about what this diet is actually accomplishing inside my body.

Let's talk briefly about the immediate "external" benefits I've been able to see and directly experience thus far:

1. My hypoglycemia vanished. This is an issue I've been struggling with for many years, forced to eat every few hours to keep myself from experiencing severe blood sugar crashes that cause dizziness, sweating, fatigue, and that impending "oh my god, I'm going to die" feeling. It's gone. I can now eat less than 6 "meals" a day and the only sensation I have is a normal hungry feeling. No crash, no fluctuating, no "oh my god, I'm going to die" feeling.

2. My psoriasis has shown improvement. When I first started, I experienced a drastic reduction in my psoriasis flares. So much so that I first thought it was grain that WAS the cause of it. However, it did not vanish as I thought it was going to and reached a stable point. But the flare ups are all but gone and it is significantly reduced from its previous status.

3. My hair seems to have stopped falling out. This will be an observation that will have to take place over a long period of time. But it SEEMS my hair has stopped falling out and the "bald spot" I was developing in my part line seems to be filling in. Time will tell.

4. My stomach is smaller. I carry most of my weight in my upper body, including a pouch of fat across my abdomen. I had this even when I was much thinner, though its size has of course increased with the weight gain. Over the last 2 months, myself and others have noticed a decrease in the size of that stomach fat.

So those are the most direct effects I can think of so far but hey, so far so good. Check out following posts for the actual graphs from my GHC profile!

Mmmm Sausage!

Sausages are an item that while technically primal, tend to be so packed with nitrites and other nasty preservatives that I rarely eat them (though I love them so.) But when I saw these all natural roasted red pepper and spinach sausages at Costco, I couldn't resist. No nitrites, preservatives, all natural pork casing, etc etc.

Here they are featured with slabs of goat cheese and an herb salad with yogurt ranch dressing. This is one of my favorite meals at the moment and very filling!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

So what am I eating???

Since I love trying new recipes, I'll be adding pictures and recipes of the things I am actually eating. When I've described the Primal Diet, people are highly skeptical that anything good other than salads and steaks could be had. I would like to demonstrate that this is not the case.

Case Study #1:

Worcestershire Hamburgers with Pepperjack
Fat Guacamole Devils

Here's the recipe for the Fat Guacamole Devils from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook (you can download it FREE at marksdailyappe.)

▪ 2 hard boiled eggs
▪ 1/2 avocado
▪ 1 teaspoon hot sauce (or more to taste)
▪ 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
▪ salt & pepper to taste

Peel and halve the eggs and spoon their yolks into a small bowl. Mash the yolks with the avocado, hot sauce and lime juice; add salt and pepper to taste.
Refill egg white halves with yolk mixture, and enjoy!

The hamburgers were delicious. I don't have an exact recipe but it's along the lines of add an egg, add worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. It's perfect! Topped with a slice of pepper jack cheese it's even better.

The Fat Guacamole Devils were a little plain. In my opinion, more salt is better and I didn't have lime juice on hand which would have given it more pizzazz. Next time I'll add more hot sauce too. However, they have a creaminess and unique flavor that warrant more tinkering.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How it all began -- PRIMAL LIVING

The Primal Diet.

For most of my life I was a staunch opposer of fad diets, of extreme deprivations, and of "experts" who told people what they should and should not eat. But at the age of 24, I found myself in the worst physical condition of my life having exploded to 250 lbs and plagued with problems ranging from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hair falling out, just to name a few of my physical ailments. Needless to say, my body was telling me SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT! And this was operating on the "everything in moderation" philosophy. Never mind that I had been tested for everything under the sun (almost everything was negative) and that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) was beginning to ruin my life. I didn't have celiac disease, crohns disease, or any other "disease." Just a syndrome that needed weight management in order to manage the symptoms. Too bad the syndrome itself causes insulin resistance which translates to difficulty in losing weight. So spending two years battling my weight and losing, rea

lity began to look really ugly. Facing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (all long-term possibilities from PCOS) I began to get scared. Scared that I would never be able to backpedal on the road my body was on -- that I was doomed to inevitable failing health, I resolved myself to do something about it.

So I began to do my research and I discovered something called The Primal Diet. See, there's that word "diet" that I hate so much. And even though the opening page looked like a gimmicky nightmare, I was desperate

and so I read on. What unfolded was a concept that was broken down and explained so simply th

at I could almost

-- almost -- see what outcome it might have. The basics? This according to Mark Sisson at

  1. 80% of your body composition will be determined by your diet. Yes, exercise is also important to health and to speed up fat-burning and muscle-building, but most of your results will come from how you eat. I’ll write more on this later, so just trust me on this one for now. Suffice to say, people who weigh a ton and exercise a ton, but eat a ton, still tend to weigh a ton. I think I’ll have that made into a t-shirt…
  2. Lean Body Mass (LBM) is the key to life. I’ve said it many times on this site: lean mass (muscle and all the rest of you that is not fat) is directly correlated with longevity and excellent health. Rather than strive to “lose weight”, most people would be better off striving to lose only fat and to build or maintain muscle. Since other organs tend to function at a level that correlates to muscle mass, the more muscle you maintain throughout life, the more “organ reserve” you’ll have (i.e. the better the rest of you will work). Refer back to rule #1 and eat to build or maintain muscle.
  3. Excess body fat is bad. Most human studies show that being significantly overweight increases your risk of nearly every disease (except osteoporosis – because ironically it responds to weight-bearing activities). Fat just doesn’t look that great either. See rule #1 and eat to keep body fat relatively low.
  4. Excess insulin is bad. We’ve written about it here a lot. Chronic excess insulin may be even worse than excess sugar (and we know how bad that is). All animals produce insulin, but within any species, those that produce less insulin live longer than those who produce a lot. Eat to keep insulin low.

Simple enough yeah? But how to accomplish the above?

  1. Eat lots of animals, insects, and plants.
  2. Move around a lot at a slow pace.
  3. Lift heavy things.
  4. Run really fast every once and a while.
  5. Get lots of sleep.
  6. Play.
  7. Get some sunlight every day.
  8. Avoid trauma.
  9. Avoid poisonous things.
  10. Use your mind.

Really? That's it???? Sounds like brain food for morons. This is all common sense stuff right? So there's a little more to it perhaps. These are things that actually have to change in your day to day life.

  • No grains. Seriously, none. No bread, pasta, or rice. No quinoa. No whole wheat. Nada.
  • No beans (there's an in-depth explanation of why on the website.)
  • No refined sugars and really, avoid sweets in general.
  • Double and triple the amount of vegetables eaten in the SAD (Standard American Diet)
  • Eat fermented foods -- REAL ones that aren't processed.
  • Speaking of processed foods, DON'T EAT THEM!
  • Eat nuts! Eat avocados! Eat eggs! Eat coconut oil and coconut milk!
  • Eat meat products -- grass fed and organic if you can swing it.

These are just to name a few. But how could I give up carbs?!?!? I loved my pasta, loved my bread -- it just didn't seem feasible. But I'm desperate remember? So I told myself, "I'll try it for 8 days, if it sucks, I won't do it." I'm an evidence-based person after all. I operate under the assumption that the body will signal you if you're doing something wrong. You just have to make sure you're paying attention.

So the first 5 days I experienced carb withdrawals which I can only liken to coming down off an amphetamine binge followed by something similar to a hangover headache. I really didn't feel so hot -- which, Mark's website had warned me, might happen. The carb "flu" they called it.

After the 5th day I started to feel better. A LOT better. I assured myself through this that I would not limit my calories, I would not count carbs, I would not do anything except eliminate the refined carb food group and increase amounts of the other good stuff they recommended. And yes, at the beginning, I ate A LOT. After the first two weeks of binge eating though, I began to experience a sudden retreat in appetite. My hypoglycemia had all but vanished and I found that I was eating mostly out of habit so I started to pay more attention to how my stomach and body felt. I ate what I wanted and didn't eat if I wasn't hungry.


This may not sound like a revelation for some people. But for those of us out there who have struggled with food addiction or other dependence on our food, not having my life revolve around what I ate was an 'effing miracle. Never before had I felt free from having to snack continuously. My energy improved, I was eating much less, and the side effects that had plagued me for the majority of my young adult life literally vanished. I wish I could convey the profound impact this has had on my life. And I will -- through evidence-based results.

I will be following this post up with my progress and the changes my body is experiencing as a result of this Primal Living. Don't read into the hype, it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. One that I thought I would never be able to do until now.