More About Going Primal – The Primal Blueprint
Oh to eat like Grok….
In my previous post I talked about a move to following a more paleo/primal eating plan than what P90X plan or The Abs Diet offers. My wife thinks its a neat concept and supports me, but I think she may think I’m nuts. But before you pass judgement, I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve been reading about, who I’ve been talking to about it, their experience, and why I think it may help me achieve my goals.
First, I purchased the book The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. If you’ve ever done P90x, you’ll recognize Mark as the guy at the end of the videos talking about P90X multi-vitamin, P90X recovery drink, etc. But more recently, Mark is known for his book on Primal eating and his website, Mark’s Daily Apple.
I have a good friend involved with Crossfit here in Conway who recently went through a Paleo challenge. I talked to him quite a bit during it about his experience with it, the ups, the downs, etc. As I started researching more about it I learned that my mentor in Beachbody (Coni) also was now eating via The Primal Blueprint. And after asking some questions, some more people I knew came out and said they were eating this way too.
I’ve seen the great results it produced for many people. But more than anything, the #1 thing that convinced me to try it was this: Everyone who followed it said they felt better than they had in a long time.
That was enough for me to start looking into it. Plus, taking cues from my own body, I figured it was time I looked into it.
Cues? What cues, Brent?
Well, for starters….
Even following the P90X plan, I noticed I lost fat well on the Fat Shredder plan. It sucked for energy, but I always had great losses. But when I’d go to eating whole grains again (or in larger amounts), I noticed my fat loss stalled. When I did Insanity and Asylum this year, I noticed the less carbs I took in, the better my fat loss was (with Insanity month 2, I took in only 1.5 carbs a day, with Asylum, typically on 1-1.5). Plus cutting out dairy I felt MUCH better in Insanity and Asylum.
But when I’d follow the P90X plan allowing for 3 carbs a day, my fat loss would stall. And that was always frustrating.
The other cue I’m taking is how my body reacts to sugar. It’s not pretty. I’ve been eating a bit too much of it recently, but I always…and I repeat, always, feel like utter crap after eating anything with refined sugars. I can drink a Shakeology with nothing but healthy sugars and feel fine, but one cookie and I feel miserable. I’ve felt like this all of this year. More on why this is important to me later (in regards to Primal eating).
So with all of this, the people I’ve talked to, and my own research, I feel like this is a good change for me to make.
You’re probably thinking….”Brent, instead of making this major shift, why not just eat on the Fat Shredder plan?”
Great point! The problem with Fat Shredder is this: It is high protein, low fat, low/moderate carb. Our bodies use to prefer fats as the fat source, but the modern American diet shifted it to being carbs in the form of starches and sugars. The Fat Shredder plan cannot be followed long term due to how few fats it has in it (albeit healthy fats, hitting only 20% fats and 30% carbs with 50% proteins is tough on the kidneys and energy stores).
When I followed the fat shredder plan, by week 2 I was miserable. The food was fairly bland, there wasn’t enough energy to push through workouts, and simply hard to manage. Not to mention that the plan is very strict on what you eat, portions, etc. It works, don’t get me wrong, but is hardly manageable long term.
But won’t you feel like crap when start Primal eating?
Possibly. I figure I will during the adjustment phase. I’m going from eating 40% (or more somedays) of my intake in carbs to eating 100g or less (400 calories, or 20% of my intake roughly will be carbs at most). I know my body is going to go through an adjustment phase and it is something I am preparing for.
In fact, I’ve already warned my wife that I’ll be a bit grumpy.
But, coming out of it, everyone I’ve talked to said they had more energy by the time the adjustment was done. Sounds good to me!
So what will I be eating?
Meat and veggies. Water. I’ll be cooking with fats, including butter. I told this to a good friend of ours who LOVES butter, and her response was someone amazed and amused that I’d be considering this move. After all, I’ve been anti-butter for a while.
My meat will not be just lean cuts either. I’ll be consuming animal fats. I’ll be aiming for 100g max carbs, 170g protein, and the rest of my calories in fat. I’ll be eating meats like bacon, fatty steaks, dark meat poultry, etc.
Now, if you’re a doctor or if you read a lot of modern medicine’s opinion on fat, you’ll probably freak out at this. Just go read Mark’s site and the book and you’ll understand why this is not really bad for you.
How much of a change is this for me?
Honestly, its a big change. Meat is more expensive. In fact, it’s a lot more expensive than carbs. So I’m having to purchase in bulk. If you read Mark’s site, you know he’ll suggest grassfed, organic meats over the mass produced meats you find in supermarkets. Until I can get some things in place (i.e. a freezer to hold enough meet), I’ll be purchasing from a local meat market which is grain fed but no anti-biotics or growth hormones added to the meats. My guess is these meats are grass-fed/grain finished.
My goal is to have enough freezer space to by either half or quarter of a cow a year and a whole pig. I can then supplement with chicken and the occasional chicken or lamb.
I’ll be cutting out dairy almost altogether. I’ve done this before and felt great. I will use some in cooking some dishes, so I will not be 100% dairy free, just will not use it that much. Most of the dairy I prep will be in specialty dishes.
So what about sugar you were talking about earlier?
Great question. Again, sugar makes me feel like garbage. Absolute garbage. I hate the way I feel when I have cows milk and sugar more than anything.
But….I love sweets. It’s a love-hate relationship.
The one thing I’ve been looking into a lot with Primal eating is how to handle my sweet tooth in the fall while still having some great dishes. The great thing I have found with Primal eating is that there is a recipe for just about everything I love. Pumpkin pie? Yep, a great recipe. I’ve found cookie recipes, chocolate mouse, etc. In other words, when I want a desert, I just have to have the stuff on hand to make it.
And it’s not refined, processed sugars.
Even for non-sugar foods, I’ve found recipes to use for entertaining, such as meatballs, Buffalo wings, etc. So when the Super Bowl rolls around, I’ll be able to have a Primal friendly feast.
So what is the biggest thing I love about this plan?
I find this plan extremely non-restrictive. The Abs Diet wasn’t restrictive, but it wasn’t this loose. It still wanted me to avoid fats, focus on grains, etc. And I lost weight/inches on the plan. But, I really don’t want to lose much weight, just fat.
Plus, I’m not going to count calories on this plan. Remember, our Primal ancestors did not have My Fitness Pal to help them track calories. So the goal is to eat sensibly and then adjust according to my energy needs. I also plan on experimenting some with Intermittent Fasting to aid in fat loss (and from many people’s experience, muscle growth). To help with energy during my workouts at first, I’m looking at adding in a BCAA supplement.
So my goal….
I’m hoping that my right shoulder heals enough to start P90X on January 1 when I launch many Beachbody Challenge Groups (more on this later). I want to move into doing Crossfit as well combined with some additional P90X style workouts, and eat like a caveman.