OVERVIEW OF THE PRIMAL BLUEPRINT
The Primal Blueprint is a Wall Street Journal and Amazon best-selling book written by the founder, Mark Sisson. The book became so successful—with over 500,000 copies sold—that it catapulted the ancestral health movement into the mainstream and spawned a nutrition and lifestyle program that has helped tens of thousands of people reach their health and fitness goals.
Mark brings a unique background to the health and wellness sphere. As an elite athlete, he finished in the top 5 at the National Marathon Championships, scoring himself a qualifying spot for the 1980 US Olympic Trials. And he didn’t stop there…he then became one of the world’s most renowned triathletes, competing in the Hawaiian Ironman and finishing in an impressive 4th place. Still, despite his world-class conditioning and exceptional fitness, Mark often found himself sick.
Once his competitive days were over, he searched for a way to keep his health in check and his body fat low without having to run hundreds of miles a week and strength train at the gym every day. He also cast about for a way to heal some of the chronic “itises” he had developed while overtraining (arthritis, tendinitis, gastritis, sinusitis, etc.). His 20-year quest taught him that what we eat is the key determinant to an energetic mind and lean, agile body…and that Primal eating accomplished all his health and fitness desires—quickly and easily.
Mark became convinced that our modern diet had strayed very significantly from that of our primal ancestors…and our health was faltering as a consequence. He learned that simply by ditching the sugars and carbohydrates found in processed foods, he could make a profound change in his health.
You see, the body only burns through the sugar and carbs it needs for its immediate energy requirements. The rest it dumps into fat storage! Stick with a diet high in sugar and carbs and you’re likely to gain at least a few new pounds every year. May not sound too bad in the short term, but a few pounds a year for 10–20 years can lead to excess weight gain of 20…30…40 or more pounds; not to mention a variety of chronic, and often life-threatening, health issues.
Mark didn’t have to eliminate the foods he enjoyed most…and neither do you! Beyond cutting out excessive carbs and grains, along with processed foods and hydrogenated oils, there really is no sacrifice or struggle involved. You can eat all the healthy fats, meats, fruits, vegetables and decadent treats like dark chocolate you want! That’s because these healthy foods are essentially made up of protein and fat—macronutrients that the human body has evolved to prefer. Grains like wheat and corn were only introduced in the last 10,000 years or so, and we just don’t take well to the processed sugars and carbohydrates they contain. After all, grains—and packaged processed foods—were never part of our primal ancestors’ diet.
So eating Primally became the first layer to the blueprint for building a healthy body. The more Mark studied our primal ancestors, the more he realized that lifestyle behaviors beyond diet also contributed to a healthy—and happy—life. The foods our primal ancestors ate, the amount of sun they got, and the sort of movement they engaged in to survive shaped their genome. While the world has changed in innumerable ways in the last 10,000 years (for better and worse), the human genome has changed very little and thus only thrives under similar conditions. Simply put, if you want a good future you better listen to the past. And that’s where The Primal Blueprint comes in. We teach you not only how to eat in a way that will help your body and genes become efficient at fat burning and muscle building, but also how you can increase your longevity and wellness by reducing disease and illness.
Make a commitment to the Blueprint, and watch your body transform into the ideal composition it was meant to be. The Primal Blueprint is no fad weight loss program—it’s a set of lifestyle laws and habits that are the keys to health.
1. EAT LOTS OF ANIMALS, INSECTSAND PLANTS
Focus on quality sources of protein (all forms of meat, fowl, fish), lots of colorful vegetables, some select fruits (mostly berries) and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil). Observe portion control (calorie distribution) week-to-week more than meal-to-meal. The majority of your calories should come from animal protein; however, the bulk of your plate should be made up of colorful fruits and veggies. Eliminate grains, sugars and trans and hydrogenated fats from your diet.
2. MOVE AROUND A LOT AT A SLOW PACE
Do some form of low-level aerobic activity two to five hours a week, be it walking, hiking, easy bike riding or swimming. Low-level activity is necessary (especially if you find yourself chained to a desk every day). Ideally, and when possible, find time to go barefoot or wear as little foot support as possible. The combined effect will be an increase in capillary perfusion and fat burning, and an overall integration of muscle strength and flexibility.
3. LIFT HEAVY THINGS
Go to the gym and lift weights for 30-45 minutes, two to three times a week. Focus on movements that involve the entire body and in wider ranges of motion—not just on isolating body parts. Emulate the movements of our ancestors: jumping, squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, twisting, etc. These actions will encourage your genes to increase muscle strength and power, improve bone density, enhance insulin sensitivity, stimulate growth hormone secretion and consume stored body fat.
4. RUN REALLY FAST EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE
Do some form of intense anaerobic sprint bursts once every 7 to 10 days. This could be as simple as six or eight (or more as long as the quality doesn’t diminish) short sprints up a hill, on the grass, at the beach… or repeated intense sessions on a bicycle (stationary, road or mountain bike). These short bursts also increase human growth hormone release (HGH is actually released in proportion to the intensity—not the duration—of the exercise).
5. GET LOTS OF SLEEP
Get plenty of quality sleep. Our lives are so hectic and full of things to do after the sun goes down that it’s often difficult to get enough sleep. Yet sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health, vibrant energy and a strong immune system.
Spend some time each week involved in active play. In addition to allowing you to apply your fitness to real-life situations, play helps dissipate some of the negative effects of the chronic stress hormones you’ve been accumulating through the week.
7. GET SOME SUNLIGHT EVERY DAY
Contrary to the “common wisdom” dispensed by dermatologists (who suggest you shun the sun), the Primal Blueprint insists that you get some direct sunlight every day. Certainly not so much that you risk burning, but definitely enough to prompt your body to make the all-important vitamin D. A slight tan is a good indicator that you have maintained adequate vitamin D levels. Natural sunlight also has a powerful mood-elevating effect, which can enhance productivity at work and in interpersonal interactions.
8. AVOID TRAUMA
Eliminate self-destructive behaviors. These concepts are self-evident to most people (wear seat belts, don’t smoke or do drugs, don’t dive into shallow water), yet so many of us live our lives oblivious to impending danger. Develop a keen sense of awareness of your surroundings.
9. AVOID POISONOUS THINGS
Avoid exposure to chemical toxins in your food (pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, etc.) and on your skin. But also try to avoid the hidden poisons in foods like sugars, grains, processed foods, trans and hydrogenated fats, and mercury in certain fish.
10. USE YOUR MIND
Exercise your brain daily as our ancestors did. Be inventive, creative and aware. If your work is not stimulating (or even if it is), find time to read, write, play an instrument and interact socially.