Suffering from severe stomach cramps to the point where you very nearly go to the emergency room is no fun, no fun at all. Passing gas non stop while working out at the gym and suffering from IBS off and on only adds to the pain. I was dealing with that scenario whilealso doing my best to get over acne, a skin disease that I suffered with for almost 6 years. No one wants to live their entire life like this, right? Thankfully I went through this at the very young age of 21.
Why am I grateful for this? Because it changed my life.
I now live a primal lifestyle and have been doing so for four months. I was introduced to this lifestyle because of my pain and suffering. I wanted an answer to my problems and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to say that I have managed to do exactly that. While doing a lot of research online about gluten and the problems with it, I continued to land on Mark’s Daily Apple. I did not believe much of what he said in the beginning but because I was being led to one of the site’s pages continuously I decided to give it a try.
Why was it hard for me to believe what Mark Sisson, the writer of the blog, was saying?Well, he did not believe in grains. The primal lifestyle is more than just a diet, but when you talk about the diet part, grains is by far the biggest topic. I mean, who wants to cut out all grains from their diet? How could this possibly make sense? It’s at the bottom of our food pyramid for crying out loud!
As I read article after article and learned more about the harmful effects of gluten via other websites I started to believe everything this guy was saying. It all started to make sense. It took me four months before I decided to dive in head first, but finally I did.
I will never look back. I feel better better than ever, have lost fat and gained muscle, am more fit, more relaxed, have greater energy, sleep just as well as I used to (I have always slept like a baby) and even require less sleep.
What Is The Primal Theory?
The primal theory teaches that we have been evolving for two million years. We have only started to eat grains for the past 10,000 years which is when agriculture began. In evolutionary terms, 10,000 years is not enough time for our bodies to adapt to a new food group.
I understand it is difficult for people to believe we have been alive for that long. We may have, we may have not. But, what we do know for sure is there are countless diseases taking the lives of human beings every single day, diseases that did NOT exist just less than a century ago. All grains are part of the problem due to gluten as well as the antinutrients that prevents our bodies from fully absorbing all the nutrients we take in during the course of a day.
Ditching grains is a large part of living a primal lifestyle but there is more to it. Ditching all processed foods along with legumes (including peanuts!) is also a must. I used to eat grains on a daily basis. Most meals consisted of some sort of grain where the grain was part of the main dish in most cases. Cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and often times pizza or pasta for dinner.
The gastrointestinal problems that I mentioned above weren’t always present in my life, but I’ve learned that we develop a sensitivity to a food over time. I just learned that my next door neighbor started having allergic reactions to peanuts at the age of 60!! I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to have that happen to me. This is another reason why it makes sense to avoid all problem foods and instead just eat a healthy diet now and live an overall healthy lifestyle.
If grains and legumes are not allowed then what do you eat? Easy. Think animals and think vegetables and fruits. Nuts and seeds are great as snacks and as a topping to other foods but I avoid them as much as possible as well because of the omega 6 content. Add spices to your food and supplement as necessary.
I eat a lot of salads, stir fries, eggs, all kinds of different animals, healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, coconuts, amongst many other foods. When you go primal and become enthusiastic about this new lifestyle then it all truly becomes a breeze. Losing weight truly becomes effortless and gaining muscle is also a breeze if one has the desire to put on muscle.
It’s More Than A Diet, Its A Lifestyle
Most people who live this lifestyle focus on food more than anything. But it is more than just a diet. It is a lifestyle that touches on all aspects of living. We all know how important sleep is. Or, do we? There are now countless sleep disorders in our lives that did not exist just a short time ago. We are also deficient in Vitamin D3. What is the best source of Vitamin D3? The sun! It is smart to not get burnt, but most of us are worrying too much about this and are thus Vitamin D3 deficient.
What about exercising? We all know how important it is to engage in physical activity in order to be lean and fit. This is where primal fitness comes in. I engage in full bodyweight exercises, walk and jog as much as possible while enjoying myself instead of running for 40 straight minutes and sprint once or twice a week.
Move A Lot, But Slowly
How often do you move? Moving frequently at a slow pace is essential and is how we evolved during our stay on this earth. Do you really think we ran for thirty minutes to an hour at a consistent pace? A few might have for the pleasure. But, it is safe to say that most of us who do that today would much rather be doing something else. Hiking is a fantastic activity and is something that everyone should engage in. Playing sports will do the trick as long as you never over do it. The key here is to have fun.
Outside of moving frequently at a slow pace, sprinting once in a while is also necessary. When you think about how we possibly lived in the wild, we had to sprint at random times in order to survive. We never knew when a bear would approach us causing us to have to sprint in the spur of the moment. This is why I and thousands of others engage in sprinting sessions, aka high intensity interval training (HIIT). The idea here is to go all out for 20 seconds to a couple of minutes followed by a short rest. Do this a few times for a great, intense, short and effective workout.
Strength training rounds out the fitness laws of the primal lifestyle. Strong organs are one of the keys to living a long life. Building a fair amount of true muscle delays the aging process. You do this by lifting heavy things and by eating enough protein. I personally do push-ups, pull-ups and squats 3 days a week. After doing this for 3 months I have gained more muscle then I did in the previous 3 years engaging in single muscle movements.
Stress is also a big problem in today’s world. We work way too much and thus do not spend enough time playing. Yes, play. Think about how much fun you had as a kid. Wouldn’t it be cool to live like that again even if it was for a few minutes per day and more on the weekends?
All of this is part of the primal lifestyle. It is not a fad diet. It is a lifestyle that is here to stay forever. If you believe you are interested but are not sure you can handle the large differences from how you live your life today then there is no need to worry.
Mark Sisson, the creator of all this talks about the 80/20 rule right up front in his book, The Primal Blueprint. If you live primally for 80% of the time then you will still be able to improve your health dramatically with ease. As you live this way you will find yourself not wanting to use the 20% insurance since this way of eating and living is so much fun.
You now know the basics of the primal lifestyle. Since it is more than just a diet there is a lot to talk about when “primal” pops up. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns then please leave a comment below and I will personally answer as best as I possibly can. Remember, taking baby steps with anything in life turns what may seem like a challenge into easy, doable steps. As soon as you believe, you can achieve anything you want to in life!
About the Author
Todd Dosenberry, aka Primal Toad, is a primal enthusiast who made a leap of faith on April 5, 2010 by diving head first into a totally unique lifestyle. He blogs about the primal lifestyle over at PrimalToad.com and is doing his absolute best to spread the “primal” word around without pushing it on anyone but instead leading by example. You can also Follow Todd on Twitter or see his Facebook Fan Page.