Primal Blueprint: Paleolithic Diet

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

paleolithic dietA paleolithic diet is found in The Primal Blueprint is written by Mark Sisson, a former world-class endurance athlete with a degree in biology.

He says, “The Primal Blueprint is a set of simple instructions (the blueprint) that allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that’s the primal part).”

This diet is similar to the popular Paleo Diet.

Paleolithic Diet Basics




he Primal Blueprint is based on the concept of eating foods that were available to our Paleolithic ancestors because this is the diet that our genes are designed for. It also involves addressing other lifestyle factors that have an important influence on our health and our ability to maintain an optimal physique.

There are ten major paleolithic principles of The Primal Blueprint

  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 in a while
  5. Get lot’s of sleep
  6. Play
  7. Get some sunlight every day
  8. Avoid trauma
  9. Avoid poisonous things
  10. Use your mind

Primal Blueprint says that most popular diets look at daily calorie intake as being the major factor in our ability to lose weight. It also points out how most diet gurus generally prescribe one-size-fits-all recommendations for intakes of fats, protein and carbs.

However according to this paleolithic diet, this goes against our natural functioning because “our genes are accustomed to the way our ancestors ate: intermittently, sporadically, sometimes in large quantities, and sometimes not at all for days”. While the author acknowledges the importance of portion control he suggests that rather than measuring portions at each meal it is better to monitor your long-term intake over a week or more.

This approach also makes it more practical to follow an eating plan for weight loss because it can allow for occasional splurges and variations in our appetite and energy levels. Sisson says that the Primal Blueprint is “about understanding the effects that certain foods and exercise have on your body and then being able to make informed choices.

Sisson recommends a diet based on organic meat and poultry, wild fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds with the occasional starchy vegetable after a workout. Grains, legumes, dairy products and processed foods should be avoided because they were not a part of the diet of our ancient ancestors.

This paleolithic diet does not include a detailed meal plan or recipes but there are many recipes available online at the author’s website.

Recommended Paleolithic Foods

Organic meat, free-range poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits (mostly berries), nuts, avocados, coconut, olive oil, butter, red wine.

Sample Diet Plan

Breakfast

Omelet with veggies
1 cup Coffee

Lunch

4 cups mixed salad greens
6 cherry tomatoes
1 cup raw broccoli
½ avocado
6 oz salmon
Sliced onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Afternoon Snack

Handful of almonds

Dinner
8 oz steak
2 cups steamed Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Evening snack

4 oz blueberries
1 glass red wine

Gentle Exercise Recommended

This Paleolithic Diet advocates gentle aerobic exercise such as walking, hiking, swimming or cycling at 55-75% of maximum heart rate is to be performed for 2-5 hours a week. Strength training involving functional fitness exercises is done 1-3 times a week for 7-60 minutes. Sprinting at maximum capacity should be performed for 20 minutes, once every 7-10 days.

Proper recovery is regarded as just as important to your fitness as hard workouts, so every week should include several days of rest or easy exercise. You should also take a week off if you noticed your energy levels and performance are under-par.

Costs and Expenses

The Primal Blueprint retails at $26.99.

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price. Also available is The Primal Blueprint Cookbook for $29.99.

Pros

  • Encourages a high intake of fruit, vegetables and healthy fats.
  • Recommends the consumption of organic and free-range animal products.
  • Includes comprehensive exercise guidelines.
  • Can be followed as a lifestyle plan for health and weight management.
  • Allows for treats such as red wine and chocolate and the occasional dessert.
  • Acknowledges the importance of a holistic approach to health and fitness.

Cons

  • Requires elimination of a wide variety of foods including grains, legumes and dairy products.
  • Not suitable for vegetarians.
  • This paleolithic diet does not include a comprehensive meal plan or recipes.

A Paleo Diet Works for Many

The Primal Blueprint is a weight loss and fitness plan based on following a lifestyle in accordance with that of our Paleolithic ancestors, which can reprogram our genes in a way that naturally supports the creation of a lean and healthy body.

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Cate

    I began the Paleo diet about 10 days ago and may just proceed to the Primal Blueprint. The most noticeable effect was I realized this morning my fibromyalgia symptoms have disappeared. I had a strong sense that the FM was all about what I was eating. I have been Gluten free for about 5 years but grains were not eliminated. I can’t think of any other reason for the disappearance of FM symptoms. Fascinating!

  • rachey

    I have just started reading it and am starting the eating plan tomorrow. the only bit that has confused me is working out calories. did anybody else do this or did you just stick to the ethos of cutting out grains and eating meat and fish and vegetables

  • Christo

    On my way to purchase the book. Thanks for all the advise…

  • Adam

    This is NOT a diet. It is a BLUEPRINT for a healthier lifestyle change. And a GREAT ONE AT THAT! In one week following the Primal Blueprint, my energy increased by the day, bringing my mood right up with it. I was slightly depressed and gloomy for a span of 2 months, and then i got this book sent to me in the mail. Thanks Dad! Now, even though i have been a little too lenient in my eating habits while on vacation, my overall standard and self-discipline level has raised up, so now when i eat something not so healthy for me, i don’t feel as terrible because i have been eating right the rest of the time! It has encouraged me and excited me to learn how to prepare my own dishes. I used to dread having to eat vegetarian but now i eat more veggies than ever because i know i get to enjoy my MEAT!! It has made me more grateful for animals sacrificing their lives and bodies to nourish me, and that can’t be wrong if i acknowledge that. Thats what i believe!

    The Primal Blueprint is not a diet, it really is a CURE for the modern problems we face in our diets and health. One step closer to self-healing and the non-dependance of this healthcare system that pulls our pockets inside out. Save your own lives and some cash too haha.

    Please decide to cure yourself from all the things you think are “normal signs of age”. LIVE LONG, DROP DEAD!—a good quote from the book. we are not meant to deteriorate like weaklings we are supposed to be strong and healthy, not to mention HAPPY and FULFILLED.

  • Delta

    I’m still up in the air about this.

    I still eat Carbs but only in the mornings and a few times at lunch so I can burn it off during the day.

    My breakfast is a cup of oatmeal, throw in a bannana and mash that up. Put some crushed walnuts with cinnamon, add some water microwave it add a touch of skim milk and it taste like banana nut bread. It fills you up till lunch. No cravings and eating some BS snack every few hours.

    For dinner I’ll have a lean meat, big portion of my favorite vegetable(s).

    I used to eat ice cream now to cure my sweet tooth I’ll cut up some pineapple, throw in some blueberries, strawberries, black berries put it in a bowl and eat. Sweet tooth gone. You can also freeze the fruits then put them in a blender to make a smoothie also. The Banana gives the smoothie the texture of ice cream.
    After eating healthy you start to lose your cravings for junk food. You have to want to do it or it wont work.
    You start think twice even thinking about wanting sweets because you see the weight come off and feel your energy level soar you want to keep it up becuase you dont want to blow it and go back to your bad habits.

    The secret is, you just need to find the lean meats veggies and fruits you enjoy eating. That way it’s easier to stick to it.

    Now and then I’ll splurge on junk food, like ice cream, cake etc.
    Life to short not to enjoy some guilty pleasures.

    There is no calorie counting with the way I do it.

    3 basics rules if the food your getting is healthy or not
    1. Did it come from the ground?

    2. Will it start rot in a week?

    3. Did it have a mother?

    I could never lose weight but when I changed my eating habits to the one I described above

    I lost 12lbs within a month. All this without freakin excercise, imagine how much I would lose if I did add excercise to it.

    No cravings. No starving, I am eating foods I like! My energy level went through the roof.

    I am 47 and feel like 18 again. The sluggish feeling is gone and I have a whole lot of spring in my step. My gut isn’t hanging over my belt when I sit or bend over anymore.

    Just saying the way I do it, you can literly have your cake and eat it to

    • Nereida Mercado

      I plan on starting this diet, do you have any other tips?
      I would love to loose 20-25 lbs.
      I’m 49 yrs. Old. Tks

  • FaylinaMeir

    I don’t know about everyone else, I could not eat THAT much meat in one day, not only that but if you calculated the price of eating like this. Thats about 16.00 a day for where I live (midwest, USA) eating decent quality grass fed meats ON SALE. Thats about 500 usd a month for one person, I spend half that to feed my family of three.

    • lynn

      You should consider buying a 1/2 of beef or even a whole. I have a family of 5 and we go through 1/2 of beef about ever year to year and 1/2. Definitely worth every penny spent.

  • Ramses

    I haven’t tried this feeding style out yet. It seems very interesting from “menu” point of view, however the “paleo orgins” science behind it is somewhat bias. None of the “paleo” diets doesn’t take into accout the “quantity part” of our ancestors genes and the “frequency” part of the inherent eating habits.

    Our ancestors might have eaten the “paleo food types” but definitely not in nowadays “quantity” and certainly not in nowadays frequency. Our paleo ancestors starved for most of their days and consistantly fought for food (=survival).

    However, since I dont thik I should eat like a caveman I like the paleo diet and I think its very healthy and tasty. We should definitely all go down with the sugars and pastas :)

  • Jen

    I’ve been doing PB for a month now, and feel better than I ever have in my life. I had no idea that cutting out grains could do so much for me. I was following the old “whole grain” information and was chronically in pain from arthritis. Within a week of cutting out all grains, most of my pain was gone. As I continue, my energy levels get higher while my ability to sleep at night is better. I wish I had known about this years ago, but I’ll take feeling better now.

  • Nance

    I’ve been “primal” for 3 months. Migraine, GERD and joint pain are amazingly better and I’ve lost about 15 pounds. Other than cravings for junk foods at times, there is no down side.

  • Tiffany

    I just finished reading TPB. I started the primal diet a couple of months back after my girlfriend convinced me that it would help my bipolar symptoms. Wow, was she right! I’m a believer in the primal way of life. It’s not a diet or a passing fad–it’s a life-change that makes so much sense for me. Along the path of learning about the primal way, I learned that depression is an inflammatory disorder. What causes inflammation in our bodies? Carbohydrates, of course! I was poisoning myself with every piece of bread or bowl of cereal; it made no difference that they were whole grains. Eating right isn’t the only change I made. Routine exercise, meditation and regular sleep patterns have become the norm making insomnia, fatigue and stress a thing of the past. This book really does offer the tools one needs to change your life! I highly recommend it!

  • Primal Blueprint trialist

    I am doing a trial of the diet right now. I am not doing it for the weight loss (although I am experiencing weight loss by doing it), nor am I unhealthy and looking for a dietary “cure”. The diet intrigued me and I am seeing how it goes. That being said, I usually have a hard time wrapping my head around a “solution” born out of a concept.
    On its face, the diet’s emphasis on humans having lived a certain way for eons which may or may not have contributed directly to physical evolution (assuming you believe in that idea) makes some sense. However, the diet consistently and deliberately puts itself at odds with other diets for various reasons, primarily because it has labeled certain food groups such as grains as bad and unhealthy by not being part of a largely theoretical history of how humans lived eons ago.
    Concepts and ideas are very nice and all, but it does seem like there should be some scientific trials to back dietary claims of superior health or weight loss; or absent that, facts presented by real life dietary anthropologists who spend their lives finding out exactly what we ate, where and when.
    I recall the “sugar busters diet” cautioning eaters to avoid all “foreign” fruit for similar “genetic” reasons, then a few pages later promotes Japanese umeboshi plums to those of European descent. Always amusing to see where the diet planners paint themselves into a corner by making absolutist claims and then having to find a way to back off them for an exception. This diet is no different in that regard, but I digress.
    This diet, as with all others, requires the individual to make frequent daily choices as to what to eat to reach the goals espoused by the program. Those choices can result in a severely unbalanced diet (like eating all meat and eggs and no veggies/fruit), or hit the perfect combination of nutrients and calories. Whether it’s Primal Blueprint, Weight Watchers, Ornish, Zone, 80/10/10, the choices leading to success or failure are all up to the individual and that oft quoted phrase seems to apply once again… your mileage may vary.

  • Suzie

    All nuts and seeds are allowed, except peanuts which are legumes. Some propagators of the diet also believe that cashews cannot be eaten, as they are rarely ever consumed in their raw form.