Saturday, September 17, 2011

Primal Blueprint: Paleolithic Diet

Primal Blueprint: Paleolithic Diet


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).”

Paleolithic Diet Basics

The 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

Omelet with veggies
1 cup Coffee
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
8 oz steak
2 cups steamed Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Evening snack
4 oz blueberries
1 glass red wine

Exercise Recommendations

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 hardworkouts, 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.
Also available is The Primal Blueprint Cookbook for $29.99.


  • 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.


  • 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.

    (Actually, there are a ton of recipes available. Heck, a whole book full of recipes in The Primal Blueprint Cookbook or just google it. If you can't cook meat, fowl, fish and veggies then you might need to take a cooking class somewhere. This is far easier to follow than any conventional diet I have ever been on)


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.

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