Overview of Primal Diet
The primal diet program bases its originality in teaching you how to reprogram your genes to function better and more toward how they were originally intended to function.
But how exactly does it work? Do you have to undergo a certain procedure, and do you have to be assisted by a health professional? How can you safely and easily reprogram your genes in order to maximize the benefits of the program? This post will explain how this diet plan will help you do so and the steps you should take to make it possible.
We will explain in easy terms what this means to you. For the longest time, we have believed and possibly been told that your genes are unique but also unalterable, so you might be surprised to know that this is not exactly true. In fact your genes are programmable.
You can help them behave one way or another depending on the environmental signals that they are exposed to. However, don’t get too excited, as you won’t be able to become a blond or change your eye color to blue, but internal genes can be modified by certain choices that you make.
In other words, what you eat and the way you manage the rest of your life and behaviors (sleep, stress, exercise, work, emotions) will affect your genes. So how your genes will respond and express themselves will directly affect how you feel, your health.
So this is what you can explain to anyone who would simply tell you over and over that you are “predisposed” to this or that because of your genes, because you are not.
Now there is not on and off switch obviously allowing you to remotely control your genes. So, what you need to do is change some of your daily habits. Don’t think that this is brand new information, and that it has not been proven in the past.
Our ancestors used to live a different life than ours— they ate differently, were very physically active, had lower stress levels, and lived in different types of habitats. Does this mean you need to start hunting for your meat, collecting berries and live in a cave? No, it does not. But it does mean that you need to redirect your lifestyle towards a more simple and natural one, like our ascendants’.
Reprogram your genes by making primal choices, by ditching junk food, processed foods and remember to be active and expose yourself to the sunshine more often.
Don’t worry. We understand that this can’t happen overnight. Most of us do not perform physical labor every day and do not spend our days outside. We don’t have to walk a mile to get back home at night. Very few careers or schedules allow you to fit in this type of regimen.
You sit down at your computer, and take the elevator from floor to floor, and you also take your car everywhere you go. You can start by making a lot of small changes to your mobility habits, and slowly but surely, you will see the difference.
The primal diet plan does not suggest that you eat bison meat that you have just killed, or go pick up fresh eggs from the chickens you keep in your backyard. But it does recommend returning to your natural resources. You should eat a mix of fruits, seeds, meats, and vegetables.
Back in the days of our ancestors, the animals were not injected with antibiotics or hormones, so trying to find the same type of meat to eat. Fruits and vegetables also did not get sprayed with a ton of pesticides and chemicals. Since it’s possible to now purchase organic produce that is fresher and healthier for you, you should make that additional effort to find the healthier options for you. Make these choices, one day at a time.
Of course, don’t abuse drugs or alcohol either, or better yet, eliminate them completely from your life. By opting for healthier foods, you will transform your body little by little.
Your body will start burning fats, just because you give it the right food items to eat. No more heavy pasta meals, or fried course, don’t abuse drugs or alcohol either, or better yet, eliminate them completely from your life.
By opting for healthier foods, you will transform your body little by little. Your body will start burning fats, just because you give it the right food items to eat. No more heavy pasta meals, or fried foods, that are almost impossible to digest. So the weight loss will happen without you even trying too hard.
You will still be able to eat enough of various foods that you won’t have to feel hungry or irritated, because you can indulge in a flavorful steak or maybe even chocolate once in a while.
Ironically our ancestors were not sick as often as we are and they managed to live a pretty healthy life, considering they did not have access to medications like we do. Why? Because their genes were programmed differently. Because they eat dirt sometimes, and knew that it would only benefit their immune system long run.
Because they work hard all day and went to bed without drinking alcohol or taking prescription drugs. They did not suffer of anxiety or depression as much and they did not have too much time to worry. They ate, worked, slept and lived a simple life. They survived.
Of course, no one is saying that you should cut the fun out of your life. However, let your body get used to its new routine. Take it easy for a while and walk slowly when you are going somewhere, take a deep breath and don’t worry so much about the future, as it won’t make a difference anyway.
In the next part will explain in detail the principles you need to follow, the food you should favor in your diet, and the type of exercises you should adopt. The statistics do not lie and show that 2/ 3 of the American population is overweight and 35% are considered obese. So, for many, the Primal diet plan is a must and will help you transform your life for the better.
Ten Immutable Primal Laws
Now that you’re ready to begin this transformation of your life, let’s talk about the essentials of the primal diet. You will quickly realize that the foundations are very close to the habits of our primal ancestor’s.
If you remember, our ancestors of long ago lived a pretty simple life. They would hunt, fish, collect herbs, fruits, nuts and vegetables. Not only did they eat much more raw and non-processed foods than we do, they even may have swallowed a little dirt at times.
Today our food is overly treated and washed, and it can actually work directly against developing a properly functioning immune system. So let’s see how we can go back to basics, and make healthier choices.
Our ancestors did not have access to all the processed foods that we do, and they were rarely overweight because there lifestyle involved a lot of daily physical activity. Being fit and agile out of a consequence of their lifestyle, the concept of “diet” didn’t exist.
They ate when they were hungry, and when were able to hunt and gather food for their families. Their overall health was better than ours, although the medical field didn’t exist so some diseases were untreatable. People did not get fat and probably even maintained good blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You will find below the 10 primal laws of the Primal diet, so try to see how you can fit these principles into your current lifestyle, as this will be your ultimate goal.
Prioritize sleep :
People underestimate the importance of sleep. Getting enough sleep every night is essential in allowing your body the necessary time to rest, restore itself, and heal. It also has been scientifically proven that people who sleep better and longer will lose weight easier and increase their longevity.
You need to let your body recuperate in order to be able to live the active lifestyle you need to be living, and have enough energy to accomplish everything on your daily list. Your body, brain, and immune system, will thank you. Also, you will maintain a better overall mood, and feel way more productive, generally speaking. Adults should aim to sleep at least 7 hours per night.
Eat nature’s products:
The Primal diet diet encourages you to eat many sources of proteins such as fish, meat, and poultry. Also, think nature— berries, seeds, vegetables and plants. You will need to ensure that you also include healthy fats sources such as nuts, coconut oil, and avocados.
It is suggested that most of your calories come from animal protein, just like our ancestors’ did. You should control your portions well, but you don’t have to ease up on vegetables and fruits. Also, make sure you eliminate sugars, grains, and unhealthy fats (hydrogenated and Trans). You will actually learn that you should avoid any processed foods, and we will give you many examples later on.
This program does not by any means expect you to become a powerlifter or completely ripped. But strength training is essential in your goal to lose weight. You can increase your muscle mass by hitting the gym two or three times a week and lifting light weights, or performing some other form of strength training.
You should strive to train as many muscles as possible— back, shoulders, arms, legs, and abs. Lifting weights is an ideal option, but if you don’t have a gym membership, or don’t enjoy lifting weights, do not worry you can improve your strength by doing different type of exercises. You can perform squats, jumping, lunges and many more.
We will cover in detail in part-2 of this post, the most appropriate exercises you should consider practicing on a regular basis to keep yourself fit and healthy. Think primal.
Our ancestors did not mess with dumb bells and treadmills, they ran through the woods and lift rocks and chopped wood. Lifting weights is definitely your best bet, but your focus should definitely be on whatever training you can do to build bigger muscle mass in your body, as the more muscle mass you carry, the more calories you burn in a hour period of time.
This is commonly known as your metabolism, or rather, the part of your metabolism that you care the most about— the ability to burn more calories on a daily basis.
Yes, we so want you to be active, but you also need to pace yourself when it’s time to favor some low intensity exercises in order to maintain your flexibility and your muscle strength. Low level activities can include swimming, riding a bike, or walking.
These type of activities are very beneficial to you, especially if you are able to practice them outside. Then, you can kill two birds at once and are able to soak in extra sun. You should try to include in your routine low activity sports a few times a weeks, form 2 to 5 hours total. Such cardiovascular activities will certainly greatly help you with burning fat as well.
Once in a while you should consider practicing a very intense physical activity. Maybe you have a stationary bike at home, or a regular bike? Go for a long ride, and perform sprint intervals to get your heart pumping really well. Why don’t you organize races with the kids? Sprint from one side of the baseball field to the other a few times.
If your dog loves walking, challenge your pet to run with you from one side of the neighborhood to the other a few times, as fast as you can every week or so. The goal of these intense activities is to help increase the hormone called HGH, responsible for growth.
Make sure you laugh and smile a lot. Relax and enjoy life with all the pleasures it can bring you. Get together with your family and play cards, or even better, go to the beach and play Frisbee. Go to the park with the kids or swing or build sand castles.
Have fun taking Salsa dancing lessons every Friday night. Live for the moment, do not worry about the future so much, your bills or work. Have fun with your loved ones. The least stress you experience, the better your body works and the less chances you will have of getting sick or developing diseases.
Soak up some sun:
Try to make it a goal of every day to get out into the sun. The vitamin D you get from the sunlight is amazingly good for you. So, to avoid having to take supplements or vitamins, go outside. Of course, you need to protect your skin with sunscreen, but a little sunshine on your skin is not as detrimental as people are lead to believe.
Getting enough vitamin D will also help you maintain a more stable and happy mood. If you remember actually our ancestors used to spend their days out in the sun hunting and gathering. Relax Yes, you should truly put yourself first and get some time away from the chaos life throws at you.
However, look for natural ways to relax, and do not start drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, as they are obviously so detrimental to your health. Take care of yourself all the time and keep yourself safe; wear your seat belt, wear a helmet when you bike or rollerblade. Eating healthy and exercising obviously will also keep you safe and lessen your chances of disease.
Stay away from certain foods:
Stay away from processed foods, as they are bad for you and our bodies were not designed to have to deal with them. More specifically, stay away from meats treated with antibiotics, and not purchase any fruits or vegetables sprayed with pesticides and herbicides.
Also avoid any products with a lot of chemicals, such as sauces, condiments, or even deli meats. Sugar is poison, so realize this and avoid it all together if possible. Grains and hydrogenated fats are also very bad for you. Be cautious of everything you put in your mouth.
Use your thinking and creative skills to explore new options. Maybe you take a class so you can start sewing your daughter’s dresses. Have fun and create new recipes in the kitchen, as it’s good for you to feel free to be inventive.
Our ancestors had to be resourceful all the time and make the most out of nothing, so try to be more like them. Make time for reading, or practicing your favorite musical instrument. Listen to music and relax. Keep a diary, and practice your writing skills, or do some crosswords puzzles. Keeping your mind sharp, is super important.
Benefits Of The The Primal Diet:
The primal diet claims to be beneficial on many levels, so let’s just see how exactly you can improve your health by following the Primal diet strategy.
This might be your only motivation initially. A lot of people start a diet program in order to focus on weight loss, and that’s ok. But know that there are so many more benefits than shedding pounds when you decide to follow the Primal diet program. First, understand that you cannot lose weight if you don’t change your eating habits. Although exercising is healthy, the program places emphasis on the fact that dieting is the number one way to truly lose the unwanted weight.
Now don’t read this wrong, exercise is essential for you and definitely encouraged. However, it is not what will mainly help you lose weight, but it will help you build muscle, strength, and keeps you fit. If you are exercising and observing a better diet, then you can have amazing results. But don’t overcompensate with an intense workout after eating junk food, as it does not sit well with your body and you won’t lose weight this way.
Losing weight is great, but wait until you start feeling better as well, as that is priceless. Because you will be eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, your body will trim down naturally. You should see results within the first month of starting the plan, and you might benefit from writing down your food intake if you are successful, so you know what is truly working for you.
Your digestive system
What you eat will always greatly influence how your digestive system works. By being selective on what foods you are feeding your body, you will improve your digestion. Your gut includes a large amount of microorganisms that can play an important role as probiotics.
In order to help the good bacteria stay alive, you have to choose your foods as described in the diet plan. This will decrease the growth of infections bacteria and help eliminate the toxins out of your system. By keeping your digestive system healthy, your weight will stabilize, and your mental health will become better regulated. Also, because you are eating foods that are easily digestible, you will experience less heartburn and problems with constipation.
By eating well and favoring nature’s products in your diet, you will get the nutrients necessary to keep your immune functioning properly, and you can even see a reduction in allergies that you might be experiencing. Also, the symptoms of several autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or anemia can be greatly decreased.
Even certain cancers can be avoided if carefully watch what you are putting into your body. You will obviously also be able to better avoid infection if your immune system is working properly. Eating well is a great way of boosting your immune system, but reducing your stress level will also keep you stronger.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could find a natural way to keep inflammatory symptoms away from your body? Omega 3’ s is certainly a great way to accomplish this, and as you will read in later on, Omega 3’ s, are highly recommended to be included in the Primal diet diet. Not only will healthy fats help you fight inflammation, but they will also help to strengthen your immune system even more.
Eating healthy can certainly impact your mental health as well. By following this primal plan, you can stay away from depression and anxiety. When you are eating healthy and not binging on junk food, you feel better about yourself and your mood will be more stable.
Your self-esteem will increase and you will enjoy your relationships, your activities, and everything else much better. You will be able to concentrate better and not feel so anxious and worried about problems, but ready to face those challenges. Additionally, you won’t constantly feel like are living in this bubble of fog, and your mind will feel clearer. As a result, you will feel and be much more productive.
Skin and nails
Your body will look and feel better all over. Your nails should start being stronger and looking healthier. Also, your hair will have a radiance like you have not seen in a long time. Finally your skin should start feeling softer and you might even see some wrinkles disappear. By increasing your consumption of meat and decreasing your carbs, you will get more collagen and other nutrients necessary to keep your hair, nails and skin looking better.
Your Grocery List: Foods To Favor
Get ready to shop the Primal way, it’s not complicated, you will simply need to get used to it. Not only you can pick out different foods, but eventually you might also find other stores or markets where to shop for fresher products.
Cut the grains/ carbs
The Primal diet diet plan dictates that you to cut the grains you eat, because they do don’t provide any special nutrients that other foods cannot. It does not matter if we are talking about whole grains or refined grains, the principle is the same, the amount of carbs and calories from the grains are not worth it.
You can get all the nutritive aspects from other healthier foods. For the fibers and antioxidants, you can eat vegetables or berries. If you want carbs, then select fresh fruits. Also, gluten has been discussed a lot lately and it is proven that it can negatively affect your digestion, so by cutting grains and gluten, you will feel better all the way around.
If you are working out intensively, you can always add carbs to your diet. For example, if you are training for a marathon or intensively exercising every day, you might benefit from adding some healthy grains to your diet a few times a week. Now cutting the grains and carbs from your diet might be hard at first, because it includes “feel good” foods.
Sugars are very addictive and seem to give you an energy boost when consumed. However, they are quickly transformed into fat when your body does not need them. There is no need for you to store food, you can access food very easily these days. You don’t have to worry, like our ancestors did, when your next meal would be. By replacing the carbs and sugars from your diet with healthier proteins, fats and produce, you will help reprogram your genes to burn fat instead of storing it.
Choose healthy fats
There is the misconception that all fats are bad for you, and that is simply not the case. The primal diet program favors fats, because they will burn evenly all day long in your body, giving you the energy needed to keep going. When you eat a plate of pasta, or other grains loaded with carbs, you will feel hungry a few hours later, and kind of sluggish at the same time.
It is simply because carbs do not feed your body the energy as efficiently as the fats do. Reducing the carbs and increasing the fats will not only help you feel better, but help your body will burn energy faster and eventually lose weight along the way.
Saturated fats do not need to be avoided, as they are important for many functions in your body. Saturated fat is stable and will satisfy you and keep you full. It will also be helpful to help your hormones function properly— such as testosterone for example. Also, the good cholesterol in your body is essential in transforming the sun exposure into vitamin D in your body.
The Trans fats are your real enemies. You find Trans fats mainly in sugary sauces, refined flour and pasta, fast food, and processed foods. They will contribute to insulin resistance, and that is not healthy for you, as it will cause the fat to be stored instead of being burned. The animal fats, the saturated fats, are good for you and you should consume them regularly. Great news! You can eat a variety of juicy and tasty meat with the Primal diet program.
Not only do you need to change the foods you ingest, but you need to start shopping and cooking differently. Research the farmer’s markets and organic or natural food stores in your area. Favor a meat market instead of a grocery store where you can request specific meat cuts so you can be sure the meat was never frozen.
You also need to revise your dining out options. There are so many more healthy choices accessible to you these days, you should be able to find acceptable meals on almost any menu of any restaurant these days. Of course, you need to make it a priority to request some substitutions from your server if necessary, and no matter what, stay away from fried food. No matter how tempting “comfort food” is to you, exert some will power and don’t do it.
Don’t go back to your old habits. Sugars and carbs are addictive, so avoid them at all costs. Keep healthy snacks available to you at all times, so you can avoid snack bars, or other processed foods from the vending machines when you are starving. Remember they will give you instant energy, but you will crash less than 30 minutes later.
You will also need to review your cooking habits. Use some healthy coconut oil or olive oil when preparing your food. Bake or slow cook your meat, instead of frying it in the pan. Avoid overcooking your vegetables so you can benefit of the most nutrients possible, or even better, eat them raw, with a healthy homemade dip.
Clean out your refrigerator and your pantry when you are starting your Primal diet diet. Throw away (or donate), the cookies, crackers, noodles, sugary cereals, sauces, corn, rice, and all sugary drinks. Not only should you cut the sodas, but all juices should be eliminated from the diet, as you don’t need them. Open your freezer and remove the frozen meals, full of chemicals and additives.
Then, moving forward, make sure you carefully choose what you buy and go for the unprocessed, unaltered foods, all the time. In summary, the diet wants to include the following foods: eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, some high-fat dairy, meat, fish and even fowl.
As you can tell, when you shop, it will be pretty straight forward and you won’t have to spend additional time choosing your sauces, vinaigrettes, cereals, and frozen foods. Think quality and not quantity. Couponing and saving money on loads of pasta and cereals might be great, but very damaging for your health. Instead invest your next $ 10 by going to the fruits and vegetables stand and fill up in colorful food choices.
A Few Additional Tips:
When you purchase chicken, you should prioritize chicken that is raised organic, and free of antibiotics. It is also a great idea to purchase chicken that has been 100 % vegetarian fed. With beef, you should always try to buy grass fed beef.
This may not always be a possibility depending on your budget, and if it is not feasible, at the very least choose organic, antibiotic/ hormone free, and grain fed if possible. With either chicken or beef, you can use conventional if needed, however this is not our recommendation.
When it comes to fish, you should try, in as much as is possible, to choose “wild caught” or “responsibly farmed,” or at the very least, “farmed.” You can also request at your local grocery store for them to cut the fish in front of you instead of choosing that which is already in the display case.
As far as fruits and vegetables are concerned, you should always choose organic produce. Many local grocery stores will offer organic options, or if you prefer you can try to find a local organic farm and get your fruits and vegetables extra fresh. In some locations you will find, you can even pick the fruit yourself.
Finally, organic is preferable in all cases. Because you want to stay away from pesticides and chemicals, you should choose raw nuts and seeds, and oils and fats should also come from organic sources if possible. Dairy products should also be chosen carefully— you should favor full fat, organic, hormone and antibiotic free.
In part two , I have discussed some typical breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and side dish ideas of primal diet. Finally, I have discussed some typical exercises routines that will make weight loss with primal diet more effective.
You can read the part two of primal diet for beginners HERE.