A couple of years ago, when my wife was pregnant with our daughter, my parents were reading through Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes, and getting started with the paleolithic, or paleo, diet. It was a happy coincidence, as my wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The diet information she received from my parents kept the condition under control without the need for drugs. In fact, her doctor thought she was lying about the low blood sugar numbers she was reporting and had her tested in the office during each visit.
I wasn’t immediately convinced. So many years of indoctrination by the advice of the so-called experts and the recommendations of the United States government left me believing at an emotional level that carbohydrates are not only harmless, but necessary to my existence. Plus, I really like oatmeal and granola.
It was hard to argue with results and, after following Dr. Eades on Twitter for a while, I tried the diet. It was okay, but I didn’t stick to it very well. I was still addicted to sugar and convinced that I could lose weight in the gym. I did lose a little weight and enjoyed being able to eat all the food I actually like, but have been conditioned to believe is unhealthy, without the guilt (no one likes potatoes anyway, only what they put on potatoes).
One blog that I’d run across a couple of times, but didn’t think to bookmark was Mark’s Daily Apple. I could remembered it as the interesting blog with the photo of the guy lounging in the grass, wearing his Vibram FiveFingers (I have a pair, too). My Google searches turned up nothing. Finally, one of the people I follow on Twitter posted a link. Suddenly, it wasn’t just about the diet for me. Mark Sisson’s idea of an Primal Lifestyle was the missing piece. I jumped in with both feet.
Now, my typical daily sustenance looks something like this:
Breakfast almost always consists of three fried eggs and two sausage links. I cook a third sausage link for my daughter to eat when she wakes up. I rarely skip breakfast (though strangely I did today) and haven’t deviated from this menu in over a year.
Lunch used to be a protein shake, plain whole milk yogurt with berries and stevia, and three bread-less sandwich rolls. A few weeks ago, I stopped eating the sandwich rolls. I suspect that changes to my metabolism have left me less hungry at lunch, so I practice intermittent fasting. Sometimes I’ll have the yogurt, sometimes I’ll get a burrito at the taco shop (I unwrap it and only eat the innards), and sometimes I’ll skip lunch altogether.
Dinner varies from day to day, but only a little. I typically cook a large cut of meat, like beef chuck or pork shoulder, in a slow cooker on Sunday, which gives us enough meat for the week. For a weeknight dinner, I’ll sauté onions, peppers, and garlic in coconut oil, then add some of the leftover meat, sometimes finishing by adding sour cream for a tangy cream sauce. Tonight I used a three cheese tomato sauce from Trader Joe’s.
My workout has changed significantly, too. I was a big nerd growing up, so I never went to the gym. I started going on-and-off in college, but have started going almost every day over the last eight months. Fortunately, I had a few sessions with a personal trainer once, and I’ve always followed her advice to avoid the machines and use free weights. But I was the typical guy, doing repetitive sets of weights, focusing on those beach muscles.
Since the release of Primal Blueprint Fitness, I no longer worry so much about going to the gym every day, trying to lift ever heavier weights. For one thing, it’s boring. Also, I think I overdid it and hurt my shoulder. I certainly don’t miss the horribly dull “chronic cardo.” Now I work out using my own body weight and sprint occasionally.
Suddenly I’m losing more weight. Fast. Even though I’ve taken a break from the gym for the last couple of weeks to rest my shoulder.
I’ve had a draft of this post saved for about two months, but never got around to polishing it for publication, until now. A couple of days ago, Mark Sisson kicked off the Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge. This is just what I needed, especially after cheating on my diet over the Labor Day weekend. I’m not half as dedicated to the lifestyle as most of the people who comment on Mark’s Daily Apple, but I’m going to try to join in the challenge and have some fun anyway.