Saturday, April 21, 2012

On Being Primal/Paleo

So what is this whole primal/paleo thing about anyway? 

My husband Tyler has been living a primal lifestyle for about eight months now and has lost over 50lbs! It's insane.  He is able to do things now that he couldn't (take long walks, sit criss-cross-applesauce, get down on the ground and play with Everett, etc.) he has much more energy, and overall he feels much healthier. 

I have been slow to join the primal bandwagon because well I LOVE BREAD! I was raised in a family where you had a meat, a veggie, a starch, and bread at dinner and it has been so hard to give it up! Since I have seen the drastic changes in Tyler's health and life I have been convinced that it really is a great way to live and so I am jumping in with both feet, right now!  I've been toying with it for the past few months but it is time to get serious! 

So what is a primal lifestyle?  I think that one of the biggest parts of primal living is the diet.  No grains, no corn, no wheat, no gluten, no beans, etc.  If our primal ancestors didn't eat it then neither should you.  

Tyler's favorite blog, Mark's Daily Apple gives in-depth research on primal living and has a plethora of information that y0u could spend weeks reading.  Mark states the following: 

Photo from Mark's Daily Apple

The Gist of the Primal Blueprint is this: Our ancestors evolved over millions of years under certain environmental conditions. These conditions (the foods they ate, the amount of sun they got, the sort of movement that was required of them to survive, etc.) shaped their genome. While the world has changed in innumerable ways in the last 10,000 years (for better and worse), the human genome has changed very little and thus only thrives under similar conditions. Simply put, if you want a good future you better listen to the past. And that’s where The Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple come in. Showing you how to direct gene expression toward fat burning, muscle building, longevity and wellness, and away from fat storing, muscle wasting, disease and illness. First you need to know what to do. Then you need to know how to do it. Read on to learn more.

Read more here

I enjoy reading The Paleo Mom.  She posts awesome recipes all the time (I can't wait to make today's recipe) and gives a lot of great advice.  She broke down the paleo lifestyle into 6 important parts:

Photo from The Paleo Mom
1. DIET:  I suggest committing to a paleolithic diet for the rest of your life, as outlined in my post “So, What Exactly IS Paleolithic Nutrition?” I also suggest including gluten-free cheats from time to time (more details on how to do this coming soon).

2. STRESS:  Do what you can to reduce your stress levels.  Go for walks.  Meditate.  Try yoga. The stress hormone cortisol works against you in almost everything you are trying to achieve with better nutrition.  Getting enough sleep, eating a lower carbohydrate diet, eating a 1:1 omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, and making sure that your exercise isn’t too strenuous will all help lower cortisol. Yes, these are not your average ducks; they are intertwined.  

3. SLEEP:  Prioritize good quality sleep and aim for at least 8-9 hours every night.  Your brain and your body need this time to repair and to recharge.  The difference in your energy level and mood when you’ve had enough sleep is huge.  Plus it helps regulate your cortisol levels!

4. EXCERCISE:  You don’t need to go crazy, but it is extremely beneficial to include as much low-strain exercise as you can in your life (like walking, hiking, playing, gardening, swimming, etc.).  In addition to this, some strength conditioning is very beneficial (weight lifting, martial arts, pilates, yoga, etc.).

5. BEING OUTDOORS:  We get so many benefits from just being outside: the biggest of which is the vitamin D that our bodies make when we are exposed to the sun.  This can help fight depression, regulate your stress hormones, and regulate your circadian rhythms leading to better quality sleep!

6. YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK:  New research is finding that one of the keys to longevity is to have a strong, active support network.  This includes relationships with your family, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors and your religious and community groups.  In some ways, maintaining this network is more challenging than ever with how many people move away for school or jobs (like my husband and I did).  But in other ways, it’s easier than ever with long-distance phone calls and social networking.

Read more here!

While the primal/paleo lifestyle might not be something that you think you can do, I would encourage that you try it out- even if it's just for a few weeks.  Evaluate how you feel and then decide. 

I'll be posting about how to eat a primal diet without breaking the bank, as well as posting about alternatives to common food that you may be longing for a bite of! :)  For more information on living a primal/paleo lifestyle check out some of Tyler and I's favorite links, here!


  1. It has been amazing to watch him transform. It is an incredibly interesting concept that's forsure!!

  2. Good for you guys! Mr. Thompson looks great.