in General

The Paleo Leap, or A Step Back in Time

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have finished reading The Primal Blueprint. It’s an incredibly easy read to get through, as the writing style is conversational and the layout is straight forward. One could skim this book by reading the chapter summaries, check out the appendixes in the back, and be well on their way to making the change to a primal diet.

While reading several blogs about the primal diet, I decided I would run a quick experiment for myself to see how my body would react to a primal diet. In early June, I started making a cutback of my intake of processed carbohydrates and grains, while increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables. After reading about so many success stories, this transition was a lot easier than I thought. I was motivated to change.

Since I am staying at home with my daughter for her first nine months, I have a routine of making almost daily walks with her on a few different loops in my area. They range from 4.5kms up to 8kms, but I usually stick to a 5km walk that takes me up to one of the local organic grocery stores. Every other day, I would walk up to the store, stop in to pick up some fresh fruit for the next few days, and then walk back. I would then make sure to eat a good portion of what I was buying (usually a few apples and a banana a day, several cups of cherries or a melon, etc). Eating the sweet fruit helped me get over having a chocolate bar or ice cream bar.

That was the first step. Next was increasing the protein and healthy fat intake. This is still a challenge for me now, because after tracking what I was eating using fitday.com, I realized I was severely under-eating for my height and weight by 1,000 calories. Trying to adjust myself to eat more calories while eliminating the easiest way to get there (crackers, bread, pasta, etc.) is tough. I am sure I could research this a bit more in depth through all the blogs, but my solution so far has been to buy a whole chicken, roast it, and then keep all the parts in the fridge to pick at over the next few days. I’m going to try and cook up other meats in bulk to snack on, like teriyaki turkey balls, as well as, having nuts and homemade trailmix on hand. I’m also drinking a protein shake at least once a day to assist in boosting up the protein levels to a more appropriate amount. After following this diet for roughly a month at a level around 80% (meaning I cheated a few times), I have a few quick observations:

  • My energy levels have become more stable, as the book has said they would. I no longer feel tired in the afternoon, and actually have more energy in the evenings that has caused me a few problems getting to sleep. I am sleeping more soundly, though, and feel better in the morning when waking up.
  • I haven’t been doing as much exercise as prescribed in the book, but I have been doing my daily walks for several months now. Only since switching my diet over have I noticed my legs and torso getting leaner. Pleasantly surprised with this, and can’t wait to see what happens when the exercise gets ramped up.
  • The times I have cheated (with ice cream, and last night with a small piece of cake), I have really noticed a change with my body. My stomach had a hard time digesting the ice cream, and a really uncomfortable experience with the cake. Lots of bloating, gas, and heartburn with the cake. After having those experiences with those sweets, it will be even easier to eliminate them from my diet and stay away from them.

For the next month, I’m striving to eat the calories I need on a daily basis, and to increase the intensity of my workouts to lose weight and get leaner. If I achieve success with the weight loss, I will definitely share pictures, and will continue to write about this experience.

Appendix

A similar book to The Primal Blueprint is The 4 Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss. After the number of people who have been reading that review and finding it useful, I decided to put together a list of resources to get people started on the Primal or 4 Hour Body Path. I suggest checking out the full review of The 4 Hour Body.