Thursday, January 21, 2010
Primal Eating, So easy a caveman can do it.
As I mentioned a few weeks back I've been reading a book called "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson. While I'm hardly the first blogger to write about "Paleo" diets I just wanted to add my perspective.
For one, I'm a guy who believes in evolution. Clearly Mark does as well. The overall point of the book is that for millions of year humans have evolved eating a diet of a hunter-gatherer. They ate lean meats from wild game, fish, fowl etc. They also ate fruits and vegetables.
Then, 10,000 years ago humans decided they were tired of working all day to get food. They discovered farming. We started to eat crops that we never ate in the 1.99 million years prior in our evolutionary history. We started to heat up grains and discovered that after heating, we could eat them. So, our diet shifted overnight. We ate grains, lots of them. It was at that time our population started to explode, but as a consequence, so did our waist lines.
So, the thought behind the Primal Blueprint is to align your diet with what our ancestors had. Focus on lean meat, fruits, vegetables. Avoid grains (yes, even whole grains), processed sugars etc.
For the past 3 weeks I've been giving it a go. Let me first say I haven't been perfect. I've had a couple Subway subs in the middle of my day (And of course the piece of peanut butter pie Monica and I split for our 7-year anniversary dinner.) However I've been eating clean with at least 80% success.
The one thing about me is that I'm cheap. I've got a pantry full of whole grain pasta and brown rice. It pains me to not eat it. However, I'll probably have some now and then, but I'm not buying more.
The results of this new diet? I'm down 6-7 lbs since starting. True I'm doing P90X along with it, but my energy levels have been great. Another part of Mark's philosophy I like is that he throws the conventional wisdom of 3 square meals, or the more recent 6 small meals a day on its head. Cavemen didn't know when their next meal was coming. Occasional fasting periods are good for you. To me, this fits. There are some mornings I wake up and I'm not even hungry. In the past I'd force down a bowl of oatmeal or cereal. Now, I just go until I'm hungry. This fits my personality rather well.
Another aspect is that Monica and I have been using the LoseIt app to track our calories. It's amazing how full you can feel on a rather limited amount of calories if you're eating a Primal Diet. There have been days where I've only hit 1300 calories in, and I'm not the least bit hungry. I'll have a big piece of grilled chicken, pile on fresh steamed veggies on the plate and go to town.
So, I think I'll be continuing this eating philosophy for the indefinite future. His book also deals with the misguided approach to what he calls, "Chronic Cardio." I think I may look into this closer as I'm second guessing my goal of running the Chicago marathon this year. But I'll write more about that later.