My First Week on the Primal Blueprint Diet

This blog post will lightly document my launch into the Primal Blueprint® diet. A couple of notes about the structure:

  • Each day will assess my overall energy level on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high)
  • Since mental energy is equally as important as physical energy, I will rate this as well
  • I will also rate my hunger and cravings on a 1 to 5 scale (1 = Hunger satisfied; 5 = Remained hungry too much of the day)
  • All ratings will come in the form of 2/5 (2 out of 5)

For a complete understanding of what the Primal Blueprint® diet is, go straight to the source (Mark Sisson) @ Mark’s Daily Apple.

A very brief overview is that it is a structure and set of guidelines for food consumption. Much of it’s focus is on keeping blood sugar levels stable (low carb) and eating close to how our ancestors would have 10,000+ years ago. I bought the Primal Blueprint® book and read the chapters summarizing the general philosophy as well as those that detailed the food options.

With that introductory knowledge, I dove right in. Here’s how it unfolded.

Day 1 (Thursday):

My decision to start the diet actually came after lunch when I realized that up until that point in the day, I was essentially following the Primal Blueprint® diet.

I felt liberated. Although ‘liberated’ is an odd word to describe removing unhealthy carbs from your diet, it has always been a struggle to monitor and manage my carb intake.

The foods that made up my meals on this first day included:

  • Eggs, cooked over medium with grass fed butter
  • Broccoli
  • Petite tenderloin, snap peas and roasted cauliflower, from Snap Kitchen
  • Slim Jim (Don’t judge. It’s the only ‘Primal’ snack our office had to offer)
  • Wild caught salmon, baked

I had so much energy and was so alert that it took me an extra hour to become tired enough to go to bed. Part of being more awake than usual was also due to my excitement to finally being ‘Primal’ and thinking about what I would eat the next day. It was the ‘Night before Christmas’ effect.

  • Overall energy: 4/5
  • Mental energy: 5/5
  • Hunger: 3/5

Day 2 (Friday):

My energy had not yet fallen, nor even dipped. I woke up feeling just as drowsy as I always do but there was something a bit more enjoyable about going through the motions of my morning routine.

I’ll never know if it was a placebo effect or if my body just simply wasn’t in dire need of carbs, but I wasn’t rushing through my routine so that I could make breakfast like I normally would.

I personally love the types of food served at breakfast. Specifically, I enjoy eggs and all sorts of different meats so I was very much looking forward to my new primal feast.

Now, I have since learned that cheese should be consumed in moderation, and their are healthier options with this food, but I nonetheless found my way to a high-fat morning meal, and I was completely satisfied.

After breakfast I made a coffee with my Chemex coffeemaker and added a tablespoon of MCT oil by Onnit.

For lunch I had a salmon patty with cranberries and Gorgonzola cheese along with some asparagus.On Fridays, Belle and I typically grill up some steaks at home but she was all excited to take me to this local restaurant (Vinaigrette, Austin Texas) so we took our party to the streets.

I ordered a basic Cobb salad that came with avocados, eggs, tomatoes, grilled chicken and I added petite sirloin for extra fat and protein. The salad didn’t fill me up but that was probably due to the small amount I ate that day. Without planning my grocery shopping around this diet, I had limited options to choose from when packing lunch for work. This was the one day I didn’t get enough calories and I felt the effects.

After dinner, I was actually feeling a bit fuzzy in my head and eyes, a symptom of low blood sugar and lack of carbs. To combat this, I picked up some BBQ seasoned almonds from Walgreens and about 45 minutes later the symptoms subsided and I was at a stable mental energy level.

The lesson was learned though. If this diet was going to be a long term solution then I needed to read the Primal Blueprint® book in it’s entirety and educate myself so that I could not only satisfy my daily hunger but also get the nutrients and vitamins my body needs.

  • Overall energy: 3/5
  • Mental energy: 3/5
  • Hunger: 3/5

Day 3 (Saturday):

Without having to rush for work, I was able to sit down and make a real deal Primal Blueprint® breakfast. Seeing an opportunity to have a good breakfast cooked for her, Belle had me double the ingredients and chowed down with me.

My first planned Primal Blueprint® breakfast was comprised of:

  • 2 eggs, cooked over medium with grass fed butter
  • 5 strips of bacon, baked in the oven for 20 minutes on 375 degrees
  • handful of broccoli, microwaved with a small amount of water for 2 1/2 minutes
  • grated Parmesan cheese layered on top of the broccoli

I again had a nice home brewed cup of coffee with MCT oil and my energy was at 100% and stayed that way for the remainder of the day.

As many readers of this blog know, Work and the Weekend also has a podcast that Belle and I typically record new episodes for on Friday evenings after our happy hour glasses of champagne, a Primal Blueprint® qualifying drink. Given the fuzziness I felt the prior day, we decided to postpone recording the prior night until the following day. This was the first test for how well my mind would operate on the new diet.

You can listen to the episode here to judge for yourself but I would rate this episode as our best so far. I had so much mental clarity, sharpness, wittiness, overall energy, and enthusiasm for life that resulted in well-articulated thoughts and it even tightened up the chemistry between Belle and I. An enjoyable episode cannot be completely attributed to this diet, but the foods I had put into my body the 48 hours prior to recording certainly played a role in my elevated energy level.

I even went a solid 6 hours without eating and never felt irritable nor experienced any type of stomach pains.

Day 3 went down without a hitch, and it was at this point that I knew I had a new lifestyle. That was the day I officially went “Primal.”

  • Overall energy: 5/5
  • Mental energy: 5/5
  • Hunger: 1/5

Day 4 (Sunday):

I slept for 8.5 hours and felt so good when I woke up that I decided to start my day by taking the dogs on a nice 20 minute walk. After the walk, I went through my normal morning routine in the bathroom and after I was cleaned up and dapper, I made my way to the kitchen. Roughly an hour had passed from when I woke up until I began to cook breakfast. Energy at 100%.

I’m a creature of habit for the most part, so my breakfast will include eggs and broccoli at least 80% of the time. Just like the previous morning, I started with the following:

  • 2 eggs, cooked over medium with grass fed butter
  • handful of broccoli, microwaved with a small amount of water for 2 1/2 minutes

Now, I read more into the Primal Blueprint® book by Mark Sisson since the previous morning and learned that bacon should be used sparingly. So instead, I added:

  • salmon patty with cranberries and Gorgonzola cheese, originally pan fried with avocado oil and reheated for this meal

The food for the remainder of the day was mostly left-overs from previous meals detailed above.

  • Overall energy: 5/5
  • Mental energy: 5/5
  • Hunger: 1/5

Days 5, 6 & 7:

So what was the rest of my week like? It followed the same pattern. For the most part, my appetite was satiated but there was a day that I failed to meal prep enough food for work and I ended up under-eating and feeling weak during my evening workout. That said, I took in more calories that night and bounced back the next morning feeling great.

I’m happy to be left with only a brief summary of the remaining days of my first week on the Primal Blueprint® diet. I went into it with an open mind and was prepared to categorize it as a “fad” if it didn’t live up to expectations. I was pleasantly proven wrong.

While watching a UFC event on Saturday (Day 3), I found myself loudly whispering “Primaaaaallll” to my friends whenever something exciting happened. I realized that I was becoming an evangelist for the primal lifestyle. I’m going to be hyper aware and sensitive about how much I talk about the lifestyle because I know how annoying Crossfit® practitioners are when they push their workout routines on people at parties and gatherings.

I will limit myself to boasting about the Primal Blueprint® lifestyle only if asked. That said, it is likely going to be a frequent question I face since my overall energy level as well as happiness and enthusiasm for life have now increased dramatically.

I would describe my level of evangelism as not crazy enough to get a “Primal” tattoo but definitely supportive enough to wear a t-shirt at least once/week. Be sure to let me know of any and all shirts you see.

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