After 27 days following The Primal Blueprint, I can report that I am not wearing a loincloth or spear-hunting wooly mammoth. I have, however, let my beard grow out. I’m no Duck Dynasty stunt double, but it is a little more full and that has absolutely nothing to do with the Primal Blueprint.
The Primal Blueprint isn’t as difficult from a nutritional standpoint as other paleo challenge protocols. It’s still a no grains, no legumes plan, but it does allow for dairy for those that tolerate it – the dairy alone makes it significantly easier to follow. Make no mistake, it IS a worthwhile experiment to eliminate dairy to see how it impacts your health but for some, it’s a little overwhelming to completely rip the band-aid off for 30 days.
Another area where the Primal Blueprint (PB) seems a little easier is in their 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule is based on the idea that if you live mostly in the PB realm, off-roading into non-PB territory every so often isn’t going to kill you. If you started on the PB from this page, you wouldn’t see it, but living 80/20 it is a part of the relaxed lifestyle. Again, for people trying it out, you’re far better off being strict for the month before off-roading. Also, being strict can help you uncover some hidden autoimmune issues. For example, with a gluten sensitivity, you could strictly follow the PB all week then give yourself a single gluten dose on the 7th day. That single gluten dose can impact your systemic inflammation all week long and you might come away with the impression that PB doesn’t work for you, when it’s actually gluten that doesn’t work for you.
So what’s happened for me at 27 days in? Most people would want to know if it’s effective for losing weight. I didn’t weigh myself at the start, so I really can’t verify that. I can, however, assure you that clothes that had been getting tighter are now getting looser. That’s a positive because from Thanksgiving until Christmas (prime eating season), the clothes were getting tighter.
From a lifestyle perspective, I’ve been focused on trying to get as many of the PB principles into play as possible. I started to look at taking the dog for a walk as: “2: Moving around a lot at a slow pace” and “7: Get some sunlight every day” (Side note: I’ve been working on this for a while, so my sun tolerance has increased dramatically over the past couple of years. I spent 2 hours in the 80 degree SoCal winter sun last week with no sunscreen and no burn. 2 years ago, I would have been lobster red and in pain. Be smart about the time you spend in the sun without sun protection. Sun damage is serious business, but you can improve your ability to be in the sun without turning in to a sun-damaged piece of leather). From there, I could add in “4: Run really fast once in a while” by sprinting with the dog. And, throwing the ball or frisbee would add in “6: Play”.
For me, “8: Avoid trauma” needs some work. While it did wisely keep me from signing up for an obstacle challenge race (which would definitely qualify as 6: Play), and it kept me from trying work out while trying to recover from a nasty cold for a week, it did not keep me from pushing too hard on “3: Lift heavy things”. I had been deadlifting and felt some tenderness set in. That should have been a clue trauma was about to happen. I didn’t listen to my body and added more weight. While I did get the lift, I felt the pull in my back and have spent the last week rehabbing it. “8: Avoid Trauma” should be rule #1.
If you’re looking for a short-term diet to lose a bunch of weight fast, it’ll probably work for you, especially if you’re currently fat and sick. If you’re looking to put some health and wellness standards into your life over the long term, I’d call the Primal Blueprint an excellent way to go. Give it a shot!