Primal Blueprint Intro

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I N T R O D U C T I O N
What Is Going
On Here?

Conventional Wisdom
vs. The Primal Blueprint
In the Primal Blueprint (PB), we will challenge and reframe these major elements of
Conventional Wisdom (CW). Consider these alternatives with an open mind; we will
discuss each in detail throughout the text.
Grains – wheat, rice, corn, bread,
cereal, pasta, etc.
CW: “Staff of Life” – foundation
PB: “Worst mistake in the
of healthy diet. 6-11 daily servings
history of the human race”
recommended by US Government
(UCLA evolutionary biologist
and numerous other experts. Pro-
Jared Diamond). Drives ex-
vides main source of energy for
cess insulin production, fat
working muscles. Choose
storage, and heart disease. Allergenic, im-
whole grains for more nu-
mune-suppressing, nutritional value inferior to
tritional value, and extra
plants and animals. Whole grains possibly
fiber.
worse due to offensive pro-inflammatory, im-
mune and digestive system disturbing agents
– especially excessive fiber.
Saturated Animal Fat
CW: Limit intake. Heart disease
PB: Little or no association
risk factor. “Eating fat makes you
with heart disease risk.
fat.” Replace saturated fats (meat,
(Framingham and Nurses
lard, dairy) with PUFA’s
Health studies). Should be
(polyunsaturated
fatty
major dietary calorie source
acids) like vegetable oils.
(from animal foods). Drove human evolu-
tion/advancement of brain function for two
million years. Promotes efficient fat metabo-
lism, weight control and stable energy levels.
Major risk factor for heart disease is actually
Metabolic Syndrome, driven by excess
PUFA’s/insufficient Omega-3’s, high carbs/ex-
cess insulin and overly stressful lifestyle.
2 | THE PRIMAL BLUEPRINT

Cholesterol
CW: Strictly limit intake. Elevated
PB: Essential metabolic nu-
levels = elevated heart disease
trient, little or no relevance to
risk. Take statin drugs and elimi-
heart disease risk (Framing-
nate animal foods (especial y eggs)
ham and Nurses Health
if total is 200 or over. Con-
Studies). Only dangerous
sider pre-emptive statin
when oxidation and inflammation occur (from
therapy if family history of
poor diet and exercise habits). Statins can
heart disease.
have disastrous side effects and minimal, if
any, direct benefit.
Eggs
CW: Minimize consumption due
PB: Zero correlation with
to high cholesterol content.
heart disease or cholesterol
Choose just egg whites as
levels. Yolk extremely nutri-
high protein alternative.
tious, whites minimally so.
Enjoy in abundance.
Fiber
CW: Important dietary goal,
PB: Incidental fiber from
derive mostly from grains. Im-
vegetables and fruit is opti-
proves gastrointestinal function,
mum. Excess fiber (from
lowers cholesterol, speeds
grain-based diet) contributes
elimination, helps control
to nutrient deficiency by in-
weight
by
minimizing
hibiting nutrient absorption. Also hampers
caloric intake.
gastrointestinal function and elimination.
Meal Habits
CW: Three squares (or six small
PB: Eating frequency is a
meals) daily to "keep flame burn-
personal preference, but it's
ing". Skipped meals =
al about insulin: control pro-
slowed metabolism, lower
duction and even sporadic
energy levels, sugar crav-
eating habits will sustain en-
ings and future binging risk.
ergy without regular meals (it's in our genes!).
Intermittent Fasting is a great catalyst for
weight loss.
continued
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? | 3

Cardio Workouts
CW: Centerpiece of fitness pro-
PB: Frequent medium to dif-
gram. Promotes cardiovascular
ficult sustained efforts (aka
health and weight control, mini-
“Chronic Cardio”) = over-
mizes heart disease and cancer
stress, fatigue, burnout, in-
risk. Minimum 30 minutes, three
jury, accelerated aging, and
times per week (but more is better)
increased disease risk. Ineffective for weight
of sustained efforts in medium to
loss: calories burned through Chronic Cardio
difficult intensity zones
simply increase appetite, particularly for sugar.
(happens by default -
Slow down for better health and peak
keeping up with class/
performance!
group or trying to jog in-
stead of walk).
Strength Training
CW: Focus on form and deliber-
PB: Emphasize explosive
ate work/return rhythm. Lift to fail-
movements over deliberate
ure in sequence through numerous
pace. Conduct full body,
stations (takes about an hour for a
functional exercises to de-
complete workout), includ-
velop Primal Fitness (broad
ing isolating body parts to
athletic competence with optimal strength-to-
get desired size, toning
weight ratio). Finish most sessions in 30 min-
and “cuts”.
utes or less. Occasional “Primal” max efforts
(including sprints) promote optimal gene ex-
pression, hormone flow and organ function =
delay of aging process.
4 | THE PRIMAL BLUEPRINT

Weight Loss
CW: Achieve with high complex
PB: Driven by high fat/mod-
carb/low fat diet, regimented
erate protein/low carb diet,
meals, portion control and Chronic
intuitive, sporadic meals, and
Cardio exercise program. Severe
exercise and Primal Exercise
calorie restriction coupled with
Laws. Don’t worry about por-
overly stressful exercise effective
tion control, regimented meals, fanatical ex-
for those “fit into the dress by
ercise or even family genetic predisposition.
June” emergencies. Bot-
Calorie restriction with extreme exercise leads
tom Line: It’s all about
inexorably to long-term failure. Bottom line:
“calories
in,
calories
It’s al about insulin to enjoy effortless lifelong
out”…and lucky genes!
weight control.
Play
CW: Ah, brings back fond memo-
PB:
Outdoor,
active,
ries of childhood. Who has
unstructured
fun
is
an
time these days?
integral component of over-
all health and balanced
lifestyle, and scientifically
proven to increase work productivity.
Sunlight
CW: Avoid the sun to prevent skin
PB: Get adequate sun to
cancer! Lather up with SPF
avoid
skin
(and
other)
20, 30, 40, 50 – all you got!
cancers! Vitamin D synthesis
promotes healthy cellular
function. Cover up with
clothing, find shade or go inside after suffi-
cient daily exposure is achieved.
continued
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? | 5

Prescription Drugs
CW: Relieve pain, speed healing,
PB: Mask/exacerbate under-
prevent/cure disease, and
lying causes, compromise
address genetic frailties.
homeostasis and thus health,
Everyday use can enhance
and produce disastrous side-
quality of life (Viagra, etc.).
effects.
Simple
lifestyle
changes can replace vast majority of pills.
Wonderful in case of emergencies only!
Footwear
CW: Sturdy, cushioned shoes
PB: Get Primal - go bare-
minimize injury, improve
foot!
Perpetual
use
of
comfort. Custom orthotics
“big” shoes weaken feet,
can provide additional sup-
increase injury risk and
port and protection.
increase pain throughout
lower extremities.
Goals
CW: Be specific and measurable.
PB: De-emphasize specific,
Helps you stay motivated
results-oriented goals (po-
and focused. “Consistency
tential to discourage – a la
is key”. Missed workouts =
weight loss failure or “post-
guilt, weight gain, and lost
marathon blues”). Stay moti-
fitness.
vated by focusing on fun, and release
attachment to outcome. Consistency = over-
stress. Vary routine to minimize stress and im-
prove adaptive response by genes. Missed
workouts drive recovery, improvement and
freshness.
6 | THE PRIMAL BLUEPRINT

Americans will always do the right thing—after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.
Winston Churchill
I’mgoingtoaskyoutoforgetmosteverythingyouthoughtyouknewaboutdiet,ex-
ercise, and health. There is a distressing amount of flawed Conventional Wisdom that
confuses, misleads, manipulates, and complicates even the most devoted efforts to
do the right thing: eat healthfully, exercise effectively, control weight, and avoid today’s
incredibly common health conditions like obesity, arthritis, indigestion, insomnia, di-
abetes, heart disease, and cancer.
In the Primal Blueprint, you will learn why eating a low-fat diet rich in grains like
wheat, rice, bread, pasta, and cereal can easily make you fat and malnourished. You’ll
learn why millions of joggers and gym-goers put in the time and effort to lose weight
yet routinely compromise their health and accelerate the aging process as a direct result
of their devotion to fitness. You’ll learn why cholesterol level and saturated fat intake are
not the major risk factors for heart disease that we have been led to believe and why a
relatively high-fat diet promotes health and longevity. I’ll show how weight loss does not
have to involve the suffering, sacrifice, and deprivation we’ve been conditioned to ac-
cept but instead is a matter of eating the right foods (plants and animals), avoiding the
wrong foods (processed carbs—including grains—and trans and partially hydrogenated
fats), and exercising strategically, for far fewer hours than you might assume, to reach
your desired fitness goals.
All the answers are found in a set of 10 simple, logical diet, exercise, and lifestyle be-
haviors that I call the Primal Blueprint. Modeling your 21st-century life after our pri-
mal hunter-gatherer ancestors will help you greatly reduce or eliminate almost all of
the disease risk factors that you may falsely blame on genes you inherited from your par-
ents. Unfortunately, too many of us narrowly define genes as largely unalterable inher-
ited traits—height, body type, eye color, physical or intellectual abilities, and “family
history” health conditions and diseases. While some
genes are indeed responsible for traits that are largely
unaffected by lifestyle, many more play a bigger role in
Insteadoffaling
your health than you might realize. As coming chap-
victim to your genetic
ters explain in detail, your genes—guided by what you
vulnerabilities, you can
eat, how you move, and even how you think—are the
control how your genes
traffic cops that direct the functioning of every single
express themselves in
cell in your body, every moment of every day.
constantly rebuilding,
Whatever you throw at them, your genes are going
to respond in an effort to promote survival and, beyond
repairing, and renewing
that, homeostasis (the balanced and synchronistic
your cel s
WHAT IS GOING ON ”
.
HERE? | 7

functioning of all systems in the body). After all, this is the essence of human evolution.
From a philosophical perspective, the Primal Blueprint does not presume to declare a
right versus wrong way to live your life. Your body will still valiantly pursue homeosta-
sis and survival when you sit on the couch downing Cheetos and Dr. Pepper. I am
merely presenting the steps you can take to reprogram your genes to trigger desirable gene
expression
and achieve—as the cover suggests—“effortless weight loss, vibrant health,
and boundless energy.” By following the Primal Blueprint laws, you can be the best that
your genes allow you to be. What better definition of vibrant health is there?
The idea that we can reprogram our genes through lifestyle behavior constitutes
the central premise of this book. It also represents a clear departure from today’s fatal-
istic Conventional Wisdom, which suggests that our genes, for better or worse, deter-
mine our destiny and that we have little say in the matter…unless prescription drugs
or the Human Genome Project can come to the rescue. True, you might have a genetic
tendency toward accumulating excess body fat or a family history of type 2 diabetes, but
you’ll be more likely to see these traits expressed when you make poor lifestyle choices
and send the wrong signals to your genes. Instead of falling victim to your genetic vul-
nerabilities, you can control how your genes express themselves in constantly rebuild-
ing, repairing, and renewing your cells. Briefly, here are the most critical, life-altering
elements of the Primal Blueprint:
Ramp Up Your Fat Metabolism by eliminating processed carbohydrates from your
diet to minimize your body’s insulin production. This means eliminating not only sug-
ars and sweets but grain products, including wheat, rice, pasta, and corn (yep, corn is
a grain, not a vegetable). A diet that emphasizes meat, fish, fowl, nuts, seeds, and col-
orful natural carbs, such as vegetables and fruits, is the primary way to improve your
general health, control your weight, and minimize risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes,
arthritis, and other diet-influenced medical conditions. If you are carrying excess body
fat, it will disappear virtually effortlessly when you focus on eating the delicious, filling,
nutritious foods that have sustained humans throughout the course of evolution for
two million years.
Optimize Your Exercise Program by engaging in a genetically desirable blend of fre-
quent, low-intensity energizing movement (walking, hiking, easy cardio), regular short,
intense strength-training sessions, and occasional all-out sprints that help improve body
composition and delay the aging process. This strategy is far superior to the Conven-
tional Wisdom approach of following a consistent schedule of frequent medium-to-
high–intensity sustained workouts, such as jogging, running, or cycling; cardio
machines; or group classes. That workout plan—which I refer to derisively as Chronic
8 | THE PRIMAL BLUEPRINT

Cardio—places excessive and prolonged physical stress on your body, which inevitably
leads to fatigue, injuries, compromised immune function, and burnout. Sometimes,
less really is more.
Manage Stress Levels with plenty of sleep, play, sunlight, fresh air, and creative outlets
and by avoiding trauma that often arises from stupid mistakes. Rebel against the tremen-
dous cultural momentum toward sedentary lifestyles, excessive digital stimulation, and
insufficient rest. Honor your primal genes by slowing down and simplifying your life.
Your ancestors worked hard to survive, but their regular respites from stress gave them
the peace of mind and body that are so highly coveted today.
Is Dying of Old Age Getting Old?
As you will soon discover, our genes were not only designed through evolution to
keep us healthy, but they desperately want us to be healthy. Today, with the hectic pace
of the high-tech modern world, we struggle with how to do the right thing by our genes.
The ensuing failure creates a level of frustration and confusion that causes many of us,
whether overtly or deep down inside, simply to give up. Experience teaches us how dif-
ficult it is, if not impossible, to be lean, fit, energetic, and healthy following Conven-
tional Wisdom. Instead, we succumb to the forces of consumerism designed to placate
our pain with silly shortcuts, comforts, conveniences, and indulgences. Consequently,
the popular “Hey man, life is short!” rationalization becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The consequences of eating processed foods, exercising excessively (or, conversely,
being inactive), and making poor lifestyle decisions work in concert against our genetic
mandate for health. At the very least, we can experience excess body fat storage, subpar
fitness results, aching joints, gastrointestinal problems, frequent minor illnesses, sugar
cravings, energy level swings, and recurring fatigue. Sounds bad enough as it is, but
continuing to mismanage your genes with bad choices over years and decades will likely
result in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and/or the vast majority of degenera-
tive conditions requiring a doctor’s care or medication. A huge percentage of all doctor
visits today are a direct consequence of lifestyle choices that are misaligned with the en-
vironmental and survival conditions that shaped our primal genetic makeup.
These consequences are painfully obvious to most everyone, and our collective in-
terest in doing the right thing has driven a booming fitness industry, incredible ad-
vancements in medicine, much greater awareness of healthy foods and lifestyle choices,
sharp declines in smoking, and sharp increases in restaurants offering salad bars and
smoothies. Ironically though, the collective health of America—and other Western
countries that have adopted our fast-paced culture—is worse than ever. A study released
in 2008 by Johns Hopkins University suggests that by the year 2030, 86 percent of all
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? | 9

adults in the United States will be overweight or obese
(up from the current estimate of 65 percent); what’s
Physician and author
more, a National Institutes of Health conference re-
Dr.DeepakChopra portstatedthat“ourtrendspredictthatallAmericans
asserts that organs
will be obese by 2230!”
We reluctantly accept as fact that the normal
and tissues have the
human life span consists of growing up to reach a phys-
ability to last 115 to 130
ical peak in your early 20s, followed by an inevitable
years before they fail
steady decline caused by the aging process. Under this
due to aging.
faulty assumption, we allow ourselves to gain an aver-
age of one and a half pounds of fat per year starting at
age25andcontinuingthroughage551(wealsolose
half a pound of muscle per year, resulting in adding a pound a year in the wrong places
as we age). Our last decade or two (until we reach the average life span of about 78
years)2 is usually characterized by inactivity, excess body fat, assorted medical condi-
tions, and a host of prescription drugs to alleviate the pain and symptoms of chronic
disease. Twenty-seven percent of us will die from cardiovascular disease, and another 23
percent will die from cancer.3
I know that 100 percent of us will die from something, but personally, I’d prefer
dying from old age. Physician and author Dr. Deepak Chopra estimates that perhaps
only 1 percent of us will check this box when we check out and further asserts that or-
gans and tissues have the ability to last 115 to 130 years before they fail due to aging. Of
the one trillion dollars America spends annually on health care, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 70 percent of that is spent on lifestyle-re-
lated chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. A surprising number
of people accept all this as a normal part of life, believing that some of us are just fortu-
nate to have “good genes” and the rest must cross their fingers against bad luck.
Sure, millions of modern citizens contributing to these woeful statistics are com-
pletely disconnected from what’s required to be healthy. It might be hard for you even
to relate to this segment of humanity that hasn’t a clue. However, even the most health
conscious among us often struggle. Despite a sincere commitment to do the right thing
by Conventional Wisdom, we have experienced widespread failure to lose that last 5,
10, or 50 pounds. Injuries, fatigue, and burnout plague exercisers ranging from week-
end warriors to professionals. We reflexively turn to prescription drugs to treat symp-
toms of distress, even though most conditions are minor and easily corrected by simple
dietary and lifestyle changes. In the process, we interfere with normal gene-driven meta-
bolic processes and thwart our innate ability to heal naturally—paving the way to one
day join the masses on the wrong side of the stats.
10 | THE PRIMAL BLUEPRINT