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Lose weight & get healthy!

The roots of how I eat and live are based on Mark Sisson’s Primal BluePrint. I lost 8 kilo’s rather effortlessly when I adopted this lifestyle back in Feb 2013 and have never looked back.

I’ve summarised the details below for you and I’ve also created a 90 Day Primal Challenge specifically for women who want to lose weight permanently (without the crazy exercize!) You can check that out here if you’re interested in joining us!

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Here are some instagram pics from our hashtag #90dayprimalchallenge

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The basic premise is this: The Primal Blueprint is a set of simple instructions (the blueprint) that allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that’s the primal part).

Sometimes we get so lost in the science of human biology we just can’t see the forest for the trees. We overlook the simplicity and ease with which we could all be achieving exceptional health and fitness.

1. Eat lots of animals, insects and plants.

This is the basic description of everything our ancestors ate to get the protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phenols, fiber, water and other nutrients necessary to sustain life.

Personal note: I don’t eat insects! Lots of free range chicken, free range meat, fish, sushi (even though it contains white rice which is a grain, not a chance I’m giving that up), sweet potatoes, veggies and fruit.

2. Move around a lot at a slow pace.

We know that our ancestors spent an average of several hours each day moving about at what today’s exercise physiologists might describe as a “low level aerobic pace.”

Personal note: This works for me. I walk 3kms x 3 per week. Every now and then I’ll go for a little hike, an energetic walk in the forest or I’ll meet up with a friend and go for a walk on the beach. I’ve been surfing since I was 15, but these days I spend more time tanning than actually surfing, but when I do surf, not only is it a workout, it’s refreshing and a lot of fun. I don’t get why Capetonians go to gym. Have you looked outside?

3. Lift heavy things.

The women carried their babies much of the time (hey, no babysitters in those days), as well as bundles of firewood, or whatever they had gathered, foraged or scavenged.

Personal note: I carry the shopping from my garage up 2 flights of stairs. Lift heavy things – tick.

4. Run really fast every once in a while.

Avoiding a charging beast to save your life, or surging forward to catch a different beast for dinner, the net effect was still survival.

Personal note: I don’t really follow this rule. Every now and then if I’m feeling really energetic I’ll do a 100m sprint on my 3km walk. But I really hate running so I kind of ignore this. If you’ve ever watched the episode of friends where Phoebe goes for a run – that’s me.

5. Get lots of sleep.

Our ancestors got plenty of sleep. Even after the discovery of fire, it wasn’t as if they stayed up all night partying. From sunset to sunrise it was safer to huddle together and rest.

Personal note: I didn’t quite understand this rule until I turned 30. I used to be able to stay up and party until 4am no problem. These days, midnight is pushing it!

6. Play.

Hunter-gatherers have always generally worked fewer hours and have had more leisure time than the average 40-hour-plus current day worker.

Personal note: I make time to read, hang out with friends, see my family and do fun things. 

7. Get some sunlight every day.

Regular exposure to sun provided lots of vitamin D, an all-important vitamin which they could not easily obtain from food and which their bodies could not manufacture without direct sunlight.

Personal note: Try to get at least 20 mins of sunlight everyday, this is easy for me as I work from home, but if you’re in an office job, make sure to get out of the office, even if it’s just for a short time.

8. Avoid trauma.

Remember that a twisted knee or a broken ankle could spell death to anyone who couldn’t run away from danger. In fact, it was probably trauma (or a brief careless lapse in judgment) that was most responsible for the low average life expectancy of our ancestors, despite their otherwise robust good health.

Personal note: For me, this means running. As soon as I try and run long distances my hip starts giving me issues. Walking for me keeps me trauma free. Listen to your body.

9. Avoid poisonous things.

Man’s ability to exploit almost every corner of this earth was partly predicated on his ability to consume vastly different types of plant and animal life. But moving into a new environment and trying new foods posed a danger that the new food might contain potent toxins.

Personal note: Start to take note of the ingredients on most packaged food goods. They are full of poisons. Sauces, soups, cooldrinks, ready mixed spices, ready marinated meats, chocolates, sweets, biscuits, chips and dip, etc. Obviously there are times when you can’t avoid these things, like going for dinner at a friend’s house but for the majority of the time I eat only unprocessed primal foods which were available to the caveman. This doesn’t mean I have a boring array of foods to choose from. In fact, my food is more colourful and tasty than it’s ever been. It’s incredibly easy to make your own healthy sauces, here’s a post from Stupid Easy Paleo with 50 tasty ideas. Get creative!

10. Use your mind.

Obviously, one of the most important things that separate man from all other animals is his intellectual ability. The rapid increase in the size of our brains over just a few thousand generations is the combined result of a high-fat, high protein diet (see rule #1) and a continued reliance on complex thought – working the brain out just like a muscle. Hunter gatherers all around the world have developed language, tools and superior hunting methods independently. The fact that some haven’t entered the industrial age doesn’t mean they don’t possess the same ability to process information rapidly and effectively (try living in a jungle where you need to catalog thousands of different plant and animal species, knowing which can kill you and which can sustain you).

Personal note: Okay I use my iPhone calculator to work out my bill. But I also read as much as possible, do major research on topics that I’m interested in and I’m still trying very hard to kick my boyfriend’s ass in chess. Using your mind doesn’t have to be about studying or boring stuff, playing a game of 30 seconds among friends can stir up some serious brain activity (unless you’re making it a drinking game, then it falls under rule #6  – play!)

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