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What is Primal Eating?

What is Primal Eating?

The Primal Diet – An Overview


[di·et: noun\ˈdī-ət\. a: food and drink regularly provided or consumed. b-habitual nourishment. c: the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason]


Primal Eating

The Primal diet is based on the dietary habits of our ancestors (which is the foundation of our present day genetic coding). The basic rule of thumb is this: Eat Real Food.…this means focusing on unprocessed fresh foods…meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, tubers, eaten raw, cooked, or fermented.

The name Paleo (the basis for the Primal eating plan) is short for the Paleolithic Era. At this point in history, the Agricultural Revolution had not yet taken place and humans were still hunter/gatherers. There was no processing of grains or meat, and no grain-fed livestock.

The goal of Primal eating is to assimilate the eating habits of our ancestors; therefore, Primal eating discourages the eating of processed grains or meats, refined sugar, and foods that are agents of disease.


Our hunter-gather ancestors enjoyed lean/muscular physiques and lives largely absent of many modern diseases. Their pre-agricultural diets were free of grains, beans/legumes, vegetable oils, and refined sugars but high in animal protein and fat. Modern science supports that eating this way helps your body work the way it was designed to work.

Eating Primal leads to eating fewer carbohydrates than average due to the small selection of carbs allowed. In practice, eating is prioritized in this order: proteins (meat, fowls, pork, fish), vegetables, fats, nuts & seeds, fruit, and dairy. The diet is clean, organic (where it makes sense), and takes care to avoid artificial foods and chemicals wherever possible.


Quick note on dairy. This is one difference between Primal eating vs. strict Paleo. Dairy (in moderation) is included in the Primal diet. Opt for organic, full fat, and fermented (i.e. yogurt)dairy products.

Removing processed carbohydrates from the diet increases the body’s reliance on body fat as fuel. With little sugar, blood glucose levels tend to remain stable. Because processed carbs tend to trigger hunger in many people, eliminating them and replacing them with foods high in protein and fiber often results in more satiating meals. In addition, removing processed carbohydrates makes Primal a gluten free diet – we all have been inundated with the health problems related to gluten.

Essentially forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, the Primal diet can be an effective way to lose body fat. Keeping sugar intake low prevents chronically high insulin levels, which over time may result in Type 2 diabetes. Stable blood sugar levels help eliminate mood and energy swings, leaving many Primal dieters feeling more energetic throughout the day.

The Primal Diet – Four Basic Principles

from Mark’s Daily Apple

  1. 80% of your body composition is determined by your diet. Exercise is vitally important to health, but most of your results (and by extension what you look like) will come from how you eat. People who are obese, exercise a lot, but overeat, still tend to be obese.
  2. Lean Body Mass is a key to living well. Lean mass (muscle and all the rest of you that is not fat) is directly correlated with longevity and excellent health. Rather than strive to “lose weight”, most people would be better off striving to lose only fat and to build or maintain muscle. Since other organs tend to function at a level that correlates to muscle mass, the more muscle you maintain throughout life, the more “organ reserve” you’ll have (i.e. the better the rest of you will work).
  3. Excess body fat is bad. Most human studies show that being significantly overweight increases your risk of nearly every disease (except osteoporosis – because ironically it responds to weight-bearing activities). Fat just doesn’t look that great either.
  4. Excess insulin is bad. Chronic excess insulin may be even worse than excess sugar (and we know how bad that is). All animals produce insulin, but within any species, those that produce less insulin live longer than those who produce a lot. Eat to keep insulin low.


- L & P -




Livestrong. What is the Paleo/Primal Diet?

Mark’s Daily Apple. The Definitive Guide to the Primal Eating Plan.

Real Food University. Paleo/Primal Eating Plan Improves Health.



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