Primal eating, primal travelling


For a few years now, on and off, I’ve been following a paleo primal diet, after reading an interview with Mark Sisson in the Rivendell Reader.

Since then I’ve followed the diet, in a far from religious fashion and managed to lose my spare poundage and keep control of my trademark raging appetite.

I won’t bore you with the details here but the diet basically shuns the four main sources of carbohydrates; wheat, rice, potatoes and refined sugars. I’m grossly oversimplifying here but Sisson and others argue that a diet with much reduced carbs and a higher level of protein and fats more closely approximates that of our hunter gatherer ancestors. Perhaps more relevant to us modern folk is the stabilizing and lowering effect the diet has on blood sugar and the consequent effect on fat burning and fat storage.

For full details on the diet Google mark’s daily apple and prepare to put aside some preconceptions on diet, exercise and health.

Of even greater significance for loping cyclers like me is how well a lowish carb diet fits in with steady, plodding exercise. Conventional wisdom says that you need to carb up for cycling. Heck, there’s a whole bogus energy drink business built around it. The truth is, you only need to carb up for long hard rides of two hours or more. For my kind of riding; steady conversational pace I can survive quite happily, even on day rides, on my regular primal diet, a typical day of which usually consists of:

Breakfast – scrambled eggs, Bacon, coffee with cream

Lunch – salad with chicken, tuna, cheese, nuts

Dinner – meat or fish with lots of vegetables

Snacks – nuts, 70 % dark chocolate, berries

All tasty, normal and unimpoverished tucker I think you’ll agree, which allows me to stay relatively slim and allows me to ride my bike in my kind of way, taking in the surroundings, stopping and starting, occasionally sprinting and climbing, expending energy in much the same way as our hunter gatherer genes intended.


Primal Blueprint Update – 2 Months

12st 12lbs at the last weigh in. Can’t believe the weight is still coming off. 

I’ve stopped using now as I feel I’ve got a good handle on what I’m eating. Still got plenty of energy and still loving my food. Getting to the stage now where I’m getting more adventurous with my recipes – you have to when you’ve cut out a huge chunk of foods that ‘normal’ people eat. 
I find I can eat out pretty much anywhere with few compromises. Best places are buffet restaurants – you can just throw a ‘no go’ cordon around the rice, chips, pasta, etc and eat everything else. Chinese food is great for this – minus the rice. 
I’m not trying to lose weight any more. I’ve found an equilibrium where I feel full and the end of the day, and have got enough energy to ride my bike and do my normal daily stuff. If I lose more weight, then so be it. 
Here’s a list of today’s foods as an example of what I’m eating
2 Scrambled Eggs
Creme Fraiche with Brazil Nuts
Chicken Fillet in Tomato and Basil Sauce
Brazil Nuts
85% Cocoa Organic Dark Chocolate
Seafood salad with Tuna, Mussels, Cottage Cheese, Coleslaw, Spinach, Peppers, Red Cabbage, Pickles, etc
Greek Yoghurt with Raspberries
Tell me I’m on a diet!

Primal Blueprint – 5 and a bit week Update

13st 1.2lbs on the scales this morning. The weight is still coming off slowly but surely. 
The further away I get from my old carb laced diet the happier my body seems to be. Its getting to the point where I’m so satisfied with my food intake that it’s hard to eat over 1800 calories a day without really trying or really feeling bloated. I’m trying to push it up to around 2000 calories per day, which will still leave me around 900 calories in defecit even on a really sedentary day. 
My body fat is down to just over 20 percent now, which is great. I’ve been upping my bike riding and walking, plus doing Tabata sets and free weights every other day. 

Above: Primal gearing for a Primal Blueprint kinda ride? The country bike in singlespeed mode.  
I’m also going to convert my green country bike back to singlespeed (how it started life) to give my ride some ‘muscle confusion’ as Mark Sisson would put it. 
You see, cycling seated at a constant cadence isn’t a very good primal exercise – Grok didn’t do turbo sessions. He sprinted, climbed, stooped, lunged, lifted and stretched. 
I think that a one speed bike will encourage me to use more of my body when climbing or muscling the bike through mud and rooty sections. Plus it will give me natural variations in cadence, torque and so on. Sometimes I’ll have to get off and push/carry – i.e. more variation – more primal. 
Plus I get some valuable shed time… Always thinkin…

Primal Blueprint – 4 Week Update

One month in a 1 Stone down. 

On the scales today I’m 13st 4.5lbs. From a starting point of 14st 5lbs one month ago. 
Can’t believe how well things are going. Still loving the food that I’m eating – enjoying eating real food every day. 
Had my most ‘Primal’ day to date – took a day off work and spent the day outside sorting out the shed. So lots of slow movement and lifting heavy stuff, lugging timber, toolboxes and storage crates around. Kneeling, stretching, bending, painting. All very primal movements in a modern day context. Being outdoors makes it so much more primal and in touch, if you know what I mean. 

Primal Blueprint – 3 Week Update

This Week’s stats: 

Weight: 13st 10lbs

Body Fat: 23%

BMI: 26

Resting Heart Rate: 43bpm

Blood Pressure (resting for a minute, lying down): 104/60


3 weeks in and I’m feeling really good. I’m full of energy, never bloated, never ravenously hungry. I’m not getting the sugar lows and highs that I used to get pre-Primal and I’m not feeling guilty about not making every bike ride hard, long or both.

I’ve started adding in tabata intervals three times a week, and I’m going to start some heavier weight sessions too.

In terms of weight loss however, I seem to have hit a plateau of 13st 10lbs to 13st 12lbs. Whether my body composition is changing toward more lean mass I’m not sure – it’s hard to measure accurately with a hand held body fat monitor, but I certainly feel leaner.

My resting heart rate and BP have lowered which is great. I’m moving doctors in a few weeks so should be able to get a full check up for cholesterol, blood sugar and a body fat calliper measurement.

My carbs are coming just fruit, veg and the carbs in dairy products – I’m not going to push them too low and risk ketosis – kidney problems aren’t something I’m keen on.

My plan is to keep a food diary for a few days and use to work out my calorie intake. Don’t want to get into the rigmarole of daily calorie counting, just want to get a handle on how much energy I’m consuming on the new diet and how many grammes of carbs. Then I can move forward knowing that I’m eating a healthy balance that’ll shift body fat and keep me out of ketosis.

To give you an idea of what I’m eating, here was yesterday’s food intake:

  • 2 eggs scrambled, 1 rasher of back bacon, 3 mushrooms, all scrambled in olive oil
  • 1 apple chopped and topped with cottage cheese
  • 1 pear
  • Tuna mayonnaise and cottage cheese with a big green salad
  • 1 apple
  • 2 smoked mackerel fillets with stir fry vegetables and a dash of soy sauce, cooked in olive oil
  • Small bowl of Greek yoghurt, with a handful of blackberries, grapes and mixed nuts.
  • Semi skimmed milk in tea and coffee 

All delicious, satisfying, non-bloating and pretty Primal! I’ll number crunch this lot on and post the results later. 

Primal Blueprint – 2 Week Update

Two weeks into the Primal Blueprint diet and exercise plan and I’m really beginning to reap the benefits. I weighed in yesterday morning at 13st 10.8lbs. That’s a weight loss of 9lbs in two weeks. 

Not missing any of the carb heavy foods which still amazes me – I was a bread-aholic. Even more impressive are my Body Fat Monitor readings. My starting point was Body Mass Index of 28 and Body Fat Percentage of 27%. 
Mark Sisson says that the diet will target body fat and he’s right. While my BMI has dropped 2 points to 26, my Body Fat Percentage is down to 22% which proves that the diet isn’t stripping me of lean mass. 
Did a 1 1/2 hr steady ride on Saturday too see how I felt without carbs as fuel – the result – no ill effects – and no making a bee-line for the bread and cereal when I came through the door. 
My wife is starting to get seriously interested in the diet as she starts to see my weight shift. And, last but not least, I’m one belt buckle notch thinner – the most important scientific measure of all!