Friday, January 3, 2014




    This is a huge and necessary task in order to do this challenge right! Before the challenge starts go into your fridge, pantry, under your bed or wherever you are storing the goods and throw unapproved primal foods away. We are tossing everything that has sugar, wheat, soy, corn syrup, grains, or any ingredient that you cannot pronounce and/or know what it is! Check those labels. We are going back to the basics. Ensure what you are eating has simple and fresh ingredients.

Yes, that means no pizza, pretzels, ice cream, pasta and cereal for 21 days!

    What to throw out:

  • Beverages- bottled juices and refrigerated juices; almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, flavored milks; powdered drinks (i.e. hot chocolate); powdered juices (i.e. lemonade); sodas and diet sodas; sports drinks (i.e. gatorade, vitamin water); designer coffees; energy drinks; sweetened cocktails; sweetened teas. Stick with water (which you can flavor!), herbal tea or plain coffee for you coffee lovers!
  • Baking Ingredients- starches and syrups; corn meal; flours; powders (i.e. milk, gluten); yeast; sweeteners and sugars. Personally, I kept my flours and sugars due to baking for church functions and birthdays. I just kept it high up in the back of my pantry and away from my view:)
  • Condiments- honey mustard; jams and jellies; ketchup; mayonnaise and light mayonnaise; salad dressings and low-fat dressings; soy/tabasco/worcestershire/barbeque sauce is okay in moderation, but stick with the highest quality with minimal sugars and PUFAs; and other cooking items containing high-fructose corn syrup, sugary sweeteners or PUFA oils. My favorite dressing to put on salads is extra virgin olive oil with fresh lemon juice and sea salt.
  • Dairy- processed cheese and spreads; ice cream; nonfat and low-fat milk; frozen yogurt; sweetened non-fat or low-fat yogurts. Stick with unpasteurized or raw dairy, fermented dairy (i.e. yogurt), organic/GMO/hormone-free dairy and with the highest fat content (whole milk). I'm telling you, unpasteurized/raw milk is to die for! 
  • Fats and Oils- trans and partially-hydrogenated oils; butter spreads and sprays; canola, cottonseed, corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, and other high polyunsaturated oils; margarine; vegetable shortening.Stick with ghee, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, butter and other saturated animal fats.
  • Fast Food- all genetically changed industrialized food, such as, burgers, chicken nuggets, french fries, hot dogs, tacos, etc.
  • Fish- fish caught from polluted waters; fish caught by methods that are environmentally unpleasant; large fish (i.e. sword fish); farmed fish (except for a few). 
  • Grains- ALL grains, such as, bread, pasta, flour based products, crackers, cookies, corn, cereal, rice, tortillas, breakfast foods (i.e. oatmeal and cream of wheat), chips, cooking grains (i.e. barley and rye), pretzels, donuts, pizza, and puffed snacks.  
  • Legumes- peanuts and peanut products; soybeans; lentils; peas; alfalfa; beans; and tofu. Legumes, especially along with grains, contain anti-nutrients. They also stimulate high amounts of insulin.
  • Meat- all pre-packaged meats processed with harmful chemicals and sweeteners (i.e. sliced lunch meat); smoked meats; cured meats; meats containing nitrites and nitrates. We don't want to eat meats from animals that ate a lot of grains! Do your best to stick with grass-fed or organic meats.
  • Processed Foods- granola bars; protein bars; snack products; frozen packaged breakfast/lunch/dinner products; energy bars; fruit bars/rolls.Stay away from packaged, processed foods which are almost all full of sugar and grains!
  • Sweets- sugars; cakes; cookies; brownies; donuts; pie; evaporated cane juice; honey; chocolate syrup; trail mixes; powdered sugar; raw sugar; molasses; HFCS; popsicles; frozen desserts; chocolate. This challenge will help get rid of your cravings and sugar crashes! 
{Picture from the 'Primal Blueprint 21 Day Total Body Transformation' by Mark Sisson}

Here is a closer look of the above Primal Food Pyramid:

Sensible Indulgences (dark chocolate 75% or higher)
Supplements (omega-3, probiotics)
Fruits (in season and locally grown)
High Fat Dairy (unpasteurized, fermented and or raw)
Starchy Tubers & Wild Rice (sweet potatoes)
Nuts, Nut Butters & Seeds
Animal Fats
Butter & Coconut oil
Macadamia Nuts
Vegetables (locally grown/organic)
Meat/Fish/Eggs/Fowl (stick with pastured/grass-fed/certified organic/free range)

As you can see, the bulk of your food comes from the protein and vegetables. The other spectrums of this food pyramid are with moderation. You can find the best produce and sources of animals from farmers markets, co-ops, Community Supported Agriculture, Whole Foods, or simply look carefully in your local grocery store. I am able to go to our BJ's Wholesale store and find certified organic and grass-fed products, as well as our local grocery stores. It's all about reading the label! Ask around and google to find stores with the best products available. Do your best with what you can find and with the financial situation you are in. If you cannot afford all grass-fed meat, then by all means, just eat the best meat you can find! Without spending so much money on bread, bagels, cereals, snacks, etc. you will come to find eating Primal is pretty cheap and especially when you plan ahead. 

Examples of staples to keep in your fridge/pantry:
  • Nuts in bulk (great snack)
  • Nut butters
  • Eggs (hard boil some and keep separately for snacks or to put on salads)
  • Vegetables (best to eat within a week and be sure to store/freeze appropriately)
  • Fruits (keep apples around because they last longer and, again, store appropriately for lasting results)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • Meat, Fish, Fowl (keep stored in freezer and some in fridge a couple days before eating)
  • Onions
  • Sweet Potatoes
When it comes to fast food and eating out, find places that serve fresh ingredients and the best quality food. If needed, ask for your food to be cooked in olive oil or ask for lemon and olive oil as a side dressing to ensure you're sticking with the Primal challenge. Just tell them you have an allergy and they won't mind too much! Look for meats, eggs, fish, vegetables and some fruit wherever you go. You're bound to find something Primal!

{This was a forage night for my family at Moe's Southwestern Grill.}


    To be primal is to move A LOT. Move frequently at a low-level pace whether you're engaging in exercise or just walking to the bank down the street instead of driving. Find ways to increase movement. If you're going to work, park farthest away in the parking lot in order to walk a longer distance into work. Instead of taking the elevator, go up those stairs! Find times to take walks with your family after dinner or go on a Saturday hike. If you have a desk job, take breaks throughout the day to get up and move around. 

To be primal is also to take a couple days a week to perform high-intensity strength training sessions that last 30 minutes or less. This includes: pushups, pullups, squats, planks, situps, etc. So, NO, you don't need to go out and run 10 miles to look good! What you eat makes up most of what we look like physically and exercise is just the extra bonus. 

To be primal is to sprint every now and then! Go out with your kids and do 20 meter sprints for about 5 times or if you're on a bike do some sprints every 20 seconds for a couple minutes. There are many benefits to performing sprint workouts about every week or week and a half, such as, muscle fiber growth. 

To be primal is to PLAY! Another great way to move around, to get in sprints, and to spend time with your family and/or friends. Go to the park and play on the playground, play tennis, participate in a basketball game, throw a baseball with your son, chase your kids around the yard, throw a frisbee, go slack lining, or go kayaking. 


    Lastly, take time away from the craziness of daily life. Take time away from your computer, phone, TV and spend time with family and friends to build relationships. Also, too much digital stimulation is not good for our health, so put down media at least an hour or two before bed, so you ensure a better nights sleep. While we are talking about sleep now, make sure you get in plenty of sleep each night to let your body repair itself and to get your REM cycles in. It is also important to prepare for sleep. Dim lights as it gets dark, turn off the TV, and do something relaxing. This will help you have a more restful night and feel refreshed in the morning. 

That's it for now!