Going Primal in 2012

This isn't a New Year's resolution.  Really it isn't.  I've decided to start trying to follow the Primal Blueprint, a book written by former marthoner and triathlete, Mark Sisson.  The very short version of the blueprint: don't eat grains/sugars/unhealthy fats and exercise intensely 2-3 times a week.

While on vacation, I saw a copy of Primal Blueprint in a random clothing boutique.  As a CrossFit dropout, I'd been exposed to the Paleo Diet (a.k.a. "Caveman Diet"), and even briefly considered giving it a try, but never I never got serious about giving up grains, starches and sugar in my diet.  I don't know what it was about seeing that book in that store - it was totally out of place among the home-made Christmas ornaments made of recycled materials and faux-hippie throwback clothing - but I decided starting that night, I was going to give the book a try.

The book is a revelation.  Sisson challenges so much that we take for granted about eating healthy and exercising properly, in a well-researched, well-reasoned manner that it's hard not to concede that he may have a point.  I'm a chronic skeptic - when people I knew were going Paleo, I scoffed at the notion that forgoing grains, starch and sugar was the "appropriate" way humans were meant to eat.  (I also have a economics/politics based criticism - which is that grain production is the way the vast majority of the developing world derives enough calories to survive, but that's a different issue).  But after reading Sisson's book and giving it a try, I'm more convinced that there may be something to this.

Since giving up grains, starches and sugars, I never feel bloated or over-full after eating.  I don't get food coma.  My energy levels are steady - no energy spikes or crashes.  The one time I did eat some carbs in the last week (rice noodles at a chinese restaurant) I felt pretty bloated and gassy afterwards, and my body was making weird noises.  Granted, I've only been eating primally for a week, but I have to believe this is more than just a placebo effect.

The exercise regimen proscribed in the Primal Blueprint is eye-opening as well.  Thirty minutes of strength exercises only twice a week, one weekly sprint workout, and 2-5 hours of just moving slowly (walking, hiking, light jogging, etc.) a week.  Having dabbled in CrossFit, I see this as "CrossFit lite", and I think it will be relatively easy for me to ease into incorporating this into my lifestyle (and thankfully not feeling pressure to workout all the time).

I think the most appealling aspect of all of this to me is that this isn't just a program, it's a lifestyle change, and one that isn't too disruptive to everything else that's going on in my life.  I highly recommend people check out www.marksdailyapple.com and also give the book a try.