The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation By Mark Sisson

There are thousands of health & fitness books out there.  Most of them are forgettable, some are counterproductive, a few are actually good.  The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson is the latter.

Living “primal”, as Mark Sisson has coined it, is not a diet but a way to approach life.  It sounds cliche, but makes sense.  Your overall health is about more than just the food you put in your body.  It also how about you train, sleep, and manage a work/life balance.

The Primal Blueprint is about getting back to your roots.  Sisson argues that with a few minor exceptions, we are identical to our ancestors in how we metabolize food, respond to exercise, cycle through sleep phases each night, absorb sunlight, and deal with various environmental influences.  I agree.

The problem – our genetic recipe is not made to function in today’s modern world, and we’re all suffering for it.  The Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with carbs & sugars, we work jobs where we remain sedentary for long stretches of time, and most of us sleep in rooms filled with artificial light.  All things that would be alien to our hunter gathering ancestors.

The Primal Blueprint gives you a way to live in the modern world while staying true to your roots.

The book is broken up into the 8 key concepts of the primal blueprint and 5 steps you can take to start living primally.  The last 20% of the book is a 21 day program to follow that’s also available in PDF form.  I found this part of the book to be unnecessary, but it’s worth giving a quick glance over anyways.

Here are the 8 key concepts of the primal blueprint:

1. You can reprogram your genes:  Sounds like an outlandish statement, but make sense when you apply it to your “homo sapien” genes and not your familial genes.

2. The clue to optimal gene expression are found in evolution:    “Civilization ushered in a decline in human health, due to eating, exercise and lifestyle patterns that compromised optimal gene expression for the first time.  We’ve mismanaged out genes even more severely over the past century to become the fattest, sickest, least fit population in the history of mankind.”

3.  Your body prefers burning fat over carbohydrates:  Agriculture has only existed for the last 5,000 years.  The first human was recorded about 50,000 years.  This means that for 45,000 we lived as hunter gatherers and had diet high in fats/ low in carbs.

4.  80% of your body composition success is determined by how you eat:  “The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve reveals that eating 150 grams per day or less results in effortless weigh loss or maintenance; eating over 150 grams ( per SAD recommendations) results in lifelong insidious weight gain and accelerated disease risk.”

5.  Grains are totally unnecessary (and so are legumes, for that matter): “Grains elect a high insulin response, offer minimal nutritional value relative to Primal foods, and contain anti-nutrients that promote inflammation and compromise digestion and immune function.  They are a cheap source of calories and entirely unnecessary for health.”

6.  Saturated fat and cholesterol are not your enemy: Go ahead and have extra bacon with those eggs cooked in kerry gold butter.

7.  Exercise is ineffective for weight management:  “Frequent medium-to-difficult intensity exercise promotes the consumption of additional calories and less general activity in the ensuing hours.  The ‘compensation’ principle asserts that exercise is a wash when it comes to weight management.”

8.  Maximum fitness can be achieved in minimal time with high-intensity workouts:  Your hunter gather ancestors weren’t doing bicep curls and cross fit training.

Conclusion

If you have been reading my blog you know that I’ve been doing a ketogenic diet.  This is similar to a primal diet, but it’s more restrictive when it comes to carbs.  On a primal diet your aloud to eat up to 100 grams of carbs, whereas a ketogenic diet you’re allowed only 20 -30 grams of carbs.  Besides that, the diets are almost identical – high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs.  I’ve been transitioning to more of a primal diet in the last week since I’ve been losing too much weight on the keto diet.

If your interested in learning more about high fat/low carb dieting or just interested about being healthier I suggest reading The Primal Blueprint.

Following By Christopher Nolan

Last night I watched Following.  It was on Netflix.  I had never heard of it before, but I saw that it was by Christopher Nolan so I figured it had to be somewhat decent.

Following was Nolan’s debut film.  It cost around $6,000 to make.  It was filmed in London on 16 mm film stock.  Nolan uses a non linear plot like some of his other films (Memento & Batman Begins).  The movie is only 70 minutes -short, efficient, with a great twist.

Here’s the plot from IMDb:

The protagonist of Following is Bill. Bill is an unemployed aspiring writer who lives a solitary and boring life in London, England. Bill has a fascination with people, and with hopes of finding material to write about, begins to pick individuals out of a crowd, and to follow them. Bill establishes rules to keep him out of trouble and to keep his ‘following’ random, but soon enough he breaks one of his rules by following someone more than once. The character he follows on numerous occasions first is Cobb. Cobb a confident and intelligent burglar catches Bill spying on him and soon involves Bill in his peculiar burglaries. Similar to Bill’s interest in following, Cobb has a great interest in the individuals he is stealing from. During the robbery of a residence Bill becomes interested in the woman who owns the flat, so he begins to follow her. Eventually he decides to meet her and they begin seeing each other. This upsets Cobb as he also learns the woman has asked Bill to do a job for her. But things are not as they seem, and soon Bill will find out why.

Why you should watch this movie

1. It’s Free if you have Netflix

2. It’s Only 70 minutes.  Not a major commitment.

3. It’s By Christopher Nolan.  He doesn’t make bad movies.

4. You like movies that DON’T give you the warm and fuzzies at the end. 

5. You’ll learn why you shouldn’t follow mysterious people in the city.  You shouldn’t be doing this anyways you creep.

6. You’ll learn why you should never trust a charismatic man in a suit and how easy it is to become a pawn in someone else’s game.

7.  You’ll learn that a man in love is a blind man.  A man that will do just about anything even if it means putting his life in danger. 

8.  You like black & white films.

9.  You like kill scenes that are orchestrated by hammers only.

Conclusion

Rotten tomatoes gave Following a 78% rating.  IMDb gave it a 7.6/10.  This seems about right.    

Following was an entertaining watch, but by no means is it a must see.  If you’re looking for a short movie with a twist you don’t see coming it’s worth a watch.

Don’t Give Yourself The Option To Give Into Temptation – Purge Your Kitchen

Starting a diet is tough.  Everyone is betting on you to fail or could give a fuck if you succeed.  Our society is set up to cater to sugar burners.  Go look at the restaurants that make the most money year in and year out.  Try to find a low carb option on the list.  You won’t

Temptation is around every corner.  You can’t control the fact that healthy food options are far and few between.  But you can control the foods in your kitchen.

Don’t make a diet harder than it has to be.  Purge your kitchen of anything processed, high in carbs, and filled with sugar.  Be relentless.  Bread, pasta, white rice, cereal, ice cream, unhealthy condiments, donuts etc.  If it’s not something acceptable on a low carb diet just get rid of it.  Don’t even give yourself the option to give into temptation.

If you have non perishable food items like oatmeal, rice, or pasta give them to a food collective around your area.  If you can’t find one, most churches have a food pantry you can donate them to.

Out of sight, out of mind.

8 Things I’ve Noticed During My First Week Of Keto

It’s been over a week since I starting a keto diet.  Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

1.  Keto flu Is Real:  Before starting the diet I heard that some people experienced what is known as the “keto flu.”  Some people had minor symptoms and full blown flu like symptoms for weeks.  I thought it wouldn’t hit me so hard since my original diet wasn’t heavy in carbs and sugar.  I was wrong.

The first couple days I was fine, but by day three I was floored.  Day 4 was even worse.  It wasn’t until I started chugging bullion and popping magnesium and potassium pills that I started to feel normal again.  It’s day 9 and I think it’s safe to say the worse is over.

2. Brain Fog But Less Anxiety:  The bad part of my first week on keto – the brain fog.  The good – less anxiety.  I’ve gone through waves of brain fog since starting the diet.  When the brain fog hits my concentration goes out the window.  Even typing out a simple post becomes a chore.  Yesterday I tried to write a post and ended up just staring at the computer screen like an idiot.  But I was a happy idiot, which is the good side about going keto.  Since starting this diet I’ve noticed that I’ve become a lot more calm.  I don’t react negatively to situations that would usually anger me (road rage has gone way down).

3. Less Energy:  My energy levels took a major hit since starting this diet.  There coming back a little, but it’s nowhere near the levels I had when I was eating a moderate to high carb diet.  I still workout, but I just don’t have the same juice.  This has been the most disappointing aspect of the diet so far.

I started a keto diet because I heard it was suppose to give you more energy.  I knew it would take sometime to become “keto adapted”(your body learns to burn fat instead of glucose), but I didn’t expect my energy to dip this low.

4.  Shredding Weight:  I’m losing so much weight I’m afraid I might wither away.  Losing weight wasn’t my main goal of this diet since I didn’t have much to lose in the first place, but if your looking to shred weight quickly keto is definitely for you.

5.  Thirst:  I’ve been drinking over a gallon of water a day plus a couple cups of bullion.  After being hit by the keto flu hard on day 3 & 4 I’ve made sure to keep hydrated.

6.  It’s Tougher Than You Think:  Limiting yourself to 20-30 carbs a day isn’t easy.  You find yourself analyzing every food label.  You’ll start to notice that foods you thought were good choices are actually loaded with carbs.

It’s also, hard to eat a ton of fat while not getting an equal amount of protein.  Sure, a ribeye steak may have 63 grams of fat but it also has 69 grams of protein.  A keto diet is suppose to 65% fat and 35% protein, a balancing act that is sometimes tough to manage.  The last week I’ve been on a quest to find foods that are high in fat without much protein, and 0 carbs.  My recommendation – learn to love coconut oil, avocados, and cacao butter.

7. Phantom Hunger Pains: I get these weird hunger pains after meals that I can only describe as phantom hunger pains.  I’m full yet I still have something telling me I need to eat more.  I guess it’s my body’s way off dealing with the carb & sugar withdrawal.

8.  Sleep:  For as long as I can remember I’ve had a problem with insomnia.  It’s either I can’t fall asleep or I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and won’t be able to fall back asleep.  Not anymore.

I sleep like baby since starting the keto diet.  No tossing and turning.  No more waking up in the middle of the night.  The most beneficial and unexpected part of this diet is the quality of sleep I’m getting.

Conclusion 

After a week I think I may up my carb intake from 20-30g’s a day to the 40-50 range.  I feel that limiting you carb intake to 20-30g’s is for people who are really trying to cut weight, which is not one of my goals.  I also really don’t like the idea of skimping on certain vegetables in fear they’ll push me past my carb limit.

If your interested in starting a keto diet I suggest you don’t start it while training.  If you’re accustom to the Standard American Diet your first week is going to be brutal.  Your energy levels will be shot.  They say it takes 21 days on average to transform your body into fat burner.  It’s probably best to start a training program after that time has passed.

If you do decide to train hard or have a physically demanding job while doing keto I suggest you shoot for the 100g a day average instead of 20-30g’s.     

3 Ways To Cure Keto Flu

It’s day six of my ketogenic diet.  I haven’t been able to kick the keto flu completely.  It comes in waves.  I’ll feel good for a while and then it hits me like a ton of bricks.  Today I couldn’t pull myself off the bed for two hours.

It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been doing kettle bell workouts and 8 miles runs, or that it’s 80+ degrees inside and outside my house.  Oh well.

So far my keto diet seems like an act of masochism.  My energy is shot.  My mind is a haze.  I fantasized about eating something as simple as a bowl of white rice.

You may ask why would you inflict this much torture on yourself?

I don’t know if I have a good answer for that.  I guess I’m hoping that this will pay off once my body becomes keto adapted.  Maybe I’m just stubborn.  I definitely didn’t know what I was getting into, and now that I’m in it I feel like going back is failure.

I also realize I haven’t exactly been stellar in combatting the keto flu.  I don’t need to be working out so hard in 80+ degree weather.  This doesn’t exactly help mineral depletion that’s already happening as a result of eliminating carbs & sugars.   

If you’re in the beginning stages of a ketogenic diet don’t shoot yourself in the foot.  Make sure to replenish yourself.

When you starve yourself of carbs your kidneys shift from retaining water & sodium to getting rid of them at a faster rate.  This causes all kinds of problems like dizziness, brain fog, and nausea.  On top of that, your kidneys respond to lower sodium levels by dumping potassium in order to maintain an adequate sodium – potassium ratio.  To sum it all up, your feeling like shit because your dehydrated.

So how do you replenish yourself?

Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium

Sodium:  Since I started the keto diet I’ve had a water bottle close at all times. I’m constantly thirsty.  It’s fair to say, I underestimated how dehydrated you can get on a keto diet.

A couple days ago I started adding a sea salt and lemon to my water.  It seemed to help a little, but if you really want to amp up the sodium level I suggest sipping on some bullion.

There’s over 900 mg of sodium in each bullion cube.  Bullion is cheap and it tastes better than constantly chugging salty lemon water.  You can get bullion in different flavors, usually beef or chicken, its just like soup broth.

Potassium:  Potassium is one of the most common deficient mineral in the Standard American Diet, and it’s especially deficient in keto diets.  Make sure to eat potassium rich foods like spinach, avocados, mushrooms and pork.  You can also take a potassium supplement.

Just remember too much potassium can be a bad thing.  Always read labels.  The standard adult should get 2,000 mg per day.

Magnesium:  Magnesium is another common mineral deficiency.    The average adult should get 400 mg a day.

Some magnesium rich foods that are also keto friendly are: nuts, cacao, fish, and spinach.  You can also take magnesium supplements.

Conclusion

A few hours ago I felt like death.  I took a potassium pill, magnesium pill, and drank 2 cups of bullion and I feel much better.  Will see what tomorrow brings.

P.S. Don’t forget to drink water.  Lots of it.  Carry a gallon jug around with you if need to.   

10 Best Ketogenic Foods

When starting a new diet it’s tough remembering what’s acceptable in a diet and what’s not.  The keto diet is particular hard because you really need to keep an eye on carbs & sugars.  A lot of foods you think are fine end up being loaded with carbs & sugars.

I believe it’s important to have a couple of go to foods when starting the keto diet.  It’s especially important to have foods the meet the requirement – high fat, moderate protein, and low carb.

To save you time and hassle, I’ve put together a list of the 10 best keto foods to build your diet around.  Now you won’t have to spam reddit forums and check labels constantly.

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1. Avocados:  The only fruit on the keto diet that’s encouraged.  Avocados are the fattest of the fruits containing 22 grams of fat on average.  Not only are they high in fat, they’re also loaded with B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E & vitamin C. Make them a staple in your diet.

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2. Coconut Oil:  Make this the main staple of your diet.  Coconut oil is great because you can cook high heat with it, unlike olive oil, and it’s easier to find than high heat oils like lard, ghee, and tallow.  It’s also high in fat (14g) and has no carbs.  Sneak it into as many meals as you can.

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3. Eggs: Cheap and easy to cook.  Eggs should be a staple in your diet as well. They’re a good source of fat and protein and don’t contain any carbs.  Just remember to always eat the yolk.

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4. Bacon:  Bacon gets a bad wrap.  It’s not a food most dietitians would praise, but it’s more than acceptable on keto diet, even encouraged.  Bacon is high in fat, moderate in protein, and has 0 carbs.  It also make just about any food better.  But make sure to get bacon that isn’t cured with sugar and don’t go stuffing an entire package in your face on daily basis.  To much of good thing can become a bad thing.

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5. Heavy Cream:  Sneak a few tablespoons into your coffee each morning.  Heavy cream contains 5 grams of fat per tablespoons with 0 carbs.

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6. Macadamias, Pecans, Brazil Nuts: Nuts are a great snack on the keto diet, especially macadamias, pecans, and Brazil nuts.  These nuts are extremely fatty with a low amount of carbs.  Go out and buy a big container of each.  It will be expensive, but you can mix them all together into a keto trail mix.  This should last you a while, and provide you quick relief from hunger pains when you don’t feel like cooking.

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7.  Leafy Greens:   In general, green is good.  Vegetables that grow above ground are good.  Vegetables like spinach, asparagus, and cabbage are all good options because their packed with nutrients and low on carbs.  It will be hard to go over you carb total even if you eat a lot of these type of vegetables.

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8.  Brie:  If you’re going to go for a cheese on the keto diet make it brie.  Not only is it delicious but it’s also loaded with fat.  One cup of sliced brie contains 40 grams of fat and 0 carbs.

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9. Salmon:  If your in the mood for seafood go for Salmon.  It’s the fattiest of the fish containing 27 grams on average.  It’s also packed with nutrients like omega-3’s, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and Selenium.

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10.  Cacao Butter: If need to satisfy your sweet tooth reach for cacao butter chips.  They’re not as sweet as regular chocolate but have the same texture.  If you want to add some sweetness you can melt them down with nut butter.  Cacao butter is great because it’s high in fat without any carbs or sugar.  The only problem is finding edible cocoa butter.  You won’t find it in most supermarkets.  I get Navitas Cacao Butter.

Why You Should Use A Keto Calculator

It’s day 4 of my keto diet.  I woke up feeling good, no keto flu symptoms.

I did a little work, went for a long run, and had my first meal of the day – 3 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, a little spinach, onion, and cheddar cheese.

Twenty minutes later I felt like death.  Keto flu was back.  I laid down on the bed and drifted in and out.  I caught myself fantasizing about eating ramen noodles and dorritos.  Even as I type this my mouth waters at the thought of it.

Kicking my carb & sugar addiction has been a chore so far, but I’m already in too deep.  There’s no going back.  If I folded now I couldn’t live with myself.

  If I haven’t scared you off the keto diet yet, and you’re still interested in giving it shot, I suggest using a keto calculator.

A keto calculator will give you a rough estimate of how many grams of fat and protein you should have daily depending body size, age, lifestyle etc.  Carbohydrates stay the same for everyone.  The goal is to get 20-30 carbs a day.  Fats and proteins intake can change a lot depending on the person and their goals.  In general, it should always remain around 75% fat to 25% proteins.

Once you get a rough estimate, start writing down your meals.  Look up the nutritional facts for each food throughout the day.  Pay close attention to fats, proteins, and carbs.  After a few days you will get a good idea of what you need to eat to reach ketosis.  Now you can make meals plans instead of having to look at the nutritional facts every time you sit down to eat.      

Day 3 Of A Ketogenic Diet – “Keto Flu”

It’s not even three days into my ketogenic diet and I can feel the effects of the “keto flu.”

If your not familiar with ketogenic diet, it’s basically a diet where you starve your body of carbohydrates.  This is unusual for most since the Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with carbs.

Carbs get broken down into glucose & insulin which your body turns into energy.  When you starve yourself of carbs your body is forced to use fat storages to produce energy.  Of course this is a complete laymen’s description of a ketogenic diet.  If you want to learn more you should read up on it.  Ruled.me is good place to start.

My old diet wasn’t loaded with carbs.  I stayed away from bread and pasta.  My main sources of carbs came from brown rice, quinoa, and steel oats.  My diet was also low in sugar (another thing you starve yourself of on a ketogenic diet).  I knew the transition to a ketogenic diet wouldn’t be as tough for me as it for some, but that doesn’t mean I still haven’t felt the effects.

New comers to a ketogenic diet usually experience flu like symptoms for the first few days.  Some cases are worse than others.  Basically you’re experiencing withdrawals from carbs and sugar.  Here’s a few things I’ve notice since switching to a ketogenic diet:

1. Constant Thirst:  My mouth is constantly dry.  If your thinking about switching to a ketogenic diet make sure to have a water bottle handy.  I’ve been taking a gallon water jug with me everywhere, and have had no problem finishing it before the day is done.

The Ketogenic diet acts as a diuretic.  You’ll constantly be running to the bathroom.  You’re going to lose a lot of electrolytes.  Most of the flu like symptoms that people experience during the first couple of days of a ketogenic diet are a result of dehydration.  Drink lots of water.  It also helps to throw a lemon and some sea salt in your glass.   

2.  Brain Fog:  The last couple of days my brain has been in a fog, and generally just  feel lazy.  It’s a bit harder to keep concentration.  Even writing this post right now feels like a chore.  Supposedly, the ketogenic diet is suppose to increase mental focus, but that’s after your body has adapted to burning fats to create energy.  It’s only day 3, so will see what happens.

3.  Phantom Hunger Pains: After I ate last night I felt hunger pains even though I was completely full.  I felt these throughout the night.  I ate a few handfuls of nuts to curb these cravings, but it was like force feeding myself.  I can only assume this was my body screaming for carbs since I ate more than enough.    

Conclusion

Even though it’s only been a few days I figured I would let people know what to expect if they were considering a ketogenic diet.

If you do decided to try it keep in mind what in store for you. Of course, these results will vary drastically depending on your lifestyle.  You may have no symptoms at all or you may feel like you have a full blown fever.  So far the effects I’ve noticed are mild, and nothing that will throw you off too much.

I will keep you posted on my journey with ketogenic diet.  At this moment, I’m treating it like an experiment.  If I notice benefits after a two weeks I will stick with it.

$14 a Month Cell Phone Bill

The average monthly cell phone bill for an individual is $47.16.  I haven’t come close to this since switching to Ting a little over a year ago.  In fact, my cell phone bill this month is only $14.

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What is Ting?

Ting is a mobile virtual network operator, which means they pay other nationwide carriers to access their cell towers.  They run primarily off major networks like T-Mobile & Sprint.  Ting is able to save customers money because they can buy purchasing services at less expensive wholesales prices from major networks, and don’t have the costs associated with a physical store or maintaining wireless infrastructure.

How Ting Works

Every month you register a phone with Ting it costs $6.  You will then be charged according to the minutes, messages, and data you use.   Ting uses a bracket system.  For example,  if you use anywhere between 1-100 minutes, messages, or data you will pay $3 in each bracket, which would total to a monthly bill of $15.  Take a look at the chart to get a better idea:

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Pros & Cons

Pros                                                                            Cons

No contracts                                                              Not compatible with every type of phone

Only pay for what you use                                     Coverage not as broad as other networks

No hidden fees                                                          Data may be higher than other companies

Great customer service

No limits on tethering & hotspots

Cancel at anytime

Conclusion

The pros outweigh the cons, and the cons may only affect a certain cell phone user.  Yes, data rates may be higher than other companies, but only if you use an astronomical amounts of data.  The quick solution to this problem is to connect to Wifi when you can or to just get off your damn phone all the time.  Yes, coverage is not as good at AT&T or Verizon but the difference is miniscule.  As long as you don’t live in rural Wyoming I think you’ll get by just fine with the coverage that Ting provides.

P.S. If you sign up with Ting you get $25 off a device or $25 in Ting credit.