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An Intro to Primal/Paleo Eating and Exercise

Posted Sep 09 2010 4:27pm

Primal nutrition and fitness, also known as paleo or paleolithic nutrition, is a way of eating and exercising that has completely changed how I view health. I’m 100% sold on it. In fact, you’ll find that much of the content on Wellnut hinges on the Primal philosophy! You’ll find Mark Sisson’s  The Primal Blueprint outlines it really well, as well as  The Paleo Solution  by Robb Wolf.

So, what exactly is primal? To answer that question, I’d like to start at the foundations…

What is Primal?

Going ‘primal’ or ‘paleo’ essentially means that you are attempting to eat and exercise the way our human ancestors did long before the dawn of agriculture — as best we can, in our 21st-century world. After all, agriculture has only been around for roughly 10,000 years, which is only a small sliver of humanity’s long existence on this planet. Prior to this, your average human spent most of their time hunting for food and foraging for plants, fruits, nuts, and/or seeds. There was no bread baking in the oven, as ubiquitous as that is to us now.

Essentially, our bodies have not been designed to eat what we couldn’t hunt or forage for naturally.

Primal Food

What does a primal follower eat? In short:  plants, animals, fruits, nuts, seeds, and oils. That’s in order of quantity. Here’s a list that may help you out:

Primal: | Paleo Primal Intro

  • Plants:  vegetables; almost any edible plant that grows on this green earth.
  • Animals:  MEAT! This includes beef, chicken, pork (including bacon), fish, and eggs (yes, there’s more to this list).
  • Nuts:  almonds, walnuts, macadamias, etc. No, this doesn’t include peanuts (they’re a legume).
  • Seeds:  sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc….chew away!
  • Oils:  Olive oil, coconut oil, fish oil, among others.


  • Grains (bread, pasta, rice, and all their derivatives)
  • Sugar
  • Processed food
  • Dairy (although this one is more of a grey area, and much less important than the other points)

You will find more in-depth discussion of primal nutrition in some of my upcoming posts.

Primal Exercise

The concept behind primal exercise is exactly the same as with nutrition; we’re looking at what our ancestors (and ourselves, genetically speaking) would have been designed to do. What is that?

  • Plenty of walking
  • Heavy lifting
  • The occasional sprint

That’s it. No marathons, no body-destroying “chronic cardio” as Mark Sisson puts it. Again, this will be explored in more detail soon.

What are the benefits of going Primal?

The benefits of going primal/paleo are wide and deep, but here are a few:

  • Increased energy
  • Weight loss (more accurately:  burning of body fat)
  • Slower aging
  • Much less risk of a host of disease and disorders (ie. heart disease)

You can infer that sticking to the conventional diet of heavy carbs, low fat and processed food will only lead to the opposite of the above.

NEXT UP:  Look forward to an upcoming post on Why Grains Are Unhealthy and Downright Dangerous.

I highly encourage you to take a look at the book authored by Mark Sisson called The Primal Blueprint  or  The Paleo Solution  by Robb Wolf. Both are excellent sources on the subject!
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