This week is the beginning of a 6-8 week nutrition experiment a’la Tim Ferriss style. The experiment is pretty straightforward and simple but not necessarily easy. In a nutshell, I’ll be following the nutrition plan from a book called “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson and comparing the before metrics with the after.

I’m a big fan of Mark Sisson’s work. I read and subsequently practiced the plan outlined in the first edition of Primal Blueprint a number of years ago with great results. It served as a baseline for my nutritional viewpoints today even though I don’t follow the nutrition plan religiously (changed my position on eliminating all grains due to athletic performance).

Mark has updated the book with some new research and information, so I thought it would be a great idea to dive back in and do a more quantitative test beyond just looking and feeling better. I like his approach to nutrition because he presents some compelling research for his conclusions but he isn’t religious about food like some other diets we are all aware of. He leads off with a statement to the effect that if you are 80% true to the plan you’ll be just fine, he calls it his “80 Percent Rule”. Enjoy life and the food you put into your body, just don’t stress about being perfect as we aren’t.

This isn’t a review of the Primal Blueprint book. You’ll have to go get a copy yourself or read a review elsewhere, but I will say it’s a good read and well done, I highly recommend.

The Blueprint details a number of laws for “Primal Living” but I’ll just be honing in on two of them:

Primal Blueprint Law #1: Eat Plants and Animals

  • Quality sources of animal protein. An assortment of colorful vegetables and fruits. Heathy sources of fats

Primal Blueprint Law #2: Avoid Poisonous Things

  • Sugars. Heavily processed packaged, fried, and preserved food. Chemically altered fats. And the kicker for most people: Grain Foods. This means no wheat, rice, corn, pasta, cereal , and other derived products such as bread, chips, crackers, etc. Also, no legumes such as beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, and soy products.

The Primal Blueprint has a number of other “laws” for other aspects of Primal living including exercise, sleep, play, etc. However, I am just focusing this experiment on the nutritional aspects as I have my own rules for fitness and lifestyle. In addition, here are a few of the specific rules I’ll be adhering to for the test:

  • No food 2-3 hours prior to bedtime.
  • No alcohol. My blood tests show some elevated liver markers and some persistent inflammation markers. I already tend to eat a low grain diet, and when I do eat grains it is primarily rice. So it’s doubtful in my mind that grains are elevating my inflammation markers. Alcohol might be the culprit. I’m not a heavy drinker by any means, maybe a beer or wine at dinner a few times a week and some light social drinking on the weekend. I’m very interested to see my inflammation and liver markers after 6-8 weeks of no alcohol. I think this rule will test my discipline the most.
  • Increase my vitamin and mineral supplementation to improve some of the vitamin and mineral markers. I’m not going to detail each supplement in this post, rather I’ll follow up this post with an additional information on my supplementation decisions.
  • Although the Avoid Poisonous Things law calls for NO grains I will be adding some grains into my diet from time to time to adjust for my training output. My grain intake will be selective and training specific, but in general few and far between.

Now this test wouldn’t be much of a test without being able to measure the results. I’ll obviously be able to measure weight and body fat, but what will be more useful to me is blood test results as I mentioned above. I have completed an extensive blood work up prior to embarking on this test measuring cholesterol, inflammation, liver function, hormone levels, vitamin and mineral levels, and other interesting markers. I am expecting my cholesterol to remain the same or go up a bit due to the increased fat intake (as I seem genetically predisposed to higher cholesterol), my inflammation markers to go down, hormone levels to improve, and improved vitamin and mineral levels. An upcoming post will be covering the supplements I take and why.

Feel free to follow along, after I review the final blood work in about 10 weeks I will post my learnings and the results. Most updates will occur within Instagram, so if you aren’t following get on it!