A Book Review: The Primal Blueprint – 21 Day Total Body Transformation by Mark Sisson

For those who find the original book, The Primal Blueprint daunting, author Mark Sisson has provided this guidebook for a 21-Day Total Body Transformation. Like many books on this topic the Christian must glean the useful and ignore the evolutionary rationale. Key concepts of the plan include: the ability to reprogram genes, finding clues in the habits of the original “hunter-gathers,” our bodies prefer to burn fat over carbohydrates, 80% of body composition is determined by what one eats, grains are not necessary, saturated fat and cholesterol are not unhealthy, exercise is ineffective for weight management and maximum fitness requires high intensity workouts, but minimal time.

While understanding the key concepts is helpful, Action Items are more practical.

1. Eliminate SAD (Standard American Diet) foods.

2. Shop, cook and dine “primally”

3. Make the healthiest choices for all types of food.

4. Exercise “primally – move, lift and sprint.

5. Slow your life down.

There are many similarities between this book and the one I previously reviewed on “Naked Foods“. However, this book covers a broader spectrum – not just food and drink – but exercise and lifestyle changes. I have read from different sources that new research indicates that shorter, more intense exercise is more effective than longer, less intensive times. Therefore, the message from this book is to avoid the extremes of chronic exercise (too long, too hard, too frequent) and the sedentary lifestyle. Sisson also addresses poor sleeping habits affecting health.

Purging SAD (Standard American Diet) Foods from your house makes it easier to eat “primally”, but that only works if everyone in the family eats “primally” as well. Eating “primally” means eliminating processed, sweetened beverages, grains, prepared condiments, processed dairy products, fast foods, farmed fish, legumes, prepackaged meats, processed foods, and sweets. Sisson has prepared his own food spectrum pyramid – on the base you will find Meat, Fish, Fowl, Eggs, next level up is vegetables, then the next level is healthy fats, then moderation foods (fruits, high fat dairy, starchy tubers, wild rice, nuts, seeds, nut butters) and finally herbs, extracts, spices, dark chocolate and supplements.

Important parts of the books include: descriptions and photos of exercises as well as recipes. However, for someone who is transforming her whole family to live in this way, the day-by day 21-day guide, telling you when to buy these things, and when to purge your kitchen and when to begin these exercises, this book is invaluable.

Now for some ideas that I thought interesting: Regarding achieving better sleep, one should establish an evening routine to wind down – using yellow lights or glasses with yellow lenses, eliminate digital stimulation during this time and taking a leisurely stroll. Sisson makes the case that by purchasing more expensive organic foods, you can save much more in health care costs. He recommends that you strive for 100%, but given the stresses and distractions of life you should accept 80% compliance. For those of us who lead sedentary lifestyles, Sisson also encourages us to take breaks to walk around between sessions of work that requires us to sit down for long periods. He even recommends setting up a workstation that allows for times of standing up.

One thing I found odd or out-of-place was Sisson’s recommendation to purchase pre-cooked bacon from Costco and microwave it before adding to a breakfast omelet. That provides yet another topic of importance to health. All in all, I found this a good read and helpful for anyone wanting to improve their diet and lifestyle. For most of us who still have more to do, we need to start where we are and move toward a healthier lifestyle.

For more information: http://www.marksdailyapple.com


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