A Beginner’s Guide to the Primal Lifestyle, Part Three

Missed the previous parts? Here’s part one, and here’s part two.

We’ve talked Paleo, rustling up a passable definition for what this nutrition movement even is. We’ve also painted a practical picture of what the Primal lifestyle looks like, complete with a few sample meals and some common concerns of new initiates to the ‘caveperson’ way of life.

So what’s next?

If you’ve come this far in the guide, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that you have more than a passing interest in how your body works. And why wouldn’t you? It might just be the most important thing we possess, so taking every step to maximize our health and longevity should rank pretty high on your to-do list every day of the week.

Lucky thing, then, that the Internet has a ton of brilliant people who are thinking the exact same thing. Read on for a brief list of some of my favorite Paleo bloggers who can help guide you in your quest for perfect (Primal) health.

Mark Sisson – Mark’s Daily Apple

Kind of a given, right?

Mark has done incredible work over the last few years to spread the good word about Paleo and help countless people dramatically transform their lives. The fact that he’s living proof of his health philosophy helps, but the staggering amount of information on his blog has a lot to do with that success too. The best part? It’s free! Just about everything you need to know to get started with Primal is freely available on MDA. Here are a few places to start:

These links alone barely scratch the surface of what MDA has to offer. Ready to dive into Primal full-force? You can’t go wrong with Mark’s Daily Apple.

Richard Nikoley – Free the Animal

Remember that part about Paleo being flexible?

Richard is living proof of that. Many people in the Paleo community still argue for the inclusion of vegetables as a nutrient source, but Richard (in trademark style) opts for a more carnivorous take on Paleo eating. The transformation this has brought him in both health and fitness is nothing short of awesome, and I’ve always respected how blunt and honest he is about the ups and downs of a Paleo-style lifestyle.

He’s also openly dismissive of vegan and vegetarian diets, so consider yourself warned. Here are few of his posts that really stood out to me:

Richard, lastly, is also famous for posting pictures of “food porn,” usually in the form of ungodly cuts of meat covered in wine reduction sauces. These pictures make me so jealous it hurts.

Stephan Guyenet – Whole Health Source

Stephan, like Mark, excels at translating medical studies (both new and old) for the masses. His work, for example, was instrumental in changing the Paleo perception of potatoes, and that same desire to question and research might be one of my favorite aspects of his blog. Rather than accepting any idea — even the Paleo principles! — at face value, Stephan prefers to dig into the science underlying it, all the while advocating a diet based on whole, natural foods.

Chris Kresser – The Healthy Skeptic

From the home page: “THE HEALTHY SKEPTIC is a blog dedicated to debunking mainstream myths about nutrition, health and disease.” I’d add more, but that’s honestly what The Healthy Skeptic is all about, and Chris’s work really does speak for itself. The chief appeal of his blog, I think, is the “Special Reports” section where he tackles the conventional perspective on health topics (cholesterol, as an example) and shows how completely screwed up it can be.

Mr. Kresser also wins points for writing in a simple, engaging style, and being one of the absolute best sources of info for anyone looking to bring other people into the Paleo movement. Have relatives or friends who remain skeptical? Send them to the Special Reports section and see if they don’t come back convinced.

Denise Minger – Raw Food SOS

Denise crossed my radar when she published a colossal analysis of T. Colin Campbell’s China Study, dissecting his claims with the kind of exhaustive research that — frankly — usually makes my head hurt. I didn’t even realize until a moment ago that she’s not ‘strictly Paleo,’ but I think that’s a huge indication of the quality of her work — rather than focusing on any specific label, she draws from her own wealth of experience with nutrition and dieting, emphasizing science and analysis while keeping good humor throughout.

And a Few More!

I’ve only discovered these blogs in the last week or two, but I’ll add them here in case you find yourself thirsting for more information:

Lastly, I’ve spoken about Intermittent Fasting here on Three New Leaves before, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give credit where it’s due:

What about recipes?

Paleo, you may remember, is a movement mostly fueled by the Internet. This has a number of perks, one of which is a huge variety of recipe websites that have sprung up over the last year or two. Unsure what you can eat while giving Primal a shot? Now you know where to look:

This is just scratching the surface, honestly, of what the Internet has to offer. Mark Sisson himself has a cookbook available for purchase by the name of the The Primal Blueprint Cookbook, a pretty fantastic resource in its own right (and if you buy it through that link, I make a few dollars. Everybody wins!).

So what’s next?

Start reading.

Start thinking. Even if you have no interest in the Paleo or Primal lifestyle, you owe it to yourself to take control of your health and start understanding how food interacts with the body. My own experiences with Primal have proven, I think, just what a little self-guided research can do, and the fact that so much of this information is freely available on the Internet makes it really hard not to take your health into your own hands.

And hey! Still feeling a little uncertain of where to start? I describe a simple approach to food and exercise in my free ebook, Simpler, which might help. If you ever have any questions about any part of this guide — or any part of the Primal lifestyle, really — then please don’t hesitate to email me and I’ll see what I can do to help.

Whatever you do, just remember one last thing: it takes time. Time to lose weight, time to improve your health, time to make any significant change in your life — lucky thing, then, that you plenty of hours to make it happen, and the full knowledge that the end result is so worth the wait.

(One more thing: come back tomorrow. I’m giving away free copies of The Primal Blueprint and The Primal Blueprint Cookbook generously donated by Mark Sisson himself!)

Thanks so much for reading!

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  1. Pingback: A Beginner’s Guide to the Primal Lifestyle, Part One | 3NL

  2. Hey Matt, linked over here from a trackback link, which I’m normally heavy handed about deleting in summary fashion. But with my finger on the delete button, I saw you put in some good work here.

    And good for you. So many leaches out there , even in paleoland. Do keep it up, and when substantive and not bullshit to suck a link, always feel free to do good work and link up.


    • Matt Madeiro says:

      Thanks, Richard!

      Glad my link made it past the chopping block. :) I’ll probably be linking to you more in the future, but no worries — I take way too much pride in my work to ever do that leaching bullshit you get to deal with.

      Real quick: I’m going to put up another post tomorrow announcing a giveaway of the Primal Blueprint and the PB Cookbook. If you do one of your weekly round-ups anytime in the next week, would you mind linking to it? Your readers would probably appreciate the chance to enter the contest, and I’d certainly appreciate the link.

      If not, no worries! Keep posting food porn that inspires me to be a better cook.

  3. Canadian Minimalist Wannabe says:

    “Paleo is a movement mostly fueled by the Internet.”
    When you think of it, isn’t that an interesting contradiction… ;)

    I’m reading the blueprint, and started a moderate primal approach (with fruit, veggies, some dairy and a small amount of whole grains) and feel great! I have so much more energy, and am seeing a slow and steady weight loss. It’s no effort, requires no counting or will power… I’m definitely in!

    Many thanks for the links, in particular the recipes. :D

  4. Karen says:

    Love your site! I too have done the declutter.. it feels great!! Thanks for mentioning our site. We are happy that you like it! Great to see you are embracing life to the fullest!

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  6. Chandra says:

    Thanks for the impressive list!

    I actually found Free the Animal a year or so ago and pop in every now and then. I’ve been guilty of never actually following through with the change in diet though.. :( I’ll admit it. I’ve done some research on this quite a few times. However, its always been with an excuse in mind of when I ‘can’ start. Like, ‘as soon as I have money to buy a side or quarter of grass-fed beef!’ ‘Or as soon as I have a good plan set up…’ (recipes and such). I know.. its bad.. I procrastinate… :( Right now its that I am living with my dad while the drywall and bathroom work get finished (hard to finish the work when you’re busy with school work) and he keeps cooking crap. Well, in two weeks I should be out of that excuse. Primal, here I come! :D

    Oh, and I’m definitely going to check out some of those recipe websites so I can get some ideas of what to make besides a steak… although I do love steak, lol. :)

  7. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the guides! Very nice info. I’m just starting paleo myself and enjoy reading others’ experiences and advice.

  8. Pingback: A Beginner’s Guide to the Primal Lifestyle, Part Two | 3NL

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  11. Jen Jen says:

    Holy shit. This is EXACTLY what I needed…informative, concise and clear. Thank you so much for putting this together. I knew it (Paleo/Primal) made sense, but this series solidified my understanding. I’ve been reading MDL (which is a HUGE source of excellent information, but a bit overwhelming at first), and searching for other blogs and resources to get a better grip on all the information. I really appreciate links to other sites, as well as a guide about what to expect as I transition to this lifestyle. My only wish is that each time I Google something I’m interested in I can find a great guide like this! :)

    • Matt Madeiro says:

      Haha! Thanks, Jen. Glad I could, and glad the guide has narrowed things down for you. I know what you mean: there’s an overwhelming amount of info (a lot good!) out there, but it can definitely be difficult to navigate now that Paleo has caught on with the ‘net. :)

      If you ever have any questions about Primal, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

  12. Dregs says:

    Matt, great introductory and informative summary.

    I would just point out that your terminology is a bit off in referring to your “Begginer’s Guide” as being about “primal LIFESTYLE”. In part one, you talked about how primal is not a diet in the sense of merely a temporary tool to loose weight and then be abandoned. That said, your beginner’s guide is however exclusively about diet in the sense of “what we eat”. But, the primal LIFESTYLE is about much more than what we eat. It also encompasses: fitness (more specifically the frequency, type and randomness of exercise), movement generally (how we are structured to move most naturally), sleeping patterns and habits and interaction with artificial light, understanding a proper relationship to natural light and getting sunlight, etc.

    At a minimum, the “primal lifestyle” cannot refer just to food.

    On a side note, I would argue that the primal paradigm also extends to other areas of life such as personal human relations (“game” is probably the most important albeit somewhat unhealthy way in which this is being re-introduced to the modern world; see Roissy, In Mala Fide, as introductory blogs), social human relations (much of the HBD-o-sphere fits into this category) as well as political human relations (again, much of the HBD and neo-reactionary blogosphere (Mangan, Moldbug, Larry Auster] focuses on this area).

    There is a thread running through all of this, whether diet, fitness, human relations and politics, namely: an attempt to deal with Man as he is, as he evolved and as he developed, not as we wish he were.

    • Matt Madeiro says:

      Hi Dregs!

      You know, you’re right. :) The Primal lifestyle extends well beyond what we put in our mouths, but the beginner’s guide here is far more limited in scope. Misleading terminology aside, I can at least explain why this guide stuck mainly to the food side of things: the primal diet, as you very well know, is pretty different from the norm, so I thought it pertinent to tackle that in full.

      I’d argue that the biggest change (in the beginning, at least) for a person new to Primal is probably in diet, likewise, and in that sense I think the guide — though limited! — still could prove useful to someone in the transition process. That said, your comment has given me great food for thought, as there’s no doubt that living Primally has come to affect my life in significant ways well beyond what I put on my plate.

      Food for thought — or in this case, food and a whole lot more. :)

      You’re definitely right to consider Primal in a broader context. I plan on working on another Primal-friendly guide in the future, so I’ll be sure to frame in that broader context too.

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  14. Pat Moore says:

    Interesting site…but where is the recipe for the paleo pizza?

    • Matt Madeiro says:

      It’s in limbo. :) I misplaced it when moving to LA recently, but I’m taking steps now to track it down. Thinking of adding a recipe section to the site, too, so look for the pizza recipe to premiere when that debuts!

  15. Meaghann says:

    You might also want to check out Robb Wolf’s site:
    and his book “The Paleo Solution” I love this book because I’m a big nerd and it explains all the science behind why the body is better suited to eat Paleo.

    Also Sarah Fragoso’s Site:
    She has a really great cookbook too “Everyday Paleo”. It has tons of recipes and great advice for families trying to go Paleo. Yay Cooking! Pretty Tasty and Healthy Food makes me Happy!

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