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Excerpt from The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation: A step-by-step, gene reprogramming action plan. Available from For more PALEO insights join the Primal Community at

KEY CONCEPTS AND ACTION ITEMS The 8 Key Concepts create the framework around which you will smoothly transition into a custom- designed Primal lifestyle. Once you understand these concepts, you can implement the five Action Items with confidence - dialing in your eating, exercise, sleep, and play for the rest of your life.


1. Yes, You Really Can Reprogram Your Genes: More than just determining your fixed heritable traits, genes are responsible for continually directing the production of the proteins that control how your body functions every second. Genes turn on or off only in response to signals they receive from the environment surrounding them - signals that you provide based on the foods you eat, the types of exercise you do (or don’t do), your sleeping habits, sun exposure and so forth.

2. The Clues to Optimal Gene Expression are Found In Evolution: Two million years of selection pressure and harsh environmental circumstances created the perfect genetic recipe for human health and longevity. Our genes expect us to be lean, fit and healthy by modeling the lifestyle behaviors and diets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors – even in the context of hectic modern life. Plants and animals (meat/fish/fowl/eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds) should comprise the entirety of the human diet, with allowances for the moderate intake of certain modern foods. As for exercise forms and frequency, less is often more.

3. Your Body Prefers Burning Fat Over Carbohydrates: Conventional Wisdom’s grain-based, low-fat diet has artificially created a sugar and carbohydrate-based metabolism that you’ve been stuck in, and suffering from, for your entire life. Going Primal shifts you into the fat-based, all-day energy metabolism that has supported human survival for two million years. This is the most liberating aspect of Primal living.

4. 80 Percent of Your Body Composition Success is Determined by How You Eat: Many modern foods (even ones you thought were healthy) are causing you to gain weight and get sick. Moderating insulin production by ditching grains, sugars and legumes, and lowering inflammation by eliminating harmful manmade fats, will promote efficient reduction of excess body fat, effortless maintenance of ideal body composition, increased daily energy levels, decreased risk for illness, and optimal function of various other hormones systems (stress, appetite, immune, metabolic, sleep, thyroid, etc.).

5. Grains are Totally Unnecessary: The centerpiece of the Standard American Diet (SAD) offers minimal nutritional value, promote fat storage by raising insulin, and contain anti-nutrients that promote inflammation, compromise digestion, and often interfere with immune function. There is no good reason to make grains (or legumes, for that matter) any part of your diet unless you want a cheap source of calories that easily converts to sugar.

6. Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Are Not Your Enemy: The Conventional Wisdom story about heart disease is only validated when you eat lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Cholesterol is one of the body’s most vital molecules. Saturated fat is our preferred fuel. The true heart disease risk factors - oxidation and inflammation - are driven strongly by polyunsaturated fats, simple sugars, excess insulin production and stress. Limiting processed carbohydrates and eating more high quality fats and whole foods (including saturated animal fat) can promote health, weight management, and reduced risk of heart disease.

7. Exercise is Ineffective for Weight Management: Burning calories through exercise has little influence on your ability to achieve and maintain ideal body composition. When you depend on carbohydrate (glucose) as your primary fuel, exercise simply stimulates increased appetite and calorie intake. Chronic exercise patterns inhibit fat metabolism, break down lean muscle tissue, and lead to fatigue, injury, and burnout.

8. Maximum Fitness Can Be Achieved in Minimal Time With High Intensity Workouts: Regular brief, intense strength training sessions and occasional all-out sprints promote optimal gene expression and broad athletic competency. Enjoy more benefits in a fraction of the time spent doing the chronic exercise advocated by Conventional Wisdom.


1. Eliminate SAD Foods: Out with the objectionable foods that promote weight gain and chronic health problems. 2. Shop, Cook, and Dine Primally: Re-stock your pantry and kitchen with Primal foods, and implement winning strategies for shopping, meal preparation, dining out, and snacking. 3. Make The Healthiest Choices Across the Spectrum: Make the best choices in the categories of meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, fats and oils, foods allowed in moderation such as dairy, and occasional sensible indulgences. 4. Exercise Primally – Move, Lift, and Sprint!: Pursue broad athletic competency with an intuitive blend of workouts honoring the three Primal Blueprint Fitness laws (Move Frequently at a Slow Pace, Lift Heavy Things, and Sprint Once in a While). 5. Slow Life Down: Take the time to enjoy simple pleasures such as “slow food” over industrialized food; balanced instead of chronic exercise; focused work habits instead of multitasking; interpersonal relationships over social media; calm, relaxing evenings instead of excessive artificial light and digital stimulation, and plenty of time for play, sun exposure, rest and relaxation.



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