The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy by Mark Sisson Download (read online) free eBook

The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy

Being healthy and fit has gone mainstream–millions sweat the calories away on the roads or in health clubs and scrutinize labels and menus trying to do the right thing to control weight, delay aging, and feel healthy, fit, and energetic. And it’s simply not working. Rates of obesity, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer continue to climb, and even the most commi

Dec 02, 2011

rated it
it was amazing

review of another edition

Let me make it clear up front that I’m giving 5 stars to the concept of primal eating and not to the quality of the book. I would rate the book more like 3 stars. The concepts in this book are seemingly life-changing for me. I’ve been eating according to these guidelines in this book for about 4-5 weeks now and have experienced convincing and even dramatic results.

But first let me give you a little background.

I’ve had gradually declining health for many years now. All my vitals are borderline d

But first let me give you a little background.

I’ve had gradually declining health for many years now. All my vitals are borderline dangerous: weight, waist size (over 40″), blood pressure, lipid profile (high cholesterol, triglycerides, low HDL, etc), signs of insulin resistance. My father has adult-onset diabetes and I know I’m on the same track if I don’t make a change. While I’ve known for almost 10 years that the warning signs are there, it wasn’t until a health check-up through my employer prompted me to take action. In the check-up I had all the signs of metabolic syndrome which is just a term used to describe the combination of all the above symptoms and also is used to describe someone with insulin resistance which is essentially a pre-diabetic state. I figured I’d have significant lifestyle changes sooner or later if I get diabetes. I might as well make the changes now so that I can choose what they will be.

I visited the doctor to get checked out and did extensive research and reading to find out how best to address metabolic syndrome. What I found was very confusing at best. Every book I read touted a different approach to handling metabolic syndrome. They mostly had similarities but sometimes were dramatically different and contradictory.

I settled on an approach outlined in the book “The Insulin-Resistance Diet.” This was a great book that taught be the importance of insulin in your metabolic process and that controlling your insulin response is key in managing your weight and, in-turn, metabolic syndrome. To manage insulin it taught a way of “linking” carbs and protein so dampen the insulin response. The method was simple and seemed sustainable as a long-term eating plan. For about 4 months I used this method (with varying degrees of faithfulness) and lost about 5 pounds over that period of time.

In October a friend from high school came into town with his family. Over dinner we found out that he and his wife had made some dramatic lifestyle changes over the last many months, one of which was to eat a paleo diet which is very similar to that found in this book (yes I’ll get back to the book). I remembered that my doctor had suggested I might try a paleo diet and asked more about it. It didn’t take much convincing and I was ready to give it a try. I started applying some of the principles within a few days and gradually got more and more strict in living the principles as I learned more.

Here are my results so far:

–I’ve lost just over 10 pounds.
–I’ve re-gained 3 notches on my belt.
–My blood pressure is now normal (119/79) after being in the pre-hypertension range (140/90).
–My energe level is extremely stable. No more highs and lows. No more food comas. No more trying to stay awake on my drive home. I can even wake up much more easily in the morning (I’ve never been a morning person).
–No more food cravings, particularly for cookies and doughnuts which were my personal kryptonite.

We’ll see in the next couple of months how this improves my poor lipid profile. The good news with this lifestyle is that it’s one I think I’ll be able to maintain.

A very rough overview of the book

The book outlines several steps for living a primal lifestyle – that is to say one that paleolithic man may have lived. Mostly the steps are diet related but also outline other aspects of general living. Here’s an overview to the most important concepts.

1. DON’T EAT GRAINS, SUGAR, OR LEGUMES, AND REDUCE CARB INTAKE – The book recommends a daily carb intake of 50-100g for weight loss and 100-150 for weight maintenance.

This is by far the most shocking and seemingly unrealistic parts of the plan and one that I didn’t immediately embrace. But after starting to dramatically reduce my grain intake I found a dramatic reduction in cravings, particularly for sweets (I could rarely resist a cookie or doughnut everyday after lunch). It was almost magical. I never thought I would be able to resist eating grains. It was tough at first but within the first week I didn’t even have a desire for grains. Sure I get a craving on occasion if others are eating cookies or other sweets, and sometimes I indulge, but on a day-to-day basis those cravings are gone.

There are two reasons for not eating grains and reducing carb intake. The first and less-convincing is simply because paleolithic man didn’t farm and therefore didn’t eat grains. The more convincing reason is that excess carbs and grains in particular produce a very sharp insulin response. Insulin is the main culprit in inducing fat storage not to mention taking a toll on your pancreas which can lead to diabetes.

In my mind this is the single most important principle.


With this lifestyle you get most of your calories from protein and fat. You train your body to burn body fat and dietary fat for fuel rather than sugar or blood glucose. This seems so counter-intuitive because you end up eating a lot of fats but since you’re not producing excessive insulin your body uses the fat for fuel instead of storing it. A great side-effect of this is you don’t tend to get ravenously hungry and your energy level remains much more consistent.


I can’t speak so much to the exercise portion of the plan since I’ve just started implementing it. In short you do low-grade cardio (walking primarily) for roughly 2 hours a week (30 minutes a few days a week). Do strength training for 2 days a week focusing mostly on natural body exercises. Do sprinting or interval training for 20-30 minutes once every 7-10 days. Avoid doing cardio over 75% of your max heart rate for extended periods of time.


I haven’t followed these guidlines but plan on integrating them in with our family diet over time. Basically you should eat organic produce, grass-fed meat (that sounds weird, I should probably say grass-fed protein sources), and stay was from anything too processed. It reminds me to a recommendation I once heard to shop on the outside walls of your grocery stores. This ends up being about how we’re starting to shop now. We avoid boxes :).

So, back to the actual book rating.

The good:
I’m obviously a fan of this lifestyle and right now plan on living these principles for the long haul. The results have been dramatic for me. It’s not just the weight loss either but mostly the dramatic difference in how I feel.

The bad:
The book seemed long and drawn out. Chapter 2 was particularly good which chronicles the lifestyle of a typical family and how broken it is. You can get all the basic principles from the authors website ( without having to slog through the book. In fact, he seems to refer to his website countless times throughout the book. Nonetheless I’m was glad to have read the book in whole to get a grasp of the big picture.

Skylar Burris

Jul 09, 2010

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At this point, I am primarily detailing my reactions to the book itself, as I have not yet tried the diet and fitness plan. Excuse me, the “lifestyle.” None of these diet and fitness books want to call themselves diet and fitness books. The “Primal Blueprint” is a “way of life” – just like all those other ways of life out there. It’s not “restrictive” like a diet – unless, of course, you consider eliminating an entire food group from your diet to be restrictive, or only being able to purchase an

The Primal Blueprint is similar to an Atkins plus fruits and vegetables plan or South Beach minus whole wheat plan. No grains or starches at all –no bread, no pasta, no potatoes, no rice no sweets. And limit dairy (and only drink/eat raw dairy). And no beans, because they’re “toxic” (whatever that means), which is evidenced by the fact that you have to soak them before you eat them. It all has something to do with insulin. Our body doesn’t respond well to all these grains. Eat primal, and you’ll feel more full and, once your body adjusts, more energetic. No more carb crashes. And you’ll be eating foods with more nutrients. Your “entire diet should consist of plants and animals.”

It’s “primal” because this is how our hunter/gather ancestors ate. They didn’t eat grain. Agriculture came along and ruined health. Of course, it also made possible modern civilization. Bread has its virtues. Just don’t eat it. Ever. Which you can manage to do without going hungry, if you are lucky enough to live in the middle-class in a prosperous, technologically advanced nation – which everyone who would buy this book is.

He intermittently uses evolutionary theory to bolster the evidence of the benefits of this lifestyle. (Evolution, I guess, hasn’t adapted our bodies to eating grains in 10,000 years. We’re still designed to eat like Gork.) So if you’re trying to decide what’s best to eat, you can always ask yourself, “What would Gork do?” But you can eat some things Gork never would have eaten – a great many fruits and vegetables that are plentifully available to us now and would not have been to Gork – provide you get them locally or organically. Still, limit the sweeter, tastier fruits: grapes, bananas, mangoes, papayas, nectarines, pineapple, oranges, plums, and tangerines. And no potatoes or corn, of course. Fortunately, you don’t have to limit nuts and berries – a prime source of food for hunters and gatherers.

The fitness recommendations make sense and rely on low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking or hiking 2-5 hours a week, high-intensity all out “sprints” for less than ten minutes once a week, and heavy lifting for 7-60 minutes one to three times a week. This is actually a doable fitness plan for me (especially if I start with 7 minutes and once a week on the heavy lifting and do smaller weights with more reps, which he endorses as just as good as larger weights with fewer reps.) He provides quite a bit of evidence for why all out high cardio on a regular basis is not a good way to go.

He also throws in a few other suggestions: get enough direct sunlight to make sure you have enough Vitamin D (his time recommendations are very moderate here and so I’m pretty sure I’m already getting this; mainly because I’m a stay-at-home mom and outside quite a bit with the kids); get seven to eight hours of sleep a day, with a regular bed time and wake time (doing pretty well there); and don’t be stupid (can’t argue with that).

The book itself is extremely repetitive, and could have easily been boiled down to fifty pages without losing any essential information. There are a number of lame attempts at jokes throughout, to lighten an otherwise heavy volume of information. He makes liberal use of quotations from a wide range of famous people – politicians, writers, athletes. There are plenty of shaded boxes and charts to please the eye and tell you what you’ve already been told in pictorial form. There is a lot of exaggeration in the book, particular with the tossing around of the word “toxin.”


ADDITION: I did a trial run. I kept the diet but did less than the suggested exercise, though more than usual. I lost six pounds in two weeks. And then I quit because I’m weak and lazy and because having most of my diet consist of meat and vegetables and no grains made me feel sluggish, tired, unhappy, and like I wanted to vomit once a day.