Progression to Primal, Evolution Step III ~ You Have Arrived


By Leslie Why Reap

Hello!  Wow, how do you feel?  Everyone has arrived at Progression to Paleo:  Evolution Step III!  I have evolved significantly since I wrote the first of these three  posts, way back on August 28th.  I had two major revelations along the way.   

First, I learned that the goal of being 100% Paleo is great but the actual practice of Paleo as it works for me and perhaps for many others, would better be defined as “Primal” (see Mark Sisson’s blog ).  Mark talks of not just nutrition but a lifestyle shift. He talks about the 80/20 rule and about having the physical and emotional  health needed to truly enjoy life.  After all, life is not entirely about nutrition (no snickers here from those that know me well).  Life is for living.  Let’s do it cleanly and smartly.  So, I am officially changing the name to “Progression to Primal.”   

Secondly, I learned that most everyone likes short blog posts.  High quality, low word count.  As much as I wanted to educate the world, I have learned that the world can only digest small bites of hard hitting, engaging facts with some key action item(s) that they incorporate and make their own.   

Brief Summary of the Three Evolutionary Steps:(This summary is for my brother who is just realizing now how smart I am and he wants to catch up.)

Progression to Primal ~ Step 1:   Eat lots of vegetables and fruits, 50% of your plate at each meal.  Drink water and skip almost all other beverages.  Eat “real” food, 3 meals, and 2 snacks if needed.

Progression to Primal ~ Step 2:  Give up grains.  Eat high quality protein and increase your healthy fats.

Progression to Primal ~ Step 3:  Write shorter blog posts...oh wait, that is my evolution.  Heal your gut.  Adopt a Primal lifestyle.  Get your needs met. 

A. Heal Your Gut:  “All Diseases Begin in the Gut.”  Hippocrates, 460-370 BC

If you have read the last few posts you will be familiar with the knowledge that 70% of our immune system cells reside in and along our gut.  Without the proper balance of microflora in our guts our immune system weakens and puts us at risk for not only significant digestive issues but for all sorts of inflammatory issues such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease and more.   Adopting the right Primal or Paleo diet, may be enough to restore balance to a gut that has been overexposed to the typical American  diet and lifestyle.   Depending on the current state of the gut however, some individuals cannot simply change their diet and restore the bacterial balance.  Perhaps their guts have become  more permeable or “leaky” due to do  long term exposure to the typical American diet plus the additional destructive elements of NSAIDs, antibiotics, birth control pills, environmental and food toxins, chronic stress and/or chronic sleep deprivation.  With increased permeability, instead of letting just the nutrientsthrough into the blood stream, large molecules of undigested food proteins as well as other toxic matter can leak through.  This can by caused by an overgrowth of Candida Albicans a yeast that goes fungal and starts puncturing your intestinal wall when the “good” bacteria is no longer there to police things.  Or it could be a H. Pylori, C. Difficile, Klebsiella overload or simple a combination of the aforementioned evils.  Whether it is diet, stress, infection, antibiotic use or a combination of those factors, just be aware that you may need to take extra steps necessary to heal the lining and seal your gut.  Part of this process will be finding the right gut healing diet for you.  Once you are healed then you can progress to a full Primal diet of organic fruits and vegetables, high quality protein, nuts and occasional raw dairy and limited or no grains or legumes.  There are two very similar dietary approaches that have significant antidotal and some very scientific evidence to support their gut healing properties.  For further information on healing your gut, please investigate The GAPS diet ( and/or The Specific Carbohydrate Diet . ( 

  1. Adopt a Primal Lifestyle

A Primal or Paleo lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle.  It goes beyond just what you eat.  It is about how you sleep, exercise, relieve stress AND what you put in your mouth.   Our Paleo ancestors were not “plugged” in 24x7, kept up til well past dark with Facebook and Kindles.  All that electronic blue light just gobbles up melatonin, never to return again that night.  Disrupted melatonin = poor sleep.  Poor sleep or too little sleep (less than 7 hours) will make you 3 xs more likely to get a cold or the flu.  Chronic sleep depravation has been linked to higher levels of obesity, depression and disease.  So unplug at least 1 hour before bed and have a face to face conversation or read a real book.  Exercise!  It comes in many forms.  Paleo people walked everywhere or ran or hiked or climbed.  So just move.  Run up the stairs, walk from the far side of the parking lot, hike up a hill, get outside, and reconnect with the earth.  Do a few sprints like your being chased by a bear and then throw down 20 pushups every day.  No need for 45 minutes a day, just do something every day to build strength, your heart included.   Find something you love to do that gives you energy and fills your emotional bucket and schedule time to do it, often.  Connect and spend face time with the people that you love and that love you.  Here is a summary of Mark Sisson’s 10 “Primal Blueprint Laws,” worth consideration, I think:

  1. Eat lots of plants and Animals
  2. Avoid Poisonous things
  3. Move Frequently at a Slow Pace
  4. Lift Heavy Things
  5. Spring Once in a While
  6. Get Adequate Sleep
  7. Play
  8. Get Adequate Sunlight
  9. Avoid Stupid Mistakes
  10. Use Your Brain

C.  Get Your Needs Met

What are your needs?  Do you know what your needs are?  Sit down with a pencil and piece of paper (note I didn't say computer) and write down your needs.  Don’t include the needs of your children, spouse, parents, friends, and boss, try to pull apart that big glob of gunky, nebulous “needs” and identify YOUR needs.  Is it my need or my child's need to attend an Ivy League school?  Big difference isn’t it?  Write down everything, emotional needs, physical needs, spiritual needs, financial needs, any needs you might have.  Then put them in categories.  Then prioritize them in each category and overall.  What is rising to the top?  Are these top 10 needs being met?  What would you have to do in order to have them be met?  Is the action required legal and safe? (Have to ask yourself that one before proceeding!)  Maybe the list looks like something like this…"I need to feel fit and healthy.  I need to retire at 65.  I need to retire with 500K in my 401K.  I need to work out every day.  I need to feel loved and appreciated.  I need to eat high quality, nutritional foods."  Identify the top 10 needs that AREN'T being met and write down how you are going to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. 

The unmet need, just like the unspoken thought, word, or feeling is one that can become toxic if it is not expressed.  Yes, it can make you physically ill.  Stress kills.  Get it out, find your voice and get on with this wonderful life.  It is the only one you’ve got.