30 Days on the Primal Diet: A New Experiment On A Gluten Free Diet

It’s interesting to me when I look back at the past several years of how Mary and I have eaten. We went completely gluten free in 2003, and we basically ate whatever we wanted so long as it didn’t have gluten. It was essentially the Standard American Diet minus the gluten.

Then in 2006, we started eating a gluten free, vegetarian diet because we had heard some interesting reports about vegetarians feeling increased energy levels when they stopped eating meat.

We stayed vegetarian for nearly 4 years until January of 2011 when we read the 4 Hour Body and decided to try the Slow Carb diet to lose some weight. (We both felt great initially on a veggie diet, but slowly started to pack on some pounds – largely due to the number of carbs we were eating, I suspect).

We ate Slow Carb for nearly all of last year, and had some great results. We both lost noticeable amounts of weight, energy levels improved, and we both felt that eating meat again, and getting more protein and fewer carbs in our diet was definitely a good thing.

The only problem we had with the Slow Carb diet was that we both plateaued in our weight loss after a few months. We kept eating that way because we felt that it was healthier than what we had been eating, but we both wanted to see some more pounds drop off.

Which brings us to today. Mary and I have been avid readers of Mark’s Daily Apple for several months now, and we’re finally ready to give it shot. We’ve kinda been dabbling at the Primal diet for a few months, so we at least have an idea of what we’re getting into, but we’ve never done it 100% for any length of time.

The biggest attraction to the Slow Carb diet is, hands down, Cheat Day. If you’re not familiar with Slow Carb, you basically don’t eat any sugar, grains, or refined carbs, and as little processed food as possible for 6 days each week. The 7th day is Cheat Day, and you can eat whatever your heart desires. Let me tell you, after a week of being super-restrictive in what you can eat, getting to stuff your face with biscuits, pizza, and chocolate chip cookies is pretty awesome. =D

The Primal diet is less restrictive than Slow Carb – you can have fruit and dark chocolate, for example – but there’s no Cheat Day. Sad times. =( I suspect that things are going to go fairly smoothly until Saturday evening, when my tummy will be expecting pizza.

Despite that, I’m really looking forward to getting back on the wagon, so to speak. I felt great when we were sticking to the Slow Carb diet, and over the past month or two we’ve been eating too many carbs and I haven’t felt nearly as energetic.

Today, June 18th, marks the first day of our Primal experiment, and we’re going to keep you guys updated as we go along. We’re going to follow the principles set forth by Mark in his book The Primal Blueprint. If you have any questions about the diet or what we’re going to be eating, let us know in the comments or email us.


  1. Hi there! I came across your site via fulltime families. Wanted to say hi bc it appears we have a lot in common. My husband and I just finished a 30 day paleo challenge. While I’m not primal (I just dabble…I’m more of a Weston A Price girl) I’ve been reading mark’s blog for over 4 years! I have also read the 4 Hour Body because being an RKC kettlebell teacher I was curious about what he had to say. Anyway it sounds like our families have fulltime RVing and an interest in health in common. We also capitalize God but that can mean different things. ;-) Anyway nice to meet you. You have a lovely site! -jenn

  2. Mary Jane says:

    I was really excited to read about your challenge because my husband wants our family to try eating paleo/primal, since he has been on it since last year (and we have joined him but aren’t fully committed.) However, I can’t find a posting with your final results. Was it successful and ongoing? Was it too restrictive for all the time? Was it hard to give up gluten free breads and breakfast foods (cereal, pancakes)? (Can you sense my children’s weaknesses for sandwiches and cereal? Not that they get them often.)
    So, what were your results? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Mary Jane » Hi Mary Jane. Full on primal is difficult for us. My children (and I) have a weakness for grains. And we kept floating back and forth between Slow Carb (ala Tim Ferriss) and Primal Blueprint (ala Mark Sisson). That being said, the health benefits that we see when we are sticking to fully to Slow Carb/Primal continue to make us want to do what it takes to fully commit. We’ll be taking a look at that while we’re on vacation and plan to make a fresh start when we get back in June. And that will include writing some new blog posts =)

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