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Friday, June 19, 2009

Grok vs Crabby; Primal Blueprint Giveaway

Welcome, you found us!

As I mentioned in the intro back at Cranky Fitness, Mark Sissons of Mark's Daily Apple has come out with a book called The Primal Blueprint. He believes we should all be eating and exercising the way humans did 10,000 years ago.

In fact, the role model/poster-boy over at his blog is a fellow named "Grok," who lived back in Paleolithic times. "What would Grok do?" is a frequent subject of discussion over at Mark's Daily Apple.

Hi there, Grok!

So this looks like a very interesting read, and there are many, many aspects of primal living that seem quite sensible. We at Cranky Fitness totally endorse cutting way down on processed crap, eating more whole natural foods, and getting lots of exercise.

However, longtime readers of both blogs might have noticed that Crabby McSlacker and Grok have slightly different approaches to healthy living. (In fact, back in the early days of Cranky Fitness, Crabby wrote a guest post over Mark's place defending the consumption of Splenda and cupcakes!)

So how to handle the fact that Grok followers are a bit more hard core than Crabby, and that we don't see eye to eye on everything? Well, I could embark on a scholarly debate about evolutionary biology, and question the notion that we should try to emulate the paleolithic lifestyle in so many of its particulars. But that might involve a lot of work! make for a dull post.

Instead, I'll just point out a few random similarities and differences between Crabby and Grok and let you readers weigh with your own thoughts about Primal Living. You folks (a) know a lot more about the specifics of what's involved and (b) always have the best observations and arguments anyway!

Sample Differences Between Crabby and Grok's Approach to Healthy Living:

1. Grok didn't eat grains or sugar. So Grok's followers think you should limit them--and not just junky white flour and other refined grains, but whole grains too.

Crabby says screw that. She has a hard enough time staying the heck away from Krispy Kremes. Do not mess with her whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oat bran muffins.

2. Grok ate a fair amount of animal fat--and many of Grok's followers love their lard. They believe it is good for us and has been unfairly demonized.

Crabby is more scared animal fat. Though she could happily gorge on cheeseburgers and barbecued pork ribs on a daily basis, she believes that red meats and animal fats are best kept to a minimum.

3. Grok didn't eat burritos and his followers say you should go easy on legumes as they are not all that great for you.

Crabby says WTF? She feels quite virtuous when she eats things like beans and split peas and lentils! She is working on eating more of these, not less.

4. Grok did not use an elliptical machine, go jogging, or take Zumba classes, and his followers think we should skip the 3-5 sessions a week of traditional aerobic exercise we are so often told to do. Instead, you should "move frequently at a slow pace, lift heavy things, and run really fast once in a while."

Crabby agrees that those three things are all good, but Crabby likes to get high on endorphins. She loves to run, and bouncing around on an elliptical machine to good music gives her a rush she just can't get by torturing herself with intervals. She is not convinced yet that she'd be better off chucking her cardio workouts.

5. Grok must have eaten lots of protein, because his followers advocate eating greater amounts protein than many of us typically get.

Crabby also believes protein is important (and many women don't get enough), but she is hesitant to "beef up" (sorry) her protein intake as much as Grok's followers would recommend. She worries about medical complications like kidney disease that one can get from high protein/low carb diets.

But enough with the pesky differences. There are also many ways in which Crabby is totally willing to consider Grok a role model!

1. Grok didn't sit on his ass in a desk chair all day long and Crabby doesn't think this is a great idea either.

2. Grok never went to Friendly's, McDonald's, or TGI Fridays, and Crabby would just as soon stay the hell away from them too.

3. Grok didn't run marathons and Crabby ain't gonna either!

4. Grok didn't have a twitter account or a facebook page...and neither does Crabby!

5. Flying across the country in a metal tube 40,000 feet in the air would have scared the crap out of Grok, and Crabby does her best to avoid this too!

6. Grok wouldn't have known what the heck to make of shows like "The Real Housewives of Orange County" and neither does Crabby!

Proving that Crabby is actually very primal!

How To Win a Copy of The Primal Blueprint:

You don't have to be a U.S. resident to win!

Just leave a comment about anything to do with the whole caveman/primal/paleolithic approach to health and fitness, pro or con or confused. I'll chose a winner by Random Number Generator by Tuesday night, June 23rd . Winner announced Wednesday, June 24th. And if you win, please email us at Crabby McSlacker @ gmail dot com to claim your prize by Saturday the 27th!

UPDATE: The Winner has been selected! Go to the Cranky Fitness winner announcement post and find out if you won!

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  • While there's good stuff here there has to be some adaptations for today.
    I'm all for the fat thing. It's tasty and better for us that hydrogentated crap.
    I will point out that the original people of Tierra del Fuego ate seal which has a high fat content. They did not need to wear clothes as the fat kept them warm. Think of the money we'd save if we didn't need clothing.

  • Some of the stuff I really like and find myself agreeing with, but it honestly seems a bit strict for me.

    And it seems to me as though Grok would eat everything in the supermarket, grains or not.

  • Lard grosses me out, but that is a good thing: when my food allergy-ridden tot needed cookies, I made them with lard and stayed the heck away from them! Lard does, however, make incredible pie crusts (bonus, I won't pick at and eat the raw crust).

    I do worry about artifical sweeteners and fats that have been chemically rearranged, but my sweet tooth has not quite been convinced that fresh fruit is all it needs.
    [Some comedian, I think it is Jim Gaffigan, has pointed out that we are NOT feeding our sweet tooth, because that stuff is going straight to our fat cells and not our teeth! LOL]

    said Anonymous on June 19, 2009 at 6:14 AM
  • Last year Mark's website inspired me to go primal for an entire month. There is no question that my body functions much better with NO GRAINS, whole or not.

    Which isn't to say that I've totally cut them out of my life, but now they're an occasional food, like my weekly burrito wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla.

    said dragonmamma/naomi on June 19, 2009 at 6:31 AM
  • The similarities between Crabby and Grok cracked me up, as did imagining Grok in a supermarket (thanks to Tricia).

    I don't know much about the primal diet, but when I think about going back in time, I always hope I'd end up more in the pastoral/agricultural side of things, playing my lute and writing poetry while I tended sheep. Sure, it's a sedentary lifestyle, but I'm grateful for my grains and my long runs if they enable me to devote a large chunk of time to the whole life-of-the-mind thing.

  • Well now I'm confused. By all counts, Grok shouldn't even be on the Internet.. but I'm willing to give him a listen anyway. ;)

  • Huh, I wonder how long a vegetarian would last on Grok's diet. But I guess Grok wouldn't be a vegetarian. I disagree about the assumptions on Grok's exercise. I'm thinking he had to do a lot of long distance running. How else would he be able to relay messages with other clans and find his Grokette?

    So as a vegetarian in the process of marathon training, I have no interest in the book at all. I just wanted to say I liked your review. It was a nice summary of the primal diet.

    said linteater on June 19, 2009 at 7:06 AM
  • Now I'm a bit worried that there isn't a Poster Child for the Crabby lifestyle, like Grok for the Primal side of things. Need to think up some cute short name for a cupcake-eating aerobics-doing entity. Something like... Crabby? :)

  • I don't understand how or why Grok would not have eaten grains. Because he was too early in our family tree for farming? Were there no fruits, berries and nuts and such in Paleolithicjurassicswallowsofcapistrano times? Has anyone point out to this dood that cavemen don't exist any longer, that they became US? The us that farm and have a wide variety of good stuff to eat?

  • I don't think he has a problem with fruits and nuts; he's thinking that the human digestive system developed long before our agriculture-based ancestors started going into to raising grain.

    Which sounds a lot like raisin' cain. Not that that's significant. Just felt like mentioning it. Don't mind me, I'm short on caffeine. Nothing to see here, move it along... (Crabby, if we had minions, I could have one bring me caffeine in the morning and write more insightful comments... ;)

  • Alright, miss Cranky Pants has 2 cents and she's not gonna hand them over lightly. Doesn't EVOLUTION need to be considered here? Our bodies have evolved and adapted and obviously there is way too much scientific proof that we should be eating less animal protein and more plant-based foods. Yea I heard Mr. Anti-Govt over there scoff and say the food pyramids are built by the grain growers of America, but I can't live my life in a full state of paranoia yet.

    I say eat like a caveman and you'll probably think like one too. "Me like meat. Women, bad." Tee-hee. I'm just sayin'.

    Oh, but I would like to read the book :D Thank goodness there IS an adequately sized brain inside this head that enjoys reading the opinions of people she disagrees with.

  • Well, I'll give lard props for being a great ingredient in pie crusts....but even that is slightly outdated.

  • I wonder what Grok would do with a food processor if he saw one. And, what does Grok think about deep-frying? Or freezing food? Or boiling it? Is Grok for sushi or against? Does Grok do yoga?

    I'd be interested to read this book just to find the answers to those questions. But, do the diet? Nah. I'd rather run a marathon!

  • The people who live the longest today (the Okinawans, 7th Day Adventests etc.) eat pretty much the "opposite" of Primal. This to me is much better evidence in support of a way of eating than someone's imaginings of what humans did 10,000 years ago.

  • And, btw wasn't Grok about 4 feet tall, and didn't Grok die at age 15 or something? Seems to me grains have helped us grow into a taller, stronger, more evolved people.

    And Grok would TOTALLY dig into a KFC if he saw one. That Grok.

  • Interesting stuff. I definitely think eating more naturally and going with the eat/work/live flow of our ancestors is a good idea. I'm not totally sure about all of Mark's ideas, like the protein thing. I'm a bigger fan of eating more veggies than protein.

  • I'm all for the made-up names.
    Grok, Crabby, POD.
    Although I have no diet I am working on. I tend to eat more grains than meat and avoid high fat anything. If obesity is a risk for cancer and fat is inside the obese, shoveling in more fat doesn't make much sense.

    I don't need the book. I won Charlie's book and still haven't read it but I will.
    Give the book to a Grokonian.

  • I think this has a lot of potential in terms of healthy eating. I could probably incorporate some into my diet.

    I agree with Crabby on the grains, and fat thing.

    This diet is also very popular with the Crossfit Crowd I think.

  • Hm. That is super interesting. I'm trying to wrap my head around the 'natural exercise' thing. That's always made sense to me. Frontier women were pretty fit (when they weren't dying in childbirth) from the heavy lifting etc. I'd be interested to learn more about that....

  • I would love love love to win this book. I'm SO intrigued by Mark's Primal Blueprint and am a longtime lurker at his blog (me! A lurker! I guess I yammer too much at some blogs *cough Cranky Fitness cough* so I wind up lurking at others...). I'm not sure I agree with all of what he says but it's all super interesting and I'd love to learn more about it... I gotta do a Primal challenge one of these days.

  • I've also been intrigued with Mark's Primal Blueprint ever since I read about it on his blog. For the most part I don't think I could ever see myself being so strict in terms of diet, but I'd love to have his book because I find him an interesting read; he achieves a good balance of providing scientific research and lay-speak. I've found his ideas helpful in terms of cleaning up my diet, when I'm thinking about whether I will buy a particular food, I find myself thinking how far removed it is from something Grok would have eaten. I find it helps me be more conscious of thinking about how processed a food is, or how many chemicals/junk have been added to preserve it. I also find his thoughts about exercise to be interesting, I believe he was the first one that got me thinking about HIIT instead of steady-state endurance aerobic exercise. Let's see if my luck is still in! :)

  • Interesting. I'm in the process of veering into a lower-carb clean-eating version of weight watchers, but this might be worth looking into.

  • I would say that I'm 90% Grok and 90% Crabby these days. Can't I have the best of both worlds? ;-)

  • I am much more like Crabby but always interested in reading other stuff.... BUT I AM NOT GIVING UP MY GRAINS!!!!!! Love my bread & such so not gonna pull those away from me! Not a fan of lard either!!!! I have never heard of this so "interesting" is all I can say. To each their own! Not sure I could follow that plan but he looks good in the pic on his site!

  • Ideally, I would love to be able to eat like Grok. Realistically, I am still susceptible to sugar and grains. But I am making progress. I would love to get my hands on Mark’s book.

  • I knew you guys would come through with awesome thoughtful input on the whole primal thing!

    Glad I saved the evolutionary biology debate for another day.

  • Ooo ungawa.

    This way of eating and moving makes sense to me deep in my DNA.

    Can't wait to read the book!

    said Anonymous on June 19, 2009 at 11:40 AM
  • I wrote the ooo ungawa comment above and it posted as anonymous so I am posting again with my name so you can put me in the contest to potentially win the Primal Blueprint Giveaway. Canines crossed!

  • i love books

    said Anonymous on June 19, 2009 at 1:23 PM
  • bleah, it did't let me finish. paleolithic humans ate very little meat, and what they did eat was probably in the form of jerky, softened up in a stew. they ate mostly veggies/grains/fruits/nuts that they collected because they lived in very small groups, AT MOST 50 people. i did this(archaeology) as a living once upon a time. i know.

    said Anonymous on June 19, 2009 at 1:32 PM
  • Grok didn't live very long. Grok's wife and kiddies also dug for roots, tubers, participated in opportunistic fruit gathering, and may have gathered shell fish and other aquatic stuff if they lived by the sea (yes, the sea, the lovely sea...). Grok and family rarely lived long enough to die of cancer, CV disease, metabolic X, diabetes 2,and other chronic disease and old age issues. If Grok and family didn't spend 90% of their time in survival mode searching for food they may have had more time to cultivate food stuffs and stay in one spot and create... ta daaa civilization....
    AND Grok lived in a time when grass and consumers of that product was more alkaline and less acid causing... But that's a whole other issue.

    Hmm, saw some paleolithic cupcakes around here with lard based frosting....

  • I think there's a lot to be said for living "Primal" And I can get behind MOST of it (
    1. Eat Lots of Meat and Plant (OK)
    2. Move around alot at a slow pace (Definitely)
    3. Lift Heavy Things (5 pound boxes of cookies don't count)
    4. Run really fast every once in a while (I don't run, but I can see why others do)
    5. Get Lots of Sleep (Sign me up!)
    6. Play (OK here too!)
    7. Get some sunshine every day (if I could)
    8. Avoid Trauma (tell my boss!)
    9. Avoid poisonous things (yup)
    10. Use your mind (does blogging count?)

    said Anonymous on June 19, 2009 at 4:04 PM
  • Hmmm, I'm intrigued but like other commenters, I wonder how he suggests we implement these ideas into our lives.

  • I've jumped in whole heartedly, both feet. I'm dropping weight, I feel great, and after the first 30 days my cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure are all improved.

  • I think it's a matter of what works best. There are some things in our modern society that I'm very glad for, such as washing machines and flushing toilets, although I suppose that has more to do with the Industrial Revolution. But isn't knowledge part of evolution?
    Oh gads, now I'm getting myself in too deeply. Suffice to say that there are those who can give up sugary baked goods and never look back, but I am not one of them.
    And, personally, I think that Grok and Crabby, were they to meet, would become very good friends.

  • Having grown up following the food pyramid, eating my wholegrains and believe fat is worst than the antichrist, I found the whole primal thing a little bit hard to get my head around, but I decided to give it a go before I dismissed it completely.

    Whilst I wouldn't say I am primal to the extent that Mark and his crew are I have found that limiting my consumption of grains, upping my intake of vegies and not being scared of fat have done wonders for my waistline. Also, I am loving the whole functional fitness regime of CrossFit and am fitter now than at any stage of my life.

  • Cutting out sugar, flour, wheat etc... isn't sustainable. I'd rather keep my carb course and just run longer. If the cavemen had it, they would have eaten it. :)

  • I think people, in general, often have a tendency to adopt black/white thinking re: food intake and "diets." I like what Mark has to say, tried it, and have felt great since.

    I still eat hummus (because I'll never stop), average about 120g of carbs per day (not 100 or below) and rarely eat red meat (because I don't like it), but I am 100% a fan of his approach and consider it a very good thing. It's all about moderation and doing what makes my body/me happy - and nothing about what Grok would do.

  • Meataholic Grok must have wandered into a mango grove or a berry patch once in a while and gorged on easy pickings til he couldn't get up to get another piece. (Sort of like when I wander into a bakery or like now when strawberries are in season).
    I been reading about carb cycling lately - carb up days followed by carb down days - so maybe Crabby weeks followed by Grok weeks is the way to go?

  • I have to agree with the Grok philosophy in that I personally feel better when I stick to raw vegetables, berries and lean meats along with some eggs. I think where alot of people go wrong with upping their protein is that they see a Costco hotdog as the same protein as a roast chicken....on the flip side I've noticed that when I 'carb up' a bit, like for a day, I will actually drop a few pounds....

    said RandyRoper on June 20, 2009 at 9:15 PM
  • I'm definatley intrigued. While some of it my initial reaction was to say WTF too :), I think it's more "do-able" than it seems. I would love to read more about it. I'm still on the fence about some of this stuff!

  • I think Grok has some interesting ideas, but I'm not giving up my whole grains! Plus, as a person with kidney disease, I don't think I will be going to a high-protein diet any time soon!

    I do think he has valid points about eating less processed foods and more green vegetables--not to mention meat that hasn't been messed up with a bazillion steroids.

  • Interesting, up till now I have not considered gork or his primal friends when dieting. I should check to see if the library has this book available (that is, if I don't win a copy). Thanks for the chance at a free one!

    said Leigh S. on June 21, 2009 at 12:39 PM
  • I have a friend who went Paeo and she loves the lifestyle. She's lost quite a bot of weight on it too. The diet isn't for me, but I'm a proponent of each person following whatever plan works for them.

  • I was skeptical of The Primal Blueprint after a friend recommended it to me. He kept talking about it and in the back of my mind I thought "Sure...Atkins...South's all the same." Not wanting to be a hypocrite though I took the time to read the book and I confess I really like it. I have been following a primal way of eating for the last 5 weeks and have lost 18 lbs. My energy levels are higher and I feel a million times better. I don't struggle with food cravings any more. I thought giving up bread would be really hard on me and the first week was. But it got a lot better after that. My cravings for junk food, sweets and pasta have completely disappeared. I prefer eating clean, natural foods.

    I definitely recommend that people give it a try if they are the least bit interested. If you are anything like me, you will be completely converted once you experience how great you feel.


  • Real food is where it as at.
    Cut out the processed frankenfoods and you are 75% of the way to eating for health. The rest is figuring out what works best for YOU.

  • Why is it none of you are willing to at least try living the primal blueprint for one month and see if you benefit?

    I challenge all you naysayers to one month of the primal blueprint. When you go back to your grains and dairy and what not and crap yourself constantly from irritable bowel syndrome, you can see that people aren't as adapted to those things as one might believe.


  • Sounds like a traditional bodybuilder's plan to me with the exception of excess lard.

    I wonder if Groketta would have craved more carbs...

  • Started two weeks ago with the paleo diet.

    My main goal is not too lose (too much) weight, but as an experiment to improve on my time trial (cycling).
    I guess Grok did not ride his bicycle...

    However, I felt slightly weaker after the first week. It also showed in my cycling speed when going for the max. After doing some calorie counting I found that I was getting too little energy (only 2000kcal/day). Now trying to find ways of getting more calories, but avoiding grain and staying away from insuline spikes.

    Any suggestions?

  • This blog have helpful content and information. Is there any formula to control diet and keep muscle tone with fitness? For more log on
    Personal Trainer-

    said Anonymous on June 24, 2009 at 8:36 AM
  • healthy, primal living, so easy, a caveman can do it!

    said Anonymous on August 5, 2009 at 5:33 PM
  • I just finished reading TPB. I started the primal diet a couple of months back after my girlfriend convinced me that it would help my bipolar symptoms. Wow, was she right! I’m a believer in the primal way of life. It’s not a diet or a passing fad–it’s a life-change that makes so much sense for me. Along the path of learning about the primal way, I learned that depression is an inflammatory disorder. What causes inflammation in our bodies? Carbohydrates, of course! I was poisoning myself with every piece of bread or bowl of cereal; it made no difference that they were whole grains. Eating right isn’t the only change I made. Routine exercise, meditation and regular sleep patterns have become the norm making insomnia, fatigue and stress a thing of the past. This book really does offer the tools one needs to change your life! I highly recommend it!


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