how to optimize your health with primal living

Simple Steps to Optimize Your Health Through Primal Living

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Practical Ways to Optimize Your Health Through Primal Living!

carrie optimizing her health through primal living

Hi Mamas, I am honored to be featured on the Mama Shark Blog. My name is Carrie Baker. I live in the Raleigh area with my husband of 5 years, our daughter and one fur baby. I specialize in teaching women how to optimize their health through primal living!

I am a Certified Primal Health Coach, and founder of Latitude Health Coaching. I work with women to break free from chronic dieting and heal their relationship with food using a primal, holistic approach. 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through my links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Before Primal Living

I struggled with disordered eating and a broken relationship with food for over a decade. I was a chronic dieter. My relationship with food, and with myself was severely broken, and I was desperate for a change. 

My obsession with dieting began at a very young age. I remember as a third grader, the babysitter telling my mother, “She is a bottomless pit, I just can’t give her enough to eat.” At an early age I became hyper aware of the amount of food I was eating. This journey with food obsession and chronic dieting continued throughout high school, college and into my early twenties. 

I was able to restore my relationship with food using a primal, holistic approach to nutrition and lifestyle. I went back to the basics, focusing on whole, nutrient dense foods, prioritizing healthy fats, and strictly limiting processed sugars, flours, grains and industrial oils. I experienced effortless satiety, improved mental health and consistent energy levels. 

Primal Living in a Pressured World

There is immense pressure on women to keep up appearances. Everywhere we look we are flooded with photoshopped images of perfect living room decor, playroom designs, green smoothies and almost instantly perfect postpartum bodies.

The truth is, many women have stories similar to mine. I know the anxiety, frustration and sense of overwhelm you feel as you search for yet another diet, wondering if you will ever find anything that “works”. I know that sinking feeling walking into a group fitness class, feeling like everyone is comfortable there except you. I see you Mama, and I can tell you, there is a better way!

I was a chronic dieter for nearly 15 years. After finding the primal lifestyle, I was finally free from the exhausting, frustrating, suffocating cycle of chronic dieting and the pressure that comes with it.

I learned how to nourish my body with whole, nutrient dense foods. I learned that fat is not the enemy, but rather our bodies preferred fuel source. I learned how damaging chronically elevated insulin levels are to the body. And with all of this I regained my freedom from food obsession. I also got back time- time that I can now spend enjoying my family and things I love. And I want that for you, too!

Key Principles to Optimize Your Health Through Primal Living

So how can you optimize your health through primal living?

The concept of primal living focuses on returning to the lifestyle patterns of our earliest ancestors. Think way back, like no cars, no phones, no electricity. Primal living mimics how these early humans ate, slept, moved and played. We know they did not suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cancer that are so prevalent in our society today. 

But that’s no longer our pattern- we’re moms who are now homeschooling, taking three kids to 15 different activities every week, hosting playdates, attending Bible study, and trying to keep our house clean at the same time!

We now live in a technology and convenience driven culture. Whatever is fastest and easiest is what wins, and as moms that is especially true.

So how can Primal living change our pattern and help us to optimize our health in the middle of the craziness around us?

Primal Living for Health in Daily Life

As moms we need simple and easy- and while changing to a new style of eating and living may not seem simple at first, let’s take a look at how primal living is exactly that!

Primal living is a return to the basics.

Thankfully, Primal living is not complicated, and once you understand the principles and how to apply them, it becomes a very doable way to incorporate better health into your life.

There are 3 main areas we want to optimize through primal living: nutrition, movement, and sleep.

Optimizing Health through Nutrition

One of the biggest pieces of optimizing your health through primal living is through what you eat. The food we eat literally becomes who we are as our bodies take those nutrients and use them to fuel our every day living- so it makes sense that better fuel would mean better health!

Here’s 3 changes to consider making as you get started:

  • Eliminate grains, processed sugars, flours and industrial oils   
    • Grains, even whole grains, cause increased gut permeability and lead to many  issues. That is a whole blog in and of itself.
    • Choose oils such as olive, coconut and avocado for cooking, and salad dressings.
    • Vegetable Oils may be the single most dangerous food product we can consume. They alter our cells in a way that causes significant inflammation and drives sugar cravings. 
  • Increase your fat intake. Fat is not the enemy we have been made to believe it is. Our bodies actually prefer fat as fuel!
    • Prioritize healthy fats at each meal. Think bacon and eggs for breakfast, a salad with chicken, avocado and shaved almonds for lunch, and steak topped with butter for dinner. 
  • Tailor carbohydrate intake to your body composition goals. Limit carbohydrate intake to no more than 150g daily for maintenance, or decrease carbohydrate intake if fat loss is your goal.

eating primal for optimal health

Making Primal Eating Do-able

Of course, it’s easy to say we need to make those changes to optimize our health, but how do we actually get it done? Here are some of my favorite ways to make it easier:

  • Double your dinner portions
    • With many of us still working from home, we are eating 3 meals a day at home (one Covid silver lining). Double your cooking portions at dinner to have for lunch the next day. You can re-purpose meats for salads or lettuce wraps. Think taco bowls over cauliflower rice.
  • Meal Prep ahead of time
    • Plan your meals on Sunday afternoon. Personally I love grocery pick up. I can plan my meals, then sit down and order my groceries and check my list before I hit send, that way I know I have everything I need.
    • Chop, slice and dice whatever veggies you are going to use during the week. This saves you time, energy, and willpower.
    • Weigh/measure your snacks and package them individually. Things like nuts and cheese are easy to overeat.
  • Learn to listen to your body and eat WHEN
    • We are conditioned to eat at 7:00am, 12:00pm and 6:00pm, hungry or not. Get in touch with actual hunger cues, and eat only When Hunger Ensues Naturally. 
  • Commit to the lifestyle shift
    • Any lifestyle shift takes time. Commit to eliminating grains, sugars, flours and industrial oils for at least 21 days. Your body will begin to learn this new way of eating and will begin to burn your stored body fat as fuel. 

Optimizing Health through Movement

As women, we are sometimes uncomfortable in a traditional gym setting. I have seen far too many women devoted to cardio machines and scared of weight training. I am here to tell you, Mama, you can get off that treadmill! Chronic cardio, like hours spent on the stairmaster or elliptical is actually not ideal for weight loss, or optimal health.

Going back to the patterns of our ancestors we see that frequent, low intensity movement is ideal. As moms that’s wonderful news. Bundle the kids up, grab the dog and head out for a walk twice a day- the whole family benefits!

If you work a desk job, get up and make a few laps around the office every hour or so. Take your calls outside and enjoy a nice stroll. Getting outside not only promotes movement, but you benefit from sun exposure too. Vitamin D is key for optimal health and studies are showing it has positive effects on immunity as well. 

You don’t have to hit the weight room, but try to incorporate resistance training for 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week. Simple body weight movements such as planks, push-ups, pull-ups and squats are all you need. Muscle mass is extremely important to our health as women as we begin to age. Increasing muscle mass improves metabolic health, assists with hormone balance and protects our bones.

And lastly: sprint occasionally. Once every 7-10 days, put your sneakers on and give it all you’ve got! Sprint with all out effort for 8-20 seconds. Again, this mimics the patterns of the earliest humans who would have been chasing down their dinner or running from predators. Sprinting helps build lean muscle mass, and accelerates fat loss. Do whatever you can when it comes to sprinting. You will get stronger and faster each time! 

Optimizing Your Health through Sleep

I know, you are a mom, of course you don’t sleep! My daughter didn’t start sleeping through the night until she was 14 months old, so I feel your pain. There is no exhaustion like mom exhaustion, but we keep going because our families need us. However, sleep is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and we can only ignore it for so long. 

So what are some practical ways we can get more and better sleep, even as moms?

-Limit artificial light before bedtime.
Exposure to artificial light after dark suppresses secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone. It is easy to scroll social media while laying in bed, but try reading an actual book or flipping through a magazine.

-Limit carbohydrates at dinner as they cause insulin release which also interferes with melatonin and cortisol.

-Set consistent nighttime routines.
Following the same routine each night cues our bodies that sleep is coming. Isn’t this what all the sleep training experts tell us to do for our babies?

Personally, I make an effort to use the hours after my daughter goes to sleep for self-care. One of my favorite ways to unwind is a hot bath. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but a lavender bath bomb and a candle…and peace and quiet, go a long way toward helping me relax and unwind. Getting quality sleep will make a world of difference in growing toward better health!

Primal Living can Optimize the Health of the Whole Family

The thing I love most about living primally is that the whole family can do it.

If you have specific body composition goals, the primal approach allows you to easily manipulate your portions to fit your goals. You aren’t stuck making multiple meals to satisfy the needs of everyone in the family.

You don’t have to spend extra time and money searching for special ingredients in the grocery store. And more brands like Primal Kitchen that feature clean ingredients and minimal seed oils are becoming widely available, too.

mom optimizing her health with primal living

I feel good about serving primal meals to my daughter. My husband loves the high quality meats I include in all of our meals. I’m freed from worrying about food dyes or mysterious ingredients and what effects they might have. And when Mama eats well, the rest of the family is likely to follow!

Optimizing Your Health through Primal Living for the Next Generation

Motherhood, and the societal pressure that comes with it is hard. There are no sick days, or vacations. Our children look to us to meet their every need. Very quickly they begin to copy what we say and do…I know I’m not the only one whose child has said something embarrassing in the grocery line! Adopting a primal lifestyle is something you can be proud to demonstrate for your children.

As mothers, our family’s health is a great responsibility. The foods we feed our children shape their health and preferences. Our habits become their foundation.

By feeding our families whole, nutrient dense foods and focusing on frequent movement and quality sleep, we model healthy lives for our children. Doing our best for our health as moms allows us to be the best we can be and gives our children a strong foundation for their own optimal healthy life!

Want to connect more with me about Primal Living? I’d love to connect with you! You can find me on…

Facebook: @LatitudeHealthCoaching
Instagram: Latitude_Health_Coaching

Thanks for the great tips on Optimized Life through Primal Living, Carrie!

If you’d like a jump start on improving your health, check out our Meal Planning guide and list of Easy, Healthy, Quick Meal Ideas for families- both yours for free! Just stick your email in the box below and I’ll send it your way right away!

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8 thoughts on “Simple Steps to Optimize Your Health Through Primal Living”

  1. Love the tips for meal prep and doubling dinner portions for lunch. Any way to get healthy food on the table with less time spent is a life saver!!

  2. Great article! Even starting with just a few of these tips can make a huge difference in changing our lives for the better!

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