Primal Health Assessment

The Primal Health Assessment asks you some personal questions about your
own nutrition and lifestyle habits. For each question, click Yes to
jump down to a full explanation of the meaning for you, or click No to
go to the next question.

YesNo — 1. I need coffee or something caffeinated to get going in the morning.

YesNo — 2. I am a total “carbovore”…I really crave sweets!

YesNo — 3. I get irritable, spacey or shaky before I eat. When I need to eat, I need to eat!

YesNo — 4. I feel sleepy or tired after meals or I may crave dessert.

YesNo — 5. I have trouble falling asleep.

YesNo — 6. I fall asleep OK but then wake up during the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep.

YesNo — 7. Sometimes after a meal I still feel like snacking, even though I’m not necessarily hungry.

YesNo — 8. I don’t do well with protein foods…they make me feel heavy, gassy or bloated after a meal.

YesNo — 9. I don’t tolerate a lot of fat in a meal…I get an ache under the right side of my rib cage or it somehow doesn’t agree with me.

YesNo — 10. I often feel anxious or moody for no good reason.

YesNo — 11. I often feel fatigued.

YesNo — 12. I have trouble losing weight no matter how much I starve myself or work out!

YesNo — 13. I have high blood pressure.

YesNo — 14. I would like to be able to eat better but I just can’t afford it.

YesNo — 15. I have high cholesterol.

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1. I need coffee or something caffeinated to get going in the morning.
So…not worth a damn without your morning coffee, eh? Actually, this potentially reveals at least a couple of things about you. First, and unavoidably foremost, you are a “sugar burner”. –Your body depends upon sugar for its primary fuel (a very inefficient and unreliable source of energy). You are either knowingly or unknowingly using the caffeine to rapidly raise your blood sugar level to where you feel functional. Chances are you’re either craving a “carby” snack by 10:00 AM and/or craving another cup of coffee (or something else that’s caffeinated) at some point during the day. Secondly, you may be suffering from some degree of adrenal fatigue and/or low morning cortisol (which goes hand-in-hand with blood sugar dysregulation). Coffee/caffeine is an adrenal stimulant and will stimulate your adrenal /stress hormones and raise blood sugar, which may temporarily feel better. Trouble is–it also stresses your adrenals to rely on this and may make fatigued adrenals worse over time (and prevent them from recovering). Also, cortisol is produced in a certain predictable natural rhythm throughout the day and night (see page 105 in “Primal Body, Primal Mind). It is normally highest in the morning and lowest when it’s time for bed at night. Dysregulation in brain signaling can cause cortisol patterns to shift abnormally so that you may be dragging in the morning and have a hard time winding down and getting to sleep at night. Using certain supplements known as adaptogens and avoiding stimulants may be useful in restoring these natural rhythms. Chronic use of stress hormone stimulation to artificially keep you going is not the fast track tooptimal functioning during the day for either our brain or your body. Lastly, you may be deficient in one or two important neurotransmittersthat caffeine temporarily boosts (and also depletes): dopamine and norepinephrine/epinephrine (serotonin may be mildly impacted, also). Dopamine (and other neurotransmitters) can become deficient through numerous different mechanisms such as excessively high carbohydrate diets, excessively low protein (i.e., vegetarian/vegan) diets, poor digestion/pancreatic output/hydrochloric acid production, B-vitamin (especially B-6) deficiency, or other metabolic deficits. Read more about your brain and neurotransmitter functioning in the “Primal Mind” section of Primal Body-Primal Mind (page 173-183).

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2. I am a total “carbovore”…I really crave sweets!

There is really one major reason this is true for anyone: you are basically a “sugar burner”. In other words, your body has come to depend upon sugar (glucose) as its primary source of fuel. This is a rather un-natural and self-perpetuating state brought about by chronic carbohydrate consumption. Unfortunately, there are innumerable problems with this that have likely led to other health issues you may be experiencing. Training yourself to become a successful and primary “fatburner” ensures a steady supply of fuel that is not dependent on bloodsugar levels (see page 78 in Primal Body, Primal Mind). It is a complete myth that we absolutely need to consume “carbs” for energy. The metabolic breakdown of fat for use as energy results in ketones, whichare what nature actually designed as our primary, steady dominant source of efficient fuel for all our major organs, including our brain (see page 84 in PB-PM). Sometimes sugar cravings are a hidden sign of serotonin depletion. Surges in blood sugar isolate tryptophan in the bloodstream and may temporarily improve serotonin symptoms, while also depleting serotonin and further interfering with serotonin receptors. L-tryptophan is the least abundant amino acid in our food supply and can be additionally deficient due to excess carbohydrate consumption, poor digestion/assimilation of protein, excessively low protein (i.e.,vegetarian/vegan) diets, B-vitamin (particularly B-6 deficiencies and other potential metabolic defects. You can learn more about all this in PB-PM: 173-183 and p. 218-219. The less your body depends upon sugar for fuel, the less you actually crave it in any form—plus the leaner and healthier in every way you will be. Learn how to accomplish this painlessly in Primal Body-Primal Mind and never crave sugar again!

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3. I get irritable, spacey or shaky before I eat. When I need to eat, I need to eat!

This basically describes a state of “reactive hypoglycemia” which is brought about by chronic carbohydrate consumption and extremes of bloodsugar countered by excess insulin production. It is normal to be hungry once in a while or when one hasn’t eaten for a long stretch of time, but it is not “normal” to crave carbohydrates or feel shaky and irritable before breakfast or when you’re a little late getting to lunch or dinner. Training your body to rely on fat instead of sugar for fuel is the best possible way off this roller coaster ride. –Stay on that roller coaster and expect to develop insulin and leptin resistance…Keep ignoring that and you can wind up diabetic down the road (see page 88 in PB-PM). If you’re ready to get off that rollercoaster, then Primal Body-Primal Mind can show you how.

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4. I feel sleepy or tired after meals or I may crave dessert.

These symptoms are “classic” signs of insulin resistance. This may also be indicative of food sensitivities, or possibly even both. Eating a meal is not supposed to fatigue you or make you sleepy/groggy. Many people think it is natural to feel sleepy after a meal. It is not. Eating is supposed to fuel you, if anything. So why would you be fatigued? Your body tries to take sugar from a meal out of the bloodstream as quickly as possible. The first order of business is to send glucose to your cells for immediate energy. If those cells are insulin resistant, then the sugar has to go somewhere (and energy cannot get into the cell). Your body sends some glucose to storage in the liver and muscle as glycogen. The rest of the glucose (i.e., most of it) goes to the liver to get converted into triglycerides so it can get sent to storage as body fat. Unless you have a very high rate of metabolism (not necessarily a good thing) you are likely to gain unwanted weight. This conversion to fat from sugar is a labor intensive process me tabolically and takes a LOT of energy to accomplish. –It takes even more if a lot of fat was eaten at the same meal as the carbohydrates. Since burning the carbs off is priority #1 (and because it is impossible to burn fat AND sugar at the same time), whatever dietary fat is there also must be first converted to sugar before it can be re-converted to triglycerides and finally stored as body fat (“All body fat is made from glucose”—Basic medical Biochemistry). This is a very energy INefficient process and takes an enormous amount of energy to do. Finally, foods to which one is sensitive generate stress and inflammation in the body that may also be fatiguing. Ultimately, one must deal with the insulin resistance to address these symptoms, as well as possibly perform an elimination/provocation diet as a means of determining possible food sensitivities. (See pages 78,88, 99, 105 and 167 in PB-PM).

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5. I have trouble falling asleep.

This is a classic symptom of over-arousal, and occurs frequently with insulin and leptin-resistance, as well as HPA (hypothalamic/pituitary/adrenal)-axis dysregulation (leading to disrupted cortisol rhythms). Anyone walking around with elevated levels of insulin and/or leptin is going to experience a higher degree of sympathetic (“fight or flight”) over-arousal, making falling asleep much more difficult. What makes for elevated insulin and leptin? Chronically high levels of dietary carbohydrate, as well as possibly caffeine and/or other stimulants, over-the-counter and/or prescription medications, tobacco, artificial sweeteners and/or food sensitivity issues. This can also eventually serve to dysregulate the HPA axis, as leptin controls virtually all functions of the hypothalamus and leptin resistance is inherently dysregulating of other hormones. Adaptogens may be useful in correcting HPA axis dysregulation, but the only way to permanently address the problem is by eliminating the unnecessary use of these other substances (first and foremost carbohydrates) and training your body to recognize fat…and not sugar…as its primary fuel. (See pages 78, 84, 99, 119, 162 in PB-PM). Let Primal Body-Primal Mind help you experience the restful sleep you desperately need and deserve!

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6. I fall asleep OK but then wake up during the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep.

Those that rely on blood sugar as their primary source of fuel AND suffer some degree of glucose dysregulation and adrenal exhaustion may find themselves a member of the “3:00 AM Club”. As blood sugar levels drop during the night, normally it is cortisol that is gently released as a means of up-regulating it without disrupting sleep. Those prone to bigger blood sugar swings, or eat/drink a carbohydrate-rich substance near bedtime, and/or those who have exhausted adrenals and cannot produce adequate cortisol when needed may come to rely, instead, on adrenaline as their late-night blood sugar-stimulator. Adrenaline, you may recall, is our body’s primary “fight or flight” hormone and is designed to be used only in an emergency. Since low blood sugar is aform of “emergency” for those who are dependent upon sugar as their primary source of fuel, you may find yourself figuratively “outrunning a saber-toothed tiger” at 3:00 AM. (See pages 78, 84, 99, 119, 162 in PB-PM). Training you body to burn fat as its primary source of fuel and not sugar is key to ending this miserable nocturnal cycle, once and for all. Let Primal Body-Primal Mind  show you how!

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7. Sometimes after a meal I still feel like snacking, even though I’m not necessarily hungry.

This is a classic sign of leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that decides whether you are hungry or not…and whether your body needs to eat or to burn off calories. When you become leptin-resistant the brain no longer hears leptin’s message and believes, instead, that food is scarce and that you must eat more (even though the image in the mirror, or the fact that you just finished eating dinner tells you differently). Getting leptin under control essentially eliminates cravings and the unnecessary urge to eat. See page 84 in Primal Body-Primal Mind to learn more about how to master your own leptin.

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8. I don’t do well with protein foods…they make me feel heavy, gassy or bloated after a meal.

Many people are convinced they can’t or shouldn’t eat meat because it “simply doesn’t agree with them”. Since humans have evolved as meat-eaters and have a strong requirement for complete (animal) sources of protein and various nutrients contained in animal source foods, it is overwhelmingly unlikely that you were “born to be a vegetarian”, as there is no basis in human evolution for this. The most likely culpritis hydrochloric acid insufficiency and/or pancreatic insufficiency (commonly a consequence of HCl insufficiency, overeating and eating overly-cooked foods). These issues are commonly brought on by diets excessively high in carbohydrates (and possibly also excessively low in protein). Zinc, thiamine and vitamin C deficiency may also impair the ability to produce adequate HCl, as may thyroid disorders. Other culprits include overeating at meals, inappropriate food combining (i.e., starches and proteins) in susceptible individuals, alcohol consumption and stress. Even if you emotionally dislike the idea ofeating meat, eggs or fish it is a VERY good idea to address this issue. Inadequate HCL also implies an inability to digest and absorb many important minerals, B12 and, of course, protein…which means inadequate amino acids for more than 50,000 bodily functions and structures (and all this implies). HCl insufficiency may also lead to pancreatic insufficiency, as digestion/secretion is such a pH-driven process. Incomplete (plant-based) sources of protein have poor bio-availability and are mostly starch-based foods, leading to a whole host of other issues. Tofu (also an incomplete protein) is extremely high in phytic acid and will promote potentially severe mineral deficiencies. You may use tempeh and miso in moderation, but understand that these do contain goitrogens (thyroid-impairing compounds) and reliance on even fermented sources of soy is NOT a good idea. Herbivores are not capable of producing hydrochloric acid. Only meat-eating animals do. Not only do humans produce HCL, we depend upon it for much more than just digesting protein. See pages 29, 31, and 126 in PB-PM to understand how digestion really works, why hydrochloric acid is good for you (even if you are suffering from GERD), and understand the real role of protein for your health and longevity. The truth may surprise you!

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9. I don’t tolerate a lot of fat in a meal…I get an ache under theright side of my rib cage or it somehow doesn’t agree with me.

Intolerance of fat is almost always a sign of biliary problems, which may range from biliary stasis (a thickening of the bile, impairing its normal flow and function in digesting dietary fat) to the presence of gallstones. It is also possible to be lipase deficient (see #8). Diets excessively low in fat, or high in processed, rancid and/or trans-fats are typical culprits in the development of biliary issues. It is very critical that this be addressed and dealt with, as any form of biliary impairment effectively decreases the capacity to digest, absorb andutilize both essential fatty acids and critical fat soluble nutrients (which include vitamins’ A,E, D and K, carotenoids, CoQ10 and ultimately minerals, as well). –NOT good. See pages 29, 40, and 69 in Primal Body-Primal Mind for a better understanding and solutions for this problem!

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10. I often feel anxious or moody for no good reason.

Anxiety disorders and depression are among the most prevalent mental health issues today. They commonly co-exist in many individuals, effectively paralyzing people in their ability to live and enjoy life. Leptin and insulin dysregulation are at the top of the list as underlying issues in anxiety and depression. Elevated levels of leptin and insulin stimulate sympathetic nervous system over-arousal (“fight or flight”). Blood sugar surges, which create these increases in insulin and leptin, exhaust B-vitamin stores (needed for healthy brain function); cause significant losses of magnesium (needed for calm, parasympathetic functioning) and other minerals as well as ultimately depleting tryptophan, serotonin and other neurotransmitter stores. Hypoglycemia and reactive hypoglycemia generate mood swings. Big fluctuations in blood sugar are also very destabilizing to the nervous system, in general, and effectively interfere with all healthy neurotransmitter and hormone function. Unnatural low fat and cholesterol diets are also strongly associated with nutrient deficiencies and endocrine disruption that lead to depression and anxiety disorders. Are you seeing a pattern here? …Anyone you know? See pages 141,162 and 165. Primal Body-Primal Mind can help show you how to put these unnecessary issues behind you and discover a renewed health and vitality in your mental and emotional functioning that is your evolutionary birthright!

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11. I often feel fatigued.
Fatigue is endemic to carbohydrate-based diets and blood sugar dysregulation. Constant pronounced fluctuations in blood sugar lead to exhausted adrenal function and ultimately insulin and leptin resistance. In insulin resistance cells are no longer able to make use of glucose for energy and the body must revert to converting more and more carbohydrates to triglycerides for storage as body fat. This is an energy intensive process—ultimately fatiguing. Also, a person who is entirely dependent on blood sugar as their primary fuel will be unable to make effective use of triglycerides for energy (as it is impossible to burn both fat and sugar at the same time) and these will tend to build over time in the blood stream as insulin resistance progresses.–Elevated triglycerides in the bloodstream are a dietary carbohydrate problem and not a dietary fat problem! Also, the body will always burn sugar preferentially for energy when it is significantly present, shoving aside fat for conversion—first to glucose, then to triglycerides for fat storage…a very inefficient and energy intensive process. (Ever feel sleepy after a meal?) Finally, leptin is an inflammatory cytokine and when made to surge (with elevations in bloodsugar) generates systemic inflammation. Inflammation destroys mitochondria, which are the body’s energy producing factories. Finally, digestion takes more energy to perform than any other human activity. Overeating—especially sugar/starch-based foods (and also excessive protein)– is a set-up for energy drain and digestive issues. See pages78, 84, 119, and 167 in PB-PM. To reclaim your motivation, drive and physical/mental and emotional vitality, let Primal Body-Primal Mind show you how to easily balance your nutrient intake and put fatigue behind you forever!

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12. I have trouble losing weight no matter how much I starve myself or work out!

Can’t lose weight…no matter WHAT you do? This is ALWAYS an issue of leptin resistance. Leptin is THE hormone that decides whether you are hungry or not and whether to eat calories, whether to store them and whether or not to burn them. If the hypothalamus cannot hear leptin’s message, you will not burn a single ounce of fat, even if you starve yourself (in fact, starving oneself makes body’s fat retention all the more relentless) or work out every single day of your life. See pages78-105 in PB-PM. To restore healthy leptin functioning is critical. Let Primal Body-Primal Mind show you how!

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13. I have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure has many potential causes, though dietary sodium is anything but your biggest problem. Diets high in carbohydrates (elevating insulin and leptin, systemic inflammation, and damaging arterial endothelium via glycation) play a major role in the vast majority of cases. High serum insulin, in fact, promotes high blood pressure by impairing sodium balance. Surges of insulin due to carbohydrate consumption also cause the kidneys to dump magnesium, needed for preventing vascular spasm and stricture, as well as for relaxed parasympathetic functioning. In addition, sugar and insulin surges deplete the body of B-vitamins (including folic acid), also needed for maintaining healthy blood pressure. Calcification of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) may be in part due to faulty calcium digestion, absorption and metabolism, together with a general weakening of the arterial endothelium due to poor dietary habits. Vitamin D deficiency has also been demonstrated to play a common role (also inproper calcium metabolism), and getting healthy exposure to sunlight (without the use of sunscreens) and/or vitamin D supplementation has been helpful in many cases. Although excess vitamin D can also be problematic, the vast majority of individuals in this country are far from that problem. Always test for your vitamin D (25, OHD) levels to be sure and strive to keep them between 60-80 ng/dL—as per The Vitamin D Council. Always take Vitamin D with ample vitamin A (retinol-form) for appropriate balancing. Clearly, your level of stress in life is going to be a contributing factor…but remember that stress isn’t what happens to you in life as much as it is how you respond (or react) to what happens to you in life. Your ability to cope with life’s demands and stressors are going to be influenced by what you eat more than anything else, and will help facilitate the more positive attitude you need to meet and constructively deal with whatever you face. We see theworld through the lens of our functional biochemistry. The simple guidelines put forward in Primal Body-Primal Mind can make conquering your blood pressure issues easier than you ever believed possible.

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14. I would like to be able to eat better but I just can’t afford it.

Au contraire. Here’s where Primal Body—Primal Mind can help you save thousands of dollars in groceries every year…to say nothing of $$$ savings in future medical bills.
By understanding some basic physiological and evolutionary principles, by grasping some of the newer research in principles of longevity and aging, by avoiding nutrient-devoid junk food, sodas, juices (and other unnecessarybeverages), fast food and processed products alone you will be astonished at how much money you will save and how inexpensively you and your family can get by. Healthy lowering of insulin and balancing of leptin will actually help you be satisfied with less food than youever believed possible and will help you be able to afford the very best quality meat, fish and produce with a minimum of difficulty. Unhealthy cravings and overeating will be a thing of the past. You mayeven be able to afford adding a few supplements that can further improve the way you feel and lower your risk of future health concerns (and bills) even more. Let Primal Body-Primal Mind show you how!

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15. I have high cholesterol.

Don’t go casket shopping yet. “High” cholesterol is NOT a disease. Itis an indication that something is going on in your body for which cholesterol is needed. Liken it to your car’s engine light. “Unscrewing the bulb” with Statin drugs will not address or fix the underlying problem in the least, and sets you up for worse problems down the road. Furthermore, the levels of cholesterol that have been established as“desirable” and “healthy” are arbitrary and entirely unscientific. They are used to promote Statin sales more than your actual health. The vilification of cholesterol is medicine’s greatest hoax (and greatest source of pharmaceutical revenue). This being said, diets higher in carbohydrate (not naturally occurring fat) will always promote higher levels of cholesterol. Another possible factor can include thyroid dysregulation in some, as well as high levels of stress. These underlying issues should most certainly be addressed. People with “low”cholesterol, however, have just as many heart attacks and arterial plaque as people with “high” cholesterol. Furthermore, cholesterol levels below 150 have been associated with significant elevations in all-cause mortality, depression, suicide and cancer. It is far much more worrisome to have cholesterol levels that are too low than “too high”. Cholesterol is such an important substance to the healthy functioning of your body and brain that every single cell is capable of manufacturing its own supply. Most of us manufacture about 2,000 mg aday (and not because your body is “out to get you”). It is also anantioxidant, a precursor to many important hormones, is necessary fornormal cellular membrane permeability and function and plays an important role in neurotransmitter receptor activity. Cholesterol serves as your body’s version of “duct tape” and has the important role of patching up lesions in your arterial endothelium (typically caused by excess insulin and glucose damage). –Would you blame and get rid of the firemen that come to put out the fire? That is what cholesterol-lowering medications do. Furthermore, 80%+ of what clogs arteries isn’t either saturated fat or cholesterol, but rather rancid unsaturated/polyunsaturated fats from fried foods, cooking oils and trans-fats (Enig). Only oxidized/rancid cholesterol may actually be harmful. See pages 40-50 in PB-PM. Let Primal Body-Primal Mind help dispel common myths about dietary fat and cholesterol that will changeyour thinking and your health forever. Never fear cholesterol or heart disease again.