Goals Fitter. Faster. Stronger. Wiser. With continued learning and adaptation. Always tinkering. Context: 37-year-old. 180cm. 75kg. Soldier. Student. Basically, I want live well into old age, being able to contribute to society and avoid chronic disease (for as long as possible). How do we do this? As a start point, using the basic human evolutionary […]

via My training at 37-ish — The Primal Dave

New site: The Primal Dave


Just a quick courtesy post to inform anybody that has followed this page that at the end of the month I will no longer be updating this page.

Between life, work and my ongoing studies I’ve decided to reshuffle a few things so that I can start to lay the ground work for future opportunities.

If you would like to continue to follow my writing and receive information on health and performance please check out my other site, The Primal Dave. I am posting almost weekly. All of my new content can be found there.

Thank you for reading. Hope to see you over on the new site.


Nutrition80/20 is closing (but The Primal Dave is moving forward)

Just a quick courtesy post to inform anybody that has followed this page that at the end of the month I will no longer be updating this page.

Between life, work and my ongoing studies I’ve decided to reshuffle a few things so that I can start to lay the ground work for future opportunities.

If you would like to continue to follow my blog and receive information on health and performance please check out my other page The Primal Dave. I am posting almost weekly. and all of my new content can be found there.

Thank you for reading. Hope to see you over on the new site.


Particularly popular among Mediterranean cultures, Swiss Chard or Silverbeet is actually a member of the spinach family. It is however, more substantial and much greater in nutritional value than regular spinach. Generally inexpensive at the grocer, it makes an excellent bang for you buck. Why it’s a superfood? High in vitamins A, C, E and […]

via Why you should be eating Swiss Chard — Dave Primal

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a specific type of omega-3 fatty acid. Found naturally occurring in certain fish (with emphasis on mackerel, salmon, herring, and sardines), it has been shown to be one of the most potent health boosters on the entire planet. Structure DHA is what is known as a ‘Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acid’, as it […]

via What is DHA? — Dave Primal

At the end of a long day, it can be very tempting to dive into social media or Netflix the minute you’ve finished eating. But back before screens consumed all of our free time, an after-dinner stroll was a popular activity and one associated with improved health and digestion. Research backs this up. This study found […]

via The case for taking a walk after you eat — Dave Primal

What is resistant starch? Resistant starch (RS) is a type of starch that is not digested in the stomach or small intestine, reaching the colon intact. Simply put, it “resists” digestion. This explains why we do not see spikes in either blood glucose or insulin after eating resistant starch, and why we do not obtain significant […]

via All about Resistant Starch — Dave Primal

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are medium length fatty acids. The term “medium” refers to the length of the chemical structure of the fatty acid. MCTs are most often derived from coconut oil and sometimes made from palm oil. Before we talk about MCT Oil it is important to understand what a fatty acid is and how […]

via MCT Oil 101 — Dave Primal

Evolutionary Fitness

Eat fresh wholefoods that we were evolved to eat. Usually three times a day but occasionally skip a meal, let hunger dictate your meals. Workout with short and intense resistance sessions a few times a week. Walk, play and stay active.

– Arthur De Vany, Ph.D.


Arthur De Vany, Ph.D. In his 70’s, is 6ft 1in, weighs approx 190lbs and is under 10% body fat.

Arthur De Vany believes that we have virtually the same genetic makeup as our Paleolithic ancestors who lived 40,000 years ago. The problem, he and many others believe, is that our environment has changed dramatically.

De Vany contends that we would be healthier, fitter, and live longer if we adopted a modern version of the Paleolithic lifestyle. Having spent more than 30 years studying and practicing how to do that, he is regarded by many as the “grandfather” of the Paleo movement.

In this post I am going to sum up some of his basic principles and show you how to get started working out and eating how we evolved to for optimal health.


Nutritional Philosophy

To call a [low-carb] diet on which humans lived for millennia a fad is just ignorant. In fact, it is the modern fad of eating a high carb, high grain, high sugar diet that is harmful.

Arthur De Vany, Ph.D.

Cook by colour and texture so that meals look beautiful. If busy, skip meals with little worry. You don’t have to have three square meals a day. Snack on nuts or celery. Drink plenty of water. Also drink tea, coffee and a little wine.

Basically, eat animal proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Full fat diary is fine if tolerated.


Avoid bread, muffins, bagels, pasta, white potatoes, cereals, vegetable oils, beans or anything in a package.

These foods are empty, high-calorie foods that are not only detrimental to your health, but are of no dietary requirement to the body.

Fats, Herbs and Spices for Flavour

Spice up your food with fresh ingredients such as basil, cayenne, garlic, parsley, rosemary, spring onions or tumeric.

Avocados, nuts and seeds, and use oils, such as coconut, macadamia and olive oil, for flavor.

Celery adds texture (and is good for testosterone too).


Fresh fruits and berries of all sorts are good; They are good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. De Vany focuses on melon and red grapes. Fruit juice is out.

I personally have one or two pieces of fruit most days. Mostly bananas or apples, as they’re readily available to me. I do rotate as different fruits and berries come in and out of season.

Fruits are one of the best ways for quick fresh energy.


Eat lots of fresh raw, steamed, sauteed or grilled vegetables. Try not to use frozen, canned or packaged vegetables, although they are generally better than no vegetables.


Eat plenty of meat, such as ribs, steak, bacon, pork loin, turkey and chicken, but trim excess fat from the edges. Fish, seafood and eggs are also excellent choices. Don’t forget your organ meats, liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods available.

Try to have protein with most meals as it will improve satiety and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Intermittent Fasting

Our ancestors lived with feast and famine. Research indicates that chronic or intermittent fasting improves health. I do it the easy way. Never chronically; your mind and body will not accept it. And you will lose vital lean body mass; muscle and organ mass. Easy intermittent fasting is skipping meals randomly and eating to fill later.

Don’t be afraid to skip a meal and prolong your overnight fasts, I often workout first thing in the morning totally fasted (maybe a cup of coffee and some BCAA’s) and do not eat for up to  an hour afterwards.

This is great for Growth Hormone release and will boost lean muscle growth and accelerate fat loss.


Training Philosophy

Physically and genetically, we are built to run fast and climb trees easily. But few of us over the age of 11 do so. Which is why we’re now at the gym.

– Arthur De Vany, Ph.D.

DeVany is an advocate of intense intermittent training, keeping your workouts short and simple training with weights for no more that a couple 20-30 minute short intense sessions a week. He has based his training model on Power Law Training. You can read De Vany’s paper titled Evolutionary Fitness here.


The Rules

Follow the “15-8-4″ routine:

  • Do a set of 15, a set of 8, and a set of 4 repetitions for each exercise using progressively more weight on the latter two sets if you can.

Keep moving:

  • Do not rest between sets or exercises. Try to average 10-15 seconds (or as long as it takes to set up the next exercise) in between sets.

Keep your workouts very short and intense:

  • Get in and out of the gym in 45 minutes or less.

Work out no more than once or twice a week:

  • Pick a random day and don’t do it on the same day always.

Exercise the major muscle groups:

  • Conduct exercises such as the dead lift, squat, bench press, bent over row, upright row, overhead press and farmer’s walks.
  • Body weight exercises like the pushup and pullup.
  • Do free body exercises at a fairly fast pace during the concentric phase and a rather slower pace during the eccentric phase.

Protect your heart:

  • Do not grip things too hard and stay loose so the blood flow is not constricted by clenched hands and teeth.
  • Don’t hold your breath, and be sure to exhale as you push or pull the weight.

Protect your spine:

  • Do the abdominal brace, contracting the erectors of the back and pushing the abdominal muscles out a bit and contracting them.
  • Maintain the curvature of your spine and pivot from the hips rather than bending the spine.
  • Use your legs versus your back when lifting and don’t be afraid to use lower weights – especially with dead-lifts.

Hanging Ab Sets:

  • Find a pull up bar and hang from it with your knees at waist level. Hold as long as you can. Repeat 2 more times.

Standing Crane:

  • A yoga balance-building move where you stand on one leg, stretch the other leg out behind you, and position your body parallel to the floor.

De Vany doesn’t believe in long cardio work like mid level intensity jogging and prefers to walk, hike and play sports to keep that side of fitness in check.

He also recommends high intensity, short duration sprint work on occasion to add variation to your training. This will promote specific hormone drives that quench hyperinsulinemia and build muscle and bone density that keep you young and lean.


In a Nutshell

  • Eat fresh wholefoods that we were evolved to eat (Art is not a believer in starchy foods);
  • Usually three times a day but occasionally skip a meal, let hunger dictate your meals;
  • Workout with short and intense resistance sessions a few times a week;
  • Walk, play and stay active.

The beauty of the Evolutionary Fitness model that De Vany has created is that it seems so simple but it allows so much room for adaptation to your own needs. This article is a very basic summing up of the principles and there is a lot more to it and a lot more one can learn.

You can check out his book, The De Vany Diet here.

Insomnia: 12 Reasons Why You May Not Be Sleeping at Night

Sleep is arguably one of the most important things we do, next to breathing, eating, and drinking. In fact, studies show that people who skimped on sleep had an increased chance of developing diabetes, obesity, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. That’s how important it is to a functioning human body.

But in our modern world, so many of us find it difficult to switch off at night and get the vital sleep we need. Here are 12 reasons why you might be having trouble falling asleep (or staying asleep) at night.

Reason 1: Timing
Human beings need between 7.5 and 9 hours uninterrupted sleep every night. This means that even if you get 7.5 hours of sleep, but you wake up during the night, you are not getting enough. And it is not just about the number of hours sleep you get. It is also about WHEN you sleep. In one study, nurses who worked the night shift were at increased risk of gaining weight than those who slept between 10 pm and 8 am. Shift work that disrupts your normal pattern of sleep can also increase your cancer risk.

Reason 2: Environment
Everything from light exposure, noise, temperature, electronic devices, television viewing, allergens, and pets can potentially affect your sleep. In some cases it’s that the environment keeps you awake later and results in you feeling more tired the next day. In other cases it may be that you are wakened by a pet, child, or noise (snoring bed partner for example), and then find it difficult to get back to sleep. Perhaps you can think of ways the environment in your bedroom may be affecting your sleep.


Reason 3: Waking to use the bathroom
Known as nocturia, night time waking to urinate can also be a cause of disrupted sleep. Whether due to pregnancy, benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), interstitial cystitis (inflammation in the bladder), muscle weakness, or another cause which may be related to the other reasons discussed in this article, waking up to use the bathroom can lead to sleep issues as it reduces your hours of uninterrupted sleep (see Reason 1).

Reason 4: Blood sugar imbalances
If your blood sugar spikes and then drops again while you are sleeping, it will quite likely wake you up. This can happen when you eat a high carbohydrate snack before bed (even if it’s fruit). If you have insulin resistance or diabetes, you are more likely to be woken by disruptions in your breathing and decreased oxygen getting to your blood.

Reason 5: Elevated cortisol
Cortisol should be at its lowest at 10 pm in the evening and remain low until it rises in the morning (peaking at 6 am). With exposure to stress, cortisol levels can be thrown off track and remain high at night. When that happens, sleep is disrupted and insulin becomes less effective, leading to higher blood sugar levels and weight gain.

Reason 6: Weight gain
Sleep apnea, which occurs when breathing is blocked during sleep causing oxygen levels to drop, is much more likely with weight gain. Both sleep apnea and weight gain increase inflammation and risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.


Reason 7: Inflammation and pain
Obesity leads to inflammation and oxidative stress within the body, both of which are associated with worsening sleep. Inflammation spreads throughout the body and may be felt as pain in your joints, back or nerves (such as with sciatica). This pain can be sufficient to wake you in the middle of the night.

Reason 8: Gluten and other food sensitivities
Sleep issues are common in patients with celiac disease as well as those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, even if they are following a gluten-free diet. I find that many patients with multiple food sensitivities and with leaky gut tend not to sleep well, and that when they eliminate foods based on anIgG and IgA food panel, they report improved sleep. It may seem hard to believe that the gut and brain are so interconnected, but research is now proving the link referred to as the “gut-brain axis.”


Reason 9: Imbalanced Neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters, the messengers in the nervous system that determine mood, such as serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and glutamate, can affect sleep when their levels are out of balance. For example, if levels of serotonin or GABA (which are calming neurotransmitters) are too low, then sleep may be interrupted. If dopamine, glutamate, and/or adrenaline (which are all stimulating) are too high, again, it will be difficult to sleep soundly. And it is also well established that neurotransmitters can be thrown out of balance by inflammation and hormone changes.

Reason 10: Hormonal changes, such as peri-menopause
When ovarian function shifts, the hormones produced by the ovaries (estrogen and progesterone) change or decrease, such as with pregnancy, peri-menopause, and post-menopause. We require the right balance between estrogen and progesterone and if this balance is lost sleep can be affected. In addition, night sweats associated with hormone changes can also cause night time wakings.

Reason 11: Low Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that increases at night (its levels are highest at 10 pm), creating our sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. It has also been associated with the restoration and repair that occurs in our bodies while we sleep. When melatonin levels are decreased, sleep can be disrupted, either by not being able to fall to sleep, or by not feeling rested in the morning. This is the same effect that occurs temporarily, with jet lag.

Reason 12: Stress
When we are stressed by work demands or other stressful situations, sleep problems can result. This is true for both adults and children16, and has been shown to lead to elevated cortisol (see Reason 5) and weight gain, which further disrupts sleep (see Reason 6).

Courtesy of Primal Docs.