Ask a health coach: intuitive eating versus primal eating

Hi folks, Board Certified Health Coach Chloe Maleski is here to answer your questions about intuitive eating. Curious about what intuitive eating is and whether it is Primal? We are here with guidance and support! Do you have a question you would like to ask our health coaches? Leave it below in the comments or in Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group.

Janice asked:
“I’m thinking about doing an intuitive eating program. What is better? That or Primal? Can I do both? I am confused!”

First off, you’re not alone, Janice! It’s easy to get confused by the many approaches to diet and eating out there – many of which offer conflicting advice.

women chop vegetables in the kitchen

An important thing to keep in mind is that no one way of eating is optimal for everyone. What is “better” or “best” for you depends on many factors, including individual characteristics and circumstances, health and wellness goals, and factors related to resources and accessibility.

That said, there are certainly certain foods and eating patterns that are harmful to just about everyone. When it comes to health, longevity and vitality, a diet full of sugar, highly refined seed oils, fast foods and processed foods is never a good idea!

On the other hand, eating in a way that more closely resembles what our ancestors ate is much more likely to support healthy outcomes. At the most basic level, we’re really just talking about real, whole foods in their most natural state or with minimal processing. Think:

The above are Primal staples and give our bodies what it needs to thrive – not just survive. When people eat consistently in this way over time, people usually become intuitive eaters in the sense that they know what their bodies want and when they are actually hungry. As a result, they are less likely to indulge in comfort or emotional eating out of stress, worry, boredom, or just a habit.

In general, this is not the case when we eat a diet full of “modern” foods that disrupt our endocrine system and metabolism while contributing to systemic inflammation. Grains and sugar are a major culprit. It’s difficult, if not impossible to “eat intuitively” when these foods have disrupted our body’s signaling system and made us desensitized to the natural sweetness in whole foods, as well as to feelings of hunger and satiety. Because of their highly physiological impact on our endocrine system and insulin levels, grains and sugar promote cravings for, well, more grains and sugar!

Primal Eating = Intuitive Eating

That is, Oereten is intuitive eating. This is especially true if you commit to eating Primal in a consistent manner, plus following the other Primal Blueprint laws. These, in addition to food choices, influence our body’s hormonal signaling system and determine whether we are in touch with what we actually want and need.

While all 10 Primal Blueprint laws are important, the most important are here:

Think about it. If you follow those three, plus eat plants and animals and avoid toxic things (including the grains, sugar, and highly processed foods mentioned above), you’ll almost certainly feel better and intuitively know what foods your body wants and when.

Intuitive eating = intuitive eating

Simple, right? And yet we humans tend to complicate things…

There is an entire practice and methodology known as Intuitive Eating (with a capital “I” and “E”). This approach differs significantly from the Primal Blueprint Laws. One of the core principles of Intuitive Eating is unconditional permission to eat anything in any amount. As we learned above, this gets tricky because what you eat determines what your body wants.

For some people, this unconditional “green light” helps take the pressure off and helps them heal from eating disorders and useless patterns around food, diets, and body image. In such cases, an Intuitive Eating Approach can actually nurture healthy, intuitive eating patterns (and can even lead people to Primal eating, which is the optimal diet from a physiological and evolutionary standpoint).

For others, the approach can backfire, for the simple reason that the foods we choose have a very physiological impact. If you’re allowed to eat sugar and cake, you eat sugar and cake… well, your whole physiology will eventually want and demand more of the same.

Since there isn’t one approach that works for everyone, it’s up to you to experiment and get really honest about why a particular approach resonates. Is it the “permission granted”? The carte blanche to eat cake? Or something else?

There is no judgment here, but to truly embrace a healthy diet and lifestyle, you need to ask yourself these kinds of questions. As a Primal Health Coach, one of my main tasks is to guide clients to self-reflection and help them figure out which approaches and strategies work best for them.

Primal resilience = good news!

It is worth noting that a Primal lifestyle is not bad news! First, the 10 Primal Blueprint Laws are really just parameters to show the way. There is no need or expectation to always get it “perfect”. Make a dedicated, consistent effort and you will likely feel better, become healthier, fitter and want to keep going.

When we feed our body what it was designed to consume and live for in a way that aids it on the path to well-being and vitality, our intuition and internal barometer become stronger. This makes intuitive eating and intuitive living something “we just do” without relying on external rules and guidelines.

food freedom

If we eat Primal sustainably most of the time, we become metabolically flexible and increasingly resilient. In those instances where we find that a non-primal food is really worth it, bounce back becomes easier and faster. We just get up the next day, reset with Primal meals and move on.

For me, this is true food freedom: eat and live to thrive. Knowing that one treat won’t derail the trajectory of looking and feeling my best. Always remember that our bodies are on our side and want us to eat and live in a way that feels better.

Getting there can take time, yes. And the exact step-by-step plan will vary from person to person. Consider working one-on-one with a Primal Health Coach for support! It’s more accessible than you might think, and we can help you understand which nutritional approach and lifestyle is right for you. Visit to learn more and get started!

Do you eat intuitively? Have your desires changed since you went Primal? Let us know and ask any other questions for me in the comments!


Primal Kitchen Ranch

About the author

Chloe Maleski is a board-certified Primal Health Coach and personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. She is also a Head Coach at myPrimalCoach, the premier online health coaching service designed to help you lose weight and take control of your health for life.

If you want to lose weight, gain strength and energy, sleep better, reduce stress or manage chronic health problems, myPrimalCoach can help you. Complete the myPrimalCoach health questionnaire to take the first step towards lasting health and well-being.

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