Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
30 Apr

10 Principles of Primal Living That Are (Finally) Getting Mainstream Media Coverage

Mainstream NewsWe don’t take credit for everything, of course, but the fact remains that the Primal/ancestral health community has been championing principles that directly oppose the conventional wisdom for nearly a decade. And while serious researchers have been paying attention to and studying these issues individually for years, no one had really synthesized them under the evolutionary umbrella. Now that our movement is becoming more popular and the scientific case for its principles more solid than ever, denying that a bit of sun might be good for you or that sitting is killing you slowly or that eggs aren’t deadly after all is no longer tenable.

Yes, Primal health principles and positions are getting mainstream recognition. Let’s take a look at some of the major ones.

That sitting is bad and exercise might not be enough.

Everyone knows that being sedentary is a poor health choice. But most people figured the solution was to set aside regular times each week to exercise. Formal exercise was the answer, and movement was segregated from “normal” life. As long as you hit the gym every other day, you could do nothing for the remainder of your time and be perfectly healthy.

That’s just intermittent sedentism, though, and it doesn’t work. Frequent low level movement throughout the day punctuated by intermittent bouts of intense exercise is what I’ve prescribed for years, and the mainstream is beginning to get the hint. Articles lamenting the prevalence of sitting, its scary effect on our health, and how exercising isn’t enough to counter it come out on a regular basis now.

Going barefoot isn’t insane.

Going barefoot is perhaps the most intuitive Primal lifestyle change. People can deny the meat-eating, fat-loving, sun-seeking behavior, they can claim that “sleep is for the weak” and “gluten-free is a fad” all they want, but they can’t ignore the shoeless feet that humans have been born with for millions of years. The bare feet we wear to bed at night somehow use to walk without teetering over and falling or twisting an ankle on the way to the bathroom are also fairly competent vehicles for daily locomotion.

Ignoring the big push back from podiatrists (likely worried about losing patients and orthotics addicts), the mass media coverage of barefooting has been reasonable. They don’t wholeheartedly endorse it, but then again, neither do we without caveats like “do it gradually” and “walk before you run.” Harvard even has a guide to safe barefoot running. And the people who matter – the ones who decide to or decide not to go barefoot, as opposed to the experts urging them to reconsider – are embracing it; sales of shoes that emulate the unshod state have stabilized but remain high.

Saturated fat isn’t so evil.

Saturated fat was a big hurdle to overcome for everyone, even in the ancestral health community. I never really considered it to be a big issue, but decades of indoctrination about the evils of saturated fat made – and makes – it the most stubborn piece of misguided CW.

Things are changing. Dr. Oz just came out in support of saturated fat on his blog and on his show (with Peter Attia). Late last year, a British cardiologist wrote in a leading medical journal that “saturated fat is not the problem.” The pathetic response dripping with cognitive dissonance from the experts doesn’t change the reality: people are realizing that saturated fat in the context of a healthy diet is not the problem and may even be a healthy fuel source.

That your gut bacteria affects your brain and almost everything else.

It used to be that suggesting the gut could affect the way your brain functioned would get you laughed out of the room for peddling woo-woo alternative medicine nonsense. And sure, there remain some holdouts among the cynic – I mean skeptic – community, who insist that “it’s too early to make conclusions” and thus “don’t waste your time trying to figure out gut health until the experts reach consensus and your doctor can tell you what to do.”

Meanwhile, reasonable people agree that the gut is the next big thing – in mental, digestive, immune, and overall health – and that we have plenty of actionable information. The Public Library of Science (PLOS) blog is writing about fecal transplants, for crying out loud. NPR is writing about the ability of your gut bacteria to control your mind, and Wired just published an interview with a researcher obsessed with the danger posed by antibiotics to our gut bacteria.

That leaky gut exists.

Mentioning leaky gut used to get you laughed out of a doctor’s appointment. It used to be the province of the quacks, the charlatans, the snake oil salesmen, and the ancestral health community.

We didn’t make it up. Researchers have been studying and referencing “intestinal permeability” and the exogenous agents and physiological conditions that cause it for years. It’s an established fact that the tight junctions lining the small intestine can become “leaky” and permit passage of potentially harmful or antigenic compounds into the body. Heck, for infants, a decent level of intestinal permeability is physiologically normal, expected, and even necessary! But until recently, it wasn’t acknowledged as real in the mainstream.

And even though it remains off the radar of most medical professionals, the Daily Beast just published a piece acknowledging both its existence and probable role in many illnesses. Will that change everything? Nope. It’s a good start, though.

Gluten can be a problem for people without celiac.

Although fervent opposition persists, the notion that gluten can be problematic for people other than celiacs is gaining wider acceptance.

One of the top tennis players in the game is famously gluten-free. Gluten sensitivity is an accepted clinical entity. Google searches for “gluten” have been trending higher month over month for years, while the number of searches for “celiac” has plateaued, indicating that something else is going on. Around 30% of American adults currently try to reduce or eliminate gluten from their diets, according to a recent poll, and gluten-free dating sites are helping gluten-free dieters match up with people who share their situation. To top it all off, the FDA’s just weighed in with some official standards for gluten-labeling.

That sunlight isn’t just an agent of death and disfigurement.

The mainstream coverage of sunlight is still mainly negative, but there’s a little ray of hope poking through: a begrudging acknowledgment that strict avoidance of it often results in vitamin D deficiency. Even if their answer is to keep avoiding it and pop a few D3 capsules, they’ve admitted that the sun provides a benefit, and that’s big.

You’ve got the most prestigious publication in the history of the world, the Daily Mail, cautioning against strict sun avoidance in 2012. The Huffington Post published a similar message in 2010. Anti-sun hysteria remains the law of the land, but the message is significantly softened.

Butter is better than margarine.

For years, we were told that margarine was the healthier choice. It had SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY behind it. Plus, we made it, and everyone knows that we’ve conquered and surpassed nature. Except margarine is disgusting. The older ones were full of trans-fat and the new ones are full of omega-6.

As for butter? US butter consumption has reached its highest level in 40 year and margarine has tankedButter is back, my friends, and untouched, unsold containers of weirdly-solid-at-room-temp margarine are filling dumpsters and crowding landfills as we speak. Not even the back alley vermin will touch it, preferring instead to scour the butter wrappers for remnants. Margarine lost. Butter won.

Eggs are healthy.

Eggs are a good example of the oscillatory nature of nutritional advice. “First eggs were killing us, now they’re okay, next they’re bad…” Well, I’ve been saying it for years: eggs are good for you, darn good for you, and it sounds like people are beginning to get it. Sure, you’ve got the diehard zealots who compare egg yolks to cigarettes and do their best to scare you off them, but they’re running out of steam and their arguments always fail under scrutiny.

Meanwhile, the people are eating their whole eggs. Even the usually complicit media is including some skepticism about the results in their coverage of the latest anti-egg studies, and other articles are downright bullish on eggs.

That statins may have untoward consequences.

For years, we’ve been seeing and pointing to reports of connections between statins and diabetes, dementia, muscle pain/wasting, and overall unintended health consequences to little mainstream avail. Sure, you guys reading this are probably a bit more cautious before popping the pills, but statins are still the biggest drugs on the market.

The recent push to include an even larger swathe of the population in the “statins required” category has received a ton of resistance, which is awesome to see. Some health experts are even recommending caution when it comes to the new guidelines. And now the FDA itself is warning consumers that statins may cause memory loss and diabetes.

What do you think, folks? Have you noticed a shift in the public perception of some of these issues? What other changes are you noticing?

Thanks for reading, all!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Mark,

    I’ve been Primal for about 8 months now. I’ve never been a fad follower, but your approach really struck a chord with me, primarily because it was backed up by data, sound analysis, common sense, and it matched my own personal experience.

    This post is more evidence that you are on the right track.

    I can’t thank you enough for all of your work. It has made a big difference in my life and I’ve been trying to gently nudge the people I care about in the same direction.

    Thank you!


    Tainerman wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • You make a good point – Conventional wisdom tried to portray Paleo/Primal as a “fad” diet. The problem is that (1) its not just a diet, and, (2) it works!

      The fact that Mark alters his position when new facts compel a new position is one more reason I will always come back here.

      Duncan wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • Yes. It seems to work for a large number of people, including me.

        I’ve seen posts where people knock it big time because “you WILL plateau on Paleo. It’s inevitable…”

        Seriously? If that’s the biggest criticism, then we have no worries. How many “diets” can boast that? Some may have you lose weight, maybe even a lot of weight, but 99% of people inevitably gain it back, plus some.

        Doing the Primal thing, you lose. Then you plateau. The you lose. Then you plateau. It’s like a downward-moving ratchet. Has been for me anyway. Adding weight has not been much of a problem. To me, that is the biggest, most foundationally different, and most under discussed/appreciated part of going Primal.

        Grok on!


        Tainerman wrote on April 30th, 2014
        • I was at 195 pounds when I switched to primal, with a 36 inch waste (most I had ever weighed, I had just quit smoking, but I had been consistently at about 180-15 and “skinny fat.”)

          In two months, I was down to 180 – I did “plateau”, but then added sprints and more regular weight work, and I have now been “plateauing” at 170, which is perfect for me at 5’11”. I bounce between about 168 and 175, with a 33 inch waist. My body composition is different than it has been my entire life – even my face has changed – persons tell me I look much younger, and some ask if I had cosmetic surgery or take steroids! I love it when I tell, no, just exercise and good-tasting food.

          Duncan wrote on April 30th, 2014
  2. i don’t preach to the world my eating ways, but when my diet does come up people are not surprised. Usually I hear, “oh, so and so is doing that.” or, “tell me about it.”

    Even in my no-face social circles on my blog, twitter, facebook, tumblr, and google+ people are interested and when I post on the matter they chime in that they know people going this way.

    It’s great to see the mainstream catching on.

    C L Deards wrote on April 30th, 2014
  3. Speaking of statins, Japan is in favor of raising LDL limits in their country to so-called “dangerous” levels, and continuing to brand people as healthy. New cholesterol guidelines would look like 178 for men, and 152-190 for women (depending on age). They agree over there that too many people are getting needless statin treatment.

    I wish we could see that kind of light, but no–the profit margin here is just too high.

    Wenchypoo wrote on April 30th, 2014
  4. I was sitting in a doctor’s office yesterday and the “Health TV” that was looping in the waiting room was till preaching the exact opposite of most of these principles. Pass the low fat sour cream :)

    Groktimus Primal wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • Yep, the opposite is still being preached to a large extent by the medical profession. I saw a newspaper article just the other day advising diabetics to avoid red meat, saturated fat, and full-fat dairy, and to eat sufficient whole grain products. Oh, and to be sure and take their meds.

      Shary wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • You nailed it… “eat grains and take your meds”… I’m diabetic (44 rs old), had to take my meds to keep my sugar levels between 150-200.. I went primal 3 months ago, stopped the meds then too, sugar levels are 90-140 since..

        chuck wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • and yet, we have this:

        600000 people studied…. saturated fat is fine for diabetics. Hmmm. Well, then I guess it’s ok for non-diabetics….

        SueT wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • Low-fat? The cafe I work at uses fat-free sour cream. Corn/modified food starch is high on the ingredients list, for texture and consistency mimicry. “The cake is a lie” has taken new meaning.

      Bill C wrote on May 1st, 2014
  5. I’ve work birkenstocks for years…do they qualify as minimal footwear (I’m not partial to the look of the vibrams…). What do you all think?

    drjoyous wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • I’ve worn Birkies for years too. I don’t know if they qualify as minimal but I love ’em. I say wear what works for you as long as they don’t abuse your feet. I feel sorry for women whose jobs require that they wear high heels.

      Shary wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • my choice is real, au naturel bare feet, or a pair of $3 flip flops

      Dave wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • Flipflops are not au naturel. In fact, they’re a great way to get hammertoes.

        Bill wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • I actually found flip flops (of the thong variety) to be pretty annoying after going barefoot/vibram/vivo. I hated the way I could feel my toes gripping the little strap by my big toe and the sole of the shoe. It felt sooooo weird. Now I’m wearing barefoot shoes or no shoes at all 90% of the time, and any “flip flops” I own have to have ample space for my toes and a heal strap.

        Stacie wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • A bit off topic, but does anybody have experience with xero shoes (barefoot thong flip flops)? I would like to try them, but I am hesitant because the shipping costs to my country are ridiculous!

        Simone wrote on May 1st, 2014
        • I love the old Xero shoes. Super comfortable and very customizable in how you tie them. There’s a new shoe out (Amuri Cloud) and though it is cool, neither my daughter nor I were big fans of the fit. I prefer my straightup old Xeros.

          I also LOVE my Soft Star shoes, my Sockwas, and my Unshoes. I haven’t tried Lunas yet, but probably will at some point. I don’t run in my shoes, they are for daily wear. I haven’t worn a heel of any kind in almost three years. My feet thank me for it.

          Rhonda the Red wrote on May 1st, 2014
        • I adore Xero shoes. They’re my favorite shoes for any terrain. My feet are a lot healthier, stronger and more supple after a year of wearing them. I never wore high heels, but I did wear stiff soled shoes. It took a while before I could wear the Xeros comfortably all day on pavement but now it’s a breeze. I also didn’t trim them to fit my foot until I’d worn them for 4 months, just to see how they sat. My only complaint is the pink ones aren’t really pink, they’re a dull red like an old pencil eraser.

          Janina wrote on May 2nd, 2014
        • Thanks for your replies! I may need to get them then anyway… Maybe just do 2 pairs at once. I wish I could convince my boyfriend to try minimalist shoes, but because of birth issues he has one smaller foot (about an inch smaller!) and has always worn orthopedic shoes.
          For me, I feel better after about 7 months of no heels, especially my ankle and knee joints. Those vivos feel great.
          I need to search for those unshoes :) They sound awesome
          If anybody knows more barefoot brands, let me know!

          Simone wrote on May 2nd, 2014
    • They have kind of rigid arch support, so I wouldn’t call them minimalist. I don’t find them particularly comfortable for that reason.

      Yasmine wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • The minimal part’s supposed to be the sole more than the upper, so no. Birkies are basically thick slabs. (My wasband wore them.)

      Once in a while Vibrams go on sale; they’re out of my reach otherwise, and I have to be careful which upper style I get because I have gigantic rises (distance from sole of foot to top of foot). But I will probably grab them at some point. I’m not proud. I wear New Balance right now. Most people don’t look at your feet anyway.

      Dana wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • “Most people don’t look at your feet anyway” wait until you start wearing five-fingers shoes… everyone will notice.

        Jane P wrote on May 1st, 2014
        • Too funny!! I am a Muslimah and wear my vibrams dressed in an abaya (long robes) and get the strangest looks. I just laugh.

          Charlotte wrote on May 8th, 2014
      • I have the same the same issue with the “high rise”. I buy men’s sizes. I miss out on the cute colors, but they function fine.

        LD wrote on May 5th, 2014
  6. Amen Mark!!

    My daughter in law is a cardiologist. When I found I had some “moderate” calcification of teh arteries she wanted me to get on statins immediately. I deferrred to fish oil, bitamin K2, and primal eating (going on 2 years now)

    My son and she both were upset that I didn’t run to the drugstore with prescription in hand. She even told me just about every doctor over 40 is taking statins as a preventative!

    Well, If God allows me to live long– and then drop dead, I may be officiating at thier funerals! (sorry, that’s pretty morbid–but you cannot fix family that easily)

    Pastor dave Deppisch wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • Sorry for the misspellings– I am all thumbs.

      Pastor dave Deppisch wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • Out of curiosity have you gone back to find out if the calcification has gotten better or worse after you avoided the statins?

      keith wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • Yes, would love to know! Keep it up.

        Josh wrote on April 30th, 2014
        • Yes– returned–calcification slightly less!!! Considering I am 63 and had years of poor nutritional choices, having moderate calcification is really about “normal”– but it’s exciting to see that even this can be reversed!

          BTW- this is a great forum– so far ahead of it’s time.

          Pastor dave Deppisch wrote on April 30th, 2014
        • Congrats!! Keep at it and show even those in the business that pills aren’t the right or only answer!

          Good on ya!

          keith wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • I have doctors in my family as well. One is firmly in the CW corner but she listens to Dr. Oz so maybe she’ll come around. The other has always been ‘alternative’ medicine and he’s interested in the articles I send him regarding Primal living.

      Susan wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • The average life expectancy of a cw doctor is roughly seven years lees than their long suffering patients. Why anyone listens to these miss informed drug pushers is way beyond my comprehension. Good primal nutrition and exercise is all we need to live healthy lives. Also I have had no problems with my teeth since I found this lifestyle five years ago. The savings on both doctors and dentists easily more than cover the cost of the high nutrient foods required.

        patrick wrote on May 1st, 2014
      • My mom’s family doctor volunteered one time that she thought eating wheat was a bad idea…I couldn’t resist saying, “Amen!”

        She’s the only doc I’ve heard say anything sensible about diet, but then I avoid docs aside from the rare actual sickness.

        Energy! wrote on May 2nd, 2014
  7. HA! Even 20 years ago, when I was a kid, I never wanted to eat bread with margarine. I hated it so much and tried to avoid every piece of it by playing with my food. With no satisfactory result I must say as my parents forced me to eat it. But, I may have been onto something 😉

    Even now, if people bring the stuff with them, I smell it almost immediately after they unwrap the sandwich and I almost have to throw up (for real!)

    Simone wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • I once horrendously insulted a friend who invited me to her Thanksgiving meal — I brought real butter to her house, ’cause I didn’t know if she was a margarine type — and I wasn’t going to risk it! (I was surprised she was so offended — but tough luck! Not gonna eat margarine for anyone!)

      Elenor wrote on May 1st, 2014
  8. Bare feet are a wonderful way for a growing human to connect confidently to the earth, develop essential balance skills, and, yes, help populate his/her microbiome (if/when the feet find the mouth). One of the (many) things I would do differently if I could re-do my parenting would be to stop putting things on my kids’ feet whenever possible.

    Gydle wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • I agree! I can’t wait until my little guy walks. He’s going barefoot whenever possible. My feet were flat and the toes don’t properly flex, and neither do my wife’s, thanks to shoes. Strengthening my feet was the best thing that happened to my knees and even to exercise in general.

      Ian wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • My little ones didn’t like the way grass felt under their feet when learning to walk. They would start crying right away when we put them down in the grass. They have little mocassin type shoes that we used on their feet and they are inexpensive and easy to find at most discount stores. My youngest does play in the dirt and his hands definitely find his mouth. :-) My older ones are now barefoot all the time at home and outside when the weather is nice.

      Tricia wrote on May 2nd, 2014
  9. Sweet!!!!

    I may be new to Primal (14 months) but growing up comfort food was grilled meat, veggies, salad and a baked potato with butter, (cheese and sour cream)

    Thank you Mark and co for all you do to help keep the message moving forward. I had a fried ask… what is a condensed eating window… I replied part of my plan to train my cells to use fat as fuel (since I still have 60 of my original 160 left to loose). I gave her a bit of my health journey… stated sorry for over sharing.. she replied.. No Tell me More! (always happy to share the benefits and improvements in my life Primal/Paleo has brought.)

    meg94 wrote on April 30th, 2014
  10. There is far too much money now in keeping people unhealthy and having them buy pills to “fix” things and more pills to fix the side effects of the other pills. Its disgusting how corrupt big Pharma has gotten to include companies like Monsanto and others who are deeply embedded in keeping us all sick. I don’t fully follow Marks instructions but i am moving that direction at my own pace and can honestly say I feel better every day I do. My eyes are open to the truths and I hope I can extend the life of me and my family and hopefully see some sort of revolution soon to make bigger changes at the highest levels.

    keith wrote on April 30th, 2014
  11. I love this article! Mark you knocked it out the Park!

    BarefootAllen wrote on April 30th, 2014
  12. Changing my diet and doing shorter and more intense exercises, has drammatically improved not only my overall fitness and well-being, but also helped a lot with back problems that I have been struggling with for years.
    Thanks Mark!

    Lars wrote on April 30th, 2014
  13. I just saw an ambulance chaser commercial on late night TV looking for women with high cholesterol who had been prescribed Lipitor as there is now a lawsuit out there against the manufacturers that Lipitor caused type II diabetes in women taking it. I have been resisting taking this drug for years and am now vindicated!

    Rita Potter wrote on April 30th, 2014
  14. Hey Mark. I discovered your amazing site about a year a go and haven’t looked back so while I knew primal was the way to go based on the evidence I was getting from my own body it’s great that finally it’s breaking through into the mainstream and we can hopefully look forward to a healthier way of living being prescribed by the powers that be. I read recently that Norway is the first country in the world to alter its public medical and dietary advice to its citizens in terms of advocating low carb/high fat. As a Brit though I’m somewhat put out by your quote regarding the Daily Mail being the most prestigious publication in the history of the world! It’s kind of known for being right-wing!

    Eden sharp wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • I think Mark’s tongue was firmly in his cheek, as it often is.

      Tyrannocaster wrote on April 30th, 2014
  15. The crazy thing is, after this starts to become mainstream, all these conventional wisdom fanatics are going to claim these primal principles to be their own ideas. The people who advocate for change never get the credit due them. And I find this to be unfortunate. Even though Dr Oz has had the likes of Chris K and Tim Ferriss on his show, people are not going to seek out these people, they are going to associate it with Dr Oz. I for one have been pushing paleo/primal for a year now to my friends and family…then a week ago my buddy comes to me and says “Hey I saw this guy on Dr Oz who says this and that”…..and I respond with a big “I told you about that 6 months ago!”.

    It really bothers me that after all his effort, Mark Sisson gets shoved behind a TV doctor. :/

    Josh wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • SO true that Dr. Oz is going to.get the credit, drives me nuts! My husband and I have been Primal for four years, thanks to this site and Mark’s book, and our families and friends (none of whom are in good health) scoffed, called us crazy, and worried over the dangerous way we were eating. Now some of them are going gluten free on the advice of their doctors, and my (vegetarian) mother is spouting off all the same things we have been telling her as if it is the newly discovered gospel truth because Doctor Oz is finally preaching it. So frustrating.

      Ginger wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • Doctor Oz gives lip service to these ideas but he never really changes his stance. He has had Dr Mercola, Gary Taubes, Dr Sinatra, Dr Perlmutter and many more but the next day he is back to low fat healthy grains. The only healthy fats are mono unsaturated. He truly looked convinced after Dr Sinatra explained cholesterol to him, but by the next day he was back to conventional wisdom.

        Greg wrote on May 1st, 2014
        • Show me the money.

          As long as there is big money in big agra and big pharma, there will be too much financial inducement/encouragement/implied threat for many in the health establishment to depart from party lines.

          The sick care system is far too lucrative as it stands today. If we all started getting healthy, what would Kelloggs and Pfizer do? And that’s only to name a couple of industrial giants whose entire financial portfolio is dependent on us eating Poptarts and taking statins.

          Rhonda the Red wrote on May 1st, 2014
    • “…after this starts to become mainstream, all these conventional wisdom fanatics are going to claim these primal principles to be their own ideas.”

      The French have been practicing these “primal principles” since forever!

      SumoFit wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • We all know the French are saved by all that wine. We even have a name for it, “The French Paradox “. My tongue in cheek explanation was all the aspirin from all the wine.

        Greg wrote on May 1st, 2014
    • All that matters is that people become healthier. If healthy eating get’s co-opted by the mainstream, all the better. Just image the change if the AMA, AHA and the USDA and FDA got with the program and stopped peddling a low fat grain heavy diet. Proper credit for ideas only feeds the ego and has no real place in positive change. True success comes when a great idea become so ubiquitous that it’s perceived is being a self evident truth.

      Clay wrote on May 2nd, 2014
    • My best friend did the same thing!!! I have been doing this for 4 years. . when I started, she told me it was baloney, I couldn’t function on just these food items, had to have grains. .. I lost 15 pounds in 3 months. She had about 70 to lose and just kept eating her way. Last year, she got married, doctor told her she has to lose weight if she wants to get better. . .low and behold, she is now grain free!! imagine where she would be if she had followed me 4 years ago!!! to each there own. . and they must find the way themselves.

      linda greek wrote on May 9th, 2014
  16. The mainstream is also beginning to see the light / sunlight / flux / etc

    Scott UK wrote on April 30th, 2014
  17. This article made me smile, particularly: “Margarine lost, butter won.” Not only entertaining and bigger-smile inducing, but true and so good that it is! I have been reading this blog for 2.5 years and love what it stands for and how it is done. I have made a decision to post MDA articles and/or links to some of the articles within to help disseminate the info among any friends who may catch on and keep the information going. As always, Mark, Carrie, and Team, KEEP IT UP!!!! :)

    Kevin Grokman wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • I love butter but I’m the only one out of my friends and family who eats it. Everyone loves margarine. It makes me sick :)

      vanessa wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • Haven’t had margarine for…I don’t know how long. I don’t recall my taste buds being so sensitive to pick up the difference but aside from just seeing what it tastes like I wouldn’t go back!

        Kevin Grokman wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • No, it makes THEM sick!!

        Elenor wrote on May 1st, 2014
  18. Growing up in S. FL blonde and blue and having my first basal cell carcinoma removed from my nose at 25 did not strengthen my love for the sun.

    I went very low carb in early 2010 and lost a bunch of weight and generally felt a lot better. in 2012 we had some serious family issues hit the fan. I had a HUGE desire to get out on the sun. Getting probably six hours a week did miracles for my mood. Despite all the sun, my annual dermatologist appointment in January netted a, “Keep up the good work!”


    Dave wrote on April 30th, 2014
  19. ” Hey Dr. Oz, we booked Dr. Peter Attia to talk about the new outlook on saturated fats in the diet!”

    “Great job team, he is a wealth of information on the topic. Let’s have him roll a bunch of balls down a stupid ramp to demonstrate the difference between small and large particle LDL! That’s a great use of our time with him!”

    Enkidu wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • Come on, it wouldn’t be Dr. Oz without the barmy demonstration!

      Anna wrote on April 30th, 2014
  20. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has noticed this trend! Since I started going Primal, and becoming a Primal missionary, I have been waiting and watching for the mainstream to figure it out, but thought that it may be impossible for the government to backtrack and say that processed food is killing us, and all the other things they have proclaimed as gospel for the financial benefits, yadda, yadda. You all know l what I’m talking about. So many jobs would be lost. They take up so much of our grocery stores, and are such giant corps, our economy might collapse! (Joking a smidge.) Anyway, while I’ve been sitting in my doctors’ offices waiting for them to fill my new prescriptions ( ;o) and reading mainstream, trendy mags, I have been noticing that “bacon as healthy” is making some decent buzz, turnarounds and corrections that “fat doesn’t make you fat” alongside the benefits of fats, and full fat dairy (don’t shoot the messenger, anti-dairy folks), and very-low-carb preachings are really gaining strength! Thanks, Mark.

    Wyllyness wrote on April 30th, 2014
  21. I think Mark tends to take the higher altruistic position. He has written this blog for many years without any payment…..(as you can tell I come from a time before the all knowing interweb made information so available. Especially info on nutrient and physical fitness.) And after all…this is where it is at. Who watches TV anymore? Right kids under 30?

    Judy wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • What’s TV?


      Stacie wrote on April 30th, 2014
  22. Hey Mark!
    I’ve been trying to get my husband to eat primal. He’s on the fence. Change. He has inflammatory issues in his elbows, wrists, and back. I think he would benefit from this.
    Also people from my run group are talking about this way of eating and since I’m the only one who eats this way they ask questions. People who run think they need those carbs!
    I think Peter Attia’s very brief spot on Dr. Oz didn’t give him enough time to make an impact, but it was a start. I’m a big fan of Peter Attia.
    People are talking. People are becoming more aware.
    Thanks to you Mark! And your followers!

    Cathy K wrote on April 30th, 2014
  23. I work as a Health Coach and the company I work for strictly adheres to the EBM guidelines. (Evidence Based Medicine). The information and material that is provided to me to provide to my patients is out of date and out of touch. I am constantly “going against the grain” and referring people to Mark’s Daily Apple, Dr. Jack Kruse, Ben Greenfield, and Dave Asprey, just to name a few. My patient base is Average America…overweight, over worked, under educated, and under nourished. I bring the same basic ideas to every patient of consuming a more nutrient dense whole food diet from our very first session. I push “cleaning up” their diet and getting adequate sleep before I offer any kind of physical activity advice, which all of them want up front. “What exercise can I do to get in shape and lose weight?” If pressed, without fail, I tell them to start walking…every day. You can imagine how this goes over. My roll as a Health Coach is much different than that of a Personal Trainer, although I am CPT as well. The idea is to help my patients find out what works best for them and support them in their efforts and break down barriers, find motivation, and set goals. I love this about my work, but to not share “the truth” with them I feel is a disservice, so I make my not so subtle recommendations whenever possible…and for those that have bought in, the results speak for themselves. Word is spreading throughout my patient population and now it is just a matter of time. Thanks for all you do Mark.


    Ultinate wrote on April 30th, 2014
  24. I can remember my Mum in the early 50’s saying she wasn’t having margarine kids. We had butter. When it was on ration she mixed the butter with some margarine to make it go further. I have been eating butter and no margarine for several years now, before coming across the Primal Blueprint. As for going without shoes, my eldest son didn’t wear shoes regulary for the first 2 years of his life. I was told off as he is flat footed, but this is a hereditary thing, and he has never had any problems with his feet. I don’t often go barefoot as i suffer from very cold feet, but at home I just wear moccasins with hand knitted socks except in the summer when its nice and warm. When we have some sun in the UK I try and go without sunscreen, but I do wear a hat. I’m blue-eyed and blond so have to careful I don’t burn.

    Diana wrote on April 30th, 2014
  25. This website has helped me tremendously. I followed advice of common wisdom and doctors and all it did was make me sick and fat. I think losing the fear of eating fatty food was the biggest help to me. I’m not totally primal/paleo but I’ve cut way down on the low fat “diet” junk foods and cut way back on breads. I’ve upped real meats, veggies, and fruits. I lost 70 lbs so far and feel much better.

    Kristi wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • Way to go! It is a journey. Ive made small changes for 4 years. Not making a new change till the last one became part of my lifestyle.

      meg94 wrote on April 30th, 2014
  26. I certainly hope minds are changing, but if anything it seems like the CW mainstream hears the Paleo/Primal footsteps coming and is going on the counterattack. I still get CW publications like Berkeley Wellness Letter and Nutrition Action that I used to subscribe to before I found Primal (my subscriptions haven’t run out yet and I won’t be re-subscribing) and I now see them in a whole new light. It seems pretty clear that their agenda is not to present options that may help people become healthy, but rather to defend a point of view, go on the attack against different approaches, overstate the evidence for their point of view, hide counterevidence, and completely reject the idea that they have been giving advice that will not work well for many people. Hopefully this will change but from what I can see, if people think the CW is going to change due to the weight of logic, that doesn’t seem to be happening. Sooner or later it will likely require a nasty fight, since the main three enablers (academia, the media, and government) have a lot to lose if the CW is found to not only have been wrong, but to have mis-stated the evidence in a way that harmed many people.

    Superchunk wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • I still ‘subscribe’ to Life Extension Foundation (for the cheap blood tests and decent-to-good vitamins — mainly for the blood tests!) but I am always SO frustrated by their magazine — it’s supposed to be cutting-edge medical research? And it’s still all the old stupid CW!

      Then Consumer Reports came this week — and same thing! They’re SUPPOSED to be doing real actual solid TRUSTWORTHY research on stuff — and they tell you how many fat grams are in some food they recommend, but not carbs; they push “heart-healthy-whole-grains” … Does no one in these outfits ever keep up? Catch up? WAKE up?!?!

      Elenor wrote on May 1st, 2014
      • Yes, same here. LEF seems to just be pill pushers.

        Something I appreciate about the Ancestral Health Community is that people seem to point out the contra-indications and weak/unsettled points in a position rather than portraying things as settled science when there are grey areas or compelling points in the opposite direction. There is just no alternative to thinking for yourself and checking everything.

        Superchunk wrote on May 1st, 2014
  27. Well better late than never. The truth was there all along – I didn’t really know it consciously, but my body has been telling me for 56 years how and what to eat. I just didn’t trust and listen. I went through years of abusing my body with trendy diets, starvation, eating disorders, emotional eating, and up and down yo-yo dieting just to have a love/hate relationship with the same 25-30 lbs. The healthiest time of my life was during my two pregnancies when I paid strict attention to eating well – meat and veggies, no junk. I’m sure some therapy could have helped get to the deeper seated issues here, but anyway what matters is I’m here now and going for it! All my life, diets/body image notwithstanding, I knew a few things to be true – for me: I love and crave veggies – they are candy to me; I love steak – the juicy, fattest cut you can find. My favorite meal at Mom’s table was spare ribs, and when I was done, the bones were picked clean as if they were out in the desert for a year. I was made fun of when others would cut the bony fat piece from their steak and only eat the inner lean part and I grabbed the fatty bone to chew on. I love going barefoot – always have. I don’t obsess about germs; while others carry around their liquid germ killers, I wipe my hands on my pants and move on. Pure first cold pressed EVOO is my dressing of choice, an elixir to me. Carbs don’t agree with me, made me lethargic, and I’ve never used sugar in any drinks. I can gain 5lbs in a two days from eating one bagel. It’s just how it works for me, unfortunately carbs are my go-to emotional crutch, hence the 25-30 lb swing I deal with every other year. So I guess I always knew, in a primal sense, what really is the right way to eat. I’m tired of waking up tired, I’m tired of the self hate after gorging on a large bag of potato chips because my Mother is sick; I’m tired of eating tiny so called healthy meals and gaining weight, and of cramping up after eating a bowl of “health” brown rice. So, I’m going to go for it 100% and I don’t even have to wonder if it will work for me – my body has been trying to convince me of it all along: My top favorite foods have always been broccoli, steak, olive oil, cauliflower, almonds, and apples. Oh, and I worship the sun – I drink in those rays like honey. It’s no mystery, and it’s only natural – HELLO! The smart theory behind the no-grain edict will remove that poisonous option for me, so I’m not worried about failing. Thanks for all the amazing work and info on this incredible site!! Funny thing is, I found MDA through another blog about the HCG diet, another miracle cure I was trying, HA!! I start my fun food shopping today and should already have ghee and coconut oil in my mailbox waiting for me when I get home!

    Candace Bertalan Horner wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • Candace – we could be twins. You go for it and good luck.

      Michelle wrote on May 1st, 2014
    • Amen Candace. That’s my story in a nutshell. So I will emulate 100%. Thanks for the extra motivation.

      Ingrid wrote on May 6th, 2014
  28. My dad usually does whatever the doctor says, but he’s a bit bitter about statins. He had the muscle wasting problems and even years later, there’s lingering pain. They had him on a different statin for a while but he finally went off it. He’s never had a heart attack either…

    Wildrose wrote on April 30th, 2014
  29. “…You’ve got the most prestigious publication in the history of the world, the Daily Mail… ”


    Maximum trolling.

    My parents are finally coming around after years of extremely early morning workouts with trainers and soy-based protein shakes afterwards. It hasn’t been working and they’re starting to hear more and more about this ‘paleo thing’ from their friends – because hearing it from me for four years wasn’t enough.
    It also helps that the primal friendly dishes I bring for family gatherings always get the best reviews, much to my mother’s pride/chagrin. I use real fat and whole foods, just like great grandma’s recipe book calls for, not the “healthier” substitutions that have been made by subsequent generations.

    His Dudeness wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • My 8yo cooked eggs for her friends yesterday, they loved them (so did their mum). Asked for the recipe “eggs, lots of ghee and some duck fat.”

      One of the kids said something about lots of fat making you fat. I just said that these were healthy fats and we need lots of them. It’s scary that an 8yo already has that mentality that fat is unhealthy.

      Hannahbelle wrote on April 30th, 2014
  30. I went to a fancy wine tasting and noticed another guy wearing the dressy, black leather 5 Fingers like me. There was a bit of a nod and wink between us.

    Nocona wrote on April 30th, 2014
  31. Great piece today. I work in a convalescent center where the residents are constantly starting at their TVs. I have noticed this trend and was chuckling a few weeks ago at a news headline read dramatically by a lady anchor, “New reports from the heath field say, “Eat your veggies… OR RISK DEATH.”” She later reported that it is still important to eat healthy whole grains according to experts, of course. It’s a slow road, but it is being built.

    Julie wrote on April 30th, 2014
  32. Here’s a couple more reasons why to lose the flip flops:

    Joe Kistner wrote on April 30th, 2014
  33. Well done Mark. I can’t wait for the day when red meat and saturated fat are regarded as the health foods they truly are. These things should be shouted from the rooftops especially here in the USA. Think of the so called ” French Paradox”. They eat butter, cream, and red meat by the wheelbarrow full with much lower rates of heart disease. I have ate this way all of my life and always knew it was the most healthiest. Finally, the powers that be are coming around. Keep up the good work Mark.

    Tom wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • But they also move around much more, eat much smaller meals, take longer eating them, don’t snack, eat little processed foods and eat cleaner. Telling an American to add meat and butter on top of their processed seeds oils, sugar laden drinks, processed food, and lack of exercise will not produce the same results. To many people, telling them to eat more meat means more McDonalds and Chili’s. You can’t separate out the French diet without considering their entire lifestyle and mindset.

      Clay wrote on May 2nd, 2014
      • Unfortunately, that was then. Now, the French are eating like the Americans and developing an obesity problem. Go to a supermarket in France and look at the shopping carts. Fast food joints galore. McDonald’s: Check, Kentucky Fried Chicken: check, Subway: check;
        just to name a few….Yikes!

        Ingrid wrote on May 6th, 2014
  34. Great top ten list. I think the most important thing is realizing how saturated fat isn’t to be blamed for all the ills of society and that refined, processed carbohydrates have caused more damage than we realize.
    It feels like it could take decades to reverse the mindset people have regarding this but it definitely is underway

    jamie wrote on April 30th, 2014
  35. Don’t let Medical Doctors get a hold of this info – it would eat deeply into their pocketbooks…

    Denis Vigneault wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • you realize there are MD’s/DO’s/PA’s/CNP’s/RN’s/PT’s/OT’s here on MDA, right?

      Erin wrote on May 1st, 2014
      • Thank you so much for being here too, all you medical professionals! I can’t imagine the pressure you all are under to conform to the official stances of the practice/hospital/insurance company etc! I know my own doctor has such a difficult time getting the tests run that we both know would be helpful to me because of the insane amounts of red tape involved.

        Keep up the good fight!! It’s not hopeless!! There are too many good medical professionals who want to help people be well for the ball to stop rolling. It’s just going to roll slow.

        Rhonda the Red wrote on May 1st, 2014
        • I wish people would understand that our healthcare system is near completely driven by insurance reimbursement and politics. Thank you for your sympathies :)

          Erin wrote on May 1st, 2014
  36. Great summary of sound principles. It’s funny how difficult it is to change after being bombarded with information for the last 15-20 years. It took me a long time to stop getting low fat crap, even after I knew the real stuff was better.

    It was also tough to get rid of the big, stiff running shoes even though I kept getting hurt (I have successfully made the transition all the way from Brooks Beast to a neutral shoe to Vibrams (occasionally when running) and roaming about completely unshod. Thanks for believing in those of us who have been stuck in stupid.

    Trent wrote on April 30th, 2014
  37. “Exercise” is a popular answer because it doesn’t offend any lobbyists from Big Ag companies. Buying processed cupcakes and then buying a gym membership to exercise off the cupcake is seen as saintly. But if you tell them it’s easier to just avoid cupcakes in the first place… hoo boy. Attack attack attack…

    oxide wrote on April 30th, 2014
  38. When I was diagnosed with Celiac about 8 years ago, I remember patiently explaining the whole deal to my book club, & their listening with horror to my list of things I couldn’t eat. Then year by year, one after another discovered that gluten (& some also dairy) was harming her health in some way. Now the club is over half GF eaters, some also Paleo, & I’m betting in coming years there will be more & more of us!

    I wish the same trend was happening in my household… my husband is stubbornly wheat & sugar addicted, & wears orthotics that I’m convinced are making his foot issues worse. Ah well…

    Paleo-curious wrote on April 30th, 2014
    • I got rid of my asthma when i went GF. My digestion was always fine though, even eating gluten so I am not at all someone that would normally be suspected of being gluten sensitive. To see the effect, I had to be fairly diligent though, it was not enough to just cut back but still eat some daily. I really had to cut it out of daily eating. Now I can eat some occasionally with no apparent side effects, but I rarely do it. I am thinking gluten issues are on a continuum with celiacs way over on one end but a lot of other people still having lesser but still considerable issues. How many people around you do not take regular medications? In my circles, I am the only one (now that I don’t need asthma meds anymore..).

      Eva wrote on April 30th, 2014
      • Yes! I don’t take a single prescription– before going GF I had cycled through half a dozen to address my bouquet of symptoms– most of them caused side effects more unpleasant than the ill they “cured”. (And 3 were actually recalled!!)

        When I was diagnosed, I was SO grateful that the solution was med-free! I couldn’t believe my frequent migraines, constant aching joints, anemia, recurrent stomach pain, & even brain fog & depression virtually all VANISHED within months!

        Paleo-curious wrote on April 30th, 2014
  39. I’d also say that it’s becoming commonly believed and often that processed foods in general are not healthy. And yes, I’ve seen the tide turning and gut bacteria looks to be the new big thing. However, I think what we will likely see is a turn by big pharma to targeting it with more pills and treatments that are not cures or real fixes. There will be a new wave of artificial treatments, gut bacteria pills, etc.

    And we are also seeing continued in roads by GMO foods and chemicals into our food supply. Another area of concern is that food manufacturers are not required to list chemicals in our foods if they are considered part of ‘processing’ even when the chemicals remain in the end product. Most if not all store bought juices are like that and most ground beef in the grocery store (70%) has pink slime up to 15% that is not required to be labeled. Store bought potatoes are treated with chemicals that soak deep into the potato to prevent sprouting, etc. Did they research how these chemicals respond to heat, microwaves, and how they metabolize in the human body? No, because they weren’t required to do so. Yes, things are turning in a better direction on some fronts which means we are getting into a better position to drive harder on what’s left like all the crap they are allowed to stealthily put into our foods!

    Eva wrote on April 30th, 2014
  40. Primal since Aug 13, this is my first (and last) diet. Someone in my family asked me recently if I was still on ‘that diet’. I had to explain that it was for life, having lost 22lbs (13%) I said it was no longer about weight loss and all about long term health. I have a hard time explaining it to some people, and I recon I sell it quite well. I now just point them to MDA and warn them that reading the content will change them forever. This usually raises the curiosity level high enough.

    Chewy wrote on April 30th, 2014

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