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

Ask Me Anything and Primal Blueprint Updates

This blog post is a two-parter. First, a progress update.

Last March I announced a number of exciting projects I had in the works. I’ve already checked a few things off the list: PrimalCon, held last April, was an amazing experience, and the response to The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and the Primal Blueprint Poster (released last month) was incredible. But I have a few more things up my sleeves for this summer, and I’m getting regular emails from readers wanting to know when they’re releasing.

If you aren’t familiar with the Primal Leap Kit, it’s a 30-Day program that will walk you through, step-by-step and day-by-day, the transition to a healthy, Primal lifestyle. The Kit will include a binder-bound Primal Leap Guidebook, a Primal Blueprint DVD (I walk participants through all 10 laws of the Primal Blueprint), an abridged audio book version of The Primal Blueprint (voiced by yours truly), The Primal Blueprint Guide to Foraging in the Modern World (a handy guidebook on how, where and what to shop for, including a Primal shopping list and many practical tips on being a “hunter-gatherer” in the 21st century), The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and likely a few other goodies. The Primal Leap Kit is nearing completion. I am shooting to have it available for you by mid-July.

As anyone that has read my book knows, Primal Blueprint Fitness is all about getting maximum results with minimal amount of effort. That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not. Fitness doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, complicated or even all that hard. PBF will show you how simple it can truly be.

The official (e)book is due out in one month, and will be 100% free to all Mark’s Daily Apple newsletter subscribers. In the meantime, prepare yourself to rethink exercise as you know it, and get ready to be armed with the tools and ideas needed for lifelong, functional fitness.

It’s called the Primal Essentials Kit for a reason. We’re many steps removed from the world Grok lived in. As such, there are certain key nutrients that I see as integral to a modern Primal lifestyle: vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics. I personally supplement with all three daily and recommend others do as well.

The Kit has been designed to be a cost-effective and convenient option for every Primal enthusiast and is slated to be released in about 2 weeks.

One final update: In a couple weeks’ time is getting a facelift and will become the go-to source (replacing for all Primal kits, books, posters, apparel and supplements. Stay tuned!

Ask Me Anything

This is an open offer to ask me anything. Leave a question in the comment board regarding the updates above or any other pressing question that’s been on your mind and I’ll attempt to answer them in next week’s “Dear Mark” post.

Thank for reading, everyone, and Grok on!

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. Could you someday publish an “Eat this in a pinch” guide… something that would help us road warriors who sometimes find ourselves in a pinch and surrounded by nothing but chain restaurants?

    Brian wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Here’s an idea: make or buy some pemmican (from grassfed sources of course). The original protein bar, but with lost of good fat too.

      Dave, RN wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I love this question – and second this idea. How about a simple guide to chain restaurants and what foods are the least of all evils and how to order them.

      SK1 wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • I just order no bread, no fries, etc… At an office meeting with a sandwich tray? Pick off the meat & roll it in the lettuce “garnish”. I have tins of sardines, tuna, salmon stashed at work, in my bag, at home… There are tons of those saladbar/soup places in the cities. Even the cheezy corral buffet places have salad bars. Don’t forget the good old IF back up plan: well, nothin to eat here; guess I’ll wait til later. We’re hunter/gatherers – we don’t *have* to be 100% successful…

        Peggy wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • well said

          Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • its not primal but mens health has a guide eat this not that that goes through restaurants and explains better choices. not PB but good idea to know if you cant do anythign else

        dane wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • Hi Mark,

      My father was 41 years old when he suffered from a heart attack, and has been on all the standard meds that follow such an event ever since. He is now 50 years old, and although he has been “healthy” for the past 10 years, I am concerned that long term, the way he is living is not all that good for him.
      Do you have any experience working with someone who has suffered from a heart attack, and has started living primally, and has been able to reduce or even completely go off their medicine?
      My father was lifting very heavily and had a stressful job at the time of his heart attack…(all outward signs would have indicated he was perfectly healthy) was not cholesterol related, but he is currently on a low-fat, low cholesterol diet.
      After ready your book and Good Calories, Bad Calories, I am concerned that this isn’t really helping him. Besides this, he complains of joint pain and isn’t able to be as active as he used to be…it seems like a downward spiral.
      Any advice would be appreciated so maybe he could talk to his doctor about different options.


      sweeps843 wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • I don’t know enough to comment on the heart issues, but whenever I hear “joint pain” I immediately think “grain sensitivity”, and there’s a lot of research out there to support the idea. I used to take large daily doses of NSAIDs which caused an ulcer and only helped with the pain but didn’t eliminate it. Now I’m completely drug-free and almost pain-free since quitting the grains. That alone has been worth it for me, never mind all the other amazing benefits of being primal. Ask your dad to do the 30-day trial and see what happens. Since I quit eating grains, if I have any at all now, the pain in my back and ribs keeps me up at night for about 4 days. You just don’t realize how bad you feel until you start feeling good.

        Vicki wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • I would tell your dad to try what Vicki suggested. I lived with joint pain for years, but it went away when grains were eliminated from my diet. (I’m still in awe that “healthy” whole grains could do such damage.) I occasionally fall off the wagon by eating something like bread or crackers and my body suffers for it.

        Good luck with your dad. I’m still trying to get a couple of my family members with arthritis to give up the grains (or at least go gluten free), but some old habits die hard, I guess.

        Patsy wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • Thanks Patsy, Vicki, and Amy…I’m going to show him this post so hopefully he’ll see for himself :-) And I’ll have to make sure he’s checking the site more often!

          sweeps843 wrote on July 7th, 2010
      • Going grain-free stopped my joint pain, too. I’ll never go back! For me, it meant ALL grains, even corn.

        Amy wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • How about just educating yourself so you don’t have to rely on a guidebook? Grok used his brain.

      Holly wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • Grok didn’t use his brain, he ate what was available.

        Roland wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • LOL If none of them thought & they all just ate, the humans would have died off from rotten meat and poisonous berries.

          Willow NyteEyes wrote on June 13th, 2010
      • Wouldn’t you say that using a guidebook is a form of “educating yourself”? You have it backwards. You use a guide to educate yourself so you don’t have to use the guide anymore. That’s what a guide is. A guide shows you how to do something that you didn’t know how to do before.

        Thanks for playing! See my assistance for some lovely consolation prizes.

        Levi wrote on June 13th, 2010
        • I’d like to agree, but I think what happens is, when people have a book, they become bound to the text chapter-and-verse instead of grasping the underlying principles.

          The principles are simpler and more useful in the long run, and they’ve already been covered exhaustively on this site.

          Holly wrote on June 16th, 2010
      • Grok seems to have learned a lot at The School of Hard Knocks.

        Michael wrote on July 27th, 2011
    • Look for the deli at the local grocery store. There is always a produce isle nearby that you can use to get a salad.

      Most cities have parks with grills in them. Grab a small bag of matchlight charcoal (you can use regular, but matchlight is more convenient), and you can cook just like grok: no right in the fire.

      You are still stuck for dinner meetings, but this can get you through the worst of what a road warrior faces.

      Henry Miller wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • Cut and paste this and print it out:

      “Fruits and vegetables, meat. Dairy only if you can tolerate it. Nuts, seeds.

      Read the ingredients. If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. Grok didn’t.

      If in doubt, eat a salad with meat on it.”

      There’s your guide.

      I wouldn’t expect Mark to waste his time going over all of the menus of all the chain restaurants to tell you what of these items are edible. The guide will soon become obsolete as the restaurant execs come up with new combinations of poisons. And the food additive agencies find new ways to rename their ingredients to fool you into consuming their crap. It’s really a losing battle.

      REAL Food — don’t leave home without it.

      chipin wrote on October 21st, 2010
  2. I am quite interested in how having a day every now and then of higher carbs effects leptin. I know others in the forum practice these “refeeds” and would just like to know more about the whole thing. Also can it be considered primal and perhaps even beneficial from a health perspective? Or is it just a trick for fat loss?


    David wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • +1

      I would also like your opinion on an occassional higher carb “refeed” so to speak where one meal or day a week one would eat more carbs to help rise leptin after a week of lower cals. The science is very strong that this helps with weight loss but would like your take on it from a health perspective and how one could do it in a primal way.


      bennyha wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • + another
        I’m quite new to primal and this sounds interesting as I’m trying to lose weight. I’m not losing much (4+ weeks of primal eating, and not really cheating at all) but am feeling loads better so I’m not too caught up in the weight thing. However, if there’s a way I can enjoy some spelt pasta or kamut pizza with my kids once in a while, that would also be good for my weight, I’m all ears!

        Lucy wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • There is the 20% cheat rule that you can apply. Once in a while you can cheat if you want, just make sure the 20% doesn’t creep up – many people hear about the cheat rule and think of it all the time, not realizing they are not cheating 50% or more of the time. Pizza on Friday is okay (but you will feel the bad effects), for one meal, but you need 1 week of perfect eating to balance it out.

          Henry Miller wrote on June 10th, 2010
  3. What about iron? Should men be concerned about accumulating too much iron?

    Michael wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • In my opinion, yes. Women get rid of some red blood cells with it ‘s iron each month. Men don’t. Maybe that’s why women tend to live longer??? At any rate it ‘s good for the giver and receiver.

      Dave, RN wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Just a share…. my dad always used to love giving blood because he “felt better” afterwards… maybe it was his way of doing just that without realizing it.

        Laura wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • LOL!

          Sarah wrote on October 25th, 2012
      • What? Nonsense!

        Annie wrote on March 30th, 2011
  4. Hi Mark,

    There is a lot of talk about what’s in blood, what it’s measurements should be etc. However what about blood itself, I’d like to see a definitive guide to blood

    Steve wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • +1

      I would like to know what all those numbers from a blood work test mean. Thanks.

      Chris wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • That brings me to another subject. Bloodsoup recipe!


      Suvetar wrote on April 5th, 2011
  5. Dear Mark – How do you explain people like Clarence Bass who are apparently quite healthy and fit and yet eat an abundance of grains and other carbohydrate-heavy foods?

    Jeff wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • He exercises enough to burn off the sugar and stay slim but it doesn’t mean he is healthy or even illness free. Maybe he would still have his hair if he was primal.

      Jonathan wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • He has to result to chronic cardio (which isn’t healthy) to burn all the carbs. It is an endless cycle that really takes a toll on your body.

        Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • Respectfully, I disagree with both of those assessments.

          Bass gets checked out regularly at the Cooper Clinic, and according to them, he’s in good health. He has had prostate issues and a hip replacement in recent years (and he’s been balding since his 30s), but he doesn’t suffer from the degenerative diseases that are crippling his generation, and his vastly more fit than the average member of the younger generations in the United States.

          I agree that chronic cardio is not good, but that’s not what Bass does. He exercises a fair amount but it’s high intensity lifting and HIIT with walks on his “off days.” If he’s to be believed, his lifting workouts are not typically much longer than an hour, and his HIIT workouts are, appropriately, quite short. He might just be a genetic outlier, but the guy’s been ripped for decades despite eating a large quantity of grains and legumes and little meat or fat. If diet is truly 80% of the body composition equation, then he’s either a massive genetic outlier or there’s something else going on.

          In any event, Bass is just one well known case. Take a look at “The Jungle Effect,” for instance. There are other individuals and groups in this world who eat large amounts of grains and yet remain healthy (likewise there are many groups who eat little to no grains and are healthy). I’m interested in Mark’s views on how these people and groups are able to do it.

          Jeff wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • troll is troll.

          jeff wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • Clarence Bass is not quite a genetic outlier. He just works out a whole lot. Though he eats a lot of grains I wouldn’t call his diet unhealthy considering the way most Americans eat. Being vastly more fit than the average American is not an incredible feat.

          From Ironman Magazine:

          “The main change that I’ve made in recent years is the addition of ‘good’ fat, usually salmon. Good fat slows the absorption of food and is good for the heart and circulatory system. I eat a balanced diet of mostly whole foods. I eat three main meals and three snacks a day and never miss a meal. The bulk of my diet is vegetables, fruits and whole grains. In addition, I make a point of having some fat and high-quality protein with each meal or snack. I never allow myself to get overly hungry. I don’t starve myself.”

          He actually does a lot of meat and has increased his fat intake so even he is following the most recent scientific findings on nutrition and health!

          Levi wrote on June 13th, 2010
        • By the way, Bass take creatine supplements which he recommends because it “works especially well for people who don’t eat much meat. I’ve taken it for years.”

          So, not only is he not a genetic outlier, he supplements nutrients that he KNEW he didn’t get when he was eating a so-called healthy diet with less meat and more grains.

          Levi wrote on June 13th, 2010
  6. Mark

    How can you explain how some of the leanest and longest lived and healthiest populations from around world all have eaten starches and grains historically?

    How can you reconcile the fact that modern hunter gatheres in the Amazon make bread from white flour?

    It is likely Grok did not avoid grains and starches. I think that is scientifically plausible. No?

    I second the Clarence Bass comment too.

    StarMcDougller wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Taken from:
      From the Desk of Clarence Bass…
      “What did our ancient ancestors eat? The truth is that we can’t say for sure. It almost certainly varied from time to time and place to place.

      The short answer, says Forencich, is “whatever they could.” Their primary challenge was simply “getting enough calories to stay alive.”

      “We are omnivores,” Forencich writes, “and that as much as anything is the key to our evolutionary success. We are here today because…we can eat almost anything.”

      Most humans probably ate some combination of plants and meat or fish. The evidence suggests that we were not designed to subsist on a single, optimal diet, according to Forencich. “There are undoubtedly some foods that we should avoid,” however. For example, we probably should avoid eating “large quantities of saturated fat and [refined] carbohydrates.”

      We know that most primates are vegetarian, and that we share that heritage to some degree. We certainly ate whatever plants we could find. Beyond that, Forencich says, experts believe that our ancestors did eat meat on occasion; some ate more than others. “Our smaller, early [ancestors] were largely vegetarian, but may have scavenged some meat,” Forencich states. “It is a certainty that we ate roots, berries, fruits and nuts. Other primates eat these things routinely. Later, our larger, more contemporary, ancestors may have eaten little else but meat.” It was a far cry from the meat most of us eat today, however.

      Fat was hard to come by. “This is not difficult to understand,” says Forencich. “Wild game meats are low in fat, considerably leaner than today’s beef cattle; fat must’ve been a great delicacy.”

      Ancient man chowed down on fresh, sugary fruit—when it was available. “But such abundance would have been highly seasonal and certainly not part of the daily fare,” Forencich relates. Needless to say, “there was no bread, no pasta, no jellies, cakes, cookies or soft-drinks.”

      “The Paleolithic diet, if anything, was probably a slow-burn program with a low glycemic index,” Forencich asserts. There was little or no fast-absorbing foods “that would cause radical insulin swings and metabolic flame-out.”

      “Unfortunately, we seem to be moving in the other direction,” Forencich laments. “Given [our] dramatic increase in total calories derived from sugar and sugar-like substances [such as corn syrup], it comes as no surprise that we see an increase in adult-onset diabetes” and other metabolic disorders.”

      Other than a disagreement about saturated availability and whether or not it should be included in a healthy primal diet, I don’t see a lot of differences in the overall philosophy of Bass and this blog.

      Not So Fast wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • My family chowed on grass finished bison sirloin, beets, and roasted rutabagas last night. Tonight it’s spatchcocked pastured chickens and lacinto kale sauteed with bacon pieces.


        Not So Fast wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I’ve pondered that question to.

      When I’m in Italy, I eat a ton of carbs (pizza, pasta, panini’s). The general population of Italy does too. Meat is really expensive.

      Yet, I routinely lose weight on my Italian trips and I feel great. I’m guessing it’s related to increased sun exposure, smaller serving sizes, and more walking. The carbs, themselves, are probably less processed.

      thehova wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I’m sorry in advance for what I’m going to say. Why don’t you do some research on your own if you are so concerned? It is possible grok ate “some” grains but its not plausible that he survived on them as a primary source of nutrition like modern humans. Grok did not have the tools to gather and make flour in large enough quantities to sustain their lives according to leading anthropologists! Most people come to this website to add to it and not take away! The people that read this blog should be proof enough that grains cause more health risks than any food there is. If you want to defend grains, go do it on a grain eating website!

      Aaron Curl wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • Amen!

        suvetar wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • “If you want to defend grains, go do it on a grain eating website!”

        Right, because groupthink has so far been shown to be the best way to exchange ideas. I think shutting down reasonable discourse with “go away” is counterproductive.

        blank faceplate wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • I do think it’s great you’re looking at websites with differing opinions. Dig a little deeper on the site and I think you’ll like what you see!

      The ‘Groupthink” mention made me chuckle: it’s grouthink that has us eating grains and following the oxymoron Conventional Wisdom to an unheathly lifestyle.
      You can search Mark’s Daily Apple archives for great information on (debunking) the China Study and how/why grains are bad for you, and what Grok would have had available to him. As for ‘modern hunter gatherers in the Amazon make bread from white flour,’ Primal folks are not attempting to model their lifestyles after a modern group.
      I understand naysayers’ concerns with what’s presented on this and other websites – it’s not CV, not what we’re used to – but after years of self-experimenting, I whole-heartedly agree with and attempt to follow the PB laws. My quality of life has improved exponentially, and that’s what it’s all about. And the science behind it all, as Mark presents it here and in his books, is just reaffirming my commitment.
      Give it a try. A 4 week commitment (even to just a few ‘laws’) is not much and you can always go back to SAD/CV if you’d like.

      Melissa wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • *CV – I meant CW/Conventional Wisdom.

        Melissa wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • Common consensus differs from groupthink, FWIW. My point was that telling someone with fairly valid questions (though TBH, I thought that the post I replied to was aimed at the Forencich post, not the parent post – my mistake) to go and preach to the proverbial choir is counterproductive. And, yes, every single diet/lifestyle board and blog I read tends to be a bastion of groupthink where outside opinion is not only unwelcome but trounced.

        And there *is* a lot to question, really – it is a very valid point that many different diets all have had positive effect on the lives of people. Go look at a raw food forum, or a Ornish-style forum and see similar things in all of them about how the diet saved the person’s life, alleviated pains that they used to be on morphine drip for, filled them with energy and exuberance, and added years to their sex lives, etc.

        So, simply, I would challenge anyone to explain how a forager could possibly subsist on a diet that included 50-80% fat. Field mice, deer, insect and grass are all pretty low in fat IME (though I have to admit to not eating many insects voluntarily). There aren’t a lot of olives or coconuts an many places I’ve lived, though there has been a *ton* of fruit in many of them.

        Blank Faceplate wrote on June 11th, 2010
  7. Dear Mark,

    You’ve touched on this in the past, but could you explore Bodyweight Exercises more? I’d like to move beyond just pushups/burpees etc (even though your ‘Prison Workout’ post has been a Godsend!) but there’s a lot of weird information out there. I’d like to get some from a trusted source, and by that I mean you.



    Jim wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Although I’m not Mark: Ross Enamaits book “Never Gymless” ( ) is – in my opinion – pretty much the best thing I’ve ever read on Bodyweight Exercises. (And I’ve read a lot on exercising in general and on BWEs.)
      If you don’t want to spend money (22$) on a book, at least consider reading his articles on the website and take a look in the forum.

      I’ve been training for about 1 1/2 year now, and although I’ve basically started with Never Gymless, I’ve not followed it too much at first – which was, as I know now, pretty stupid, because many mistakes I’ve made and many things I’ve learned along the way, experimenting with different kinds of training, different sources of information, and different exercises, were already covered in that book.
      So yes, I’d recommend that book a lot. Although I’m not training BWE only anymore; I’ve added some exercises with free weights to the mix (using dumbbells), mainly to make my one legged squats harder and to do deadlifts.

      hmrf wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Ross’s stuff is fantastic and some of the most information dense and resonable priced stuff on the market.

        Steven wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • You should check out Adam Steer’s website ( He has a couple of programs for sale, but he also has a free ebook program – it’s genuinely a good starter.

      Regarding being trustworthy, I came across Mark because Adam did an interview with him for one of his products (which I bought). Hopefully that says something about him.

      Mikey wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • I have the BER ebook, but didn’t like it too much (for several reasons). I’d still say that with Ross’ books you get way more, and more useful information for less. But I don’t want to sound like an advertiser for Ross.. 😉
        But I gess there is worse than BER out there, so why not 😉

        hmrf wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • I love Ross Enamait and have several of his books. I think Never Gymless is a bit advanced for a lot of people, but a great resource. I think Infinite Intensity is an amazing book for a wider variety of people, and handles bodyweight up to homemade dumbbells and easy to find equipment for home use.

          Roland wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • I second Roland’s comments. I love Ross’s stuff, and have for most of a decade. I frequently view his blog because I love his positive attitude and I hope just a touch will rub off on me. That said, I find both II and NG to lack in the area of working in to exercises. There’s not beginner/intermediate/advanced level to anything, it’s pretty much “Routine A: 1 min rounds: Burpees, ab wheel roll outs, pistols, divebomber pushups, mountain climbers” While that kind of stuff is undoubtedly going to produce a kickass workout, you’re pretty much already a machine if you can complete any of his suggested circuits. Obviously, his target market may not be 300 lb fatties tying to get a little more exercise, but the point remains that while undoubtedly solid, his products tend to be aimed at people who can already go, go, go, but need help putting together a program.

          Oh, and Ross eats a fair amount of grains from what I can tell.

          Blank Faceplate wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Jim, have to second your comments on the Prison Workout… I recently traveled to New Orleans on business and busted out the Burpee routine in my small hotel room. When I got down to 15 I knew I was in for a killer workout, when I hit 1, I was dripping with sweat and gasping for my next breath. For all you business travelers, make sure you read that post! -T.J.

      T.J. wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • This is a great question, Jim. I’d be very interested to hear what Mark has to say…

      Longfellow wrote on June 10th, 2010
  8. If that fitness guide contained info about how to get a good workout quickly when you are on the go or on vacation that would be great.


    John wrote on June 9th, 2010
  9. Primal Foraging: Stay out of the supermarket. Shop at the Farmers Market.

    Steve wrote on June 9th, 2010
  10. Hi,

    A burning question about lectins. I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere. If certain processes (cooking, fermenting) make certain foods easy to consume, I am assuming that the lectins are still present in those certain foods (beans, grains) and cause harm to our digestive systems. Or, are there other things in those foods that make them toxic for (some) people?

    Natalie wrote on June 9th, 2010
  11. Mark, two pressing questions for me:

    1. Can you alkalize your body by the way you eat and is it desirable?

    2. Is detox for real? For eg. a 7-day cleanse of unlimited veggies only and some supplements to aid in detox.

    Kishore wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Like to hear the answer to the detox question.

      Oliver wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • If by ‘detox’ you mean flushing out your bowles naturally, having a bowel movement here is how you detox:

      Eat 2 lbs of grass-fed/finished kidney fat and juice 2-3 cucumbers per day to go with the fat.

      If you don’t have full blown gushing, waterfall splashing diarrhea and aren’t completely empty by the 3rd day I’ll give you 100 bucks.

      Suvetar wrote on April 5th, 2011
  12. Mark,
    Where do you stand on the use of gluten free flour? Can this be incorporated into the Primal lifestyle at all?


    Sean S wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I second this question…thanks mark :)

      Daisy wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Read the ingredients of the flour package. Some are made with combinations of other grains (rice, corn) & soy. It’s all about what you want or don’t want in your diet, or what your body will tolerate. Coconut flour is gluten-free, AND it is from a “primal” source…

      Peggy wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • blanched almond flour is also a good grain free alternative flour. Makes killer pancakes that I use as a my “bread” for nutbutter and jam sandwiches. Great comfort food.

      IBRobynb wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • true true tue! I have both those & hazelnut meal/flour on hand at all times

        peggy wrote on June 9th, 2010
  13. Good afternoon Mark,
    I loved the book and have been trying to stick to the Grok lifestyle.

    How about a link page that you can search each state that would list, low-carb eating, supplies, specialty shopping, and low carb friendly doctors?

    People could contribute info for there area.

    Thanks, John

    John wrote on June 9th, 2010
  14. I have been reading some info on cholesterol because I have really never had mine checked and I wasn’t sure what the healthy ranges were.
    I read that under 200 total was good…depending on the HDL/LDL levels along with triclyceride levels.
    Would eating a primal diet cause the total numbers to be higher along with the HDL numbers?
    What is a typical healthy range for us grokers?

    Cindy wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • The lower the total the higher the risk of cancer. Total number doesn’t mean much. HDL to Trig is more important. Search and and others for info. Read up on LDL pattern A vs. pattern B. Primal will fix your ratios to healthy (but might be over 200 but isn’t bad)

      Jonathan wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • informative post on what cholesterol is and how to interpret your blood work, written by an MDA forum member:

      it ain’t short, but it’s worth it to read the whole thing

      Kristin J wrote on June 9th, 2010
  15. Mark, thanks for this site and the info, much appreciated. I was checking out your Damage Control product and saw that it contains No Flush Niacin. I’d done some research recently concerning Niacin intake and it’s lowering effect on Triglycerides. All the information I could find said No Flush Niacin has very little positive effects and regular Niacin should only be taken. What are your feelings on this?


    Chris G wrote on June 9th, 2010
  16. I’d like to see you address the primal lifestyle specifically as it relates to our children.

    Kimberlie wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I second this question….I find it very challenging to address this with my own kids.

      Their young minds are bombarded with cereal, candy and sugary drinks advertising (let alone what their peers are eating for school lunches/snacks).

      Plus, it seems that their little bodies crave these high carb/sugar foods.

      We have been trying to role model good eating habits and exercise by both being Primal/Paleo.

      Paleo Nation wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Yes I third this too. Unfortunately my kids have been vegetarian from birth. My 8 year old is gradually starting to follow my example and eat some meat. However, both her and her 7 year old sister are going to take a loooong while to get to a healthy primal diet. In the meantime I am trying to use non wheat (at the moment, spelt, oats, buckwheat and kamut) and also soak all grains overnight before using. Soon I’m going to try sprouting and grinding. It’s a lot of effort though!

        Lucy wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • Check out she had done a great job incorporating the whole family and kids and dealing with the “village uprising” plus you will get some of the BEST recipes.

          Steven wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • Along the lines of raising primal children, I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on supplementation for babies and young kids (under the age of 5).


          Sam wrote on June 10th, 2010
  17. Mark,

    Will the Primal Blueprint DVD and audio book be available separately from the Primal Leap Kit package?

    Oliver wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I would like to know this too, and if we might get a discount or be able to customize the kits if we’ve purchased the books before. I just recently purchased the Primal Blueprint book and the Primal Cookbook, which were relatively expensive for me. It sounds like the kit will be even more expensive, and I just can’t see paying the extra money for a duplicate set of books, especially when no one I know is interested in the Primal lifestyle.

      Silence wrote on June 9th, 2010
  18. Dear Mark,

    I would like to know more about primal living with specific reference to women and children’s health. I was worried about going primal while nursing my daughter due to warnings over supposed dangers of being in ketosis while pregnant or lactating. But I figured that if this is indeed natural and how we evolved to eat, the dangers must be overstated. I went ahead and cut out grains, fruit, and sugar, and carefully monitored my daughter during the process. While she was well nourished and continued to gain weight, I was alarmed at how differently her urine smelled (extremely bad; I’ve never smelled anything like it. Like ammonia, but sharper), so I brought moderate amounts of fruits, rice, and potatoes back into my diet.

    My question is: is there any research that suggests a primal diet is healthy/not healthy for lactating women and their infants? (I’m curious if there’s any evidence that paleo women who were pregnant or lactating (and their children) may have had more starches in their diets than the women and men who went out hunting.)

    San wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I too am nursing a baby, a 13 month old son. I’ve been in and out of ketosis since February. I haven’t noticed his urine being any different and he is growing fantastically. Also, his terrible reflux has completely disappeared (except when I fell off the wagon- then it came back with a vengeance). I couldn’t find any research on this topic either, but then I thought about people such as the Inuit and other northern tribes without access to vegetables who have consistently eaten a mostly meat diet for millenia. Those moms must be in ketosis most of the time, right?

      Entwife wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • my question was similar to the above. do you or your wife have any tips for primal living while nursing? i am SO hungry all the time and crave, crave, crave bad carbs.

      Karen C. wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Also interested in this issue. I’m currently nursing an 8 week old and wondering if there are any special considerations I should think about.


        Sam wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I would love to see a post on this topic too. I am nursing a 13-month old who has reflux and is a very picky eater, so I need to do all I can to make the best milk I can!

      Rachel wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • As I said, while nursing, eating VLC (around 50 or less) and primal has completely erased my 13 month old’s reflux (which was severe). When I fall off the wagon at all though, his reflux comes back. All in all my baby seems to be truly thriving on my ketosis.
        If you’re having problems with hunger, increase your fats, and simply eat more!

        Entwife wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • I too am interested in this topic.
        I’m nursing my 1 yo daughter. I am sugar and grain free since January but I just can’t stay away from bananas and other fruit. Do nursing women have more carb “needs” or is it just in my head?

        Vanilla wrote on June 10th, 2010
  19. Dear Mark,

    I really love reading your posts, and I have found them really informative. I have a bit of a “dilemma,” if you can call it that. I have been a vegetarian for 18 years, and during that time I have come to see meat as, well, repulsive. I still do eat dairy and eggs, but there’s a part of me that’s EXTREMELY reluctant to go back to eating meat. I just find it so gross right now.

    I guess my question is, do you think it’s possible to go Primal where my primary protein is eggs? I know it could get a little boring having only one main source of protein, but I’d like to try it. Perhaps over time I would re-develop a taste for meat. I guess I’m wondering if you see any harm in this approach. Thanks!

    Karen wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • What ever gets you going down the Primal road.

      Jonathan wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Karen, I was a vegetarian for 30 years and got back into eating meat by having my husband handle the meat and grill it on the BBQ. By winter I seemed to be able to deal with the raw meat more easily.

        I guess for me, it is the raw meat that grosses me out, mostly. I also hate all the fat splattered on everything. Okay, not everything, but it sure seems like it.

        Bacon seems to be the entry meat for many so maybe you could try that first. And save the fat, great for cooking those eggs in.

        Sharon wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Read “The Vegetarian Myth”: by Lierre Keith” If any book can change the way you feel about meat this one would be it.

      Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I managed to eat primally for around 3 months as a vegetarian – it is possible but it is pretty boring, then the more I thought about it, the more I read, the more I realised it was a no-brainer, we evolved eating meat. I found a local butcher who uses local grassfed stock and haven’t looked back.

      I found once you’d cut the grains and sugars you become so attuned to what your body needs, and what it doesn’t, that starting to include fish and meat is a natural step along the process.

      Kelda wrote on June 10th, 2010
  20. Here’s my question: When you say not to count calories, is it because you believe that calories don’t matter? Or just that you won’t need to because a primal diet is so filling?

    Erica wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • If you’re eating the right foods to begin with you shouldn’t really have to worry about counting. With veggies being so calorie low and protein and fat filling you up. From my own personal experience it is hard to overeat if you eat primal.

      Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
  21. Dear Mark:

    I would like to know any tips or advice you may have for converting friends and family to a primal lifestyle. I want them to live a long healthy life too, because they are people I care about.

    I receive a lot of criticism from people, mainly about the grains/bread and fat. I offer them books like Good Calories Bad Calories, The Vegetarian Myth and The Primal Blueprint but they just laugh and say you can’t believe everything you read.

    Just the other day a coworker said he was in a doctors office with a poster that said only white flour is bad and wheat is great.

    Arm me with the words that will win them over! What advice have you for me?

    Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • My wife and I struggle with this as well. We have decided to let our bodies do the talking for us…If someone asks us how we lost weight or how we got in shape, we tell them and show ourselves off as the proof.

      Paleo Nation wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • ugh… I live with a “non-believer” & I get crap all the time because I won’t eat crap. If he cooks something I don’t eat, then I don’t eat or I make something else. When I cook it’s something we can both eat; sometimes I just have to add his white rice or biscuits (shudder). I just try to always get to the store first so I get good food in the house. I think my healthiness intimidates his (fragile) male ego, but his stubborness against change is firm. As is mine.
      In otherwords, some people will see your results & wanna listen to what you got, the rest are very convinced they have to have oatmeal instead of bacon for breakfast.

      Peggy wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Man. I’d love to find a woman who understands Primal..

        JD wrote on July 5th, 2010
  22. Hi,

    Quick questions; Are massages a good idea….

    frank wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Massages are a great idea, always!

      Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
  23. Just got my vibram finger five…and GREAT QUICH RECIPE!!!

    frank wrote on June 9th, 2010
  24. Hey Mark, how about a color coded chart of all the fruits, veggies, fats, oils and meats out there in the world that shows: green for great, yellow for poor, and red for danger (with regard to primal nutrition). Sort of a quick reference sheet we can check out so that every kind of food is in one spot and we can double check our grocery lists before we go shopping.


    bro0kiebaby wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I LOVE this idea. I would definitely use that.

      cathyx wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I also think this is a great idea. Any kind of visual aid is beneficial!

      Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I fourth this idea. Most people LOVE visual guides.

      Primal Toad wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Fantastic idea!!!

      Jen wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Yes please, just got my poster today with my cookbook and noticed ‘good fats’ and thought, crikey I can’t remember which all the good/bad ones are!

      Kelda wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • Agreed. The research I can find on your blog or in your book but a quick reference guide (on top of the what to eat what to avoid pages in your book) would be fab.

        Veronique wrote on June 10th, 2010
  25. What can an endurance athlete eat going out to train or compete more than 4 hours without carbs or gels? What can I eat during a long bike ride 3 hours or more?


    Wenzel wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Endurance isn’t primal, it is chronic cardio, I believe Mark would advise against said activity.

      Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Unfortunately, I make a living and pay bills when I race. I’m interested in following the PB, but would like to know how to modify it with my current lifestyle.

        Wenzel wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • Unfortunately, huh? Awesome 😀

          aspiring pro triathlete here

          AlyieCat wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • I read a study which indicated that once you are adapted to primarily run on fat/ketones, endurance sports without carbs should not be an issue. You need carbs only for activities where you exceed 65% of your max heart rate.

          Erica wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • When I bike that long, I make sure just to load up on fat and protein an hour or so before and keep lots of water. When I get home, I eat again and take a nap.

      Mike wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Hi Wenzel, I train long and I do it with water to drink and use Nakd bars (raw cold pressed dried fruit/nuts – and nothing else!) and average a carb intake of around 15 g an hour I guess (tops – I’m 5′ 5″ 57 kg). That’s working up to 75% MHR. If the weather is warm I’ll add some rehydration salts to the water.

      When I get back I make sure I eat a meal which includes some primal carbohydrates and protein plus fat of course. I’ve had no issues and I’ve been able to race hard too when I choose to when I sometimes add a teaspoon of sugar to my water bottle depending on the length of the race – in fact I’m much better than pre Primal days on CW training and eating. See Mark’s post on Primal for Endurance Athletes.

      The more you train like this the less carbs you need, you just seem to train your body into being supremely fat efficient. I do sprints regularly too to keep the top end firing.

      Follow me here for the ultimate challenge of Primal Endurance, I leave on Saturday!

      Kelda wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • If you really need to increase carbs for race purposes, I recommend taking a look at the Thrive diet. It is by no means primal, but the carbs included in the diet are what I consider the “lesser of evils.” Basically you can make gels with dates and honey as a base. You can make bars with nuts, fruit, quinoa, and buckwheat. I have found adding thrive diet foods into my endurance routine effective without having to resort to grains, pastas, bread… Also I avoid gluten, soy, and corn at all cost (Thrive diet does too).

      Brian wrote on June 10th, 2010
  26. I have been searching your site for the link to a very primal modern kitchen and cannot find it anywhere. It was somewhere over in Europe and the kitchen was very very cool and unique – has some water fowl hanging up int he corner. Do you you happen to know where that link is on your site? Thanks!

    james wrote on June 9th, 2010
  27. What can one do to help with a testosterone deficiency? Avoiding axcess sugars, grains, and soy I know. I’ve also heard to take plenty of zinc, but is there anything else that I can do?

    I’ve done a little searching on this and I also see a caution against the ‘low carb fad.’ I don’t know how this might hurt my testosterone production, but nevertheless, it’s cautioned against.

    If anything, going primal has helped to an amazing degree, no more depression and fatique, but what else can I do?

    any mouse wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • hmmmm, this is curious, curious indeed. Nothing makes me feel more like a man than Heavy Lifting, which helps to release HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and some red meat!

      Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Lifting weights for sure. Testosterone is made from cholesterol so eating Primal is the best diet to fix that. Also being overweight can cause lower testosterone levels.

      Jonathan wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • With all of the crap in our modern food, I have read that it is a combination of lowering estrogen mimicks in our system and boosting testosterone.

        I have heard that supplementing with Tribulus Terrestris boosts testosterone production. The flip side is supplementing with DIM and Indole-3-Carbinol (both found in Broccoli) to remove the estrogen-like substances.

        Steve1907 wrote on June 9th, 2010
  28. How about some ideas on how to cope with emotional and/or compulsive overeating? The standard line is “don’t keep treats and snacks around the house….” yeah, but that doesn’t stop me from overeating on primal fare. Not the worst thing that could happen but it sure is hindering my fat loss. I know you’re not a psychiatrist but any insight on this would be great.

    unchatenfrance wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I am curious about this. What foods specifically are you overeating? I find it incredibly hard to overeat on just Meat and Veggies… You must have an iron stomach!

      Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • The best advice I could think of, is it a small snack like a salad or apple 30 minutes before meals and have a glass of water beforehand too. Also really try to slow down the pace of eating and concentrate on enjoying every primal bite.

        Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • I can overeat on nuts, fruit, coconut milk, etc. easy. If meat and veggies are very well done I can go to town on those too. Salad and steak hard to overeat on, agreed, but if I make a nice dish of cooked veggies (cooked in fat, of course) and juicy meat I can easily eat two portions’ worth…. it’s all in my head and I feel like I’m in a frenzy. Nothing else matters in those moments in which I’m overeating – a comet could hit the planet and I wouldn’t notice.

        unchatenfrance wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I can quickly over eat using butter on everything and heavy cream in coffee (at least on calories; I try to keep a general idea of what I consumed but not exactly counting).
      Just skipping a meal here and there helps believe it or not. Or sometimes a cup of warm tea or bottle of water helps me get through the feeling of want.
      Over eating now and then, I think, is good for the metabolism.

      Jonathan wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I have this exact problem myself. I overeat foods that we’re allowed, like nut butters and fruit. I think I just need to keep myself busier.

      cathyx wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Hi there –

      Have you check out The Gabriel Methold or John Gabriel? It’s an interesting read if nothing less and a good part of the book deals with changing your brain to allow your “fat switches” to be turned off. Sounds like mumbo jumbo, I know but it’s actually pretty compelling. His diet/exercise advice is very much in line with PB.

      Kim wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • working on emotional overeating:

      Identify the emotion. Ask yourself “it’s not food I want, it’s ______.” For example: I am lonely. It’s not food I want, it’s company. Or I am tired. It’s not food I want, it’s energy [so I can go nap!]. I am stressed. It’s not food I want, it’s to relax. Emotion, TRUE want, and what you can do.

      AlyieCat wrote on June 9th, 2010
  29. Mark

    I have a question about recovery. I play competitive ultimate frisbee and most of our tournaments are two days long (Nationals is four days). What should I be eating/drinking to make sure that my body is ready for the next day of competition?

    marc wrote on June 9th, 2010
  30. Mark,
    Are you aware of any research programs that are specifically testing the benefits of a primal lifestyle vs. the stereotypical american lifestyle?

    Many of your posts include links to research articles that support the advice you give, but often the studies weren’t designed with the intent to test primal lifestyles specifically and the conclusions you draw are secondary inferences from their data.

    I guess another way to ask this question is, are there any research publications that include an introduction along the lines of “…[primal law #] according to fitness afficionado Mark Sisson of – to test this, we devised a randomized controlled trial with double blind…”? If not, would you be interested in rigorously testing your interpretation of modern health? Thanks!

    Kirk A wrote on June 9th, 2010
  31. There are a lot of success stories of people who have changed their lives and body through the primal blueprint.

    What about some real life stories of those struggling and how they overcame that? It’s not easy changing your lifestyle and eating habit.

    Janet wrote on June 9th, 2010
  32. Mark,

    I my previous Krog carb loading distance running life I balanced my glucose with distance running and 13.1 training and got into great (but burned out) shape. I coupled that with “downtime” by using P90X and Jillian Michaels. I was always tired and hungry and struggled with my weight and ITBS, arthritis in my joints and BURNED OUT.

    Now that I am practicing my new and improved Grok lifestyle, I am struggling with hitting my target zone heart rate. I barely feel like I am moving when I jog (in my Vibram Five Fingers) and I am out of the 60-80% target heartrate range.

    In Primal Blueprint, you mention “athletes” can work at an 80-90% maximum heartrate range. Could I consider myself an “athlete” or would I be working against myself?

    Whereas I used to be a 8:30/mi gal, if I feel like I’m barely moving at 9:40/mi but am hitting the 85% range, am I negating the work? I’ve dropped my runs to 3-4 per week and between 4-6 miles.


    Joanna wrote on June 9th, 2010
  33. Hi Mark,

    I have been primal for more than 3 months now and i love the eating and workout plan. i lift heavy 3 days a week, sprint a couple days a week and do short intense cardio and cross training drills. but im still having trouble getting back the ripped physiche and abs i had back when i did long duration treadmill runs. i dont want to go back to it, and im eating clean but im just not getting over the calorie burning hump like before. any other suggestions? thanks for your amazing site and info that i use everyday. Joe

    Joe wrote on June 9th, 2010
  34. You may not want to open this “can of worms” but I want to know your opinion on child vaccinations…

    Rick Rumer wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Very bold of you to ask, personally I have mixed views. I think some are incredibly beneficial but a lot of people over-vaccinate.

      Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
  35. Dear Mark,
    Do you plan on getting rid of the SOY protein and the artificial sweetener in your protein powders anytime soon? Soy is DEFINITELY not primal, as you said yourself on the “Underground Wellness” radio show so why use it in your formula?


    Liam wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Ditto. I was really hoping that your protein powder wouldn’t contain soy.

      Rozska wrote on June 9th, 2010
  36. No question, just a big ‘Thank You’ for putting out such consistent, high-quality, information.

    Looking forward to the ‘Kit’.

    Brian1965 wrote on June 9th, 2010
  37. Dear Mark,
    What are your thoughts on “The China Study”? I’ve only been Primal for a couple of weeks but I still get scared by the amount of protein and fat the CW that keeps coming at me. I’m also not so big on the amount of meat we need to eat and it’s making my stomach upset. Other options?
    Thanks for all of your help,

    Daniela wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • You don’t have to eat that much meat. Mark says he shoots for “1 gram per pound of body weight per day” which is about 6oz for him. That’s not much at all.

      The CW studies don’t limit fat intake to natural fats so they include corn oil and trans fat more than likely so you can’t just blame the fat percentage. And they don’t limit carbs or the sources for them either.

      Put some butter on your steak, cook some broccoli in butter and coconut oil, eat some bacon, etc. You’ll feel better when you do and kill the cravings at the same time. In other words, you don’t have to increase meat, just increase good fats.

      Fasting also helps reset your stomach so try that once every week or so.

      Jonathan wrote on June 9th, 2010
  38. Mark,

    With the temperatures starting to rise: Anyone successfully re-acclimated to the heat?

    I managed to get heatstoke over the weekend. Once I recover, I plan on spending 10-15 minutes out in the sun each day, and slowing increase the time…

    Any other ideas?

    Thomas wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I’ve been low-carbing 5 months now. I don’t know if it is hormone levels or matabolisim changes but I get cold spells here and there and have to go out in the 90 degree heat (almost 100% humitiy) to get comfortable. Almost like I have a bad fever or something but I don’t.

      Also don’t burn like normal. Just a little red and recover quickly. Starting to get a good tan for the first time I can remember.

      Jonathan wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Sounds like it’s all uphill, you have to restore in the sun and don’t burn, I have a question, do you know Jor-El?

        wd wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • LOL. Primal eating sure makes me feel like his son sometimes. :-)

          Jonathan wrote on June 10th, 2010

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!