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. Hi Mark,

    Love the site, love the book, I’m on day #4 of going primal, and so far so good! I’ve known for some time that the diet I’ve been eating for years isn’t right, but have been using bits and pieces of science mixed with CW to be fairly healthy. However, as I’m getting older (39 y.o.) I’m noticing nagging issues that I’ve chalked up to age. No more!

    There’s only one issue I have with your approach, and I was hoping you’d give me some context. Your “Responsibly Slim” shake strikes me as the exact opposite of what you’re teaching, particularly as a meal replacement vehicle as a way to lose weight. I can understand a guy like me, who travels a great deal for work, using it as a meal replacement when I’m in a pinch. But as a substitute for real food on a regular basis?

    It nags at me because it makes me question your motives. I mean absolutely no offense by this comment — as I said, I think your research is outstanding, and I suspect you’ve helped an awful lot of people. I would just like to understand your motives and intentions behind this product. It makes me question your other supplements as well. Using it once a day, once in a while I would completely understand, but three or four times in a day doesn’t make sense to me.

    Thank you Mark.

    Justin Toner wrote on June 9th, 2010
  2. Endurance Hunting?

    Wyatt wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I second this question. I saw a documentary on the Tarahumara and they gave a very primal, evolutionary perspective of how humans are built for endurance. Sweat glands are more efficient than panting they say, and two legs (while slower) are more efficient over longer distances than four. Interesting in the least, I still prefer to walk though, until I’m being chased! haha

      Chris wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • I pondered this, too. The evidence is there, and it’s pretty compelling that we’re built for endurance running.
        The simple answer seems to be that endurance runners like the Tarahumara, who have been running all their lives, for fun, and run barefoot, aren’t really stressing their bodies that much when they run. I think that, because their hearts are conditioned gradually to that level, long-distance running counts as low-intensity carido (i.e. around 65% of maximum heart rate).
        The PB book actually mentions this concept: it’s all about relative fitness. 65% of one person’s max heart rate is different than 65% of another person’s.
        Here’s my thinking: If an overweight, out-of-shape person wearing overbuilt shoes goes out for a run with sloppy (i.e. painful, stressful) technique, it’s murder. Cortisol release, injuries galore, etc. No progress, and much harm done. But if you go at it very gradually (this is where ENTIRELY bare feet come into play: they teach you to run gently and force you to take it easy until you adapt), your body gets better and better at running at a slow/moderate pace for long distances; the blood vessels leading into and out of the heart grow in size and get better at feeding the muscles. Combined with high-intensity training to increase the strength of the heart, it can now pump a greater volume of blood at a low rate with increasing levels of activity. The human body is excellent at adapting to physical demands, provided the form is right and you pay attention to what it tells you, just like everything else.
        That’s just my hypothesis. I don’t know if it’s been tested.

        Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
  3. Dear Mark,

    What makes some leafy green vegetables edible while some are not? How come it is not popular to eat grass or tree leaves? Is it mostly because we cannot digest them or because they are un-nutritious?

    We eat lettuce and seaweed and leaves of vegetables. It seems to me that grass and tree leaves would fit into the same category.


    Matt K wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • 2nd.
      I would really like to know this. How are leaves and grass different from spinach and celery? It could be a whole post. :)

      Ely wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Grass and tree foliage have too much cellulose for humans to handle–we can’t digest cellulose. The plant material we do eat has much less cellulose.

      That’s why we need herbivores like cattle and deer to harvest grass/browse for us so we can get the nutrition from those abundant natural plant sources indirectly. Many animal herbivores can digest cellulose.

      julietx wrote on June 9th, 2010
  4. Hey Mark,

    Here is my question. I have been primal for a few months and have been loving it! My question is about the success stories of people who go on no grain/low-carb diets, in particular the ones I’ve read about here on MDA. Do you suspect that the “healing” that many people experience from many of their ailments is more commonly a product of of a gluten intolerance/allergy that they never knew about, or a newfound low blood sugar/insulin level? I suppose it could be a combination of the two, but I didn’t know if you thought low insulin levels was enough in and of itself to “cure” people of a lot of modern ailments.

    I hope that question makes sense and I look forward to your answer!


    Brad wrote on June 9th, 2010
  5. So many different posts to read!

    I am a fan of protein powder, but have had lots of trouble finding the right kind from the right sources! you hinted at re-working your current meal replacement shake, when will we hear more about this?

    Jstrick wrote on June 9th, 2010
  6. Hi Mark-

    Can you elaborate on the effects of mental stress while fasting??? If we are under mental stress (taking a test, doing taxes, etc.) should we stop what we are doing and make sure we get some food?? I heard that cortisol while fasting actually increases belly fat.


    Tara wrote on June 9th, 2010
  7. Mark,

    When your workout consists of

    Swim 2500 yds.

    5×5 Routine
    1/4 mile sprintsx8, under 1:25 with a set of pullups or pushups between sprints.

    6-10 mile run, 7-8min/miles

    Is it necessary to include grains to keep up with the amount of energy your body is expending?

    Ian wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Also interested, as I am training like that… past weeks have been 4.5 hours of cycling, 50-55 miles running, 6-10k in the pool. I do as much fat and protein as I can while trying to limit grains – grains today were a cliff bar and an English muffin, I think that’s it.

      AlyieCat wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • You both are definitely overtraining. Have you read Mark’s book or posts? Chronic Cardio! He preaches against such activities, it isn’t natural, which is what the primal blueprint is all about. The questions are completely out of context of this site.

      Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Who made you the police of questions? I’m a talented and competitive triathlete who is working on optimizing nutrition for training. As Mark has had a pro triathlete post on the blog before about his nutrition and how Primal he is, our questions are perfectly legitimate. Everyone has to find a Primal that works for them and we are trying to strike that balance.

        AlyieCat wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • I have been giving feedback in an attempt to help my those in the primal community. There is absolutely no need to get defensive.

          You wouldn’t ask a vegetarian how best to cook a steak. Same principle, it is insulting.

          You shouldn’t ask someone to cater their viewpoints and philosophy to someone who incorporates something into their lifestyle that they don’t agree with and explicitly advise against.

          But seeing as you are cocky, brash, defensive, and obviously ego driven, I suppose that went over your head.

          And BTW a Cliff Bar and English Muffin, incredibly bad and not at all primal. Kick the grains!

          Dave wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • I believe the point Dave is trying to make is that your questions have basically been answered in more than one post on MDA. I believe Marks suggestion would be to leave the grain out and cut back the training but make it more intense. Then use the extra time you have to enjoy life.

          Jonathan wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • Thanks Jonathan! I guess I got a little frustrated and carried away there. But yes that is exactly what I was trying to get across. Grok On!

          Dave wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • Grains are not the only source of carbohydrates, go for unrefined carbs, fruits / veggies for the very basic requirements. Grains? Ha, you were joking, right? better stay under that bridge…

      w0o-hmm, what? wrote on June 10th, 2010
  8. I’m enjoying the new Primal Cookbook. The recipe for Egg Muffins says to bake, but doesn’t mention a temperature for the oven. I used 350 degrees and that worked great. I’m also interested in your thoughts on gluten-free, low-carb recipes using coconut and almond flours.

    Ron wrote on June 9th, 2010
  9. Why are peanuts considered evil? Are they the same thing as “ground nuts” I sometimes read about?

    I don’t like most nuts, and peanuts are a readily available low-carb type snack. And eating pistachios while driving is tricky… [g]

    curiousalexa wrote on June 9th, 2010
  10. 1. I’ve had my Five Fingers for a few years now and love them. But they stink. Badly. Any ideas? I tried washing them in the laundry and it didn’t help much.
    2. I would love to see some workouts for the less … buff among us. I’ve never managed a real pushup in my life. Can you give some of us ways to work up to pushups, pull-ups (also never managed one), etc, without a gym?
    3. Foraging…what about actual foraging? This goes with what some others mentioned about why we eat spinach and not grass, but I know some things are edible (dandelion leaves, anyone?), but we just don’t even notice. I’d love to hear about the actual edible stuff surrounding us. :)
    4. (Another vote for the lactating Primalist!)

    Melodious wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Start with push-ups on your knees. Eventually you’ll get to your feet. If you can only do one on your toes, do it, then drop to your knees and do as many as you can.

      For pull-ups, use a chair to help you get up (only as much as you absolutely must), hold yourself up for a couple seconds, then lower yourself slowly without the chair. Negatives really do work!

      Jenny wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Hey Melodious – New Rules of Lifting for Women has you start pushups on a incline, against a wall or on a hands on a bench, for example, and then you progress down to the floor (and then you start raising your feet!!). It’s supposedly better than knee pushups because it’s still a full body exercise.

      For pull ups, you can start up on the bar, with feet on a chair or bench and then just work on pulling up a few inches. Eventually, you can work up to a full pull up (hope this makes sense, I know I’m not explaining right).

      Kim wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • This might sound crazy, but a great solution to the infamous Vibram FiveFingers stink: go completely barefoot! Only wear them when you really need them.

        Which isn’t that often, in reality. The feet are excellent at adapting. Broken glass? Gimme a break.

        It takes some time, but all the extra sensation (and the cleanliness, believe it or not) is very worth it. Gravel is excellent for both training the feet and building up the thickness of the soles. Plus, on a chilly day, walking on gravel really warms you up!

        And if you go to a gym that requires shoes, try those Injiji toe socks. I’ve heard good things about them! That is what socks are invented for, after all–keeping the shoes dry and un-smelly.

        Also, try washing with vinegar.

        Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • My vibrams also stink. I hate stinky feet.

      I second the softer start to working out w/out a gym. If you are out of shape and hate gyms but love the outdoors, it would be nice to see a gentler workout option.

      I also second the wild eats in your area post. Finding wild mushrooms and eating wild greens would be fabulous.

      Veronique wrote on June 10th, 2010
  11. I live in a rural area, and some of the ingredients you recommend are hard to find. Dutch process cocoa? Coconut water? The grocery doesn’t carry natural meats, and the farmer’s market prices start at $7/lb and go up, never on sale. IME, everything at the farmer’s market is more expensive than the grocery. The nearest Trader Joes or Whole Foods is a 3-4 hour drive, one way.


    curiousalexa wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • $7 a pound is the going rate of organic meat if you buy it at a grocery store. How about a farmer who butchers his own animals? Usually it’s much cheaper that way. You just have to buy a side or maybe a half and freeze it.

      cathyx wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Amazon has a great selection.

      thehova wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • yeah, of course, you can only purchase non-perishables with Amazon. But a lot of the more exotic stuff Mark recommends are non-perishables.

        Shipping is really cheap.

        thehova wrote on June 9th, 2010
        • I agree with the mail order suggestions. Try for mail order pastured meats. You can get quarters and sides of grass finished meats for as little as $5 per lb., shipped, if you shop around some. You may be surprised at how close some of the sources on eatwild are to you.
          Good Luck!

          NotSoFast wrote on June 10th, 2010
  12. Just wanted to throw my “yea” behind the notion of an “Eat This in a Pinch Guide” [my suggested titles are “Grok Forages at the Food Court” and “Grok to the Future”]. I’m a full-time musician, often on-the-road and away from my routine and regular food sources. This is my biggest challenge in keeping Primal with the dietary part of the program. (My favorite in-a-pinch indulgence? In-N-Out Double-Double Protein-Style with grilled onions and sliced chilies!)

    Bob Bennett wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I second the Eat this in a pinch thing. Eating nuts doesn’t do it for me. I often snack on a piece of cheese (I crave fat) but would love easy to-go options that are still big enough and tasty enough to be satisfying.

      Veronique wrote on June 10th, 2010
  13. Another thought:
    My sister and I grew up together, but I never had a cavity and she had them all the time. Seriously, the doctor eventually laminated her teeth in experimental plastic (this was mid-80s) because she always had at least one cavity.
    She was much more diligent in tooth care than I was, we are full sisters, and ate most of the same foods. She has always (from birth on) had an iron deficiency, but otherwise never had any more health problems than I had. If you knew a child going through something like that (or an adult), what would you recommend?

    Melodious wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • sigh… genetics. I’m 50 & still get cavities. My sister, 2yrs younger, has never had a bit of amalgam in her mouth ever. I’ve been “blessesd” with soft teeth & crappy gums. My brother wore braces, neither of us gals did. It’s all in the luck of the genetic draw sometimes. oh yea, & I always seem to be a little low on iron all my life too. I read an article recently that there were some people that just metabolize it different & low iron can be a cause of restless legs (which I suffered from ALSO). So for the past yr I have been taking a slow release iron supplement. No more restless legs! and my test in April had a normal iron reading. yay.

      Peggy wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • I second this topic. Partially because I was one of those cavity-a-year kids, although I took less-than-good care of my teeth as a youngster.

      I’d like to see a primal guide to dental health! My dog “brushes” her teeth with rope toys and beef bones. Should I do the same? 😉

      Jenny Lee wrote on June 10th, 2010
  14. It seems to me that women often are not as enamoured of meat as men are. When I was a vegetarian, other women would often say to me that they could easily go without eating meat, ever.

    It also seems that there are more women vegetarians than men vegetarians. Most men I know lust after meat. Women, not so much although I know there are exceptions.

    Do you think there is some evolutionary component to this? Maybe the men ate first, then the children and the women got the meager leftovers? Or the women snacked a lot while gathering and adapted more to the gathered food rather than the hunted food?

    I am very curious about this. Even some direction for literature on this subject would nice if you know of any.

    Sharon wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I’m female, and my favorite meal is fatty rib-eye steak, medium rare. Second favorite is beef short ribs (also fatty). Yum.
      I’ve read several books by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the artic explorer, and he describes Eskimo families where everyone (men, women, children, dogs) ate meat, fat and fish, and that was pretty much their entire diet. The fish heads were saved for the children, because they were a special treat. The lean meat was fed to the dogs, because it was the least desirable.

      Nancy wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Hi Sharon.
      I am female and have always craved meat. I have tried going vegetarian in the past but I just could not get over my cravings for meat. My husband on the other hand, can’t seem to live without his carbs. I do know what you mean though. I have met a lot of women who would rather not eat meat. I guess it just depends on the person.

      Angelina wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • The higher population of female vegetarians I think is because it is percieved as healthier; meat is higher in fat and there’s the cultural taboo on that; vegetarianism is seen as a way to stay thin; etc

      AlyieCat wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • I second that. It’s entirely a societal thing, like the majority of the differences between men and women. Bah, sexism!

        Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • I should say: “the majority of differences one observes between men and women in our culture and many others”

          Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • I agree. I was a vegetarian for 5 years, thinking it’s healthier and it will prevent weight gaining . Funny thing, after having a child BUT going sugar/grain/veg oil free I look 100 times better than I used to.

        Vanilla wrote on June 10th, 2010
  15. How much Vitamin D will be in the new supplement?
    And will it be in an gel capsule with oil?


    Rob wrote on June 9th, 2010
  16. My mother in law, husband and myself all started eating this way in April. My husband and mother in law have had fantastic results. I am not losing weight I have stalled out after losing the initial 7 to 10 pounds. I know there are more of us out there I have seen them on the forums? I wonder what we have in common?

    Betsy wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Hi Betsy,
      I understand what you mean. I am wondering if it is a female hormone issue for some of us. I still have a pot belly that will not get smaller! If I probe through the fat I can feel the stomach muscles underneath, so I know it is just a large flabby lot of fat sitting over my stomach muscles. I have had this problem ever since having children.

      Angelina wrote on June 9th, 2010
  17. I ordered my cookbook and free poster the same day the offer became available and I still have not received them :(
    I was hoping to get them before I had to go away in July.

    Angelina wrote on June 9th, 2010
  18. Do you think candida/systemic yeast overgrowth is a real condition or is it new age quackery?

    I’m trying to clear up my acne. I’m 23. 4 months on the paleo diet didn’t work. 2 months on the primal diet has not worked. I’m thinking of taking it to a new level of strictness. But I wonder if I’m misguided.

    Jay wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Hi Jay
      I can not answer your question about candida, although I have been diagnosed with it by naturopaths in the past. I seem to have had most of the symptoms. Now I am suffering either low thyroid and pituitary gland function which has been ‘proven’ in blood tests.

      What I find interesting though is that I am 40+ and since being on the paleo diet I have actually starting having a problem with lots of pimples. I thought that the diet would make my skin clearer but it appears to be doing the opposite. I am totally grain and dairy free and my meat and veges are 100% chemical and hormone free, with the meat also being 100% pasture fed. I think I have been on the paleo diet now for about 4+ months. I thought I was the only one having this skin problem.

      In regards to another recent article Mark, I also still seem to be going through this transition period of the ‘low carb flu’. Certain things have improved, like inflammation levels, but I am still extremely low on energy.

      Angelina wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • I second this. I’m the exact same age dealing with acne…have tried paleo and primal. Wondering the same thing, if the candida thing is for real.

      Jessica wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • Oops, sorry, I meant to Jay’s comment (above). It posted in the wrong spot.

        Jessica wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • Pretty please with a cherry-or walnuts-on top! I’ve heard a lot about the candida thing and want to know the truth about it.

        Jessica wrote on June 10th, 2010
  19. Regarding acne, Do you have any guidance to clearing up beyond just eating primal foods? Perhaps some primal foods to avoid, or to eat more of?

    Clack_Attack wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • For me I think the biggest thing was quitting milk, and supplementing with Vitamin D. I swear by it, nothing else ever worked, prescriptions and all.

      Dave wrote on June 9th, 2010
      • Wow, that’s interesting about the vitamin D. You know, my mother always told me to get some sun on my face, that it would help clear up the skin. I guess I never made the connection and before Primal I always had so much darn sunscreen on my face every day, I never could get the D! haha

        Jessica wrote on June 10th, 2010
        • Yes! My good friend also had bad acne, which she “treated” by getting a little sun every day and limiting her dairy intake.

          Jenny Lee wrote on June 10th, 2010
  20. Hey Mark,
    What do you think of Paul Chek and his book, How to Eat Move and Be Healthy? What do you think of the C.H.E.K. institute? Your book has all the same principles that Paul has been teaching for years now and even your posts reflect his teachings. He is also in Southern Cal., and teaches lifestyle traits such as diet, exercise, and mental well being.

    Mike Buron wrote on June 9th, 2010
  21. You have established well that seeds don’t want to be eaten and therefore have anti-nutrient qualities. Does that include spices derived from seeds such as cumin, mustard and fennel. Grok didn’t have access to these on a daily basis, and there are downsides to regularly eating perfectly primal foods (sugar in fruit, polyunsaturated fat in nuts and seeds.) Do you have any reason to believe in a dark side of spices?

    Clack_Attack wrote on June 9th, 2010
  22. Please turn off auto notification for my email address for this post. Driving me crazy! Thanks.

    Liam wrote on June 9th, 2010
  23. I have always wondered how Chinese people get enough calcium – all I can think of is tofu, rice, cabbage, chinese veggies – milk isn’t a part of their diet I don’t think – and I know primal may debate the whole need for CA but that question has ALWAYS bugged me, why they don’t have osteoporosis.

    AlyieCat wrote on June 9th, 2010
  24. I am particularly interested in the question of carbohydrate (starch via rice) intake in Asian countries, and the population fitness levels. Having recently been in Japan, I noticed a large white rice intake (every meal), although the citizenry showed little tendency toward obesity, and little tendency to engage in exercise. They have small incidence of cardiac disease, but more tendency toward stroke. Any ideas?

    Ira wrote on June 9th, 2010
  25. Can’t wait for Primal Leap Kit. I’m new to this lifestyle, but very interested and pumped to become Primal…

    Matty wrote on June 9th, 2010
  26. Is soy, maltodextrin and sucralose o.k?
    Its in one of your products. Just curious what your viewpoint is on those.


    Majid Zeinal, D.C. wrote on June 9th, 2010
  27. Hey Mark,

    I just started eating Primal two weeks ago and this week was my first week trying the day-long fast. Quite frankly, I was shocked at how much more energy I had not eating anything. Maybe it was because I had already detached myself from eating too much sugar every day, but I had no hunger pangs and really felt good. So I did it a second day in a row … and I still felt fine. And that freaks me out! Am I okay? It’s true I was working a desk job and only spent a half-hour walking each day. But how do I know that I don’t already have an extremely slow metabolism and that I’m not making it worse by fasting? I don’t want to start regularly doing it and then find out I’m actually messing up an already slow metabolism.


    Malory Von wrote on June 9th, 2010
  28. Mark,
    Your books and website are loaded with invaluable information and have been a godsend in my effort to wade through all the contradictory advice we all are exposed to. While I think your research and analysis are the best available on living a healthy lifestyle you’d probably agree that we will never be completely sure what the “most healthy” diet is, and it likely is not a one size fits all proposition.

    My plan is to continue on the primal blueprint program and then get some blood work, etc.(?) to check my progress and use as a baseline to evaluate how changes in my diet, whether based on what people here refer to as “cheats” or on new research, affect my health. Obviously there are a myriad of tests available such as cholesterol, triglycerides, ratios, ldl particle size, CRP, etc., etc., so my question is, other than how one feels, what do you believe are the best available measurements of good health?


    Jeff wrote on June 9th, 2010
  29. Hey Mark,

    Have you ever looked into the 80/10/10 diet or any other (mostly) fruitarian diet? If so, what do you think? I’m not looking to become frugivorous any time soon, but I HAVE seen read some interesting articles that suggest we are fruitarians by design.

    They argue that true carnivores love the sensation of ripping carcasses apart, and that true carnivores salivate at the mere sight of other animals, whereas we are repulsed by raw meat and are not biologically designed to chase animals or tear flesh from bone. Furthermore, they state that all humans have a natural sweet-tooth, and that this indicative of the fact that we should be exclusively eating large amounts of fruit.

    I don’t really agree with this, as I’ve read a bit about the many native and traditional societies worldwide who eat diets high in fat and protein and are very successful. Still, the argument interests me, and I’d like to have some more information on the subject.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    ilest wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • *have seen

      ilest wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Hi ilest
      I have always salivated at the sight and smell of meat (perhaps not raw) and anything fatty. I have heard that there are sweet and savoury types. I have always considered myself as the savoury type. I say perhaps not raw meat, but since I have been on the paleo diet I have been wanting my beef a bit more on the rare side. And you should see me descend on a chicken carcass :) It has also always been quite a task to hold my mother back from ripping apart a carcass as well; and she would fight for the bone and marrow! She even broke her front tooth once chewing on a ham bone :)

      Angelina wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Sounds like broad generalization and wishful thinking based on pure speculation and a complete lack of rigorous research to me!

      I, for one, and arguably most people who enjoy meat will salivate at the sight of a jersey cow in a green field.

      Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • Hell, I’m salivating right now just at the thought of it, jeez.

        Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
  30. Mark,

    I’ve just moved from a big city to a small town, and there’s nowhere to get organic meat! The local grocery store stocks only conventional meats. I’ve been solving the problem by buying wild-caught fish, which they do stock, and forgoing the red meat, but I can’t do that for long. I miss my meat, and more practically, not having it makes it harder for me to resist the non-Primal treats I used to enjoy. Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, anyone? Help!

    Erin wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Hey Erin, If you have the money try getting meat delivered from sites like Otherwise go with grain-fed and increase your fish oil intake to help offset any negative affects. Good Luck.

      Wyatt wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • Sorry, that is the wrong site. It is actually

      Wyatt wrote on June 10th, 2010
      • Thanks, Wyatt! It turns out that while my mother’s boyfriend has not yet jumped off the grain wagon, he is very serious about eating only organic meat and produce. Our local farms only sell by the quarter at smallest, which is still too much meat for me to store, but he’s directed me toward a nearby mom-and-pop natural food store that breaks them down for their customers. I would never have known it was there, there’s no sign or anything! Still a half hour drive, but I can stock up a week at a time I suppose. I’m excited!

        Erin wrote on June 12th, 2010
  31. Hello! I have a question that I was hoping Mark or someone else could answer. Several months ago, I learned how much more nutritious and healthier sprouted grains, nuts, seeds and beans are for you as opposed to them non-sprouted. Since then, I have been sprouting them for several days or until they were almost more gr…ass (or sprout) than grain. I still cook some of them and add the remaining raw ones into my meals for the active enzymes. However, I would like to know if their conversion to a sprout makes them okay. Since I am new to your site and just subscribed to your newlsetter, please pardon me for being a little behind on this subject as I am sure it as been brought up before. Thank you.

    Romeo wrote on June 9th, 2010
  32. Dear Mark,

    I read your article on putting on some weight, and I was wondering if you could give some more suggestions for squeezing in more good calories per day that doesn’t involve eating 12 eggs? I eat a good amount of eggs already, but this many just makes me never want to eat them again which doesn’t seem to fit with the philosophy of the primal blueprint being enjoyable, stress free, etc. If this really is the easiest way to get extra calories, can someone recommend the most efficient, tasty way to get these eggs down? Maybe hard boiling would be a good option?

    I find that with all the fat I’m eating I don’t get as hungry as I did when eating carbs as well. If I was trying to lose weight this would be great, but I’m 20 years old, fairly lean, and I just want to GROW! I’m squatting more and this is helping but I feel like I’m falling short on the calories I need to really see results.

    Thanks for any tips!

    PS. LOVING this primal lifestyle — it resonates so well with me. Thanks so much for everything you do!

    Tyler wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • Steak. Raw milk. More food. Vegetables. Sunlight.

      Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • Carbs dude! Up your vegetable intake like none other.

      Wyatt wrote on June 10th, 2010
  33. I also have questions about fasting. I hope you don’t mind, but I have gotten in the habit of questioning everything these days. No one is safe LOL! Anyway, I have seen quite a bit of research showing improved insulin sensitivity right after a fast. But I have not yet seen/found any showing the effect lasts long term. If the effect only lasts until the next meal, it may not make much of a difference long term. Also I have not seen much on why fasting may do this. I have also seen plenty of research showing a low carb diet improves insulin sensitivity for at least as long as one is on it and also some data that shows it lingers for at least a while. Another thing I am wondering is could fasting and lowcarb improve insulin sensitivity for the same or similar reasons, like perhaps a break from glucose spikes and the need for insulin response? If so, the use of both low carb AND fasting may be redundant. You might only benefit from one or the other and the regular low carb diet may be more effective than episodic fasting. So far, all the research I have yet found on fasting causing insulin sensitivity was done with dieters eating diets that were probably carby. Nothing on low carb eaters who already experience improved insulin sensitivity even without fasting. Also historically, I am just not sure if ancient societies often had to endure fasting on a regular basis. Our ancestors were experts at preparing and storing foods and it is suspected that in ancient times, game foods and environmental resources were much richer than now when humans have overran and overtaxed the planet. I am keeping an open mind but am not yet convinced that fasting was common. Probably there were seasons or years when life sucked but I am betting that there were large swaths of time when food was regularly available and eaten when hungry and I suspect this would be especially true of the most successful groups that were most likely to survive to produce those now living. Also, there are many things that happen occasionally that are not necesarily good for humans, like I could break a finger tomorrow and then survive and recover from it. Yes, I have mechanisms in my body to deal with it, but that does not mean breaking a finger would actually be good for me. So I am looking for more data on this fasting issue before I decide to jump off the fence. Probably there is more research out there that I have not found yet that could help with this question.

    Eva wrote on June 9th, 2010
    • You’re absolutely right to question the logic of fasting.

      As I see it, the real reason to fast is that it teaches you what actual hunger feels like. For example: when you eat a big bowl of pasta, you just had a lot of food–but in a couple hours, you are probably hungry all over again! That’s not hunger. That’s grains messing with you.

      Real hunger is deep, and grows. It goes away when you eat real, whole food. And real, whole food doesn’t cause a crash after you eat it, or give you terrible headaches when you don’t eat it.

      You’re right: intermittent fasting isn’t really about restricting calories, or re-enacting the life of paleolithic humans (which we can never totally know about). The most important thing is to eat only when you are truly hungry; fasting, like many things in the “Primal/Paleo” life way, is a tool for learning what that feels like.

      Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
  34. I would like to know your take on sprouted grains. In my estimation, they’re digested nothing like processed or whole grains at all, but more like a vegetable.
    How good or bad do you think they are?

    Clint White wrote on June 9th, 2010
  35. Hi Mark,

    I was wondering if you had any information on how the body creates the fat that it stores. My question comes from my personal thought that anything created from eating SAD would load up the fat with toxins. Later as this fat is burnt when losing weight, these toxins would be released into the body. This could account for the different reactions (eg carb flu) people have when they first go primal. Not very scientific, I know. But something that has had me scratching my head.

    Love your work!

    Dan wrote on June 9th, 2010
  36. Hi Mark,

    Living where I do [Tenerife] the post is incredibly flaky…is there any chance of offering both your Primal Blueprint and the Primal Blueprint Cookbook book as ebooks?

    Harpo wrote on June 9th, 2010
  37. Hi!

    A beginner’s question : what do you think about the use of microwaves to heat/defrost primal food. It doesn’t seem to me very primal….
    I heard about studies showing that eating food directly after getting it out from the microwaves is quite a bad choice for health, what is your mind about it?

    sphinx wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • Wait! You should read those studies you’ve heard about before you draw a conclusion!

      In the meantime, my vote is: don’t worry about it. Like cars and showers, microwaves are one of those modern conveniences that make total sense (concerns about energy consumption and greenhouse gasses notwithstanding).

      Microwave ovens increase the temperature of water and ions (like dissolved salt) by making it move really fast, through electromagnetism. Basic physics! Ain’t nothing wrong with that!

      I don’t see how that could make something unhealthy.

      Cullen wrote on June 10th, 2010
  38. Hi Mark,

    I’ve done a lot of research recently into ‘hygienic fasting’ and wondered what you make of it? I found The Hygienic System Vol. II Fasting and Sunbathing by Dr Herbert Shelton extremely interesting and useful on this subject. I’ve tried a relatively short fast of 4 days and before that had been regularly using intermittent fasting, and in both instances felt great. Today is my first day of a longer fast of indeterminate length, I will break the fast with the appearance of hunger. Another thing I found extremely interesting in the aforementioned book is that Shelton says true hunger is felt in the mouth and throat, like thirst is. He says in true hunger “the healthy person is not conscious of any sensations in or about the stomach when hungry.” Now this suggests to me that generally speaking, as a race, we are perpetually overfed, even us Primal people. I can’t remember ever feeling hungry in my mouth. Apparently ‘hunger pangs’ or anything like that which you feel in your stomach are not hunger but are withdrawal symptoms, just like a drug addict would get (although not in the stomach). Just curious as to what you make of all this. My 4 day fast completely cured a mild smoking addiction I had, now I’m looking forward to breaking my food addiction.

    Nikki wrote on June 10th, 2010
  39. P.S. you can find Shelton’s books on the following website

    Nikki wrote on June 10th, 2010
  40. Hi Mark

    Well I am injured bad and at the moment can’t do anything but walk. I eat primal 95% of the time but putting on weight and since not doing weights just not hungry especially for meat. How can I stop myself putting on body fat? I am concerned eating to much but as you said you don’t need to worry about this when you only eat veg, lean meat nuts and fats. Only fats I have are nuts and avocado and oils and I would random have 1 piece fruit every 2-3 days. For a female its very frustrating as the body fat has gone on right around the stomach area. What is your advice for this when you can’t lift, only walk and you do eat primal….What am I doing wrong?

    Jo wrote on June 10th, 2010

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