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

Archive for the ‘ Dear Mark ’ Category

4 Jan

Stuff That I Read (or Watch), And You Should Too

marks recs collageI recently received an email question from a knowledge-hungry reader.


I’m becoming VERY interested in learning how the body works; what happens when we eat carbohydrates, the effects of antioxidants, etc. I was given a good introduction in “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and of course the 3rd chapter in your book, where you talk about insulin, or even your article “what happens when you carb binge”. Wikipedia and Google help me to a certain point, but I soon become overwhelmed; it’s hard to put everything together… where do I go from there?

28 Dec

Dear Mark: Did Grok Eat Grains?

sorghumThe Primal Blueprint, as our good readers know, is founded on the principle of evolutionary biology. This certainly applies to our view of what’s appropriate or not in terms of nutrition.  In short, what our long time ancestors ate during the course of 2 million+ years, we’re still designed to eat. Even the last 200,000 years of hunting and gathering, from a physiological standpoint, trumps the comparatively short 10,000 or so years since the Agricultural Revolution, when humans commenced widespread farming practices and prepared grains as a significant part of their diet.

An article published in this month’s Science Magazine presents archeological evidence that, according to its author, challenges this accepted timeline. A number of readers have written me about this story. Here’s one letter among the bunch….


Please help me make some sense to this: Stone Age diet included processed grains

I’m a crossfitter in Colorado and most of the gym keeps a Grok diet and are confused about this article. Does this open the door to other minimally processed grains?

21 Dec

Dear Mark: Arachidonic Acid

steakeggs 1I spend a lot of time highlighting the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and downplaying their poly cohorts, omega-6s. Of course, I do this for good reason. Western dietary patterns and modern agricultural practices have made omega-3s harder to come by and blown any semblance of omega-3/omega-6 dietary balance out of the water. As maligned as omega-6s are these days, however, they’re still essential fatty acids. Our bodies need them and can’t produce them on their own – straight and simple. The problem comes when we mistake emphasizing the omega imbalance in modern diets with disparaging omega-6 entirely. Although the Primal Blueprint promotes a healthy fatty acid balance – one that parallels that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors – I still get questions about omega-6s, particularly reservations about the role arachidonic acid (part of the omega-6 fatty acid family) plays in the PB.

Dear Mark,

While I totally agree with the importance and value of meat/eggs and vegetables, minus all grains and added sugars…my question is about the arachidonic acid (AA) found mostly in meat and egg yolks. It has been demonized by many, Barry Sears, etc., as the cause of all inflammation in the body. Is that a concern for us on the PB plan?

14 Dec

Dear Mark: Canola Oil

canolaoilI get a lot of questions about differentiating fact from fiction when it comes to all the “healthy” labels out there. Spanning everything from “heart healthy” to “boost your child’s immunity,” these classic marketing ploys are just part and parcel for the food industry. And yet these companies wouldn’t get away with the games if their claims didn’t reflect conventional wisdom on some level. The industry’s marketing tactics simply manipulate already strained, twisted messages about health and nutrition. The consumer is left to wonder what’s truth, half truth and bold-face scheme. Unfortunately, it’s never safe to judge a product by its label. In fact, if it needs a label at all, it’s already subject to questioning. The safest assumption is this: there’s always more to the story.

Dear Mark,

I’ve been adapting my diet to the Primal Blueprint over the last few months. I like olive oil for salads but wonder about the bottle of canola oil sitting in my cupboard. I tend to use it more for cooking, but I don’t see canola oil mentioned on MDA like I do olive oil. The label says something like “good source of omega-3.” Is this true? I’m wondering what your take on canola is. Thanks!

7 Dec

Dear Mark: Feast or Famine Diet?

plate2Among the questions I get from MDA readers are those that ask about timely diet trends – you know, the latest regimens highlighted in the media or promoted by high profile stars and athletes. Some are bookstore blockbuster plans like The Zone, while others are the latest celebrity diet du jour. As my wife and – well, everyone who knows me – can tell you, I’m always up for talking, debating, deconstructing, and fully dissecting any version or concept of diet under the sun. (Thankfully, my wife at least finds it endearing after all these years.) But it’s a treat when a diet trend comes up I can actually find common ground with. Take this question from reader Jim.

Dear Mark,

I saw something this week about a “feast or famine” diet. From what I get, people alternate eating a small amount and eating as much as they want. I’m still kind of a newbie and wondered what you thought of it. Thanks! Love the PB!

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