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

Contest: Ask Me a Question. Win a Book.

The Prize:

The Paleo Primer is the latest publication from Primal Blueprint Publishing, and a wonderful new book from British health and fitness consultants Keris Marsden and Matt Whitmore (this book is an adaptation of their popular UK release called Fitter Food). When Keris and Matt first shared their work with me, I knew immediately it was something special. These folks, who run a popular fitness and wellness center called Fitter London, have produced a book that is half “primer” and half incredibly creative recipes. The primer section distills the major concepts of primal/paleo/ancestral health living into clever and memorable short passages, spiced up by hilarious cartoon drawings. Learn more about the book and view an excerpt here.

Three lucky winners will receive a free copy of this book.

The Contest:

Today’s contest is a piece of cake. Simply leave a comment below asking me your 21-Day Challenge questions. Need some advice? Struggling with something? Anything? Let me know in the comment board. Just make sure that your questions are related to your 21-Day Challenge in some way. I’ll be answering as many questions as I can in this coming Monday’s Dear Mark post. 

Replying to questions with answers also counts. This is a community effort, so share your tips and tricks with those in need of some help and you’ll also be entered to win.

Contest Deadline:

Midnight tonight, September 21st.

Choosing a Winner:

Three comments, and thus three winners, will be chosen at random.


This one’s global. Everyone’s eligible.

Other Important Info:

  • Remember to use your real email address in the comment board. If you don’t we won’t have a way to contact you.
  • Multiple comments won’t get you multiple entries. But by all means, ask or answer away.

To track all the contests visit the 2013 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Contest Page for daily contest updates.

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. My question is about getting adequate sunlight. I work nights and I’m in New England. I know you say to commit to 15 mins per day, but if it is chilly and less skin is exposed, should I try to get more time in the sun?

    Michelle wrote on September 21st, 2013
  2. This is tangentially related Lee’s question, how does the Primal blueprint not fall into the category of “disordered eating”? I happen to travel frequently outside of the US, and I often notice that people, particularly in third world countries eat what is available. Sometimes, that involves carbs. Sometimes it does not. Some foods have sugar, others not. The point is that people may think about food from a cultural or historical perspective, i.e. famous dishes that define a country, but people just eat without worrying about brining a container of cauliflower rice. (And I am not picking on the particular poster – I happen to love cauliflower and despise rice). I am raising the question of how to follow the Primal Blueprint while remaining Primal openness to cultural gastronomic experiences and not falling victim to contrivence regarding what you put in your mouth.

    Paige Marino wrote on September 21st, 2013
  3. My question is about Vitamin D and sunlight exposure. I live in England and the while we had a nice summer here (by English standards) the weather has turned cold fast and the lack of sunlight is now evident! I have started supplementing with Now Foods Vitamin D3, should I be doing anything else?

    Naz wrote on September 21st, 2013
  4. I am pretty skinny already with very low body fat so my goal is not to lose weight but to get healthier. I like my fatty coffee in the morning without any protein or carbs very much but I oftentimes feel a bit cold and cranky the whole morning. Could this kind of IF be a problem for people with very low body fat (does it slow down the metabolism or anything?)? Any suggestions?

    Samuel wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • After I went primal I found that coffee affected me more and not in a pleasant way, so I quit and feel much better thru the morning

      Erika wrote on September 21st, 2013
  5. I am doing the 21 day challenge myself, and am trying to include my 5 year old daughter. I am currently student teaching and I also have a daughter in Kindergarten. I pack her lunch and breakfast at home. When it is our ‘snack day’ I send something like fresh fruit. But at school they still hand out candy and other treats constantly. Even in the classroom I work in every student takes a turn each month bringing snacks, which are generally chips or candy. Even in my daughters class they are doing special treats every time they start studying a new letter of the alphabet. Hot dogs were the most recent. Last year they had a soda party in her Pre-K class without me knowing it!! Her first and only soda ever!! (and I let them know that too.)

    How do I handle this without my daughter feeling weird at school?

    How can I incorporate the primal principles into my classroom in a way that the kids will enjoy it?

    I know my classroom may be the only chance for some children to be exposed to real, healthy food.

    Lauri wrote on September 21st, 2013
  6. Any suggestions besides melatonin and Valerian root for trouble falling and staying asleep?

    Matt Barenie wrote on September 21st, 2013
  7. Tips on dealing with SAD? Seasonal affective disorder? How do I deal with wanting to hibernate more as the days get shorter and the nights longer?

    Bella wrote on September 21st, 2013
  8. Hey Mark thanks for all the help, so far I’ve been primal for about 1 year and when trying to a do a very high fat lower carb “session” of eating I run into problems digesting fat, is there anyway to fix this or should I continue on with a more moderate fat primal diet?

    Maria wrote on September 21st, 2013
  9. Hello Mark,
    I have taken up this 21 day Challenge to add intentional daily exercise to my life. I have completed 5 days of workouts with a mild cold. I am pretty fit, I am not one who sits around watching tv, I walk often and spend time outside. I chop firewood, garden, do heavy lifting (loading the pickup with logs for firewood) and I recently worked up to doing 2 reverse pullups unassisted. I eat primally for the most part. Today I woke up feeling exhausted and my lungs are sore. Would it be best to stop all exercise at this point? I know it is my decision based on how I feel ~ any recommendations as far as workout strategies? I don’t want to miss out on the challenge or feel like I have failed with my goals. I had to let my hubby go on a long mountain hike today by himself and I REALLY wanted to go too. I have heard that working out when sick can extend the illness, is there any truth to that statement? Thanks for your time.

    Meg wrote on September 21st, 2013
  10. Is it OK to eat most of my protein in one or two meals on any given day, and how much does it matter if I’m low on carbs but also low on protein in any 24hr period (except fasting, of course).

    NextSteps wrote on September 21st, 2013
  11. I been 80/20 primal for almost two years. I hadn’t been exercising regularly and weight redistributed to start a muffin top (belly fat). I’m in my late forties and don’t have to lose any weight. Recently I started to interval run 1x a week walk three miles 2x a week and weight lift one day a week. It seems like this exercise is redistributing the weight again where it should be. Why does that happen?

    Liv wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • Sounds just like me! Will be interested to hear the answer…

      NextSteps wrote on September 21st, 2013
  12. I answered a free ad in the paper from someone trying to get rid of apples from her tree, and now I have approximately a million gallons of “pie” apples. I LOVE eating them baked with cinnamon and nuts, but how many is too many? I have to think that when primal people had a harvest of ripe, delicious fruit, they probably ate tons of it for a few weeks, too, but I’m sure it can’t be ideal for losing the last 10 or so pounds I need to lose. I know preserving them is another option, and I’ll probably do that, but I really want to know how bad it is for my health to just chow down on as many as I like until they run out.

    JulieVK wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • I don’t know what the textbook answer is, but if I had tons of perfectly ripe apples I would eat and enjoy and go back to normal when the harvest was over! :)

      Emily wrote on September 21st, 2013
      • I previously suggested you make cider or hard cider. Hard cider would have less sugar but still use in moderation. I tried to post this earlier… Don’t know why my comments aren’t posting :(

        Lee wrote on September 21st, 2013
        • You could make apple sauce and can or freeze it.

          Sharon T wrote on September 22nd, 2013
    • Not sure about you but apple cider would be great! Do you think you can use them to make cider? Here’s a link to see if they are viable for cider making (of course if you know the type of apple):

      Now if you can look into how to make it a Primal/Paleo hard cider, then it’s a huge win! I can help you drink some of that…and maybe help you eat some of those apples too!

      Lee wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • I previously responded but again it didn’t show. I suggest that you make cider out of them. Here’ same link that will help you determine whether the apples you have are good cider making apples:

      Also, once you have the cider, you should look into how to make it hard cider to eliminate the sugars and make it partly Primal/Paleo!

      Lee wrote on September 21st, 2013
  13. I am a mother of 4 (almost 8, 6, almost 5 & 3). We have had a great response from our children with becoming a Primal house, they have no complaints over the food or lack thereof of the traditional junk. I am just curious as to how you have kept your children primal when out with friends or even those SAD family members? I have had a few cockeyed looks when explaining Primal, and questions of ‘…but why don’t you eat ____?’ Or ‘so no happy meals?!’ Help is much appreciated! Thank you!

    ShannonB wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • For our family, we don’t worry about te kids eating non-primal when at other people’s homes. I figure they are getting our healthy choices at least 80% of the time, and it isn’t worth the hassle, frustration, and “being different” to try to keep my kids100% primal.

      Emily wrote on September 21st, 2013
  14. Grass fed question. . If you sprout grain into fodder and feed your cows the sprouts,is that considered grass fed?

    Sarah m wrote on September 21st, 2013
  15. Mark – Sprinting drives my carb cravings through the roof once I’m finished. My “sprints” last from 5 seconds to 3 minutes but neither shorter nor longer makes it easier to resist carbs. What should I do?

    Geoff wrote on September 21st, 2013
  16. I’m getting over a stomach bug that I’ve had all week and I feel it really set me off the Primal path: both from an exercise and an eating perspective. Do you have any tips on keeping primal when sick or restarting after falling off the wagon? (Dr Sears used to say that you can get back in the Zone with your next meal, which I found encouraging when following that program: is getting back to Primal as simple?)

    Paul wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • I asked the same question before but apparently it never posted =(

      I was in the same boat! Although all I wanted was chicken broth and toast with butter…didn’t care the origin.

      However, for me it has really been to stay around and take in the smells of the food that my wife was making. She made this grass fed beef, spinach, garlic, diced tomato stir fry that looked awful because I couldn’t fathom ingesting it, but smelled phenomenal! I took one bite because the smell alone was enough to make me want to try it (and my stomach was going to eat me) and it was great!

      My suggestion – stay close to the food but not too close to where it will make you want to barf again. It will come back to you.

      Lee wrote on September 21st, 2013
  17. I’m doing the challenge right now and I feel great! I know this might be jumping the gun a bit, but I have a question about how to proceed after the challenge is over. I actually find it quite easy to be 100% primal while on the challenge because I know that non-primal foods are off-limits for me. However, when the challenge isn’t on, I have a hard time maintaining the healthy 80/20 balance: it tends to quickly go to 60/40, 50/50, and worse. Any tips for how to maintain the healthy lifestyle promoted by the challenge after it’s over?

    Agnes wrote on September 21st, 2013
  18. I have a Vitamin D / Sunlight question. I live in Ohio, and it is now getting to be the time of year, what with Fall only a day away, where the sun basically disappears until next April. On the days I can’t get out into the sun, either because it’s not there or for some other reason, I take two Vitamin D tablets per day at 400 IU’s each, which I know is not much of a substitute for actual sunlight. So should I just settle for less Vitamin D during the colder months, or is there more I can do?

    Kevin wrote on September 21st, 2013
  19. What if I can’t stop snacking? I eat primal snacks but I still always want more, especially when i am trying to avoid doing a task.

    Ana wrote on September 21st, 2013
  20. Why can’t I stop snacking? How do I avoid snacking when I am trying to avoid a task? It seems more mental than anything…

    Ana wrote on September 21st, 2013
  21. We’re hosting our Grokfeast next weekend, Wild Boar smokies, Organic grass-fed chicken “weenie”-roast.

    What are some good, portable primal sides to take along? I’m thinking of cold-served foods but I’m stuck on a veggie tray!

    Griffin wrote on September 21st, 2013
  22. What do you do if you’re really not a breakfast person? My wife isn’t a big breakfast person but she needs to eat for our 3 month old. Normally, her breakfast will be a sugar laced yogurt that is not healthy whatsoever. She’s also not a big breakfast fan so that doesn’t help matters.

    I usually try to make crust less mini quiches ( and she can do a few of those but that’s it.

    Any suggestions for primal breakfast ideas for a stay at home mom that doesn’t necessarily like breakfast? Thanks!!!

    Lee wrote on September 21st, 2013
  23. What are some the best tips you can give on breaking plateaus? I have been paleo/primal since november and have had great success. Im only 20 pounds from where I want to be, currently down 105 pounds. My body seems to be rejecting anymore change. I will take a week to loose 2 pounds, hit the new low weight one day and watch it jump up 4 pounds the next day with no changes to food/exercise change. Im stumped. Please help.

    Edwin Torres wrote on September 21st, 2013
  24. Dear Mark,

    What is your take on a hemp as a source of protein? I’ve heard plenty of cases made as to its health benefits but I just wanted to get some of your input as well. Is hemp primal?



    Sab wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • I’m curious about hemp and hemp seeds as well.

      Griffin (Dave) wrote on September 21st, 2013
  25. Any suggestions on kicking a nut butter addiction? Is there a lesser evil to replace it with? Looks like I need to go cold turkey at this point, I think the nut butters are hampering my 21 day challenge.

    Eric wrote on September 21st, 2013
  26. Do you think it is necessary to supplement with copper and zinc if not eating liver? I have tried a few times but not really digging the liver.

    Kelly wrote on September 21st, 2013
  27. I’ve always had a hard time figuring out if I’m eating enough fat. Of course I cook my meats in it, eggs, and sautéed veggies. But, other than avocados, what do else can I eat? I know there are seeds and nuts, but arent those full of PUFAs? Aren’t we supposed to eat those in moderation? I guess I’m confused where I should draw the line. That and how I can add more easy paleo, fatty items to my repertoire.

    Rebecca wrote on September 21st, 2013
  28. I have been primal for just over a year. Worked great but recently my sleep is not refreshing me anymore and I wake up tired (the first 10 months sleep was great). Any ideas? (I use magnesium)

    O.D. wrote on September 21st, 2013
  29. Since fruits are an occasional food, which ones offer the most bang for their buck(nutritionally speaking) and which ones should we avoid?

    Tiffany wrote on September 21st, 2013
  30. Dear Mark, I have scoliosis since I was a child and I have always had problems with my posture (ie.not standing straight enough, back aches…). Is there any kind of exercise that I can do to improve my posture and lessen the pain?
    Thank you!!

    Ester_RD wrote on September 21st, 2013
  31. OK first things first: I LOVE my veggies, I do. But I am too used to the meat being the center-piece of the meal… so I think I still over-do my proteins and eat too little vegetables.

    And it might be that I don’t feel as if they are satiating unless I eat a TON of them… which is not practical for a guy who is struggling with the money (yes, it sucks to admit it but the number one reason carbs are tempting to me is that they are a CHEAP source of “food”… I try not to eat them though)… In my mind veggies are more of a snack than a meal.

    I guess my question is:

    Is there a secret to eating more veggies? what sort of dishes or skills am I missing in the kitchen that would allow me to up my veggie intake?

    Erik Erosa wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • The tool that has allowed me to consume a ton of fresh, local, organic veggies on a busy schedule and tight budget is a set of quality food storage containers with sides that snap shut. Even delicate lettuce usually lasts the whole week (enabling my daily big-ass salad lunches). It may not be the absolute ideal way to consume vegetables (some degrade faster than others), but it makes daily, quality vegetable consumption feasible for me.

      I do a big farmer’s market outing on the weekend, come home, wash whatever needs to be washed (a salad spinner helps – storing the veggies dry helps them last longer), chop what needs to be chopped (makes cooking dinners on weekdays a lot faster), and store in the snappy containers.

      Another tip – raw or more lightly cooked (steamed) veggies are great, but when in doubt:

      vegetable + primal fat + hot oven (~400 deg F) + time = heaven

      Cook until whatever it is is brown and crispy but not burnt. A cast iron dish is good for this, but Al-covered baking sheets or a pyrex work too. I have tried this with every vegetable and every primal fat I can think of and I have yet to be disappointed.

      michele wrote on September 21st, 2013
  32. Is squatting around a lot good or bad for the spine? How much time did Grok spend crouching in a squat? Obviously when he did a number 2. And when skinning game, cooking, processing foods for the winter.

    I’ve been looking around at my fellow Americans and am saddened to see how hunched all our shoulders are, and how forward we carry our heads. It doesn’t look healthy to me. I guess Grok did a lot of low-level activity everyday while most of us in the modern world sit in chairs. Even standing desks don’t strike me as a solution if the posture is already trained into a poor position. I see a lot of hunched over shoulders while people walk around. Does squatting while hanging around, playing with the kids, etc, help or hinder?

    Edmund Brown wrote on September 21st, 2013
  33. I precooked a bunch of plain meats in my sous vide but now need some way to make them tasty. What’s a good way to flavor meats that are already cooked?

    Linda Sand wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • Hey ,Linda! You should make some Primal sauces, and mix it up with the herbs and spices. So many combinations…

      ninjainshadows wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • Because I’m alone (and can’t use up fresh quickly enough), I buy green peppers (in season, on sale), puree the heck out of them, spread them on a cookie sheet and freeze; then break the ice-plaque up into chips and store them in the freezer. When I prepare my sous vide bags, I can throw in a chip of green pepper (and onion; I do onion the same way) along with my seasonings, and a chip of frozen (KerryGold, of course) butter. That keeps the seasonings from being ‘vacuumed out’ while sealing. When searing before I serving and can add seasoning(s) if needed (rarely is!); or after I hit the meat with the torch.

      (I introduced four neighbors to sous vide last night: they were jealous of my Iwatani torch! And impressed with how the meat turned out.)

      Elenor wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  34. Mark, my HR is 44 when resting, and between 48and 56 dduring the day. But my BP ranges between 130-160 over 76. I would consider myself an entry level athlete, spending about 4.5 hours at the gym a week, sprinting often (soccer player), and I am an avid believer in the primal blueprint’s statement–fats are the preferred fuelfor the heart. My BP concerns me, but my is: do you see this often in people that live the primal lifestyle?

    'Berto the caveman wrote on September 21st, 2013
  35. Have any suggestions on how would I go about reaching 6% body fat? I am for sure 10% or below, am an avid walker, sprint and lift occasionally, and watch carb-intake. Just can’t quite seem to get there, but I want it so bad!

    ninjainshadows wrote on September 21st, 2013
  36. Any tips for shifting a family primal?

    Kim wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • Oh Lawdy, that is a great question!

      ninjainshadows wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • Do the cooking (and the shopping for groceries) and don’t tell em you are shifting them! Seriously… don’t make it a big deal and after week or so you can slowly tell em about the change in their diet.

      I’m not joking… there are so many different things you can cook that are primal that you can easily cook one or two week’s worth of food before they notice it’s been a while since they had any bread.

      My 2.5 year old is happy being primal… especially since he can have scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit pretty much whenever he wants, and my wife is cool with eating primal as long as food is tasty (she is not commited to primal though, and she will eat bread and stuff now and then and when we eat out)… but it’s a start, right?

      Erik Erosa wrote on September 21st, 2013
  37. This time it will work! I keep telling myself. But, even though I am aware of all the Primal principles, have read the books and have benefited from it, I keep going back to my old habits. To keep myself on track, I began wearing an old Roman ring (a true one) my wife had bought for me. I look at it and remember I should be strong and pursue.
    My questions are:
    – What should we do to beat the irrational side of us who makes us eat what we know is bad for us?
    – How do we go back on track halfway through a binge (pizza, or excessive cheese and dried figs)? What’s the best tip?
    – How do we reconcile the idea of indulgence, that this is not about cutting down and being strict, with being disciplined and achieving our goals? In other words: how do we beat guilt and stick to the programme?

    Leonardo wrote on September 21st, 2013
  38. Do you have good suggestions on how to navigate being invited over for dinner by extended family or friends? I don’t want to offend anyone by my new dietary restrictions or cause a big ordeal for the host.

    Kendra wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • I feel the same way and I tell them not to go through any trouble for me. I can usualy find something to enjoy; salad, cooked veggies or the entree if they have not slathered it with too much foolishness. Once you have converted to a fat burning machine it gets even easier as skipping a meal is much easier.

      Seth wrote on September 21st, 2013
  39. If I eat cheese, should I choose grass-fed, but not raw or raw, but not grass-fed? Thank you!!

    Ardie wrote on September 21st, 2013
  40. What proportion of calories from protein, fats and carbohydrates do you recommend for optimal weight-loss? Thanks

    Kathryn wrote on September 21st, 2013

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