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. Why was it easier to drop fat and lose cravings when living in Europe than it is here in the US? I first followed Primal in 2011, then 4 months later moved back to the US. I gained back all I had lost (yes, my fault for allowing too much non-Primal foods into my diet). I have gone back to Primal eating and it’s much more difficult here lose the fat (and pounds) and the desire for grains and sugar is so much stronger. I am sure it’s partly psychological but I am convinced our food is drastically different from our European counterparts.

    Kris C wrote on September 21st, 2013
  2. We travel a lot. How can I stick to the 21-days while on the road (using “fast food”-type restaurants)?

    Teresa Grodi wrote on September 21st, 2013
  3. Sorry if this is in there already but…it’s suggested that people often drink alcohol and/or eat carbs and sugar to self-medicate (thinking of Julia Ross and the neurotransmitters). So, if one cuts out the things that are, at least temporarily, giving you a serotonin boost (or whatever), how does the body readjust? It seems like exercise and Vitamin D would take awhile to “kick in”?

    Karyn wrote on September 21st, 2013
  4. I’m pregnant and I’m due in 2 weeks. I actually started the challenge at the beginning of September but I’ve been having trouble resisting cravings. Does this have anything to do with being pregnant or do I just need to get over it and stay strong?

    Brianna wrote on September 21st, 2013
  5. I’m lost im 20 underweight female. I’m trying to be paleo from like raw vegan type life.

    I’ve followed it religiously with meat and stuff. I just can’t do it meat makes me feel heavy protein does I’ve done HCL, ACV, enzymes etc. Just doesn’t feel right. Carbohydrates not grains! do make me feel better where can I get protein:? Do some people need different macros less protein. Im so lost.

    Aubrey wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • What proteins are you eating? Coming from a vegan diet maybe you should try lighter choices, like fish and chicken to start out with.. or maybe others have better suggestions, but that’s what I would do.

      Sharon T wrote on September 22nd, 2013
      • I had the same issue starting to eat more meat. I found it much easier to ease in with soups & stews (including vegs), increasing the meat quotient as my system began to adjust.

        Paleo-curious wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  6. My acne is flaring up pretty heavily the past few days (I’m blaming stress) – any acne suggestions?

    Abby wrote on September 21st, 2013
  7. Do you ever feel guilty about overeating? Sometimes Paleo food is so delicious that I overeat.



    Kieran Brennan wrote on September 21st, 2013
  8. Hello Mark,

    I’m ordering grass fed beef burgers and wondering what the pros and cons are for various options of leanness; do I always want the 90% or being grass feed is there some goodies(CLA) in the 75% that I forgo with a 90% lean burger?

    Seth wrote on September 21st, 2013
  9. I am a natural wiggle worm, so incorporating movement into my life is easy. But I have trouble with the heavy lifting part. I am somewhate frail from years of undiagnosed Celiac Disease, & I find I keep injuring myself when I try lifting heavy things (even a little bit heavy). For example I was making real progress on assisted pull-ups, until suddenly my elbow started killing me, & now I can barely lift a coffee pot. How do you determine what’s heavy enough to help without hurting?

    Paleo-curious wrote on September 21st, 2013
  10. Running his my hobby. I enjoy training for and running half marathons. This means about 5 hours of running, including one evening of faster running per week. I’m starting with the 21 day challenge, basically because I discovered the website on the day it started and it sounds like something that will help me with weight loss. Assuming I can add some strength training, will continuing to train for and run half marathons be detrimental to a primal lifestyle?

    Perry wrote on September 21st, 2013
  11. Is IF safe for females?

    What counts as sufficient exercise to merit a carb post-workout meal? I.e., how intense, and how long?

    Mallory wrote on September 21st, 2013
  12. Love the 21-day challenge, however I may be consuming a few too many starchy vegetables (i.e. yams/sweet potatoes). What are your guidelines for these in the paleo diet? I don’t need to loose and weight but still want to make sure i am on the right track. Thanks!

    Ali wrote on September 21st, 2013
  13. My wife and I have been using the challenge to kind of reboot. I believe we are eating pretty close to 100% Primal. We are also walking and doing bodyweight exercises together. Our 11 month old has made getting our sleep regulated a bit difficult, but we’re making progress. Anyway, one of the things we’ve noticed is a sudden craving for pizza. In the past I have been advised to get more iron in my system, but I don’t think that is an issue now.

    Would you make a suggestion as to why that is and what we can do to alleviate the cravings?

    Aaron wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • I find that whenever I’m overtired I start craving comfort food, & I’m guessing that may be the trigger. Have you tried “meatza”? Of course it’s not really the same, but the flavors & presentation are comfortingly familiar, & it might help you hold out on the bad stuff.

      Paleo-curious wrote on September 23rd, 2013
  14. Re-post because my first one is “awaiting moderation.”

    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 (Dave) wrote on September 21st, 2013
  15. Hey Mark!
    Your website is inspiration and informative. Keep up the fantastic work.
    My question is on protein and muscle building for women. I know this is probably a common question, but I have heard and read so many different things on what to eat before and after a workout. Do I have to consume protein afterwards to gain muscle, or have any sort of carbohydrate? Is fruit okay? So many questions! :) Thank you, you’re the best!

    Selin wrote on September 21st, 2013
  16. Hi Mark,
    First of all, thank you! I found your website a couple months back and started changing my diet, my mindset and my life. I have been slightly overweight most of my adult life but always what I considered healthy until a little over a year ago when I suffered a major infection after having my daughter and never recovered. After tons of doctors I was finally diagnosed with sarcoidosis of the joints and lymphatic system as well as severely anemic. Even with high doses of prednisone every day was a struggle. But since changing my diet I feel the best I have in years and my bloodwork has improved. As an added bonus, I have lost 15 lbs! My question is how to get off the prednisone now? I hate the side effects and I don’t want to rely on it. I know that my adrenals have basically shut down because I have been on them so long. Everytime I try to taper down I feel and look like death. Is there something I can add in to my diet to help, is there something I should avoid, is there an alternative. I would love your advice for this as well as any tips you might have for living with an autoimmune disease such as sarcoidosis. Thanks!

    Toni wrote on September 21st, 2013
  17. Hey Mark,

    I know that when doing high intensity (HIIT or any other brief but intense) workouts most of the fat burning comes afterwards. What is a good post-workout snack/meal that will enhance/ prolong this fat-burning period? I read an article saying that after this kind of exercise, muscle glycogen is restored using up subcutaneous fat as energy/backup. So based on this, what would be the best refueling option (besides water of course)? (Regular) carbs? Just protein? Avoid fat to make sure my body uses the one that’s already stored?

    Thanks and keep up the good work man!

    Big C wrote on September 21st, 2013
  18. Hi Mark,

    I wanted to ask about feeding a non-Paleo crowd. At various points in the year, I end up doing coffee hour for our church, hosting a dojo party, or other events that require feeding a crowd that is predominantly or even entirely non-Paleo. Where would you suggest looking for recipes to feed a crowd?

    My next thing is a coffee hour, and typically I would set out fruit & vegetables, cheese & crackers, a couple of kinds of cake and/or cookies, plus water and fruit juice. I’m a decent cook, and not at all afraid of even fairly complicated recipes. Suggestions?

    Tapetum wrote on September 21st, 2013
  19. Hi Mark, My question is when is it time to toss out the old vibram five fingers and replace with a new pair. Dollar for dollar these shoes are extremely well made and can take an incredible pounding. They just don’t seem to wear out (sole is thin but they have not fallen apart). Absolutely love them!

    Rob wrote on September 21st, 2013
  20. I can only eat (poultry or red) meat a few times a week, and then it’s usually chicken or ground beef. I try to have at least one egg every day, and fish when I can. Where should I be getting most of calories from?

    (Explanation: I keep kosher, including only buying meat slaughtered in a kosher manner. This is not optional and because of other aspects of my life it is unlikely I will be eating more meat in the next few months.)

    Miriam wrote on September 21st, 2013
  21. I’m dialing in my food and movement for the 21 day challenge. Should I expect to see the start of noticeable muscle toning, especially in arms, legs and abs, by the end of the 21 day challenge?

    Kelly wrote on September 21st, 2013
  22. I’m having a bit of trouble lowering my fruit intake. How much fruit is too much?

    Hanna wrote on September 21st, 2013
  23. Question about oral allergy syndrome – aside from the discomfort, should I be worried about the long term effects of eating foods that cause a temporary “lump in the throat” sensation? Should this be considered a chronic stressor to be avoided?

    Lots of things trigger this reaction to varying degrees for me, including toothpaste, mint, many teas, processed chocolates, dried fruits with oil coatings, egg whites, coconut, almonds and other nuts (and their flour and butter derivatives).

    I’m probably guilty of overdoing nuts and coconuts, for example. Would lowering intake or skipping days periodically be advisable and possibly help reduce the reaction?

    Kevin wrote on September 21st, 2013
  24. Last time I had my muscle mass checked I had more muscle than someone my height and weight! I can gain muscle fairly easily. I’m trying to lose mainly fat and not gain too much muscle can I do this by following primal eating but eliminating the meat portion? Or should I just eat a bit of meat just for maintenance?

    bombshell wrote on September 21st, 2013
  25. Party of my 21 day challenge is getting into the habit of eating strictly primal and no cheats. Problem is I don’t really like many vegetables so what are some good ways for me to get carbs and good fiber. I eat spaghetti squash, sweet potato, tomato sauce(spaghetti sauce) and that is about it. I am more of a meat eater. I used to eat corn and white potatoes before going primal. Do I really need to eat the carbs? I feel fine and have plenty of energy.

    Dennis McDonald wrote on September 21st, 2013
  26. I have a cabin weekend during the 21 day challenge. I know I can just bring separate food than everyone else, so I’m not eating hotdogs and chips all weekend, but it’s not that easy. Any suggestions on how to handle the situation or what to do so I am not completely separated from the group for meals?

    Deuce wrote on September 21st, 2013
  27. Any tips with dealing with a dessert/baked good temptation? My wife will go on a baking kick every now and then and a piece of dark chocolate or fruit doesn’t always do it for me. This has been my biggest obstacle to staying on track. Thanks.

    Neil wrote on September 21st, 2013
  28. I’ve been trying to get my wife to go Paleo with me, but she says she can’t because she is allergic to nuts (all kinds). Due to that she won’t be able to enjoy many primal meals (eg baked goods) made with almond flour, etc. I haven’t found a good resource for nut free paleo to utilize to show her converting is easy. Any suggestions?

    Ryryonline wrote on September 21st, 2013
  29. One more question for me… I’m pretty good following Mark’s advice during the week. But the weekend rolls around, football is on and the one beer I have turns into enough to drive through Taco Bell at 2a. Rinse and repeat each weekend. Thoughts on how to break this cycle? Peer pressure is definitely an issue here.

    Ryryonline wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • I’m dealing with a similar situation, as I am surrounded by enthusiastic drinkers on the weekends. I will readily admit that I don’t mind catching a buzz while I’m cheering on my team, and being the only person not drinking really isn’t fun for me.

      Alcohol falls into my 20% of the 80/20, so I personally don’t feel guilty about indulging once or twice a week. I like beer, wine, AND whiskey, but it’s definitely the beer that causes me to derail. My solution has been to switch from light beer to craft beer… I savor it longer (can’t pound a hoppy IPA), and the (generally) higher alcohol content makes it so I won’t be drinking a six pack before the game is over. I also stick to just one kind of alcohol…. either I’m sipping a bourbon or drinking a beer, never both, and never shots.

      If it happens that I, like you, want to make that Taco Bell run, sometimes I say Eff It and get the chalupa. I try not to beat myself up about it, especially if my diet has been on point up until then. If you want to avoid even going through the drive through, have a paleo meal ready to nuke in the microwave when the 2am craving hits.

      Greta wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  30. Two questions, one is very much related to where I live so I don’t really expect an answer…

    Where can you buy sliced meat without any sugars in the Netherlands? I’ve defaulted to choosing the best-out-of-not-so-great-options but that’s not a good thing.

    My other question (perhaps a tad sarcastic):
    When will people catch on that no, you really don’t eat bread? (Or the cake, or the sugar-laden-anything). :)

    Charissa wrote on September 21st, 2013
    • Recently I discovered a chain of butchers that sell ontbijtspek (equivalent of bacon in the Netherlands) with only ingredients: pork and salt. Go to to see their stores.

      They have more sliced meat without added sugars, but some do contain starches.

      If anyone else has alternatives: please comment!

      Simone wrote on September 23rd, 2013
      • Hi fellow dutchies :)
        When going primal I also found, to my surprise, that organic cold cuts generally contain some added suger. I deceided this was one of those things where I wouldn’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. I hardly eat cold cuts and the organic ones are already at the upper limit of my budget. Finding good grass-feed meat for cooking took priority (for beef: and still looking for pork/chicken/other options).

        Took a peek at the cold cuts I happen to have at the moment, all from Hoogvliet (25% discount until today, tuesday)
        bio katenspek -1,9 gr carbs/100 gr
        bio runderrookvlees – 0,6
        bio cervelaat 0,0 grams! there is dextrose at the end of the ingredient list, but it is appearantly below detection limit. So there are definately some options to choose the lesser of your evils.

        I figure even the worst offender on this list has less carbs by weight than full yoghurt (4) full fat greek yoghurt (3,2) or my morning cup of coffee (1 teaspoon) and I consume a lot more of these on a regular basis than the occasional cold cuts, so I’m not going to worry.
        But I’ll comment again here if I find other sugarfree meat :)

        Feather wrote on September 24th, 2013
  31. How do you cope with sudden stressors, whether large or small (i.e. death in the family, sprained ankle, etc.) that may pop up during your challenge? Or what advice would you give to someone in a position like this?

    Charlayna wrote on September 21st, 2013
  32. Hello, I have two questions but if I win you can send me just one book:-)

    Is there a place in primal diet for carbonated water?

    Another question. We started the 21 day challenge 6 days ago. I am 100kg my partner 60kg, we eat similar portions and she excersises bit harder than me (just a bit). Where she is in heavy ketosis I am barely in any. How come? Although the ketosis is covered in Primal blueprint I would like to understand it better. The piece of information I am missing is this, by eating small amounts of carbs I can start produce ketons but what about the rest of nutritiones like protein and fat? Am I going to be in ketosis by eating 50g of carbs and half a ton of fat or protein? And how an excersise relates to ketosis? Does it enhance ketosis or no relation at all! Thank you and wish you all the best!

    Vlada wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  33. What has surprised you most about your body adapting to a situation?

    I have just started as a Nurse and have worked thee long days in a row (13 hour busy shifts). I have had sustainable energy for each shift and now it is my day off and I do not feel run down or tried. I am taking it easy but I am not wiped out. My body has coped well. I have made sure to eat primal only during these times as it is the best fuel for my body. The reaction my body has had to this stress has been amazing. And I made sure I got great sleep!

    Irongrok wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  34. I am unable to eat paleo baked goods as they lead to non-paleo baked goods; i.e., gateway drug for me. I do like cocoa on bananas, so get my chocolate fix that way. Will there come a time where I feel comfortable eating paleo sweets?

    Donna wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  35. I’m transitioning to paleo from a vegetarian background, where my proteins have been fairly cheap (lots of beans/legumes, tempeh, and psuedo-grains)… I’ve seen suggested shopping lists on various paleo sites, and I have to admit that my boyfriend and I are disheartened at the amount of money we will now need to spend to get high-quality meats and seafood.

    We are planning to buy a share of a grass-fed, pasture-raised cow, but aside from that, how can we get the most bang for our buck to meet the standards of a paleo lifestyle? I’m not really looking for budgeting advice (e.g. remove “luxury items” from our lifestyle), but would like to know how people stretch their dollars and make this work.

    Greta wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  36. My question is about prioritizing food choices: I’m on a very tight budget for the time being (back in school full time for a semester so had to cut down on the work hours) and live in a small town where “organic” and “grass-fed” are EXTREMELY hard to find. How do I make the best food choices possible in the environment I’m currently in?

    Angie wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  37. I think I’m too late for the contest so my question will probably go overlooked, but, Mark, I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while. I have been primal for a little less than a year. I am trying to get my boyfriend on board. Unfortunately, he has been less than compliant but will still eat my daily cooking. Lately, he has noticed that eating any type of coconut product has a laxative effect along with abdominal discomfort. He has a history of UC and subsequent total colectomy. I know that probably plays a huge role in his aversion to coconut anything. He now refuses to eat anything prepared in coconut oil, flour, etc. Do you know if there is anything to deter the negative laxative effect of coconut products? I would like to avoid giving it up completely at all costs.

    Erin wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  38. what suggestions do you, or anyone, have for treating surgery scars? I am waiting impatiently for my dura-bond to come off so I can start treating my incision wound on my neck. I have coconut oil, lavender oil and a cocoa-butter/lavender oil blend but is there anything else I should try? I have always had success with neosporin but would like to avoid it for a more natural remedy. Thanks!

    JR wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  39. What’s your go to paleo meal on a busy week night?

    Alia wrote on September 22nd, 2013

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