Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 06, 2009

Contest: Ask Me a Question. Win a Book.

By Mark Sisson
281 Comments

The Prize:

The book, the whole book, and nothing but the book. I’m giving away a copy of The Primal Blueprint to five lucky readers. Already own a copy? Win another and give it to Uncle Wilbur. Everyone knows he could use it.

The Contest:

Ask me a question about the challenge. Leave your question in the comments section of this post. I’ll pick 5 questions and answer those questions in my video post on Monday, August 10. If I read your question on the video, you’ve won! Be sure to use your real email address when leaving a comment.

Examples:

“Is it okay to adjust my goals halfway through the challenge if I don’t think I’ll succeed?”

“I’ve dropped 3 lbs so far, but I’m insanely hungry and I can’t tell if it’s body fat or water weight I’m dropping. I’m happy about the weight loss, but I don’t feel vibrant and energized. Do I change what I’m doing or muscle through?”

“How much can I really expect to change in one month? It doesn’t seem possible to go through a complete body transformation in this amount of time.”

“I’m 65, decided to add sprinting to my list of goals, and very quickly realized my knees aren’t yet ready for it. Is there a good alternative to the wind sprint?”

“Boxers or briefs?” (Kidding! Please don’t ask that.)

Eligibility:

From the United States to the United Kingdom and from New Zealand to New Delhi everyone is eligible. No restrictions.

The Contest End Time:

Midnight tonight. So ask those questions now!

How the Winner Will Be Determined:

  • Executive decision. I will pick 5 questions to answer.
  • If multiple people ask the same question I will hold a random drawing to decide which one will be answered on the video.

To track all the contests visit The Primal Blueprint Health Challenge Contest Page for daily updates.

Visit The Primal Blueprint Health Challenge for challenge details.

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281 Comments on "Contest: Ask Me a Question. Win a Book."

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RG
RG
7 years 1 month ago

Dear Mark,

I remain confused about fruit and carbohydrate allowances per day. I love fruit but realise eating it with wild abandon may not prove too good for weight loss. Could you explain the metabolism of sugars found within fruit as I am concerned I have an unhelpful black-and-white ‘all carbs are bad’ type view on this?

Many many thanks
RG

Chris
Chris
7 years 1 month ago

Thanks for the great blog, Mark.

I am generally satisfied with my current fitness and diet but I’m always seeking ways to improve. I’m a goal oriented person and I’m having trouble setting objectives for the Health Challenge. “Maintain Current Fitness” doesn’t seem like a very clear goal to me. I fear that I’m nearing the point of diminishing returns where additional progress will require more time than my balance of family, work and mental health (relaxation) can afford. Do you have any suggestions?

Get Primal
7 years 1 month ago

Is there any data relating to how long it takes to ‘see’ (attain) improvements at the cellular level after converting to a primal-style diet? Is there a ‘healing period’ involved initially, or does the body immediately begin to generate healthier cells once the junk is eliminated? Thanks!

Chunster495
Chunster495
7 years 1 month ago

I’ve been trying to help a vegetarian become primal… her dietary restrictions have been a bit challenging. She eats eggs though so she incorporates eggs, cheese and lentils into her diet as her main sources for protein along with protein powder.

So here’s the question… Do you know whether eating beans and lentils will slow down her weight loss and if so,… and is it safe to just eat like 2 dozen eggs a day? Or any other thoughts on good sources of protein for a vegetarian.

Patrick
Patrick
7 years 1 month ago
Mark, How can you be sure that a diet basically free of carbohydrates is not risky, can you afford to bet your life on it? (refer to your hi bp blog). From reading yours and Rustys (FBB) blog and the fitness tips of Sean Nalewanyj, I think a complex carb (whole grain cereal) is important for the fiber mainly, but was criticized for being unprimal. I am about your age (born in 1953) and do not have a crystal ball, so I only eat my primal (egg and sausage) breakfast on my IF days (lunch is your primal salad and… Read more »
Lula
Lula
7 years 1 month ago

Mark,

Thank you for all the great information you provide. I know you’ve touched on this before, but I’m still unclear.

Since going Primal, my husband has begun eating 4 eggs a day for breakfast. I don’t think it’s healthy-he disagrees. Please help settle this dispute!

jalense
jalense
7 years 1 month ago

Hello Mark,

I am really enjoying the 30-day challenge! Thanks for getting so many of us inspired to make needed changes/transitions in our lives. Personally I have reduced carbs dramatically from carboholic to almost none and upped my physical activity from 0 to “lots”. My diet has been almost 100% primal, meat and veggies. But contrary to what I thought, I am just not hungry! And feel like eating only once or twice a day. Any ideas? And is that okay?

Anne
Anne
7 years 1 month ago
Mark- A friend let me read PB right before I began the Primal Challenge. Your primal lifestyle makes complete sense from a biological perspective (I am a graduate student with a biology degree). I have read a good deal on the potential “dangers” of artificial sweeteners, but I have remained unconvinced to remove them from my diet. In PB, you mentioned artificial sweeteners trigger a insulin response. This is the most compelling argument I have read against artificial sweeteners. I checked your online appendix, but did not see a more comprehensive explanation of how the insulin response is initiated. Can… Read more »
Laura Ragan
Laura Ragan
7 years 1 month ago
Hi, Mark, My question is not exactly about the challenge, and it may be too political, but it’s troubling me, so here goes: With the Numbered Animal Identification System and the recent passage of HR 875, I believe the nation’s small, local grass-fed and organic farmers and ranchers are about to be regulated out of existence. I’m afraid that within 2-3 years we will no longer have a choice in how we feed ourselves and our children. What can I as a primal individual and we as a primal group do to keep our primal eating choices available? Thanks for… Read more »
cwdana
7 years 1 month ago

As part of MY 30 day challenge, I’m trying to convince my better half that there’s a better way to get healthy. One item on the list is to get him to realize CW isn’t always right.

He continues to make scrambled eggs with 2 yolks included and one yolk tossed feeling that he’s some how significantly decreasing the cholesterol by eliminating the single yolk.

You’ve touched on the topic briefly within other posts, but I’m wondering how I can create a better argument to save the yolk?! (Or to realize my greatest fear – he’s actually right?)

lori
lori
7 years 1 month ago

I face a similar challenge with my better half. My challenge is that he is an avid runner (6 miles/day) and believes he will simply fall apart if he doesn’t run. ‘Runner CW’ rules for him.

I think our best bet is to live primal and be the best example to them of how it works. (that and compare cholesterol readings from our next annual check-up!)Good luck!

Min
Min
7 years 1 month ago

I came across this article about two tribes on high carb diets: http://www.fitnessspotlight.com/2009/08/03/carb-diets-overrated-part-ii-kitavan-okinawa-diets/

Is it really possible to optimize your health as long as you eat real food, move, live and play as naturally as possible? More to the point: does the amount of carbs matter so much when looking at the big picture?

Dennis
Dennis
7 years 1 month ago

Love your site and post

Should I base the amount of Omega 3 supplements I take on the amount of omega 6 I am eating in order to get that 1:1 ratio?

Luke
Luke
7 years 1 month ago
Mark, Many of your recipes include some eccentric ingredients (Asian Cucumber, Kohlrabi Wraps, Fennel and Dill Omelet). Are there any pre-existing meals that say an Italian American Family from Louisiana could pull from their cookbooks and still be primal? I know that Louisiana food has their own bit of eccentricities, but the bases of many are rice, flour, and pasta. I am trying to find a meal to pitch to my family in order to show them that; 1) I’m not crazy they have eaten primal and don’t know it and 2) they can be primal without eliminating their traditional… Read more »
jpippenger
7 years 1 month ago

Mark, I suffer from anxiety and chronic pain, I am pretty sure the two are linked. What are the best foods to help reduce pain and anxiety?

Frank Asselin
Frank Asselin
7 years 1 month ago

Hi Mark,

My question for you is this:

Do you think feasting at night is a good idea? I mean having a pretty big meal before going to bed. That would represent grok after a good day out hunting.

Thanks

Frank Asselin

Richard Coffey
Richard Coffey
7 years 1 month ago

Hey Mark,
I’ve recently made the switch from peanut butter to alternative nut butters, my favorites being almond and sunflower. I’ve heard you mention that you tend to stay away from sunflower butter, but i cant figure out exactly why it’s inferior to almond butter. (both have low omega 3’s, similar protein, etc.)
Thanks for such a wealth of information on your site and making all to often confusing nutrition easy to understand.

Byung
Byung
7 years 1 month ago

Mark,
As part of my more primal life style I’m trying to cut out carbs and eating more vegetables. I’m currently eating 5 cups of broccoli with 3oz of shrimp and olive oil with a pinch of salt as a meal. Here’s a link to the “recipe” http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/recipe/1143909/2 That’s a whopping 56 grams of carbs a meal. Is that too much carbs even if it’s coming from vegetables? I am fairly lean but am trying to burn a bit more fat. Thanks Mark!

Michelle
Michelle
7 years 1 month ago
Thanks Mark! There seems to be a big void of information when it comes to being pregnant and practicing a more primal lifestyle. All the messages I get from society/culture are: rest! sleep! eat whatever you want! if you exercise don’t let your heart rate go above 140! I don’t like it. I get very strange looks when I go to the gym. I can’t imagine that Grok’s pregnant wife just quit being active and ate all that differently (I will admit to having big carb cravings but they aren’t overwhelming). What do you think? This is my first pregnancy… Read more »
Grok
7 years 1 month ago

“Boxers or briefs?” (Kidding! Please don’t ask that)

#1: Didn’t Grok go Commando?

#2 (clarification): Primal Blueprint’s “Carb Curve” = Net carbs?

#3: What are your thoughts on supplementing extra amounts of specific amino acids for treating different problems (such as stress, sugar cravings, etc..).

lfisher
lfisher
7 years 1 month ago
My sister is a teenager and agrees with the primal idea on eating, but tends to eat carbs and junk because she feels there is nothing else to eat in the house. Can you give me some ideas on what one could eat from a traditionally stocked kitchen without starving or eating the same thing over and over again? I feel that this is just her excuse, but I haven’t found the right suggestions for her. I do okay when I visit the family, but I do tend to not eat as much as there isn’t much food that I… Read more »
lori
lori
7 years 1 month ago

Mark,

I think it’s time for a PB cookbook! Will you consider one? If not a full fledged book (so soon after your latest), then a tab on your home page dedicated to recipes by meal (B,L, D and snacks)? How ’bout it?

Licarrit
Licarrit
7 years 1 month ago

I second this! but I want a real physical book please! Trying to make dinner in front of the computer is no fun. I have started printing out and formatting the recipes you do have so I can get to them more easily but I am willing to pay to have someone else do it.

CardioJunkie
CardioJunkie
7 years 1 month ago

Third vote for the tangible cookbook. I too still appreciate having the physical book. Great idea!

Matt
Matt
7 years 1 month ago
Mark, What do you think of the idea of not having specific goals, and instead focusing on general goals and directions? This way, you are not disappointed if you fall short of achieving the goal, and you don’t have to obsess over it during the challenge (“OMG I only lost 1 pound last week”). For example, instead of ‘Lose 10 pounds’, could the goal instead be simply ‘Lose weight?’ This way, at the end of the challenge, you are not disappointed if you only lose 5lbs – which, when looked at objectively, is great – that’s 60lbs a year! Indeed,… Read more »
Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan
7 years 1 month ago

Mark,
My question is, which modern day sport or game to you think Grok’s physical attributes and lifestyle would have suited him to the most?
Thanks

Paul
7 years 1 month ago
Mark, Avid reader here and have a question for you. I have had Lupus (SLE) for a few years now and have tried numerous things to reduce the inflammation of flare ups as much as possible. I have tried Cumin, Ginger as well as others with no results. I currently am a slave to Prednisone and that medicine is terrible. Do you have any suggestions as far as a Primal diet to help reduce inflammation of the joints? I know some foods can either trigger or support flare ups in SLE patients. I currently supplement with Fish oil and Glucosamine… Read more »
lady_daraine
lady_daraine
7 years 1 month ago
First off, I want to say thank you for the blog. It has lead me from a “frankenfood”-leaning Atkins approach to a much healthier lifestyle, and I am very grateful. But there is still one thing I am still confused about, and I’ve been thinking about it after seeing it on the forums and in a few blogs… I recently read information that claims that cheese was originally made around 8000 BCE – putting it about 10,000 years ago. This is the same time period that is mentioned for when out genes would have been “finished”, so to speak. Of… Read more »
Mattthias
Mattthias
7 years 1 month ago

Mark,

I recently convinced my vegetarian girlfriend to go Primal with me at the start of the Challenge. While I’ve convinced her to start eating fish, eggs and poultry she is flat out refusing to eat pork or any red meats.

So, my question then is: What is she missing, nutrient-wise? Are there any important nutrients in red meats that you can’t find in fish, poultry, eggs and high-fat dairy?

Damon
Damon
7 years 1 month ago

Any tips for convincing my 16 year old son, who already takes meds for depression, that his diet and his love of carbs is a major long-term issue in his life? I can force him to read PB, but 16-year-olds believe they are immortal.

Other than by example, any good ideas on how to get him to WANT to change his ways?

Shannon
7 years 1 month ago

Dear Mark,

I am a 26 year old female who has had two babies in two years. I was wondering if you could address the topic of applying the primal blueprint to females, specifically young mothers. Pregnancy and nursing are very hard on the body and I am wondering if, beyond avoiding grains and sugars, there are any foods and or supplements you recommend for someone like myself.

Thanks!
Shannon

MandyGirl77
7 years 1 month ago

Hi Mark,

I have a question about your Primal Rules:
Move around a lot at a slow pace & run fast every once in a while.

Grok certainly didn’t sit at a desk in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day like I do. I feel like I need more running or high pace cardio activity than every once in a while.

Can you please elaborate on why we should only move at a slow pace most of the time?

Thanks!
Mandy

Natalie
Natalie
7 years 1 month ago

Mark,
I am doing well cutting the carbs in the sense of grains, breads, etc, following the Primal workout methods and reducing stress. However, I am not doing so well in the sugar department. I look forward to my little bit of ice cream or frozen yogurt each night. What are some good ways to try to elminiate the need for sweets. Thanks!

Terry
Terry
7 years 1 month ago

Mark –

I find the idea of the PB fascinating, but I’m diabetic and concerned with the low carb reqs of it. Burning keytones is one of the big things to avoid for diabetics as it indicates a dangerously low blood sugar level. How does the Primal Blueprint work for someone who has diabetes (type II in my case)?

David
David
7 years 4 days ago
Terry, I’m a Type 2 for 24 years and by eating a very low carb diet have eliminated all my meds. My fasting sugar level is usually in the 80s. I think what you are fearing is “keytone acidosis” which is a condition that can effect Type 1 diabetics and is related to their inability to produce insulin. Burning keytones is not the same thing as keytone acidosis. You do it when you sleep at night or any other time when you haven’t eaten for a length of time. If you have any questions about low carb and diabetes let… Read more »
Wendy
Wendy
7 years 1 month ago

Mark:

What is your opinion of nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) in the Primal diet?

Thanks for the advice.
Wendy

Nick
Nick
7 years 1 month ago

We all can see you have a good following. However, when I look at your biography page it is a bit vague on thing that really should be talked about. What are your qualifications on making many of the claims you post?

bringthefurey
bringthefurey
7 years 1 month ago

Mark,

I have been following the PB for about two months now. I enjoy the idea of barefooting and I have recently purchased a pair of the Five Fingers to substitute for my “conventional” performance running shoes. I do not have any foot issues however I have occasional/minor ligament pain from running.

Q: What is an appropriate transition from running shoes to Five Fingers? I enjoy using them for my runs but have had some issues because of my “non-Grok”, softie feet. What transition did you or others have to go through before you were using the Vibrams 100% of the time?

Thanks!

Clint
Clint
7 years 1 month ago
Mark, The Primal Blueprint is about total lifestyle and not just diet & exercise. My question relates to stress and stressors. Small, infrequent stressors can be good for the body as in the concept of hormesis. It is why intermittant fasting (IF) can produce great results. Larger, frequent stressors can cause the body undue harm such as the release of cortisol. This is the “stress” most people endure in the workplace, home etc that doctors and you say we should avoid. My question is: Will adding good stressors to a stressful day/life still elicit the positive effects or will it… Read more »
juno61
juno61
7 years 1 month ago

Your challenge has inspired me to “get with the program”. I changed my way of eating in January, but I haven’t changed my sedentary ways much. Would it be more beneficial to A) join the YMCA and begin to lift weights, or B) start walking every day and add a few sprints here and there as I become more active?

Eric
Eric
7 years 1 month ago

Mark,

I tend to follow the train how my body feels. Feeling explosive? Maybe sprints are in order. Arms and chest still sore? Lets scarp the weights and go for a hike instead.

Problem occurs after an illness/flu. My mind and body feel better so I want to get back into the workout swing of things but I tend to come back to hard to soon. In short, what guidelines do you follow when recovering from the flu or some other chest/head infection?

Thanks.

Weston
7 years 1 month ago

So I’ve been trying to spread the word about the benefits of going Primal to my friends, family, coworkers, random encounters (when they comment on my Vibrams!), and others that blindly follow CW. In a lot of ways, actions speak louder than words, and my improved fitness is noticed and helps my argument. I am slowly attempting to make my social structures happier, fitter and healthier, which should in turn make me happier, fitter and healthier. So:

What, in your opinion, is the best reason for going Primal?

Thank you Mark!

Claire
Claire
7 years 1 month ago

It’s not always easy or affordable to get your hands on some nice grass-fed beef. When grass-fed beef is not available do you think that it’s better to avoid the grocery store grain-fattened, hormorne-laden beef all together and opt for other protein sources?

Sylvie Ouellette
Sylvie Ouellette
7 years 1 month ago

I like to plan ahead: what happens once the 30 days are up? Should we just keep going for another 30 (or more) days? Or devise another, different challenge? What is the best way to avoid falling back into old habits?

James
James
7 years 1 month ago

I’m a weekend warrior and indoor soccer and ice hockey seasons are coming soon.

How do I incorporate games (hockey varies between Tuesday or Wednesday and soccer is on Thursday) into the exercise schedule?

hawken
hawken
7 years 1 month ago

I really enjoy your daily articles and learning all about Primal. My question would be for you Mark. Do you participate in any healing practices for you muscles and body such as massage, sauna therapy, etc?

Adam Kayce
7 years 1 month ago

Hi Mark,

I’ve been following Primal principles for a few months now, and have lowered my carb intake significantly, along with four days/week of CrossFit-style exercise. For the last month, I’ve even cut out all cheat meals to see what would happen… and still, my weight remains about the same. (I’m trying to lose fat and shift my body composition towards something more resembling yours… 🙂 )

So, my question is, if we’re following the plan to the letter, but not seeing much change, what next? (Patience? Could it be a cortisol issue?)

Thanks,
Adam

Licarrit
Licarrit
7 years 1 month ago

Adam check your body fat percentage. I actually gained weight when I started PB and still haven’t lost it. When I plugged my numbers into a good body fat calculator I saw that I had dropped 2% of my body fat in 2 months. Not bad considering I’m on a ton of insulin. The calculator I used is http://www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/home-body-fat-test-2774-143.html

Ironically, it is sponsored by a statin -hate those pesky little buggers!

Sean Fox
Sean Fox
7 years 1 month ago
Question: For the last year I have been trying to get more primal and limit my carbs. I average about 175 grams per day (15-20 coming from fruit)while trying to cycle them depending on the workout for the day. I work out with weights (crossfit, Staleys EDT)2-3 time a week, run 2-3 times and week. My question is this: I have signed up for a 1/2 Marathon in October and wonder if it is beneficial to me to ramp up my carb intake to prevent myself from bonking. I know you were an elite endurance athelete and I expect you… Read more »
lcme
lcme
7 years 1 month ago

I get the feeling that Grok and his crew wouldn’t have stretched before or after any physical exercise.

Do you feel that stretching is an important part of any of the workouts you recommend?

Cubical Inmate
Cubical Inmate
7 years 1 month ago

My goal for the challenge is to follow the Primal Blueprint for the month of august and get in 14 Crossfit workouts.

With my job I have a lot of lunch and dinner meetings and for the past five days I have been eating primal but getting a lot of questions from my coworkers and friends. What is the simplest way to explain the Primal Blue print and how I’m eating? Most people just say I’m eating atkins and say I’m crazy.

Thanks!

Licarrit
Licarrit
7 years 1 month ago
“Life is what happens when you’ve made other plans” I have been primal for a couple of months now and have never felt better, which is saying alot for a 45 yr old, type II diabetic, with really bad joints. Oh, and I’ve dropped 2% of my body fat in the last 2 months also! Recalculated that after your email! Here’s my question: What is the best of the worst? I know I should eat grass fed local beef, local veges, in season fruit but… sometimes the only choice is McD’s or Subway? So if I have to eat something… Read more »
Agnieszka
7 years 1 month ago
Dear Mark: My question is about the important art of coalition building. It’s a highly potent moment, foodwise, in the history of the U.S.: Michael Pollan has gained attention for lamenting the ascent of corn-derived products and feeds in the U.S.; the Food, Inc. move has shown people what is in their food; Gary Taubes stirred the waters with Good Calories, Bad Calories; and you’ve galvanized this immensely successful primal meeting place. Are you and other like-minded proponents of healthy living coming together to help America eat better? In your opinion, could a grassroots social movement steer our country’s farmers,… Read more »
Zephyr
Zephyr
7 years 1 month ago

I’ve never been an expert of meat. What are the preferred types that you would suggest having on the primal diet? Basically, what gives you the most benefits? (eg, liver? or kidney? or beef/what part of the cow?) thanks

SerialSinner
SerialSinner
7 years 1 month ago

Mark, what would you suggest to ease very sedentary people into progressively embracing an active lifestyle? What kind of routines are the best ones, and what kind of indicators should we monitor in order to know how and when to increase our exercise levels?

I have never been the “sportsy” type, and although I am near my ideal weight, and even though I eat Primal, I always have to force myself into doing exercise.

I can only imagine how difficult this might be for someone who is not only sedentary but also very overweight.

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