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

Contest: Ask Me a Question. Win a Book.

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.


“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.)


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.

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. 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?

    James wrote on August 6th, 2009
  2. 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?

    hawken wrote on August 6th, 2009
  3. 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?)


    Adam Kayce wrote on August 6th, 2009
    • 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

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

      Licarrit wrote on August 6th, 2009
  4. 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 more than anyone could answer the question.

    Sean Fox wrote on August 6th, 2009
  5. 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?

    lcme wrote on August 6th, 2009
  6. 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.


    Cubical Inmate wrote on August 6th, 2009
  7. “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 processed or from a chain-type restaurant what brand or item should I look for?

    Licarrit wrote on August 6th, 2009
  8. 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, regulatory institutions, and retailers toward more reasonable, primal offerings such as grass-fed beef? Why, or why not?

    Agnieszka wrote on August 6th, 2009
  9. 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

    Zephyr wrote on August 6th, 2009
  10. 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.

    SerialSinner wrote on August 6th, 2009
  11. Mark,

    Great challenge thus far and I’m looking forward to more great challenges in the month ahead. My question is this:

    What do you consider to be the biggest obstacle people face in changing their lifestyle into something more in harmony with our primal ancestors?

    philipmancini wrote on August 6th, 2009
  12. Mark,

    About five years ago, I started eating a low-carb (Atkins-based diet). I lost weight great at first, but when I introduced any significant quantity to my diet all that ended. During that time I have not gained, but I have been stuck at roughly 184 pounds (on a 5’3 body). I began following a Primal-style diet a couple of months ago – mainly meat and veggies, with moderate fruit, nuts, and low-sugar dairy – and even incorporated a daily walking routine and weekly workout, but I remain firmly stuck at 184 lbs.

    Do you have any advice for me in kick-starting weight loss?

    GeriMorgan wrote on August 6th, 2009
  13. Mark, what are your thoughts on athletes utilizing a paleo diet? The idea would be eating only “primal” foods, but adding more carbs (yams, quinoa, etc.). Is there any merit to that?

    Rob wrote on August 6th, 2009
  14. Hi Mark,
    I already have a copy of your book. I don’t have any new challenges that are likely to be attained in a month. My challenge is ongoing. I am a diabetic of 24 years. Since January 4 of this year I have been refining a low carb/exercise plan and found your book and this website helpful. I am now off all my diabetes medicines (Byetta, Levemir & Metformin) and Lipitor. My goal is to get off my medicines for blood pressure, low testosterone and osteoporosis. While my labs indicate continued improvement, I am not yet able to discontinue any of those drugs. I feel that I have made such significant progress that it is not possible for me to set a goal attainable in such a short time. The only thing I can come up with is something like being able to do more burpees or do them faster. That is just part of my on-going work to change the expression of my genes. What is a good way for me to participate in the challenge?

    David wrote on August 6th, 2009
  15. Ok here goes! Is it possible to be vegetarian and primal? Whatcha think, lost cause?

    Sarah G. wrote on August 6th, 2009
  16. Mark,

    I have a question about the carbohydrate curve. I did some rough calculations on my lunch salad yesterday, and it looks as though it already accounted for ~60g of carbs. Most of this seems to come from ‘healthy’ vegetables, like carrots and onions (the salad had spinach, carrots, mushrooms, red onions, avocado, bacon and chicken). How can I keep my carbohydrates in the 50-100g ‘effortless’ weight loss zone while still including healthy vegetables? Should I only be including certain types of carbohydrates in that calculation (i.e. only complex, or excluding dietary fibers)? Should that range be adjusted based on my lean body mass?


    DirewolfX wrote on August 6th, 2009
  17. Mark,
    I am 42 years old, and I’ve been doing triathlons for three years. I’ve switched over to the Primal Blueprint for nutrition (no breads, grains, pastas or dairy) as well as fitness (long, easy workouts at 65% of max HR and short intense workout like sprints or weightlifting). I am starting to train seriously now for an ironman race that takes place in november, however i’m at a crossroads: Do I continue to be 100% primal during my ironman training? Or should I eat grains, pastas, etc. to help me train for the race? On the fitness side, should I continue with the primal way of working out or should I be doing the long cardio sessions (that you do not ordinarily recommend) in order to get into proper aerobic shape for the ironman. I know that you’re a previous ironman stud. Help me oh wise one.

    yayaman wrote on August 6th, 2009
  18. What is the ideal protein intake for children of various ages? I have not had much luck getting my 2 year old to eat meat besides breaded chicken tenders. Many of my friends’ young kids also seem meat-averse – why is this the case, and when should I worry?

    Ursula wrote on August 6th, 2009
  19. What are your thoughts on lectins from legumes, tofu, dairy, and nightshades like tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers?

    Marshall wrote on August 6th, 2009
  20. Mark,
    How did you begin your transformation into the Primal lifestyle? Psychologically, was it challenging initially?

    BretMattingly wrote on August 6th, 2009
  21. Ketosis. In 2003, I did a sugar-free, starch-free (no fruits) diet for 42 days. I was definitely in ketosis. For the first nine days, I felt horrible. After that, I felt awesome. In 2008, I did the same thing for another 6 weeks. Because of healthier eating choices, the transition period this time around didn’t last as long and wasn’t as bad. But both times I lost weight. My rate of weight loss is usually fastest when in ketosis.

    Here’s my question:

    What is the difference in weight loss effectiveness between the weight loss sweet spot (50g to 100g/day of carbs) and ketosis (<50g/day of carbs), specifically once the body flips the switch to ketosis? In other words, is ketosis really necessary to kick-start weight loss and why or why not?

    fritchbeetle wrote on August 6th, 2009
  22. Hey mark,

    I heard you saying that people who do sports longer than the 45 to 60 min period need more carbohydrates, for example hiking or mountainbiking. As someone who does IF and low carb days regularly but still enjoys long hikes or mountainbiking (over 4 hours) I find it easy to keep on going even if I am fasting. Does a person who is more often using ketones for energy really in need of extra carbohydrates? (excluding athletes)

    Florian wrote on August 6th, 2009
  23. Mark,

    I’m a triathlete (looking to go pro here in the next year) and whereas I basically train Primally (low HR like the yayaman) with speedwork in there, I’m doing much more overall volume than a regular grokette would. A lot of the training books push more carb consumption to help with the glycogen stores, especially during racing season. How would you suggest fueling for races?

    Also, I’m a bit confused on corn: it’s technically a grain, but eaten as a vegetable too. What’s your take?

    "A" Girl wrote on August 6th, 2009
  24. Mark –

    Thanks for the blog and the book. Wonderful information.

    Simple question: Water is the most primal beverage of them all, but what are some other good “primal” beverages for summer thirst quenching. Herbal teas? Regular (unsweetened) iced tea? How about seltzer with a spritz of lemon? Virgin bloody mary?

    What’s your favorite non-alcoholic thirst quencher when you’re in the mood for something other than water?


    Geoff wrote on August 6th, 2009
  25. Do you recommend any type of “intensive” carb fueling before, during, or after a long bout of endurance exercise? I frequently go on hiking treks, averaging 15-20 miles per day for 3 or more days, and trying to do this without the aid of dried fruit, oats, and chocolate is difficult.

    Madame P wrote on August 6th, 2009
  26. I am right there with Adam Kayce.Gave up sugar a long time ago, dairy(except a little cheese once in a while and cream in coffee(once or twice a day),grains at begining of year. Activity includes walking appx 6 miles a week(above all the daily walking), Tennis 4-6 times a week, yoga 2-3 times,racquetball 1-2, all yardwork on 3/4 acre hilly lot and all housework. Have with challenge added weights back in). Still no weight loss. have also tried journaling food and weighing portions. Still no weight loss. What is next to try?

    Jan wrote on August 6th, 2009
  27. Does the primal blueprint specify meal portion sizes? Do you think there is any value in combining the Primal diet foods with the portion concepts of the Zone diet?

    sax wrote on August 6th, 2009
  28. hey mark, loving the challenge so far and very impressed with the number of people so into it, shines some hope on the thought about how out of shape and unhealthy the majority of the population is. my question:

    For you, what is the hardest part about living primal and how do you deal with it?

    joshua76 wrote on August 6th, 2009
  29. Post workout nutrition.

    Currently I’m doing strength training about 4x a week during my lunch hour at work (have a gym and locker room at the office). I’m doing full body workouts (~30min) followed by 5 min of core and then 5 min of stretching. They are pretty tough.

    I shower and then eat my lunch which is leftover meat & veggies (~1/3 pound of meat), and a either a banana or apple. About an hour later, I usually get really tired for about 30 min then seem to just snap out of it. It’s weird. I drink plenty of water so that’s not the issue.

    Do you think I’m eating enough post workout? Is it the “right” stuff?

    arthurb999 wrote on August 6th, 2009
  30. I’m doing great with my challenge but really want to bring my kids along with me. they are a bit older and I’ve already allowed some bad habits to start. Any suggestions on ways to get kids interested in eating more nutritious even though they don’t totally understand why?

    MarthaB wrote on August 6th, 2009
  31. First to reply to Ursula. I have 2 little ones (3,5) and the are Grok-like meat eaters. I wouldn’t say young kids are meat-averse. The key is preparation. Try different styles of ccoking, nothing too spicy but experiment to see what they like. Also, dipping sauces are great for new foods. Finally, lose the breaded chicken tenders (awful for them.

    I have been eating primal like for about 3 months. I am now set to be more strict for 30 days. I Crossfit, hike and generally outdoor active.
    Just recent I have experienced a drop in energy levels. Still following the diet, still working out, sleeping 8+ per night.
    What is physically happening to me? Not as strong in Crossfit workouts, tired some during the day. (I think its low fat stores but could be wrong.)
    My question: What should I do to address low energy levels with the primal diet?

    Dale wrote on August 6th, 2009
  32. “Why do you run the Daily Apple?”

    Thanks for everything Mark!

    Mike H. wrote on August 6th, 2009
  33. After the challenge, aside from the positive physical changes my body will experience, can I expect to feel a difference mentally (focus, memory, sharpness, etc)??

    CurbYourCW wrote on August 6th, 2009
  34. Mark,
    I’ve always heard that as we get older, we get “out of shape” faster. Do you recommend any alterations to the fitness pyramid for age? (I’m 54 now.)

    Another Mark wrote on August 6th, 2009
  35. I tend to do ultra-endurance sports like Randonnuering (100+ miles in a day via bicycle), double centuries, touring, mountain climbing, and now training for marathons.

    what foods can I really take with me in a backpack or handlebar bag that won’t spoil in a few hours or should I just eat whatever I can during events lasting longer than 4 hours?

    Tomas Quinones wrote on August 6th, 2009
  36. How important is hydration? Is water the best best?

    Kent wrote on August 6th, 2009
  37. When I first became primal, I would cut the fat off the edges of my meat, since “lean meats” are supposed to be ideal. I would also avoid bacon, even if it was included in a dish I ordered. When I got brisket, I would ask for the lean cuts.

    But I’ve seen a lot of pro-fat posts on this site, and I eventually stopped worrying about fat. In fact, now I’m appalled when other people cut the fat off their meat. What a waste of fat, delicious fat!

    Yet I also know that wild animals, which humans ate throughout most of our evolution, were much less fatty than animals like cows and pigs are today. Is it a mistake, then, to fully embrace the (delicious) fat of the factory farmed animals of today?

    Rhys Southan wrote on August 6th, 2009
  38. Due to situations I will not go into here, I typically only receive 4-5 hours of sleep. I am also using the P90X workout (round 1), will I be ok given the amount of sleep and exercise level?



    stevecooksey wrote on August 6th, 2009
  39. Hi Mark,

    Stumbled upon your site after starting the “Cut Diet” per my strength coach. The PB, I’ve found though, is much more manageable to keep up with.

    I pretty much all at once cut dramatically back on carbs, dairy, and endurance training in favor of healthy fats, protein, veggies, weight training and short bursts of anearobic activity.

    I felt fine at first but lately have been feeling more tired/sleepy. I’m back to a bit of dairy, carbs here and there…but most of meals do not have starches.

    My question is: What’s the single most important part of the process? Ending dairy? Cutting grains? Low-level activity? Tons of sleep to accomodate?

    Thanks much,

    Faith wrote on August 6th, 2009
  40. I’m so busy with work, working out, working on my website, and traveling a lot due to a long-distance relationship. What are some quick and easy meal and snack solutions that are 1) inexpensive, 2) quick to make, and 3) portable? Thanks!

    Chris Tomek wrote on August 6th, 2009

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