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’ve been gradually adopting PB principles over the last two years, and couldn’t be happier with the changes in my own health. I have been less successful in bringing my family along. Teenage boys eat SO MUCH! They are generally willing to eat the good food I prepare, but if I don’t put it in front of them, they resort to, well, anything! Any suggestions on how to “indoctrinate” them, for lack of a better word?

    Lisa wrote on August 6th, 2009
  2. What psychological techniques do you suggest for remaining on course in the primal blue print? It can be very easy to slip into temptation, especially if you work in an office with frequent offers of long lunches, and long work days that can take away your time to get to the gym.

    I have tried punishment, i.e. 100 burpees for eating KFC.
    Rewarding, make 2 weeks of clean eating and intense workouts 10 times and take a trip to the snow. My current one is that I don’t get to go on my holiday to Vietnam unless I reach 90kg.

    What would you suggest?

    Melbourne, Australia

    A Mac wrote on August 6th, 2009
  3. In the next 30 days what is the best way to lose belly fat?

    Holly wrote on August 6th, 2009
  4. Hi Mark,

    I have several questions:

    1) Loren Cordain’s Paleo Diet recommends getting 22-40% of your daily calories from carbohydrates, 19-35% from protein, and 28-47% from fat. Do you agree with those ranges (if not, why?)

    2) What differentiates the Primal Blueprint from the Paleo Diet or Neanderthin?

    3) What do you think of brewers’ yeast?

    4) I have a 13-month-old daughter – she eats primarily table foods but she still nurses at night. Are there any special considerations for nursing moms when it comes to the Primal Blueprint?

    NashvilleMama wrote on August 6th, 2009
  5. Mark,

    I am a nursing mother, and have been reading a very interesting book recently, called “Mother Food: Foods and herbs that promote milk production and a mother’s health” by Hillary Jacobson. In it, she claims that women in many traditional societies use grains, legumes, and grain-water (water used to cook grains) specifically to support lactation. Additionally, she also says that many traditional societies either soak or ferment grains and legumes to “deactivate enzyme inhibitors and break down phytic acids, so that the foods become optimally digestible.” Have you ever come across anything in your research that might support the use of grains as a galatagogue? If grains and legumes are processed in this way, do they invoke the same responses? How might the Primal diet be applied to the needs of a nursing mother?


    Rachel wrote on August 6th, 2009
  6. Hi Mark, I’m enjoying your website and challenge.

    I’m a complete beginner at this, I read about you in my cycling newsletter (the Rivendell folks), found your website and have ordered your book, but it’s not here yet.

    I had a good day 1, but was not so good on day 2 and early day 3 of the challenge. Some stress led to a few beers, and also a couple meals that left me feeling yucky later.

    I teach h.s. and I’m pretty good at giving students second chances when things don’t go so well the first time, but often harder on myself.

    I know it’s just the old “hang in there when the going gets tough” sort of thing, but any thoughts on how an individual can be a little gentler with their expectations for themselves, and get back into it after a non-primal meal, ice cream binge, beer, or whatever.

    johndilsaver wrote on August 6th, 2009
  7. Mark,

    It’s been almost two weeks since I cut grains out of my diet and nearly eliminated all processed foods. Towards the end of week 1 I noticed a slight drop in energy levels. Actually it was more like a mellowing effect but I just didn’t seem to have the same pop. Towards the end of the second week I seem to be getting back some of that energy. Can you explain what is happening? Are there any pitfalls to watch out for in the first week of life without processed sweets, pasta, or bread?


    kwschulz wrote on August 6th, 2009
  8. Mark,
    If someone is trying to lose body fat, would you recommend eating a diet that consists of protein and carbohydrates, which would be low in overall calories? Or would you recommend eating a diet high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates, but have the calories in be similar to calories out? Losing weight vs. losing body fat? Insulin?

    bfaber87 wrote on August 6th, 2009
    • good question! I’d love to know this too… it’s easy to eat too much fat through nuts, etc. and reach a calorie intake that you would normally reach with the non-primal diet. I haven’t seen a composition change in my body yet – BUT, I have not been in a calorie deficit yet…

      Noelle wrote on August 7th, 2009
  9. Mark,

    What would be the best way to transition to eating purely Primal Blueprint if someone is coming from a histoy of eating a high carbohydrate type diet?

    I’m sure in the beginning the craving for grains and processed sugars would be tough, would weaning off of the former diet with let’s say having one meal a day Primal Blueprint for a few weeks, then 2 meals a day after a few weeks, etc.. be the way to go. Or are the substitues (Almond flour products as opposed to white flour products) so rich in flavour that they would actually be preferred to someome new to the diet?

    Jason wrote on August 6th, 2009
  10. My question is pretty straightforward. I want to know how to determine how many calories I should eat in a day. I know it should be intuitive and I should just eat when I am hungry etc., but are there any physiological signs I should look for with respect to ingesting enough calories. I have read things such as you are full when you are more thirsty than hungry and to stop eating when you feel the first belch coming up. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    BTW the blog is great I love everyone’s enthusiasm for the PB and all the research and hard work you put into the articles you write. Thanks

    redforevergone wrote on August 6th, 2009
  11. Can one overindulge in the primal concept so heavily that it will deteriorate instead of promote health, or is this truly the exception to balance and moderation?

    Jon wrote on August 6th, 2009
  12. I have done well on changing my dietary habits and have lost quite a bit of weight and overall have been feeling pretty good… the one bad habit I haven’t had success changing is smoking…

    my question is: are there supplements or suggestions that will help reprogram the brain so I can be successful in my desire to quit smoking?

    I realize that I can’t get totally on board the program until I lose the smokes, unfortunately I haven’t been able to do that yet, but it one of my goals for this month!!!

    Marti wrote on August 6th, 2009
  13. Regarding (re)programming our minds, what are your thoughts about using subliminal mind tapes/cd’s to influence our subconscious minds into aiding in thinking in a positive PB state?

    Jason wrote on August 6th, 2009
  14. Dear Mark,

    Thanks for your challenge! I have been eating mostly primal for eight years now. Initially I lost 140 lbs but as time has gone on it has slowly creeped up a bit. I don’t believe the Dr. is right telling me its because I am over 40, so when you presented the challenge, I decided to look at my carb intake. I ate around 50-75 carbs a day eating veggies, berries, nuts and seeds. What I am doing for the challenge, (actually I started one week ahead) is cutting back on those things and eating only a few seeds on my salads and low and behold weight loss is happening! (About 20 grams of carbs a day from veggies) Here is my question: Is that carb intake too low to continue for a long period of time? My body seems to react well to a low amount of carbs, but I don’t want to eat too little. I know everyone is different, but let me know what your opinion is on this please.


    Stiah wrote on August 6th, 2009
  15. Is the very point of your existence to ensure “maximum survival?” Or Is the objective of health, fitness and longetivity a means greater end?

    Contest aside, I would like your thought sometime. As much as I love the concepts you’ve put fourth, I can’t help but ask “for what purpose?”

    Wyatt wrote on August 6th, 2009
  16. So I have been eating a variety of nuts. 32 years old, 187 tall, very fit at 95 kg, (no sixpack, but a solid build and a fourpack),

    No rice, no pasta, no potatoes, no grains 8even cut the oatmeal), but yes to fruit and veggies.

    The occasional cheat.

    Now the question is, is there an upper limit for nut consumption?

    I limited my daily nuts to 100 grams (brazil, almonds, cashew, etc), and feel it is too little. This is a test, as I usually just measure with my eye, and wanted to know what would be a suitable number in grams…

    Any recommendation?

    nut freat wrote on August 6th, 2009
  17. How does the Primal Blueprint/the primal way of life in general affect your sexual life? You’re obviously married and have been doing the primal thing for a while as well, so can you make any positive comments towards how becoming primal might improve this area of a person’s life?

    Thanks, Isaac

    Isaac wrote on August 6th, 2009
  18. When I try to explain my diet to people, they immediately say “Oh, you are doing Atkins.” Well, no, but it can seem similar a bit. And then I get criticized for all the faults with Atkins. People tell me that Atkins is bad for the liver, that you end up getting fatter if you ever go off of it than you were to start with, and other general “that’s BAD for you” claims. Are they just wrong? I read your chart comparing the PB with other diets, but I was wondering if you could go into more detail about the possible negatives to low-carb diets?

    sofiawahaj wrote on August 7th, 2009
  19. What would you say to doctor’s recommendations to have large amounts of grains in one’s diet for the purpose of getting enough fiber moving through your system?

    iamcam wrote on August 7th, 2009
  20. Dear Mark,

    Say what you want about carbs, but they’re CHEAP! I can get a 20 lb. bag of rice for about the same cost as 1 lb. of steak.

    For those of us on a tight budget, is there an inexpensive way to go Primal?

    LittleTom34 wrote on August 7th, 2009
  21. Dear Mark,

    I’m currently having a hard time following the Primal Blueprint, as I am preparing for a fitness model competition. I have to constantly watch what I eat (foods are primal though) and I have to do way more exercise than you recommend.

    Do you have any advice for us who want to get super lean and still be Primal? What would be a perfect compromise?

    Halo wrote on August 7th, 2009
  22. Hi Mark,
    A couple of foods I am wondering about, carrots, radishes, green string beans.
    I also make pickled asparagus, cauliflower and peppers is that ok with the vinager, salt, red peppers, garlic and dill.
    Thanks I really enjoying the diet and trying really hard, as soon as my daughter leaves for college I am cleaning out the kitchen it will be totally primal.

    Debbie Trask wrote on August 7th, 2009
  23. I have been keeping track of protein, carbs, and fats to see what proportions I end up with following the primal way of eating. The fat is usually around 50-55%. I am not fat-phobic at all, but I am wondering if that is an expected range on this way of eating?

    lbd wrote on August 7th, 2009
  24. Hello Mark,
    I’ve been wondering this for a while – are there any posts in particular you recommend for convincing people that calories != weight gain/loss?

    Brett Kimsel wrote on August 7th, 2009
  25. One of my goals is to get more and better sleep. I order to do this I’ve been taking 1 500mg chewable melatonin before bed. I does seem to help me get better sleep. I’ve heard that is perfectly harmless and even an antioxidant. Are there any potential drawbacks to using melatonin longterm?

    warren wrote on August 7th, 2009
  26. In order…
    It does…

    warren wrote on August 7th, 2009
  27. True or false: Milk, it does a body good.

    My kids (2 & 4) love milk. Should they be drinking so much? I give them organic whole milk. My wife thinks we should use skim. (Fat is good, right?) What do you recommend for children?

    Eric Johnson wrote on August 7th, 2009
  28. I think this is an interesting inquiry Mark, let’s see what you think. There are several constituents of armed forces around the world attempting to live out the PB beside “junkers.” During this time expressed pressure during training can cause a soldier to revert to their previous, and perhaps more unhealthy eating lifestyle.
    My Question… is it entirely possibly that the PB provides superior / refined results that are quantifiable; and how could any results be measured beyond logical competition.

    P.S. Please inscribe “To immortal0ver¢r” when autographing my copy.

    WJ wrote on August 7th, 2009
  29. How do we ensure that we are obtaining enough dietary calcium without consuming dairy? Im a former skim-milk-and-yogurt-lover, but my father has problems with bone density. So to my family, it seems almost blasphemy to suggest dairy elimination. Are there particular vegetables to eat to obtain calcium? And it must be absorbed with vitamin D or magnesium?

    VN wrote on August 7th, 2009
  30. Hi Mark and Crew!
    I just read through the questions others have asked and the one I really want to know about is how much fruit? I am a sugar JUNKY and have gone primal as of Monday this week. I am very, very proud of myself because it’s a challenge living in the land of meat and potatoes (MN). I have been eating berries and some peaches – this curbs my sugar jitters, but I’m noticing NO loss on the scale. None – and of course in my mind I should have lost at least 5 pounds this week! Is it possible that even though I am eating primal I’m still just eating way too much? Are the fruits holding me back from my goal of weight loss?
    Also, I have incorporated sprints into my workouts. I KB, lift weights, jog (no more than 4 mi) and now sprint. I notice after sprinting my knee feels funny – I wouldn’t call it pain exactly – it’s more like it needs a good stretch on the front and back of the knee. I haven’t had this issue before so I am attributing it to the sprinting (which I love by the way). Any advice on keeping the knees healthy?
    Thank you so much for your time.

    Beth wrote on August 7th, 2009
  31. Mark, What about fasting? do you perscribe to the notion that intermediate fasting a good idea, between meals and excerise program.

    Chuck Olson wrote on August 7th, 2009
  32. Hi Mark, I’ve been following your website pretty much everyday for the last month.

    I’m a big fan of Cordain’s work and digest almost everything he puts out. I’m interested in your book, even if I don’t win your book, what can I gain from your book that may add to my Primal/Paleo routine. How does it differ, what do you go over etc.

    Consider my question an infomercial for your book as compared to what else is out there.

    Great work and keep it up.

    Ron wrote on August 7th, 2009
  33. Hi, I have been following the Paleo diet for 5 day’s now and feel so much healthier and overall lighter. My questions is what is the difference in the Paleo Diet and Primal Blueprint?

    Thank you,
    Leigh Ann

    leighann44 wrote on August 7th, 2009
  34. Hi Mark,

    I’ve started growing my PB lifestyle about 9 months ago. 90%+ of the food and fitness behaviours are in place. At this stage of my development, the psychological part of PB is where my focus goes.

    That there is one aspect where I’d like your advice: it’s what you could call “PB and the Power of Now”. Allow me to explain.

    One of the essential differences between human beings and animal is the ability to dissociate (ie: the ability to see their life like a movie, and from a distance). For example, dissociation is what makes it possible to project oneself into the future or in the past.

    Seems to me that Grok was a lot more associated, a lot more “in the moment” than us modern urbanites. To check it, you just need to refer to the way of processing of tribes, early generation native Americans etc…

    Practically, I’ve been taking myself through periods of the day where I make the conscious effort of “staying within” or “in the Now”. As new-agey as it sounds, my stress levels and ability to connect with others and the world around has significantly improved as a result.

    What’s your take on this? It may appear a bit like lateral thinking initially but, if we may consider taking up hunting in order to live like Grok, shouldn’t we also put ourselves in his shoes and think the way he did?

    Em wrote on August 7th, 2009
  35. Here’s a question. I’m lean and trim now, but have that last stubborn 2-3 lbs of fat that covers my abs. What’s the best way to get rid of it, (the fat that is, not the abs!). I’m already pretty much 100% primal, but at 49 is it too late to define those abs?

    Dave, RN wrote on August 7th, 2009
    • I’m in my 40’s and sport 6 pack abs.

      I’ve asked Mark below whether this is optimum for health but personally I’ve found gymnastic type moves, such as planks, levers and planches, pull everything in right down to the lower groin.

      I even avoided hernia surgery by performing high bar levers to stengthen right down “below”.

      I used to do gymnastics so have an advantage but build up over time, include some vacumns and the abs will come.

      Bodyfat <=10% normally displays the abs.

      Winalot wrote on August 9th, 2009
  36. As you’re someone who sports six-pack abs., how important do you think bodyfat levels are for health and longevity etc. within a primal / paleo context.

    If your abs. show ~10% bodyfat is there a benefit? Would Grok be ripped or would he have been better off with a 20-25% bodyfat as outlined by Peter (Hyperlipid) for times when food was sparse?

    Winalot wrote on August 7th, 2009
  37. Although all the proponents of sleeping in pitch darkness (a la “Lights Out”) for benefits to recovery in accordance to our circadian rhythms, it seems that they usually always think that Grok had access to a dark cave to make his abode. They don’t, however, mention the effects of moonlight nor morning light, and the effects that may have on recovery. Afterall, Grok probably did sleep out in the open most of the time, and thus, these things should not be discounted as far as healthy sleeping habits go. What are your thoughts on this?

    Rob wrote on August 7th, 2009
  38. Two questions:

    1. What do you think about eating once a day?

    2. How did you get the idea for this contest? :)


    Fanny wrote on August 7th, 2009
  39. I have celiac disease. Do you think that Primal Blueprint will help the villi in my intestines heal faster than what a basic gluten free diet would???

    Thank you!


    crimson wrote on August 7th, 2009
  40. Mark,

    How would you suggest helping small children (who are very picky) transition to the primal diet with their parents?

    Neal wrote on August 7th, 2009

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