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

Dear Readers: What Do You Want?

It’s Monday and that usually means another round of Dear Mark, but today I have something a little different in mind. Today I have some questions for you (along with a chance to win a Primal prize).

Since I launched Mark’s Daily Apple way back in 2006 it’s been my goal to help 10 million people take control of their health. While MDA now reaches hundreds of thousands of people every month I’m always looking for new ways to do a better job, so I’m coming to you for ideas.

Over the years I’ve put together and given away numerous freebies (the 7-Day Course on the Fundamentals for Lifelong Health, the Primal Blueprint Fitness eBook, the Reader-Created Cookbooks and Primal Living in the Modern World to name a few), created new, handy web pages (the 101 page, the Recipe page, the Shopping List page, the Resource page and others), launched the forum, released a number of books, expanded the Primal supplement line, and began hosting events (Primal Transformation Seminars and PrimalCon) all with my stated goal in mind. Again, how can I help as many people as possible? How can I make this the best and most reader-friendly health site on the Interwebs? How can I best distill the science and make it easy to understand and practical to use? And how can I offer the best products and services a Grok or Grokette could want? While I don’t really need another project at the moment (I’m wrapping up two new books – The Primal Blueprint 90-Day Journal and The Primal Connection – but more on that later) I’d love to hear what you think would make Mark’s Daily Apple a better website and your Primal life easier.

So, with that in mind, a contest:

The Contest

“What do you want from me?” It’s a (very) tired Adam Lambert song, but it’s also an important question. My blog, my books, what I do is constantly informed by the thoughts and ideas of my readers. Today is your chance to tell me what you’d like to see on my part for the future of the Primal movement. In the comments section below, tell me one service, product, tool, or feature you’d like to see in the coming year. I’m leaving this fairly open ended. No idea is too small or big.

A winner will be chosen at random. Agreeing with other people is allowed (and encouraged), but only the idea comments will be counted for drawing purposes.

The Prize

A canister of both the Vanilla Creme and Dark Chocolate Primal Fuel.

The Deadline

Midnight (PDT), tonight!

Who is Eligible

Everyone. I’ll ship the Primal Fuel anywhere in the world.

Thanks in advance to everyone that offers an idea. I’ll see what I can do to give you what you want! Grok on!

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 would love to see a section of content devoted to the creative Primal Blueprint hacks some of us have had to come up with.

    Think of it as a kind of a celebration of Primal law 10, like does with electro-mechanical disciplines, but maybe with fewer Trools…

    Keefe wrote on May 14th, 2012
  2. Primal fast food chains worldwide!!

    Tressa B wrote on May 14th, 2012
  3. I would love a page on your site that features Primal-friendly restaurants and menu items for restaurants that are generally available in most states. I think there are more options available than we might think, but it would require quite a bit of reader participation to share what they have found.

    JJ wrote on May 14th, 2012
  4. Political leadership.

    Mark, you are the only person who can harness the power of the paleo crowd to effect change, large and small.

    What do we want? A paleo meal option on airplanes, equal NIH funding for LC/HF studies, an end to grain subsidies, the removal of the conflict of interest at the heart of the USDA dietary guidelines, better labelling for omega-6/3 ratios, reduced health insurance premiums for paleolistas, mandatory sidewalks on all (new) roads, etc, etc, etc… (What else do we want people? Please add your suggestions in comments.)

    How are we going to get it? By raising the profile of paleo, letting business and bureaucrats know that we are a force to be reckoned with; a letter writing campaign to CEOs and senators; local chapters… anyone, anyone?

    I know, I know, this movement is all about self-reliance, not relying on government, voting with your dollar… These are all great things. But the reality is that the government sets the rules of the game, with massive consequences for those 10 million Americans you are trying to reach (and many more besides).

    Orchestrating the efforts of the 100,000 people who read this blog may be the most impactful thing you have ever done. We are ready and waiting!

    Scott wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • +1

      A.Stev wrote on May 14th, 2012
      • +1.

        ces wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Political action to end to grain subsidies, yes!

      Karen wrote on May 14th, 2012
      • +1,and add bike lanes as well.

        HopelessDreamer wrote on May 14th, 2012
        • +1

          Gladys Blanco wrote on May 14th, 2012
        • Doesn’t have to be political. We need someone to help harness the growing energy (and $$) of people like us to advance education. It can be education of politicians, school boards through pilot lunch programs, the public through funding documentaries, etc.

          KMuray wrote on May 16th, 2012
  5. Hi Mark. You and your people do a fabulous job. I can honestly say, that I have never been one to ‘join the gang’ regarding diet/weight loss/health. It was your thoughtful, thorough approach that actually got me to read on and eventually change a few things in my approach to food and exercise. I am a woman, wife, mother. I was brought up (as many of us are) to embrace and give comfort through food. For me Blueberry pie comes to mind because and again, for me it speaks of a home filled with wonderful smells, love, laughter, comfort, family. I am no marketing guru, but sometimes the soft sell works very well. Since following your blog about 10 months ago, I’ve tried at least 5 recipes from your selection. Most of them are now part of what we eat on a regular basis. Since turning to primal, my kitchen has yielded all kinds of new smells and tastes that my family has enjoyed…that have become the new ‘comfort/love’ foods for us. From something as simple as berries and cream with some nuts sprinkled on to Taki Masala Chicken. Notice that many cook books do have love/joy…positive adjectives in the title. On this note I was also speaking with a lady whom I had the pleasure of meeting at one of your seminars and we did get around to talking about cookbooks and how bright vivid pictures are so important to this type of format. I guess that this is my 2 cents. Keep up the good work.



    Judy wrote on May 14th, 2012
  6. when I first started primal about a year ago what I would have liked is someone to follow. You could enlist the community to log their daily life for 30 days, mainly what they eat and how they exercise, complete with grocery lists, exercise logs etc. Each person would have a profile, such as me, working father of 3 kids with limited time to cook and the new person starting out could choose someone with a similar profile and have an easy day by day path to follow as the begin the primal lifestyle.

    Chad C wrote on May 14th, 2012
  7. I’d really like to see someone in the primal community attack the differences between how primal works for women versus men. It seems like so much of the literature is written from a male perspective, without addressing the very real hormonal differences women experience.

    Steph wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • I’m a [paleo] man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That’s what kind of [paleo] man I am. You’re just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It’s science.

      Ron Burgundy wrote on May 14th, 2012
  8. To get big, think big.
    Get on the Ellen Degeneres Show.
    Mobilize all of us willing readers to campaign whoever it is that makes it happen to get on Ellen. You’ll introduce millions to your website.

    SleepyT wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Tap into the Ron Paul group, liberty includes the freedom to put whatever you want in your body, which includes primal foods or lots of bad stuff from FDA/DOA approved Big Agriculture.

      liberty1776 wrote on May 14th, 2012
      • Please don’t get Primal associated with a noted racist.

        A.Stev wrote on May 14th, 2012
          Very racist isn’t he? (sarcasm)

          Jason Lander wrote on May 14th, 2012
        • That doesn’t change the fact that he published racist newsletters all throughout the ’90s in his name that said African-American men were innately more inclined to crime than European-Americans, not to mention, he has stated on multiple occasions that he is in favour of repealing the civil rights act.

          Regardless, Paleo/Primal becoming tied in with a particular politician or political affiliation of any kind is a terrible idea, and by its nature would alienate half of the community.

          A.Stev wrote on May 15th, 2012
  9. I would like pamphlets that can be given out to ogres who give me a hard time about not eating carbs and who say that we should all just eat “everything in moderation.” Actual foldable, easy-to-comprehend summaries of the PB, and why people should stop being ogres.

    Eve wrote on May 14th, 2012
  10. A visual companion to the site a video podcast Primal TV with interview/cooking/exercise/health topics. Maybe an ebook of past articles from blog. Less online navigation

    Donald wrote on May 14th, 2012
  11. This might be kind of broad but I would really like to see this become more than just a “fad diet” mostly because I know it IS more than that. We need to work on getting most people to eat like this. Perhaps more of hard scientific evidence for easy public viewing, maybe even starting clinical trials.How about a primal grocery store? And my all time favorite, a primal restaurant. Can I be a chef there?

    upsidedown wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Oh yes, if you have the money, running some (well-designed, unbiased) clinical trials would be great. It would take years, but once it’s done you’ll be able to use it to get health professionals onside.

      Orielwen wrote on May 14th, 2012
      • Those kinds of studies can cost *literally* millions of dollars. I’m not sure how feasible that would be.

        A.Stev wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • I agree! One of my biggest worries is that Primal will become a despised fad diet that washes over and then fades away again.

      Amber wrote on May 14th, 2012
      • It couldn’t become that Amber.
        More likely the powers will make grass-fed beef and org. veg illegal… I think that’s what they’re getting started on in NZ actually. Codex Alimentarius. Crazy times!

        ces wrote on May 14th, 2012
  12. Hi Mark,

    As someone who likes to log their food so I know I’m on track, I’d like to see incorporated in the primal blueprint website a daily food journal which calculates your daily fat/carb/protein intake. I use a free one currently but it’s always telling me I’m eating to much fat and not enough carbs because it’s based on the SAD. It would be nice to have one that you could tailor to your personal daily intake goals. Plus I’d only have to go to one site for logging, vitamins, and fuel (for my body and mind!). Maybe also have it accessible as an app. Thanks!

    Judi wrote on May 14th, 2012
  13. I’d like to see a more comprehensive listing of primal/paleo options (and pitfalls!) at restaurants (i.e. what to order if eating Korean/Mexican/Italian and also “watch out for the flour in French cream sauces”). Would like to go to restaurants without having to interrogate the staff!

    NS wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Yes, I too am concerned about uninformed pitfalls that I’ll place myself in when ordering at restaurants.

      Chip wrote on May 14th, 2012
  14. I’d love to see a section of the website that keeps track of the studies you’ve referenced in various articles by topic, and maybe even a section on studies you have debunked. And maybe a little how-to guide to reading and evaluating studies on our own (so we don’t inundate you with e-mails every time CNN tries to tell us some study says all that fat will kill us! =D ).

    Stephanie wrote on May 14th, 2012
  15. Mark, I would like to see a post/book about primal applications of not so primal athletic events, like your posts on weight gain and marathon ruuning except broader. To perhaps attract a high school/ college athlete crowd. For instance when I do sprint work on a track my vibrams and minimalist shoes are too thin and can hinder my speed. What would be the best alternative to still have a primal advantage? For swimmers, what should they do about all of the chlorine exposure to their skin? Or overuse of their bodies in a way they were really not intended for? Would basketball players get an advantage from a zero drop shoe? Or is a heel necessary? I believe answering questions about multiple sports would attract a great crowd and convert some on the border people into primal followers

    Evan wrote on May 14th, 2012
  16. A Why Paleo marketing flyer or brochure that explains the movement and quickly makes the case for why the country would be healthier if they embraced the Primal lifestyle. This would be a great handout to have when I meet both skeptics and those interested in trying the Primal lifestyle.

    John wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Even just leaving a stack of them in the entrances of grocery stores might get the odd person to think twice about what’s in their cart.

      A.Stev wrote on May 15th, 2012
  17. Lots of awesome ideas above. I think the Primal movement would benefit by having more primary care doctors become advocates. How to better communicate with doctors? Would an online bibliography of the research you cite be helpful? If primary care doctors start directing patients to this lifestyle, then I think (hope) it will leverage your goal of 10million persons living primal.

    Ian wrote on May 14th, 2012
  18. I’d definitely welcome an expanded resources section – I’d love to see more about “what to replace X with”, X being standard household products (cleaners, medications, etc.) that aren’t primal.

    Liz wrote on May 14th, 2012
  19. I’d love to see a primal restaurant choices app for iPhone/Android. Something that allows you to search for nearby restaurants (Urban Spoon or Yelp style), comment and review them, see menus, etc.

    That being said… maybe… just… convince those companies to add a “Primal-Friendly” category to their databases!

    Marc wrote on May 14th, 2012
  20. A “Certified” Primal street army, a group of educated, enthusiastic, individuals knowledgeable enough about the Primal Lifestyle that they can lead group seminars and mini-PrimalCon’s around the world.

    Kind of like the idea of MovNat certified trainers they are getting going right now.

    Clay Walberg wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • I second this. Some kind go training / certification course, perhaps with an added franchise arrangement.

      Scott wrote on May 14th, 2012
      • Good idea. Where do I sign up?

        Hugh wrote on May 14th, 2012
        • Me me me too! : )

          ces wrote on May 14th, 2012
      • +1

        Ensuring those that are certified know enough about the science behind the choices to spread the word without ever losing any credibility.

        Danny wrote on May 14th, 2012
        • Exactly! They would be fully certified experts with a devotion to CONTRIBUTE new science as well. A full-fledged member committed to the primal team.

          Clay Walberg wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • I like it and I would sign up for that program!

      Kathy Draper wrote on May 14th, 2012
      • Me too!

        Liz wrote on May 15th, 2012
  21. More analysis of reports and scientific papers that present evidence against your standpoint. Gives you extra credit amongst those of us, particularly newbies, who worry about confirmation bias and/or get confused by all the contradictory information out there.

    Oh, and could you get a UK-based writer on your staff, to talk about what’s available in this country? Some of your advice on, for example, where to buy things doesn’t transplant well. Presumably the same is true for Australia, and maybe other places. You’ll tap into a big audience outside the US if you make it relevant to them as well.

    Orielwen wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • +1

      Scott wrote on May 14th, 2012
  22. Honestly Mark, I just want to meet you. I already have gotten about 5 people (in 3 weeks) interested in being Primal. It has me so excited, that I just want to meet the guy who literally changed my life in just 5 weeks. You’re awesome Mark, and I’ll do my part to make sure you get to 10 million.

    Superman078603 wrote on May 14th, 2012
  23. The Biggest Loser: Conventional ‘v’ Ancestral Wisdom

    Five obese people follow the standard guidelines, five follow your blueprint (with you onscreen as their trainer). Let’s show the world how the primal approach knocks spots off the competition.

    Scott wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Love this idea!!

      Jess wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • This would be awesome! I would even get back my cable just to watch it, unless of course it was on Hulu.

      Superman078603 wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • +1

      Karen wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • My wife and I were talking about this recently. You’d have to get the producers to change the metrics from % of body weight lost to % body fat lost. The primals would likely gain more muscle in their journey than the conventionals.

      Primal Texas wrote on May 14th, 2012
  24. I would like to see you offer some type of trail mix or other Paleo snacks.

    Heidi G wrote on May 14th, 2012
  25. I would like to see an *organized* and professional push into the mainstream for better science and a better understanding of nutrition and health. It doesn’t have to be “primal”, and it shouldn’t have any pre-determined conclusions aside from a core belief that a conversation needs to be started about how we, as animals, should really take care of ourselves. Perhaps propose this concept of evolutionary-based nutrition (as a starting point for research – what is a default diet in the wild, and how can we make it better?) as a valid hypothesis worth considering. This helps neutralize the “fad diet” criticism, as the goal is to discover the optimal diet, not promise weight-loss etc.

    Right now we have multiple “paleo” camps with terrible PR. From the outside it seems crazy (21st century humans are supposed to be “better” than cavemen – people are proud of their modern culture). Gather together, get some PR professionals and push for REAL science that focuses on humans – detached from emotion – as if we were an alien species being studied.

    TJ wrote on May 14th, 2012
  26. I’d like there to be a website/app or something along those lines which list primal friendly restaurants/food places all over the country..this restuarant cooks their food in tallow, uses only grass-fed, gluten free, no seed oils used etc. This would make traveling a breeze! Assuming it would consist of more mom/pop shops as opposed to chains which is even better!

    nuttmegs17 wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • But did the Groks have restaurants in their neighborhood?

      Theresa wrote on May 15th, 2012
  27. I want to see meal plans, or, “How to do primal.”.

    I would love to see different people and families get in on it. Like “23 year old NYC bachelor eating out” and a “family of 4 with 2 teenagers” and all others. It will be a way to look at meal costs, planning and prep time, as well as looking at how real people incorporate Primal into their daily weeks.

    AmandaLP wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • This was what I was going to suggest, as well. I’d love to see a meal plan section.

      Carolina6688 wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Agreed. this would totally help my family to not fall off the rails. We struggle with planning our meals for the week and end up binging on something when we are hungry and can’t think of anything to make

      Dale wrote on May 15th, 2012
  28. I’m surprised at how many techonology based solutions are being touted. More and more I’m finding a good old fashioned hand written note, a piece of paper, a card… to be more effective than an email, app, etc.. It grabs people’s attention now because you actaully took the time. Full disclousre…I’m a bit of a luddite since going primal and keep trying to find ways a minimizing technology’s invasion in my life.

    JB wrote on May 14th, 2012
  29. I think that an introductory video to the Primal Blueprint would be a great resource that I could show my friends. If that video was convincing and interesting enough to go viral, then plenty of people would at least be informed of this lifestyle. If you can get your readers to promote this video on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, I’m sure that the movement would explode!

    Daniel wrote on May 14th, 2012
  30. Hi Mark, finding someway to get a presence on network television would be a huge boost I would think. Whether in the form of being a nutritional consultant guest on some current news segment or entertainment show, or even coming up with a plan for a new show and pitching it to some networks, I am think along the lines of The Biggest Loser and Survivor blended together.

    Also, finding a niche group of athletes or movie stars etc (people who’s career depends on being able to become very fit quickly) and become a fitness consultant to some of them, I would think word would spread quickly in niche circles as to who the new fitness guru is that can transform your body in a matter of weeks/months.

    Good luck, fantastic informational site you have.

    Chris D

    chris dowell wrote on May 14th, 2012
  31. It’s all about what you eat so create a place on your site called “The Paleo Dinner” where you can find everything about what to eat, when and why.
    Keep it simple and direct.

    Cliff wrote on May 14th, 2012
  32. I’d like to see a more user-friendly searchable recipe database, to include Mark’s AND reader-contributed recipes. The biggest hurdle for me in getting started is coming up with ideas of what to cook and have on hand.

    BHC wrote on May 14th, 2012
  33. Get on 60 Minutes or Charlie Rose for an interview. Good luck!

    Cheryl Berumen wrote on May 14th, 2012
  34. I haven’t read the responses, so don’t know if it’s been said or not. However, I would like to see a workout DVD and for you to visit (Ontario) Canada and do some type of retreat!

    Danni wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • I’m in Ontario too; Are you able to get any grass-fed beef in your area?

      A.Stev wrote on May 15th, 2012
  35. I’d like to see more information on primal nutrition focused at the amateur athlete. Meal ideas for before and after competition or training would be great. Also another run through supplements focusing on an athlete’s needs.

    Sean wrote on May 14th, 2012
  36. I would like to see this movement have a more global presence. I’m following this site from Malaysia and it does get a little lonely sometimes. I say we should have “street teams” by continent/region/country. let’s take the world by storm!

    Lenard wrote on May 14th, 2012
  37. Something I enjoy and would like to see more of is the gathering, synthesizing, and interpreting of health/nutrition research, particularly in the service of refuting conventional wisdom. Maybe some articles/resources could be devoted to connecting the A) Primal perspective, which is simply a common-sense starting point from which to begin exploring health with B) the modern science and studies that corroborate.

    Perhaps a collection of studies or a series of articles with citations. Perhaps a companion or addition to the “Weekend LInks” that focuses more on highlighting and analyzing the science of the PB.

    I’m not sure what form it would take, but the challenge I always run into is giving new people confidence that not only does the PB make sense given the hermeneutic of ancestral health ( which, again, just makes perfect sense) but that also, contrary to popular belief, unbiased expeditions into the science of the matter confirm it.

    JonMarc wrote on May 14th, 2012
  38. Think I’m retracing others steps here a bit but great minds and such. I’m building my own system of tracking and metrics to find the path to my goals based on MDA’s guidance but kind of feel like I’ll inevitably make mistakes and fine tune.

    If MDA has a suggested broad template for tracking inputs vs primal goals, not just guidance but an actual system of application, I have a feeling that first stage of trial and error would be shorter/more efficient for most of us.

    If that came in the form of an e-book or a site or an app… maybe any or all those.

    Thanks for the site and the open content model. Really making a difference for people.

    Sean wrote on May 14th, 2012
  39. I would like to see a health section detailing challenges and ways to deal with them (weight loss, acne, M.S., fatigue, etc.). Maybe a flow-chart format would work. Like If you have bad skin, is it oily or dry? Do you still eat dairy? If not, try an elimination diet. Or If you are having trouble losing weight, and your carbs are under 50 a day, then try I.F. I feel like the PB works for for a of people, but we need to be more inclusive if we want to help 10 million people. I’m afraid the current format may lend itself to confirmation bias because we don’t hear as much from the people who weren’t helped.

    maddieaddie wrote on May 14th, 2012
  40. We need to get into the living rooms of average Americans and show them what primal is all about…what about a reality show! Make a pitch to all the major networks for a biggest loser style show where you would pit Team Primal (led by Mark himself, of course!) Against a team who do low-fat, high-carb and chronic cardio! It would be awesome on so many levels!

    chey wrote on May 14th, 2012

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