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. Love the site as is. However, I would really like to see more exercise videos, especially for people who have almost nowhere to start. E.g. I really enjoyed the pull up videos from a couple of weeks ago. I think that it would help us visual learners get a place to start when we have little muscle mass to begin with!

    ElizaGrok wrote on May 14th, 2012
  2. Two easy(er) kills:

    I love the “definitive guides” section, after I found those I started browsing them often and still return to read them again. Along those lines, I’d love to see a “concise lists” section covering certain angles from a macro perspective. For example, a concise list of medical tests to get a real idea of your bodies current metabolic state. There are certain tests a GP will perform on a person of a certain age, but I thought the point about asking specifically for a test of inflammation markers was great in that you won’t normally get it unless you’ve had previous cardiac issues. This could cover a wide range of topics from medical concerns to alternate meal ingredients, and as simple as an aggregate page linking to more specific information on each topic.

    Next, when I first arrived at this site I went from zero (knowledge of nutrition), even the garbage recommendations from the FDA, to “what the hell have I gotten myself into”. I was a bit lost (at least I felt that way) and it took a good month or two before I really felt comfortable with my level of knowledge of the concept. I know you have a big tab that says start here on the site, but I’d love to see (immediately following the introduction emails when you first sign up) a bit of hand holding to guide new arrivals. I’ve pointed countless people to MDA, but I’d love to be able to send them one link that says “read this, then this, then this” that does a bit of spoon feeding without being overwhelming to the uninitiated.

    Grok on!

    BONZ wrote on May 14th, 2012
  3. I think one thing that is really missing from the primal blueprint is the mental and emotional side of things. To my knowledge Mark did not come from a background of food ADDICTION and poor self esteem. My contention is that all the proper eating information in the world won’t do anything for you until you get your head straight. You won’t stick with it, you can’t because you weren’t given the tools to re-program your brain. PRIMAL BRAIN?

    Val wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • +1

      Lisa wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • +2

      Rhonda the Red wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • agreed!!

      Elisa wrote on May 15th, 2012
  4. I would love a online tool such as Fitday or SparkPeople but strictly aimed at primal/paleo – and please DON’T make it an app, not all of us have smartphones. Something to log in meals, exercise, and all things primal (sleep?) would be fab! And just for the record, a big YES on PrimalCon East, South, or Central – I’d SO be there, I don’t care where it is, just eastern half of the US.

    Cathi wrote on May 14th, 2012
  5. Maybe a visit to a major Canadian city.
    Toronto is huge and has plenty of rooms for visitors.

    bob wrote on May 14th, 2012
  6. I would like ts see you come to Canada for your seminars, and I also think holding your seminars at universities would help to educate the younger crowd. I see too many of my university friends eating poorly, and the campus health centres are constantly handing out the wrong information.

    Morgan Afonso wrote on May 14th, 2012
  7. I would love to see Primal fitness classes available through Gyms or YMCA’s or any sort of fitness studio. Classes designed with a primal fitness routine that could be full of so many different variations. Changing up the locations to outside(when possible), in the pool, intense cardio/sprints classes, weight lifting classes(possibly outdoors or not with typical weights), playground sessions or the equivalent of suburb hiking or trail running, ect I would think the options would be endless and I know that many current classes offer similar fitness routines, but I think one that is specifically for the primal lifestyle would help to bring the community together and possibly spread the word about the benefits of primal living a lot more quickly. And best of all, it would be fun to go to the gym for a change!

    stefanie wrote on May 14th, 2012
  8. Hi Mark, on behalf all those Primal newbies, it would be helpful to have an easily accessible “troubleshooting” section to address common problems that people experience in the beginning. For me, it was low-carb flu, nighttime muscle cramps and some weird muscle spasms while sprinting. Right now, I can find answers by searching and finding multiple links to your blog, the forum and research articles you’ve cited, etc. but it takes awhile to sift through the various sources of information. It would be great to find answers to common questions in one place. You could also include “primal or not” foods, “17 reasons you’re not losing weight,” and many other topics. The idea is not just to drive new people to try a primal lifestyle, but to make it easy to stick with it. Do you happen to know what your retention rate is? Just a thought.

    BootstrapsOnMyFivefingers wrote on May 14th, 2012
  9. Maybe arm your followers with persuasive methods. I, for example, have to enroll my wife in Primal in order to get my kids eating healthily consistently.

    So… tools around that. When I have to talk someone else into going Primal, what should I do?

    Ion Freeman wrote on May 14th, 2012
  10. Also, while i’m thinking of it, I wanted to echo what a few others have said which is that one of the reasons MDA is such a HUGE asset to the community (even beyond the great content and resources) is that Mark does a great job of synthesizing, uniting, balancing, and making the paleo stuff understandable and palatable to the rest of the world.

    I would like to see more collaboration and cooperation among the whole community to challenge CW, work to fund GOOD science and studies to take the place of poor science and studies, and to continue to highlight and build on the commonalities between the paleo personalities.

    Some of the more broad paleo/primal ideas are simply to big, too important, too true for us to let them be overshadowed by some of the more controversial stuff.

    JonMarc wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Is there a way for the primal/paleo community to help create/promote the good science?

      Meesha wrote on May 14th, 2012
  11. I think we should all pick a deserted location, preferably somewhere tropical, to create a new nation. We could then showcase our athletic domination over the world in the Olympics. You could be the first President, I suppose. Although I did come up with the idea, so expect some so sort of high ranking position. Just my two cents.

    Josh wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Favorite reply of all! Brilliant!

      Jason wrote on May 14th, 2012
  12. I would love to see a Primal cookbook that was divided up by what is in season, at least for North America. You could organize the cookbook by seasons or months. I find that when I sit down to plan my weekly menus, I often stumble across a recipe I’d like to try, but it’s the wrong time for some of the ingredients to really be available, unless I want a tasteless tomato from Mexico. Knowing, for instance, that squash blossoms won’t be available in January would help me avoid disappointment AND eat produce when it’s freshest and at its peak of production.

    Kimberly wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • LOVE this idea!!!

      Jess wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • +1 – great idea

      Lisa wrote on May 15th, 2012
  13. I find the success stories to be the biggest thing that “sells” people on the idea of going Primal. However, they all fall into different kinds of success. We all know that different stories will touch other people we know in different ways. The kid who finally started growing, the 70 year old woman who finally got control over her medications, the 40 year old man who finally got back his 20 year old body. Adding tags, or categories, or something so that people could more easily find the success stories they are most interested would be good.

    Also, you could add a “like” or something to articles, success stories, recipes, etc. so that people could see the most “favorited” topics, and it might give you more of an idea of what people enjoyed the most (I’m sure you get web analytics, but something may have a lot of hits even if it isn’t well received).

    Aaron wrote on May 14th, 2012
  14. How about a weekly Primal Cooking show/webcast. Something maybe similar to Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” but featuring Primal ingredients and recipes. Add a little entertainment value rather than just publishing a recipe. Who knows, it could even get picked up by Food Network one day and then you’d really be reaching millions.

    Rob G. wrote on May 14th, 2012
  15. When having conferences or seminars, it would be great if there was video live feed. Or even just a web-based audio and/or visual seminar

    Suzette O wrote on May 14th, 2012
  16. What about you reviewing Jenny Rulh’s new book regarding low-carb nutrition, Diet 101: The truth about low-carb diets?

    somk wrote on May 14th, 2012
  17. What I’d really like to see is more of an emphasis placed on helping those who do not wish to lose weight, but to gain. I know that two or three articles have focused on this, but it seems that overall, many of the meal recipes provided here would not provide enough calories for each meal. Other than that, love the site! Thank you for all you do, Mark!

    Aaron from Spokane wrote on May 14th, 2012
  18. I’d love to see a Primal app with workouts, meals, and a goal tracker. There really aren’t any primal/paleo apps like this and it would be hugely helpful to have all that at my fingertips whereever I am!

    Nikki wrote on May 14th, 2012
  19. I think part of the reason some people may be intimidated about switching from microwaved processed foods to the PB diet is simply because they do not know how to cook or prepare food to be consumed. It obviously takes time and experience to get more comfortable, but taking that first step towards potential failure could be a little easier with some additional guidance.

    Maybe I am not aware of a PB product out there, but a beginners guide to cooking may be useful for some people. Ranging from prep work for getting your meals ready to picking out meat at the grocery store to utensils and appliance selections. Provide a few meals along with step by step instructions for preparing a salad or more complicated meal.

    Brandon wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • very good idea. Just the preponderance of people requesting apps to find primal restaurants tells me that cooking is a lost art, and one we need help rediscovering.

      Meesha wrote on May 14th, 2012
  20. I have recently been exploring adoing a “mudder” race. I woyld love to see a series out there that is fine tuned to be primal….you know all the obstacles or tasks would be primal.

    Things like climbing walls are fine, we could move boulders, or even have to do a cold water plunge for a little bit.

    But mainly use it as a wayt o test our primal fitness, gather as a community and reac out to more people as well. I know these races are very popular know and seem to be a possible fit for us as a community.

    And the first one should be in Wisconsin….just cause.

    Erik wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • sorry for type o’s. I was rushing that last post

      Erik wrote on May 14th, 2012
  21. A Primal “fast food” chain. There is a local place whose tagline is healthy fast food, but really 90% of it is SAD “healthy”. It would be great to have a quick healthy lunch option without having to go in to a place and order everything with a bunch of expections. Clearly being Primal one doesn’t eat out much, but it would be great if there was a restaurant that catered to this lifestyle. Plus it would help publicize and popularize Primal eating which would also be wonderful.

    Samantha wrote on May 14th, 2012
  22. Yes, definitely more VIDEO content would be great. Of course, also have the transcripts also for those who want to read. But video would make it more personal – maybe include some day-in-the-life, here’s what I do, etc.

    Ryan Hand wrote on May 14th, 2012
  23. Mark,

    If you venture over to sites like Nerd Fitness or Fitocracy, you’ll notice that there are Primal groups participating over there. As it is, I come to MDA for information, Fitocracy to track my fitness, and Nerd Fitness to participate in challenges and get motivated by others.

    I’d love to see MDA feature game-oriented fitness challenge that is ongoing, perhaps in 90 day intervals.

    Chris Bryner wrote on May 14th, 2012
  24. I would like something like where I can type in the ingredients I have at home and it asks me if I have x or y and then spits out a recipe. Only Primal, of course!!

    Katie wrote on May 14th, 2012
  25. I want you to offer Primal Blueprint Official Certification for Trainers to teach others the Primal Blueprint lifestyle and be their local guru/expert. I think that is an area you could easily monetize and expand with far-reaching effects.

    Jason wrote on May 14th, 2012
  26. I don’t know about some people but myself I like to know “How it works”. Which I think would be a great new section. What I mean is a section devoted to explaining the roles certain things play on the human body and a visual cgi/animated video/slides that show “How it Works”. Example like cholesterol, fat absorption and storage, insulin, etc…. I know many people that can only learn from visually seeing the things in action. A section like this could help explain how certain functions work and could be very useful to inform others who are not so familiar with microbiology and the body’s systems. This will help people understand why they don’t eat that cookie, bar, french fries, etc… because this will show them what happens in the body when you do. Just a thought :) Thanks for all you do Mark

    Primal Newfie wrote on May 14th, 2012
  27. I hope that MDA could dig deeper on re-embracing family traditions of eating and living as a whole. When growing up, we almost eat the same food as other family members. Therefore, it is time we reflected on the eating habit rooted in our families, and doing so would greatly help us see what traditions we should embrace and what should be discarded.

    For example, I am Chinese and recently I’m trying to give up traditional rice and noodles. People constantly ask me how come I am not eating rice in a proper meal. They have the idea that a meal is incomplete without starchy foods like rice, bread or noodles. So I know that for me, dealing with pressure to eat those food is a constant fight. However, I also feel lucky to be Chinese because in my family vegetables can be cooked in numerous ways, and eating them is always enjoyable.

    Everyone faces a unique challenge when one wants to get out of the old eating habit and pursue a primal diet. Looking at how your family have been eating can greatly help because this way, you understand your strengths and weaknesses, and you can make better decisions when facing similar pressure.

    Elsa wrote on May 14th, 2012
  28. A New book that focuses on teaching teens about Primal living. Also, having seminars in colleges around the country.

    Matthew wrote on May 14th, 2012
  29. Everybody’s cause has a wristband nowadays. How about a WWGD? What would Grok do? or WWGE, What would Grok eat?

    Don wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Great idea. The wristband would be a subtle way to be a conversation starter with the as-yet-uninformed, and also be a reminder to ourselves to stay true.

      Chip wrote on May 14th, 2012
  30. I would like to see more Success Stories, and have them cataloged on the site by categories (age, symptoms, etc.). When I am trying to spread the word about Primal living, I would love to have a specific story to send to an individual, without having to sort through hundreds. When new readers can see themselves reflected, they are more likely to take the plunge!

    River wrote on May 14th, 2012
  31. Mark,

    First of all thank you so much for all of the work you put into this website and all of the valuable information! I wasn’t able to read through alllll of the comments :) so this might have already been suggested but what about a Primal Podcast? I know there are other podcasts that focus on the Paleo diet etc. but I would love you hear you do some podcasts on Primal living, food, and fitness as a whole…have guest speakers or interviews…success stories..even answer some Deark Mark questions. Keep up the amazing work!


    Cristina wrote on May 14th, 2012
  32. I’d like an improved search for the site.

    kasey wrote on May 14th, 2012
  33. Hi Mark, when I first started PB, I faced difficulty of what food is primal, what should avoid, etc. A online store selling 100% Primal grocery can help beginners to take the switch easier.

    Ng B.T. wrote on May 14th, 2012
  34. I would like to see a Primal radio show or downloadable podcast for people on the go.

    Joshua wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Podcasts would be great! Also success stories for post-menopausal women or those of us beginning the primal lifestyle in our 50’s. Does it take longer for us to see results? How do we know whether the increase in our cholesterol after following a Primal diet and seeing weight loss is something to be concerned about? Are Primal principles and results going to be the same for everyone regardless of your age?

      Elsie wrote on May 14th, 2012
  35. Hey Mark!

    I think a primal series for athletes would be great. Focus in on ways athletes can optimize performance while continuing to be primal.

    Matt wrote on May 14th, 2012
  36. Simple: More videos. I think your Vibram FiveFingers video on the Resources page is a great example of how video-centric people have become in the age of YouTube. While very few people that I know would be interested in reading a blog post about running or working out in “toe shoes,” and would simply scoff at the idea, they’re more than willing to watch an engaging video and have their interest peaked.

    A few ideas regarding this could be filming some aspects of PrimalCon for those people unable to attend to get an idea of what’s going on, and maybe convince them to attend in the future. Maybe a weekly or monthly video challenge in the same way you’ve had blog posts challenging us to walk more and to spring the past few weeks. You could do video Q&A sessions, or some kind of “Primal Report” to keep us up to date on what’s going on in the Primal world.

    In short, you can really do anything with video, and I’d like to see the medium utilized more.

    Kevin McKenzie wrote on May 14th, 2012
  37. Become an approved provider of CEU opportunities for NATA and NSCA. Then add a few more conferences and/or speaking engagements around the country…and finally East Coast Primal Con!

    Maureen wrote on May 14th, 2012
  38. I would like to see a wiki style page with easy to find information that the community can edit to maintain relevance. For example, you recently did a Primal/Not Primal article. Those foods could have their own wiki entry with that information. Same for the vitamin and minerals you also recently discussed, as well as fasting, etc… A wiki page would be vastly easier to reference than attempting to search through past articles looking for some nugget of information.

    Shane wrote on May 14th, 2012
  39. More success stories! They always inspire me!

    jana wrote on May 14th, 2012
  40. Hi Mark-

    I’d like a way to set up a personal consultation. I have read the book & spent countless hours reading the website, but I’m still stuck. I could use some direct help. Thanks!

    Amy wrote on May 14th, 2012

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