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

Dear Readers: What Do You Want?

I’m skipping this week’s “Dear Mark” post en lieu of a “Dear Readers” post. That’s right. Enough from me. I want to hear from you. You see, I’m working on giving MDA a well-deserved design update and would love some feedback. I have a long wish list that just keeps getting longer, but I want to know what you want out of Mark’s Daily Apple – both in terms of content and blog features. I’ll throw out some ideas and questions to get the ball rolling. Hit me up with a comment with your suggestions.


What kind of content would you like to see more of on MDA? Here are some of the major categories to give you some ideas, but feel free to offer up your own ideas.

  • Videos
  • More “Dear Mark” and Reader Response posts
  • Tuesday 10 (Top 10 Lists)
  • Fitness Posts – Specific Workout Ideas/Routines
  • Definitive Guide Posts – Lengthy/Detailed Nutrition Articles
  • Recipes – How-to and Tips on How to Prepare Food
  • Coverage of the Latest Health News/Research
  • Weekend Link Love
  • Guest Posts
  • Interviews
  • Book or Product Reviews
  • Health Challenges
  • Posts on broad topics: low-carb living, Big Pharma, stress, sleep, supplementation, weight loss, aging/longevity, marketing, etc.

Design/Blog Features:

  • Apart from content (which to us is most important) what else could MDA offer you to make the experience fulfilling and enlightening?
  • Would you be interested in Primal e-books?
  • Would you like to connect with me Twitter?
  • How about weekly reader polls?
  • Does the ability to easily submit MDA articles to social networking sites (stumbleupon, digg, reddit etc) appeal to you?
  • How about the ability to easily print a blog post?
  • Would you be into reader avatars to personalize comments?
  • Would you be interested in the ability to subscribe to all of our posts via email instead of just via an RSS feed?

I want this redesign process to be as democratic as possible, and want to reward all loyal MDA readers with what they want. This is your chance to be heard and have your wish list for MDA turn into a reality. I am eagerly awaiting what you have to say. Thanks, everyone!

P.S. It doesn’t have to just be about what you do want. If there is something that has always driven you crazy about the site (the way our search results are displayed has always bugged me), or some regular column we do that just doesn’t strike a chord with you please let me know. Thanks again!

Update: Keep all the suggestions coming! They are wonderful and will be extremely helpful as I redesign MDA to make it the best health/fitness blog on the net.

If you want to comment, but are worried your suggestions will get lost in the shuffle (as of writing this there are 38 comments), think again! I will be going over each and every comment with a fine-tooth comb.

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. The workout posts have been the most interesting to me. They brought me to the site, but I have learned so much from your other topics.

    Perhaps you could have a workout routine of the week. Some of the routines might spark debate: is crossfit too much, too hard; can kettlebells replace cardio and traditional lifting; what are some primal compromises in a non-primal world etc etc.

    Phillip wrote on September 1st, 2008
  2. More recipes! I’ve used your archive of recipe posts time and again.

    sherri wrote on September 1st, 2008
  3. More workouts you actually do would be great. A Primal e-book at a reasonable price would also be a superb tool. Looking forward to the new direction/redesign!

    Chris - Zen to Fitness wrote on September 1st, 2008
  4. As I have said before, your blog is the only one I read on a regular basis and look forward to every update. It manages to stay varied without being to vague. One of my top frequented sites.

    I love the top tens and the weekend link love. It’s hard to find new reading material that isn’t rehashing the same article of BBC health over and over. I love any bashing of supplement health and big pharma. Keeps me motivated to stay healthy myself without having to spend money on useless garbage. I could use more “recipes.” I quote recipes because I’ve never really noticed a “four cups this, 2 tablespoons of that” type list, but rather just a great idea to eat well.

    One thing that I haven’t noticed much on here that I’d find of value is more encouragement and ideas to get outside and break the ten reps of this 3 sets formula. I know it sounds silly to tell a reader, “Hey, there is more to getting in shape than eating right and lifting something ten times” but sometimes it really helps to have common sense presented to you by somebody else.

    At any rate, sorry for the tangeted thoughts. Hands down my favorite read on the internet.

    I hope all is going well in your neck of the woods.

    take care,

    kme wrote on September 1st, 2008
    • New WOWs with videos would be great, but how about an interactive Primal Menu tool? You have a calendar displayed and you get to add primal recipes from your books or from readers. This can help with the grocery list and help you stay primal by planning your food for the week (including snacks. By clicking on a recipe title in you calendar, it opens the link to the full recipe instructions and ingredients. No more looking for the books or going to other websites.

      Mark M wrote on May 14th, 2012
  5. pic’s of the food that you eat in a day.


    Bill wrote on September 1st, 2008
  6. the workout that you preform, because we need to know how you have built your body to look the way it does.

    Bill wrote on September 1st, 2008
  7. I’d say the Definitive Guide Posts are the most interesting to me as they seem to enlighten readers the most.

    As a suggestion, how bout including a user forum area to the site for different readers to discuss aspects of the PD with each other, maybe even share recipes.

    Marc wrote on September 1st, 2008
  8. I’d love to see more videos (making meals, your thoughts, workout routines, etc…) and more examples of different (easy) meals to eat.

    Dana Woodman wrote on September 1st, 2008
  9. Also, you could put the search bar at the top of the page (it is somewhat hard to find if you dont already know where it is).

    Dana Woodman wrote on September 1st, 2008
  10. As stated by others, your blog is probably the feed I look forward to reading most. Although I haven’t gone ‘primal’ myself, I definitely have enjoyed your wisdom significantly.

    I definitely think that a forum would be an excellent addition to this site.

    I love the “definitive” guide posts as well, but I feel like they should be released bi-weekly or something. It is a ton of reading, and on most days, I am happy just reading interesting takes on the news from yours truly, recipes, workout routines, etc.

    I find the science behind the primal diet very interesting and would love to see more of this. I also think that it would be great if you discussed specific workouts we can follow.

    I personally would be interesting in a “Primal Guide for Vegetarians” and also a topic on how to shop on the cheap for primal necessities.

    Overall though, excellent work. I am very thankful for all your efforts.

    Jon wrote on September 1st, 2008
  11. I always appreciate your references to prior posts, whether they are linked within a particular blog, at the end of a blog, or listed on the main page as favorites. It is a great way to review things we might have forgotten or need to refresh in our minds, and also serves as great reference reading to get new readers up to speed. I agree that your site is already phenomenal in both content and layout, so any updates will only be an added bonus!

    Rodney wrote on September 1st, 2008
  12. I would very much like to be able to print posts.

    cam wrote on September 1st, 2008
  13. I personally would like to see an article on food timing. For example, does it matter what part of the day you eat your carbs? I have heard theories that state that carbs make you sleepy through the tryptophan-serotonin-melatonin connection. Thus, if you wanted to be alert all day for work or school, eating carbs in the morning would be a bad idea. However, carbs for dinner (only fruits & tubers, of course) could potentially help you fall asleep – although I am not sure if they actually improve the quality of sleep. These are just theories I keep on hearing, what are your thoughts on this?

    jimmy wrote on September 1st, 2008
  14. Mark,
    I think one thing that would be interesting for the readers is to compare and contrast our various workout styles. We come from two extremely divergent previous “lives” — you being an endurance athlete and me being a football player/sprinter/gym rat. Now, though, we have both embraced this Paleo lifestyle. It really can work for all folks — not just a certain type or mindset.


    Keith Norris wrote on September 1st, 2008
  15. Definitive Guide Posts – Lengthy/Detailed Nutrition Articles
    Recipes – How-to and Tips on How to Prepare Food
    Coverage of the Latest Health News/Research

    The three above topics are the ones I enjoy most. I like the design and layout of the blog, and as I use Google Reader, it takes care of the formatting and quick delivery. Thanks for the great site and keep up the great work!

    Nick wrote on September 1st, 2008
  16. Readers forum to share ideas.
    Search at the top.
    Success stories
    e-book excellent idea!
    The effects of different foods on the body.
    Inflammation and that works.

    Marc S, wrote on September 1st, 2008
  17. Coverage of the Latest Health News/Research
    Definitive Guide Posts – Lengthy/Detailed Nutrition Articles
    Recipes – How-to and Tips on How to Prepare Food
    Fitness Posts – Specific Workout Ideas/Routines

    MDA is one of my main sources for nutrition info, and as such I would love to see more coverage and evaluation of the latest findings, as well as detailed summaries about fats, soy, etc. It’s also nice to get specific ideas for meals and workouts.

    Primal ebooks sound like a very cool idea, though they could be very time consuming and I wouldn’t want them to interfere with development on the rest of the site. Collections of favorite posts might be a good use for these, such as recipe collections or definitive guides to primal living, perhaps one for exercise, one for nutrition, and so forth.

    Nick L wrote on September 1st, 2008
  18. My personal faves are ‘dear mark’,definitive guides, videos, and fuming fuji. I miss the lil green guy! polls are always fun, the printing thing would be oh-so-nice, and I have been DYING for an email feed. the rss doesn’t seem to want to work on my computer. in other words…thumbs up to all of your suggestions!

    hedda wrote on September 1st, 2008
  19. You know me, I’d love to hear more actual workouts! I’m all about getting more fitness ideas. Also, I adore your breakdown of the latest research – in fact, I often wish you were a little more comprehensive. You could go a bit longer and in depth on those posts and I would be happy:)

    I agree with hedda – the fuming fuji was funny.

    charlotte wrote on September 1st, 2008
  20. And oh yeah, a bulletin board or forum is a great idea!

    charlotte wrote on September 1st, 2008
  21. Love the site and glad to see you always striving for improvements.

    How about changing the color of the links away from that pale green. It is tough to see and even harder to read (for my old eyes at least.)

    Thanks for the opportunity.

    Fishman wrote on September 1st, 2008
  22. Hey Mark,

    Firstly, this is an outstanding blog!

    Here’s my wish list:

    1) Videos.

    I saw your sprinting video the other day and would love to see:

    – more primal workout ideas/routines
    – primal challenges like getting back to nature & cold water therapy

    2) Recipes.

    The stir fry and salad dressing posts are classics.

    3) Podcast covering the latest health news/research or broad topics.

    ps. looking forward to your guest appearance with Jimmy Moore.

    4) Primal and/or health challenges.

    5) Definitive Guide Posts.

    The cooking oils post recently was brilliant.

    Thanks for the opportunity to provide input.

    Swimmer wrote on September 1st, 2008
  23. Have an easy to find and easy to use search function and tag each entry thoroughly to make past entries more accessible. I know you have a search function and tags, but I’d like to see it more prominently.

    Kyle wrote on September 1st, 2008
  24. Hi, Mark! I would like to hear your opinion on whey protein – is it any better than a whole food meal after a workout, is there any big difference between an expensive and a cheap one, etc… I would also appreciate if you would make a post about body/metabolic types and their genetic body fat limits because I’m having trouble with lowering my body fat as an endomorph but it’s of great importance to me because I’m a wrestler and unfortunately weight cutting is a part of my sport so I want to be able to lower my body fat as much as possible before turning to dehydration (i know, i know, one day it’s gonna kill me).

    Zoran wrote on September 1st, 2008
  25. P.S. Yeah, a forum is a great idea. We could all communicate much better.

    P.P.S. Mark, this is all growing into something really outstanding. Thank you!

    Zoran wrote on September 1st, 2008
  26. I would definitely love so see more videos on all kinds of subjects related to health, fitness and cooking :-)

    Jonas Cronfeld wrote on September 1st, 2008
  27. * Definitive Guide Posts – Lengthy/Detailed Nutrition Articles
    * Coverage of the Latest Health News/Research
    * Guest writers on fitness, e.g. Ross Enamait etc.

    Dirk Wilcke wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  28. * More recipes!! :)
    * Twitter would be great, but not essential.

    Jedidja wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  29. Like the videos, product reviews or recommendations, forum, videos on how to make certain meals.

    Thank you

    Tee wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  30. – Coverage of the Latest Health News/Research
    – More “Dear Mark” and Reader Response posts
    – Posts on broad topics: low-carb living, Big Pharma

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  31. recipes! recipes! recipes! i really get inspired by your ideas… and it helps me break out of my steamed veggies and fish rut!!!

    Kristin wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  32. What ever you do if you start a discussion board DO NOT caharge 49.95 to get on it.Your word does need to get out like the book you are working on i will buy it for shure but i will not pay to get on a discussion forum.


    Bill wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  33. Great idea bout food timing. I am also interested in pre/post workout nutrition.
    How about innovative new ways in overcoming plateaus?
    And my top two wishes: fist, a step by step direction sheet (re: quick cheat sheet) to IF and two, access to your fitday account. In Fitday, you have the ability to make it public. I want to see what you eat on a day to day basis to give me a better understanding of the Primal lifestyle. I know, a little weird, but a girl can only have a kitchen sink salad so often.

    Wendy wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  34. More Definitive Guides and recipes

    Jason Smith wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  35. Oh ya, and more info in terms of nutrition for marathon/tri athletes: even though I know you don’t recommend that long training =)

    Jason Smith wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  36. I would love to see “Day in the Life of….” posts from individuals living the Primal Life. First and foremost, a Day in the Life of MARK!

    A forum would be great. I struggle with finding ways to “deal” with people not understanding this lifestyle, thinking “is just another diet/gimmick” and would love support of fellow Primal folks.

    Heatherly wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  37. As a long-time lurker of Mark’s Daily Apple, I really like the site as it is… I don’t know how you come up with so many things!

    Of course, you can always improve (right?), so here’s a list of what I think would be positively marvelous additions to the site:

    – Videos would be extremely helpful, especially if you made a video of the weekly routines, how to do them, maybe your own cooking show…(lol)

    – More “Dear Mark” and Reader Response posts: I LOVE reading these. It’s usually a question I’ve been pondering myself, or something I would never have thought of, but it’s always useful.

    – Tuesday 10 (Top 10 Lists): I’m not sure what you mean by this, top 10 of what? (That might be the point.) No matter what it’s about I’d like to hear your top ten of anything, whether it be Top 10 Work-outs, Top 10 Brands of Shoes, Top 10 Housepets, etc.

    – I’m all for the specific work-out routines-coupled with the videos, of course!

    – Definitive Guide Posts – Lengthy/Detailed: I’m one of *those* people who likes to have things down to every detail…I would love the odd lengthy/detailed article here and there. (:

    – Recipes are ALWAYS welcome!

    – Book or Product Reviews: I very much like to read, and I also like to know what’s worth buying before I buy it…no one likes to waste money, you know.

    – Health Challenges: THIS, my friend, would be something I would be looking forward to greatly! I’m always one for competition and _motivation_!!

    Primal e-books would be great for when I need to review and the internet is down…also to print out and carry around with me (I actually do that!)

    I don’t use Twitter, it’s mostly about MySpace…it has essentially the same function.

    Weekly reader polls would be fun and interesting. I, for one, would be taking part.

    I think you do fine without avatars, although I’d like to hear others’ opinions on that.

    I’ve tried to answer your queries as directly as possible, Mark! I really do like the “Apple” Design and I hope you will stick with something similar. I think it’s very creative and very cute. (: Although if cute isn’t what you’re looking for, of course, the “daily apple = health connection” gets through very well. Also, the search bar would be easier to find at the top of the page…the first time I used it, I knew it was on the page SOMEWHERE, I just didn’t know where, and it took me a bit to find it.

    Other than that, you’re doing great and I really appreciate all the advice you provide your readers with. (:

    Hannah wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  38. Wow! Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. They are all very helpful!

    Keep them coming. As I said, I am working on a new design for MDA – one that will better serve my readers. What better way to serve you than to ask you directly.

    A lot of great suggestions here. One I have tossed around again lately, somewhat reluctantly, is the forum idea. MDA had a forum for the first year or more. We had trouble with spammers (though, I’m sure this could be managed if we were to do it again), it drove comments away from the comment boards, was somewhat time consuming to moderate, and overall wasn’t used by that many readers. With that said more people are reading and participating on MDA now than ever before and a community is forming around the Primal Blueprint. I’ll have to give it some thought. If anyone has any more ideas regarding a forum I’d love to hear them.

    Thanks again, everyone!


    Mark Sisson wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  39. I (personally) think Twitter is a great idea. Also, maybe consider publishing some simple tracking tools or pocket-sized quick reference lists for us newbies. Oh, and please please please, ditch the goofy logo of you with the giant head. I’m thinking a rotating series of logos, each one depicting you in a humorous caveman situation, though with a normal sized head.

    Jay wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  40. Jay – Yes, I will probably be ditching the comic book character. I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but my header will be something along the lines of your suggestion.

    Mark Sisson wrote on September 2nd, 2008

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