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. A few things I’d like:
    #1 More recipes (with nutritional info)
    #2 More of what Mark eats
    #3 Reviews of food products..ex: salad dressings etc
    #4 More ideas of how to eat in the real world..loved the first one!
    #5 Cooking Videos
    Thanks it for now:)

    Tracey wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  2. Reader Response, Fitness,Definitive Guide, Recipes, Latest Health News/Research and Posts on broad topics.

    All of these ingredients make yours a great blog, with rich and varied content.
    Maybe a forum wisely moderated by you, would be good to add.
    Thanks a lot Mark!!!

    rodrigo wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  3. I think the content has been well-covered by others, but I’d like to see, on the technical side, a better post index — that is, search results not being the posts themselves, going backwards in time, but rather a listing of the post titles by category or search term or whatever: much easier to find what I’m looking for that way!


    Andy wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  4. I enjoy the reader Q & A. Not a big fan of videos. Receiving posts through email would be great. I don’t do the Twitter thing. Thanks for everything y’all do.

    Heather wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  5. I liked the forum and was against it being removed, especially because I know the spam problem is manageable as other forums use the same software and never have a spam problem. Like anything else a forum needs to be maintained, and if it’s not then you will have internet bots taking over in a heartbeat. Now, being that said I actually think not having the forum is just fine because it would feel to time consuming at this point. You have lots of great information on this blog, some great reader comments, and between that and reading some other blogs I personally wouldn’t have time for the forum anymore. That’s not to say others wouldn’t, I’m just saying that while I still don’t agree with the decision to remove the forum when it happened, I as a reader here have no problems with not having a forum now. As for anything else I like MDA as is, I visit at least once a day.

    Jerry wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  6. I love the top 10 lists, the guest posts and the recipes- especially the ones that are quick to make. If you could do more recipes focusing on low cost indregients that would be great. College students want to stay in shape too!
    the probelm I have with search and the categories section is that it comes up with the full article immeadiately. I would prefer if you got a list of links, sorted alphabetically or by date posted, that you could then click on to go to that specific post.
    This website is awesome as I try to into primal eating.

    Kym wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  7. Hello Mark, I have not read all the comments on this thread, so what I say may have been said before. However, here are some of the things I would like to see more of on MDA :

    * More in-depth articles, perhaps branching out to more esoteric subjects. I find that understanding the details about the science underlying the PB acts as great motivator to action.

    * Following on from the previous point, the in-depth abstract articles could be supplemented by in-depth concrete articles about how to implement the PB lifestyle tangibly. This would mean more recipes, more workout ideas, etc. Calling out external resources or including guests posts on these topics would be a source of great variety.

    * A more expansive “Ask Mark” section. Maybe doing the column bi-weekly instead of just once a week would be desirable. This would keep the blog interactive and more relevant to the readership.

    I think MDA is by far the best overall resource I have found for guiding one to a healthy life. And I think the reason I like it so much is that it does the best job of covering the abstract science, as well giving ideas about how that science might influence one’s day to day choices.

    By increasing the focus on the three areas outlined above, I think MDA could really build on its greatest strength and be even more valuable to its readership.

    Thanks for all the great work. And thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our opinion for this blog’s future direction!


    Apurva Mehta wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  8. More Definitive Guides to “x”. I love the unfiltered information and being able to draw my own conclusions. Also, more exercise related posts would be beneficial as I feel like a generally active bunch consistently reads your blog.

    Ethan wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  9. Mark,

    Great site and great info. I’d love to see more recipes and videos.

    Keep up the great work.


    Mitchell wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  10. Mark,

    This blog rules – I look forward to a new post everyday. Seriously. Because of this blog, I say “primal” on a near daily basis!

    I looked over your suggestions, and here is what I liked:

    More Videos
    More Recipes
    Definitive Guide Posts
    Weekly Reader Polls
    Easily print a blog post (when I cant read at work)
    Better Search results

    and on a personal note, my “primal utensils” email to you :)

    Keep on keepin on man!’

    Ryan Denner wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  11. Fixing a good search function would be brilliant, I often come back here thinking of some post- Never quite being able to find it without scrolling through 10+ pages.

    Me, I like ‘dear mark’, definitive guides, and I’ve got this thing for guest posts. It’s nice to find out about other sites, the fitnessblackbook f/e was new to me.
    Maybe some more ‘how to do this shit in real life’ kind of posts? 😉

    Naomi wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  12. I love this blog, it’s my first go-to when I get a chance for leisure reading each day. Here are my suggestions:

    – more difinitive guides
    – recipes and what you eat
    – topics of most interest to me: low-carb, fat loss

    Katie B wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  13. I’m a big fan of your top 10 posts so please keep them coming. I also agree with some of the comments that an improved search function would be a good idea. Keep up the good work.

    Tom Parker wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  14. Huge fan of yr smarts work and site.
    Only one thing i ask;if those who love you notice that you are going the way of Art De Vany with his seemingly endless self-aggrandizement will they stop you ?
    Arse de Vany more like !

    Keep it the actress to the bishop sayeth

    simon fellows wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  15. I’m another person who would love more recipe videos.

    D Kashy wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  16. Mark
    Great blog. I’d like to see more technical, scientific explanations to help understand how the body works better. More explanation of the chemistry, hormones, proteins and more explanation of how such things are affected by stress, diet, exercise, sleep.

    I guess what I’m going (and probably some of your other readers) for is a holistic understanding of the body but on a deeper granularity.

    I know there have been several posts like this already, so perhaps all that’s needed is a new category so it is easier to find; perhaps: biochemistry, science, chemicals and pathways of life, etc..

    joe wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  17. I would love a section devoted to readers and primal health followers telling their story, before & after pictures – that kind of thing.

    A forum is also a great idea, as debates can get lost in the comments of different posts.

    Dee wrote on September 2nd, 2008
  18. A podcast would be AWESOME! maybe it could be a weekly thing

    adrianFLY wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  19. I like the definitive guides! More please! What about some stuff on mainatining weight after losing it?

    charlie wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  20. I am huge fan of the varied content on this blog. Great work! I would suggest –

    1. Definitive Guides
    2. Recipes
    3. Videos

    The ability to search for key words with a list of blog titles, rather than the entire posts to scroll through.

    Chris C wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  21. Here are some thoughts, Mark:

    (1) I would love an “e-mail this post” function that would work like the similar functions found on newspaper sites (like the NY Times).

    (2) Keep the Definitive Guides coming.

    (3) In the archive section, when you click on a type of post, provide at the top an index of all posts under that heading (just the titles).

    (4) Or just leave the site as it is and finish writing your book(!).

    Whatever you do it’s all good stuff and I thank you for your efforts.


    Ed wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  22. More video would be great. Fits well for the work from home and desk-bound people.

    Would also love to see you step away from the ABCs — the science of it all more often. Get into the reasons, the phylosophy of exercise and eating. Give people reasons to not be slaves to numbers.

    This is clearly the best website relating to fintess — the very best. But I belive it is too numbers driven, and could use more attitude and emotion.

    Great thngs to you Mark!

    Roy wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  23. I am really impressed with your site and knowledge. As far as design, the most important thing, while it is a small thing, is to see that you have carefully reviewed your writing before posting it – grammar and good editing really makes your work more professional. You do a great job, but many health/nutrition/fitness sites really lose validity when their content is full of typos.
    I like all of your content – I really enjoy the Definitive Guides, recipes, link love, Dear Mark, and Top 10.
    Otherwise, the extra functions are not too important to me. I just enjoy reading your posts and the comments left by your thoughtful readers. Keep up the good work!

    Genevieve wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  24. Please avoid videos. I don’t have a good way to watch them. I’m often on limited internet connections, either a cell phone (slower than dial-up) or at work (no video player, and even if there way, I only read/post while watching something else from the corner of my eye and videos don’t work well for that. Also videos don’t allow easy review of points. Generally text is a lot more flexible.

    Notice that I said avoid, not don’t use. Sometimes a picture is worth 10,000 words, and a video is just a few hundred pictures (over 1 million words!). When a video is the right thing of course you should use them. Just ask yourself if a video is realy the best way to get the information across. Videos of you giving a lecture are not as useful as a write-up of the lecture. Videos of you lifting (with freeze frames noting form) are better than any text.

    I love the comments on research. Particularly when you find some obscure research that I really should know about.

    Henry Miller wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  25. Count me in as another vote for the forum. I LOVED the forum and even volunteered to help delete the spam messages because I do have the time & ability. I also checked the forum more often than M-F/9-5, so I could have caught the bad guys on the off hours, which was always the reason given when people asked why there was so much spam. But when I went back to the forum to see if anyone had replied to my thread it was already deleted. =(

    While I love the blog posts & comments under them, I also liked having the ability to pose any random question I had to a community of people who could discuss it with me. Everyone has their own experiences that can add another dimension to a conversation, or their own little tips they’ve discovered through trial and error.

    I’ve always felt that any question I might send in would be lost in the shuffle, mostly because the few times I did ask something I never got a reply. I don’t ever expect to get a reply to my questions, but it would be nice to ask on a forum instead of wondering if my email will ever be answered.

    Another plus to a forum is the ability to see replies to older discussions. As it stands with the blog, unless I comment and click the “Notify Me” box, I’ll never see the replies to a post that’s a week old. Since I don’t comment all that often, I wonder how much discussion I’m missing. And no way do I have time to click back through a month of posts to see if something new has been added each day.

    I miss the forum so much that I’ve even considered starting my own to fill that gap because I’ve been unable to find another forum that fits my needs. If you do end up putting a forum back up, I again volunteer to help keep it cleaned up & spam-free. I’ve been running a forum with close to 2000 members for over five years now, so I’m not new to the message board universe.

    It might be worthwhile to try another type of message board if the last one you had was so easily spammed. I’ve used Runboard for years with zero problems, so that might be something to consider.

    Sorry if I sound whiny, I just miss having that community of people to turn to for support. This blog has been more than helpful to me, and even if nothing changed I would still read it everyday and be grateful for the advice.

    Heather wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  26. I was wondering if you could find a better way to organize all the great content.

    I find that sometimes i just want a list of posts about super foods, rather than a broad collection of post on diets or dieting in general.

    Also a better way indexing the posts would be great. short summaries perhaps?

    If you need help indexing and summarizing I’d be glad to help. I’m a medical editor and writer during the daylight hours.

    thanks mark.

    Aalap wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  27. I would just like to add something about the forum: a low cost option would be to use a service like Google Groups. My website uses google groups for its forum, and I find it to be excellent for things like spam management, etc. The downside is that it will not be as well integrated with the rest of the site as you might like.

    But I think it is a low-cost, minimal effort option which is worth considering. It certainly provides all the facilities one would need to have lively discussion about PB-related topics.


    Apurva Mehta wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  28. I think twitter would be a great idea and keep doing what you are doing now to keep our primal instincts in tact – it really helps.

    Jayadeep Purushothaman wrote on September 4th, 2008
  29. The only thing I dislike about your blog design is the RED BORDER. Drives me crazy. Too bright.

    Ellen wrote on September 4th, 2008
  30. Can we get daily e-mails?

    Scooter wrote on September 4th, 2008
  31. Love, love your blog! I would like to see more recipes and more about good sources of protein. I have changed by diet quite a bit as a result of reading MDA, but I still like to eat brown rice, wheat berries and legumes. Also, where I can find good, healthy sources of poultry and beef? I read about the chicken and beef industries and it makes me think most of the chicken and beef that is widely available to the average consumer is not good for you.

    meg wrote on September 4th, 2008
  32. recipes and workouts! i’m trying to become more healthy, but need work out advice. i don’t know how to work out the “right” way!! help!

    lizliz wrote on September 4th, 2008
  33. First of all, fantastic site! All of your content ideas are things I’d enjoy reading. Things I’d love to see more of:

    -Workout routine ideas and workout videos (loved the sprinting vid)
    -Recipe ideas
    -Success stories (even better with pictures), always very inspiring!
    -posts on Primal blueprint for women (are there differences? Will we get ripped too?)
    -More accessible archives (organized by topic or searchable?)
    -Dear Mark Q&A’s

    Thanks for all your work!

    Charlotte wrote on September 6th, 2008
  34. Mark,

    Love the site. There isn’t anything I don’t like. I have enjoyed the video how-to’s like when you made your big salad and the hard-boiled egg shell removal. I also liked the sprinting video as it is a very interesting concept.

    I like the way you use photos with the text on your site and not only text as it holds my interest longer keeping me from clicking away from too much reading. Your writing is always engaging, easy to understand/read just like a conversation. You have a common sense approach to health which is very reassuring.

    I came to know you through the ‘Know The Cause’ tv show and I get your vitamins sent out monthly. I am always excited to get your emails to read the latest health info.

    I am very interested in keeping healthy and in shape. I know I can always find something to keep me motivated on your site. I have adopted a low-carb lifestyle for about 4 years now but I have improved on it over time due to people like you. I eat more vegetables now instead of just eggs and bacon!

    I am also interested in the latest stories on big pharma and the info on how our food supply is grown/handled etc.

    I think you do a terrific job in all areas – you are particularly good at the voice overs and commercials you do for your products – great intonation in your voice. You are a real pro and I can see it throughout all you do. I was proud to see you on the local Fox affiliate here in so. cal! I’ll have to go onto their site and give it some good feedback!

    Take Care,


    Shari wrote on September 6th, 2008
  35. A search field for archived posts would would definitely be a fantastic addition. This is especially true for those of us that are more recent readers.

    Son of Grok wrote on September 8th, 2008
  36. from someone in the hinter-land will say that you taking time to do this website is most appreciated. amazingly good knowledge can be gleaned on a steady basis and in a way that un-scientific people can understand same. some websites are so technicial that they are useless to most readers. Videos would be good on exercises and book reviews would be helpful if you run across something that comes from someone who knows what the devil they are talking about. there are so many “experts” now on health and exercise that a person like myself has no idea a lot of time who is really good and who is really bad. thank you for what you do tommy forrester tulsa ok

    tommy forrester wrote on September 9th, 2008
  37. Is it too late to offer my opinion?

    Please bear in mind that I love the information and attitude conveyed via MDA. I am quite satisfied with the content really.

    I do, however, think a visual refresh is in order. The giant-head logo is a real problem for me! I find that sort of visual both overused and somehow tacky. And, overall, the header seems too big.

    Also, and there’s no way to put this politely, so I apologize in advance, but Marks’s handsome, blond head is offputting in a way. It seems to say: this is a site for super-fit Californians, skiing in the morning and surfing in the afternoon, when in fact so much of the information is of tremendous help to people in ordinary circumstances, people in considerably poorer physical condition and health. I know it has helped me. There’s no need to ditch the idea of a caricature; the fix may be as simple as having an artist take another crack at the portrait.

    Matthew Jarsky wrote on September 23rd, 2008

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