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

Definitive Guide: The Primal Blueprint

pb definitive guide

Build the Healthiest Possible Body with the Primal Blueprint

I get emails every day from people who are changing their lives for the better by following the guidelines I outline on this site. But many are looking for more of what the Primal Blueprint has to offer. That is to say, they want a comprehensive break down of the elements that make up the Blueprint; a Primal primer if you will. In coming weeks I will be going into detail – anthropological evidence, modern research, etc. – regarding this health philosophy, but I first want to offer up this summary of the Blueprint. I think it is a good starting point for what is to come.

In this extended article you will find the basic building blocks needed to discover the Primal side of your life. What does this mean? It means learning and understanding what it means to be human. It means using this knowledge to help you make important lifestyle choices. It means modeling your life after your ancestors in order to promote optimal health and wellness. And, most importantly, it means taking control of your body and mind.

If this article intrigues you be on the look out for a much more thorough explanation of how we can learn from our past to shape and mold our future.

My basic premise is this: The Primal Blueprint is a set of simple instructions (the blueprint) that allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that’s the primal part).

Sometimes we get so lost in the science of human biology we just can’t see the forest for the trees. We overlook the simplicity and ease with which we could all be achieving exceptional health and fitness.

Living in modern society is extremely complex. With daily mind-boggling achievements made in science, technology and medicine, and with an ever-expanding knowledge base that increasingly grows more esoteric and niche, it is no wonder that we often look for complicated scientific solutions to problems that really only require simple answers. One of the best examples is the huge – and expensive – race to identify all the new possible genetic variances (or SNPs) within the human genome that might predispose some of us to certain health conditions. Hardly a week goes by without a new announcement of the discovery of a so-called “defective” gene that increases someone or some group’s risk of being obese, of getting cancer, of developing type 2 diabetes or arthritis. The net effect of all these announcements and the sensationalized news headlines is that many of us have become accustomed to blaming our health conditions on our unlucky inheritance of these “defective” genes. As if it weren’t enough to abdicate responsibility here, we then cross our fingers and close our eyes and hope that the scientists can create pharmaceutical “answers” to our particular condition before it’s too late. In most cases a few lifestyle adjustments are all that are needed to address all but the most serious of these genetic variations. Yes, I agree that some serious genetic diseases exist which are best treated with modern, truly life-saving drugs, but for the vast majority of the minor genetic variations that exist throughout the human genome, the real deciding factor as to whether or not a particular gene will be expressed in a particular manner, if at all, comes down to what you eat, how you move, what kind of air you breathe, what you think – in other words your environment. Big Pharma (CW) doesn’t want us to believe that most of our ills can be so easily solved, and so billions of dollars are being spent to unlock the so-called secrets of the genome. Meanwhile, the real secrets – and solutions – are contained within the DNA of every single one of our cells.

The essence of the Primal Blueprint is this: Most of life is really much simpler than modern medicine and science would like to have you believe. You can have a tremendous impact on how your genes express themselves, simply by providing your cells the right environments. All you need is a basic understanding of how your body works and a simple philosophical roadmap you can use to find answers to just about any questions of health and fitness – whether it involves personal choices or lifestyle adjustments or whether medical intervention might be appropriate. With this simple strategy, you will forever be able to examine or evaluate any food choice, any form of exercise or any other behavior in the context of how it impacts your genes! Even if you decide to opt for a “bad choice”, at least you’ll know why it’s bad…

You may already have a pretty fair understanding of how the human genome evolved to exactly where it is today (or 10,000 years ago, to be more precise) based on the environmental and behavioral factors under which our ancestors lived through natural selection. Tens of thousands of anthropologists, evolutionary biologists, paleontologists, geneticists and others have worked for over 100 years to piece together a fairly detailed picture of all the elements that helped influence our development as a species. Ironically though, when we examine all of the many environmental influences and behaviors that shaped our genome, we arrive at a very simple list of general things our early ancestors did to become what and who they were and which allowed them to pass 99.9% of those genes down to us. In essence, this list is the original “Primal Blueprint” since it provided the only set of behaviors they knew – the exact behaviors that enabled then to shape their bodies into healthy, robust, happy beings.

The Original Primal Blueprint® – The Rules of Living 10,000 Years Ago:

 

1. Eat lots of animals, insects and plants.

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This is the basic description of everything our ancestors ate to get the protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phenols, fiber, water and other nutrients necessary to sustain life. But it was a huge list of individual foods – some anthropologists say it may have been 200 or 300 food choices at a time depending upon the geographic area. The net result was a dietary “breakdown” of fat, protein and carbohydrate that was far different from what Conventional Wisdom considers optimum today. This diet provided all the necessary fuel and building blocks that, along with specific exercise, prompted their genes to create strong muscles, enabled them to expend lots of energy each day moving about, to maintain healthy immune systems, to evolve larger brains and to raise healthy children. They ate sporadically, too. When food was plentiful, they ate more than they needed (and stored the excess as fat). When times were scarce, they survived on fat stores. This random or “non-linear” eating pattern kept their bodies in a constant state of preparedness.

2. Move around a lot at a slow pace.

23793275 0f33045919We know that our ancestors spent an average of several hours each day moving about at what today’s exercise physiologists might describe as a “low level aerobic pace.” They hunted, gathered, foraged, wandered, scouted, migrated, climbed and crawled. This low level of activity prompted their genes to build a stronger capillary (blood vessel) network to fuel each muscle cell, to be able to store some excess food as fat, but also to be readily able to convert the stored fat back into energy. Of course, they did all this without the benefit of paved sidewalks or comfortable shoes. Because every footfall landed at a different angle, every muscle, tendon and ligament worked and became stronger together in balance. Note that they did NOT go out and “jog” at 80% of their MAX Heart Rate for long periods of time as Conventional Wisdom suggests today!

3. Lift heavy things.

92171477 1e7b88bbc2The women carried their babies much of the time (hey, no babysitters in those days), as well as bundles of firewood, or whatever they had gathered, foraged or scavenged. The men carried heavy spears or other tools, they dragged heavy carcasses of animals they had hunted, and they moved large boulders or logs to build shelters. They also lifted themselves into trees or up onto higher ground when escaping from danger or to scout a new route. The biochemical signals created by these very brief but intense muscle contractions generated a slight surge in growth hormone and a reduction in myostatin gene expression, prompting an increase in muscle size and power; particularly fast twitch fibers.

4. Run really fast every once in a while.

156548807 96fddeb86dIn a world where danger lurked around every corner, your ability to run was a strong indicator of whether you would live long enough to pass your genes down to the next generation. (Note to Nietzsche: That which didn’t kill Grok made him stronger). Avoiding a charging beast to save your life, or surging forward to catch a different beast for dinner, the net effect was still survival. A combination of the hormonal events that occurred simultaneously and the resultant gene expression within fast twitch muscle made sure that the next time this happened Grok could sprint a little faster.

5. Get lots of sleep.

314603021 1983498579Our ancestors got plenty of sleep. Even after the discovery of fire, it wasn’t as if they stayed up all night partying. From sunset to sunrise it was safer to huddle together and rest. Long days of hunting and gathering and otherwise working hard for every bite of food also required sufficient time to repair and recover. Studies of modern hunter-gatherers suggest it wasn’t necessarily always an uninterrupted nine or ten hours, either. It’s likely that they slept together as families or as small tribes, keeping a watch out for predators, breast-feeding the baby or just dozing in and out throughout the night. Growth hormone and melatonin were the major hormonal players. Of course, the occasional afternoon nap was also available when the urge hit, with no guilt about what else they really should have been doing.

6. Play.

300894037 4e4c2bae71Just like in modern times, all work and no play made Grok a dull boy. Hunter-gatherers have always generally worked fewer hours and have had more leisure time than the average 40-hour-plus American worker. Once the day’s catch was complete or the roots, shoots, nuts and berries had been gathered, our ancestors spent hours involved in various forms of social interaction that we might categorize today as “play.” Young males would chase each other around and wrestle, vying for a place higher up in the tribe social strata. The males might also practice spear- or rock-throwing for accuracy or chase small animals just for sport. Young females might spend time grooming each other. To the extent that play was considered enjoyable, the net effect was to solidify social bonds and to prompt the release of endorphins (feel-good brain chemicals) and to mitigate any lingering stress effects of life-threatening situations.

7. Get some sunlight every day.

928727884 618cf2cb33Cavemen weren’t really men (or women) who lived their lives in caves all the time. Most of the day, they were in the great outdoors pursuing their various survival tasks. Regular exposure to sun provided lots of vitamin D, an all-important vitamin which they could not easily obtain from food and which their bodies could not manufacture without direct sunlight.

 

8. Avoid trauma.

376261703 144a1d67c2Our ancestors required an acute sense of self-preservation matched with a keen sense of observation. Always scanning, smelling, listening to the surroundings, on the watch for danger, aware of what immediate action needed to be taken, whether it was running from a saber-tooth tiger, dodging a falling rock, eluding a poisonous snake, or just avoiding a careless footfall. Remember that a twisted knee or a broken ankle could spell death to anyone who couldn’t run away from danger. In fact, it was probably trauma (or a brief careless lapse in judgment) that was most responsible for the low average life expectancy of our ancestors, despite their otherwise robust good health. Avoid trauma and there was a very good chance you could live to be 60 or 70 – and be extremely healthy and fit. Modern day hunter gatherers maintain strength and health often well into their 80s.

9. Avoid poisonous things.

2047547974 779e6595abMan’s ability to exploit almost every corner of this earth was partly predicated on his ability to consume vastly different types of plant and animal life. But moving into a new environment and trying new foods posed a danger that the new food might contain potent toxins. Luckily, our liver and kidneys evolved to handle most brushes with novel-but-slightly-poisonous plant matter – at least to keep us alive anyway if the stomach didn’t regurgitate it first. Our keen senses of smell and taste also helped us sort out the good from the bad. The reason we have a sweet tooth today (dammit) is probably an evolved response to an almost universal truth in the plant world that just about anything that tastes sweet is safe to eat.

 

10. Use your mind.

Lascaux2Obviously, one of the most important things that separate man from all other animals is his intellectual ability. The rapid increase in the size of our brains over just a few thousand generations is the combined result of a high-fat, high protein diet (see rule #1) and a continued reliance on complex thought – working the brain out just like a muscle. Hunter gatherers all around the world have developed language, tools and superior hunting methods independently. The fact that some haven’t entered the industrial age doesn’t mean they don’t possess the same ability to process information rapidly and effectively (try living in a jungle where you need to catalog thousands of different plant and animal species, knowing which can kill you and which can sustain you).

That’s it.

That’s the full – albeit general – list of behaviors that shaped our current genome (OK, I left out the sex part because that kind of goes without saying. On the other hand, having sex with your partner IS a natural part of the Primal Blueprint. I’ll cover it in a future post)…

If there’s any doubt on your part about whether or not we should emulate our ancestors’ behavior (but in a context of a modern world) let’s at least agree that we are looking to achieve some very similar benefits. Certainly, we all want to be:

Healthy

Ideally, we’d never want to be sick. We’d want to be in the best possible health all of the time.

Energetic

We’d want to have lots of energy to do all the fun things life has to offer and not feel like we are dragging at any point during the day.

Happy

No one wants to be depressed or miserable. It’s no way to go through life. We want a reason to get out of bed every day and take on all the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Lean

We’d want to be in a metabolically balanced state where we burn off our excess or stored fat, where we find a point at which we have enough fat to be healthy, but we rarely (or never) store any more additional fat.

Strong

Let’s face it: we’d want muscles that not only look great in a bathing suit, but that serve us well in allowing us to move, to play, and to stay balanced throughout that movement. That means well-balanced strength with proportional muscles.

Bright

We’d want full access to our mental faculties, to be bright and alert, creative, focused when appropriate, able to recall all the great memories, etc.

Productive

We’d certainly want to feel as if we are contributing to ourselves, our family and society.

We know from evolutionary biology that our ancestors exemplified all the above healthy traits (as I will detail later). Those may or may not have been their stated goals, but those attributes certainly allowed them to survive the rigors of a hostile environment and be in a position to pass their traits along to the next generation, and finally, to us.

Now, understanding that everything we do, eat, think and breathe can affect our 10,000-year-old genes, how does that Original Primal Blueprint compare to what we might have to do today to achieve robust good health, a well-sculpted body, a strong immune system, boundless energy and an increase in productivity – all the goals we are after? Ironically, it’s almost the exact same thing.

The Modern Primal Blueprint® – The Rules of Living Today:

 

1. Eat lots of animals, insects and plants.

56551859 eb062d5540Focus on quality sources of protein (all forms of meat, fowl, fish), lots of colorful vegetables, some select fruits (mostly berries), and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil). Observe portion control (calorie distribution) week to week more than meal to meal. Eliminate grains, sugars, trans- and hydrogenated fats from your diet.

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to the Primal Blueprint Eating Plan

A Primal Blueprint Sample Menu

Why Grains are Unhealthy

The Primal Blueprint Diagrams

Action Item #3: Make the Healthiest Choices Across the Spectrum

2. Move around a lot at a slow pace.

1432861455 ec53c9a238Do some form of low level aerobic activity 2-5 hours a week, whether it is walking, hiking, easy bike riding or swimming. Ideally, and when possible, find time to go barefoot or wear as little foot support as possible. Low-level activity is necessary (especially if you find yourself chained to a desk every day). The combined effect will be an increase in capillary perfusion, fat-burning and overall integration of muscle strength and flexibility.

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to Low Level Aerobic Activity

The Definitive Guide to Walking

Why We Don’t Walk Anymore

3. Lift heavy things.

361679973 ac188b305dGo to the gym and lift weights for 30-45 minutes, 2-3 times a week. Focus on movements that involve the entire body and in wider ranges of motion – not just on isolating body parts. Emulate the movements of our ancestors: jumping, squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, twisting, etc. This will stimulate your genes to increase muscle strength and power, increase bone density, improve insulin sensitivity, stimulate growth hormone secretion, and consume stored body fat.

Further Reading:

Primal Blueprint Fitness

Action Item #4: Exercise Primally – Move, Lift, and Sprint!

How to Gain Weight and Build Muscle

4. Run really fast every once in a while.

142009175 281d0a1d96Do some form of intense anaerobic sprint bursts several times a week. This could be as simple as six or eight (or more) short sprints up a hill, on the grass, at the beach… or repeated intense sessions on a bicycle (stationary, road or mountain bike). These short bursts also increase HGH release (HGH is actually released in proportion to the intensity (not the duration) of the exercise).

Further Reading:

Why We Don’t Sprint Anymore

Sprint for Your Life: A Primal Workout

Mark’s Beach Sprints

5. Get lots of sleep.

294676273 d691903476Get plenty of quality sleep. Our lives are so hectic and full of things to do after the sun goes down that it’s often difficult to get enough sleep. Yet sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health, vibrant energy and a strong immune system.

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to Sleep

17 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

How Light Affects Our Sleep

Is “8 Uninterrupted Hours a Night” Flawed Conventional Wisdom?

7 Ways You May Be Inadvertently Sabotaging a Good Night’s Sleep

6. Play.

2206282062 8bdceb5fbdSpend some time each week involved in active play. In addition to allowing you to apply your fitness to a real-life situation, play helps dissipate some of the negative effects of the chronic stress hormones you’ve been accumulating through the week.

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to Play

The Lost Art of Play: Reclaiming a Primal Tradition

Primal Play: Dance

7. Get some sunlight every day.

1550512599 7de9cea9e3Contrary to the“Common Wisdom” dispensed by dermatologists (who suggest you shun the sun), the Primal Blueprint would insist that you get some direct sunlight every day. Certainly not so much that you come close to burning, but definitely enough to prompt your body to make the all-important vitamin D and to support the mood-lifting benefits. A slight tan is a good indicator that you have maintained adequate Vitamin D levels. Natural sunlight also has a powerful mood-elevating effect, which can enhance productivity at work and in inter-personal interactions.

Further Reading:

Vitamin D: Sun Exposure, Supplementation and Doses

8 Natural Ways to Prevent a Sunburn

7 Home Remedies to Relieve a Suburn

8. Avoid trauma.

484383618 70c80e2b51Eliminate self-destructive behaviors. These concepts are self evident to most people (wear seat belts, don’t smoke or do drugs, don’t dive into shallow water) yet so many of us live our lives oblivious to impending danger. Develop a keen sense of awareness of your surroundings.

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to Stress, Cortisol and the Adrenals

Bodyweight Exercises and Injury Prevention

Exercising Through Injury

9. Avoid poisonous things.

1302876317 8deda727beAvoid exposure to chemical toxins in your food (pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, etc) and on your skin. But also try to avoid the hidden poisons in foods like sugars, grains, processed foods, trans and hydrogenated fats, and mercury in certain fish.

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to Sugar

The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve

Action Item #1: Eliminate SAD Foods

10. Use your mind.

533118282 dcd53c68cbExercise your brain daily as our ancestors did. Be inventive, creative, and aware. If your work is not stimulating (or even if it is), find time to read, write, play an instrument and interact socially.

Further Reading:

Music Therapy: Striking a Primal Chord

Handicraft: The Ancient Tradition of Creating Things with Your Hands

Writing Therapy, or What You Get for the Cost of a Number Two Pencil and a Sheet of Paper

As with the Original Primal Blueprint, this list is very general, designed simply to allow you to understand that everything our ancestors did can benefit us as well. Except that we can do it having fun, enjoying every aspect of the lifestyle and without worrying about our survival! In future blog posts (and to a much greater extent in my book) I will be going into much more detail as to how and why these behaviors work and exactly what foods to eat, what exercises to do and how to otherwise find ways to allow your genes to recreate you in the healthiest, fittest way possible.

chotda, tricky TM, Mark Sadowski, driki, TerenceKearns.com, Paul Watson, *Giorgio*, dennis collette, sirwiseowl, jahdakine, ecreyes, Ned Trifle, amy’s pocket-camera, Arno & Louise, Christing-O-, Gio JL, est miltis no ausim, una cierta mierda, glazaro Flickr Photos (CC)

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

Order Your Copy of The Primal Blueprint Today!

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 also have a suspicion that fat free diet causes panic attacks…I know a few very strict vegetarians and they are all on medication…just another crazy observation. I wonder if any studies have been done.

    Hawk wrote on March 21st, 2011
  2. I am a massage therapist and people constantly ask me why they get so much pain in their backs and neck. 9/10ths of them work at a desk. They have horrible posture and dont move after they get home. I always refer them to our ancestors (even before reading this!)because they moved, played, ran, got sunlight, avoided crap foods in their diets. I am so glad my cousin referenced me to this site!! Now I can refer my clients to someone else who has done the research and its not just nagging coming out of my mouth!

    Erica Frost wrote on March 30th, 2011
  3. Hi Mark. Just wrote a blog post about your book. Let me know what you think: http://movingforwellness.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/defining-real-food/

    Bobby Fernandez wrote on April 7th, 2011
  4. Great post. To comment, it was not just the male of our species that”…carried heavy spears or other tools, they dragged heavy carcasses of animals they had hunted, and they moved large boulders or logs to build shelters. They also lifted themselves into trees or up onto higher ground when escaping from danger or to scout a new route…” FEMALES did too!!!

    Alan wrote on April 10th, 2011
  5. It’s so simple it brings a tear to my eye. Thank you for all your work – this site is overflowing with beneficial information.

    vern wrote on April 30th, 2011
  6. This is the best page on your site. Simple, scientific, convincing and applicable to modern times.

    Vestigal wrote on May 29th, 2011
  7. I have very high arches and always believed that its best to be barefoot. but, it hurts to wear shoes that have no support so i bought 300 dollar arch supports. the lady said i need to wear them all the time and didn’t believe me when i mentioned my barefoot idea. what do you think? and what should i do?

    natasha wrote on June 13th, 2011
  8. i just laughed at this one
    #”The rapid increase in the size of our brains over just a few thousand generations is the combined result of a high-fat, high protein diet”
    – when does the lions and tigers (and so on) begin to get bigger brains ?

    hey man i just started the primal approuch today. and im just kidding – you know rule #6 – play and have fun ;)

    Sebastian wrote on June 22nd, 2011
  9. “Avoid poisonous things” this is the ultimate “evil”:)for me. I really love your post here. It really makes sense. Lucky for the people in the old days, they don’t junk foods like we have today.

    Mila posture correction wrote on June 24th, 2011
  10. Mark
    Im new to this – just decided with no website to reduce carbs and see what happened.
    What happened was I felt amazing, lost 5kg (in three weeks) and found your website whilst working out carbs in my daily apple (no seriously I was eating an apple a day, and thought it might be too much carbs so I googled how many carbs in an apple a day) HOW FUNNY!

    Today I cheated. I ate a piece of chocolate cake. Im in agony. I want it OUT OF ME. Its been a few hours and its killing me.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE my new life and am so excited to see what happens next week and next month and next year. Ive barely scratched the surface and Im loving it!

    Jane :-)

    Jane wrote on June 27th, 2011
  11. I just love the comparison you made here between now and then, it makes really sense.

    Carl wrote on June 30th, 2011
  12. I love this post…when you put it like that, it all seems so simple. We always try to over complicate things.

    Tim P wrote on August 21st, 2011
  13. i have a wedding in 12 months, i’m hoping to be healthyer and look better when that day comes around…

    nikki martin wrote on August 24th, 2011
  14. Too many needless conjectures to Evolution.

    Chris wrote on August 26th, 2011
  15. That’s a great way to stay healthy. I would just change one think about it. Instead of eating lot’s of animals, I would suggest to eat animals occasionally.

    Otherwise fantastic advice to live healthy, fit, high performing life.

    Milan wrote on September 28th, 2011
  16. I do have saved this post, “Definitive Guide: The Primal Blueprint | Mark's Daily Apple” ! Thanks !.

    serie tv wrote on September 29th, 2011
  17. I like a lot of the concepts in your primal blueprint. I homeschool my children and we pursue many of these ideas naturally, where the children can sleep if tired, spend more time outdoors, etc…. We’ve changed our diets recently, as well, and the chance in our children has been enormous, in the best possible way.

    But I’d have to say one thing: for a truly primal diet, I can’t imagine grains being completely eliminated. The calories would have made it worth the effort, when plentiful. All year round, as a staple of everyday eating, I’d agree that they seem to be a problem, though

    I’m getting to experience this first hand, at the moment. After years of illness, we finally discovered I react with neurological issues to gluten, and at such low levels that it’s nearly impossible to avoid without a huge effort. A gluten derived ingredient in an organic fertilizer spray can be enough to make me ill from the vegetable. Sprays, gases, and chemicals used on nuts, veggies and fruits, to clean meat carcases (both organic and conventional) – I get sick from almost all of it, it seems.

    I now have one safe farmer and one rancher I buy food from, and I’m completely healthy on that, but I’ve had to start learning how to forage in my area, to try and find sources of food that are completely safe, as a back-up/supplementary food source.

    I can honestly say, I really, REALLY understand how important calories are now. If there is something that’s edible, I’m going to eat it. My closest to a wild grain is actually a seed: in season, wild amaranth where I live can be gathered in the hand, rubbed a little, and the chaff blown off to leave one with a handful of high calories seeds.

    Walking or hiking in my area, during the season it’s ripe, I will constantly graze on this as I walk, gathering handfuls of these seeds every time we pause, or as we go through. Easier than bringing food with me, and it’s higher in calories than many of the foods I can get, even if small.

    I don’t know that true grains would be that easily collected – I suspect not. But depending on the ease of collection and obtaining the grain in an edible form, compared to how much effort I have to do for my other food, and the calories I get for that effort, gathering a little grain can still be a net gain.

    I know this is merely a philosophical point for most, and most are not in my situation. But I thought I’d share my point of view, from the oddly yuppie-esque primal trenches, as it were. :-)

    shaun wrote on October 5th, 2011
  18. I agree with you because these are the steps or rules to achieve better health in modern times. Unfortunately, there are some people can not follow the steps or rules for several reasons including not having time to exercise or can not avoid stress at work. In my opinion, it all depends on the person who wants to have the desire to do it.

    Graham wrote on October 18th, 2011
  19. Susie wrote on October 24th, 2011
  20. Great article, there was a lot of interesting information. I had to have my husband type this due to the fact that I am too weak to throw spears, rocks, and type. My arms are useless for anything but grooming.

    Cesiah wrote on October 26th, 2011
    • Now THAT is funny.

      whitedaisygirl wrote on March 28th, 2014
  21. I keep wondering why the article advises gym time–surely this could be updated to reflect the gym-free exercise plan in the PB guide?

    mixie wrote on October 27th, 2011
  22. Excellent post Mark!
    Def more than just a daily apple…

    Jacob from London

    Personal Training Hampstead wrote on November 20th, 2011
  23. Hello I am 32 years old and was recently diagnosed with DJD Degenerative Joint Disease, the extreme pain in my joints has literally crippled me, making the simply activities such as walking and climbing stairs nearly impossible or very difficult without crutches or a cane. I have been very active working out 4-5 days a week before I was diagnosed and my symptoms began to hinder my ability to do certain excursuses. I am very concerned out my weight and health. I would like to continue my work out schedule at least 3-4 days a week. I need advise on what exercises are best for my condition. I am also careful on what I eat my meals normally consist of baked meats, fish, turkey, and chicken I desire to keep myself in shape despite my disease I need help can anyone offer any useful advice to me.
    Thanks in advance ;)

    Tiffany wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • If possible work out in a pool. I know many professional athletes do this when rehabilitating knee injuries. Water creates a great resistance while at the same time giving the body buoyancy to help eliminate joint stress.

      Josh wrote on June 18th, 2012
  24. A good back to basics guideline post there.

    Though note the average life expectancy in prehistoric times was 25-40yrs.

    While going back to basics has some advantages, don’t take for granted some of the advantages we have in the modern world.

    Grok wrote on January 4th, 2012
  25. I’m vegetarian (religious reasons). Anyway I can still follow this way of eating?

    Sagar Chokshi wrote on January 6th, 2012
  26. Dear Mr Mark,
    All the posted points {10 of all}someof them are missing from everybodys life now a days.Very interesting.Ido like to get some advice personaly if available.

    Thank You Verymuch

    Rajesh.

    Rajesh wrote on January 12th, 2012
  27. What a great article…especially as it became clear to me why I feel so good about myself after a round of golf:

    -low intensity walk for 3-4 hours
    -sunlight
    -play
    -exercise brain (calculate yardages – scores – choose right club etc.)

    Will definitely go for the rest in this article right away

    Jens Peter wrote on January 22nd, 2012
  28. Definitive Guide: The Primal Blueprint | Mark's Daily Apple I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re wonderful! Thanks! your article about Definitive Guide: The Primal Blueprint | Mark's Daily AppleBest Regards Rolf

    invest liberty reserve wrote on February 13th, 2012
  29. Love this. Minimalistic.
    Simple.
    I feel myself getting healthier as I read it.

    Can’t wait to explore the site more.
    I am primal Day 1. Looking forward to the journey.

    ElyseRenae wrote on February 13th, 2012
  30. Why eliminate grains? Might you elaborate? Thanks

    GMU wrote on February 17th, 2012
  31. Great way of looking at life. You guys got an instant follower here!!!

    Cheers!!!

    Manish wrote on February 27th, 2012
  32. What I don’t see here is any discussion of the purpose hunger, and how the feeling we call ‘hungry’ helped us survive as a successfully evolving species. I’m not a biologist, but I strongly suspect that most of our ancestors usually did not have a convenient supply of food at close hand and that the chemical signals that bring the ‘hungry’ feeling evolved as a way to signal us that we must go out and procure something to eat. In the good old days (when we needed to go find food to gather or kill), such chemical signals, to be successful, should have occurred several hours before we would be too weak to obtain the food that needed to be found and killed/gathered. What I’m getting at is that modern men and women in priviledged countries feel as though they must eat as soon as they start getting ‘hungry’, and that is where I personally think the problem of overeating (good or bad food) begins. No one likes being hungry, but I believe that the onset of hunger is something that’s hard to ignore and usually ends up with a person consistently overeating in the long run (as in snacks or drinks before dinner). Hunger over a short period of time is something that is good to be able to tolerate, I think, as long as you already know where your next meal is coming from!

    Analytical wrote on April 11th, 2012
    • This is something I practice often. I can’t remember where I found the study but a group of biologists were testing mice to see which ones had more drive and focus. Those that had steady food or those that had to work for theirs and often spent short amounts of time in “hunger” mode. The study showed that the “hungry” mice not only showed better decision making skills and a greater degree of focus but they also lived slightly longer lives. It had something to do with certain chemicals that are released when the body gets “hungry.”

      Personally I try to practice this a bit everyday. I rarely eat at the same time each day. I wait until I am hungry and then try to push past that feeling for 20 or 30 minutes before eating. I often find myself getting small projects at worked knocked out very fast because of the added focus I get when i am slightly “hungry.” The cool part is once I do eat I get what I call the “meat sweats.” It’s like your metabolism is super charged and you literally feel like your body is digesting what you just ate as quickly as it can.

      Its a simple concept without much scientific background but eating irregularly seems to have its benefits for me anyways

      Josh wrote on June 18th, 2012
  33. This shows how active our ancestors was and how they lived a healthy lifestyle the natural way.

    The personal trainer wrote on April 13th, 2012
  34. Clear, concise and motivating. Thank you, Mark!

    Maria wrote on April 13th, 2012
  35. What a GREAT article! I’m a little depressed, though, because I have trouble with ALL of them!!!

    Christine Mattice wrote on April 15th, 2012
  36. i’ve been doing this for years, mainly on my camping trips.

    Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/#ixzz1t1OBgF8o

    newerade blog wrote on April 24th, 2012
  37. And there you have it.

    Dmkr wrote on April 26th, 2012
  38. Ok, so I read this thoroughly and agree with it, BUT I’m going to be 70 soon. Any advice to an overweight, in decent shape female? I need all the help I can get.

    Thanks.

    Rosemary wrote on May 3rd, 2012
  39. Seriously, has anyone ever asked how much money this peroxided pornstar is making by exploiting people’s limited knowledge of health science?
    Three key signs of a fad diet are prohibiting food groups completely (no scientifically based healthy eating plan bans any food group completely), selling products to ‘assist’ with the process and offering a simple quick fix to all related and non related health problems.

    Kendal wrote on May 30th, 2012
    • thumbs up

      fori wrote on January 22nd, 2014
  40. Mark– You succinctly encapsulate ideas I’ve been toying around with for years, but unfortunately not in an integrated fashion. I do think there was likely more variability in the paleo diet than you state, though, and that depending upon locale, some of our cave ancestors ate a fairly high carbohydrate diet from, say, fruit in the tropics, or roots like cassava. Likewise, there was probably a great deal of variability with regard to sun exposure, once again depending upon locale. Fur-clad northeners probably got very little sun, ergo the development of fair skin.

    Nick wrote on June 8th, 2012

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