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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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December 21, 2010

The Primal Blueprint Cookbook Receives Illustrious Award

By Mark Sisson
214 Comments

I am pleased to report that the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has just listed my very own “The Primal Blueprint Cookbook” as one of the five worst (most unhealthy) cookbooks of 2010, along with cookbooks by Gordon Ramsay, Barefoot Contessa, Trisha Yearwood and the creators of Top Chef. Why am I glad to be the author of one of the worst cookbooks of the year, you might be wondering? Look who’s giving out the award. None other than the PCRM, home of such vaunted nutritional giants as Fuhrman, McDougall, Esselstyn, Barnard, and T. Colin Campbell and a celebrated bastion of vegan propagandists. This is Bizarro food world, guys, where “unhealthy” means “healthy” and “desiccated wheat grass smegma” means “grass-fed butter.” The PCRM official “New Four Food Groups,” for example, consist of whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. (Sugar’s still sugar, though.) Even the American Council on Science and Health nailed these guys for “emphasizing only data that support their [vegan] agenda” and “exaggerating the reliability and importance of such data.” They’re described as a “subtle” PETA who mistakes statistical significance for biological significance. With detractors like these, who needs supporters? If these guys are against your dietary recommendations, you’re probably doing something right, so I’m going to take this one as a win.

You know, I never expected to garner such acclaim, so I was completely taken aback by the deluge of press releases and coverage announcing my award that popped up on my feed. Those scoundrels didn’t even warn me I was about to win such an esteemed award. They just dropped it on me. Heck, they’re lucky I didn’t drop dead from a heart attack from the shock given all that atherosclerotic plaque that’s no doubt welling up inside!

Jokes aside, this tells me that we still have a lot of work to do. This exposure’s great, but where’s the Physicians Committee for Ancestral Medicine (hey, coming soon, maybe, actually) making press releases about the five most dangerous low-fat cookbooks? Why isn’t Bill Clinton toting a dog-eared copy of “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” onto talk shows, instead of following the advice of Dean Ornish? Where’s my spot on Oprah? Why doesn’t Robb Wolf have a show opposite Dr. Oz? People need to know this stuff. They need to know that butter maybe isn’t so decadent, or that maybe decadent isn’t even really a bad word. (As Susan Levin (nutrition education direction for PCRM and the woman responsible for the “New Four Food Groups”), admits, one of the reasons so many cookbooks have gone to this “unhealthy” extreme is that a lot of these recipes taste great. Point being, if it tastes great, it can’t possibly be good for you. Now go eat your porridge…)

This also tells me that we’re getting work done without the support of the experts. Heck, we’re getting things done despite rancor from some of the experts. Yeah, we may not be carried by Whole Foods in the check out section and vegetarian is still synonymous with healthy for most people, but things are changing. I can tell because I have to hit the farmers’ market an hour earlier than I used to if I want to stock up on pastured beef liver and soup bones, and because the success stories keep coming in week after week. I can tell because with nothing but the support of the Primal community and virtually no other publicity we’re atop the Amazon Low-Carb top seller list and listed with giants like Ramsay in this recent award. I can tell because blog traffic grows each month and because major media outlets are finally reporting on things we’ve been saying for years. Bottom line: if Primal/paleo is on their expansive radar, I take it as a good sign.

As they say, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” For every borderline vegetarian who reads the press release and mentally crosses me off their to-read list, several others will see me aligned with the likes of the Barefoot Contessa (who, you know, makes the most delectable delicious foods and I do like watching that show of hers) and Gordon Ramsay (who’s got the tough exterior going but it’s just a cover for his gooey baked brie center), and before you know it they’re checking out the PB cookbook, buying it, making some recipes, losing some weight, and getting interested in the rest of this stuff. They end up with all the back episodes of Robb’s podcast on their iPod, a Google reader feed full of Primal blogs, a triple-digit reputation on Paleohacks, and the tendency to annoy their friends with anti-grain talk. Even if just one ailing citizen gets exposed to the Primal Blueprint thanks to the PRCM singling out the PB cookbook, I’m happy, because that’s another person with a better chance to take control of their health and turn their life around.

There are numerous fun quotes from the press coverage. I’ll leave you with one of my favorites from NY Daily News: “Finally there’s a cookbook that, according to the doctors, ‘sets back evidence-based nutrition nearly 2 million years.’ It’s called ‘The Primal Blueprint’ cookbook and includes ‘an entire section of cholesterol-laden recipes for offal – entrails and internal organs.'” Indeed.

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214 Comments on "The Primal Blueprint Cookbook Receives Illustrious Award"

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oscar
oscar
5 years 9 months ago

a badge of honor!
congratulations 🙂

Chuck P
5 years 9 months ago

HILARIOUS!!! Because so many of your readers have had such terrible results with recipes like those in the cookbook.

William
William
5 years 9 months ago

Yeah, I gained 47 pounds and have no energy at all!! *sarcasm* I’ve been eating primal for a few days, I haven’t noticed any lost weight (I don’t have a scale) but I feel great. Quite energetic.

Charles
Charles
5 years 4 months ago

What?!!

Adam W
Adam W
5 years 9 months ago

Seriously?! They say the cookbook sets back “evidence-based” nutrition 2 million years? It shocks me that these people are allowed to call themselves physicians.

Tim
5 years 9 months ago

They aren’t – the CCF states that only 10% of their membership are physicicians. They are also closely linked with PETA and appear to have a similar agenda, though they do approach it from the angle of “discrediting” animal foods.

shrimp4me
shrimp4me
2 years 11 months ago

MacDougall and Barnard are vegan fanatics; Fuhrman does grudgingly allow a maybe 2 oz portion of fish or meat occasionally. When I read Barnard’s book, he admitted to having smoked even AFTER he finished medical school. Pardon me, but I am highly disinclined to take health advice from anyone over the age of 75-80 who has ever smoked (respiratory therapist here).
Mary

AllieNic
5 years 9 months ago

Wow…2 billion years…that’s a long time. What evidence-based nutrition are they talking about? The “evidence” that eating saturated fat gives you heart disease? Or the “evidence” that eating refined carbohydrates doesn’t cause diabetes?

It’s such a great cookbook!

Paleohund
5 years 9 months ago

Congrats Mark!

Carl
Carl
5 years 9 months ago

Hahaha this!

Congratulations!

Carly
Carly
5 years 9 months ago

Congrats Mark, I also love Ina Garten (one of my favourite cooks on food network) and Gordon Ramsey 😀 You have earned a very special spot indeed!

Chris
Chris
5 years 9 months ago

Congrats Mark, looking forward to buying one of the worst cookbooks out there.

Kelda
5 years 9 months ago

You just couldn’t make it up could you!

John
John
5 years 9 months ago

Any comments on these lines?

“In 2010, studies linked meat-heavy diets to increased diabetes risk, weight gain, decreased bone health, and increased bladder cancer risk, among other health problems.”

“But a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that a low-carbohydrate diet based on animal food sources increases mortality risk from all causes, including cancer and heart disease.”

Melissa Fritcher
5 years 9 months ago

As I have reversed my Type 2 diabetes, dropped 90+ pounds while increasing LBM, lowered my cholesterol and heart disease markers, decreased diabetes-related kidney disease markers, among a thousand other benefits, I can definitively say, at least for me, this is bunk. Pastured-animal sources shouldn’t be lumped in with conventional meat. Not even close. PB is the penultimate in healthy tomes & lifestyles. 🙂

John
John
5 years 9 months ago

I eat primally myself. I was wondering if anyone knew which studies where being referenced and how they were carried out or what the flaws might be.

PS Penultimate means next to last, not very best.

Griff
Griff
5 years 9 months ago

Likewise, I’ve dropped over 100 pounds, gone from a 68+ waist to a 48-inch (and shrinking) waist, brought my diabetes under control solely through diet, minimized and/or eliminated my arthritis and migraines and IBS, and my cholesterol levels shock my doctors with how good they are.

Blakery
Blakery
5 years 9 months ago
Couple of things. 1st off, those are epidemiological studies, and it is effectively impossible to study diet using epidemiology (so says my very mainstream epidemiology prof). Even if you think it is possible, I would still be skeptical until I read through the actual study. There’s a lot of ways these things can go wrong, and its generally impossible to know from a news story. Also, who are the researchers? Generally, people end up confirming their biases, whether in design or interpretation. I still have yet to find any example of a good study that shows any problem with eating… Read more »
Matt
Matt
5 years 9 months ago

To me, this is the really important point. Almost everybody who tries a diet like Mark’s feels and looks better (usually A LOT better) and also improves their scores on medical tests. So, what more is there to say? How can these very complicated and questionable nutritional studies out-weight the undeniable, plain-as-day, irrefutable experiences of thousands of people?

Blakery
Blakery
5 years 9 months ago

Now that I’m thinking about it, I might remember one or more of those studies. There was a meta analysis recently that went over a number of studies that claimed that meat was unhealthy. They found that if you stratified for processed meat, the correlation went away for the unprocessed meat, but intensified for the processed. Just one example of how this stuff often works out. And I don’t think anyone is advocating Oscar Meyer lunch meats (especially since they typically contain HFCS and dextrose).

Andrea
5 years 9 months ago
I used to be vegetarian, and vegan for a year or so. I’m a sugar addict with a strong family history of diabetes and heart disease. I struggled with all of the no-fat, tons of starch plans like Ornish and MacDougall. I only gained weight and suffered through chronic cardio with little to no results. Less than four months of PB and I’m leaner than I’ve been in years. I’ve been lifting weights and CrossFitting, and I’m determined to not be diabetic. So far I’ve been a lot happier, calmer, and have lost almost two dress sizes.
Alison Golden
5 years 9 months ago

Now there’s an idea – get Oprah onto Primal. She can lose weight and make up with all the Texas cattlemen she upset a few years ago.

Ahmed
5 years 9 months ago

Hahah pretty embarrassing for them to do that when you have so much recognition.

Here ya go Mark, you’re almost there:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” Mahatma Gandhi

Mainer_Daisy
Mainer_Daisy
5 years 9 months ago

Great Quote! Very fitting, thanks 🙂

Chris
Chris
4 years 10 months ago

Except that Gandhi was a vegan (and advocated as such) for most of his life…

Wulf
Wulf
4 years 9 months ago

Way to completely miss the point of citing that quote from Gandhi.
Of course Gandhi was a vegan–you know, since ghee and goat-milk (both of which he consumed) come from plants…

Bennett
Bennett
5 years 9 months ago

Congratulations! When a vegan says you’re eating wrong, go back for another plateful.

I also find it useful to read Yahoo’s “Eat This, Not That” column–since usually ‘This’ is being bashed for a load of saturated fat, and the replacement is some sort of sugary ‘low cal/low fat’ mess.

You can glean a surprising amount of good data from the negative space around the positive recommendations of someone who is dead wrong.

Jeff
Jeff
5 years 9 months ago

Awesome. Congrats, Mark. You are now officially perceived as a threat and not just a faddish nut out on the fringe. Now they’ve actually got to deal with us and the battle can be joined. Thank you again for all the work you have done to help get the Primal movement out into the mainstream. You’re helping thousands of people every day! Going Primal was the best gift I ever gave myself.

Michael
5 years 9 months ago

Mark,

Maybe you can leverage this to get some big time exposure?

Griff
Griff
5 years 9 months ago

*laughs* I love your snark, Mark. And I’m just hearing the section of “Fat Head” that deals with “The Guy from CSPI!” – which is probably the sister corporation of PCRM.

Awesome job. I’m really amused at this, and pleased, because – as you say – there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Well done!

Jason Sandeman
5 years 9 months ago

I do believe congrats are in order. I can’t wait for the next edition of artery-clogging madness! Sign me up for 3 please!

will
will
5 years 9 months ago

sean croxtons attempt at getting that oprah show deal was probably the closest weve gotten to the mainstream…. so close…

John
John
5 years 9 months ago
Just before I read this, I was going through my closet discarding 5 pairs of pants that are now too large for me. This is the second time I have done this in the last year. Just a week ago I had my yearly blood tests and they were the best ever. I have not consumed a whole grain or oat bran in a year and have been eating steak and butter on a regular basis. My doctor noticed I had lost weight – a lot of weight. He said “whatever you are doing, keep doing”. Seems like common sense… Read more »
Furan
Furan
5 years 9 months ago

Are they all not bread addicts, all those neat physicians ? “oh yeah, you should have some bread every day as it contributes to the amount of protein that you get”… oh please, come on xD they can’t be serious.

I just hate NYTimes.

BTW, I know that’s not a very helpful comment. Just random thoughts.

Steve
Steve
5 years 9 months ago

Congrats Mark! You know how to keep good people.

I’ve been following the PB since November 1st. Already my wedding is so big on my finger that if I hold my hand straight down it will fall off!

Cheryl White
5 years 9 months ago

Heh, I have the same issue with my favorite thumb ring. I keep flinging it off! I guess it’s time to get a new one before I lose this one!

moksha
moksha
5 years 9 months ago

HURRAY! Kudos and double kudos for you Mark – to be spurned by the likes of Colin Campbell is **** truly *** and honor– (one Denise Minger received earlier this year…)

keep up the good fight… 🙂

moksha
moksha
5 years 9 months ago

… and doesn’t PCRM stand for “politically correct rancid matter”? or perhaps “positively cocky rabid mongrels”?

somethin’ like that–

any other ideas on what PCRM stands for?

Heatherly
Heatherly
5 years 9 months ago

Congrats Mark!!

M.J.
M.J.
5 years 9 months ago

Saw your cookbook ranked in PCRM’s press release and smelled a rat. I’ve been toying with the idea of going paleo lately and think I’m finally going to pick up a copy of your cookbook today. Also didn’t realize you’re an Eph, which makes me like you even better. Keep on fighting the good fight.

Harry
Harry
5 years 9 months ago

Wow! Congratulations! Two million? I would have said a measly one million. This is great!

rob
rob
5 years 9 months ago

Congrats, you know you are shaking up the status quo when they target you like that.

Rob
Rob
5 years 9 months ago

I just bought two PB cookbooks for Christmas gifts. Before wrapping them of course I looked them. By far the best cookbooks I’ve bought. Simple, delicious looking meals with a ton of photos. The photos sell the book. Now I have to go out and by another for me.

Jason Young
Jason Young
5 years 9 months ago

Congrats Mark , you are on their radar now and it worries them .
all these success stories are surely made up ………..bahahaha !!!
lets see I ate like they suggest , and gained weight
I go primal and lose 100lbs in 10 months.
no brainer there
keep doing what you are doing

Alex
Alex
5 years 9 months ago

In reading the actual PCRM top 5 list they say:

“But a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that a low-carbohydrate diet based on animal food sources increases mortality risk from all causes, including cancer and heart disease.”

What (misleading) study are they referring to here?

Alhaddadin
Alhaddadin
5 years 9 months ago

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. Not that I would trust NIH, but it’d be interesting to know how they’re twisting it 🙂

Emily
Emily
5 years 9 months ago
Jason
Jason
5 years 9 months ago

Without knowing the whole study, I wonder if they are refering to diets that cut out carbs from all sources, including fruits and vegetables.

Not trying to defend the conclusion, but there is a wrong way to do a low carb diet.

Bobbi
Bobbi
5 years 9 months ago

Congrats Mark!!!

I love your cook book! Thanks to it I have lost 20lbs and finally learned how to cook a steak.

moksha
moksha
5 years 9 months ago

sorry – had to report this slightly off-topic anomaly – but it was *such* a good chuckle when i found it surfing–

do you all know about this new group “PETA” ? (no, not the oft–insane animal rights activists and vegans…)

http://www.last.fm/group/PETA+-+People+for+the+Eating+of+Tasty+Animals

🙂

Alex Shalman
5 years 9 months ago

Mark,

Congratulations. You know when the haters are coming out that you’re doing something right.

Also, congrats on a lot of recipes included in Tim Ferriss’ slow-carb cookbook. A step towards the right direction.

Rich Double Yah
Rich Double Yah
5 years 9 months ago

What a compliment. Congrats Mark!

Tamin
Tamin
5 years 9 months ago

CONGRATS!! You’re right up there with some of the best chefs I’ve seen on t.v and you only have a website and word of mouth!! So glad to be onboard with P.B. Well done Mark and Co.

Bob Crason
Bob Crason
5 years 9 months ago

You really, really need to issue a serious-toned press release.

You need to jump on this publicity, and that would be a good way. Someone might learn about the Primal way if you do it up right!

Alhaddadin
Alhaddadin
5 years 9 months ago

Bob, that is an incredible idea, and I’d second it heartily. There’s a lot of chatter out there, but the meaningful stuff has this wonderful tendency to go viral.

Alhaddadin
Alhaddadin
5 years 9 months ago
I just got an awesome idea: televised nutritional debates. Get Mark to go head-to-head with Susan Levin, and Robb Wolf going toe-to-toe with Dr. Oz! It’d be like the presidential debates, but with WAY more consequence for health of the American people! Okay… so depending on how cynical you want to be, you could debate that last point. But still, given the amount of confusion out there about how to eat (the NY Daily News article is a perfect indicator of this), a real, honest exchange of information (facts on our side… viewpoints on theirs) in a neutral setting where… Read more »
Saoirse
Saoirse
5 years 9 months ago

Oh I love your tv idea!

as far as the debates go, those would be mostly based on medical studies. Primal/paleo would probably lose based on the loads of poorly constructed medical studies out there supporting CW.

Patty
5 years 9 months ago

Oprah may not be offering you a chair, but while wrapping presents this morning, I was watching part of “the Doctors” and they seem to be moving in the right direction. One of them said soda was basically “liquid cigarettes” and at least two of them were agreeing that carbs are the problem, not fat. This might be the perfect time to get on a show like that. Should we start a campaign? 🙂

Alex
Alex
5 years 9 months ago

This is so awesome. Since it’s such a terrible book Mark, maybe you could start just giving it away 😉

Paul C
5 years 9 months ago

T. Colin Campbell and many low-carbers and primal eaters sparred in an infamous Amazon weight loss community thread here:

http://www.amazon.com/tag/weight%20loss/forum/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg64?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxUY10W22E27M9&cdPage=64&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxD811DYWQ7U21

The discussion with T. Colin Campbell begins on page 45, and on page 64, Dr. Campbell makes some statements about his family that I found remarkable. He has an epic hatred of meat, believing it killed his father. He attacks others for arguing with emotion not fact, but clearly he is out for revenge on meat.

Alhaddadin
Alhaddadin
5 years 9 months ago

Whoa… that’s messed up. Seriously, can’t we just talk about this rationally and with some emotional detachment? Isn’t that what science is all about, anyway?

El
5 years 9 months ago

Congrats, Mark– I’m glad we can all be unhealthy together!

Madbiker
Madbiker
5 years 9 months ago

“Point being, if it tastes great, it can’t possibly be good for you. Now go eat your porridge”

This reminds me of the “we are noble because we are poor and suffering” rhetoric found in debates about the moral superiority of communism. If we are all unhealthy, then none of us are unhealthy!

Alhaddadin
Alhaddadin
5 years 9 months ago
I think it’s also really disingenuous to group your cookbook amongst those others. The other four are expressly marketed as books selling “comfort food” or “convenient fare on the fly,” yada yada. The PBC is clearly a part of a program that promotes health & longevity. One could almost say that how it tastes – er, awesome, of course – is a secondary issue when compared to the health benefits. PCRM is clearly doing this in order to take a poorly aimed cheap shot at the Paleo movement, which it perceives as presenting a threat to the beliefs that it… Read more »
Alhaddadin
Alhaddadin
5 years 9 months ago

To clarify… I meant “disingenuous of PCRM.” Mark is about as genuine as they come!

Anne
Anne
5 years 9 months ago

I can’t believe Mark Sisson just included the word “smegma” in an article.

Saoirse
Saoirse
5 years 9 months ago

haha, i noticed that too! eww…

Jason
Jason
3 years 8 months ago

i just looked it up and I now have to delete my internet history.

krippendorf
krippendorf
5 years 9 months ago

Congratulations, Mark! I’m going to eat a slab of grass-fed london broil in your honor…

Don Matesz
5 years 9 months ago

Congratulations Mark. I look forward to receiving a similar award myself some day.

Anne
Anne
5 years 9 months ago

Mark should have a Primal Food Network show where he cooks shirtless!

Sara
Sara
5 years 9 months ago

Have you ever cooked bacon shirtless? It’s not a good idea.
Plus, in the culinary world that’s considered unsanitary. However, if he were to cook in a chef coat, then remove it and take his food outside shirtless, he’d probably get a lot of women watching his shows, fast.

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