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

The Primal Blueprint Cookbook Receives Illustrious Award

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.

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. 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? :-)

    Patty wrote on December 21st, 2010
  2. This is so awesome. Since it’s such a terrible book Mark, maybe you could start just giving it away 😉

    Alex wrote on December 21st, 2010
  3. T. Colin Campbell and many low-carbers and primal eaters sparred in an infamous Amazon weight loss community thread here:

    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.

    Paul C wrote on December 21st, 2010
    • 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?

      Alhaddadin wrote on December 21st, 2010
  4. Congrats, Mark– I’m glad we can all be unhealthy together!

    El wrote on December 21st, 2010
  5. “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!

    Madbiker wrote on December 21st, 2010
  6. 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 espouses. And they thought we wouldn’t see through it… despicable!

    Alhaddadin wrote on December 21st, 2010
    • To clarify… I meant “disingenuous of PCRM.” Mark is about as genuine as they come!

      Alhaddadin wrote on December 21st, 2010
  7. I can’t believe Mark Sisson just included the word “smegma” in an article.

    Anne wrote on December 21st, 2010
    • haha, i noticed that too! eww…

      Saoirse wrote on December 22nd, 2010
      • i just looked it up and I now have to delete my internet history.

        Jason wrote on January 5th, 2013
  8. Congratulations, Mark! I’m going to eat a slab of grass-fed london broil in your honor…

    krippendorf wrote on December 21st, 2010
  9. Congratulations Mark. I look forward to receiving a similar award myself some day.

    Don Matesz wrote on December 21st, 2010
  10. Mark should have a Primal Food Network show where he cooks shirtless!

    Anne wrote on December 21st, 2010
    • 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.

      Sara wrote on December 22nd, 2010
  11. Congratulations, Mark! I am a cookbook collector and have well over 100 cookbooks of all kinds, but my absolute favorite is The Primal Blueprint. It’s awesome that the PB has garnered national attention…maybe some people will be curious. I tried a vegan diet once, because a friend raved about it. Honestly I thought I was going to die. We really aren’t meant to eat that way. Anyway, in my little section of Wisconsin it’s about 5 degrees outside, and I fired up the outside grill to grill some NY Strip Steak I found in my deep freeze. The recipe was from the PB. I just love a grass fed steak, almost salivating just from the memory. I first learned about the Primal Blueprint from Doug Kaufman’s show, Know the Cause. I’m truly thankful for this community that shares experiences, workouts, blogs, recipes (Butter Chicken is my favorite) and anything else primal. Keep up the good work!

    Kim wrote on December 21st, 2010
  12. I think the Paleo community should start challenging these experts to fitness contests. Beware, though, they get quite a bit of exercise jumping to conclusions.

    ktowner wrote on December 21st, 2010

    salim wrote on December 21st, 2010
  14. I’m honoured to have purchased one of the 5 worst “unhealthiest” books. Good for you Mark.
    PCRM are so f….d up.

    Sue wrote on December 21st, 2010
  15. I was just thinking earlier today how my fingers and ankles are never swollen any more and I have no aches and pains. Must be all that lard lubricating my joints. I haven’t found a bad recipe in the PB Cookbook yet. Can’t say the same for all those low fat recipes I suffered through in the past.

    The funny thing is that we primal folks will eventually outlive the vegan lowfat crowd and will have the last laugh as we bask in the sun eating our pork ribs in our old age.

    Laurie D. wrote on December 21st, 2010
  16. I assume the study referenced by the PCRM
    is this one:

    Any thoughts or comments on it?

    Danny Lowe wrote on December 21st, 2010
  17. Hahah o how I love this piece of interspace.

    I would LOVE to see you on OPRAH.

    Although I hate her show with a ferrocious passion, I would love to
    see her expression and remarks when you talk of the primal eating habits…And all its wonderful successes busting fat and equalising overall health.

    Congrats for the illustrious award!

    Jamey Delta wrote on December 21st, 2010
  18. Mark, congratulations! Your site/information is free to everyone and they do not need to purchase anything if they can’t or won’t, but they can reap the benefits of your knowledge. Thank you for that.

    The fact that you have been so honored by the vegans shows, as others have pointed out, they feel extremely threatened. Next year you’ll be number 1 on their list. Keep us updated and let us know how the sale of your books is going.

    kateryna wrote on December 21st, 2010
  19. They say that ‘bad’ publicity is better than no publicity!

    Seriously, recently my husband changed jobs and I had to fill out the new company’s “health and wellness” survey to see if I qualified as healthy enough to earn a nice little salary rebate. Well, I scored high in all areas except diet – and the survey recommended that I eat more whole grains and beans, and cut down on the butter and cream (the survey didn’t have a category for “pastured” dairy =( ..). I was a little upset, but of course the survey was done in accordance with the AMA and US Food Pyramid and all the other crap that I used to follow to a T — with skin breakouts, constant hunger, constant gas and bloating and stomach problems, etc etc… you all know the drill. Anyway, I didn’t earn as much of a rebate as I would have if the survey were Primal, but in a way I was happy to have scored lower on diet – it meant that I’m NOT following the ‘norm,’ and therefore, I’m feeling great!

    Dawn wrote on December 21st, 2010
  20. The difference between your book and the others is that if they asked the other four if their recipes were healthy, they would acknowledge that they aren’t. Yours is the only book to claim that the recipes are healthy.

    After a lifetime of hearing how bad meat and fat is, and how healthy grains are, it can be really hard at first to make the change at first. There’s always a voice in the back of your head saying this is the worst thing you can do to yourself and that you’ll have a heart attack before long.

    However, after three weeks of being grain free, the results speak for themselves. The fat is melting off, all my lifts at the gym have gone up, I’m sleeping less and waking up more refreshed, and I get so much more done during the day since I seem to never run out of energy.

    Your books and blog are brilliant. I really hope that in the coming years, people realise that advice from “reputable” sources is not as sound as it would seem after all.

    Warwick wrote on December 21st, 2010
  21. Bloody hilarious.

    If I ever published a cookbook that the PCRM deemed one of the unhealthiest, I’d frame it and hang it above the fireplace.

    Truly an achievement to be proud of.

    Darrin wrote on December 21st, 2010

    We, all the 10 million+ Blue-printers you wish to touch in this life, are on stage three 3, Mark.. Grok On

    Resurgent wrote on December 21st, 2010
  23. never posted up here before.. but after seeing today’s topic and having read a very interesting article on the LA Times site today I figured I could at least put the link up.,0,5464425.story

    make sure to check out at least the second and third paragraphs.

    Drach wrote on December 21st, 2010
  24. Our nearly 80 collective pounds lost, clear tanned skin, shiny hair, bright eyes, and boundless energy beg to differ with their viewpoint.

    The Primal Palette wrote on December 21st, 2010
  25. I have lost a lot of weight, feel great, am strong and healthy, clear minded, no more inflammation in several areas, tons of energy, etc, etc. You all know the story and how the results start to tally.

    I salute you with both middle fingers PCRM! I tried your way, and it’s a death sentence. Quit killing people with your unfounded nonsense.

    Travis wrote on December 21st, 2010
  26. Congrats, Mark! I have been on vacation for the last week and couldn’t wait to tell you my Primal story upon returning. Today’s post makes little stories like mine even more important if we’re all going to fight the good fight! I love being Primal, for many, many reasons, but as a very busy mother of three young children, I rarely have the chance to “exercise” much (although I play a ton). Truthfully, I’ve always kind of doubted the statement you make that my body will change based on the food I eat, regardless of how much I exercise. I was wrong. While playing with my kids at a waterpark on vacation in my bikini I was approached by a good look married man (I say married so you know he wasn’t simply hitting on me). He started talking about the kids but I could sense he thinking about something else. Then he said, “I was just wondering, well…, I mean, how…, uh…do you work out a lot? You are so fit– you look great!” I was shocked, and actually blushed, but informed him “No, I don’t work out. I just follow the Primal diet!” I explained it too him, and with any luck, you’ll have another man on your team! After the conversation, I walked into the bathroom and checked myself out in the mirror. He was right! There I was, a mother of three children all under 5 years old, thin, healthy looking, showing arm muscles and abs that had younger women drooling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no supermodel, but I do have the energy of a woman half my age, clear glowing skin, and I never get sick. As far as may family and I are concerned, the Primal Cookbook is a true winner. Bring on the butter and red meat because I’m going to eat again! Thanks Mark!

    Sara wrote on December 21st, 2010
    • That’s a confidence booster like no other! You go girl 😀

      Carly wrote on December 21st, 2010
  27. Wow, looking at that website, everything is ridiculous. Primal made my life better in many ways, thanks Mark.

    Max Gazzara wrote on December 21st, 2010
  28. You only need to look a at their best cook books list to see there agenda. All of them are vegan or vegetarian.

    Congratulations mark :-)

    Misabi wrote on December 21st, 2010
  29. Also, If anyone is wondering about the credibility behind this PETA facade, their founder sat on the board of the PETA foundation and still writes for their quarterly magazine. Also, less than 5% of their members are actually physicians, and their “physician” founder is a non-practicing psychiatrist. They seem convinced that meat in any form is pretty much the only cause of cancer, heart disease and why your wife left you.


    So good job! I would avoid anything these vegan propagandists masquerading as knowledgeable health professionals support at all costs.

    Joseph wrote on December 21st, 2010
  30. After a lifetime of eating the CW way, with disastrous results, it has only taken three weeks to convince me that Primal is how I plan on living the rest of my life. Congratulations on your prestigious award and thank you for MDA and your books!

    Jeff wrote on December 21st, 2010
  31. Wow! It’s like they were trying to talk to me. I follow your blog, I watch Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, and Barefoot Contessa.
    I must be the most unhealthy person of all! Sweet!!!

    Congrats on the recognition.

    Clint W wrote on December 21st, 2010
  32. While Mark is handling this news with his normal humor, grace, and optimism, I’ve got to imagine that getting this award dropped on his cookbook, for a plan that has plenty of mainstream acceptance at this point (most docs at least acknoledge a low carb diet is safe and effective) has to be burning him up some. I’d want to sue for slander, as this thing seems like a total, purposeful slander of the primal/paleo movement. It is a complete misrepresentation of the purpose of the book, with no mention that this cookbook is designed as a health companion piece. I’m pissed.

    Primal Pete wrote on December 21st, 2010
    • Take the high road, there’s less traffic.

      chipin wrote on December 30th, 2010
  33. Hi Mark: You probably don’t need to hear more praise at this point. But I want to tell you that based on your blog and some other reading I stopped eating grains and potatoes about a year ago. (I don’t have theories about diet and metabolism; and I’m not “Paleo” anything. I just wasn’t feeling great, so I tried eliminating these foods as an experiment.) Since then, 1) I have lost fat and gained muscle while working out much less. I’m 39-years-old and my abs are more defined now than they have ever been even though I workout less than 40 minutes per day, often much less. 2) My eczema is virtually gone. 3) I haven’t had a cold in a year. 4) My mild panic disorder is virtually gone. 5) I’m almost never hungry. And 6) generally I feel relaxed, alive, engaged, and happy almost all the time. The only major lifestyle change during this time has been diet. So, to me, THAT’s evidence-based medicine. Thank you.

    Matt wrote on December 21st, 2010
  34. Mark, what works for some does not apply to all, and you should mention that rather than tell people that one size fits all…I was following a Mediterranean diet, (I am of Greek origin) including some grains…Colesterol under control, slowly losing weight. I tried going primal, and for 3 months I ate grassfed beef, the associated fats, along with butter, no grain products, veggies…
    I just got a blood draw, and I not only did not lose any weight, my blood fats went through the roof…in the danger zone.
    It was explained to me that someone who is obsese (I am 45 lbs overweight) will sometimes react differently to food. Chemistry is different. seems that there is a spillover of consumed fats into the blood stream…
    So for me, it’s back to a SENSIBLE moderate fat diet, olive oil, lean fish and meat (only wild caught and grassfed) and veggies, along with some moderate grains, like high fiber bread and oat bran…

    Milton Hondrakis wrote on December 21st, 2010
    • I think this is an important point! A problem with some people in the vegetarian camp is that they think everyone should be a vegetarian, whereas MDA readers know that vegetarianism makes some people really ill. But let’s not make the same mistake ourselves. Metabolism is incredibly complicated; and no one understand it fully. What works for one person might not work for another.

      Matt wrote on December 22nd, 2010
  35. Congrats! Keep up the good work.

    slacker wrote on December 22nd, 2010
  36. Congratulations! Do they give you a nice plaque or certificate to proudly display in your office? When’s the award dinner?

    Seriously, PLEASE keep up the great work. There is MUCH to do.


    Pete Ballerstedt

    Pete wrote on December 22nd, 2010
  37. Good work, Mark!

    Roger Tharakan wrote on December 22nd, 2010
  38. This just makes me want to buy those cookbooks. I already have the primal blueprint cookbook.

    Tori Kean wrote on December 22nd, 2010
    • I was thinking the exact same thing. That pheasant sounds really good!

      Holly J. wrote on December 22nd, 2010
  39. Bonjour Mark. Congratulations from France on the award 😉 I would love to get unhealthy because of your cookbook so please have a kindle edition available in europe as soon as possible. Keep up the good work.

    Vincent wrote on December 22nd, 2010
  40. Society always finds ways to divide itself. If it’s not gender, its race, if not race, then religion, if not religion its your neighbourhood if its not that its DIET!
    Vegans seem to be the aggressive group though trying to brainwash the easily brainwashable masses. Too bad.

    On another note, I think I might pick up that Gordon Ramsay book (to go along with my PB book) because its probably got some good ones in there.

    BigD wrote on December 22nd, 2010

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