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February 13 2013

5 Things People Assume About Me That Are Wrong

By Mark Sisson
308 Comments

WrongAs Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal community have grown in popularity, I hear a lot of stuff bandied about. Some of it is positive, some negative, and that’s to be expected. You can’t please everyone – I would probably be surprised if no one ever criticized me. However, I’ve noticed that for whatever reason, some people have a skewed perception of my opinion on certain issues. Maybe it’s my fault for not being more clear. Maybe they just haven’t plumbed the depths of MDA (I don’t blame them; it’s got some deep archives) to find the truth, instead going on what someone else told them. But whatever the reason, I have an obligation to set the record straight. I don’t want people getting the wrong idea about me or my ideas.

In this post, I’m going to describe five common misinterpretations about me and then explain where I truly stand. You may still disagree with me. That’s cool. At least then you’ll be able to criticize me for what I actually said or wrote.

So, what are some things people assume about me that are wrong?

That I support unlimited calories, endless grams of fat, and constant relentless gorging.

To my knowledge, I’ve never claimed that calories don’t matter (cue frantic searching of MDA archives). On the contrary, I’ve held that while calories are the ultimate arbiters of weight management, the beauty of a Primal eating plan is that obsessively counting, tabulating, graphing, and monitoring calorie intake often becomes unnecessary. You’re eating nutrient-dense and calorie-sparse plants, nutrient-dense animals (and their fat), and nutrient-dense and calorie-dense starchy plants (when desired/required), and you just need less food than before. You’re sated, you enjoy the food, you’re sufficiently nourished, and so you don’t eat as much. You’re not telling yourself not to eat X amount of calories; you just don’t get hungry for all those extra calories and so it’s not an issue that requires conscious thought. Some people may even find counting counterproductive to weight loss if the counting intrudes on their enjoyment of normal life and becomes a significant source of stress.

If you somehow find the will and desire to gorge endlessly on multiple thousands of calories of coconut oil and butter and red palm oil and mac nuts and grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon, you can and likely will gain weight (and fat). All I’m saying is this: why would you ever want to? Calories do matter, though. I’ve always said that.

That I hate carbs in any form.

The reality is that I view carbs as an elective source of calories to be divvied out according to training volume, performance goals, and individual variation in tolerance/desire. If you’re regularly engaging in lots of anaerobic activity (HIIT, sprinting, heavy lifting, mid-to-high intensity endurance training, sports like soccer, basketball, football), you should probably eat more carbs to the tune of 100 extra grams per hour of anaerobic output. If you’re just doing lots of walking, lifting once or twice a week, and throwing in a sprint session every now and then, you’ll probably be fine underneath the Primal carb curve. I gear my recommendations toward regular folks getting regular, but not excessive or elite level, amounts of activity – the people who juggle work, family, sleep, and leisure with exercise. That’s me, that’s most of you, but it’s not everyone. If I come off as a carb basher, it’s only because I assume that most people aren’t doing the kind of activity that warrants carb-loading.

I am a big proponent of eating a macronutrient that works for you and your lifestyle and your needs, whatever those look like. I’m also a big proponent of gorging on in-season berries to the point of stomach upset (not really, but kinda). My point is that I don’t hate any and all carbs.

That I hate gyms.

I talk a lot about the benefits of being outside in nature, particularly being active outside in nature. I often suggest that people go for hikes on a weekly basis, preferably with family members (both hominidae and canid). I discuss spiritual encounters in nature, wherein people experience what seem like “mystical” states of mind simply by leaving city limits and rubbing up against some trees and greenery. I’ve explained how exercising outdoors is not only more effective, but also more sustainable – people are more likely to stick with an exercise plan when they do it outdoors. What wins?

Trail running through a forest of redwoods with the brilliant morning sun shimmering through the canopy overhead or jogging on a treadmill while watching close captioned American Idol?

Sprints on a beach (complete with adjacent natural sea salt cold dip wave pool) or sprints on a track?

Stand up paddle boarding on blue-green seas or, well, there isn’t really a gym equivalent to that one, is there?

I’ll always choose to workout outside if I can. Of course, I live in Malibu, where winter is when surfers wear hooded sweatshirts with their shorts and sandals, so I have the luxury of exercising outdoors year round. Many people do not. Perhaps my perspective is skewed.

That said, I like gyms. I work out in a gym on a regular basis. And bulky, oddly shaped natural objects like rocks and logs are fun to pick up and put down, and you can get really strong using them, but barbells, weight vests, kettlebells, and other manmade fitness tools are arguably better for building pure, raw strength. You know what? Make like Arnold and lug a barbell and some weights out to the forest and get the best of both worlds.

That I hate any and all forms of cardio.

One of my earliest and most popular posts was my tirade against chronic cardio, or the kind of extended mid-to-high intensity endurance training that made me sick, broke down my body, required me to eat an inflammatory diet laden with cheap refined carbs, destroyed my social life, and sapped my will to live. My terrible experience with high-level endurance training helped me find a more sustainable, more Primal path. It got me where I am today, basically. It was the impetus for my search for something better. I guess you could say I’m not a big fan.

I’ve become known for that stance on chronic cardio, but many people assume that distaste extends to all cardio. They assume I roll my eyes at people who ride their bikes to work, who run a 5k every now and then, who use the rower at the gym, who go hiking with heavy rucksacks, who swim laps. I don’t hate all cardio, though. I mean, how many times have you gotten annoyed with how often I tell people to walk, hike, and otherwise move around at a slow pace? That’s “cardio.” I fully support all forms of movement that result in improved health and happiness. I’ve mentioned before that my characterization of an activity as chronic cardio is more qualitative than quantitative. Rather than hewing to some objective standard, it often comes down to your subjective response. For me, running more than five miles or so becomes a race, even if I’m the only one around. I stop enjoying the run and start to focus on how fast I’m going, how far I’ve gone, and how much I can push it. I get sucked in to the competitive tunnel.

I’m not even against running the occasional marathon, if you truly enjoy it and it improves your quality of life. But training for marathons round the clock? Logging 15-20 miles a day? I can’t in good conscience recommend that people do that in the pursuit of good health. Do it to say you can. Do it because you love it. But don’t do it to live forever.

That I romanticize the hunter-gatherer existence.

I don’t romanticize anything (except, perhaps, grass-fed meat). I simply acknowledge the reality of our situation: humans, as a species, have evolved under various selective pressures and environments, and by studying those pressures and environments, we can learn about what lifestyle interventions might work for us, today, in the here and now. Moreover, we undoubtedly did not encounter 10-hour workdays consisting solely of sitting on our duffs, penned in by cubicle walls, isolated from our fellow humans (except by choice). We did not eat sugar, seed oil, and grain slurries out of colorful boxes and plastic packaging. It is a simple fact that some things about our modern existence are screwy and ridiculous, and when we spend our days sitting down, completely isolated from nature, from other humans (in the flesh), from edible plants and animals in their original packaging (absent some fur, perhaps), problems arise.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors spent most of their lives outdoors. One wonders if perhaps spending time outdoors is therefore “normal” for our physiology and we should do it more often. Sure enough, recent scientific evidence shows that being outdoors confers numerous health benefits upon humans. Health benefits that we can verify with actual biomarkers.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors got a decent amount of sunlight (being outdoors), depending on where in the world they lived. One wonders if perhaps sun exposure provides any benefit to modern humans. Sure enough, evidence suggests that vitamin D (which humans make from sun exposure) performs many physiological tasks, like immune modulation and bone calcium resorption, vital to our health. (Also, sunny days tend to make people happy, which counts for a lot.)

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors experienced high infant mortality. High infant mortality is not very good for human health.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors did not have access to modern medical technology. Modern medical technology is good for human health.

Do I think we can gain valuable insight about what makes us tick and what works today by examining the ancestral environment? Yes, absolutely. 

Am I happy to live in the 21st century where babies generally survive and people can hold all the world’s knowledge (and then some) in the palm of their hands and casually implore lightning to do their bidding with a flick of a switch? Heck yes.

To say that certain selective pressures helped determine the physiology of modern humans and that we can glean helpful and relevant lessons from studying (or even speculating about) said pressures is not to say that everything was perfect back then and we need to return to that perfect Edenic (that wasn’t) lifestyle. It’s just saying what it says. Nothing more.

What other misconceptions about me and my message have you seen out there? Lemme know in the comment section! Thanks for reading, folks.

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308 thoughts on “5 Things People Assume About Me That Are Wrong”

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  1. How do we know our hunter gather ancestors had high infant mortality?

    1. Thank you Mark for articulation and precision re WRONG column this week! I appreciate your lively defense and explanations! You have carefully demonstrated (again) the huge challenge of educating the masses (and the motivated educated public following you!) w/o getting too personal and subjective. The facts are there. You capture and interpret them nicely. My experience as primary care physician is that the average lay person doesn’t really want to work hard, think carefully, live close to the Earth, and recognize the primal instincts we tend to suppress. Keep it up!

        1. Great post Mark.

          There’s a new term on the internet called ‘paleo-tards’ because of all the misconceptions and selective listening people do.

          This clears some of that up.

          Good job.

        2. Agree – it’s sad that a lot of people like to make $#!* difficult. Please stay true.

        3. I guess it’s like anything – people just assume.

          To be honest I fell into this category before reading more on the site and assumed Mark was super anti-cardio (works for me.. I hate it anyway 😉 ).

          Glad to see him clear up some misconceptions though.

      1. How can anybody digress what you do? How dare they give you crap or make you out to be some sort of con artis and sort for personal gain? Ok your personal gain is to save and help millions of lives! Such a terrible thing to do!

        But seriously why on earth can you be misconceived by giving out valuable in-depth information absolutely free! This place is a gold mine and I can’t express enough how excited I get when I have a question and thought and all the little gems are on here! Free! It is my number 1 recomendation for people to come here, the literature is great, the information is top notch but best of all the person who writes/sets out this whole thing is a really top top guy.

        *middle finger errects in direction of @holes*

        1. Alexander nailed it – People just assume.Funny how some us can read the same material and come away with none of the misconceptions described.

    2. From archeological studies of the fossil records. They were also much more prone to death by accident and disease than we are today.

      The problem with “all that data” is that you end up with an “average age of death of 35” and most people think that means that our primal ancestors only lived to be 35. The fact remains, again from the fossil records, that many individuals lived into their 70’s, but an equal number lived short lives or died at birth, hence the *average* age of death of 35.

      1. No, not much more prone to disease. Accidents, starvation, parasites, etc yes, but not DISEASE.

        1. Disease isn’t as huge and recurring issue when you have only small groups of people; its when you get mingling and mixing and large crowds and poor sanitation that you get disease. With small family groups of 10-15 people that don’t frequently meet other folks, you don’t have vectors for infectious disease.

          As far as things like cancer; they can and did happen well before modern times.

        2. Maybe not “disease” like oh, diabetes, but a lot of them sure did die from basic infection before antibiotics came around.

    3. Common sense, plus over a century of medical observation & observation of other primates.

      It’s like asking, “How do we know our hunter gather ancestors got the trots every once in a while?”

    4. well, it is pretty easy to guess why. medical wasn’t good. predators are another, and knowing now how births can go…..meaning breach, chord wrapped around the babies neck. so, infant mortality is very high, especially in those days and not too long ago either. more because of farm fatalities. just saying?

      1. Human birth is tricky and probably the trickiest on the planet, thanks to competing factors of big brain size for thinking and small hip size for walking.

        On the other hand, it’s not quite the automatic death sentence for either mother or child that we’ve made out it out to be. Wrapped cords don’t always mean suffocation. We are social, knowledge based animals that can create ways to over come breech births, etc. (Knowledge to safely deliver breeches were was much more widespread before C-sections became safe and common.)

        If I had to pin down the reasons for high infant mortality based on my own experiences, it would be yes, tricky births but maybe as important factor is that our babies are born “young”.

        I think only marsupials birth offspring in worse conditions then humans. It will take an infant 3 months to lift their head. As social creature, it can’t even smile. A human newborn completely requires at least mediocre parenting and a half decent environment for first 3 months (really 12)to grow and survive.

        It does not take much – either in the form of trauma, disease, lack of food, or bad parenting to kill a newborn infant. 🙁

    5. Lots of hunter gatherer baby skeletons. Many young mothers died in child birth as well.No OB/GY’s back then.

      1. The baby skeletons are unfortunately, easy to count.

        I’ve often wondered, however, about the assumption that young healthy women were dropping like flies during the childbirth process. That one is a bit counter intuitive. Some losses, yes, especially if a woman is sick or undernourished. Higher than most animals, yes. But I don’t see how we’re in the billions either if either the physical process or the help a primitive tribe could provide was so woefully lax.

        1. If you don’t believe it, look at the maternal mortality in parts of Africa- 1 in 7 pregnancies in some parts. This is few enough for population growth, but pretty appalling.

        2. So using those numbers, that’s an 85% maternal survival rate for any random pregnancy. Again, no adjustments for maternal age, numbers of previous children, or maternal health at the time of birth.

          It’s possible that those are also worst case scenarios as well. There are people in Africa living on the very edge of every resource. There are people who are not. Africa is very big place. 😉

          I agree not great, but ironically, I think the numbers suggest my point. *If* they are drawn from the parts of Africa where there’s not enough of everything, the process works amazing well.

        3. Micheal –

          Exactly. It’s not the process that kills the women. It’s the infections/hemmoraging and generally vulnerable position of both mother and child around the act of child birth.

          Totally not arguing against modern medicine by the way. I am argueing that society is giving credit to OB/GYNs for the general advances of better food, better sanitation and improvement. Childbirth in of itself generally does not kill women – it’s the crap that it leaves woman and child vulnerable to that does.

    6. Check the research papers and look at the hunter-gatherer societies known more recently.

    7. It’s possible to estimate birthrate and ancient population at different times by reverse engineering modern DNA. Plus we can look at infant mortality in modern hunter-gatherers and in various wild animals to get some idea. Humans are very fertile and highly motivated to reproduce, if every child had lived to reproduce we would probably have reached our present high population density long ago.

    8. The archaeological record demonstrates high infant mortality in hunter-gatherer populations. Also higher mortality of women during or immediately after childbirth.

      1. If there’s a skeleton of a full term baby inside a woman, yes, I’d buy she died in childbirth. In all seriousness, how do bones show a woman died “immediately” after child birth? I though bones only could show whether or not a woman had a vaginal birth. (I don’t know for sure, which is why I’m asking.)

    9. Agree with this question. Birth and natural care for infants does not lead to infant mortality! What were they dying from?

    10. there is still high infant mortality in developing countries? that said, the us rates aren’t so hot either. we should all do what Singapore does.

      Mark, I had an allergist bring up the “caveman diet” and say that it only reduced allergies associated with IBS and Crohn’s because it was just lamb, rice, and some vegetables. I held my tongue since he didn’t seem very educated or interested. plus, it wasn’t my appointment, so I wasn’t passing him too sit there

    11. I think maybe Mark was speculating that infant mortality was higher 5,000 years ago, because it was considerably higher 100 years ago.

    12. Infant mortality was high due to many of the reasons that have already been stated. Humans are just not built as well as some animals are for live birth. We like to romanticize the process to give women confidence, but that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect process. You can look at human biology and see that it’s far from perfect. Modern day birth is safer because we have sanitized birthing areas, better access to food, and in most Western cultures midwives or doctors. Not all tribal societies had that. Some tribes wanted women to birth alone while others made it a social event. If you’re out in the woods by yourself giving birth to a baby there is a long list of things that can go wrong. If it’s a breech birth how easy will it be to fix yourself? If you want some good examples of why infant deaths were high read Jared Diamond’s book, “The World until Yesterday.” He relates one story from a colleague of his (forgot the tribe) where a mother and her infant died in childbirth because only her parents were allowed to help and they were not around to do so. She was screaming and crying that the baby wouldn’t come and was breech but no one offered to help. The colleague went to help but the tribe said not too and that she wouldn’t want his help because he was not a parent. He found out that she and the baby died that night. WE, a society in the information age might now how to work around breech babies without C-sections but that doesn’t meant that tribal groups had that knowledge. That tribe is probably on the extreme end of unhelpful and other tribes are the complete opposite. But, that is one of many reasons why infant death was high in some areas.

    13. because hunter gather societies still exist and their mortality rates are known? We could infer that the same was for our ancestors. It also seems logical that children would find surviving natural environments more difficult than adults for a range of reasons such as lack of speed, strength and lack of experience. There is a book i read while studying ecology in the 80’s called “why big fierce animals are rare” and it makes the case that predators do not attack healthy adults (of prey species) unless they are desperate. They go for the weak and young first. I suspect that would have accounted for a number of infants as well.

  2. Ah, the black and whiter’s. It’s so easy for so many reasons. First you could be too lazy to fully read and understand. Second you could want a quick, easy fix and oversimplify. Third (the insidious reason) you could simply want to knock down someone you don’t agree with by promoting disinformation just like they did to Dr. Atkins! Of course there is the worthless media soundbite also.

    1. Groktimus, I agree with you, but also think that sometimes, people need oversimplified answers to tough problems. Its awesome if people want to get into the deep science of nutrition, but some people just need to know how to do it, and need motivation to start.

    2. It reminds me of when I first started low-carb, which not only helped my fitness level, but cured my depression as well.

      People were always (seriously, ALWAYS) saying things to me like, “What makes you think having bacon-covered lard dipped in cheese sauce every day is healthy?”

      I’ve learned to expect ignorance of ignorant people.

    3. Agree 100% specially on the Atkins issue, many people who berate him have never read his book. And in my book he was a hero! Kudos to Gary Taub who in “Why we get fat” gives Atkins due credit.

      1. Agreed on Atkins. I read his book cover to cover when I was trying to lose weight initially.

        The diet and his recommendations were absolutely nothing like stereotype I had heard.

        It seems like it’s just the hazard of being out there with your opinions if they are not mainstream. People hear what they want to hear and no more.

        1. I am re-reading it (for the third time, first time after being primal), I am highlighting all the pages where he recommends pasture fed meats, etc. I remember watching the videos where he said that he ate more greens than many vegetarians!. His death was a big loss. People associate the Atkins diet with the initial induction phase of two weeks at 25 grams of carbs. But you know what? I don’t think there is a better system to reset a deranged carboholic metabolism than those two weeks (primal systems included). Is it hard? Yes. Does it work? Yes. You will be a fat burning beast within two weeks of Atkins. May he rest in peace.

  3. Awesome. One of the more enjoyable posts I’ve seen in a long time.

    I enjoy reading forums and I’ve seen quite a few of these wrong assumptions on where you stand. I appreciate the clarity and hopefully it helps those of us who are still struggling.

    1. Me too! Mark this is one of your best posts yet. When I say I am paleo/primal-leaning, these are probably the top 5 things that people throw at me and I am never sure exactly how to answer them.

  4. Great Article! Hopefully it helps some have a better understanding of the basic principles. Looking forward to Austin Primal Con. Have an awesome and safe day everyone.
    Rod

  5. Where did this post come from? The primal laws are very easy to understand and implement. People, if you’re failing look for help but don’t blame Mark.

    1. I was introduced to MDA about 4 months ago. I read everything I could find on the site and starting following in my own way what was right for me. I never had any of these misconceptions about Mark or MDA. If you read carefully, the plan and philosophy are incredibly clear.

    2. I think Mark is saying, “When we assume, it makes an ASS out of U and ME”

  6. Hello there,

    New to your site, was just wondering about your thoughts on fruits and vegetables and how many servings should you have daily.

      1. Sometimes.
        Too many vegetables bloats me and forces peristalsis too fast.
        I barely ate any fresh fruit or vegetables for the past few months and then a couple days ago a friend fed me a nice snack of some carrots and celery, it was like taking a health potion in a video game.

    1. Cyndie, click on the Start Here section to find out more about the Primal Blueprint.

    2. Hi Cyndie -You can learn sooo much from the sites, archives, etc., but if you want a really in depth understanding, read the books! For me both The Primal Blueprint and The 21Day Body Transformation were well worth the read, and I still refer to them all the time. (Didn’t mean to sound like an advertisement here, but loved the books, lol) .

  7. By the way, I’m going to start logging into your website and hopefully get to a place where I can take up some of your suggestions.. Thank you.

    1. Cyndie – you are already there! Take a look around the site, especially the ‘Start Here’ section as Pure Hapa suggests, and check out some of the Success Stories. You are sure to find at least a couple of nuggets that you can put to use in your own life today! Enjoy!!

    2. I love Mark’s site but if you want some other good sites I highly recommend Jimmy Moore and Jack Kruse.

      http://jackkruse.com/brain-gut-6-epi-paleo-rx/

      http://www.jackkruse.com/blog-index/

      The Leptin Prescription starting with the blog on the bottom at the first is great.

      http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/n1

      Jimmy Moore has several podcasts and his recent Nutritional Ketosis N1 posts are very interesting.

      I also love Peter Attia’s stuff. Great articles on Ketosis, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, and more.

      http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/how-did-we-come-to-believe-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-are-bad-for-us

      http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-cholesterol-part-i

      1. While these sites are interesting, they are heavily biased to very low carb diets. Very low carb paleo is not for everyone and very low carb is not the only way to lose weight, in fact it can be counter productive if you are doing intense exercise like CrossFit.

        1. I’m a big fan of intense weight lifting or HIIT which can be done once or twice a week.

          Both forms of activity can be done with a Ketogenic diet. Jimmy Moore in his latest Nutritional Ketosis posts has been doing High Intensity weight training ala slow burn/Body by Science type workouts.

          Even including doing it while in a fasted state. Apparently people can become pretty well adapted to using fat for fuel.

          I read a recent post on Jack’s site about refilling Glycogen really fast with the Phosphate Pentose Pathway…don’t remember exactly how it worked.

          As long as someone isn’t completely Glycogen depleted from what I can tell you can do quite a bit of activity on fat stores with the right adaption.

    3. I love all of Mark’s articles and his entire site but the best information I have gotten have come from the Comments Section after the articles. They’re the best reading!

      1. There are a lot of great stories and comments in this section, the majority of them civil and respectful.

  8. “Am I happy to live in the 21st century where babies generally survive and people can hold all the world’s knowledge (and then some) in the palm of their hands and casually implore lightning to do their bidding with a flick of a switch?”

    Yes… people hold all the world’s knowledge (and then some) in the palm of their hands and STILL don’t know where you stand on these basic concepts.

    1. Wouldn’t this be funny to try to explain to our great-great-grandparents: “I have a device in my back pocket that can access the collective knowledge of all mankind. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with people I don’t know.” 🙂

      1. True-I’m somewhat intrigued by the number of cat pictures on my Facebook page …..

  9. A tiger does not concern himself with the opinion of sheep.

    I appreciate your detailed blogs, and if I think differently or want to explore other points of view, that’s a healthy attitude and doesn’t make you wrong.

    Your advice and that of others in this field have dialed my health clock back 20 years easily.

    Kirk

    1. How do you know, you could get run over by a truck this afternoon.

      1. Which has nothing do to with his dietary lifestyle. What’s your point?

        1. Before we get into what’s my point I think we should talk about what’s your point.

        1. Actually the getting run over by a truck IS relevant. Please review Primal Law 9. I am just starting on this lifestyle. P283 of The Primal Blue-Print actually but think this is fantastic.

      2. As a matter of fact, I got hit by a truck just two days ago. The fact I was in another truck myself, a fire rescue truck, somewhat mitigated the circumstances. That and the fact I’m committed to Paleo.

        Kirk

    2. Pretty sure he is going to be concerned with public opinions and public perception when that is the basis of any blog.

    3. Well said Kirk!

      I stumbled onto MDA and the Primal Blueprint while doing research before starting Crossfit training (At age 56).

      As a retired law enforcement officer, and owner of a couple of businesses, I research almost everything before randomly throwing myself or my income into it.

      I have to give credit where credit is due! I started out at a little over 250#’s in late October, and today, weigh in at 216#. The first 20#’s of that (MOL), was lost strictly by changing my “dietary lifestyle.”

      The weight loss resulted in an immediate reduction in many of the “daily aches and pains”, which had led me to a more sedintary lifestyle over the last 8-10 years. At the same time, it gave me the energy to become more active.

      As of today, I feel better than I’ve felt in years!

      I Crossfit 3x’s a week, and have implemented several of the changes Mark recommends in my daily lifestyle.

      I am seeing physiological changes that I haven’t seen since I was in my early 30’s!!

      And while I have plateaued again at 216#(+/-), I credit that more to the reduction of fat and the addition of lean muscle tissue.

      My goal was and is, my former military seervice and martial arts competition weight of 195-200; however, I may forego that goal if the changes dictate.

      I’ve read as much as I can possibly digest of Marks information, as well as that of others who hold views similar to his.

      I have also read (and viewed) a large amount of the information provided by those with an alternative viewpoint.

      IMO, both have their points, and both have their purpose.

      The thing that bothers me most, is the constant negativity, the demeaning commentary and childish name calling, from many outside the Primal and/or Crossfit communities.

      Why? Other than to further a personal agenda, is there a real purpose to such rhetoric?

      In decades of martial arts training, it always amazed me how one “style” would claim that their system was better than the rest.

      In the real world where I lived and worked, there was no one “perfect” system. Instead, it was usually a combination of “systems”, along with some good old fashion street fighting and a modicum of common sense, that won the day!

      The same holds true in the diet and training areanas, at least for me.

      In my humble opinion at least, one should do what works for them, what makes them feel/look better, and what in the end makes them healthier.
      If medical science and testing happens to prove out the fact that they are better and/or healthier than when they started, then what’s the gripe?

      In my lifetime as a LEO and former member of our military, it has been brutally obvious, that we have no shortage of reasons to argue, fight and wage war on each other. Why add health and the quest for a fuller, longer, and hopefully happier, life to the list?

      If the lifestyle, diet, or exercise program isn’t for you, doesn’t fit your personal goal(s), or you simply disagree with it, why not just move on to something that does?

      I am always up for lively debate, but when it turns personal or negative, it’s time for me to move on.

      And while I have seen my share of “paleo” or “Primal” purists, and adamant Crossfit followers, I really haven’t noticed a lot of negative commentary out of either of these groups torward other disciplines.

      There really is room in this great world of health, training and nutrition for everyone and thier opinions.

      As for any comment about Marks commercial interest in all of this, all I can say is these sites aren’t free.
      Everyone has to either make a living, or rely on the government (or others) to survive. Taking the second option, would likely be in opposition to Marks “Primal” beliefs, and frankly, we have enough people waiting for the government to support them!

      Mark is a businessman. It costs money to stay in business, and he makes a lot of information available at no charge to those of us who wish to partake of it.

      Mark has chosen a path that he feels helps others, while at the same time supports himself and his family.

      In the end, as long as there is no harm done, I see absolutely nothing wrong with either of these goals.

      Mark, thanks for all you have done and continue to do, to promote health and longevity.

      Gordon

      PS- Sorry for the unbelieveably long post!

      1. Congratulations on your success Gordon. It’s good to talk with a fellow Emergency Services person here. This life style has done wonders for me. At 56 years old and 168 pounds, I’m now 3 pounds from my high school weight of 165, and still improving. My worst was when I worked in IT, I was a 220 pound ‘phat bastarde’ as the french say. I’ve competed in the Firefighter Combat Challenge several times in my 40’s, and and seriously considering competing this year (in the old farts Fire Chief division)

        Kirk

      2. Wow! First I read Margit’s spot-on post and now Gordon’s. I’m honored to be ‘in the company’ of such thoughtful, supportive people. Thanks!

  10. See, that’s what happens when you are right , and you are starting to affect a large audience who don’t want to hear it. Or, read anything or Think!

  11. Years ago I noticed that folks in the nutritional field, snipe at one another. From their comments it is usually obvious they have never read the other person’s books or papers.

    Personally, if I was going to make disparaging remarks about someone, I would do them the courtesy of actually reading their book first.

  12. I love articles like this. The mind behind the man ;). but also, it tells me that you and your Worker Bees are out there, reading the forums, getting a sense of the Primal-sphere and where our interests lie. I can recall threads that occurred quite recently and the question of “What Does Mark Thing?” came up. I think the carbs question is probably the most common one.

    1. I,m sure Mark has a thing…but I see he uses the other head on top of his shoulders just about all the time.

  13. Sweeping generalizations are just another weapon used by those who want to rationalize why they don’t make the changes they know they should. Most people are quite happy thinking our health problems are genetic and beyond our control. If they can make you out to be a fanatic, they can go back to sleep, and that is where the masses are comfortable.

    1. Agreed. There is no logical explanation for why people are so threatened by the primal/paleo lifestyles of OTHER PEOPLE except that deep down inside they know that there is something very wrong with their own lives. It’s much easier to laugh, point fingers and make excuses than to take full responsibility for one’s own health and life.
      I undergo constant ridicule but I will stand strong (and healthy!).

      1. Agreed. I also never heard a person in the 60’s and 70’s mention anything about genetics and family genes stuff. Now that americans are so fat and unhealthy, they simply blame it something outside their control. Such a VICTIM mentality in the USA. I for one, am tired of it.

        1. So true, and I used to be one of those people until I decided to take responsibility for myself and actions.

  14. I get the feeling that those who make such assumptions are not regular readers of this blog.

  15. Five helpings of easy-to-digest good sense – take note, doubters.

  16. One thing I’ve heard people say, which isn’t really addressed here is “Mark is a hypocrite. He claims to follow the paleo diet and to just eat real food on one hand, yet pushes his supplement line on the other.”

    And, while we all know that to be a bunch of ignorant BS, it would be nice to have something explicit to point to when these idiots pop up.

    1. Maybe you could point them to the “Grok didn’t take supplements, so why should I?” article! That would at least give his view on supplements.

      1. Alyssa, Thanks for that article! It’s an excellent response, and exactly the type of thing I was looking for. Of course, the haters will hate, but at least now I have a better understanding and something with which to answer them.

        Thanks again!

    2. Agreed. While Mark may sell supplements to those who are interested, has anyone here ever felt PUSHED to buy them? Although I did buy the book, that was before even discovering this site, and I think a person could easily do this whole lifestyle with buying a thing. I’ve never felt pushed to buy anything! I really, really want some of the Primal Fuel, though ….

  17. Mark, you have introduced me to an entirely different way of living. You have encouraged me to buck the system. You have persuaded me to get really and truly physical inside and outside. You’ve given me permission I didn’t know I needed to enjoy my life by playing and not starving. I am a beautiful beast and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to you. Let the critics critique. They’re just jealous and afraid to give it a go. Sucks for them.

  18. You’re one of my heroes. The mother tiger in me immediately responded to the idea that anyone would “dis” you by going into fight mode :).

  19. Good stuff as always Mark.

    The larger the audience, the more opportunities for inaccurate information to spread, sometimes quickly too. It also comes back to excuses and being personally accountable for yourself. Essentially, either not educating themselves or having to find someone to blame.

    Cheers!!!

  20. Misinformation is often spewed about ppl doing great things. Mark I commend you for taking the time to set things straight. I guess with time, it becomes hard to just ignore the misinformation. I’m just happy that you continue to educate us on a daily basis. I enjoy every bit.

  21. I am 34 years old, married with two kids. I started this diet/new way of living in January as my New Years resolution. I have never felt better than I do now. Food today has become so processed how can we digest all those ingredients. Eating healthy helps me get through the day without feeling like it is nap time. You can criticize anything that has to do with dieting nowadays, but following this diet makes you feel great. Plan and simple.

  22. This is pretty basic. All one has to do is just LOOK at Mark’s physique, and know that whatever he is doing – is right.

    You are the complete sign of health, Mark. Keep teaching us. THANKS.

    1. I second that!

      My wife refers to Mark as “that crazy guy” and I correct her saying, “that crazy guy who is ripped and in shape?” hehe

    2. Welllll…yes and no.

      I see this a lot from people, but I think it’s important to remember that he was an elite athlete back in the day before Primal was a twinkle in his eye. The way he looked had no relation to how he felt, as he likes to tell us.

      But I do not believe that he is necessarily a normal, run-of-the-mill guy physiologically. I do think he’s built a bit special. Maybe I’m wrong, and he’ll remark on this on his next episode of inaccuracies about him. 😉

      So yes, Mark is an inspiration. But, as always, your mileage may vary.

      1. I agree. I know plenty of people who are incredibly attractive and in shape, and they eat a Standard American Diet.

        That said, ‘YMMV’ applies to just about everything, but you definitely can’t argue with the collection of success stories on this site! Clearly it works very well for a lot of people (:

        1. I also know plenty of people eating Paleo/Primal and not meeting their goals. I hate to see them get caught up in a vortex of shame when they compare themselves to Mark or others. I’m one of the lucky ones it worked for, but the human body is complex. I think the research into our microbiota will yield many answers on why YMMV is such an important caveat.

  23. Being a regular mda reader for th last 3 years, I can safely say that anyone who has read this blog in depth would not have these misconceptions. Mark’s always taken the fair view of things and has always maintained that he’s writing this with the average guy or girl in mind. He has also been clear that the appreciates modern technology and tries to live as true to our ancestors as possible. It’s the best of both worlds and it pretty much leaves every reader to adapt the knowledge for his or her self.

    1. I agree except I did have one small misconception about Mark. I didn’t think he went to the gym quite that often. Makes sense though. If the weather is not nice out, why go to the beach with those huge water bottles he carries around on the sand…

  24. I and my hubby started the “lifestyle” after bloodwork and recommends from our MD. Your sight was also recommended along with others. I love how down to earth and easy reading it is. We aren’t perfect, but we are also no longer overweight, pre diabetic or pre hypertensive. So thanks for your help. I never misunderstand you, sometimes I just don’t listen!!! HaHa!!!

  25. Mark, you need to rethink your approach to working out outdoors. Vey few of us can run under the redwood canopy, especially in February. Here in Rochester, NY exercising outside on icy paths, etc. can actually be dangerous. That’s not saying we don’t ski, snowshoe etc., but a gym is more of a necessity. Your lifestyle and location only match up with a tiny percentage of your readers.
    I’d like to see suggestions for gym workouts that get people away from the treadmill and that can transition to the outdoors.

    1. When Mark describes the outdoor ideal, he is not telling you that you MUST do this or that – just extolling the virtues of that ideal. We can benefit from learning about human ideals and trying to implement some of these ideals when we can. But no one is going to give you a grade for what you do or don’t do. Mark just said he himself goes to the gym. Just try to enjoy the outdoors when you can.

    2. I avoid gyms because I don’t like driving or paying to workout, unless I am going somewhere gorgeous (i.e., outside). My answer was KETTLEBELLS! The best, easiest to learn, most fun way to work out at home. Fast, effective, endlessly variable, and are a full body experience, head to toe. Unbelievably effective. 20 minutes of KBs every other day ripped fat off my body, vastly improved my stamina, and lifts my chemistry and mood for hours, improved all my blood work, and can be done anywhere you can swing a cat. Aside from yoga & my outings into nature, KB variations are all I do now.

      1. Only time I work out in gyms is when I can get a free trial membership, and once wanting to get a light workout I asked at night if a gym had that and they didn’t but the person at the desk allowed me to work out that time anyway.

    3. Martin, I live in Minnesota and deal with the same issues that you do weather-wise. Mark had addressed this topic once that I recall reading, with some suggestions on things to do during the winter. I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the archives. That being said, I’m sitting here now, pining for spring so I can get back on my bike and run my sprints across the soccer field at the high school.

      1. Another Minnesotan here. Let’s see, XC skiing, snowboarding and a pick-up hockey game down at the local rink. And that’s just this week! Seriously, it’s not hard to find fun in the winter. I don’t bother running but you tell me hockey isn’t a great sprint workout.

      2. Get some studded tyres and get back on your bike! Cycling in the snow and ice is the best fun ever!

    4. I think the point is to say that outdoors is the ideal – and I must admit I would love to sprint on the beach and play in the woods, but I can’t – but that bad weather or location shouldn’t stop us exercising and playing anyway!

    5. Martin, I think that Mark recognizes the fact that not everyone lives in Malibu. That said, I live in Iowa and I LOVE getting outside in the winter. It’s been pretty mild this winter, so that’s been great, but I’ll still go for a run when it’s snowing and blowing and colder than all get out (my cut-off temperature is zero degrees fahrenheit). Running in the snow (even several inches) is a blast and it’s amazing how alive you can feel getting out on a really cold, crisp winter day. I do spend more time exercising indoors in the winter for sure, but I still make sure I get out at least a few times a week. Does wonders for my psyche and state of mind!

    6. So, what? Mark should say “don’t exercise outdoors – it might be dangerous”? This is exactly how the misconceptions arise. Mark says that outdoor workouts are awesome and that we should try it, but if the weather’s bad, exercise inside or go to a gym. But somehow people only see the first part and decide Mark hates gyms.

  26. A lot of the misinformation comes from the forums, which I stopped reading because of it. People who jump in to the discussions with what they THINK is Primal, but many times is not, from folks who haven’t actually read the Blueprint books and web materials. Then other folks pick up the wrong info and spread it.

    Anyway, the word is spreading fast and furious.

    1. Amen to the forums comment! I was an avid reader and commenter four and five years ago, but then I noticed the recycling and repetitions of questions and the more than often ignorant responses.

      I thought I’d give it another go a few months ago and it gave me a brain tumor arguing with misinformed people. Scientific ignorance runs rampant here despite Mark’s VERY science based mindset. (IIRC correctly, he has a BA in biology.)

      So, I still love to see what Mark posts, but the forums? Dangerous to one’s mental health.

  27. Great post! You should append this to the “About Me” section of MDA!!

  28. People tend to condemn what they don’t understand or what contradicts their own actions. I think we all follow this lifestyle because of the way it makes us “feel”.
    Keep on keeping on Mark.

    1. I have had some people ask what I’d changed about myself, but I’ve learned to not bring it up unless asked. Most folks are interested, if maybe only to be polite, but all of us will sooner or later encounter someone who is downright hostile about Paleo. The latter has had me thinking a lot about why they take this attitude, and all I can come up with is some folks are very “rules based” and they see Paleo as being so far out of line with their “set or rules” that it makes them uncomfortable and they want to shove you back into what they consider acceptible behavior. Showing that “healthy grains” is a marketing term, not a reality is just too much for such folks to tolerate, so they get ugly about it. I’ve even had one person tell me this eating style is crazy because “you aren’t getting enough carbs”! It just shows you how effective advertising can be I guess…

      1. I have had the same experience. I am 53, and started this lifestyle, combined with intermitent fasting (fast5 style), about 2 years ago. I initially lost about 30 lbs in 6 months. People at work would ask me what I was doing, and when I said “Stop eating sugar and grains, and don’t eat until 3:00 PM”, they would get this look on their faces like – now way I could ever do that. I guess they will just go to their doctor and get some more pills instead. Also on misconceptions, the vegetarian/vegan community often portrays paleo/primal eating as living off of dead animals and nothing else. It’s obvious from comments like that, that they have made no effort to find outwhat it actuslly is.

        1. That amazes me since the vegetarian community are in the same boat (misinformation ande non acceptance wise) as us. While vegetarinism is generally accepted now there are still quite a few nay sayers out there. Why wouldn’t they accept our lifestyle choices the same as they have loudly and vigoursly demanded people to accept theirs.

  29. Mark,
    you are doing something that made your family healthier, happier and wealthier AND you are sharing it with others. Those who listen to your advice gained some valuable knowledge and are thankful to you. Some people always assume lots of nonsense and most of the time it’s just simply out because of envy, ignorance or mean heart. Why even pay attention to that BS?
    I personally don’t even believe that Paleo times in the sense that we picture them ever existed… As a lot of historical evidence suggests, humans lived a high tech life long before, no technology yet can build what has already been built on Earth (pyramids, Machu Pichu, etc). BUT true, humans were much wiser as to being closer to nature and that’s what you are after. I like your views on that and value your advice. Take care.

  30. I have struggled with the calorie misconception with the result that my weight loss has hit a plateau. With the help of your 90-day journal I am now coming to grips with what is too much food – FOR ME. N=1. Great article here. Thanks

  31. This comforted me at just the right time Mark. I’ve hit the gym lately (it’s way to cold to work out without pulling something) and I feel like I’ve turned my back on nature but I know i’m just making the best out of my situation. besides, and this is mean but, i kind of get a chuckle/shaking my head moment out of watching people jog on a treadmill for an an hour

  32. Ideas are like muscle the more resistance they are subject too the stronger they become , unless they break under the weight.

    It seems to be taking a part of the reasoning they don’t like and they drawing a very unreasonable conclusion that you didn’t make.

    The people that take you out of context are looking for dogma , but all you’re offering is an evolutionary framework to make better decisions, but that won’t stop them from using it dogmatically in argument.

    1. Are we not men? No, we are DEVO…I truly believe we are devolving and getting more ignorant of what truly matters…this electronic age is making us stupid!

      1. I think evolution and de-evolution is happening. 7 billion or so people, it can’t all be going the same way.

  33. Always gonna be haters 🙂
    I think sometimes people don’t like to see others being successful in their lives.

    People that are assuming these things just haven’t read enough of the site (or book/s – still waiting for my copy to arrive!)

    I have only been eating this way for a little over a week (started Mon 4th Feb) – I am overweight, my thyroid is underactive, doctors claim I have IBS and I am pretty sure I have been suffering mild depression for a number of years.

    At the moment I feel like this site…and Mark, have saved my life.

    Already I am down 3kg in weight, I have crazy amounts of energy and I am feeling pretty awesome.

    The haters maybe need to open their minds and try it before sharing their view 🙂

  34. Mark–Great post, but the story that you have an enormous… that’s true, isn’t it? 😉

  35. It always bothers me when people say you (or paleo, or primal) are anti-carb. Not sure how this myth has been perpetuated but I’m glad you’re setting it straight.

    1. Those who criticize low(er) carb diets are likely making the assumption that today’s intake of franken-techno-created, politically-motivated, farm-subsidized levels of carbs are somehow “normal” — and that any deviation downward is somehow “abnormal”.

  36. I don’t know if it counts for much, but having lurked about here for a couple months and having finished reading The Primal Blueprint recently, I didn’t get any of those impressions. I thought your stance on all of those things was pretty clear before.

    1. I’ve been trying to get that book from this library for months since asking them to order it… it’s never in!
      And now the cookbooks are here too.

  37. great article!! Often some of the same sorta doubts I get from people who question how we eat in live in my family!!

  38. I am not a fan of paleo and other strict faddish dogmatic eating regimens but have always found you to be sensible and even-keeled. This is why I enjoy your website. You do a great job.

  39. Mark, I think about your comment on carbs, you backed away too much.

    You should’ve been firmer on insisting that grains and processed sugars are still a no-no.

    It’d have been better to “soften” the carb issue by explaining good carbs vs. bad carbs (for example sweet potatoes and pasta are not the same) and also by reminding people that fruit and vegetables are not zero-carbs.

    1. +1 on this…newcomers who stumble on this article may get the impression that they can have spaghetti because they’re training for a marathon when in reality, a couple sweet potatoes would be best.

      Step one: Determine how many carbs you need to support your training/goals/lifestyle

      Step two: Make sure to only consume good/Primal-friendly carb sources.

  40. Mark,

    Many people say that the only reason that you see (physical) results with this plan are because you are one of those genetic freaks with a great physique..
    PS: I know it isn’t about the physical results (trust me I love my primal life)

  41. The question I always get when I tell someone about MDA or the PB is “what are his (Mark’s) qualifications/credentials?” to say what he says? When I tell them, they very quickly adjust their interest level because he’s not a “doctor” or some other such nonsense. I’ve found it difficult to lead these horses to the MDA watering hole, much less get them to drink. I don’t even try anymore. I know what I’m doing for my health and it gives me joy every day!

    1. “what are his (Mark’s) qualifications/credentials?”

      There are hoards of experts with qualifications and credentials who can’t, or won’t, challenge prevailing systems.

      How many doctors insist that thyroid conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, cancer, etc., “just happen” to some people? Unfortunately, the scientific and medical communities can be extremely closed-minded.

      Any time a scientific study is published, it should include a complete list of all financial contributors and their relationship to the source of the study.

      1. Well said, Helga. I remember quickly finding out about faulty scientific studies in my Sociology classes. It really opened up my eyes on how to perceive the research being presented. Some studies are absolute garbage, and some have ulterior motives. To a person who doesn’t research the research, it looks like a golden rule because Science Said So.

        I’m a believer in the intellectual underdog. Having lost 35lb in four months, overcome my depression, defeated my obesity, and finally started loving myself, I truly think Mark Sisson wants what’s best for us. I can’t say the same for some of those “accredited professionals”. Grok on, Mark.

    2. Credentials, schmedentials! We are outliers! Renegades from Conventional Group Think/Education. Grass-roots revolutionaries. I tell everyone that everything they think they know is wrong and upside down. If they look at me sideways after that, whatever.

      I went through this ten years ago when I got a dog and fed him raw meat and bones. OMG she’s crazy! Been a crazy outlier ever since.

      1. Pura I have always had dogs and horses which I’ve trained and competed with, my golden rule with them has always been they’re a Dog/horse not a garbage bin feed them only what they were meant to eat (no human tidbits such as bread or crap canned food for the dogs etc). I have always gotten comments about what good condition they are in and how shiny their coats are. Weird that its taken me 40 years to do the same for myself.

  42. While I am an avid supporter of MDA and everything that this site stands for I am starting to disagree with the whole “carbohydrate” thing. I was low carb for years eating all sorts of fat with no remorse. While it worked and got me down to a significantly lower body fat I still didn’t feel 100%. I lift heavy weights a couple times a week and really don’t exercise like a fiend. I have added in a significant amount of carbs in the form of sweet potatoes, rice and squashes daily and have had zero fat gain. After reading The Perfect Health diet and monitoring my blood sugar postprandial I notice that clean sources of carbs like I mentioned do not cause any damage. Everyone is different but I think for someone who was never metabolically deranged and active can eat way more carbs from good source. I am rambling sorry but I just wanted to throw it out there.

    1. I think that was Mark’s point with this post- that carbs are NOT the devil, and that as long as they come from good sources, many people can do very well eating more carbs.

  43. Great article — its this type of real response that keeps your blog feeling personal and dedicated to us who are exploring the Primal lifestyle. It’s great to see such resilience from someone who touches the lives of so many so please, don’t stop! Grok on!

  44. Great post, but it doesn’t matter to me what Mark thinks or Mark believes. It matters what I think and believe. One of any size doesn’t fit all. Do your research, listen to your body and obey what it tells you. I searched and experimented with it all and finally, Paleo/Primal worked for me. I will never tell anyone that isn’t Paleo/Primal that they are wrong. I can’t know that.

  45. I was just recently reflecting upon the fact that the recession (depression?) was the best thing that ever happened to me. This is because it gave me the extra free time to actually read about nutrition. I saw an article in our local newspaper that mentioned the Paleo diet as being based on what our ancestors ate and I thought that that made sense. I ended up reading Eades’ ‘Protein Power’ and Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories’ from cover to cover, something that I never would have had the time to do before. I went on to other works and eventually found Mark’s “Primal Blueprint’ and MAD. It has dramatically changed my life for the better.

    My point is that most people simply do not have the time to delve into nutrition to any real extent on their own and seem to bounce around from one point of view to another, hoping to find the holy grail of wellness. And of course most people seem to be set in their ways and often react hostilely to anything that differs from the conventional wisdom. I’ve managed to make peace with myself and no longer get too upset about what other people think and do, although it is sad to see so many people suffering needlessly.

    So it’s not surprising that many people will skim an article or two and come away with a distorted impression of the Primal way of life.

    1. Never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.

  46. Great post Mark. Reinforces the balanced approach I’ve always felt you take; providing guidance and room for personal modifications. The exercising outdoors is a great example. You provide a great standard to shoot for recognizing that each of us needs to do what we can in the environment in which we find ourselves. I find outdoor hiking in Minnesota challenging and exhilerating. The fabulous peace after a big snow provides calm and renewal.

  47. Dear Mark: It must be hard to ‘keep above it” all the time — especially when you are in the public eye and God knows how the folks on these forums, at times, can be ‘in your face’. It’s a tough crowd, for sure! Having said that, I read through your article today and there were no surprises for me. I have voraciously read through MDA over the past 8 months, and learned as much as I can, and I don’t believe I have misconstrued any of the information or your beliefs. There are always going to be those that view information through their own personal lenses and there’s not much we can do about that.

    Thank you for helping me to live a better life. I will be submitting my success story in the next 4 months. Keep on doing what you do, Mark!
    /Lu

  48. Thank you for this post, especially the part about “calories count”.

    I think you need to shout this one from a roof-top. Because too many people with hypothyroidism, look to the Paleo diet, and other low-carb diets that promise “eat all you want”, as the answer to their inability to feel satiated. Unfortunately, if you are hypothyroid, like me, you will always have to count the calories, and watch your portions.

    Thank you so much 🙂
    Denise

  49. I’m grateful everyday to have found MDA.
    Nora and Cate were great,
    but Mark really hit it out of the park.
    Just a groovy little rhyme to express my gratitude. Thanks!

  50. This is a great post Mark. I believe you should have also clarified 3 more things (not for me):

    – the fact that you don’t eat ounces of grass-fed cheese everyday like some people on other blogs say.

    – that you don’t train too much (like hours everyday) to keep up with your toned body

    – that your body is steroid-free in order to maintain such a ripped body at your age.

  51. “Paleo” in the sense of everything primitive may well be a made up thing, just a political convenience to cover up vast knowledge of our ancestors. We did live close to the Nature, walked barefoot, made clothes out of animal skins and ate organic food, however, we were also civilized enough to have knowledge and technology that beats the most advanced stuff of today’s world. Mark, unknowingly, you might be reviving all that knowledge and actually bringing us from dark ages of junk food and EMF’s back to culture that we were once…(you walk barefoot on the beech and run a website, right?:) if it’s possible today, it surely was possible a million years ago. To validate my “wild” claims, you may want to look into research of Andrey Sklyarov, a Russian historian, who investigated the oldest architecture on Earth and came to really interesting conclusions… He and his team made a movie called “Forbidden Topics of History”. It’s in Russian, but if that sounds interesting, you will find Russian folks to translate it for you. (in Russian, the name of the movie is ????????? ???? ???????, ?. ???????). India has a lot of historical evidence (even written) of the fact that we are the primitive culture now and were extremely advanced and cultured long before and were very close to nature at the same time. It’s not that you can be tech-advanced or live in harmony with Nature. Who said it can’t be both together???
    So, to sum up this whole “weird” thing – regardless of whatever any ignorant person assumes about you, you may well be one of the most progressive and cultured people today. Thank you.

  52. Wow, I can’t believe you feel the need to set the record straight, but that’s the way of things these days.

    For the record: I think you are awesome, Mark! I’ve read The Primal Blue Print and I never got the impression that you were any of the things the “critics” have said about you. You have been quite clear in all of your communications.

    And… I’ve been following your primal fitness routine for about a month and I feel great. I’m also grateful to you for sharing so much of your knowledge and wisdom for free.

  53. I haven’t commented much on here, but nearly two years ago I stumbled upon MDA when researching something else, I’ve been primal/paleo ever since, and my life is so much better for it. Even now, when I follow the debates on carbs or whatever the issue of the day is, I look at the opinions of Robb, Kresser, et al – then I still seek out Mark’s perspective because I trust that it will be non-dogmatic and balanced, as it has been all long. A huge thank you for all that you do!

  54. I appreciate the information you provide and what I consider to be your balanced view. I read the information, experiment and decide what works for me.
    Thanks for all you do Mark.

  55. Mark, I have been a follower of the Primal Blueprint for over a year now. I have also turned multiple friends and family on to it, all achieving great success. I have been such a fan that I have had to tell people that I am not paid or compensated in any way by your company! But there is one big question I’ve always been curious about. I THINK I know the answer, but since we’re dealing with misconceptions here, I’ll just ask. Do you believe in God and Jesus Christ? My assumption would be no, since you refer to our “ancestors” a lot. I am a very strong Christian and I believe your wisdom, leadership and gifts in the area of nutrition and fitness are amazing gifts from The Lord that you are sharing with everyone. Your answer will in no way change my opinion of you. I will love you and what you do anyway. I’m just curious. Keep up the great work, and God bless.

    1. In my experience only Americans and Irish would think to ask a complete stranger about their religion!

      Way too personal……

  56. Hi Mark,
    just received your news today… and I have to say this: you were the first who introduced me to Primal lifestyle and “Paleo diet”, and that was almost 2 years ago. And I value that more than anything because it changed my life, and my health!

    So now of course I’ve read so many other’s books and websites, but for me it is the mixing of all information that is valuable. So of course I keep reading your news and the other’s, and I don’t bother with critics.
    As someone said higher in the comments, I think you shouldn’t have to bother with the critics of people who didn’t read your works! (but I understand also why you wanted to clear up things)

    And I would like to thank you for all the work done! 🙂

  57. My boyfriend is one of those that think that Mark glorifies the life of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. He is very into human history and while reading Primal Blueprint felt that Mark was not 100% accurate in his description of the life of Grok made it sound too idyllic…that was enough for him to discredit the entire book. Personally, I think he was just looking for any excuse to say that the whole Primal/Paleo way of life is full of crap.

    The thing that gets me, is he’s seen how I’ve lost weight and he also sees how eating grains affects me – especially gluten (he has a whole other theory about gluten sensitivities). I put on 5 pounds (ugh!) in January because I ate more grains than I usually do – especially wheat. Our meals are all basically Primal at this point, but he still snacks on candy, bread, and other non-primal foods on a regular basis and wonders why he feels like crap all the time, can’t get out of bed in the morning to go to the gym, and isn’t loosing any weight. I don’t lecture him because I figure I’ll lead by example – he’s a very intelligent man and I’m sure at some point he’ll get it, but until then, it can be very frustrating sitting back watching him do this to himself.

    1. Young women think “at some point he’ll get it” LOL. After a few years go by, it becomes clear that intellect and discipline are not at all correlated.

  58. I get the same response ( or lack thereof ).
    What I love though,
    My daughter telling people that her mother lost 30 pounds following this lifestyle. She also tells them that I do not adhere 100%, and am not able ( yet )to do the really “heavy/hard” exercise as she does.
    I have never had a problem understanding any of Marks writings. If it wasn’t for this site and Marks enormous gift of knowledge, I’d still be over 200 lbs and miserable as hell.

    1. And I suspect I’d have irreversible compromised digestion by now, based on the way things were going for a couple years before I went primal. A life saved?

  59. I admire and respect you Mark Sisson, I have read your blog and books for the last two years and I have learned to live and love quality life over quantity. I’m healthier than ever before, I have learned the real meaning of control and moderation in all areas in my life and still working on them. I live a happier life now! thank you for everything you have done and shared with us!

  60. Hey Mark,
    Awesome post…and I recognize how frustrating it must be to be constantly bombarded with people trying to cut you down or misquote you or tell you that you must be crazy because of your beliefs. Sometimes, no, often, , no, ALWAYS, it is hard to be ahead of the curve with new ideas. It’s hard to be different, it’s hard to go against “conventional wisdom” and things like the Food guide or pyramid an buck the trends. I know I struggle with it, as many people in my extended family and friends don’t agree with me trying to live the Primal lifestyle, and sometime I get tired of trying to defend myself. Sometimes I give up, but then I always come back, as I know it is so much better than the alternative. So, I tell my son, yeah, it’s hard to be ahead of the curve and you just have to be strong (when he still mocks me for following a primal lifestyle as he has been brainwashed by his step-mother who is on Weight Watchers), so I just realize that I have to rise above it all and my health and test results are the proof in the pudding, or, should I saw, in the grass-fed beef! Keep up the awesome work and I’ll always keep believing in you…

  61. In my experience as soon as you are in the public eye there will always be those that are not plagued by thought that will put the boot in no matter what you say or do.

    Some will go to extrodinary lengths to find fault and spend hours searching information to bring you down. Call it he tall poppy syndrome, you are successful and have helped countless people (myself included) to shake up their make up. Because I have a brain and like to engage it, I take out what I want to put in…I don’t care about exercising inside outside or upside down, I just do it…pfffft I know what works for my body…what about that poster saying its cold outside how can I exercise…FFS what a numpty!! Gee if its cold outside ummmm exercise inside????

    Mark don’t ever feel you have to defend yourself, you will always have these galactically stupid muppets trolling blogs wanting attention and waiting for a reaction..ignore, ignore…

    You along with other great people have helped me regain my health, all your suggestions have allowed me to use my brain and figure out for myself that I ate too much crap especially carbs, cut them down, get my butt moving, and viola a new body has emerged.

    Go you…and to the haters…get a life!

    1. Last night someone in the shelter I’ve been at lately actually got mad at me for eating salmon and a raw onion.
      I had just cut the ends off the onion and he sidled up to me and pushed my arm and knocked the onion down. I stayed chill out of reason, just picked it up and washed it off. I had a sharp knife in the other hand. Carefully kept it where it was…
      The guy said he’d stomp my teeth in if I went through with eating my meal instead of the junk being served for dinner. So, I took big bites of that raw onion with a smile. Didn’t need to hurt him. He just backed off.

      1. Before it was a shelter it was a crackhouse; maybe that contributes to some of the bizarre behaviour.

        1. And maybe all the “cleaning” chemicals contribute.
          Let’s spray Lysol everywhere, multiple times a day, until we can taste it in the air of the house hours afterwards!

  62. Seen this and couldnt resist having my 2 cents 🙂 I think there are so many haters out, and also the corps are suffering. Across the board they are not making the same money – people are used to the hard sell the soft sell, there bs and mind control. People are waking up and becoming more savvy and no so much the mindless drones of the past. Beware the Agents that are sent into stir things up. Not a conspiracy, its a fact. They want your money and they want your minds. But people are wising up. Thats what i see as ive followed mark for best part of a year. Personally im also gonna say I dont like Gyms, I think mudering yourself in a Gym for 3 hours and paying someone for the privalege is a fools errand. The body, like a car engine has a shelf life, and if you put the pedal to the metal consistantly…well im just gonna say im not in it for the ego but the longevity and i think so are many others. Nothing wrong with working out, but i do 20-30 mins at home most nights and thats enough ontop of walking and “life” *My 2 Cents.

  63. Mark, I think that much of the criticism directed in your direction is your carb paradigm (the pyramid). Many question its scientific validity, including the insulin hypothesis that I think you’ve since abandoned. I realize that it’s a way of naturally keeping calories down, which is helpful for the overweight. However, it may be harmful for the younger, leaner demographic trying to solve other health issues. A few years ago in college I started eating according to MDA, which was then even more carb-phobic (refeeds and potatoes are quite recent trend). I ran into some common symptoms of restrictive diets (low libido, cold hands, low energy, etc). It might have been from low-carb or low-calorie in general, I can’t say for sure. It might have been due to extremely low leptin levels from low body fat. Either way, I am still fighting some of those symptoms (like the guy from your last post). This is the demographic that eventually goes to Matt Stone of 180 Degrees, who goes to the opposite extreme (junk food!). So what does one do? I would suggest that calorie tracking for the extremely thin is actually a decent idea, along with higher carb intake and frequent carb refeeds (a la LeanGains). The stance you have on carbs now is much laxer than it used to be, but you have to admit that for many years you too were part of the fear mongering, which has led some down the wrong path.

  64. Martin, i hope you are joking. Either that or you truly are a fool. Think about your ancestors. Do you think they would exercise on ice like they had immunity to slipping? If you choose to exercise outside during the short span of icy whether in the year, then use common sense. Stick to the grass or non-icy areas. Think before you post.

    1. Ice can be a a great surface for exercise. We are all terrain animals.
      Last winter I tobogganed by sprinting down a big icy hill and then continuing with the momentum to slide far distances on my feet, butt, and back, often alternating between them in one run, and spinning too. It was a thrill. Ice is useful for balance practice.

  65. Great article. Thank you for writing it. I completely agree!

  66. This was a good post because it served as a healthy recap of the PB. One problem though…I wholeheartedly resolve never to count calories or carbs. But Mark suggests we stay within the 100 gram thresh-hold if not training hard. How do I know if I’m there without counting?

    1. I think the best way is to just listen to your body! If you feel great, keep doing whatever you’re doing. If you don’t feel great, experiment with increasing or decreasing carbs.

  67. Oh no, you don’t fall in line with what’s all over the media, but wait, it makes sense and doesn’t involve spending a lot of money. That’s why people put it down.

  68. May be a little off subject…When I was first diagnosed with Type II Diabetes I was required by my HMO to attend a meeting (presented by an insulate Manufacture) as to how to control my blood sugar by (1) diet and lifestyle changes and (2)How to self administer injections.

    During the first half of the meeting, we were asked what we were doing at the time to control our condition, I mentioned that I had success by using a High-Protein Moderate-Fat Very-Low Carib Diet.

    Upon hearing this a Nurse-Practitioner, employed by the HMO, exploded in anger, telling me (and all in the room) that ALL diabetics should only eat a High-Carib, Low-Protein, Zero-Fat Diet….All other diets were “Unhealthy” Why? Because THAT is what “she was told”…I explained to her “So basicly.You’re a PARROT! Never looked at any of the studies,and that before the advent of injection insulin, this was a method of treatment”

    Let me give an aside here, My Professional “LOW Point” was that before my disability which caused my retirement,I was a Hospital Administrator, a Director of Radiology. I traded trying to save trauma victims in the ER, for trying to make “Bean Counters” who had NEVER had to empty a bed pan UNDERSTAND….. So, let me say that too many people in the medical profession just repeat what ever the official line is from the Drug Companies. (That,and 99.8% of ALL Nurse Practitioners are idiots…But they work Cheap.)

    So when it came time for the 2nd half of the class (learning how to self-inject) I was the ONLY person in the room that didn’t have to stay….Which I just as loudly pointed out to Nurse Nasty.

    So Mark, If you are “Caching Flack” it just means “Dude, You’re over the target”

    1. Well, you had me until you called practically every nurse practitioner an idiot.

      I agree with you that RNs can tend towards being “rule based”. My mother was one. She’s had a life with more downs then ups because she thought life was about memorizing a set of rules.

      On the other hand, Doctors are not always the cream of the crop society likes to make them out to be. I’ve watched MDs struggle with basic math calculations (seriously). Most have never had courses on nutrition and struggle if you’re eating a “weird” diet. (Because the system wastes years training them to be surgeons, even if they never do anything more than a few stitches.) I’ve even had MDs give almost frantic advise based on what amounted to heresay. I had to go look up the numbers myself to make a rational decision on it.

      The difference between those experiences is that a nurse practitioner will at least charge less for a cookie cutter medicine by rote experience then your average MD. And usually with less ego to boot. 😉

      Phew! Having said all that, I tend to think that almost any practitioner has their heart in the right place, regardless of credential. The system puts MDs on the top of the medical “smarts” pyramid, but I’ve found both intelligent and no so much providers are everywhere, also regardless of credential. We’re all flawed people, working in flawed systems, on a flawed planet. I get frustrated, too, but I try to give others some slack.

    2. A RN is NOT a Nurse Practitioner (but all Nurse Practitioner were at one time RN’s)

      The problems with NP’s Mis-Medicating are well known within the medical community, towards this end The current proposal is that all advanced practice registered nurse programs will require a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree by 2015, thus effectively eliminating the MN or the MSN as an entry to practice degree. However, all state Nursing Boards will be required to revise their current Practice Acts in order for this to become mandatory.

      Please contact your state legislators to force change before you or someone DIES at the hands of people unqualified to provide care.

  69. Mark,

    One of the things I like most about your site is how moderate and anti-dogmatic your views are. You always consider the other side of the coin, even if it goes against your knee-jerk reaction (ex. “is this paleo?” posts allow for grey areas of quasi-paleo foods). I like that you give your perspective on an issue, but tend to ultimately say that if something ultimately makes one feel good, she should do it.

    Keep up the good work! Yours is the only blog I keep up with consistently!

  70. I definitely believe that Paleo/Primal is the most healthy way to go. Am still looking for balance within this lifestyle however as I have a goal to drop some body fat. I am a distance runner by choice because I love it but have noticed with a low carbohydrate high protein diet I definitely feel zapped in my long runs if I slip into ketosis. I am alos curious about caloric intake. On a primal diet I am not cosuming much more than 1000 calories per day on average with deficits of 500-1200 depending on activity but am having a hard time dropping body fat. I guess getting below 20% is just going to take time and I need to be more patient but I just want to make sure I am doing anything to sabotage my goals. Any suggestions would be AWESOME. Thanks 🙂

    1. You may want to try increasing your calorie intake. 1000 seems too low.

  71. Great article, but I must admit that I was hoping you’d finally address the testosterone and HGH allegations!

  72. You have helped me achieve optimal health Mark!! I always try to absorb as much information as possible from your posts and your great books. They have helped me understand how our body was meant to fuel itself based on our ancestors diet. The Primal Blueprint has changed my life. Thank you. You have a great blog and its sad when people try to tarnish your name with false information.

  73. I think at the end of the day we need to do what we know is best for ourselves.

    Do I think I need to be outdoors more? Absolutely! But at the moment I live in New England and being outdoors really doesn’t work for me right now.

    I never take any one thing as absolute. I don’t have to be PERFECT PRIMAL, or PERFECT PALEO, or PERFECT CLEAN – I just have to be Kyra.

    But thank you for being an amazing guide in the right direction!

  74. RIGHT ON! Glen2gs,
    I love the analogy of the parrot.
    This probably true of most of the medical “establishment”.

  75. Whenever my diet or lifestyle comes up or somebody asks something, these are bound to come up. It’s good to clarify!

  76. Hey Mark, what do you think about P90X and other programs like this? There sure is a lot of cardio, like 1h daily at high intensity, and it’s nothing compared with insanity. I am really curious what do you think. The food they are suggesting are really close to primal.

  77. Hello Mark,

    I have taken alot of your advice and it has helped me. Now, I hope my advice can help you. Ignore the whiners who attempt to discredit your good work. For those of us that follow your site, buy your books, apply the Grok lifestyle…we know what works. I have seen some of these weak links on the web attempting to discredit you and they always come across as extemely jealous. Keep up the good work, stay positive and continue to leave the naysayers in your wake! This is the best way to “answer” the dream stealers.

  78. Mark’s blog entry is more than just “setting the record straight” IMO, it is also a good reinforcement / learning experience taken from an interesting perspective.

  79. Whoever has misinterpretations about Mark just doesn’t realize how amazing he is. He is an expert in nutrition and exercise. He’s changing lives to live healthier and feel their best. His knowledge he has is outstanding, he works hard to bring his knowledge to us here on MDA, he is out to help us. I’ve followed his advice for years and i feel better than i ever have!!! I’ve always believed in what Mark says and i always will because what he says and does WORKS!!!!!

  80. I truly believe you should question everything (and then question it again), at least until you can make an educated decision based on the literature, materials, and experiences you’ve subjected yourself to. That said, I think some people (strictly for argument’s sake) tend to add a cynical or overtly negative connotation to their inquiries, twisting an idea so much that they lose sight of the basis of what they’re questioning in the first place. Inevitably, this leaves you having to defend the ideals you’ve already thoroughly explained, all because people are either ignorant in their arguments or just badly misinterpret any given point, or both. What’s worse is the latter typically spreads those misinterpretations like wild fire, hence the necessity for a post like this.

  81. I get the glassy-eyed-horror-look when I say I cut out grains, eat very little fruit, and load on vegetables and high-quality protein. I happen to have congestive heart failure, BUT I have a cardiologist who fully supports my diet (I take my food journal to appointments). For right now, I’m grateful for medications that keep fluids from drowning me. At my last visit, I asked if I could get rid of any of the medication. She said when I turn into a lean, mean, fighting machine, we’ll talk. Notice she said WHEN! not IF! This just shows-to-go-you that some western trained docs really are ok.

    On another note, a co-worker asked what I was doing and I told her the basics (as above) and suggested the best place to check is MDA. Well, now SHE is a shadow of her former self! That’s two of us; bit-by-bit, step-by-step.

    One last thing. I found a good MDA companion book. Gedgaudas, Nora T., CNS, CNT. “Primal Body, Primal Mind.” ISBN978-159477413-3. A little more draconian than MDA, but excellent information. Gedgaudas advocates no dairy (what? no cream in my coffee), no coffee (WHAT????? she’s in Portland, OR and says no coffee? What’s that about???)…. But she also has an easily understandable chapter about leptin (no, not lectins, leptin). Check it out. And as usual, as Mark says, (sic) use what you can.

  82. 33% of babies are born with cords wrapped once, twice, three times around the neck. It’s completely normal, and as long as there is a sufficient amount of Wharton’s Jelly within the cord, then the two arteries and one vein that lay within are protected from compression, even with tight cords. The intervention needed would be with shorter cords, thin cords, and/or extremely tight cords. Babies do not breathe as we breathe, and as long as the healthy cord remains intact and not clamped or cut right after the baby is born, then there is plenty of time to slowly unwrap said cord and wait for baby to take his/her first breath. If birth was so delicate, we wouldn’t have made it as a species. If we truly needed to have our babies cut out of us 35% of the time (the U.S. c-sec rate), again we wouldn’t have made it as a species. C-sections can and do save lives, however it should be under a 15% rate as is recommended by the World Health Organization. The dangers for mothers back then was likely hemorrhage, laboring until baby died if there were complications unable to be assisted, and infection. The same as in impoverished countries round the world today. The dangers for babies were things such as placenta previa, infectiom, or starvation if their mother died and not enough lactating women in their tribe could share the nursing demands. Yes, diseases that may have needed herbs that weren’t in season, medications not yet invented, predators, etc. The number one danger was truly losing their mother, however the U.S. RIGHT NOW has the 2nd highest rate of infant mortality of all the developed nations and our maternal mortality rate (due to the increase of non-medically necessary c-sections) is continuously rising to horrific levels as well. Women who eat well and not the SAD diet will have the healthiest and least complicated pregnancies and births by far. No-one and no technology can grow your baby any better than you can with a fantastic diet.

    1. First, I’m going to say mostly agree with you. I had 3 babies at home with midwives. 🙂

      Just one hesitation, though. There’s a tendency to use infant mortality stat in the discussion around birth politics and in fairness to everyone, I think it should come back out. 🙂

      The US is the world’s 3rd largest nation. We’re also very detailed and honest in our record keeping. Most of the world’s developed nations are much smaller, do not contain the same cultural diversity, and tend to account for deaths differently.

      The low infant mortality rate is found in very distinct pockets in the US, mostly having to do with social/economic factors. If Europe decided to use our reporting standards and report as one big lump,rather than say, as Switzerland, I suspect we’d look a whole lot better as a nation.

      That said, I’m totally on board with the concept that the US should work towards lowering it’s C-section rate. The procedure is not treated with the respect that it’s due. 15% should be the goal — avoiding major abdominal surgery for a normal, health event is pretty worthwhile way to improve women’s health.

    2. The best diet in the world is no guarantee against complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

      1. Going to a hospital is no guarantee a mother won’t die or suffer serious complications in the hands of incompetents. Life is risk – everyone has to do their best to manage it in the ways they see fit.

  83. Living in Hawaii most definitely makes you biased! I think a lot of people that live in warmer, sunnier climates have a hard time wrapping their mind around what happens in the winter to some of us, and I’m not even in blizzard country!

    Still, I also don’t have super hot summers, which I hate. You get used to the weather here after awhile, if you have the right gear and some vitamin D pills.

    There was some scientific research I read awhile back that I can’t find that said if a person laid in full sun in January anywhere north of San Francisco in a bikini for an hour they still wouldn’t get enough vitamin D. Where is this elusive full sun in January and how on earth would someone lie outside that time of year in a bikini? Hint: Occasionally the sun does come out, but it’s still 40 degrees and damp.

    Still I wouldn’t trade where I live for anywhere. I love the northwest. Even if it means I have to take vitamin D and stay rain-equipped. At least it’s not 20 below and blizzarding!

  84. This article really upsets me and I’ll tell you why:

    Because people gossip and say things they just assume. After reading your book, e-books, and articles it’s clear your not against gyms among the other things.

    People will read one article and assume you’re a die hard advocate for that one passionate thing your writing about. And you may be but they should read more of what you have to say to get the entire picture.

    Buy your book, download your e-books and learn. We all have our own way we want to live and who gives two flips what you believe Mark. You believe what you believe and the people who choose to hear what you have to say and educate on (that’s me)will listen and learn. The people who want to critique should be open to all ways of thinking. Whats up with this closed off mind?

    Or they can just go try Weight Watchers, or the South Beach Diet :-/. Prepacked food anyone?

  85. A lot of Science is yet to be discovered and of Science has been discovered already, but I won’t dare disrespect another persons opinion, neither would I ask to prove it, after all, nobody was around to see a real Caveman family, we are hearing new things each day, but its always great to take a keen interest in the real question, what is a perfect diet?…

  86. Sorry if this is a little off topic. There seems to be a general idea on this site that grains are unhealthy, however why do you believe this?

    I’m wary of this claim because _many_ people live very long and healthy lifestyles while eating lots of grains. The Japanese diet contains large amounts of rice and the Sicilian diet contains large amounts of bread. How do you account for this?

    1. Yes, that’s one of the main points of the Primal Blueprint. I’d recommend clicking on the ‘Start Here’ tab and doing some reading! Mark has done a ton of posts about grains.

  87. Great post Mark! My son introduced me to the primal lifestyle,and after one year and 30lbs. gone I joined a bootcamp. I am now down inches but not lbs. because I have gained lean muscle. If there’s one thing that gets me through is “forget conventional wisdom” this has helped me in more ways then one. Keep up the good work Mark.

  88. Bravo Mark, you grok!! The world needs more of your sort of common sense, you are an inspiration.

  89. Mark,

    You’ve changed thousands of lives for the better. You did mine, and I earnestly and deeply thank you for it.

    You write well; you are intelligent, unassuming, diligent and measured. You have created something important that directly affects the health and well-being of thousands and has ripple-effects well beyond.

    You are fighting the good fight, and you do it with effortless grace.

    Thanks for the post.

  90. I absolutely agree with what many have said – I love this blog, I read it daily; had never had any of these misconceptions. Mark, thank you for all the knowledge you are so generously sharing with us!

  91. I felt really sheepish when I got to the part about consuming thousands of extra calories of coconut oil. I don’t know what possessed me to think that doing that wouldn’t make me gain weight. Too much wishful thinking on my part ;).

  92. There should be a Law, though:
    Neither thyself nor thine tasty animals shalt thee feed seeds from the kingdom of the plants.

  93. Mark, I didn’t assume any of that about you. And given that this is your site, you may share any opinion you please and not worry about naysayers (are there any?) I think you live by example and share with others what is obviously working for you (as well as many others). Grok on! 🙂

  94. “If you somehow find the will and desire to gorge endlessly on multiple thousands of calories of coconut oil and butter and red palm oil and mac nuts and grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon, you can and likely will gain weight (and fat). ”

    Wouldn’t this be needed / recommended for building muscles (how to gain weight and build muscles post) ?

    I’ve been reading MDA for a couple of years now, I understand most of it. But just wanted to confirm the above. Thanks!

  95. Mark stop apologizing to the failed modern health paradigm. They are wrong and you are right. Full stop.
    The modern diet IS the cause of all the degenerative diseases. You say modern “medical technology” makes us live longer but I am sure you are wrong. The whole industry of pharmaceutical drugs and its ugly twin sister the vaccine industry seem to have no benefit whatsoever to the human race. To be honest Mark it’s time to attack the preconceived wisdom rather than defend your proven concepts.

    1. Well, things like good hygiene for necessary surgeries and emergency medical care (for accidents and such) likely help us live longer! But I agree that the pharmaceutical industry isn’t the best for our health. There’s a time and a place for drugs, but they’ve definitely overstepped their bounds!

    2. I’m not 100% comfortable with the idea of vaccinations, but look at the alternative: epidemics of polio, pertussis, smallpox….Vaccinations have saved many, many lives.

  96. Mark, I’m curious to know what is your personal blood type. Reason for asking I have many things similar to yourself IM athlete etc and currently having internal battle with diet on which way to go. Your reply would be greatful and thanks ROB

  97. Mark, maybe it is time to revise your carbohydrate curve. I’m one of those slow movement, lift weights 2x a week, hike 1x a week kind of people yet I probably eat into that “insidious weight gain” carb range (all from potatoes/sweet potatoes, fruit, honey, and even some sugar in my dark chocolate) yet I’m not gaining any weight at all. This even though I arrived here as an insulin resistant perimenopausal woman. I think the lifting makes all the difference.

    1. Isn’t this because you are now fat adapted though? I know that when I used to eat a pint of ice cream in one evening I was guaranteed to see 2 extra pounds on the scale the next day. But now, when I indulge the scale doesn’t even budge. I assumed it was because I’m now fat adapted…

  98. Hi, please could someone help me out with tips for rapid visceral fat loss prior to abdominal surgery? I’ve just been in to have my apparently ruptured appendix out (catscan) and the surgeon could not even find it embedded in a large fatty mass. How gross is that! I can’t believe I let myself get into such a state. so I’m on antibiotics til he deems it wise to go back in. been paleo for about 6 months, losing weight, but evidently not from inside my tum. 5’4″ 76kg at present.

  99. One thing I’m confused about is that you (Mark Sisson) really promote grass-fed beef, butter, coconut oil, etc., but when describing your own diet, you don’t seem to eat any of those things. In your outline of your typical daily diet, it seems like you mostly eat vegetables with a little chicken or turkey.
    Sounds very healthy, but not exactly like the Primal Diet foods highlighted on the rest of the site.
    Sorry if I missed something, but it doesn’t seem like you eat the grass fed beef that you frequently recommend.

  100. People are always more critical when it doesn’t “fit” their lifestyle. I think because they feel guilty about not taking care of their health and hearing what they “should” be doing to improve it. I appreciate all that you have done to give me information to improve my health!! Keep up the great work that you do!!

  101. My hub caught your short segment on a news-show (NBC?). Without knowing who you are, he said, “THAT guy has got to be on steroids”.

    Don’t shoot the messenger! *ducks and runs*

  102. Unfortunately Dave Asprey theBulletProof has a lot to answer for here. All your denials are his specific and critical claims and because he mentions you as an. Advocate you have also been tainted. IOut of curiosity I tried Bulletproof Coffee amd eating 3000 Cals a day I dis BF to tbe letter ‘T’ – I for a month and I neither lost or gained wirght nut I did gaon body fat. I also had no energy to go to the gym.
    Its regretable you have been labeld or put into the same category as Dave Asprey anf should refute his claims whenever you can.

  103. Thanks Mark, ignore the haters, you have turned around the health of thousands like me. I am glad I found mda and primal blueprints. Down 45 lbs, 4 pant sizes in a year, felt like I won a health lottery.

  104. “Do it because you love it. But don’t do it to live forever.”

    This reminded me of Kurt Harris’s pronouncement (which always makes me lauch) on the summary page of his Archevore diet: “Lift weights every day or run marathons for ‘fun’, but not for your health.”

  105. Honestly: some people are not happy unless they have something to complain or argue about. Newsflash.. if you don’t like the program then don’t do it. No one is forcing you. Find a different one that fits your lifestyle
    Seriously: My daughter has been sick since Thanksgiving and missed 2 months of school. We went 100% primal, vitamins and everything. She is back in school and back in the pool getting ready for long course season. After hundreds of dollars in tests, this is the only thing that worked and makes sense.

  106. Keep up the great work. Slowly but surely your distillation and dissemination of this wisdom will make a massive difference to all of our lives. Thank you, and it’s a shame you have to defend yourself, but ’twas ever thus!

  107. Mark, you hit a nerve with this post!

    I’ve been following MDA ever since I stumbled on it a couple of months ago. I keep coming back because you are fun and interesting to read, and you are honest about what you do and don’t know. As this most recent post shows, you are comfortable enough in your skin that you can acknowledge your critics without becoming defensive or peevish.

    You are a class act!

  108. Another benefit of sunshine I just saw: Nitric oxide from the skin for cardio health
    youtube.com/watch?v=Lh9lDWPMWrM

  109. I was one of those people that thought I could eat as many calories as I wanted as long as they were primal. When I wasn’t getting the results I wanted I dug into this site and quickly found that Mark says calories do matter. We hear what we want to hear. I personally needed to eat more in order to make the transition to primal. Now I’ve adapted and the weight is finally starting to come off quickly. Thanks again Mark! Keep up the great work!

  110. “I’ll always choose to workout outside if I can. Of course, I live in Malibu, where winter is when surfers wear hooded sweatshirts with their shorts and sandals, so I have the luxury of exercising outdoors year round. Many people do not. Perhaps my perspective is skewed.”

    Nope not skewed Mark. Possibly uninformed though. Where I live, I can run, ski, swim, hike, paddle, ride, bike, play Ultimate, and do anything you do. I just do them during the appropriate season!

    You do know about seasonal outdoor workouts, right? 😉

  111. “I’ll always choose to workout outside if I can. Of course, I live in Malibu, where winter is when surfers wear hooded sweatshirts with their shorts and sandals, so I have the luxury of exercising outdoors year round. Many people do not. Perhaps my perspective is skewed.”

    Nope not skewed Mark. Possibly uninformed though. Where I live, I can run, ski, swim, skate, hike, paddle, ride, bike, play Ultimate, and do anything you do.

    I just do them during the appropriate season!

    You do know about seasonal outdoor workouts, right? 😉

  112. My husband assumes you are a rich coconut loving nutcase who only looks the way you do cos you have nothing better to do than bound along Malibu beaches! However he now only eats grass fed meat, no longer requests Cheerios and has started switching off the TV and computer in the evening. Not to mention he now admits that he doesn’t think bread is good for you anymore and has cut down on the sugar in his tea. So you might be a nutcase(!) but he’s taking a lot of what you said on board …

  113. I had an older gent who was a former competitive powerlifter speak to me the other day. He had many friends who were athletes and he flat out said, all my long distance runner friends are having a lot of trouble. The constant pounding and wear and tear of ‘cardio’ has taken its toll on their bodies.

    However, he and other lifters weren’t too bad. He was a large burly man of 60 but you’d argue he was in his 40s. He had no back issues whatsoever and he still enjoyed lifting on an occasional basis.

    Maybe not statistically significant but interesting all the same.

  114. Mark

    As a believer in our modern diet and way of life etc being “wrong” and hence supporting the paleo movement and ideas it is important that one is accurate.

    So, when you mention “calories” it is really important that this conventional measure of energy intake is rejected and discredited! It is a false and incorrect measure as it purely measures how much energy is released when samples are burnt in a crucible – which bears no relation to the actual energy input to the human body! I.e., how the human body processes proteins/fats/carbohydrates and the way these are stored or excreted or incorporated.

    Conventional wisdom is totally wrong on the food energy values and I would therefore hope more enlightened sources like yourself would not give these any credence!

  115. Well said Kirk!

    I stumbled onto MDA and the Primal Blueprint while doing research before starting Crossfit training (At age 56).

    As a retired law enforcement officer, and owner of a couple of businesses, I research almost everything before randomly throwing myself or my income into it.

    I have to give credit where credit is due! I started out at a little over 250#’s in late October, and today, weigh in at 216#. The first 20#’s of that (MOL), was lost strictly by changing my “dietary lifestyle.”

    The weight loss resulted in an immediate reduction in many of the “daily aches and pains”, which had led me to a more sedintary lifestyle over the last 8-10 years. At the same time, it gave me the energy to become more active.

    As of today, I feel better than I’ve felt in years!

    I Crossfit 3x’s a week, and have implemented several of the changes Mark recommends in my daily lifestyle.

    I am seeing physiological changes that I haven’t seen since I was in my early 30?s!!

    And while I have plateaued again at 216#(+/-), I credit that more to the reduction of fat and the addition of lean muscle tissue.

    My goal was and is, my former military seervice and martial arts competition weight of 195-200; however, I may forego that goal if the changes dictate.

    I’ve read as much as I can possibly digest of Marks information, as well as that of others who hold views similar to his.

    I have also read (and viewed) a large amount of the information provided by those with an alternative viewpoint.

    IMO, both have their points, and both have their purpose.

    The thing that bothers me most, is the constant negativity, the demeaning commentary and childish name calling, from many outside the Primal and/or Crossfit communities.

    Why? Other than to further a personal agenda, is there a real purpose to such rhetoric?

    In decades of martial arts training, it always amazed me how one “style” would claim that their system was better than the rest.

    In the real world where I lived and worked, there was no one “perfect” system. Instead, it was usually a combination of “systems”, along with some good old fashion street fighting and a modicum of common sense, that won the day!

    The same holds true in the diet and training areanas, at least for me.

    In my humble opinion at least, one should do what works for them, what makes them feel/look better, and what in the end makes them healthier.
    If medical science and testing happens to prove out the fact that they are better and/or healthier than when they started, then what’s the gripe?

    In my lifetime as a LEO and former member of our military, it has been brutally obvious, that we have no shortage of reasons to argue, fight and wage war on each other. Why add health and the quest for a fuller, longer, and hopefully happier, life to the list?

    If the lifestyle, diet, or exercise program isn’t for you, doesn’t fit your personal goal(s), or you simply disagree with it, why not just move on to something that does?

    I am always up for lively debate, but when it turns personal or negative, it’s time for me to move on.

    And while I have seen my share of “paleo” or “Primal” purists, and adamant Crossfit followers, I really haven’t noticed a lot of negative commentary out of either of these groups torward other disciplines.

    There really is room in this great world of health, training and nutrition for everyone and thier opinions.

    As for any comment about Marks commercial interest in all of this, all I can say is these sites aren’t free.
    Everyone has to either make a living, or rely on the government (or others) to survive. Taking the second option, would likely be in opposition to Marks “Primal” beliefs, and frankly, we have enough people waiting for the government to support them!

    Mark is a businessman. It costs money to stay in business, and he makes a lot of information available at no charge to those of us who wish to partake of it.

    Mark has chosen a path that he feels helps others, while at the same time supports himself and his family.

    In the end, as long as there is no harm done, I see absolutely nothing wrong with either of these goals.

    Mark, thanks for all you have done and continue to do, to promote health and longevity.

    Gordon

    PS- Sorry for the unbelieveably long post!

  116. It is very upsetting to be misunderstood, I experience it often since I train horses and their owners often misunderstand me and not only their horse when I explain things, cause we have different experiences, approaches and knowledge or on the whole not the same wavelength. It can be very frustrating, so I unterstand the urge to make things more clear. Unfortunately you can’t force anybody to understand you 🙂
    I want to point out that I never had any of the misconceptions mentioned above, though I’m only into this for three months. Mark has explained everything so well and clear to me that I think those who misunderstand his arguments just want to use them for their own purposes, pull out a phrase out of context and use it in their own selfish way. I find your articles and work tremendously valuable and generous and hope you will continue to share them despite the inherent misconceptions of those who misread your explanations and views.

    1. Hear, Hear Margit! How wise you are, and very clear. Thank you!

  117. I like playing Grok. 46 year old, grandfather and father of 4, successful business executive. I used to work my butt off with cardio and weights, 2 hours 5 days a week. Now I Tabata, lift heavy things, walk, sleep, eat GF beef/bison, raw wild fish, offal, and steer clear of most carbs(other than from veggies/berries/fruits). NEVER FELT BETTER.

    Thanks Mark!

  118. It’s a funny world. One has to wonder why some folks get so hot-and-horrible over the topic of seeking a better way of living. I live in South Africa, and we have Prof Tim Noakes as a thinking, testing sports scientist, who, in recent years, has taken great interest in Mark’s ideas. He has been attacked by medical academics, by sportsmen, by armchair athletes, because he dared to change his mind, and publish his thoughts, about eating differently than he previously advocated. The nature and language of his critics is much the same as that used by Mark’s critics. Hey, you can’t please ’em all.

  119. Hi interesting comments just recent UK studies at diet and diabetics have confirmed your position that we only really need 30 seconds of serious work out per day or 3 min a week, stay off hydrogenated fats like all margarine, stick to butter and animal fats that your body was designed to eat, enough carbs and roughage in fruit and nuts and as this appears to confirm your stance, well done you. dietitians are slowly waking up, as are cardiac surgeons.

  120. I live in a very small town where everyone knows everyone else, most are related. It’s amazing how gossip about what someone things or believes can be twisted. Everyone knows that’s what happens but they still let themselves be sucked into the hearsay.

    As a natural bodybuilder, I first began thinking about exercise and fitness from a hunter/gatherer POV before anyone ever heard about a Paleolithic Diet. I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me to think about diet in those terms. I mistakenly listened tot he FDA’s guidelines. That was a mistake. I always felt like I had to starve myself to keep my body fat percent down. Not anymore.

    Humans always think they can do a one- upmanship on nature. Humans feed grains to cows believing that’ll make for better steaks. It makes them sick (a cow’s version of metabolic syndrom) and in turn can make us sick. We squeeze seeds for oil and proclaim it healthier for our body to cook with. Is it? Maybe, maybe not. Why…when none of our ancestors did that and so it was never part of diet.

    People get it when I tell them: “If I take a cow out the feed lot and put it on the best pasture grass eating a diet it cattle evolved to eat, am I putting that cow on a fad diet?” People easily get that metaphor. So why do they have difficulty apply that same reasoning to themselves? It’s a simple question: “If modern humans have been around for 200,000 years, what is the natural diet that humans have evolved to eat and would we be healthier if we rediscovered that nutrition and followed it?” That doesn’t mean there aren’t new foods we can eat, such as fermented dairy. But I want lab tested confirmation.

    A paleo/primal diet and fitness approach isn’t something that written on fad stone….it is written into our human genes.

    Viewing nutrition from the lens of “an evolutionary template” or “what would Grok do?” is a simplifying means to distill multitude of genetic-related nutritional information into a concept much easier to grasp.

  121. There is a certain vegan man who likes to shoot himself on video (shoot yourself then!) that says so many things about you. He says:
    1. You are a vegan man too, because your advise is to prepare a meal with a big big salad.
    2. You can be active all day and play frisbee on the beach because you are addicted to caffeine.
    3. You recommend low quantities of hormones like testosterone.
    4. You are fit because you practice calorie restriction throu fasting.
    5. Actually you are not fit, you look fit.

    And much more nonsenses. But arguing with vegans is pointless.

  122. Does anyone else still get nervous when Mark is called a quack or when the latest CW study is released? Like so many others here, I’ve had some outstanding results, but the voice of CW can be extremely loud, especially when you’ve been listening to it for 46 years! Right around Easter I’ll be having blood work done for the first time since starting Primal 14 months ago. What if my numbers don’t match what I’m feeling? And how can I explain big fluffy cholesterol to people who have no idea what I’m talking about, MDs included? I applaud Mark for all his work and open-mindedness, and especially for always ending with “what do you think?” He has always encouraged us to take responsibility for our own health, not just parrot his words. I may not always understand the medical mechanics, but I do know that I feel great, and my husband enjoys being around his peri-menopausal, but no longer moody, crying, and overwhelmed, wife!

    1. Oh yes. As someone who has been following this for just a few months, but with absolutely no changes in weight, energy etc, I’m just waiting for the long line of people to ‘I told you so’ about this way of eating. But I’m going to stick with it and hope that I will be proved right to have kept the faith!

  123. I once stumbled upon a website/blog, I don’t remember who it was by or what it was called, but the guy who wrote it was mainly bashing you in particular and paleolithic life styles in general. I said several times that in your books you don’t cite any of your research, but as someone who has actually read the book I know that’s not true.

    1. Sounds like they’re a misinformation agent, or just misinformed, but the latter can make make people unintentionally be the former.

  124. As a fitness pro who promotes the use of low carb/paleo lifestyles, I know it is very easy for people to misconstrue what you say and make it into something they want to hear. If you say mac nuts are good for you all of a sudden people are ODing on them. It’s a challenge, but fun when they start to see results.

  125. The beauty is in mixing the knowledge of the past with the advances of modern times. How amazing to be able to live happily and healthy as primal eating, moving being, yet have access to life saving medical technologies? For one to feel completely against anything ‘non-primal’ one would not even be able to begin a blog about it, the act itself completely modern. We can go forward, choosing the positive from the past, combined with the positive of the now, and create a very pleasant existence.

  126. One thing that I had been thinking hard about the other day was how many measure calories (a unit of energy) to predict how much fat mass we will put on. I had read somebody claiming to have tried a ‘calorie deficit’ diet, and found that she lost zero pounds. The people on the forum she was on ridiculed her for suggesting something physically impossible. The more I thought about it, the funnier it seemed to me that I had no idea how calories in food are measured. I looked it up. Near as I can tell, a sample of the food gets burned (set ablaze) inside something called a calorimeter, which is designed to measure the heat efficiency/output of chemical reactions. Now, I’m not a chemist, but I suspect that the numerous chemical reactions that occur in the body as part of respiration, for one, vary dramatically in their efficiency, on a day to day basis in one person, let alone an entire population, and secondly, are not terribly similar to combustion. So, what I’m trying to say is, it would seem that the number of ‘calories’ printed on a nutrition label are so far from being an exact guess that they might as well not be there at all. And that’s just the ‘in’ part. I can’t imagine how incredibly complex it would be to accurately measure, let alone predict based on height and weight, the heat efficiency of some repetitive activity such as walking or running. So, while I’m sure, as Mark suggests, “calories count”, I have serious doubts about how useful the estimated values printed on nutrition labels, and displayed on treadmills really are. But that’s just me…

  127. mark, you have made one cool ass blog. well done. you are an inspiration and a great role model.

  128. “casually implore lightning to do their bidding with a flick of a switch”
    Makes me think of lightning hitting St. Peter’s Basilica.. Just speculation but if it was done with science I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

  129. Now for my reply to Mark’s post: excellent. I still agree with you and find your thoughts and insights tremendously helpful and so down-to-earth. You have helped me bigtime. Thanks! Next time I sidle up to a tree, I will think of you!

  130. Hi Mark,
    I would like an answer to people who say you are on steroids, I’ve read often in an italian paleo facebook group

  131. I am a competitive powerlifter and I find that the day of my workouts and the day after, I can eat more carbs than when I am not lifting. I mostly eat one or two pc. of fruit a day, plus rice, vegetables and a little meat for lunch and dinner. I also allow myself to eat whatever craving that my body wants after dinner. Sometimes it wants a PB and Jelly sandwich, sometimes it is a sip of Fanta. I don’t freak out about the fact the I am having a sip of soda, because if my body didn’t need something in that gulp of soda, it wouldn’t ask for it. I know that I would have to cut that stuff out if I want to get even lower body fat though. I compete at 198 pounds and am usually 190-194. I really love the ideas Mark talks about, and look forward to moving to a city that has more nature available. Right now I am in Beijing, and the more I read these posts, the more I realize I am in the wrong spot. No ocean, no greenery, no mountains and fresh air. A lot of people contact, but I also want more nature back in my life, like it was when I was growing up in Missoula, Montana.
    I will probably move to LA, where at least there are lots of parks and the beach.
    Thanks for everyone’s helpful comments. Looking forward to buying mark’s book when I get back to the states.

  132. You can please some of the people all the time. all the people some of the time but never all the people all the time. Too bad on the ones that don’t agree with you. You have LOTS of fans like me who really appreciate the primal way of living and exercising and your daily apple blogs. I look forward to reading them daily.

    John

  133. I love this post. Especially the bit on romanticising the hunter gatherer ancestors. I love how mark puts everything in perspective so beautifully.

  134. A lot of Mark’s critics who have their own blogs were paleo/lc cheerleaders not so long ago. But now that they’ve decided to go a different direction, they want to denigrate everything they embraced earlier and capture the same audience for themselves. So they come to these kind of sites and spew misinformation. Why don’t they instead walk the walk, prove the worthiness of their sudden epiphanies, and let an audience come to them? Mark did not go trolling vegan sites to build up his readership.

  135. Ah Mark. You never fail to pique my interest.

    I think it’s been said already: some people are looking for magic pills, some people want to eat more food than they need and be told it’s okay to do that, some people (I’m sorry but someone has to say this) simply aren’t good at comprehending what they are reading and yes, some people really just want to knock the primal concept down because it’s unnerving for them.

    Anecdotally I am hearing more and more doctors moving toward the primal philosophy of food. A co-worker’s heart doctor told her to quit eating grains. My jaw dropped. It really did.