A Brief History of the Primal Movement

Grok Around the WorldIt’s relatively easy being Primal nowadays. Most restaurants have dairy-free, gluten-free options, if not entire menus devoted to Primal-friendly restrictions. Actual paleo restaurants and food trucks literally exist. Minimalist shoes are everywhere. Standing desks are standard at many corporations, a farmer’s market lurks around every corner, regular grocery stores carry grass-fed beef and butter, and Whole Foods has a paleo hot bar. Comment sections of mainstream nutrition articles are overrun with Primal supporters dropping knowledge. And in 2013, “Paleo diet” was the most searched-for diet in Google. But it wasn’t always like this. If you weren’t around for the hard scrabble days of yore, you probably don’t realize what we endured. I’m talking about the days when:

You’d get asked to leave a store for wearing “monkey toe socks.”

Waiters had no idea what “gluten-free” meant and you had to say “real butter, ya know, from cows” or else receive food cooked in butter-flavored soy oil (if they even had butter).

You were the lone dissenting voice among hundreds of commenters on a “red meat will kill you” article.

Back in 2006 when I started writing my blog – Mark’s Daily Apple – the average person had no clue about the Primal lifestyle. Those of us who espoused it were fringe characters, radicals on street corners with cardboard signs. But sometimes those crazy guys on the street aren’t so crazy. Sometimes their rants and raves catch on.

I can remember being out to dinner with people who’d ask why I wasn’t eating the bread. My wife and I would exchange a look, she’d sit back, roll her eyes as if to say “Here we go…” and I’d launch into my spiel. But once they’d heard and over the course of a dinner carefully considered it, the notion of a biologically appropriate way of eating, exercising, and living for humans made intuitive sense. By the time the check had arrived, most of the people at the table who’d been asking the questions were vowing to give the lifestyle a trial run. This wasn’t a one time thing, mind you. It happened constantly, practically every time we went out to eat with people.

And I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one. Tens of thousands of people, maybe even hundreds of thousands, were having those same dinner conversations all over the world. Haven’t you? And that’s why I knew from the very beginning that this was big and would only grow as time went on: it worked, it made sense, and once a person discovered that, they’d fall all over themselves to tell others about it. They wouldn’t – they couldn’t – keep it to themselves. Primal living had a life of its own. It was a self-perpetuating, viral spark.

As sparks do, the movement grew.

The early days of MDA were different than today. I was still developing my philosophy of health, and my opinions were always subject to change as I grew aware of new evidence. The basic Primal Blueprint was the same, but my focus has expanded to include far more than diet, exercise, sun, and sleep. Readership was scarce back then and comment sections were often ghost towns. But I plugged away and stuck with it because I knew there was something special happening.

MDA’s web design circa 2007 was very different. Here, take a look for yourself. (Anyone reading remember those days?)

Mark's Daily Apple circa 2007

2007 was a big year. It saw the release of Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories, a powerful rebuke of decades of flawed government advice on nutrition, dietary fat, and disease. Taubes showed that the campaign against saturated fat and cholesterol was founded on flawed pseudoscience, and that the weight of the actual evidence suggested that animal fat and protein were benign and perhaps even essential to human health. The basic Primal postulate – that humans evolved eating ample amounts of animal fat and protein, and probably still should – had been vindicated in a widely-read treatise on modern science that had nothing specifically to do with evolutionary health. Taubes’ book got more people embarking on a path to understand proper nutritional science, a path that led inevitably to the ancestral health community.

That’s right around when I took a big step away from the orthodox paleo emphasis on “lean meats” and really embraced saturated fat. I’d never worried much about it and always felt the focus on it was way overblown, but a strong, enthusiastic endorsement was long overdue.

In 2009, after a few years of steadily growing readership, I self-published The Primal Blueprint. The book laid out, in plain terms, the health philosophy I’d spent the last couple decades discovering, developing, and refining. It quickly became a best-seller and, along with Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution the following year, helped establish the ancestral health movement as a legitimate force in the health sphere.

In 2010, we put on the very first PrimalCon in Oxnard, CA, a weekend gathering of Primal health and fitness experts and enthusiasts. (The next one is just a week away!) It was informative, the food was great, and everyone learned a lot about living and moving healthfully, but that wasn’t the most important aspect of the weekend. Dozens of people who’d always been the weird one at the dinner party or the gym or the night out with friends, the oddball eating salad instead of pizza, finally felt at home. They didn’t have to explain themselves. They’d found a tribe.

That 2009-2010 stretch was also a time of great change and development for the community:

It’s when the importance of “the other stuff” became crystal clear. Diet and exercise were still foremost, but community, sleep, sun, stress, circadian rhythm, light exposure, and the dangers of excessive sitting began receiving the attention they deserved well before more mainstream outlets had caught on. To put it another way, we were making standup workstations by balancing our laptops on stacks of old Vibram Fivefingers boxes before it was cool.

We realized that regular old white potatoes and white rice, former enemies of the ancestral state, weren’t so bad after all as long as you could actually use the extra carbs.

Our annual 21-Day Challenge became increasingly popular, and we finally got to put faces to the names we were all familiar with in the comment boards and the forum. We got to see families who shop like Grok, friends who picnic like Grok, people who pose like Grok, and people with Grok tattoos. Grok really was all over the world.

A slew of really great ancestral health blogs were also coming into their own and pumping out excellent material that we’re still building on today. Your Perfect Health Diets, your Chris Kressers, your Kurt Harrises, your Gnolls, to just name a few that come to mind – this is when that cadre of thinkers blew the scene wide open.

In 2011, the inaugural Ancestral Health Symposium was held at UCLA: a conference of academics, doctors, health practitioners, bloggers, authors, fitness trainers, and enthusiasts devoted to discovering the ways our ancestral traditions and evolutionary history inform and explain modern day health matters. Dozens of formal talks were given; dozens more sprung up informally in the halls. At one of the premier academic institutions in the country, the ancestral health movement had arrived.

Yeah, the community at large was making serious moves. They were building cred on multiple levels: academic, mainstream, the average Joe, the physical culture crowd. So was I. I’d already self-published several books since The Primal Blueprint – The Primal Blueprint Cookbook, Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals, The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation, The Primal Blueprint 90-Day Journal, The Primal Blueprint Healthy Sauces, Dressings & Toppings, and The Primal Connection – and I was ready to do more.

Now, the Primal/paleo/ancestral health community is very close. We talk – a lot. And since I’d had a lot of success self-publishing my books, other would-be authors would often approach me for advice on doing the same thing. This became an almost everyday occurrence, via email and in person at various health and fitness events. Doling out advice began to take up so much time that I started to put together a template to speed up the process. And then it hit me: why not publish them myself? So Primal Blueprint Publishing was founded in 2013, and we’ve already published seven books with several more on the way.

More PrimalCons every year, too, including in Tulum, Mexico; South Lake Tahoe, CA; Austin, TX; and Mohonk, NY. More Ancestral Health Symposiums every year. PaleoFX was another huge conference that sprung up in Austin, less formally academic than Ancestral Health Symposium and geared toward the layperson (of course, Primal laypeople run a bit more intellectually curious than the general population); 2015 will be the fourth annual event. More Google searches, more blog visitors, fewer dumbfounded looks when you tell someone “I don’t eat grains or refined sugar, and I like to walk barefoot.”

Conventional wisdom that used to look set in stone was beginning to crack. Heck, many Primal principles are finally getting mainstream media coverage. Most of the then-arcane stuff we used to talk about four or five years ago, like barefoot running, dirt, standing desks, blue blocking goggles to wear at night, and the awesomeness of bone marrow, has disseminated through to the general public. Offal is in. Cereal sales are down; butter sales are up.

What’s next?

I’ve always tried to write with clarity and simplicity so that anyone who read my books and blogs, and felt moved, could explain to their friends, family, and colleagues just what they found so engaging. And as I said earlier, it’s worked quite well; the Primal concept is simple, intuitive, and fairly easy to explain. That the diet and exercise and everything else actually work doesn’t hurt either. Our growth reflects all that.

But we needed a stable framework for information dissemination. We needed this because many Primal enthusiasts involved in healthcare and the fitness industry would email us every day asking for one. They’re chiros and MDs and dietitians, coaches and trainers and massage therapists, yoga instructors and midwives. And maybe they’re just regular folks who are really, really enthusiastic about the health benefits of a biologically appropriate lifestyle and want to help the people they care about get the same results. Whatever their background, they wanted to help people join the Primal movement and they needed a comprehensive, structured guide to convincing the uninitiated and converting the dubious.

I saw a big opportunity to change how we do health in this country – and in others.

Now, in 2014, the release of the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification program marks the latest – and most important – development in the evolution of the Primal movement. A rigorous, intensive educational program similar in difficulty and intensity to an upper division level college course, the “Cert” prepares health and fitness professionals and motivated laypeople to deliver lasting change to clients, friends and family.

I’m incredibly excited to see what the future brings and to help the movement grow even more. Modern life has made us unhealthy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Nor will it.

I hope you’ll join us in changing the world.

Download the full-size version of the Grok around the world image at the top of this article (large file)
A version of this article was recently published on Bare-Essentials.com

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

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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87 thoughts on “A Brief History of the Primal Movement”

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  1. 2006 is pretty impressive, and you’re definitely a pioneer, but I know of some guys who were doing this since about 2 million years ago. 😉

    1. After a 5 year quest of searching for the perfect diet that would ease the chronic suffering of my gut, along with depression and signs of autoimmune disease, I finally found the paleo/primal diet and lifestyle. I had tried so many diets before this one and this went against EVERYTHING I had previously been taught! It was scary eating fat, not counting calories, and cutting “healthy” whole grains. However, about 6 months in I knew that this diet was THE diet! I have now been primal/paleo for 4 years and love it! Thanks Mark Sisson!!

  2. I first heard of “the caveman diet” as a passing comment on the radio in the mid 2000’s. They were giggling at the name and admittedly, because I am anti-diet establishment, I rolled my eyes thinking ‘what will the diet industry think of next…who in their right mind’. In 2009 I found Mark’s Daily Apple, (sort of became an annoyance to my family) and have never looked back. Imagine that.

  3. It’s amazing how fast it all happened. I came aboard in 2010 and am forever grateful to Mark and Robb and Gary Taubes. Changed my life and about 10 others I helped along the way. Who knows how many others those 10 people have helped. Also, congrats to Nom Nom. She rocks!

  4. It’s awesome that you’ve seen the changes over the years. Even since 2012 when I started my site and podcast I’ve seen a huge slew of new podcasts, blogs etc.. people are talking and changing the scenery at the grocery store quickly.

    Keep demanding good quality items until the garbage becomes irrelevant. We can do it!!!

  5. Great overview! I only started reading in 2013 so I’m way behind. Reading Gary Taubes’ book was huge for me and I still reference it often. I can’t even imagine after 7 years how many people’s lives you’ve helped change!

  6. I actually started in 2006, but not because of Mark. A client of mine from Russia, who is a “natural healer” type, told me to give up wheat and sugar to clear my skin. I did, and it worked. It was only after that that I found the Primal diet.

  7. The movement sure has come along way but I still find an amazing number of pig headed people who are either completely brainwashed, like to make excuses or simple aren’t vested in their own health enough to give up anything for it. Like Robb Wolf says… Help the majority of smart folks who want it and hang the rest out to dry because they aren’t worth your time when it could be better spent on the masses willing to receive it. Unfortunately the long term penalty for a closed mind is pretty steep!

    1. Agreed. There’s only so many hours in a day, and we can’t save everybody…some people don’t want the help, believe it or not. Others believe it’s their right to be mediocre (or worse). Leave ’em to it.

    2. I rarely disagree with you Groktimus. And I’m not going to start now.

  8. Hmmm….I’ve been visiting this site longer than I thought. Since early 2000’s me thinks?. Time is flying by. Love this site Mark, you keep it fresh. Thanks for all you do and thanks to your staff as well.

  9. Ya even the NBA IS catching on. LeBron James was asked how he lost 10 pounds and felt better than ever he said he is going low carb and much of the NBA is going “paleo”. When some of the best athletics in the world promote just about anything people follow. It sure will be interesting all of this clashes with BIG AG, BIG PHARMA,BIG POLITICS etc…these next couple of years..

  10. It was a bit of work in the 80’s, doing Atkins when low-fat was all the rage.

    Your comment re spiels reminded me of the old joke: I considered going vegetarian but decided I didn’t have time for all the speeches. : )

    1. Love this! We went out to dinner with friends this past weekend whom we hadn’t seen in awhile. The guy asked me, “Are you still on that gluten-free kick? What’s so bad about eating wheat anyway?” I really had to think for a moment if I had the energy to get into it. But he was really interested, not being critical, so I gave it a shot and now think we have another convert.:-)

  11. Primal living came to me at the right time and I have been able to use many of its concepts to help me in a positive manner but more so all the clients I work with as the director of a private gym. I often joke that Mark should start giving me a commission for how often I have suggested someone read his book, not to mention all the beef that is getting consumed now!

  12. I first discovered the codified versions of Paleo/Primal in 2010 and while it was only 4 years ago, it is amazing how much has changed in that time span, mostly for the better. It eventually inspired me to pursue my RD/MS in Clinical Nutrition, which I am currently working on. Now my mother, my aunt and even my 86 year old grandmother are Paleo/Primal!

  13. In 2010 I got the Primal Blueprint as a birthday gift. As I started to read it clicked with me in a big way, “this is what I was looking for-aha-muga moment-satori”. The eating part was easy for me (I come from the Atkins tradition, still revere him), but this thing about doing ONLY two sessions of 20 minutes (or less) and one of sprints a week (15 mins) I could not believe, until I tried it.
    I changed from working out like 6 hours a week to less than two!!!
    Wow the results were fast and amazing: body fat went from 25% to 18%, speed, strength and mobility improved big time. It’s been four years and I am now at 62 in better shape than 20 years ago.

  14. Back in the late 80s and again in the mid 90s I flirted with the Atkins thing and was pretty happy with the results. Fast forward to early 2003 when I met my husband and the breads and rice and high carb foods, never mind some mighty fine cocktails, crept back in (he’s a great cook AND bartender). I had just come off my first half-marathon when I met him and attributed my lean physique to all of that running. Imagine my surprise when several years ago I trained for another and my weight (which had crept up little by little) didn’t budge. Health challenges knocked me down around the same time and I “rediscovered” the primal diet and Mark’s Daily Apple. Now, several years later, I’m the fittest and trimmest I’ve ever been, as is my husband. And I don’t even run anymore!

    I think the thing I love about MDA is the always-searching-for-new-information, never resting on what’s “known”, and the research that goes into it. The humor and open-mindedness, the willingness to call bulls*#t on paleo/primal dogma, and the idea that everyone has to find their own way also keep me coming back. Never going back to poor health and weight struggles…thank you, Mark, and the whole primal community!

  15. A friend of mine introduced me to you about 4 months ago and lucky she did. I do not follow the plan 100% but many principles I have introduced to my life style. All I can say to you is thank you. I have lost weight, I feel healthier during the day, I fall asleep quickly. All I need do more is drink more water. I am 47 and feel fabulous

  16. I was lead here by Tim Noakes a professor of Sport Science based in Cape Town South Africa. Who advocates the high fat low carb lifestyle. Its awesome. I love it. 60 kilos down. Stronger and faster than I have ever been. Grok on

  17. Congrats Mark on your untiring mission to help us all.

    I discovered you in 2007 and honestly didn’t realize how long it’s been and how much has changed until I saw your old website design. 🙂

  18. I vote Mark pulls out the old retro logo with his caricature on it and begins using it again, even if it’s just occasionally. 🙂

  19. My boyfriend and I have been Primal for only two years now, but that old lifestyle and mentality seem so distant that it feels like we’ve always been Primal.

  20. It’s great to see–and experience!–the change. Family members who used to give me the old “but the cave men all died by the time they were THIRTY!” schtick have asked to join my Paleo/Primal on Facebook group. Makes me smile!

  21. My family and I have been doing Gluten free/ dairy free for about 10 years now. I started going Primal about a year ago and have never regretted it. I find it hard to eat right when at parties or other events like that. But hey I’m only 16

  22. I discovered what I call “pre-primal” when I did Atkins (he was my personal physician for awhile….his loss makes us all a little worse off) and then gradually when combined with environmental awareness and more learning and study naturally migrated to primal. It has been wonderful; before I sarted pre-primal in 1998 I ws the textbook on-the-way to diabetes, overweight, under-energied guy. No more.

    I also find the intersection of primal and the burdeoning minimalism movement interesting; another “trend” I embraced before the word was coined. I mean after all, Grok, moving from place to place was probably the ultimate minimalist. And when one focuses on health, good eating, proper sleep and the like, material things matter less and less. Health, energy, well-being, relationships are so much more important.

    I can almost fit everything I own in my car; I am not exagerating. (Yes, I rent a furnished place but still….) It is wonderfully liberating.

    Anyone else experiencing this?

    1. I experienced the same.
      I sold or gave away 90% of my possessions, rented out my house in the burbs, and moved to a tiny apt in San Francisco. I couldn’t be happier.
      Going primal definitely intersects with minimalism.

    2. Yes, similar experience here. Living in Australia, Hubbie and I have been living a nomadic lifestyle for over 4 yrs now. No house, so no fixed abode, we travel in a motorhome (also have a small car), and everything we own is with us. We are fortunate to be retired.

      We often get comments about not having alot of stuff, but as you say, it’s very liberating, and is my version of living a hunter/gatherer lifestyle.

      Coming from a stressful job and high carb existence, finding MDA has been wonderful, and life changing. I found MDA a year ago after a Low GI website I was interested in mentioned him in a reference section.

      At first I didn’t like the idea of cutting bread and grains at all and dismissed it as some silly concept. However, I came back a few more times to Mark’s website and read a bit more. After a while, the no grains concept seemed to click in my mind, and I decided to give it a try.

      Some 9 mths later…. I’m feeling the best I have in a very long time, and look my best ever…. with 50 just a few weeks away, I’m now looking forward to the next decades of my life…. rather than worrying about it.

      thanks Mark, maybe one day we’ll see you “down under”


  23. We need to give credit also to Ray Jardine author of Neanderthin. I began flirting with Paleo in the late 90s after reading his book. Art DeVany was also an early proponent. Mark, though he came later has done a tremendous job in getting the message out there.

    1. Sadly, I checked out a copy of Neanderthin from the library, skimmed it, laughed for hours, then took it back. It was just too hard to imagine giving up grains and beans!

      Fast forward a decade later: now I couldn’t imagine life WITH those things.

  24. Thanks, Mark! I have to think that Paleo has gone mainstream because of your real-life approach. I’m glad you introduced me to the movement back in 2010.

  25. Thank you Mark!!!!
    For supplying a bit of validity and share-able information in the early days when EVERYONE thought I was plain nuts.

    I do miss the days where I could get an answer from you Mark within 6 minutes via email 🙂
    Nostalgy a good thing I guess…just like progress 🙂

    To all…
    Mark S. was/is a major factor in my overall well being. I’ve been eating primal/paleo/EF- REAL FOOD since 2006. What it has given me and my loved ones still blows me away every day. In the end, you must “make this your own”, but the “Primal Blue Print” can get you there.

    Thank you Mark, keep up the good work and BIG kudos on your latest Certification project. Going against mainstream is never easy… but you Mark, do it with humility, grace, smarts etc and ulitmately the proof is in the the primal pudding.:-)

    Long time reader,

  26. I have my wife to thank for ‘finding the whey’! In the spring of 2009 we both needed to lose some weight and decided to go back on Atkins, having had success with it in the ’90’s. She began researching and we ordered books from a number of authors, one of which was Marks’ “The Primal Blueprint”.The program was simple and when we tried it, it worked! What a blessing to have your health improved, literally, by ‘leaps and bounds’ ! We have tried to share our good fortune by recommending MDA ( hundreds of times) and giving books as gifts.

  27. Thank you Mark, for all you’ve done and for contributing to the restoration of my health. While reading your post, two quotes came to mind; “Change always comes from the fringe”. – Richard Watson, and “The Future is already here—it’s just unevenly distributed.” – William Gibson. Just keep doing what you’re doing and that will change.

  28. Restaurants have come a long way – – I just wish they’d stop using industrial seed oils, which is everywhere.

  29. Further – Living in California gives me the impression Paleo is everywhere. However, a recent visit to a hip Denver ‘healthy’ grocery store proved otherwise: A refrig section full of fat-free yogurts and no full-fat ones to be found.

    1. I agree, not only is Paleo not everywhere, neither are Minimalist shoes – at least not for a woman who wears anything other than a medium width!

      Is there any chance you can push the minimalist manufacturers to make women’s shoes in a wide width? I’ve totally given up on barefoot styles because they just don’t fit. A wide foot with a high instep is impossible to get shoes for, unless you can afford to have shoes custom made. I can’t afford it. Among others, I’ve tried:
      VFF – the shoe cuts into my foot just above the toes – salesperson suggested trying men’s size – they aren’t small enough, and boys aren’t big enough
      merrell – can’t get my foot into them or the ballet flat has a strap that can’t be strapped – high instep
      VivoBarefoot – I found one style, snug but I could wear them – tried ordering another that “looked” the same, the entire entry was a single solid loop – I couldn’t even get my big toe into the shoe – why did they bother with laces – this design would never come off – I just couldn’t get them on.
      Minnetonka Moccasins – the leather stretches to fit, but the sole does not. I got some nice blisters from these. the internet seller sold them as WIDE. they were not.
      Don’t even consider boots – they’re impossible to find and absolutely necessary in Michigan winters.

      I feel better now, I’ve wanted to whine about this for a long time! I’ll head home from work soon and have some cheese with my whine.

      1. Had a giggle, reminds me of what Hubbie said to me once….

        Hubbie: What would you like?
        Me: I’ll have a wine please…
        Hubbie: Do I have to listen?

        Yep, he did!!!

      2. Find a custom shoemaker. Given the artisan movement in so many tings these days, should not be too hard. Will cost a bit more, but you are supporting a person, not a corporation.

    2. Luckily we have the internet with loads of information available about our lifestyle. I live in a city in the south of the Netherlands, and have never even met anyone who knows about paleo/Primal (except for one international guy). People also are really not interested in it, because our culture is heavily based on agriculture – which is the most important export for our small country – and grains and dairy are sometimes THE ONLY THINGS eaten in a day (bread with cheese or chocolate sprinkles and pasta with cheese for dinner).
      So yes, the movement has grown immensely, but other than online resources for many of us we are still the odd one.
      If anybody lives near Eindhoven reading this, I’d love to meet some like-minded people!

      1. Simone, I live in Eindhoven too!! Let’s have a chat some time!! 🙂

  30. A friend of mine asked me today to refer my recommended Paleo / Primal websites to her – almost one year after I started my Primal journey she has decided to follow too ! I have had so many conversations with friends in the past year on the grains/sugar topic and I kind of feel a bit like the Pied Piper of Hamlin now …. with a trail of people joining on behind me, getting fit, healthy and feeling great ! The Primal lifestyle rocks and so does marksdailyapple ! Thank YOU !

  31. I tell everyone that 20 years from now, we are going to say “I can’t believe we used to eat wheat and thought it was healthy”. We can only hope at some point we are going to view the SAD the same way we now view cigarette smoking.

    The sad part is how many people out there are totally uniformed and uneducated about their own health. Most people are not dumb, just uneducated. It’s also sad that our primary school system keeps teaching the conventional wisdom to our kids during their most formative years so it becomes very challenging to make the necessary changes.

  32. Hi Mark, love your work and interesting to hear some of the background. Two quick questions: (1) I hear you are coming to Australia and was wondering if you were planning to visit brisbane? We have a growing paleo community here that would love to hear from you in person! (2) I imagine the primal blueprint verification is open to international primal-items but are you working to get it recognised in any countries outside the US? Cheers!

    1. & of course if you talk to Nora Gedgaudis she will tell you what a great place Dubbo is (Central West New South Wales, less than an hour’s flight West of Sydney), and how big a Paleo/Primal fan base there is here… When she was a guest presenter here recently (along with our own home grown “Chef Pete Evans”, a celebrity chef from reality TV cooking show “MKR – My Kitchen Rules), Dubbo managed to attract more people to the talks than State Capital cities Hobart and Adelaide combined!

      So, Mark, if you do come to OZ, please visit Dubbo! (I live ~1/2 hour further West again, in a town called Narromine – centre of the Universe some say… (;-), and the “Paleo/Primal Tsunami” has even found its way this far inland to the Outback of OZ….. Lots of friends interested in it, including farmers of free range Pigs, grass fed beef etc….).

  33. I wish I had this information thirty years ago but I still celebrate the day I ventured on to Mark’s Daily Apple some years back. Changed everything for me.

  34. Hail, Mark, one of the “Fathers” of Primal living! Seriously, I am so happy that a friend introduced me to your site. And I am thankful for all of your continued efforts. It is easy to imagine that something like this could be overwhelming and very difficult to stick with, especially during its infancy. But you stuck with it, and we are all benefiting from the information you share, particularly your more middle-of-the-road views. I appreciate that very much. And I must thank Carrie and your family because they surely were a good source of support whenever you felt like quitting (if you ever did). But it’s clear you have a passion for this, and I consider myself lucky for being a part of this and learning of these principles, which I consider to be supremely worthwhile. Thank you, as always. I hope one day I can take that Cert course.

  35. Being of half Native American ancestry, I was resigned to the same fate as my brothers and sisters (literal and figurative) of being over weight, unhealthy and unhappy. It was not until I began finding information on the “Paleo” approach that things began to change, and the logical application of the information has made a fantastic change in my life . At 62 yrs. of age after about ten years of the “Paleo” approach my health and life are absolutely opposite of those of my fellow Native Americans who have the highest rate of Adult onset Diabetes, Obesity, Chronic illnesses of many sorts; and shorter lives than our ancestors just two or three generations ago.
    This site is my favorite; and I introduce ANYONE WHO WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT HOW “I”———- “DO IT”; BY SENDING THEM TO THIS SITE?
    In unity and solidarity;

    1. Great to hear Jack! Also, “Down Under” here in Australia our local indigenous peoples struggle with similar issues, perhaps more than any indigenous people on the planet…. if you read Jared Diamond’s book (or watch the new video series on U Tube!) he explains beautifully with good solid scientific approach why Australian Aborigines are poorly adapted to high grain/carb diet of the introduced “modern diet”. They remained pure Hunter Gatherers, with pretty much zero of what we would call agriculture due to lack of animals or plants suited to domestication, but were very well in tune with their environment up until European settlement…. Now they also struggle big time with “non primal” foods…. (:-(

  36. I love the Primal lifestyle. I feel better, I sleep better, my moods are better, but I struggle with sticking to it…not because it is a difficult lifestyle to adopt, but because it’s difficult being the only one in the house who agrees with changing. If I stick to the Primal lifestyle…we end up raising the cost of our grocery bill because we eat so differently from one another. It’s simply not feasible for us to do that…so….

    How do you get a near 40 hear old, bread and butter, cream sauce, pasta, cheese, and sugar loving man to change his ways?

    I don’t want to make excuses for not being healthier, but the reality is I am just not the type of person who can go it alone. I know I have lots of primal peers out there, but being the only one in my house gets tricky! I love everything about primal living, I just HAVE TO find a way to keep it going!!!!

    1. I’ve got one of those husbands as well. Generally we have the same protein at dinner and then he does his thing and I do mine. Since I’m not buying sugar free fat free kill me now crap for myself, it’s not costing us that much for ME to be doing this. If he wants to spend money on his food, well….

  37. We’ve been lucky in Australia, we’ve always had real butter (butter-flavored soy oil – what the heck is that???) and pastured beef, though I’ve had a few arguments with butchers over recent years proudly advertising grain fed beef as somehow better.

    Apart from not knowing the dangers of grains, pulses & pufas (OK they are biggies), the people in my circle have largely lived paleo all of our 60+ years. Sadly, it’s said we were the last generation to grow up on healthy, unadulterated food.

    Clearly though I’m naive about other realms of Australia, and what is sold in the fast food stores and big supermarkets I don’t go to, because we have caught up with the US – Australia is now more obese! I don’t hold out hope that the medical/nutritional consortium will ever say “we were so totally wrong!” but at least we are seeing and hearing more about the fact that they are. To the extent that one ABC TV show on the benefits of cholesterol and the dangers of statins was banned from sale after pressure from the medical associations – yes, we still have censorship!

    But keep up the pressure Mark and others – the information you share is fantastic.

  38. I don’t remember when I discovered Paleo/Primal. I can tell you that my parents learned I might be gluten-intolerant when I was an infant in the 70s. They had no idea what to do. So they did nothing.

    Fast forward to the 90s and I’m morbidly obese and keep going back to the Internet Lunatics talking about gluten. Everything fit. But I couldn’t get it out of my life because of the company I kept (and, of course, the Ph.D. wife that demanded “evidence”…herself a student of evolutionary biology).

    Anyway, divorce saved me, basically. Being completely alone really sucked, of course, but it permitted me to self-experiment. I have some of the best “before and after” pictures of all time.

    As for this site, I found it and bookmarked it for a pork recipe. I don’t think I’ve made a single recipe from Mark’s offerings, but there are lots of things that spark my own creations. It’s a nice link to offer people because Mark does not sound crazy (although at times I know I probably sound pretty out there).

    1. William: Good for you.

      Some wise advice I received many years ago: You are not alone when you are by yourself.

      Good luck my brother….

      1. Can relate…. Biggest issue is trying to guide my 2 young kids to a healthier lifestyle whilst my ex’ continues to blindly stick to the old mainstream guidelines of the last 40+ years that have been poisoning the planet – not a future I really want for my kids! But I will persist and hope that they see the light and in time will make healthier choices….

        1. When he starts getting Western diseases and getting sick(er) from them, he will become a visual example to the kids of what NOT to do.

          Dad has cancer? Don’t eat what he ate. Dad has gastro/reflux issues? Don’t eat what he eats. Dad got diabetes? Don’t eat what he eats, or avoid exercise like he does (if he does). He’ll be the best living example you could possibly have for them.

  39. I can relate to the bread thing. I started down the paleo path in 1998 after reading Audette’s book Neanderthin. Heard him on a late-night radio show and thought “Hmmm…. meat and eggs and lose weight?”. Would go to the restaurant and order T-bone with no sides. It never came without sides.

  40. Wow Mark that’s incredible how 2007 was and your website looks WAY better now! Your persistence is infectious!

  41. It’s testament to how good Primal/paleo lifestyles are that it’s taken off so quickly without any major controversy. The arguments supporting ‘primal’ are so compelling and elegant in their simplicity, it just ‘makes sense’! it’s like we’ve found the ‘light’ that is always referred to by mystics and prophets, except that instead of being always unattainable, only achieved by said mystics and prophets, this one is actually for us. We’ve found out who we really were all along, and it pre-dates any kind of organised society or religion. We are ALL authentic, real, good human beings, and we’re designed to live excellent lives, if only we’ll let ourselves.

  42. I credit Atkins in the early 2000’s for teaching me about insulin and my initial move from processed grains to whole, natural foods. I went from eating a “healthy” bagel and sugar-laden coffee for breakfast, immediately followed by the “sugar shakes” and “I’ve got to eat NOW!” hunger rage, to eating 2 hard boiled eggs every morning followed by steady energy and non-violent hunger (not exaggerating)… Fast-forward to when I found MDA in early 2012 and my gut is healed (no more lactose intolerance and bouts of GI distress). I’m still not at the weight I’d like but I feel good and am healthier than ever. Thank you, Mark.

    1. just wanted to chime in here cos I also thought my healthy bagel and coffee was a nice start to the day (so wrong)

  43. well Mark – all I have to say is THANK GOD YOU DID NOT GO TO MED SCHOOL 3 decades ago –
    cos your running pursuits led to this life changing movement that I think is Divine Appointment.

    And nothing against the traditional doctoral path – and nothing against traditional doctors who “do their thing” in different areas – well actually I do have something against many of them cos they are so stupid when it comes to health and nutrition – but that is not my point –

    my point is that you took the path less traveled and walked away from a powerful and prestigious doctoral candidate path to run and explore …which then led to this – and the primal lifestyle has probably saved and improved more lives than any traditional doctor out there –
    so Doctor Mark – Grok on!

  44. Yeah we’ve joined Mark and are changing the world. The movement is taking ever interesting shapes but is still an exiting place to be and probably will be for many years. Mark was the original influence for me, I can’t remember how by some stroke of luck I happened upon the website (I think I was trying to get into veganism at the time) but I think that makes me a Sissonite, or would it be a Sissonian?

  45. I initially gave up grains and sugar in February 2002 thanks to Dr. Atkins and a couple years later read Loren Cordain’s article “Cereal Grains a Double Edge Sword” article. I found Robb Wolf first, then Mark Sisson. I’ve managed to migrate from low-carb Atkins style to Primal over the years and I think its great. There is just so much good information out there now. I’ve been following this type of lifestyle for twelve years now and managed to age pretty gracefully. I’m now tinkering with my exercise philosophy – trying to find what works best for me as I move forward.

  46. How amazing it must feel to have influenced so many people’s lives, and to have played a part in changing the course of how people all of the world view their health.

    If I can help just a tiny fraction of the people that you’ve helped, I will be incredibly proud.

    Thanks for everything you’ve done!

  47. I wonder if starting the site today it would be called Mark’s Daily Egg Yolk or Mark’s Daily Grass Fed Steak. I can’t even eat apples anymore, they are too sweet. And being prone to insulin resistance they are off the table.

  48. Hi Mark, of course, gluten free is on the market nowadays, but I still stand alone in the office with eating no bread, bring my own salades and so. I try to give a collegue who is utterly depressed, 50 years old, bringing his own lunch of bread etc, eating biscuits because after lunch still hungry. I tried to explain paleo but no, sorry, bit awkward, I am not that desperit…… is his response. So yes you are right Mark, but no, still lots of people think I am crazy… So please keep on the good work!! The world still is in need of your message Mark! And I love Fridays……..

    1. Fighting culture. Year to fight in Europe. In the best taste, your salades made me think about Spogebob Squarepants, when he has to serve salads for Pearl when she takes over the Crusty Crab 🙂

  49. Yesterday was my 6 month anniversary of eating this way to help with some chronic issues. It has already changed my life for the better and can’t wait to see what comes from eating this way in a year.

  50. I’m so glad that many people discovered the right way to eat. I’ve jumped from diet to diet for the past couple decades only to be disappointed every single time. I did atkins years ago but it didn’t stick because I think it’s too restrictive. No fruit? I found that kind of odd. Anyway when I found MDA I was 305 pound and had just suffered from my second heart attack at the age of 42. That was 2 months ago. It was difficult to incorporate high fat and no whole wheat when the hospital told me in the ICU that I can’t eat animal fat, eat no more than 3 grams of saturated fat per day and eat lots of whole grains. Well I think eating the way they want me to eat is part of what got me into this mess. Anyway in 2 months I’ve dropped close to 30 pounds and my blood pressure dropped from 145/80 to 106/60. IN JUST 2 MONTHS!! My blood pressure has never been that low. Anyway I’ll put in my success story once I get to my perfect body composition. I’m very thankful to have not only great people to help lead me to healthfulness (Mark and everyone on this blog) but to have such a good resource as MDA. I think I may just live to see my kids grow up.

  51. Jumping to the comments to remark that I passed my 2nd anniversary with Primal Blueprint last month. Never thought I would buy in to it ever.

    Thanks for making your content so approachable and writing with some humor instead of an old stick up the you know what.

  52. I post here because noone around me want to listen or understands what I am saying. Doesn’t help when they realise I am decrepit, sick and have a fat tummy mind. About two years to undo a lifetime, I’ll give myself a break. Perhaps when the kids are older.

  53. I live in Scotland and it is so behind in terms of ancestral eating, and as a result, the people here are suffering. I feel like pre-2006 Mark Sisson: I’m ‘that guy’ promoting primal passionately to friends, family and anyone who will listen. My friends have changed the way they eat and have reaped the benefits. My next step is to start the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification programme so I can turn 2014 Scotland into 2014 USA. It’s a 5-10 year plan. Thanks for everything you do Mark!!!!

  54. About 5 weeks in and I can’t believe the difference. I lived through the 90’s and Snackwells, low fat eating and gaining weight. Now, I’m eating the fat and loosing it. The low fat movement really did the most hArm to our diets and health. No more but pain, mood stabilized, and more energy without “high fiber carbs”. Thanks for sharing your lifestyle

    1. Suzy, I’m so glad you’ve found better health and energy. You’re right—it’s doesn’t take long for results to show! I’d invite you to submit your success story if you feel so inspired. You can reach out to me at [email protected]. Grok on!