Meet Mark

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

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June 11 2014

An Open Letter to Kids and Teens (and Infant Prodigies)

By Mark Sisson
177 Comments

In light of the recent release of Paleo Girl – a new Primal book that helps teens navigate the crazy world of flawed dietary and fitness advice, and get a jump start on healthy living – I’m republishing this article I originally wrote and published in December 2011. If you want the next generation to grow up in a healthier world, share this article with your friends and family. Let’s give the young adults in our lives the knowledge they need to be successful!

Dear youngsters,

You’re going through some difficult times, no doubt. I’ve been in your shoes before. I’ve been a kid dealing with basically all the same stuff you have to contend with. I’ve been there.

Your hormones are probably (depending on age, gender, and exposure to attractive members of opposite/same sex) either raging, simmering, fomenting, budding, and/or swelling.

Your legs and arms may be growing at disproportionate rates, leaving you feeling like a stranger in your own body.

That cute new guy whom you planned on eventually marrying has a funny last name, which just won’t work with the names of the kids you’ve chosen.

You just discovered the Beatles, and you totally want to tell everyone about it, but they’re all into top 40 stuff. You just can’t relate.

Your opinions on everything, who your best friends are, your relationship with your parents, and your post-high school plans change rapidly from day to day to day. And not superficial changes, but real, soul-rending ones.

Everything’s in flux, but (or ergo?) everything’s exciting. Everything’s the end of the world, or the start of something new and magnificent. In short, you’re young, the world is big, and you want to make the most of it all.

But I have a suggestion for you. It’s a suggestion that I wish I would have read on a computer somewhere when I was a kid (of course, that would have required me waiting an hour for Al Gore to patch me through on the ARPANET on a computer the size of a room):

Consider going Primal. Don’t wait until you’re old, hurting, and full of regrets to seize control of your health. Take it from someone who did wait until he was old(er) and hurting to conquer his health issues. You don’t want to wait. If you do, you’ll still likely make it, but you’ll miss out on valuable time.

I’m not even going to say you have to go 100% hardcore Primal – although it certainly wouldn’t hurt. I’m just saying it would be a fantastic idea for you to become aware of this stuff while you’re still young and on the cusp of the prime of your life.

The way I see it, if you don’t, you’re squandering a golden opportunity to extend the prime of your life through, well, the rest of it. Right now, I feel like I’m at my best. I honestly do. Mentally, emotionally, physically, professionally, I’m at a place where I wouldn’t trade places with myself 20 years ago. I was fit, doing triathlons, coming off of a strong career as a marathoner, but I was missing true health. Thanks to going Primal, I’m better than ever.

Now, think of what I just said. I’m 58. I’m probably older than your dad. I’ve lived over half a century, and yet I can:

Keep up with guys younger than half my age in high intensity Ultimate Frisbee.

Hike for twelve hours on an empty stomach.

Produce pretty decent content for a popular blog on a daily basis.

Write books and develop supplement lines that people actually buy and seem to really like.

Pass incredible quality time with my beautiful wife whenever I want.

Take a day off just to relax with the family if I so desire.

Spend half the day stand up paddle boarding.

Take my shirt off without feeling self conscious about my sagging gut and man-boobs.

Bound up flights of stairs because it’s easier and less time consuming than walking up them and scoff at escalators.

Feel mentally “there” and “on” at all times (okay, maybe the morning coffee helps in this regard, sometimes).

The thing is, these aren’t magical or fantastical accomplishments. I think these are extremely basic things any human should be able to expect out of themselves, albeit with minor variations. Not everyone is going to blog or play Ultimate, but everyone should be able to find creative satisfaction and engage in physical activity whenever they want without worrying out getting injured, something hurting, or fatiguing too quickly.

And I’m just some old dude who made a ton of mistakes early on and paid dearly for them… and I’m still doing pretty darn good. I’m not the only one, either. Many, if not most, of our success stories on this blog come from people who came back – better than ever – from poor health caused by making the wrong choices based on the wrong information in their younger years. Learn from their and from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself.

Just imagine where you’ll be at 58 if you stay abreast of this health and fitness and nutrition and stress stuff starting from an early age. Just imagine how ahead of the game you’ll be, and stay for as long as you want.

Honestly, though? There’s a little selfishness going on here, too. I’m convinced that the earlier you commit to a Primal lifestyle, the greater the rewards later on in life, and I really want to see it happen. I know we’re never going to get anything close to a big study on the Primal lifestyle funded to test this idea out, but if we can convince a host of youngsters to start young – and stick with it – I think we’d see some remarkable things happen.

No, I’m not talking about forging Olympians or NBA stars or anything like that, necessarily. I’m referring to the promotion of a generation of healthy, happy, robust, fit, attractive, and most importantly of all, self-sufficient people forging their own paths toward health and wellness. I’m imagining a world where doctors flourish as the skilled technicians they are, meeting acute challenges without having to focus so much on the chronic stuff that they’re often unprepared to handle and their patients are unwilling to handle. Where people take responsibility for their own health, and it’s not a struggle or an ordeal, but rather just second nature. Heck, maybe it’ll even be a generation for whom this Primal stuff isn’t so crazy at all.

So, teens, tots, children, whoever (heck, even parents) – give it an honest shot. You don’t have to give up hanging out with friends or even grabbing pizza after a game sometimes. Embrace the 80/20 principle and just learn to make the right choices most of the time and understand that humans don’t come broken out of the box. That even though observing the greater population at large might lead you to the opposite conclusion, people are by and large born primed for excellent health.

Now go. Get healthy while you’re still healthy, while you’re still unbroken. It’s always easier – and more effective – to keep a new knife sharp than to restore a chipped, rusty, neglected old one.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and please share your advice with the younger amongst us in the comment board below.

Learn More About the Brand New Book Paleo Girl and Grab Your Free Gifts While the Limited-Time Offer Lasts

TAGS:  Aging, teen health

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177 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Kids and Teens (and Infant Prodigies)”

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  1. heck yes, i loved this post! wish i’d read it when i was in high school.

  2. Very true. That’s why I’m raising my kids up right from the start. I’m not 100% primal, or even 80%, truth be told, but even following a few basic principles is making a huge difference. We don’t fear fat, and we know which fats to choose. We avoid processed foods and toxins of any kind. We eat plenty of animal products, while keeping grains as more of a treat. If I ever make it to 100% Primal (which will take a raise in the grocery budget and a bit more motivation than I’ve got right now, considering I’m feeling fine), we’ll be doing even better. But the one thing that really motivates me to put effort into what we eat is knowing that my kids are going to grow up better the better I feed them. They will avoid so many childhood chronic illnesses that are considered “common” (even type 2 diabetes for kids now! what the heck!), build healthy, strong bodies, and have good eating habits.

    Most likely they’ll rebel at some point and eat a ton of junk food. But they’ll recognize that sick feeling it gives them as NOT normal, and hopefully they’ll come back to the way I taught them. (My mom was considered sugar nazi when I was a kid, spoiling my childhood by not giving us more than one piece of candy a day or letting us eat cereal with more than 12 grams of sugar per serving … and I simply can’t binge on sugar now. I don’t have a high tolerance for it, and I instantly recognize that yucky feeling that tells me to stop.)

    1. Haha your mom seems lenient compared to mine! She gave away all our halloween candy, and cereal was never an option in our house. I DID rebel – freshman year of high school I bought a Nutty Bar and FunYuns every day after lunch.

      However, when I finally started growing up a bit and thinking about my health, my parents teaching were the first to come to mind. I didn’t really get caught up in diet fads with processed food because I had previously been taught that low sugar and high fat was the best way to live.

      Kids will always rebel, but if you teach them the right things to begin with, they should find their way back.

      1. My mother ate all our Halloween candy and taught us to question authority–I think SHE was the one rebelling! 🙂

  3. I applaud the effort but unless the young are a lot smarter than we were wisdom must be earned or it will not be recognized. This is especially true since they are being lied to by the CW professionals and must have time to sort through the BS before the Holy Grail becomes obvious.

    1. I knew several people who became vegan for health or ethical reasons in junior high and high school. Can you imagine dropping milk with as much as it is pushed on kids? Also, I was raised Christian (and my parents/grandparents drilled it into me) and at the age of 11, questioned it so much that I chose to no longer embrace it. I haven’t identified with that religion since, and I’m 34. I think kids are smarter and more capable of thinking for themselves than you realize.

  4. I was 16 at the beginning of summer, 17 at the end. I was 180 lbs at 5’7″ at the beginning, 150 at 5’8″ at the end.

    Thanks, Mark.

    P.S. I stopped living Primal when school started (do you know how hard it is to stay awake in calculus without chocolate? It’s TOO HARD.), but I’ve been getting back into it. I’ll give you a proper success story by the end of senior year 🙂

  5. Absolutely! I SO wish I had discovered this as a teen, and I’m jealous of all you younger people who are Primal as you have such a wonderful head-start 🙂
    I had been thinking I would have to be a ‘terrible warning’ to the young folk in my life…. NOW I’m determined to be a ‘shining example’ instead! Lol

  6. I am a 16 year old teenage boy, and going primal nine months ago was the best thing that ever happened to me! Sure, I was in shape before going primal, but if I didn’t work out a lot or run and swim a lot I would be out of shape in no time. Plus, I feel great! I used to feel like crap all the time, but after cutting grains my body thanked me. One thing to also mention in this post that actually might help convince many people to go primal is skin! Going primal can really clear out acne, especially after balancing out your omega3’s and omega6’s (not eating such an inflammatory diet.)

    I have had a growing interest in my health throughout my teenage years, and all this information on living primal and paleo is like a drug for me! I love learning more about it, and I read your blog on a daily basis. I am actually going to write my junior research paper on living primal, and if anyone that knows a lot about paleo would willing to be my mentor, I’d greatly appreciate it! Shoot me an email at jeremythomasjordan@gmail.com if you’re interested.

    PS, After my friends have seen how great I feel and the great shape I am in, the are finally deciding it might be worth it to make the switch! Grok on!

  7. Cool post!! I turn 30 next year and hope that I can stick with living Primaly, drop 60lbs and then continue to live this way forever!!

    1. I’ll be 30 next year as well. I’m always dumbfounded by how my friends look tired and out of shape even though we’re all relatively young. Meanwhile I just ran up and down a mountain outside of Tokyo in 3 hours round trip even though it was rated at 3 hours UP! They often say, “Jay, you’d better have kids before too long or you won’t have the energy to raise them!” Hah! Hopefully I’ll be able to convert them through example…

      1. totally off-topic, but do you live in Tokyo? my fiance and I are planning on going there for our honeymoon… possibly hitting up Kyoto as well. I have done a bit of research as far as touristy things to do there, but do you have any suggestions? thanks!

      2. I am currently teaching myself Japanese and have always wondered if I could live in Japan in the future. At first, I figured living primal and strength training would be impossible if I did that. Thanks for showing me that there might still be a way for me to achieve it.

  8. Totally agree. I found this stuff when I was 22, and that was already late enough to be overweight and metabolically damaged. A year and a half later I’m nearly where I want to be in terms of body composition (and that’s with several months of less-than-80% adherence) and feeling better than I ever have in my life. I know I’m on a path that will keep me getting stronger, fitter and happier for years to come. Don’t wait! The earlier you take control of your health, the bigger the benefits and the more you will get out of it!

    1. I agree- the damage can begin young for some of us. My PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) kicked in shortly after starting menstruation- cue years of weight and acne hell during those highly sensitive teen years. Even if young people can’t really envisage the benefits of a Primal lifestyle in years to come, understand you’ll reap immediate benefits now with a fit body and clear skin being just the start…

  9. I found this site during the spring of my senior year in high school (2010) from a link on barefoot Ted’s website. I’ve been at it for almost two years now, and everyone calls me crazy for doing what I do (being as primal as possible), yet I still manage to be more fit and healthier than the rest of them. Definitely not easy to stay motivated, but it’s always worth it. Anyway, I’m still going strong now in college. Here’s to you, Mark, and all the (young) lives that you’ve touched

  10. When I see other people’s kids I can’t help but think about when I have my own and how great it’s gonna be to raise them Primal from the start!

    1. Totally. My fiancee and I are planning on getting started on a family in a few years, and I’m definitely looking forward to raising strong, healthy, happy Primal kiddos. 🙂

    2. Yes, do it. Raise them primal from the very beginning. It’s a daily challenge in my house. I went primal almost exactly one year ago. I feel better and lost 30lbs. I’m wearing a size 4 to 6 now (I’m 37 years old)… but my children, despite the evidence in front of their faces, are putting up a fight. I would say they’re about 60% primal, if I had to put a number on it. But especially my 10 year old daughter rebels against primal, even though my closest friends and I (and my husband) have completely changed our lives.

      Being a kid is not easy. 🙂 You think you’re just so much smarter than all the adults together. And evidence means nothing. sigh…

      1. My kids are 16 (girl) and 14 (boy). I went primal on my own two years ago. I did not bug my kids–or my husband–about it at all, I just did it for myself. When my husband saw how lean I was getting with very little formal exercise, he joined me and lost about 50 pounds in 6 months. My daughter wants to be primal, but lacks the will to really commit. She did, however, recently present a persuasive speech to he English class about eliminating grain and her classmates loved it. I just bought her “Paleo Girl.” I hope it will help her decide for herself. My son has absolutely no interest. He’s mad I don’t make white rice anymore to go with stir fry.

        My point is: Sometimes just being a quiet example of success is the best way of teaching. If I had hounded the rest of the family, I would still be the only primal human in the house (even my dog is grain free now!). As it is, I’m about 90/10 primal, hubby about 70/30, daughter about 50/50. I no longer buy cereal, pasta, crackers and rice (although hubby does occasionally eat spaghetti with the kids). Bread is down to one loaf per week. We do eat WAY more veggies now, including green smoothies for breakfast. Daughter loves those!

        So, just know that whether you go primal overnight or ease into it gradually, you still are doing your body good.

        1. I forgot to say that eating school cafeteria lunches can really undermine a primal or paleo teen, so stocking up on packable foods that can be taken to school is important. Or, eating a protein packed breakfast that will get teens through the school day without lunch is another good idea! Also, parents and kids should work together to come up with primal alternatives to the typical fare at get-togethers and parties. Sometimes it seems the only option is pizza, but planning ahead can pay off. Eating a healthy meal before the party and bringing your own primal snack are good habits to help avoid the pizza temptation.

          Don’t forget that all is not lost if you do have a slice or two of pizza or some birthday cake–only once in a while!. Just eat extra-primal after that!

  11. And for further ways to incorporate the 80/20 Principle into your lives (I did in the kitchen), go here (http://wenchwisdom.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-i-create-my-own-cave-kitchen.html)

    From a document that no longer appears on my blog: “Streamlining and improving your food choices will lead to more cupboard and refrigerator/freezer space, more time and money for other things, weight loss (which leads to less spent on clothing, less closet space needed, and less laundry), and improved health. Better nutrition also leads to more energy, less stress, slowed aging, and less susceptibility to sickness, both obvious and hidden (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.)

    Convenience foods cost us in many ways, and they really aren’t so “convenient” after all—especially when you discover that you really don’t need any of them!”

    …and this was written well before I discovered Paleo. This is what I learned from reading ALL the 80/20 guy’s books, even though they cover the work place. The kitchen IS my work place.

    1. ~Fast-forward 3 years~

      My blog is now dead, but I still stand by what I wrote back then–I seem to have a knack for writing timeless stuff.

  12. My almost 4 year old is nearly 100% Primal. She knows that “sugar and grain and bread don’t make us big and strong”. Yes, perhaps I’ve brainwashed her, but how many other kids consider a square of dark chocolate to be a special treat? She still doesn’t love her veggies, but we’re working on that!

    1. I remember being young and not liking most everything. My ablilty to stand strong tastes didn’t develop until after I was 10 and I still have to cook the sulfer veggies just this side of overcooked so my innards don’t rebel. Little bits cooked and blended into food can get you quite aways in that department. Not easy, I was a very picky eater who likes most of the food I couldn’t handle as a kid. AND I’m “getting mine” because my son is also a picky eater, isn’t that what all us parents want? To have our children have one just like them? He, he, he.
      Grandmas can also get a long way in having them try new things at their house, using different names and while they “help” fix food with her. Mine learned to like celery, carrots, broccoli to name a few. My mom got kids to eat green beans by calling them “beanies” instead. Ya never know what’ll work.

  13. 19 and primal since March 2011! My friends and family still think this is just another manifestation of how crazy I am, but I feel great. Even at this age, it’s clear how nutrition and simple tweaks like paying attention to >how< I sleep can make an incredible difference. The biggest difference: changing how I eat uncovered a passion for nutrition, and that passion is the only reason I decided to go to college. Another one: now that I see that vast improvements can be made in an individual within a short time, I'm inspired to improve in all areas of my life.

    I want to thank not only Mark here, but everyone who is a part of this community, whether or not you feel you've contributed. Seeing that this is in fact a community has no doubt given some amount of persuasion or courage to those looking to improve.

    1. I’m 19 and primal since around Oct. 2010. My family also thinks I’m crazy and full of it because I would tell them about every new piece of information I found and I’m not afraid to admit that something I read previously was probable wrong. I don’t talk about how I eat or exercise (kettlebells and DDR) anymore so when I make an adjustment I don’t have to deal with the comments anymore. Primal has also helped me appreciate nutrition more but I still refuse to do to college.

  14. Excellent advice. I only started taking a serious interest in healthy eating around 31. I ate what I thought was healthy-er before that, but I’m in much better shape now that I’m mostly low-carb paleo.

    Those that are young: it may seem unnecessary now (<25yo), but wait until your buddies start crossing that 25yo mark, or so. Even though I'm only 31, many of my buds have clearly added a few pounds a year since college. After a decade, that's starting to add up. Most of them couldn't do a basic fitness test: 5+ full pullups, 20+ proper pushups, run a mile, or show any core strength. I hope they start watching the beer and food intake, or it's not going to be pretty at 40.

  15. So true,I am almost 48 but I even think going primal would have minimized up my acne back then when I was a teen.
    It certainly seems to have helped reduce my adult acne since I started in Nov 2010.
    So appeal to their vanity 🙂

    1. Oh, the acne… I almost couldn’t believe how immediately it cleared up when I started primal. I cut out dairy at the very beginning and thank goodness I did– a bite of any recipe with dairy in it can make my face angry by the next morning, sometimes earlier. I don’t even crave dairy, and haven’t since a week after I got rid of it. 19 and with a clear face after four years of terrible acne. My before/after is like a Proactiv commercial. Yeah, not a single craving here.

  16. It’s a lot easier to start with the right habits when you are younger rather than trying to adopt them later in life. I agree with the the 80/20 rule. If you can do the right thing 80% of the time you will be way ahead of the game. You don’t need 100% perfection, striving for perfection is a recipe for failure, especially in health. You have to enjoy life a bit a long the way.

  17. This is a very timely post. I have two wonderful little girls 2 and 5 years old. The 5 year old has been overweight for the last year. She doesn’t eat terribly, but puts on weight easily. Starting this week I am changing her diet to 80% primal. I really hope her body responds positively, as primal eating has had a fantastic effect on me.

    Wish me luck.

    1. Some little kids are chubby until they start to grow taller. My neice was that way and then she shot up and is a normal sized kid.

  18. Thank you for this post!
    I’m 19 and discovered this website and primal living this past summer. I’m thankful to have found this early enough in life so that I will hopefully never struggle with major health issues. I am lucky enough to have a mother who is trying to follow a paleo/primal lifestyle aswell.

    I have to agree that peer pressure is the hardest thing to overcome sometimes, especially when you do not want to be seen as being weird or on a diet. Trying to explain this lifestyle to people my age is rather difficult when they seem to care very little about how what they are doing now will affect them later…

    1. Peer pressure just sucks. I started intermittent fasting after my cans of tuna were not well recieved during lunchtime 😉

      1. Why would anyone be weirded out by tuna? Even “normal” people eat canned tuna!

        1. I started intermittent fasting for similar reasons too (before I even knew it existed actually).

          You’d think tuna would be normal but the reactions by young people are just plain silly. Sorry it smells a little?

      2. Ha ha! I take a can of sardines to work for breakfast. No one has said anything yet, but I’m kinda hiding in the break room so I can’t be seen. It’s a great breakfast, though!

        1. I was just going to recommend switching to sardines! Love those things and I just laugh at the reactions I get from people. Thankfully, I’m to the point in your life where you quit caring what other people think. It’s harder when you’re younger.

  19. Hey Mark! Wow, i read your website everyday and right when i am having doubts about my nutrition, this post shows up! I’m 15 years old in high school and health has been very interesting to me these past years and i really want to immerse into the primal lifestyle. It is sometimes tough to stay 100% but thats why i love the 80/20 rule. I hope to do a success story for you after i really adapt to eating primal. Thanks again for giving attention to us kids 🙂

  20. Great Post! Unfortunately my 8 year old chubby son is too young to grasp the importance of this post. I’m waiting until he gets older and more mature to care about how he looks, feels and performs. Its a daily battle against sugar in my house, but I am one against many. hop[efuly in a few years he will come to me and say “dad, please help me get leaner and stronger like you have done a few years ago.” I hope this is not wishful thinking on my part…

    1. WOW Your post reminds me about my house, I have just went along my beginning primal journey by myself also. My family loves there sugar and processed junk, I don’t buy it anymore so then they go out and get it themselves. (Order pizza anyone!< sodas) My son who is 9 is overweight as well as my husband and my 15 year old who is getting a ponch also but I am sick of trying to talk to them about it, they blow me off like I am on some kind of fad, weirdo. I hope they see results in me to change there ways but I am not holding my breath. How does one address this?? Maybe Mark can give us some pointers?

      1. Well, you start out small. Letting things go from bad to not as bad and then oops, did I not buy that? Huh, not good for us anyway. Both my husband and son can now preach the primal life to anyone, and both have sometimes. Funny, then they go get a bit of pie, ice cream or sweet rolls, root beer….. uh, hey guys that’s more than the 20%….. but at least they are getting the propaganda and will come around here soon. They already live at a primal house because I do the grocery shopping, muwahahahahaha.

  21. I am so glad you wrote this post. It really summarizes how my wife and I are raising our kids. My wife and I both have success stories on your page and our hope is that our kids success stories are simply ‘we are in great health, we manage our stress, we enjoy life, we effortless manage our weight, we rarely get sick, etc.’ I hope my kids don’t have to get on a scale and see 300 lbs as a teenager like I did. I hope the changes we had to make are the norm for them.

    Keep up the great work!!

  22. I hope my peers read this someday while searching the internet during a WoW patch time so together we can become a vibrant, capable generation. I am seventeen years old, a senior in high school, and absolutely disgusted with the self-serving culture around me. After going primal I really could see that so much of our apathetic lethargy stems from our dietary choices; it’s kinda hard to optimistically progress society when you’re hurting deep in your bloodstream and don’t even know it.

    1. “Hurting deep in your bloodstream” is about the best way I have heard this put ever, Mary. Oh the years I have spent hurting in my bloodstream and sabotaging my energy with all the low-fat carbs I could eat, wondering why I was always starving and always fat when I was doing everything “right” according to CW. I am delighted that you have found primal so early in your life! Keep it up! Change the world!

  23. Awesome letter. I feel so lucky I stumbled upon this lifestyle and research at the ripe age of 20. I definitely feel like I have an edge on many people my age when it comes to health, productivity, and happiness.

  24. Thank you so much for this post, Mark. I have been waiting for one like this!

    I am 19, and I have been on-and-off Primal for almost a year. The “off” times were due to having insufficient funds for things like grass-fed meat and other Primal necessities. It took nearly 9 months to really learn how to find a good source, for a good price, and to learn how it satiates and that the up-front costs might be higher, but the long-term benefits are tremendous. Not to mention that there’s more humanity (depending on the farmer and stuff).

    I’m fully Primal now. I am 6’2″ and when I weighed myself 6 months ago, I was 320 lbs. I don’t know how much I weigh now, and I may have not lost any weight, but I have energy like I’ve never had before and have never felt better. The other reason for my “off” time was that I had a very bad back injury, and I was too stressed out to really think about anything.

    The problem now, though, is helping my partner go Primal. She’s normal weight, high height, but lives a high-stress, no-(physical)-activity lifestyle, clings to foods that are cheap and fast (like pizza, sandwiches, &tc.), but fully understands the Primal concept, understands how the metabolism works, and knows that she would be better off and that it would help secure her genes (and present health). She just “doesn’t have the time,” and she’ll fall for quick things like 15 minute convection-oven pizza and potato chips from a bag because they’re there and they’re fast and easy. Maybe I’ve been pushing it too hard on her. I forget about the 80/20 principle. Thank you so much for reminding me, Mark!

    I’m going to start trying to help her and incorporate 80/20! I do more of 95/5. I let myself have a little Ben & Jerry’s on the weekend, after a hard week’s work. It’s pretty benign, compared to a lot of things, I think.

    Thanks, Mark!

    1. One thing your partner might find helpful is finding easy and yummy meals to cook that can be made in big batches and then refrigerated/frozen for later. I know that being in school full-time, working part-time (or working full-time and doing school part-time, which I’ll be switching to soon) as well as trying to have a life can make it really challenging to eat well. I found that setting aside 1-2 hours on a Sunday and 1 hour on a Wednesday to do my cooking for the next few days was really helpful. I’ll often cook up a couple of steaks, some chicken breasts and a pork tenderloin as well as some sauces/toppings and then stick them in the fridge. Most things will keep for up to a week and I can mix and match to suit my tastes, with the food only needing 10-20 minutes in the oven to reheat. Crock-pot meals can also be a good solution – normally 10-15 minutes prep, toss them in the fridge overnight and then pop them in the pot in the morning to cook throughout the day.

      As for snacks, kale chips are quick and easy (10 minutes to prep and 10-15 to cook) and don’t cost any more than potato chips. They’re also very customizable. I normally cut up my kale when I get it so I can just grab a handful, toss with oil and seasoning and then pop them in the oven. Quicker than going to the store for potato chips and I can use whatever seasoning I want. Hand-made sweet potato, carrot or zucchini chips are just as easy if you have a mandolin or specialized cutter. They take a little longer to cook but are still pretty easy and certainly much yummier than the over processed bag of chips. You might even be able to make them for her so she gets to try them without the effort (they keep well in sealed containers).

  25. My 10 year old is currently struggling with the decision to go dairy free. He understands the war against acne would be easier won without dairy, however he really likes a nice glass of whole milk in the afternoon. I tell him it’s his choice and I know he’ll make a good one.

    I have to say though: I am 27 and Mark – you are STILL older than my Dad. I say that with love, age is just a number. 🙂

    1. Hi, Jen, just curious if your 10 year old is drinking raw milk (if it’s even an option for you)? I’ve had acne problems with pasteurized (who wouldn’t?), but raw milk causes no problems for me. I know it’s not really paleo, and everyone’s body reacts differently, but maybe it could be a good compromise, or a good way to help him ease into the transition?

    2. Try non-homogenized. It makes a big difference. If the cream isn’t completely localized on top of the milk and is making creamy lumps in the milk, just strain it. Should be available in health food store as “non-homogenized, pasture-fed whole milk”. Or “non-homogenized ‘grass’ whole milk”.

    3. Maybe try him on coconut milk? Trader Joe’s has a good unsweetened brand in a cartoon, it’s nice and rich.

  26. Thanks Mark 🙂 I stumbled upon the primal/paleo world a few months ago, age 16, and I completely love it. I’m 17 now and have shown it to my parents and friends, most of whom seemed pretty interested in and supportive of the idea.

    I’ve also become an adept cook, a vibram-wearer, and a buyer of responsibly-raised foods.

    I became very interested in human psychology and anthropology after taking those classes in school. I’m also a high-school athlete (rower). The primal/paleo lifestyle blends all these things together seamlessly.

    Keep up the great work! I’ll continue to visit every day as long as you keep posting every day!

  27. Great column, Mark. I have forwarded this page to all my contacts – young and old. Happy new year, everyone.

  28. Love this post! I’m 19 and have been primal since the beginning of summer 2011. What a blessing your site and books have been to me!! I am keeping up my primal lifestyle as a freshman in college and couldn’t be happier. When I think of what my diet would have been had I not found this blog – loads of pizza, cookies, dairy, etc. – it makes me thankful that I have the resources and knowledge to do something different with my life. I don’t want to live a SAD existence, and I am determined to do whats best for my long-term health. Now I hope to make a positive impact on my family and friends. I can’t wait to live in an apartment next year so I can cook delicious primal food for my roommates and myself! Thanks Mark for all you do…grok on:)

    1. Thats EXACTLY how I feel! I just want to move off campus so I can cook real food! I’ve slowly developed the biggest gripe against campus food. Only one more semester to go…

      1. Agreed! School food is the worst…but I’m coming back from winter break prepared with my grass fed jerky and some paleo brands meals! Lets hope that makes things easier haha

  29. As always, well put, Mark. I sincerely wish I’d come across the primal lifestyle 25 years ago. It likely would have saved me a whole lot of years of pain and agony from Fibromyalgia and arthritis. Both of which, I’m thrilled to say, are well controlled and cause very little to no pain now!

  30. I’m 20 and found the Primal Blueprint about a year and a half ago on Stumbleupon. It changed my life. I’ve since found the energy I need to match the enthusiasm to be a teacher! I stopped worrying about being overweight and focused on getting my head straight. After getting my head straight I soon realized my passions. I feel invigorated reading comments by other young people. It gives me hope. Many times I feel like a primal animal in the dark without a fellow to follow or play with.

    The peer pressure and strange looks are definitely a deterrent, but I try my best to stay positive against some of the close-mindedness out there. I’ve become a (self proclaimed) runner on the forefront of primal youth, spreading Mark Sission’s approach to health like the juiciest berries on the forest floor.

    This post is what I’ve been trying to explain to my fellow students for the past year.

    Much love to Mark and the Primal Community!

  31. Hubby and I pretty much have started over..we have 2 teenagers (18 & 16) and then had a son this past March! The teens just kinda roll thier eyes with the primal lifestyle, which is a shame, but we are raising our infant son primal all the way. When starting him on solids we tried both rice and oats-Which he turned his nose up to, so we decided…why press the issue? And have left the grains in the dust. I make all his foods, no yucky jarred stuff older than him and he is great and his dr is pleased with his progress–she is a DO so she is more open to alt. Child raising anyway, which is great. Thanks again, Mark!

    1. Karen,
      Do you have any online places you like for advice for raising infants primally? My grandson is 9mo, and his mom & dad are trying to keep him primal, but they both have to fight the pressure of doctors, babysitters, well meaning (other) grandparents. I know my daughter would like to have more ideas of feeding a just-teething youngster primally, plus just the support of knowing she isn’t alone in wanting to raise her son this way.

      And thanks Mark for yet another excellent post. It amazes me that you can keep the quality as high as you do day after day.

      1. Feed them what you eat – period. We have an 11 yr old and she’s been 80/20 her whole life (started her with sweet potatoes instead of oats.) Although she may have an “off” day at a party, now that she goes alone, she doesn’t miss a beat coming home. Now that my husband has been truly primal for well over a year, which I thought he would never give up cookies, she just follows our “lifestyle.” It’s easier when their younger, we shop and cook for them – now she’s used to yams vs white potatoes, and salmon vs chicken nuggets. BTW, she has never eaten at a fast food – because we don’t 🙂 We now joke about it with her – maybe she can go to mcDonald’s before she leaves for college 🙂

        1. Erin,
          That’s easy at 11, not so easy at 9 months. Teeth are just starting to come in so many primal foods are too difficult to eat, as well as choking hazards.
          My daughter is raising her boy primally (starting with breastfeeding), but is just looking for other peoples ideas on how to approach it.

        2. Look up baby led solids. I have late teethers. Both kids have always just eaten what we eat. We start solids at 6 months and they don’t start getting teeth till 9 months. If you just have to go the baby foods route then try avocado, boiled or scrambled eggs, baked winter squash, overly steamed broccoli, mashed cauliflower, meat that’s been simmered till it’s super soft, or soft poached fish etc. Like I said though, we don’t bother too much with specially cooking foods. She can eat chicken off the bone no problem. It’s messy, but she loves it.

      2. Hi John!

        I am following the feeding schedule from wholesomebabyfoods.com, but minus the grains. Little Man gets whole fat yogurt and cottage cheese, as well as avocado, roasted butternut squash, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberries, apples, pears, zucchini–we had a love affair with that! He has also had peas, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as chicken, turkey and pork and broth made from chicken and turkey bones.

        I am pretty much feeding him what we eat, and following the recommendations of wholesomebabyfood, like I said, with when to start certain foods, and I make his food. I have a baby bullet and I love how well it works. If your daughter would like a fellow mom to chat with, she can contact me at kbspinner at gmail dot com. Would love to chat with her!

        Karen

      3. I have an 11 mo. old. Shes been primal from the get go. Around 8 months, I started her on meat…salmon, beef, chicken…I just chew it for her and then give it to her. Sounds gross, I
        know, but she loves it. Other foods I give are yams/sweet potatoes, acorn & butternut squash, steamed spinach, broccoli, carrots, peas, green beans, avocado, banana, mango, strawberries, blueberries, pears and eggs. We use jarred food occasionally when the situation warrants. And, of course, breast feeding. Right now shes drinking approximately 32 oz a day, give or take. Very soon she’ll be chewing up her own food. Can’t wait!

        1. Hey! I’ve done the chewed meat thing for Little Man too!! I am pretty sure it is primal- I am sure Little Grok’s mom didn’t run down to the market for jarred meats! Did you try her on cranberries? Our guy loved them, cooked down with apples and pears. Blueberries are coming up soon!

      4. My son is 9.5 months old. I’m feeding him quasi Paleo/quasi Sally Fallon. He eats a lot of egg yolks (1st food ever), duck liver ‘pate’, pureed meats – as well as avocado (2nd food ever), sweet potato, vegetables and fruits. He also does a little kefir (because he likes drinking out of mommy’s glass). I think it’s pretty easy at this point – it will get harder when he’s eating different foods than his friends, and knows it.

        He’s off the charts both height and weight (at his 9 month check-up, his pediatrician asked for tix for when he becomes an NBA star – which he is not genetically pre-disposed to. I think he’s just eating well 🙂

  32. I’m 19 and have been Primal for…5 days now! 🙂

    I discovered this site maybe two months back after being linked here by…I forget. Maybe Tim Ferriss. Or Ev Bogue. It was definitely a blogger. Anyways, it took a while before it really sunk in for me. I’ve been voraciously reading not just this site but a whole spectrum of others. I spent some time introducing my girlfriend (whom I live with) to the concept and subtly dropping hints here and there. We previously ate almost 100% of our meals out, and while we generally stuck to the Asian fare so readily available in our area (not nearly as bad as eating at a typical American restaurant), it wasn’t optimal. Rice and noodles are freaking ubiquitous in Asian food. A lot of Asian people will literally call you crazy if you suggest you don’t eat rice or noodles.

    Anywho, I’ve been working towards a paradigm shift in which we do most of our eating from home, and once I got my girlfriend receptive to the idea, I purchased the 21-Day Total Body Transformation and the Quick & Easy Meals book, did a house purge, went shopping at Costco (not ideal, I know, but its a start!) and 5 days later here we are. There were some minor, Christmas-related slip ups, but other than that I’ve been very strictly Primal. No real change in body composition yet (I don’t really have much weight to lose), but I feel PHENOMENAL. (And the few times during holiday celebrations that I slipped up, I felt like craaaaaap) That alone tells me what I’m doing is right.

    I’m not fully Primal with the exercise & lifestyle habits yet, but I definitely have the diet dialed in, and I feel that’s a good enough place to start.

  33. Thanks Mark for a very timely article; I was sitting down making plans for the whole family to eat primal (once all these Christmas chocs are out of the way!). Would love some advice from others who are primal as a family. I have three boys – the eldest is 14, has egg and peanut allergies, doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him so really needs building up, the middle one is 12, probably needs to lose a bit of weight but is also a growing lad, (already size 11.5 feet!), and the youngest is 10, has too much of a sweet tooth and doesn’t like vegetables. Actually, I’m not sure how I will get any of them to eat veg and salad as a major part of their diet. I guess we will move to it gradually, while we reduce the amount of crisps, biscuits, fizzy drinks and pizza coming into the house, but any advice gratefully received! I have the book now so I know that will be helpful and I will show the boys this blog!

    Thanks,
    Hannah (in the UK)

    1. Good luck on your move to get the family more Primal! I introduced myself to eating more veggies by roasting them. I just toss some vegetables (brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc) in a bit of oil and seasonings, then roast in the oven until they’re brown around the edges. I have a life-long hatred of most of those vegetables, when cooked. Now that I roast them, I eat them in a bowl for snack, like I used to eat potato chips!!

      1. Oh, and if you can get bottles/cans of carbonated water where you live, a small bit of fruit juice can transform them into pretty good soda substitutes, until your boys get weaned off of soda completely. That worked well for me.
        A website called http://www.health-bent.com has some excellent Primal/Paleo cookie recipes too. I adore their ginger cookie recipe. I know that MDA has cited it for some of their recipes before too.

        1. Thanks AustinGirl, I haven’t tried those sorts of roast veg, was thinking down the lines of roasted sweet potato and red onion, but can try that as well.

          I’m going through various recipes to see what we can try in January – some great ones for Chilli, Chicken, celery & stilton stir fry, Moroccan aubergine bake, Croustade of mushrooms (where the base is made using ground almonds). I’m quite looking forward to this! Mark’s message helped me see that I don’t have to switch them all overnight – maybe if I get breakfast and dinner more primal, while I think of what they can take for packed lunch. And of course I will just stop buying the crap (fizz, crisps, biscuits) and spend more on the steak! I’m also really keen to see if this helps my eldest son’s asthma – I’ve heard that just going wheat-free can help, and have seen several people mention how much their asthma has been helped in their success stories. Hopefully we will have a success story to add soon too……

  34. Ditto–Ditto–Ditto!

    I am going to get my pets eating Paleo, too! I should have taken the hint many years ago when our Sheltie had pre-cancerous polyps–likely caused by pet food–she was placed on a single source protein and carb diet. (Do you see $$ signs here? Yes, we are long past getting her real food.)

  35. Hi Mark
    I’m 16, nearly 17 and an avid follower of your blog. This post came at the right time, just the kick in the butt I need.

    I need to lose 10 to 15 pounds and of course its difficult to be primal when you don’t control the grocery shopping or what’s for dinner, especially when you own a breadmaker and are a bread addict.

    But I’m sick of feeling crap when I wake up and being ashamed of my body.
    Thank you.

  36. Definitely gonna raise my kids primal. Considering that there’s a chance that they might inherit my crappy insulin sensitivity, it would be best for them to just avoid grains, starch, and sugar, altogether, like future mommy’s doing right now. And that it’ll do great things for their bodies, as well. 🙂 I don’t think I could sleep at night, knowing that I might be setting my kids up for a life of ill health. 🙁

  37. Great post. I’m going to send it to my 2 teenagers. I vote this as the understatement of the month:

    “Produce pretty decent content for a popular blog on a daily basis.”

  38. Right on Mark. I am trying to drive the Primal way on my kids so they do remember it later on life and maybe not drop it by the way side at all.

  39. I’ve been primal since the last year and I’m lean as I would have never imagined. As a child I was obese so it’s something I’m really proud of. My problem right now, and it’s the only one, is that I don’t know how to make my parents both in their fifties to go primal. My mom, for example, can’t leave the bread and the rice. She does eat fruit and veggies, but she has a dire need to eat those culprits. Please, I don’t know how to gently convice her. Help me, primal friends. I don’t want to see her or my dad sick in a few years. It really hurts.

    1. I am 53 and my husband is 65. We have been eating this way for six months and are showing major improvement. What I would recommend is a start slow approach. I convinced DH to let me try cooking differently ONCE IN A WHILE. It didn’t take long until we left everything (mostly) by the wayside. I never tell him what he can or cannot eat. This is really important.
      Perhaps asking gently if she would try without the bread and rice occasionally.
      I know that since I left grains behind I can breathe out of both nostrils and I have not been able to do that for years.
      Maybe you can get them to try it for a short term, a week for starters?

      1. Honeybuns (I assume that’s not what you cook!),
        My wife and are are the same ages, but reversed (I’m 54, she is 65). I’ve been primal for a couple years, but she just doesn’t buy it, despite the improvements she sees in me.

        She does eat more primally just because I do a fair amount of the cooking and she always eats what I cook. And she makes some effort in her cooking to moderate the non-primal foods.

        But it is a continual struggle to “sway” her without becoming preachy (well, she might claim I’m preachy about Primal anyway, but she is too nice to call me on it).

    2. k, your parents are probably what Nora Gedgaudas (Primal Body-Primal Mind) calls “carnevores”. They are addicted to carbs! I strongly suggest you get her book from the library. It has a great plan, plus explanation of the addiction, to help wean people away from grains. Good luck!

  40. Im 16 and have known about paleo/primal for 2 years now. Eating this way completely cured my severe migraines. I had suffered migraines since i was about 9 and by the time i was 14 i was getting 1 or 2 a week and would be off school for two days each time (for the migraine itself and the head ‘bruising’ the day after). I can’t believe since going primal… they just stopped! It’s a miracle. Blood sugar crashes and needing to eat every two hours have dissappeared too. I feel so free!
    I can’t imagine where i would be if i hadn’t discovered marks daily apple. Thanks for everything!

  41. Mark,

    I am a senior in high school and have been Primal for over a year now. I really went Primal for the “look good naked” idea, but overall health works too. Anyways, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you for enlightening me as well as countless others including one of my best friends. You’ve inspired me to grok on and I know soon enough I’ll have little groks and grokettes running around. Thanks!!

  42. “Bound up flights of stairs because it’s easier and less time consuming than walking up them.”

    I thought this was just me. People look at me like I’m crazy when I run up three flights out stairs while they walk, but I hate trudging up stairs. It’s so much easier to run up so you don’t lose momentum between steps.

  43. I wish I would have known about this diet and lifestyle in high school. If I did, maybe I wouldn’t have passed out from sugar crashes during classes and would have had a better abilty to focus in class and while doing my homework.

  44. Mark … BRILLIANT!!! Wish I had read this when I was at “second adolescence”. Many people come out of a divorce and “get fit” – but it’s really just to be back on the market. How about BE HEALTHY for life! I love it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  45. well said, Mark. here’s how i see it… people who have made it into their 80’s have a quasi primal life style to thank for that longevity. most foods that they were raised on were not yet bastardized. this gave them a solid foundation for health. today’s main staples are mostly processed to death with few nutrients. sad reports state today’s generation is the first that will not live as long as their parents. it can only be the food; it’s the only thing that has changed, as you say “I’ve been there”, that remains the same.

  46. I turn 20 in literally a week and I think I need to go get the primal blueprint and make it my resolution for the upcoming year to at least give it an honest try.

  47. Already started 🙂

    I’m 15 years old, and I started venturing into Primal eating when I was 14. I’m an athlete- avid soccer player and pre-professional dancer- so how I look and feel is something very important in my life. I struggle, though, so that’s why I’ve been doing loads of research. I’ve tried to Primal life before, back in early summer, but I had no support from my parents so it didn’t go over so well. Now, with my 67 year old dad (you were wrong, he’s older XD)worried about diabetes, I think I finally have his support and together, we both are going to dive into the Primal lifestlye. I’m excited. I know from past attempts just how good it made me feel, and I’m ready to feel that way again. Especially since I’m recovering from a career threatening knee injury, I need a diet and a lifestyle to make the rest of my body healthy so that I can heal XD

    Well, the point of all that randomness was to say that hey, I’m totally with you guys 🙂

  48. Hey Mark,
    I am 19 years old and feel very grateful for learning about a healthy lifestyle early on. Luckily my mum was very health conscious since she was my age, so she made it easier for me to value such a lifestyle – and also to maintain it.

    Therefore for me the transition was very easy: I basically told my mum to buy brokkoli instead of noodles, organic ground-beef instead of antibiotic-chicken – transition done.

    Thank you also for (and this is even more important) for introducing the term ,,gene-expression”. I was into bodybuilding for some time but I felt like it was very ,,ego-based” and made me self-conscious. Since I started training simply for strenth I feel much better, because I dont pressure myself anymore.

    Eating has become a sheer pleasure and it excites me everytime I cook something good. I stay primal nearly 100% – even in school. My prepared food always draws envy from my classmates!

    Its feel pretty chill about my future, because I see myself healthy for a long time.

    I guess that unfortunately for many people it is VERY hard to transition to a healthy lifestyle since they are so stuck in their habits and many times ,,health” seems to be too complicated.

    I honestly think the primal blueprint is a fantastically simple and practical guide to health and I am thankfull for beeing able to own this piece.
    If you want to reach young people..this is the way to do it. Simple and Waking.

    David

  49. Thank you for this post, Mark. I teach middle school (grades 7&8), so I see up close what the SAD has done to our kids. I try to lead by example (my students are very observant and have commented on how healthy I eat – beets, eggs, yogurt, etc), but often feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. Thanks for the inspiration – I think I’ll be using this post when we move into our informational text/research unit next month!

  50. 17 and living primal for more than a year! Thanks for this, Mark. I will make sure my mates read this — maybe it’ll finally make them primal!

  51. We’ve been Primal since May of this year. My eleven year old girl talks about how she no longer has chronic stomach aches and toothaches. She was starting to get a little chubby, and now she’s slender. Her sweet tooth is slowly disappearing. My 14 year old boy said yesterday: oh, I’ve got a stomachache–ate too many carbs today! These are changes that they have experienced themselves that will stay with them all their lives (hopefully). They do come across as a little whacky, like when my daughter announces at dance class that breakfast cereal is really bad for you! Can’t imagine what the other Moms think!

  52. I always wondered what I would have accomplished had I been off gluten and awake during high school.

  53. I enjoyed this column! My 5 y/o does pretty well with primal, probably 80/20 (and the 20 is mostly accounting for time spent at grandma’s) but with the toddler I had let crackers and dry cereal creep back in for the sake of convenience. Since reading more on primal the past few months, we have shifted away from crackers and more to almonds, macadamias, and plantain chips when the toddler needs something crunchy/non-messy to take on the go. He loves his “dames” (macadamias).

  54. For the person wanting ideas on feeding a baby primal – any cooked vegetable diced up, fruit diced up, or tiny cut up pieces of meat would be considered primal. You could puree any of that too if needed, but my babies generally preferred to feed themselves with some help. A softly fried egg cut up was another baby favorite in our house, especially the yolk. And smoothies made with coconut milk, berries and spinach were popular (still are for my kiddos!)

  55. I’m in love with your vision Mark! And chances are you’ll still be alive and well so see that coming! 😉

  56. Just want to chime in and say thanks a lot for what you’re doing, Mark!

    19 year old freshman in college here. Been reading on body recomposition and strength training in general for about a year and a half now, been really into stuff like leangains and barbell training. Found your site about two weeks ago and been reading everything I can…it’s great. While I’m at college I eat almost perfectly except for pizza every other weekend, but while I’m home primal is something that’s almost impossible, and I definitely feel the difference.

    When I get my own place, I’m definitely going to learn to cook and optimize everything I can…

    Thanks again!

  57. I really applaud you youngsters on here who have the mentality that you all seem to have. Its something I literally pray my 6 year old will develope as he ages. Cos damn its tough out there and my influence alone isn’t better than numbers.

  58. Hi Mark,
    I’m 21 and the last two years have been full of research and experimentation, starting with Weston A Price stuff, then GAPS, some Cross-Fit somewhere in there (where I was introduced to “paleo” but found it lacking at the time), Jack Kruse’s protocol recently, and through him I found your site. I gathered a wealth of ideas and studies that made sense to me but that I couldn’t quite synthesize – yet. By the time I got here, nothing you were saying surprised me. But your energy, dedication, and philosophy are all so inspiring and resonant – not to mention, simple – that I feel I’ve finally (for now, anyway!) hit on the good stuff. I am so grateful to be not only healing but thriving at this age, and if I had known even earlier, I could have skipped some pretty miserable times.

    I know now that almost every ailment under the sun can be traced back to what we put in our bellies (“All disease begins in the gut” -Hippocrates). I have treated my own depression, allergies, headaches, and addictions. I’ve helped my mother recover from years of hormonal imbalance and resulting instability. I’ve helped families treat leaky gut, autism, failure-to-thrive, and more. I am confident I can avoid my own degeneration and don’t fear aging – in fact, I’m excited to see what 40, 50, 80, 100 will be like!

    People, I find, are resigned to, even defensive of, an unnatural and fraught existence. Hard work and suffering, deprivation and disease are considered inevitable or necessary to the human condition. Even in the first world, the enjoyment of food (especially beautiful, rich food) is laden with an almost Puritan guilt; fats are condemned and people are actually convinced they don’t like them. Diets promote starvation and malnutrition, fitness amounts to torture and boredom. We sterilize and destroy the bacteria in our food, environment and bodies that keep us balanced, and then wonder why we get sick. What’s good for us – fats, rest, play – is touted as indulgent, while the farmer’s archetype is promoted in the low- and middle-class workplace: toil for all you’re worth on an insufficient diet against the rhythms of nature to scratch a measly living from the soil, and die proud, bitter and indebted.

    No thanks. I work a minimum amount of hours at jobs I can actually learn from, spend all my money on good food and all my time exploring, resting, cooking, and enjoying my bountiful life. And the big dream? An intentional community somewhere beautiful intended for healing and growth, exploring our potential and our role as a species of the earth…moving on, essentially, from this blip in history where we briefly thought destroying ourselves and the earth was a good idea. And while I might not strike it rich the traditional way with my philosophies, I can trust that whatever I’m meant to do will unfold form here because, well…

    I feel good literally all the time. And that’s gotta count for something.

    Thanks for all you’ve done, are doing, and will do.

  59. Great letter, Mark.

    I’m 19, and been Primal since July. Like the other 19 year olds that have commented here, everyone thinks I’m crazy, except for my mom, who is always doing some low-carb fad diet(can’t get her to go totally Primal yet.) My friends make fun of me all the time, and I don’t think the Vibrams I got for Christmas will help. But do I care? Not really. I know enough about the science behind it that I can explain the reasoning to people, and eating this way has become second nature.

    I’m so glad I started when I did. For any of you reading this that are on the fence: Just give it a try. What do you have to lose? If you don’t like it, don’t do it. But you owe it to yourself to at least try something that might make you feel incredible. Besides, there’s a great group of us to help you through it! (honestly, the Primal/Paleo community is a major reason for me staying motivated.

  60. Trying to get back to the Paleo way, but the holiday binge I just went through is making it hard… Not to worry though 🙂 I plan on outstanding health starting now and going into my old age. -Chris, 16

  61. Love this post Mark! I’m so passionate about getting kids started early with a simple, honest education about their own health and moving and playing naturally to maximise their start in life. I agree that your potential for health is highest if you make the most of those early years; yet it is also very difficult for many to take charge of themselves as youth often have very little personal power to dictate what they are served of fed by their parents.
    I have had a keen interest in health (starting with a W.A. Price perspective, then finding the Primal path) for around 8 years, but am only now finally implementing it because while living at home I simply eat what I was served. I didn’t have the funds to purchase separate food for myself, the room in the refrigerator to keep my things (surplus to the ‘family’s’) and if I had to cook something for myself, separate from what the rest of the family was having that night, I was just “getting in the way” in the kitchen, and making “extra washing up” – it was just too hard.
    Finally now, I’ve just turned 30 and can’t believe how much time I wasted as a youngster. While I’m far from a cripple, physically I can feel age coming on – and it scares me. What will 50, 60 be like?
    So my message is to echo you on this: to all the youngsters out there reading; don’t wait. Get started. Buy your parent/s a copy of PB 21-Day Transformation if you have to and get them on board. Ask them to give it a go with you for one month and see if they feel better too. Capture the vitality you have in your youth now, and carry it with you in to the future.

  62. I’m so glad my mom got me started on this when I was just in eighth grade. I thought she was trying to kill me! But now I’m looking forward to the benefits of health when I grow old 🙂

  63. chocolate can be primal…good for you to even be taking calculus!!

  64. Love this post! I am 26, turning 27 and many people often think I am 21. Primal has made me look amazing. Now…if only I can stop the sugar binges 🙁

    1. You can. I did, but it took diabetes to make me willing! It takes a couple of weeks of no sugar (or grains) to get past the cravings. If you slip, get right back at it.

  65. I went Paleo for the first time in may this year (2011) and i haven’t looked back, a few of my friends have discovered it on their own and we share recipes and stories too. They call me the ‘poster girl for Paleo’ i have lost weight become fitter, faster and stronger and thoroughly enjoy it, i used to be very sick growing up but i haven’t had a problem since i started! I am still a student at university and am flatting i find this lifestyle fun and very enjoyable i am trying to persuade some of my closer friends to convert. Living in New Zealand helps a lot as well as everything is so natural and readily available – just yesterday i went for a 5 min bike and picked my own fruit and vegetables and its cheaper than the supermarket! Also living with hunters means we have a lot of wild meat on hand too- a lot of venison and wild pig its great! This website helps me alot through those periods i want to ‘cheat’ i read some success stories and think about how far i have come and the cravings die! Thanks heaps everyone!

  66. Thanks a lot, Mark.

    I turned 17 this November and have been LARGELY Primal since around July, when I found your site (via Crossfit). I’ve found that, indeed, sometimes concessions have to be made when you’re (I’m) not the one drawing the paycheck, but I’m also lucky enough to have awesome, supportive and adventurous parents who have, in part at least, jumped on the Primal lifestyle. They won’t give up bread or M&Ms entirely (among other “staples”), but we shop once a week now, and the vast majority of our budget goes to meat (pastured when possible), fresh seasonal PLANTS and the occasional dairy product/coffee/dark chocolate/red wine. I’ve gotten the both of them, in varying amounts (my father more than my mother), to embrace dark(er) chocolate, smooth red wine (my mom’s a famous blush addict– all the sugar you can handle), and lots of FAT. The best part is they’re already seeing results: my dad’s lost about seven pounds of abdominal fat without even trying.

    I haven’t lost weight: I’m a former varsity XC runner, so frankly I didn’t have any to lose. I have, however, gained a few pounds of solid– and impressive– muscle, strengthened considerably (my lifts just keep climbing), and found a passion for food I never anticipated. I prepare most of our family’s meals these days and, not to brag or anything, but I’ve become a pretty awesome cook.

    I love the Primal Blueprint, both its thesis and the incredible results it produces. My friends, unfortunately, scoff at giving up pizza or mac’n’cheese, but hopefully any other teens reading this will be wiser. If you’re considering going Primal– if you don’t like how you feel or look, period– you cannot go wrong with this site. Give your genes the work and nutrition they’ve spent two million years adapting to. They’ll thank you.

  67. Sadly sometimes we do come out of the box broken. I am missing genes that affect the hormones that I produce. I had to have growth hormone injections growing up because I don’t produce enough growth hormone. I was always warned that I may have other hormone problems down the line. I just recently had to have a heart scan because the genes I’m missing are corrolated with heart problems. I also have a family history of learning difficulties. Eating primal through my childhood would have helped me make better use of the hormones, but it can’t make up for missing genes.

    Don’t get me wrong, with a paleo/primal lifestyle I’m hoping to stack the odds in my favour – but please don’t say that humans don’t come out of the box broken, because frankly some of us do and it’s really depressing to be erased.

    Sorry, I’m struggling with coming to terms with being broken.

  68. Great Post! I’m lucky to have discovered this when I was 15 ( just turned 16 😛 )
    I am ever so gratefulof your website and others about Primal/Paleo health, it’s helped me stop emotional eating, stop having energy level problems, stop being rundown after 10 minutes of soccer, stop having facial/back acne, and has helped me achieve better short term memor, help me become more calm ( high strung personality ) and helped me have more enthusiasium and concentration in school.

    Not only have you helped me, you’ve helped my father, which was getting sick often and was gaining weight around the midsection, he now feels full of energy, effortlessly lost the excess fat, and has made him think much more clearer,

    Not only have you helped my dad, you’ve helped two of his workmates too. He passed on the info to two of his workmates which are both overweight, and apparently their weight is just flying off.

    Not only have you helped two of my dad’s workmates, you’ve helped my auntie aswell. She had similar problems to me in terms of energy levels and also has excess fat around the midsection. Shes recently jumped on the primal wagon and is already getting results.

    So a big thankyou from me and have a safe and happy new year 🙂

  69. Hell yeah man, I’m 15 years old and I love the primal lifestyle. I’ll admit I’m not as committed (currently) as I should be, but, well, today is the first of the year! ;D

  70. I agree very much with this message! Last summer I was not happy with myself, but I took control and lost the weight I wanted to. Now I have found a love for cooking healthy, delicious meals :)! Thanks for spreading the message of getting on track!

  71. It’s possible that we aren’t supposed to go through quite so extreme, dramatic changes during puberty. It’s the hormone spiking diet that’s causing it. Amongst other things.

  72. Thanks Mark 🙂
    I am 15 and I love the primal lifestyle. I agree that every teen/young person should get involved. I have never felt better

  73. It’s good to see this post! I’m an 18 year old female and i’ve been conscious of health for the majority of my teens( it’s hard to not be with a nurse for a mom!)and my older brother just introduced me to the Primal Blueprint. I hope that I’ll see results soon and my yo-yoing weight will reflect the care I’m giving my body and mind.
    Thanks for keeping the teens in mind, Grok on!

  74. I’m 16 (almost 17!) and I started going Primal on the first of January (with my mom) after my percussion director informed me about it. I’m only on day 4 right now but I am amazed at how much better I feel after my meals. The sugar withdrawl sucks but that will go away soon. I’m super excited about my primal future. Thanks so much for publishing you lifestyle. It’s wonderful!

  75. Dear Mark,
    My mom has tried to get me on this diet many times before, and everytime I was waiting for Monday when they served pizza at lunch. With the new year rolling along, however I decided now was as good a time as ever to give it a shot. I am having no problems. (so far)I have ignored the delicious food my friends have been eating at lunch and sticking to this diet. I have not gone though withdrawls yet, and hope I can bypass that part. Thank you for this column.

  76. I’m 16, I managed to leave high school early and start college. I do a lot of mixed martial arts and carbs are vastly important in order to have enough energy; how would being primal transfer over to my MMA training?

    1. Opt for good carb sources, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, bananas, fruit and any starchy tubers. If you’re on a meal plan, potatoes at the baked potato bar, rice (make sure it’s not the kind that’s mixed w/ seed oil) and bananas are probably the easiest to come by.

  77. Thanks, I’m 14 and for over a month I’ve been primal (except for some dark chocolate and maybe a slice of pizza when there’s a party). But I stopped eating sugar and grains (I used to eat it a lot) and it’s not that hard at all.:) I feel so much better now and since I discovered this site I went on a search for better stores in my neighborhood. I live in the Netherlands and I found out we have a lot of awesome food stores here. Organic butcheries/restaurants. There is even a organic chocolate store which is owned by a guy who makes his chocolate in his shop by using organic butter and raw milk. He sells 90% chocolate. I had a talk with him today and he is also eating paleo, lol. He grows all his food in his backyard and he never goes to commercial supermarkets.

    Since I went paleo I also found so many cool recipes on the internet and I’ve got another hobby: cooking :).
    Sorry for my maybe uninteresting blabbering

  78. I’m a 14 year old girl trying to go Primal (yeah, I’m starting early :)). My only problem is my parents don’t believe in Primal, and it’s difficult to go Primal without their support, especially when they buy the food. Any advice from others who have gone through this or articles dealing with something similar?

    1. I often have this same problem. Im 16 and my parents don’t disagree with the primal lifestyle, but they most definitely don’t follow it. I try to eat my mom’s cooking as often as possible, eating around the non-primal foods. At my house, you will often see me eating spaghetti sauce without the noodles with salad or eating lettuce wraps while everyone else eats tortillas. Last night we went to a neighborhood barbecue and I just ate a hamburger patty without the bun with lots of salad and veggies (I got some pretty funny looks????).My mom does support me in this and will usually have veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts, and meat available for me to use, but it gets a little difficult when my four siblings and parents are all eating grains, or treats around me. It’s hard to be strong but you can do it! People will begin to notice, and commend you for your amazing will power. Good luck!

      1. I completely relate! I started primal about a year ago (I was 18 then) and it’s difficult when the rest of your family eats unhealthy. It’s really hard to avoid the veg oils in home-cooking, and they look at you weird when you put coconut milk or something in the shopping cart. My family completely supports my way of eating, but sometimes I can’t help feel “silently” ostracized when we’re out at a restaurant and they all order french toast or something and I get eggs “without the side of toast, please”. It’s a lot easier now that I’m in college, and I can just do my own grocery shopping and cooking. 🙂

  79. I remember this post. It’s well done.
    I too tend to scoff at escalators and take the stairs if there are any unless I’m in a hurry but I do like to get in a little bit of escalator parkour type action once in a while. You can use the physics and momentum to get a roller coaster feeling running up them and smoothly sort of fly off the top for a step.

  80. This:

    “I’m convinced that the earlier you commit to a Primal lifestyle, the greater the rewards later on in life, and I really want to see it happen. I know we’re never going to get anything close to a big study on the Primal lifestyle funded to test this idea out, but if we can convince a host of youngsters to start young – and stick with it – I think we’d see some remarkable things happen.”

    Being a scientist I would love to see a large epidemiogical study on the effects of a primal lifestyle, but I am cynical as to how well it would be done and about the people who would end up doing the study.

    Barring that let’s get the younger generation on the primal path. My kids, thankfully, will eat mostly primal because our entire house has adapted the lifestyle. I’m hoping that my kids will become as interested in diet and nutrition as I have become just by being around me and my wife. We hope.

  81. My kids are 4 and 7 and yes I’m working on keeping them as primal as possible. It is very hard with them going to daycare and school. I have started feeding my 7 year old eggs, bacon and hot chocolate with MCT oil and butter for breakfast, even though daycare feeds them, which usually consists of mostly carbs, ugh. And my 4 year old always asks for a salad like the one I have (aka BAS). It is a good start I think.

  82. I am a fourteen year old girl who discovered primal about eight months ago. The initial transition was hard, but now I will never go back! Going primal was one of the best choices I have ever made for my health, and this blog has been an incredible resource. Thanks to Mark, I have learned that there is a severe lack of good dietary/lifestyle advice, and that conventional wisdom isn’t always right. I mean, I see doctors prescribing birth control to girls my age for acne! People everywhere tell me that it’s okay for me to eat junk, because I’m young and skinny and I can just burn the calories later. I get weird looks for taking the initiative when it comes to my health and going to the local farmer’s market every week. Anyways, I realize that I am so blessed to have access to the internet and MDA, because this information is priceless. Grok on! 🙂

  83. This post makes me so happy! I am currently 16 and have been strict primal for about 6 months. When I was 12, I was on the verge of being overweight, and hated my body. I decided to do something about it and my amazing dad told me about the primal diet. I decided to try it with him and see how it actually worked. I lost about 15 pounds as a 12 year old, but more importantly, gained the knowledge of how to take care of my body. Back then, it was a diet, mainly just to lose weight and look better. Since then, I have been on and off primal to keep my weight down, until 6 months ago when I started what I plan to be the rest of my life. It is no longer a diet, but truly a lifestyle. My friends and family all think I’m crazy, but I know that this way of life is amazing! I love the way it makes me feel and I honestly think I will stick with it until the day I die. I am the only primal teen I know, but we do exist! Thanks for all the support!

  84. Since I’m here, it’s obvious I would prescribe to primal. But I think just as important, is that if you’re a youngster considering Primal, your family (who likely buys the groceries) needs to be supportive as well. Growing up, I don’t believe my family would be behind this, but I sure wish they were and that this blog was around in my teens (the late 90s).

  85. Most importantly – and this is especially important for kids in American schools – PRIORITIZE YOUR SLEEP. Teenagers’ body clocks shift to wake up later and go to bed later. American schools force kids to wake up at times that would be unhealthy even for a normal adult, let alone for a teenager. CW on sleep is much more entrenched, and much worse for your health, than CW on food or exercise. The whole “early to bed early to rise” nonsense, the whole “you don’t need to sleep more than 5 hours”, the whole “pull all-nighters to get your classwork done” – that is damaging your health (including your metabolism and your weight) far more than any number of donuts.

    I was fairly Primal, food-wise, as a teenager, but I am a night owl – and when I was a teenager it was worse. Forcing myself to be a morning person (because I thought I had to) has led to near-suicidal depression, addictive behaviors, poor grades in school and college, and probably some damage to my physical health as well. Don’t do that to yourself. Fight for your right to a basic biological function – namely, sleep. Fight your school on this, fight your parents on this, point them to all the research and all the science being done on this issue. Your school starts way too early and they know it’s hurting you (there have been studies that show when school start times are moved just a half an hour later, the kids’ grades improve). Your coaches should not be scheduling practices at 7am if they truly care about your health. Your parents should be on your side in this, and fighting the school as hard as they would if the school were giving you cigarettes and booze.

    Sleep deprivation causes huge health problems down the road. Protect your health now.

    1. YES!! I wish somewhere someone would realize that mornings do not work for night owls! I tried to adjust to my morning schedule as well this year, but it just left me more tired and inflamed. It’s unhealthy to go against your natural sleeping habits.

      1. And it’s especially bad for teenagers – teenagers’ body clocks shift to make them later risers. It’s well-documented, everyone knows this, everyone knows that sleep deprivation causes a myriad of health problems, and we still make teenagers get up at 5am.

        I used to have a tutoring business and had a lot of teenage clients. They were all chronically exhausted. Every single one. They all got up at 5 or 6 am every day for school. That is as damaging to their health as smoking cigarettes, and no parent in their right mind would force a kid to smoke – why are we allowing this to happen?

        Seriously, Mark, can you use your influence to start some sort of campaign against early rising for teenagers? It will improve their health far more than any dietary change ever will.

        1. Not just teenagers, but college kids too. I’m in college right now, and it’s an “accepted” norm that students are sleep deprived and exhausted in order to keep up with classes and extracurriculars. We are still growing too-until we’re 22 or 23!

  86. I’ve suffered from disordered eating most of life and was the unhealthiest as a teenager. I wish someone would have pointed me in the primal direction back then, but now at 30 I’m finally in a place in my life where I’m no longer trying to get the perfect body and am in search of good health, true happiness, and motherhood. I’m on day 3 of the 21 day transformation program and I don’t ever intend to go back.

  87. Great article Mark, I was going to write in anyway to let you know that one of my teenage sons, Nick, has just recently “got” the whole primal thing!! Amazing to watch, he’s 15 and is making some brilliant choices, thanks mainly due to your website. I hope this is lifelong understanding for him. I heard a Science teacher at his school talking to a revision class about cholesterol and how butter is bad for you and margarine is better for you – made me realise how indoctrinated they are from a young age. I spoke to Nick about it later and he confirmed that he has to go along with it at school and for exams, but he knows it’s not true. Just need to get my two other boys on board (aged 17 and 13) as they’re still eating a lot of rubbish! Thanks for writing this article!

  88. Nice to hear from all these younger people and especially young primal teens. I wonder how many are out there. I encourage you all to stay with the blueprint. I wish I got started with it and began educating myself about health earlier.

  89. Every time I tell people my age they are like “wow dude I wish I knew … at your age”. I think you said the same thing Mark. And when I asked if you’d go back in time, you wouldn’t… Which reminds me not to dwell on the past, keep moving forward and take every lesson and chance for gaining wisdom with you!

    Thank you!

  90. My daughter, 9 years old, just went primal (without the dairy). I’ve been primal for over 2 years, have tried to make sure my kids get fantastic nutrition, but cereal was a daily thing because it was already a habit and something they could make themselves. This year, my daughter developed a bad case of eczema and occasional but very mild asthma and now we’re working together on diet, probiotics, etc. I’ve found that if I tell her that I will support her by eating whatever she eats (which is different than other kids, family, etc.), it’s so much easier for her because we’re partners. Now if only I can get my 11-year-old son on board! Maybe I can get him to read this.

  91. Its never too late to go paleo. I’m 70 and went paleo about 18 months ago. I try and stick to paleo 80% of the time. I still get good comments from people who haven’t seen me for a while – you do look well, and gosh you’ve lost a lot of weight. I was never very heavy, I’ve just almost trimmed down to my teenage weight. My skirts and trousers went from size 14 to size 10. I would like to be a bit slimmer on my tum, guess that is partly my age. I did loose about 5″ from my waist. My blood pressure is normal without drugs and my blood sugar is excellant. My doctor doesn’t think its necessary to check my cholesterol as I’m so well. Some of my friends are following the paleo diet because of how I look.
    Most of the time I don’t need to take the drugs for my hiatus hernia. I’ve just had a bone scan to check my bone density as I have borderline osteoporosis. It will be interesting to see if the paleo diet has improved things. My last bone scan was 2 years ago as I had come off the drugs 21/2 years ago.

  92. I wish my kids and their mom would read this. The whole family is addicted to junk food even the cavy. My daughter’s guinea pig was getting fat. The poor thing waddled and had a double chin that bragged on the ground. It turns out that guinea pigs can get scurvy and need vitamin supplements. The vitamin C supplements from the pet store are 98% sugar and canola oil. Guinea pig junk food in pretty packaging marketed as a health supplement. It was obvious why it was obese this was the only food other than alfalfa pellets. Now we feed it mild peppers (low in calcium which also bad for cavies) as supplements to its standard alfalfa pellet diet. It turns out they should not have too much fruit or starchy veggies like carrots because cavies also get diabetes?
    http://patriciasimon.shawwebspace.ca/pages/view/guinea_pigs_with_diabetes_-_gene/ It turns out the cage smells more like a farm and less like a sewer too

    The point of this post is that young kids may be more conscious about caring for their pets than themselves. Guinea pigs are primal vegetarians. Junk food will give them disease and shorten their lifespan. Same for humans but It may be easier for little ones to understand while caring for little creatures.

  93. Mark! really love Your more philosophical and thought provoking write-ups!!! Maybe You could/ should writer a book on self actualization? i really like this message to our youths on the ways of living Primally. However, it seems that in our current society, many of these pore and portly kids are all ready “blunted knives” before they have even gotten out of the drawer? Many of us assume (as i did while reading your fine article) that all kids are in good heath, and that they will lose it at some point in their adult lives. But today this is not the case. All too often many of these kids are already sick and falling apart before they reach puberty. Yet, The good news is that the PB can also help them discover for the first time true health and vitality. Keep up the great Blog!

    Your friend Francis from Elk Grove CA

  94. hoping for all the success for paleo girl, any message that gets out to young people about making a change is so crucial. I was writing a blog today on benefits of exercise and it still blows my mind that the term ‘adult onset diabetes’ doesn’t really exist anymore as it has had to be changed to ‘type 2 diabetes’ because it’s affecting so many people (kids) before they even become adults

    -Jamie

  95. Does my heart good to read posts from kids taking control of their health sometimes in spite of their elders.
    You kids are brilliant.
    I love love love the comments even more than your article.
    Ps mark I’m 40 and my dads older than you xx

  96. I was 15 when I started going paleo/primal about a year ago but didn’t have much success. I would eat primal at home but whenever I went other places my resolve totally broke. after I got better at it I went to a party and my resolve broke again I had a large cup of soda. later that night I was out playing games that involve running, my gut hurt and I totally failed at running. The next day I decided I would do better. Later I did the “Whole 30” diet and finished about 2 weeks ago. Now I am mostly being primal. 80/20 right!

  97. If I’d known about this in high school, I might have dated, gotten married, had a normal life. Rather than having PCOS and being insanely overweight until recently. I’m still overweight but after about 2 decades of damage that might not be surprising…

  98. My best advice is to keep walking. All through your school years you walk every day. Keep right on doing that. When I stopped walking I started gaining about 3 pounds a year. Which doesn’t sound like a lot but do that for 33 years and “suddenly” you are 100 pounds overweight. Don’t let that sneak up on you like it did me, please.

  99. such a great article. I want to give this to my kids but before I do I want to give them a kid friendly explanation of why grains are not good for your health. You have great info but a little too much for kids. Any kids type version you know of.

    Thanks again

  100. Mark, I love these type of posts from you.
    Real life.

    Parents can easily replace “primal” with “live the life you imagined for yourself” or ” be the best you can be” and thanks to your post give their kids something wonderful to read and hopefully inspire.

    Thank you.

    Marc

  101. I’m now 17 and went primal about 9 months ago. I was formerly a vegan and switched to paleo-ish eating and began noticing improvements right off the bat. I dabbled with low-carb and ketosis but found it too hard to maintain and not palatable whatsoever. My diet is now free of grains, gluten, legumes (besides my peanut-butter-with-a-spoon addiction), and sugar, although I have recently started including some potato starch, occasional fermented beans and white rice cooked in bone broth for resistant starch. While I have not met any other primal teens, it is encouraging to know the message of primal eating is becoming more widely available!

  102. That cute new guy whom you planned on eventually marrying has a funny last name, which just won’t work with the names of the kids you’ve chosen.

    Made me laugh. I’ve been there. And now I’m married to a guy who’s last name is relevant to my job! He didn’t like it when I suggested that mine be Shipwoman, adding a few extra letters to make it more applicable…

  103. Hello, I am a 13 year old girl and I’ve been Primal for a year now.
    The idea of going primal, which at first seemed crazy, is now second nature. In fact, my friends don’t even know I am Primal, or Paleo, or low-carb. Sometimes I skip lunch, since it’s at 10:30 in my school, and no one really minds. As a Chinese-American, my parents often encourage me to have some rice, and ocassionally I do, just a few spoonfuls, especially if my mom has made something with a really good sauce. I always go for rice instead of bread, and over this year my mom has made numerous healthy changes to cooking, mostly changing from vegetable oil to avocado, olive, and coconut oil. I also take daily fish oil supplements and sometimes vitamin or prebiotic.
    Going Primal is a lot easier than most would think. While at first, it’s like: What do I eat? I find I get much more fulfillment from food now. I also stay fuller longer and I’m not always complaining of hunger. I can skip breakfast and lunch and still have lots of energy for gym class, my last period.
    Going primal has actually helped save me from anorexia and othorexia….I won’t go into details, but this lifestyle has helped me feel the best without counting numbers, which had taken over my life. When I had an eating disorder, my mind revolved around food, all the time; I isolated myself, became depressed, and sometimes hurt myself; I had too many rules, based off all the health and weight-loss articles I found online, and they made me crazy.
    Nowadays, I don’t overstress if I splurge, and I rarely do, for my daily life is super fulfilling.
    I’ve made a comeback from the darkest time of my life. This comment in no way fully depicts the complexity of my transformations in the past year, but if there’s one thing good about having had anorexia, it’s discovering the Primal Blueprint and learning that I have more strength than I think. It has given me wisdom and more ability to have compassion for all my fellow human beings.

  104. As a teenage girl, I completely agree with this idea. I haven’t heard of “going primal” before, but I have heard lots of similar ideas. From green smoothies for breakfast to everyday workouts, it’s a great feeling to be happy with how healthy I am.

  105. Our 1-year old daughter has been “paleo” (hardcore paleo + raw milk + occasionally sourdough rye bread) for almost 3 years. Yes, we went real food well before she was conceived. She is a beautiful, happy, healthy child. I wish I could post a pic of her here …

  106. Where was this when I was in high school? I want to be even 50 % like you when I am 58, better get started ASAP. Really enjoyed reading this : )

  107. I’ve been trying really hard to go hardcore Paleo again. I haven’t eaten any bread in about a year, and right now I’m trying to break my sugar addiction (…ahem-Cliff Bars). But the scale isn’t budging….any suggestions? I also am always tired and sleepy…it usually hits around 1 p.m. I have loved being Paleo, but I get crap about it all the time from my parents, my family,and kids at school. But haters gonna hate! Also, any suggestions for easy, packable lunches? I’m getting burnt out on salads 🙂
    Thanks so much Mark for all you do!

  108. I like this a lot however, kids do not do what they are told, they do what they SEE. Change the parents-change the kids.
    Kids can never imagine being 58 at this time in their lives.