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 09 2010

Ask Me Anything and Primal Blueprint Updates

By Mark Sisson
317 Comments

This blog post is a two-parter. First, a progress update.

Last March I announced a number of exciting projects I had in the works. I’ve already checked a few things off the list: PrimalCon, held last April, was an amazing experience, and the response to The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and the Primal Blueprint Poster (released last month) was incredible. But I have a few more things up my sleeves for this summer, and I’m getting regular emails from readers wanting to know when they’re releasing.

If you aren’t familiar with the Primal Leap Kit, it’s a 30-Day program that will walk you through, step-by-step and day-by-day, the transition to a healthy, Primal lifestyle. The Kit will include a binder-bound Primal Leap Guidebook, a Primal Blueprint DVD (I walk participants through all 10 laws of the Primal Blueprint), an abridged audio book version of The Primal Blueprint (voiced by yours truly), The Primal Blueprint Guide to Foraging in the Modern World (a handy guidebook on how, where and what to shop for, including a Primal shopping list and many practical tips on being a “hunter-gatherer” in the 21st century), The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and likely a few other goodies. The Primal Leap Kit is nearing completion. I am shooting to have it available for you by mid-July.

As anyone that has read my book knows, Primal Blueprint Fitness is all about getting maximum results with minimal amount of effort. That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not. Fitness doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, complicated or even all that hard. PBF will show you how simple it can truly be.

The official (e)book is due out in one month, and will be 100% free to all Mark’s Daily Apple newsletter subscribers. In the meantime, prepare yourself to rethink exercise as you know it, and get ready to be armed with the tools and ideas needed for lifelong, functional fitness.

It’s called the Primal Essentials Kit for a reason. We’re many steps removed from the world Grok lived in. As such, there are certain key nutrients that I see as integral to a modern Primal lifestyle: vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics. I personally supplement with all three daily and recommend others do as well.

The Kit has been designed to be a cost-effective and convenient option for every Primal enthusiast and is slated to be released in about 2 weeks.

One final update: In a couple weeks’ time PrimalBlueprint.com is getting a facelift and will become the go-to source (replacing PrimalNutrition.com) for all Primal kits, books, posters, apparel and supplements. Stay tuned!

Ask Me Anything

This is an open offer to ask me anything. Leave a question in the comment board regarding the updates above or any other pressing question that’s been on your mind and I’ll attempt to answer them in next week’s “Dear Mark” post.

Thank for reading, everyone, and Grok on!

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317 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything and Primal Blueprint Updates”

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  1. Could you someday publish an “Eat this in a pinch” guide… something that would help us road warriors who sometimes find ourselves in a pinch and surrounded by nothing but chain restaurants?

    1. Here’s an idea: make or buy some pemmican (from grassfed sources of course). The original protein bar, but with lost of good fat too.

    2. I love this question – and second this idea. How about a simple guide to chain restaurants and what foods are the least of all evils and how to order them.

      1. I just order no bread, no fries, etc… At an office meeting with a sandwich tray? Pick off the meat & roll it in the lettuce “garnish”. I have tins of sardines, tuna, salmon stashed at work, in my bag, at home… There are tons of those saladbar/soup places in the cities. Even the cheezy corral buffet places have salad bars. Don’t forget the good old IF back up plan: well, nothin to eat here; guess I’ll wait til later. We’re hunter/gatherers – we don’t *have* to be 100% successful…

      2. its not primal but mens health has a guide eat this not that that goes through restaurants and explains better choices. not PB but good idea to know if you cant do anythign else

    3. Hi Mark,

      My father was 41 years old when he suffered from a heart attack, and has been on all the standard meds that follow such an event ever since. He is now 50 years old, and although he has been “healthy” for the past 10 years, I am concerned that long term, the way he is living is not all that good for him.
      Do you have any experience working with someone who has suffered from a heart attack, and has started living primally, and has been able to reduce or even completely go off their medicine?
      My father was lifting very heavily and had a stressful job at the time of his heart attack…(all outward signs would have indicated he was perfectly healthy)..it was not cholesterol related, but he is currently on a low-fat, low cholesterol diet.
      After ready your book and Good Calories, Bad Calories, I am concerned that this isn’t really helping him. Besides this, he complains of joint pain and isn’t able to be as active as he used to be…it seems like a downward spiral.
      Any advice would be appreciated so maybe he could talk to his doctor about different options.

      Thanks!

      1. I don’t know enough to comment on the heart issues, but whenever I hear “joint pain” I immediately think “grain sensitivity”, and there’s a lot of research out there to support the idea. I used to take large daily doses of NSAIDs which caused an ulcer and only helped with the pain but didn’t eliminate it. Now I’m completely drug-free and almost pain-free since quitting the grains. That alone has been worth it for me, never mind all the other amazing benefits of being primal. Ask your dad to do the 30-day trial and see what happens. Since I quit eating grains, if I have any at all now, the pain in my back and ribs keeps me up at night for about 4 days. You just don’t realize how bad you feel until you start feeling good.

      2. I would tell your dad to try what Vicki suggested. I lived with joint pain for years, but it went away when grains were eliminated from my diet. (I’m still in awe that “healthy” whole grains could do such damage.) I occasionally fall off the wagon by eating something like bread or crackers and my body suffers for it.

        Good luck with your dad. I’m still trying to get a couple of my family members with arthritis to give up the grains (or at least go gluten free), but some old habits die hard, I guess.

        1. Thanks Patsy, Vicki, and Amy…I’m going to show him this post so hopefully he’ll see for himself 🙂 And I’ll have to make sure he’s checking the site more often!

      3. Going grain-free stopped my joint pain, too. I’ll never go back! For me, it meant ALL grains, even corn.

    4. How about just educating yourself so you don’t have to rely on a guidebook? Grok used his brain.

        1. LOL If none of them thought & they all just ate, the humans would have died off from rotten meat and poisonous berries.

      1. Wouldn’t you say that using a guidebook is a form of “educating yourself”? You have it backwards. You use a guide to educate yourself so you don’t have to use the guide anymore. That’s what a guide is. A guide shows you how to do something that you didn’t know how to do before.

        Thanks for playing! See my assistance for some lovely consolation prizes.

        1. I’d like to agree, but I think what happens is, when people have a book, they become bound to the text chapter-and-verse instead of grasping the underlying principles.

          The principles are simpler and more useful in the long run, and they’ve already been covered exhaustively on this site.

      2. Grok seems to have learned a lot at The School of Hard Knocks.

    5. Look for the deli at the local grocery store. There is always a produce isle nearby that you can use to get a salad.

      Most cities have parks with grills in them. Grab a small bag of matchlight charcoal (you can use regular, but matchlight is more convenient), and you can cook just like grok: no right in the fire.

      You are still stuck for dinner meetings, but this can get you through the worst of what a road warrior faces.

    6. Cut and paste this and print it out:

      “Fruits and vegetables, meat. Dairy only if you can tolerate it. Nuts, seeds.

      Read the ingredients. If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. Grok didn’t.

      If in doubt, eat a salad with meat on it.”

      There’s your guide.

      I wouldn’t expect Mark to waste his time going over all of the menus of all the chain restaurants to tell you what of these items are edible. The guide will soon become obsolete as the restaurant execs come up with new combinations of poisons. And the food additive agencies find new ways to rename their ingredients to fool you into consuming their crap. It’s really a losing battle.

      REAL Food — don’t leave home without it.

  2. I am quite interested in how having a day every now and then of higher carbs effects leptin. I know others in the forum practice these “refeeds” and would just like to know more about the whole thing. Also can it be considered primal and perhaps even beneficial from a health perspective? Or is it just a trick for fat loss?

    Thanks!

    1. +1

      I would also like your opinion on an occassional higher carb “refeed” so to speak where one meal or day a week one would eat more carbs to help rise leptin after a week of lower cals. The science is very strong that this helps with weight loss but would like your take on it from a health perspective and how one could do it in a primal way.

      Thanks

      1. + another
        I’m quite new to primal and this sounds interesting as I’m trying to lose weight. I’m not losing much (4+ weeks of primal eating, and not really cheating at all) but am feeling loads better so I’m not too caught up in the weight thing. However, if there’s a way I can enjoy some spelt pasta or kamut pizza with my kids once in a while, that would also be good for my weight, I’m all ears!

        1. There is the 20% cheat rule that you can apply. Once in a while you can cheat if you want, just make sure the 20% doesn’t creep up – many people hear about the cheat rule and think of it all the time, not realizing they are not cheating 50% or more of the time. Pizza on Friday is okay (but you will feel the bad effects), for one meal, but you need 1 week of perfect eating to balance it out.

  3. What about iron? Should men be concerned about accumulating too much iron?

    1. In my opinion, yes. Women get rid of some red blood cells with it ‘s iron each month. Men don’t. Maybe that’s why women tend to live longer??? At any rate it ‘s good for the giver and receiver.

      1. Just a share…. my dad always used to love giving blood because he “felt better” afterwards… maybe it was his way of doing just that without realizing it.

  4. Hi Mark,

    There is a lot of talk about what’s in blood, what it’s measurements should be etc. However what about blood itself, I’d like to see a definitive guide to blood

    1. +1

      I would like to know what all those numbers from a blood work test mean. Thanks.

    2. That brings me to another subject. Bloodsoup recipe!

      1,2,3,…go

  5. Dear Mark – How do you explain people like Clarence Bass who are apparently quite healthy and fit and yet eat an abundance of grains and other carbohydrate-heavy foods?

    1. He exercises enough to burn off the sugar and stay slim but it doesn’t mean he is healthy or even illness free. Maybe he would still have his hair if he was primal.

      1. He has to result to chronic cardio (which isn’t healthy) to burn all the carbs. It is an endless cycle that really takes a toll on your body.

        1. Respectfully, I disagree with both of those assessments.

          Bass gets checked out regularly at the Cooper Clinic, and according to them, he’s in good health. He has had prostate issues and a hip replacement in recent years (and he’s been balding since his 30s), but he doesn’t suffer from the degenerative diseases that are crippling his generation, and his vastly more fit than the average member of the younger generations in the United States.

          I agree that chronic cardio is not good, but that’s not what Bass does. He exercises a fair amount but it’s high intensity lifting and HIIT with walks on his “off days.” If he’s to be believed, his lifting workouts are not typically much longer than an hour, and his HIIT workouts are, appropriately, quite short. He might just be a genetic outlier, but the guy’s been ripped for decades despite eating a large quantity of grains and legumes and little meat or fat. If diet is truly 80% of the body composition equation, then he’s either a massive genetic outlier or there’s something else going on.

          In any event, Bass is just one well known case. Take a look at “The Jungle Effect,” for instance. There are other individuals and groups in this world who eat large amounts of grains and yet remain healthy (likewise there are many groups who eat little to no grains and are healthy). I’m interested in Mark’s views on how these people and groups are able to do it.

        2. Clarence Bass is not quite a genetic outlier. He just works out a whole lot. Though he eats a lot of grains I wouldn’t call his diet unhealthy considering the way most Americans eat. Being vastly more fit than the average American is not an incredible feat.

          From Ironman Magazine:

          “The main change that I’ve made in recent years is the addition of ‘good’ fat, usually salmon. Good fat slows the absorption of food and is good for the heart and circulatory system. I eat a balanced diet of mostly whole foods. I eat three main meals and three snacks a day and never miss a meal. The bulk of my diet is vegetables, fruits and whole grains. In addition, I make a point of having some fat and high-quality protein with each meal or snack. I never allow myself to get overly hungry. I don’t starve myself.”

          He actually does a lot of meat and has increased his fat intake so even he is following the most recent scientific findings on nutrition and health!

        3. By the way, Bass take creatine supplements which he recommends because it “works especially well for people who don’t eat much meat. I’ve taken it for years.”

          So, not only is he not a genetic outlier, he supplements nutrients that he KNEW he didn’t get when he was eating a so-called healthy diet with less meat and more grains.

  6. Mark

    How can you explain how some of the leanest and longest lived and healthiest populations from around world all have eaten starches and grains historically?

    How can you reconcile the fact that modern hunter gatheres in the Amazon make bread from white flour?

    It is likely Grok did not avoid grains and starches. I think that is scientifically plausible. No?

    I second the Clarence Bass comment too.

    1. Taken from: http://www.cbass.com/BibleofEvolutionaryFitness.htm
      From the Desk of Clarence Bass…
      “What did our ancient ancestors eat? The truth is that we can’t say for sure. It almost certainly varied from time to time and place to place.

      The short answer, says Forencich, is “whatever they could.” Their primary challenge was simply “getting enough calories to stay alive.”

      “We are omnivores,” Forencich writes, “and that as much as anything is the key to our evolutionary success. We are here today because…we can eat almost anything.”

      Most humans probably ate some combination of plants and meat or fish. The evidence suggests that we were not designed to subsist on a single, optimal diet, according to Forencich. “There are undoubtedly some foods that we should avoid,” however. For example, we probably should avoid eating “large quantities of saturated fat and [refined] carbohydrates.”

      We know that most primates are vegetarian, and that we share that heritage to some degree. We certainly ate whatever plants we could find. Beyond that, Forencich says, experts believe that our ancestors did eat meat on occasion; some ate more than others. “Our smaller, early [ancestors] were largely vegetarian, but may have scavenged some meat,” Forencich states. “It is a certainty that we ate roots, berries, fruits and nuts. Other primates eat these things routinely. Later, our larger, more contemporary, ancestors may have eaten little else but meat.” It was a far cry from the meat most of us eat today, however.

      Fat was hard to come by. “This is not difficult to understand,” says Forencich. “Wild game meats are low in fat, considerably leaner than today’s beef cattle; fat must’ve been a great delicacy.”

      Ancient man chowed down on fresh, sugary fruit—when it was available. “But such abundance would have been highly seasonal and certainly not part of the daily fare,” Forencich relates. Needless to say, “there was no bread, no pasta, no jellies, cakes, cookies or soft-drinks.”

      “The Paleolithic diet, if anything, was probably a slow-burn program with a low glycemic index,” Forencich asserts. There was little or no fast-absorbing foods “that would cause radical insulin swings and metabolic flame-out.”

      “Unfortunately, we seem to be moving in the other direction,” Forencich laments. “Given [our] dramatic increase in total calories derived from sugar and sugar-like substances [such as corn syrup], it comes as no surprise that we see an increase in adult-onset diabetes” and other metabolic disorders.”

      Other than a disagreement about saturated availability and whether or not it should be included in a healthy primal diet, I don’t see a lot of differences in the overall philosophy of Bass and this blog.

      1. My family chowed on grass finished bison sirloin, beets, and roasted rutabagas last night. Tonight it’s spatchcocked pastured chickens and lacinto kale sauteed with bacon pieces.

        Cheers!

    2. I’ve pondered that question to.

      When I’m in Italy, I eat a ton of carbs (pizza, pasta, panini’s). The general population of Italy does too. Meat is really expensive.

      Yet, I routinely lose weight on my Italian trips and I feel great. I’m guessing it’s related to increased sun exposure, smaller serving sizes, and more walking. The carbs, themselves, are probably less processed.

    3. I’m sorry in advance for what I’m going to say. Why don’t you do some research on your own if you are so concerned? It is possible grok ate “some” grains but its not plausible that he survived on them as a primary source of nutrition like modern humans. Grok did not have the tools to gather and make flour in large enough quantities to sustain their lives according to leading anthropologists! Most people come to this website to add to it and not take away! The people that read this blog should be proof enough that grains cause more health risks than any food there is. If you want to defend grains, go do it on a grain eating website!

      1. “If you want to defend grains, go do it on a grain eating website!”

        Right, because groupthink has so far been shown to be the best way to exchange ideas. I think shutting down reasonable discourse with “go away” is counterproductive.

    4. I do think it’s great you’re looking at websites with differing opinions. Dig a little deeper on the site and I think you’ll like what you see!

      The ‘Groupthink” mention made me chuckle: it’s grouthink that has us eating grains and following the oxymoron Conventional Wisdom to an unheathly lifestyle.
      You can search Mark’s Daily Apple archives for great information on (debunking) the China Study and how/why grains are bad for you, and what Grok would have had available to him. As for ‘modern hunter gatherers in the Amazon make bread from white flour,’ Primal folks are not attempting to model their lifestyles after a modern group.
      I understand naysayers’ concerns with what’s presented on this and other websites – it’s not CV, not what we’re used to – but after years of self-experimenting, I whole-heartedly agree with and attempt to follow the PB laws. My quality of life has improved exponentially, and that’s what it’s all about. And the science behind it all, as Mark presents it here and in his books, is just reaffirming my commitment.
      Give it a try. A 4 week commitment (even to just a few ‘laws’) is not much and you can always go back to SAD/CV if you’d like.

      1. Common consensus differs from groupthink, FWIW. My point was that telling someone with fairly valid questions (though TBH, I thought that the post I replied to was aimed at the Forencich post, not the parent post – my mistake) to go and preach to the proverbial choir is counterproductive. And, yes, every single diet/lifestyle board and blog I read tends to be a bastion of groupthink where outside opinion is not only unwelcome but trounced.

        And there *is* a lot to question, really – it is a very valid point that many different diets all have had positive effect on the lives of people. Go look at a raw food forum, or a Ornish-style forum and see similar things in all of them about how the diet saved the person’s life, alleviated pains that they used to be on morphine drip for, filled them with energy and exuberance, and added years to their sex lives, etc.

        So, simply, I would challenge anyone to explain how a forager could possibly subsist on a diet that included 50-80% fat. Field mice, deer, insect and grass are all pretty low in fat IME (though I have to admit to not eating many insects voluntarily). There aren’t a lot of olives or coconuts an many places I’ve lived, though there has been a *ton* of fruit in many of them.

  7. Dear Mark,

    You’ve touched on this in the past, but could you explore Bodyweight Exercises more? I’d like to move beyond just pushups/burpees etc (even though your ‘Prison Workout’ post has been a Godsend!) but there’s a lot of weird information out there. I’d like to get some from a trusted source, and by that I mean you.

    Thanks,

    Jim

    1. Although I’m not Mark: Ross Enamaits book “Never Gymless” ( Rosstraining.com ) is – in my opinion – pretty much the best thing I’ve ever read on Bodyweight Exercises. (And I’ve read a lot on exercising in general and on BWEs.)
      If you don’t want to spend money (22$) on a book, at least consider reading his articles on the website and take a look in the forum.

      I’ve been training for about 1 1/2 year now, and although I’ve basically started with Never Gymless, I’ve not followed it too much at first – which was, as I know now, pretty stupid, because many mistakes I’ve made and many things I’ve learned along the way, experimenting with different kinds of training, different sources of information, and different exercises, were already covered in that book.
      So yes, I’d recommend that book a lot. Although I’m not training BWE only anymore; I’ve added some exercises with free weights to the mix (using dumbbells), mainly to make my one legged squats harder and to do deadlifts.

      1. Ross’s stuff is fantastic and some of the most information dense and resonable priced stuff on the market.

    2. You should check out Adam Steer’s website (bodyweightcoach.com). He has a couple of programs for sale, but he also has a free ebook program – it’s genuinely a good starter.

      Regarding being trustworthy, I came across Mark because Adam did an interview with him for one of his products (which I bought). Hopefully that says something about him.

      1. I have the BER ebook, but didn’t like it too much (for several reasons). I’d still say that with Ross’ books you get way more, and more useful information for less. But I don’t want to sound like an advertiser for Ross.. 😉
        But I gess there is worse than BER out there, so why not 😉

        1. I love Ross Enamait and have several of his books. I think Never Gymless is a bit advanced for a lot of people, but a great resource. I think Infinite Intensity is an amazing book for a wider variety of people, and handles bodyweight up to homemade dumbbells and easy to find equipment for home use.

        2. I second Roland’s comments. I love Ross’s stuff, and have for most of a decade. I frequently view his blog because I love his positive attitude and I hope just a touch will rub off on me. That said, I find both II and NG to lack in the area of working in to exercises. There’s not beginner/intermediate/advanced level to anything, it’s pretty much “Routine A: 1 min rounds: Burpees, ab wheel roll outs, pistols, divebomber pushups, mountain climbers” While that kind of stuff is undoubtedly going to produce a kickass workout, you’re pretty much already a machine if you can complete any of his suggested circuits. Obviously, his target market may not be 300 lb fatties tying to get a little more exercise, but the point remains that while undoubtedly solid, his products tend to be aimed at people who can already go, go, go, but need help putting together a program.

          Oh, and Ross eats a fair amount of grains from what I can tell.

    3. Jim, have to second your comments on the Prison Workout… I recently traveled to New Orleans on business and busted out the Burpee routine in my small hotel room. When I got down to 15 I knew I was in for a killer workout, when I hit 1, I was dripping with sweat and gasping for my next breath. For all you business travelers, make sure you read that post! -T.J.

    4. This is a great question, Jim. I’d be very interested to hear what Mark has to say…

  8. If that fitness guide contained info about how to get a good workout quickly when you are on the go or on vacation that would be great.

    Thanks

  9. Primal Foraging: Stay out of the supermarket. Shop at the Farmers Market.

  10. Hi,

    A burning question about lectins. I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere. If certain processes (cooking, fermenting) make certain foods easy to consume, I am assuming that the lectins are still present in those certain foods (beans, grains) and cause harm to our digestive systems. Or, are there other things in those foods that make them toxic for (some) people?

  11. Mark, two pressing questions for me:

    1. Can you alkalize your body by the way you eat and is it desirable?

    2. Is detox for real? For eg. a 7-day cleanse of unlimited veggies only and some supplements to aid in detox.

    1. If by ‘detox’ you mean flushing out your bowles naturally, having a bowel movement here is how you detox:

      Eat 2 lbs of grass-fed/finished kidney fat and juice 2-3 cucumbers per day to go with the fat.

      If you don’t have full blown gushing, waterfall splashing diarrhea and aren’t completely empty by the 3rd day I’ll give you 100 bucks.

  12. Mark,
    Where do you stand on the use of gluten free flour? Can this be incorporated into the Primal lifestyle at all?

    Thanks!

    1. Read the ingredients of the flour package. Some are made with combinations of other grains (rice, corn) & soy. It’s all about what you want or don’t want in your diet, or what your body will tolerate. Coconut flour is gluten-free, AND it is from a “primal” source…

    2. blanched almond flour is also a good grain free alternative flour. Makes killer pancakes that I use as a my “bread” for nutbutter and jam sandwiches. Great comfort food.

      1. true true tue! I have both those & hazelnut meal/flour on hand at all times

  13. Good afternoon Mark,
    I loved the book and have been trying to stick to the Grok lifestyle.

    How about a link page that you can search each state that would list, low-carb eating, supplies, specialty shopping, and low carb friendly doctors?

    People could contribute info for there area.

    Thanks, John

  14. I have been reading some info on cholesterol because I have really never had mine checked and I wasn’t sure what the healthy ranges were.
    I read that under 200 total was good…depending on the HDL/LDL levels along with triclyceride levels.
    Would eating a primal diet cause the total numbers to be higher along with the HDL numbers?
    What is a typical healthy range for us grokers?

    1. The lower the total the higher the risk of cancer. Total number doesn’t mean much. HDL to Trig is more important. Search http://www.feedtheanimal.com and heartscanblog.blogspot.com and others for info. Read up on LDL pattern A vs. pattern B. Primal will fix your ratios to healthy (but might be over 200 but isn’t bad)

  15. Mark, thanks for this site and the info, much appreciated. I was checking out your Damage Control product and saw that it contains No Flush Niacin. I’d done some research recently concerning Niacin intake and it’s lowering effect on Triglycerides. All the information I could find said No Flush Niacin has very little positive effects and regular Niacin should only be taken. What are your feelings on this?

    thanks,
    Chris

  16. I’d like to see you address the primal lifestyle specifically as it relates to our children.

    1. I second this question….I find it very challenging to address this with my own kids.

      Their young minds are bombarded with cereal, candy and sugary drinks advertising (let alone what their peers are eating for school lunches/snacks).

      Plus, it seems that their little bodies crave these high carb/sugar foods.

      We have been trying to role model good eating habits and exercise by both being Primal/Paleo.

      1. Yes I third this too. Unfortunately my kids have been vegetarian from birth. My 8 year old is gradually starting to follow my example and eat some meat. However, both her and her 7 year old sister are going to take a loooong while to get to a healthy primal diet. In the meantime I am trying to use non wheat (at the moment, spelt, oats, buckwheat and kamut) and also soak all grains overnight before using. Soon I’m going to try sprouting and grinding. It’s a lot of effort though!

        1. Check out everydaypaleo.com she had done a great job incorporating the whole family and kids and dealing with the “village uprising” plus you will get some of the BEST recipes.

        2. Along the lines of raising primal children, I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on supplementation for babies and young kids (under the age of 5).

          Thanks!

  17. Mark,

    Will the Primal Blueprint DVD and audio book be available separately from the Primal Leap Kit package?

    1. I would like to know this too, and if we might get a discount or be able to customize the kits if we’ve purchased the books before. I just recently purchased the Primal Blueprint book and the Primal Cookbook, which were relatively expensive for me. It sounds like the kit will be even more expensive, and I just can’t see paying the extra money for a duplicate set of books, especially when no one I know is interested in the Primal lifestyle.

  18. Dear Mark,

    I would like to know more about primal living with specific reference to women and children’s health. I was worried about going primal while nursing my daughter due to warnings over supposed dangers of being in ketosis while pregnant or lactating. But I figured that if this is indeed natural and how we evolved to eat, the dangers must be overstated. I went ahead and cut out grains, fruit, and sugar, and carefully monitored my daughter during the process. While she was well nourished and continued to gain weight, I was alarmed at how differently her urine smelled (extremely bad; I’ve never smelled anything like it. Like ammonia, but sharper), so I brought moderate amounts of fruits, rice, and potatoes back into my diet.

    My question is: is there any research that suggests a primal diet is healthy/not healthy for lactating women and their infants? (I’m curious if there’s any evidence that paleo women who were pregnant or lactating (and their children) may have had more starches in their diets than the women and men who went out hunting.)

    1. I too am nursing a baby, a 13 month old son. I’ve been in and out of ketosis since February. I haven’t noticed his urine being any different and he is growing fantastically. Also, his terrible reflux has completely disappeared (except when I fell off the wagon- then it came back with a vengeance). I couldn’t find any research on this topic either, but then I thought about people such as the Inuit and other northern tribes without access to vegetables who have consistently eaten a mostly meat diet for millenia. Those moms must be in ketosis most of the time, right?

    2. my question was similar to the above. do you or your wife have any tips for primal living while nursing? i am SO hungry all the time and crave, crave, crave bad carbs.

      1. Also interested in this issue. I’m currently nursing an 8 week old and wondering if there are any special considerations I should think about.

        Thanks!

    3. I would love to see a post on this topic too. I am nursing a 13-month old who has reflux and is a very picky eater, so I need to do all I can to make the best milk I can!

      1. As I said, while nursing, eating VLC (around 50 or less) and primal has completely erased my 13 month old’s reflux (which was severe). When I fall off the wagon at all though, his reflux comes back. All in all my baby seems to be truly thriving on my ketosis.
        If you’re having problems with hunger, increase your fats, and simply eat more!

      2. I too am interested in this topic.
        I’m nursing my 1 yo daughter. I am sugar and grain free since January but I just can’t stay away from bananas and other fruit. Do nursing women have more carb “needs” or is it just in my head?

  19. Dear Mark,

    I really love reading your posts, and I have found them really informative. I have a bit of a “dilemma,” if you can call it that. I have been a vegetarian for 18 years, and during that time I have come to see meat as, well, repulsive. I still do eat dairy and eggs, but there’s a part of me that’s EXTREMELY reluctant to go back to eating meat. I just find it so gross right now.

    I guess my question is, do you think it’s possible to go Primal where my primary protein is eggs? I know it could get a little boring having only one main source of protein, but I’d like to try it. Perhaps over time I would re-develop a taste for meat. I guess I’m wondering if you see any harm in this approach. Thanks!

    1. What ever gets you going down the Primal road.

      freetheanimal.com/2010/05/lets-help-out-a-soon-to-be-ex-vegn-go-paleo.html

      1. Karen, I was a vegetarian for 30 years and got back into eating meat by having my husband handle the meat and grill it on the BBQ. By winter I seemed to be able to deal with the raw meat more easily.

        I guess for me, it is the raw meat that grosses me out, mostly. I also hate all the fat splattered on everything. Okay, not everything, but it sure seems like it.

        Bacon seems to be the entry meat for many so maybe you could try that first. And save the fat, great for cooking those eggs in.

    2. Read “The Vegetarian Myth”: by Lierre Keith” If any book can change the way you feel about meat this one would be it.

    3. I managed to eat primally for around 3 months as a vegetarian – it is possible but it is pretty boring, then the more I thought about it, the more I read, the more I realised it was a no-brainer, we evolved eating meat. I found a local butcher who uses local grassfed stock and haven’t looked back.

      I found once you’d cut the grains and sugars you become so attuned to what your body needs, and what it doesn’t, that starting to include fish and meat is a natural step along the process.

  20. Here’s my question: When you say not to count calories, is it because you believe that calories don’t matter? Or just that you won’t need to because a primal diet is so filling?

    1. If you’re eating the right foods to begin with you shouldn’t really have to worry about counting. With veggies being so calorie low and protein and fat filling you up. From my own personal experience it is hard to overeat if you eat primal.

  21. Dear Mark:

    I would like to know any tips or advice you may have for converting friends and family to a primal lifestyle. I want them to live a long healthy life too, because they are people I care about.

    I receive a lot of criticism from people, mainly about the grains/bread and fat. I offer them books like Good Calories Bad Calories, The Vegetarian Myth and The Primal Blueprint but they just laugh and say you can’t believe everything you read.

    Just the other day a coworker said he was in a doctors office with a poster that said only white flour is bad and wheat is great.

    Arm me with the words that will win them over! What advice have you for me?

    1. My wife and I struggle with this as well. We have decided to let our bodies do the talking for us…If someone asks us how we lost weight or how we got in shape, we tell them and show ourselves off as the proof.

    2. ugh… I live with a “non-believer” & I get crap all the time because I won’t eat crap. If he cooks something I don’t eat, then I don’t eat or I make something else. When I cook it’s something we can both eat; sometimes I just have to add his white rice or biscuits (shudder). I just try to always get to the store first so I get good food in the house. I think my healthiness intimidates his (fragile) male ego, but his stubborness against change is firm. As is mine.
      In otherwords, some people will see your results & wanna listen to what you got, the rest are very convinced they have to have oatmeal instead of bacon for breakfast.

  22. Hey Mark, how about a color coded chart of all the fruits, veggies, fats, oils and meats out there in the world that shows: green for great, yellow for poor, and red for danger (with regard to primal nutrition). Sort of a quick reference sheet we can check out so that every kind of food is in one spot and we can double check our grocery lists before we go shopping.

    Thanks,
    Brooke

    1. I also think this is a great idea. Any kind of visual aid is beneficial!

    2. Yes please, just got my poster today with my cookbook and noticed ‘good fats’ and thought, crikey I can’t remember which all the good/bad ones are!

      1. Agreed. The research I can find on your blog or in your book but a quick reference guide (on top of the what to eat what to avoid pages in your book) would be fab.

  23. What can an endurance athlete eat going out to train or compete more than 4 hours without carbs or gels? What can I eat during a long bike ride 3 hours or more?

    Thanks.

    1. Endurance isn’t primal, it is chronic cardio, I believe Mark would advise against said activity.

      1. Unfortunately, I make a living and pay bills when I race. I’m interested in following the PB, but would like to know how to modify it with my current lifestyle.

        1. Unfortunately, huh? Awesome 😀

          aspiring pro triathlete here

        2. I read a study which indicated that once you are adapted to primarily run on fat/ketones, endurance sports without carbs should not be an issue. You need carbs only for activities where you exceed 65% of your max heart rate.

    2. When I bike that long, I make sure just to load up on fat and protein an hour or so before and keep lots of water. When I get home, I eat again and take a nap.

    3. Hi Wenzel, I train long and I do it with water to drink and use Nakd bars (raw cold pressed dried fruit/nuts – and nothing else!) and average a carb intake of around 15 g an hour I guess (tops – I’m 5′ 5″ 57 kg). That’s working up to 75% MHR. If the weather is warm I’ll add some rehydration salts to the water.

      When I get back I make sure I eat a meal which includes some primal carbohydrates and protein plus fat of course. I’ve had no issues and I’ve been able to race hard too when I choose to when I sometimes add a teaspoon of sugar to my water bottle depending on the length of the race – in fact I’m much better than pre Primal days on CW training and eating. See Mark’s post on Primal for Endurance Athletes.

      The more you train like this the less carbs you need, you just seem to train your body into being supremely fat efficient. I do sprints regularly too to keep the top end firing.

      Follow me here http://www.cavegirl-end-to-end.blogspot.com for the ultimate challenge of Primal Endurance, I leave on Saturday!

    4. If you really need to increase carbs for race purposes, I recommend taking a look at the Thrive diet. It is by no means primal, but the carbs included in the diet are what I consider the “lesser of evils.” Basically you can make gels with dates and honey as a base. You can make bars with nuts, fruit, quinoa, and buckwheat. I have found adding thrive diet foods into my endurance routine effective without having to resort to grains, pastas, bread… Also I avoid gluten, soy, and corn at all cost (Thrive diet does too).

  24. I have been searching your site for the link to a very primal modern kitchen and cannot find it anywhere. It was somewhere over in Europe and the kitchen was very very cool and unique – has some water fowl hanging up int he corner. Do you you happen to know where that link is on your site? Thanks!

  25. What can one do to help with a testosterone deficiency? Avoiding axcess sugars, grains, and soy I know. I’ve also heard to take plenty of zinc, but is there anything else that I can do?

    I’ve done a little searching on this and I also see a caution against the ‘low carb fad.’ I don’t know how this might hurt my testosterone production, but nevertheless, it’s cautioned against.

    If anything, going primal has helped to an amazing degree, no more depression and fatique, but what else can I do?

    1. hmmmm, this is curious, curious indeed. Nothing makes me feel more like a man than Heavy Lifting, which helps to release HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and some red meat!

    2. Lifting weights for sure. Testosterone is made from cholesterol so eating Primal is the best diet to fix that. Also being overweight can cause lower testosterone levels.

      1. With all of the crap in our modern food, I have read that it is a combination of lowering estrogen mimicks in our system and boosting testosterone.

        I have heard that supplementing with Tribulus Terrestris boosts testosterone production. The flip side is supplementing with DIM and Indole-3-Carbinol (both found in Broccoli) to remove the estrogen-like substances.

  26. How about some ideas on how to cope with emotional and/or compulsive overeating? The standard line is “don’t keep treats and snacks around the house….” yeah, but that doesn’t stop me from overeating on primal fare. Not the worst thing that could happen but it sure is hindering my fat loss. I know you’re not a psychiatrist but any insight on this would be great.

    1. I am curious about this. What foods specifically are you overeating? I find it incredibly hard to overeat on just Meat and Veggies… You must have an iron stomach!

      1. The best advice I could think of, is it a small snack like a salad or apple 30 minutes before meals and have a glass of water beforehand too. Also really try to slow down the pace of eating and concentrate on enjoying every primal bite.

      2. I can overeat on nuts, fruit, coconut milk, etc. easy. If meat and veggies are very well done I can go to town on those too. Salad and steak hard to overeat on, agreed, but if I make a nice dish of cooked veggies (cooked in fat, of course) and juicy meat I can easily eat two portions’ worth…. it’s all in my head and I feel like I’m in a frenzy. Nothing else matters in those moments in which I’m overeating – a comet could hit the planet and I wouldn’t notice.

    2. I can quickly over eat using butter on everything and heavy cream in coffee (at least on calories; I try to keep a general idea of what I consumed but not exactly counting).
      Just skipping a meal here and there helps believe it or not. Or sometimes a cup of warm tea or bottle of water helps me get through the feeling of want.
      Over eating now and then, I think, is good for the metabolism.

    3. I have this exact problem myself. I overeat foods that we’re allowed, like nut butters and fruit. I think I just need to keep myself busier.

    4. Hi there –

      Have you check out The Gabriel Methold or John Gabriel? It’s an interesting read if nothing less and a good part of the book deals with changing your brain to allow your “fat switches” to be turned off. Sounds like mumbo jumbo, I know but it’s actually pretty compelling. His diet/exercise advice is very much in line with PB.

    5. working on emotional overeating:

      Identify the emotion. Ask yourself “it’s not food I want, it’s ______.” For example: I am lonely. It’s not food I want, it’s company. Or I am tired. It’s not food I want, it’s energy [so I can go nap!]. I am stressed. It’s not food I want, it’s to relax. Emotion, TRUE want, and what you can do.

  27. Mark

    I have a question about recovery. I play competitive ultimate frisbee and most of our tournaments are two days long (Nationals is four days). What should I be eating/drinking to make sure that my body is ready for the next day of competition?

  28. Mark,
    Are you aware of any research programs that are specifically testing the benefits of a primal lifestyle vs. the stereotypical american lifestyle?

    Many of your posts include links to research articles that support the advice you give, but often the studies weren’t designed with the intent to test primal lifestyles specifically and the conclusions you draw are secondary inferences from their data.

    I guess another way to ask this question is, are there any research publications that include an introduction along the lines of “…[primal law #] according to fitness afficionado Mark Sisson of Marksdailyapple.com – to test this, we devised a randomized controlled trial with double blind…”? If not, would you be interested in rigorously testing your interpretation of modern health? Thanks!

  29. There are a lot of success stories of people who have changed their lives and body through the primal blueprint.

    What about some real life stories of those struggling and how they overcame that? It’s not easy changing your lifestyle and eating habit.

  30. Mark,

    I my previous Krog carb loading distance running life I balanced my glucose with distance running and 13.1 training and got into great (but burned out) shape. I coupled that with “downtime” by using P90X and Jillian Michaels. I was always tired and hungry and struggled with my weight and ITBS, arthritis in my joints and BURNED OUT.

    Now that I am practicing my new and improved Grok lifestyle, I am struggling with hitting my target zone heart rate. I barely feel like I am moving when I jog (in my Vibram Five Fingers) and I am out of the 60-80% target heartrate range.

    In Primal Blueprint, you mention “athletes” can work at an 80-90% maximum heartrate range. Could I consider myself an “athlete” or would I be working against myself?

    Whereas I used to be a 8:30/mi gal, if I feel like I’m barely moving at 9:40/mi but am hitting the 85% range, am I negating the work? I’ve dropped my runs to 3-4 per week and between 4-6 miles.

    Thanks!

  31. Hi Mark,

    I have been primal for more than 3 months now and i love the eating and workout plan. i lift heavy 3 days a week, sprint a couple days a week and do short intense cardio and cross training drills. but im still having trouble getting back the ripped physiche and abs i had back when i did long duration treadmill runs. i dont want to go back to it, and im eating clean but im just not getting over the calorie burning hump like before. any other suggestions? thanks for your amazing site and info that i use everyday. Joe

  32. You may not want to open this “can of worms” but I want to know your opinion on child vaccinations…

    1. Very bold of you to ask, personally I have mixed views. I think some are incredibly beneficial but a lot of people over-vaccinate.

  33. Dear Mark,
    Do you plan on getting rid of the SOY protein and the artificial sweetener in your protein powders anytime soon? Soy is DEFINITELY not primal, as you said yourself on the “Underground Wellness” radio show so why use it in your formula?

    Liam

    1. Ditto. I was really hoping that your protein powder wouldn’t contain soy.

  34. No question, just a big ‘Thank You’ for putting out such consistent, high-quality, information.

    Looking forward to the ‘Kit’.

  35. Dear Mark,
    What are your thoughts on “The China Study”? I’ve only been Primal for a couple of weeks but I still get scared by the amount of protein and fat the CW that keeps coming at me. I’m also not so big on the amount of meat we need to eat and it’s making my stomach upset. Other options?
    Thanks for all of your help,
    D

    1. You don’t have to eat that much meat. Mark says he shoots for “1 gram per pound of body weight per day” which is about 6oz for him. That’s not much at all.

      The CW studies don’t limit fat intake to natural fats so they include corn oil and trans fat more than likely so you can’t just blame the fat percentage. And they don’t limit carbs or the sources for them either.

      Put some butter on your steak, cook some broccoli in butter and coconut oil, eat some bacon, etc. You’ll feel better when you do and kill the cravings at the same time. In other words, you don’t have to increase meat, just increase good fats.

      Fasting also helps reset your stomach so try that once every week or so.

  36. Mark,

    With the temperatures starting to rise: Anyone successfully re-acclimated to the heat?

    I managed to get heatstoke over the weekend. Once I recover, I plan on spending 10-15 minutes out in the sun each day, and slowing increase the time…

    Any other ideas?

    1. I’ve been low-carbing 5 months now. I don’t know if it is hormone levels or matabolisim changes but I get cold spells here and there and have to go out in the 90 degree heat (almost 100% humitiy) to get comfortable. Almost like I have a bad fever or something but I don’t.

      Also don’t burn like normal. Just a little red and recover quickly. Starting to get a good tan for the first time I can remember.

      1. Sounds like it’s all uphill, you have to restore in the sun and don’t burn, I have a question, do you know Jor-El?

        1. LOL. Primal eating sure makes me feel like his son sometimes. 🙂

  37. Hi Mark,

    Love the site, love the book, I’m on day #4 of going primal, and so far so good! I’ve known for some time that the diet I’ve been eating for years isn’t right, but have been using bits and pieces of science mixed with CW to be fairly healthy. However, as I’m getting older (39 y.o.) I’m noticing nagging issues that I’ve chalked up to age. No more!

    There’s only one issue I have with your approach, and I was hoping you’d give me some context. Your “Responsibly Slim” shake strikes me as the exact opposite of what you’re teaching, particularly as a meal replacement vehicle as a way to lose weight. I can understand a guy like me, who travels a great deal for work, using it as a meal replacement when I’m in a pinch. But as a substitute for real food on a regular basis?

    It nags at me because it makes me question your motives. I mean absolutely no offense by this comment — as I said, I think your research is outstanding, and I suspect you’ve helped an awful lot of people. I would just like to understand your motives and intentions behind this product. It makes me question your other supplements as well. Using it once a day, once in a while I would completely understand, but three or four times in a day doesn’t make sense to me.

    Thank you Mark.

    1. I second this question. I saw a documentary on the Tarahumara and they gave a very primal, evolutionary perspective of how humans are built for endurance. Sweat glands are more efficient than panting they say, and two legs (while slower) are more efficient over longer distances than four. Interesting in the least, I still prefer to walk though, until I’m being chased! haha

      1. I pondered this, too. The evidence is there, and it’s pretty compelling that we’re built for endurance running.
        The simple answer seems to be that endurance runners like the Tarahumara, who have been running all their lives, for fun, and run barefoot, aren’t really stressing their bodies that much when they run. I think that, because their hearts are conditioned gradually to that level, long-distance running counts as low-intensity carido (i.e. around 65% of maximum heart rate).
        The PB book actually mentions this concept: it’s all about relative fitness. 65% of one person’s max heart rate is different than 65% of another person’s.
        Here’s my thinking: If an overweight, out-of-shape person wearing overbuilt shoes goes out for a run with sloppy (i.e. painful, stressful) technique, it’s murder. Cortisol release, injuries galore, etc. No progress, and much harm done. But if you go at it very gradually (this is where ENTIRELY bare feet come into play: they teach you to run gently and force you to take it easy until you adapt), your body gets better and better at running at a slow/moderate pace for long distances; the blood vessels leading into and out of the heart grow in size and get better at feeding the muscles. Combined with high-intensity training to increase the strength of the heart, it can now pump a greater volume of blood at a low rate with increasing levels of activity. The human body is excellent at adapting to physical demands, provided the form is right and you pay attention to what it tells you, just like everything else.
        That’s just my hypothesis. I don’t know if it’s been tested.

  38. Dear Mark,

    What makes some leafy green vegetables edible while some are not? How come it is not popular to eat grass or tree leaves? Is it mostly because we cannot digest them or because they are un-nutritious?

    We eat lettuce and seaweed and leaves of vegetables. It seems to me that grass and tree leaves would fit into the same category.

    Thanks

    1. 2nd.
      I would really like to know this. How are leaves and grass different from spinach and celery? It could be a whole post. 🙂

    2. Grass and tree foliage have too much cellulose for humans to handle–we can’t digest cellulose. The plant material we do eat has much less cellulose.

      That’s why we need herbivores like cattle and deer to harvest grass/browse for us so we can get the nutrition from those abundant natural plant sources indirectly. Many animal herbivores can digest cellulose.

  39. Hey Mark,

    Here is my question. I have been primal for a few months and have been loving it! My question is about the success stories of people who go on no grain/low-carb diets, in particular the ones I’ve read about here on MDA. Do you suspect that the “healing” that many people experience from many of their ailments is more commonly a product of of a gluten intolerance/allergy that they never knew about, or a newfound low blood sugar/insulin level? I suppose it could be a combination of the two, but I didn’t know if you thought low insulin levels was enough in and of itself to “cure” people of a lot of modern ailments.

    I hope that question makes sense and I look forward to your answer!

    Brad

  40. So many different posts to read!

    I am a fan of protein powder, but have had lots of trouble finding the right kind from the right sources! you hinted at re-working your current meal replacement shake, when will we hear more about this?

  41. Hi Mark-

    Can you elaborate on the effects of mental stress while fasting??? If we are under mental stress (taking a test, doing taxes, etc.) should we stop what we are doing and make sure we get some food?? I heard that cortisol while fasting actually increases belly fat.

    Thanks,
    Tara

  42. Mark,

    When your workout consists of

    Mon-Sat
    Swim 2500 yds.

    Mon/Wed/Fri
    5×5 Routine
    1/4 mile sprintsx8, under 1:25 with a set of pullups or pushups between sprints.

    Tues/Thurs/Sat
    6-10 mile run, 7-8min/miles

    Is it necessary to include grains to keep up with the amount of energy your body is expending?

    1. Also interested, as I am training like that… past weeks have been 4.5 hours of cycling, 50-55 miles running, 6-10k in the pool. I do as much fat and protein as I can while trying to limit grains – grains today were a cliff bar and an English muffin, I think that’s it.

    2. You both are definitely overtraining. Have you read Mark’s book or posts? Chronic Cardio! He preaches against such activities, it isn’t natural, which is what the primal blueprint is all about. The questions are completely out of context of this site.

      1. Who made you the police of questions? I’m a talented and competitive triathlete who is working on optimizing nutrition for training. As Mark has had a pro triathlete post on the blog before about his nutrition and how Primal he is, our questions are perfectly legitimate. Everyone has to find a Primal that works for them and we are trying to strike that balance.

        1. I have been giving feedback in an attempt to help my those in the primal community. There is absolutely no need to get defensive.

          You wouldn’t ask a vegetarian how best to cook a steak. Same principle, it is insulting.

          You shouldn’t ask someone to cater their viewpoints and philosophy to someone who incorporates something into their lifestyle that they don’t agree with and explicitly advise against.

          But seeing as you are cocky, brash, defensive, and obviously ego driven, I suppose that went over your head.

          And BTW a Cliff Bar and English Muffin, incredibly bad and not at all primal. Kick the grains!

        2. I believe the point Dave is trying to make is that your questions have basically been answered in more than one post on MDA. I believe Marks suggestion would be to leave the grain out and cut back the training but make it more intense. Then use the extra time you have to enjoy life.

        3. Thanks Jonathan! I guess I got a little frustrated and carried away there. But yes that is exactly what I was trying to get across. Grok On!

    3. Grains are not the only source of carbohydrates, go for unrefined carbs, fruits / veggies for the very basic requirements. Grains? Ha, you were joking, right? better stay under that bridge…

  43. I’m enjoying the new Primal Cookbook. The recipe for Egg Muffins says to bake, but doesn’t mention a temperature for the oven. I used 350 degrees and that worked great. I’m also interested in your thoughts on gluten-free, low-carb recipes using coconut and almond flours.

  44. Why are peanuts considered evil? Are they the same thing as “ground nuts” I sometimes read about?

    I don’t like most nuts, and peanuts are a readily available low-carb type snack. And eating pistachios while driving is tricky… [g]

  45. 1. I’ve had my Five Fingers for a few years now and love them. But they stink. Badly. Any ideas? I tried washing them in the laundry and it didn’t help much.
    2. I would love to see some workouts for the less … buff among us. I’ve never managed a real pushup in my life. Can you give some of us ways to work up to pushups, pull-ups (also never managed one), etc, without a gym?
    3. Foraging…what about actual foraging? This goes with what some others mentioned about why we eat spinach and not grass, but I know some things are edible (dandelion leaves, anyone?), but we just don’t even notice. I’d love to hear about the actual edible stuff surrounding us. 🙂
    4. (Another vote for the lactating Primalist!)

    1. Start with push-ups on your knees. Eventually you’ll get to your feet. If you can only do one on your toes, do it, then drop to your knees and do as many as you can.

      For pull-ups, use a chair to help you get up (only as much as you absolutely must), hold yourself up for a couple seconds, then lower yourself slowly without the chair. Negatives really do work!

    2. Hey Melodious – New Rules of Lifting for Women has you start pushups on a incline, against a wall or on a hands on a bench, for example, and then you progress down to the floor (and then you start raising your feet!!). It’s supposedly better than knee pushups because it’s still a full body exercise.

      For pull ups, you can start up on the bar, with feet on a chair or bench and then just work on pulling up a few inches. Eventually, you can work up to a full pull up (hope this makes sense, I know I’m not explaining right).

      1. This might sound crazy, but a great solution to the infamous Vibram FiveFingers stink: go completely barefoot! Only wear them when you really need them.

        Which isn’t that often, in reality. The feet are excellent at adapting. Broken glass? Gimme a break.

        It takes some time, but all the extra sensation (and the cleanliness, believe it or not) is very worth it. Gravel is excellent for both training the feet and building up the thickness of the soles. Plus, on a chilly day, walking on gravel really warms you up!

        And if you go to a gym that requires shoes, try those Injiji toe socks. I’ve heard good things about them! That is what socks are invented for, after all–keeping the shoes dry and un-smelly.

        Also, try washing with vinegar.

    3. My vibrams also stink. I hate stinky feet.

      I second the softer start to working out w/out a gym. If you are out of shape and hate gyms but love the outdoors, it would be nice to see a gentler workout option.

      I also second the wild eats in your area post. Finding wild mushrooms and eating wild greens would be fabulous.

  46. I live in a rural area, and some of the ingredients you recommend are hard to find. Dutch process cocoa? Coconut water? The grocery doesn’t carry natural meats, and the farmer’s market prices start at $7/lb and go up, never on sale. IME, everything at the farmer’s market is more expensive than the grocery. The nearest Trader Joes or Whole Foods is a 3-4 hour drive, one way.

    Suggestions?

    1. $7 a pound is the going rate of organic meat if you buy it at a grocery store. How about a farmer who butchers his own animals? Usually it’s much cheaper that way. You just have to buy a side or maybe a half and freeze it.

      1. yeah, of course, you can only purchase non-perishables with Amazon. But a lot of the more exotic stuff Mark recommends are non-perishables.

        Shipping is really cheap.

        1. I agree with the mail order suggestions. Try eatwild.com for mail order pastured meats. You can get quarters and sides of grass finished meats for as little as $5 per lb., shipped, if you shop around some. You may be surprised at how close some of the sources on eatwild are to you.
          Good Luck!

  47. Just wanted to throw my “yea” behind the notion of an “Eat This in a Pinch Guide” [my suggested titles are “Grok Forages at the Food Court” and “Grok to the Future”]. I’m a full-time musician, often on-the-road and away from my routine and regular food sources. This is my biggest challenge in keeping Primal with the dietary part of the program. (My favorite in-a-pinch indulgence? In-N-Out Double-Double Protein-Style with grilled onions and sliced chilies!)

    1. I second the Eat this in a pinch thing. Eating nuts doesn’t do it for me. I often snack on a piece of cheese (I crave fat) but would love easy to-go options that are still big enough and tasty enough to be satisfying.

  48. Another thought:
    My sister and I grew up together, but I never had a cavity and she had them all the time. Seriously, the doctor eventually laminated her teeth in experimental plastic (this was mid-80s) because she always had at least one cavity.
    She was much more diligent in tooth care than I was, we are full sisters, and ate most of the same foods. She has always (from birth on) had an iron deficiency, but otherwise never had any more health problems than I had. If you knew a child going through something like that (or an adult), what would you recommend?

    1. sigh… genetics. I’m 50 & still get cavities. My sister, 2yrs younger, has never had a bit of amalgam in her mouth ever. I’ve been “blessesd” with soft teeth & crappy gums. My brother wore braces, neither of us gals did. It’s all in the luck of the genetic draw sometimes. oh yea, & I always seem to be a little low on iron all my life too. I read an article recently that there were some people that just metabolize it different & low iron can be a cause of restless legs (which I suffered from ALSO). So for the past yr I have been taking a slow release iron supplement. No more restless legs! and my test in April had a normal iron reading. yay.

    2. I second this topic. Partially because I was one of those cavity-a-year kids, although I took less-than-good care of my teeth as a youngster.

      I’d like to see a primal guide to dental health! My dog “brushes” her teeth with rope toys and beef bones. Should I do the same? 😉

  49. It seems to me that women often are not as enamoured of meat as men are. When I was a vegetarian, other women would often say to me that they could easily go without eating meat, ever.

    It also seems that there are more women vegetarians than men vegetarians. Most men I know lust after meat. Women, not so much although I know there are exceptions.

    Do you think there is some evolutionary component to this? Maybe the men ate first, then the children and the women got the meager leftovers? Or the women snacked a lot while gathering and adapted more to the gathered food rather than the hunted food?

    I am very curious about this. Even some direction for literature on this subject would nice if you know of any.

    1. I’m female, and my favorite meal is fatty rib-eye steak, medium rare. Second favorite is beef short ribs (also fatty). Yum.
      I’ve read several books by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the artic explorer, and he describes Eskimo families where everyone (men, women, children, dogs) ate meat, fat and fish, and that was pretty much their entire diet. The fish heads were saved for the children, because they were a special treat. The lean meat was fed to the dogs, because it was the least desirable.

    2. Hi Sharon.
      I am female and have always craved meat. I have tried going vegetarian in the past but I just could not get over my cravings for meat. My husband on the other hand, can’t seem to live without his carbs. I do know what you mean though. I have met a lot of women who would rather not eat meat. I guess it just depends on the person.

    3. The higher population of female vegetarians I think is because it is percieved as healthier; meat is higher in fat and there’s the cultural taboo on that; vegetarianism is seen as a way to stay thin; etc

      1. I second that. It’s entirely a societal thing, like the majority of the differences between men and women. Bah, sexism!

        1. I should say: “the majority of differences one observes between men and women in our culture and many others”

      2. I agree. I was a vegetarian for 5 years, thinking it’s healthier and it will prevent weight gaining . Funny thing, after having a child BUT going sugar/grain/veg oil free I look 100 times better than I used to.

  50. How much Vitamin D will be in the new supplement?
    And will it be in an gel capsule with oil?

    Regards,
    Robert

  51. My mother in law, husband and myself all started eating this way in April. My husband and mother in law have had fantastic results. I am not losing weight I have stalled out after losing the initial 7 to 10 pounds. I know there are more of us out there I have seen them on the forums? I wonder what we have in common?

    1. Hi Betsy,
      I understand what you mean. I am wondering if it is a female hormone issue for some of us. I still have a pot belly that will not get smaller! If I probe through the fat I can feel the stomach muscles underneath, so I know it is just a large flabby lot of fat sitting over my stomach muscles. I have had this problem ever since having children.

  52. I ordered my cookbook and free poster the same day the offer became available and I still have not received them 🙁
    I was hoping to get them before I had to go away in July.

  53. Do you think candida/systemic yeast overgrowth is a real condition or is it new age quackery?

    I’m trying to clear up my acne. I’m 23. 4 months on the paleo diet didn’t work. 2 months on the primal diet has not worked. I’m thinking of taking it to a new level of strictness. But I wonder if I’m misguided.

    1. Hi Jay
      I can not answer your question about candida, although I have been diagnosed with it by naturopaths in the past. I seem to have had most of the symptoms. Now I am suffering either low thyroid and pituitary gland function which has been ‘proven’ in blood tests.

      What I find interesting though is that I am 40+ and since being on the paleo diet I have actually starting having a problem with lots of pimples. I thought that the diet would make my skin clearer but it appears to be doing the opposite. I am totally grain and dairy free and my meat and veges are 100% chemical and hormone free, with the meat also being 100% pasture fed. I think I have been on the paleo diet now for about 4+ months. I thought I was the only one having this skin problem.

      In regards to another recent article Mark, I also still seem to be going through this transition period of the ‘low carb flu’. Certain things have improved, like inflammation levels, but I am still extremely low on energy.

    2. I second this. I’m the exact same age dealing with acne…have tried paleo and primal. Wondering the same thing, if the candida thing is for real.

      1. Oops, sorry, I meant to Jay’s comment (above). It posted in the wrong spot.

      2. Pretty please with a cherry-or walnuts-on top! I’ve heard a lot about the candida thing and want to know the truth about it.

  54. Regarding acne, Do you have any guidance to clearing up beyond just eating primal foods? Perhaps some primal foods to avoid, or to eat more of?

    1. For me I think the biggest thing was quitting milk, and supplementing with Vitamin D. I swear by it, nothing else ever worked, prescriptions and all.

      1. Wow, that’s interesting about the vitamin D. You know, my mother always told me to get some sun on my face, that it would help clear up the skin. I guess I never made the connection and before Primal I always had so much darn sunscreen on my face every day, I never could get the D! haha

        1. Yes! My good friend also had bad acne, which she “treated” by getting a little sun every day and limiting her dairy intake.

  55. Hey Mark,
    What do you think of Paul Chek and his book, How to Eat Move and Be Healthy? What do you think of the C.H.E.K. institute? Your book has all the same principles that Paul has been teaching for years now and even your posts reflect his teachings. He is also in Southern Cal., and teaches lifestyle traits such as diet, exercise, and mental well being.

  56. You have established well that seeds don’t want to be eaten and therefore have anti-nutrient qualities. Does that include spices derived from seeds such as cumin, mustard and fennel. Grok didn’t have access to these on a daily basis, and there are downsides to regularly eating perfectly primal foods (sugar in fruit, polyunsaturated fat in nuts and seeds.) Do you have any reason to believe in a dark side of spices?

  57. Please turn off auto notification for my email address for this post. Driving me crazy! Thanks.

  58. I have always wondered how Chinese people get enough calcium – all I can think of is tofu, rice, cabbage, chinese veggies – milk isn’t a part of their diet I don’t think – and I know primal may debate the whole need for CA but that question has ALWAYS bugged me, why they don’t have osteoporosis.

  59. I am particularly interested in the question of carbohydrate (starch via rice) intake in Asian countries, and the population fitness levels. Having recently been in Japan, I noticed a large white rice intake (every meal), although the citizenry showed little tendency toward obesity, and little tendency to engage in exercise. They have small incidence of cardiac disease, but more tendency toward stroke. Any ideas?

  60. Can’t wait for Primal Leap Kit. I’m new to this lifestyle, but very interested and pumped to become Primal…
    Cheers,

  61. Is soy, maltodextrin and sucralose o.k?
    Its in one of your products. Just curious what your viewpoint is on those.

    Majid

  62. Hey Mark,

    I just started eating Primal two weeks ago and this week was my first week trying the day-long fast. Quite frankly, I was shocked at how much more energy I had not eating anything. Maybe it was because I had already detached myself from eating too much sugar every day, but I had no hunger pangs and really felt good. So I did it a second day in a row … and I still felt fine. And that freaks me out! Am I okay? It’s true I was working a desk job and only spent a half-hour walking each day. But how do I know that I don’t already have an extremely slow metabolism and that I’m not making it worse by fasting? I don’t want to start regularly doing it and then find out I’m actually messing up an already slow metabolism.

    Malory

  63. Mark,
    Your books and website are loaded with invaluable information and have been a godsend in my effort to wade through all the contradictory advice we all are exposed to. While I think your research and analysis are the best available on living a healthy lifestyle you’d probably agree that we will never be completely sure what the “most healthy” diet is, and it likely is not a one size fits all proposition.

    My plan is to continue on the primal blueprint program and then get some blood work, etc.(?) to check my progress and use as a baseline to evaluate how changes in my diet, whether based on what people here refer to as “cheats” or on new research, affect my health. Obviously there are a myriad of tests available such as cholesterol, triglycerides, ratios, ldl particle size, CRP, etc., etc., so my question is, other than how one feels, what do you believe are the best available measurements of good health?

    Thanks!

  64. Hey Mark,

    Have you ever looked into the 80/10/10 diet or any other (mostly) fruitarian diet? If so, what do you think? I’m not looking to become frugivorous any time soon, but I HAVE seen read some interesting articles that suggest we are fruitarians by design.

    They argue that true carnivores love the sensation of ripping carcasses apart, and that true carnivores salivate at the mere sight of other animals, whereas we are repulsed by raw meat and are not biologically designed to chase animals or tear flesh from bone. Furthermore, they state that all humans have a natural sweet-tooth, and that this indicative of the fact that we should be exclusively eating large amounts of fruit.

    I don’t really agree with this, as I’ve read a bit about the many native and traditional societies worldwide who eat diets high in fat and protein and are very successful. Still, the argument interests me, and I’d like to have some more information on the subject.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    1. Hi ilest
      I have always salivated at the sight and smell of meat (perhaps not raw) and anything fatty. I have heard that there are sweet and savoury types. I have always considered myself as the savoury type. I say perhaps not raw meat, but since I have been on the paleo diet I have been wanting my beef a bit more on the rare side. And you should see me descend on a chicken carcass 🙂 It has also always been quite a task to hold my mother back from ripping apart a carcass as well; and she would fight for the bone and marrow! She even broke her front tooth once chewing on a ham bone 🙂

    2. Sounds like broad generalization and wishful thinking based on pure speculation and a complete lack of rigorous research to me!

      I, for one, and arguably most people who enjoy meat will salivate at the sight of a jersey cow in a green field.

      1. Hell, I’m salivating right now just at the thought of it, jeez.

  65. Mark,

    I’ve just moved from a big city to a small town, and there’s nowhere to get organic meat! The local grocery store stocks only conventional meats. I’ve been solving the problem by buying wild-caught fish, which they do stock, and forgoing the red meat, but I can’t do that for long. I miss my meat, and more practically, not having it makes it harder for me to resist the non-Primal treats I used to enjoy. Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, anyone? Help!

    1. Hey Erin, If you have the money try getting meat delivered from sites like http://www.uswellness.com. Otherwise go with grain-fed and increase your fish oil intake to help offset any negative affects. Good Luck.

      1. Thanks, Wyatt! It turns out that while my mother’s boyfriend has not yet jumped off the grain wagon, he is very serious about eating only organic meat and produce. Our local farms only sell by the quarter at smallest, which is still too much meat for me to store, but he’s directed me toward a nearby mom-and-pop natural food store that breaks them down for their customers. I would never have known it was there, there’s no sign or anything! Still a half hour drive, but I can stock up a week at a time I suppose. I’m excited!

  66. Hello! I have a question that I was hoping Mark or someone else could answer. Several months ago, I learned how much more nutritious and healthier sprouted grains, nuts, seeds and beans are for you as opposed to them non-sprouted. Since then, I have been sprouting them for several days or until they were almost more gr…ass (or sprout) than grain. I still cook some of them and add the remaining raw ones into my meals for the active enzymes. However, I would like to know if their conversion to a sprout makes them okay. Since I am new to your site and just subscribed to your newlsetter, please pardon me for being a little behind on this subject as I am sure it as been brought up before. Thank you.

  67. Dear Mark,

    I read your article on putting on some weight, and I was wondering if you could give some more suggestions for squeezing in more good calories per day that doesn’t involve eating 12 eggs? I eat a good amount of eggs already, but this many just makes me never want to eat them again which doesn’t seem to fit with the philosophy of the primal blueprint being enjoyable, stress free, etc. If this really is the easiest way to get extra calories, can someone recommend the most efficient, tasty way to get these eggs down? Maybe hard boiling would be a good option?

    I find that with all the fat I’m eating I don’t get as hungry as I did when eating carbs as well. If I was trying to lose weight this would be great, but I’m 20 years old, fairly lean, and I just want to GROW! I’m squatting more and this is helping but I feel like I’m falling short on the calories I need to really see results.

    Thanks for any tips!

    PS. LOVING this primal lifestyle — it resonates so well with me. Thanks so much for everything you do!

  68. I also have questions about fasting. I hope you don’t mind, but I have gotten in the habit of questioning everything these days. No one is safe LOL! Anyway, I have seen quite a bit of research showing improved insulin sensitivity right after a fast. But I have not yet seen/found any showing the effect lasts long term. If the effect only lasts until the next meal, it may not make much of a difference long term. Also I have not seen much on why fasting may do this. I have also seen plenty of research showing a low carb diet improves insulin sensitivity for at least as long as one is on it and also some data that shows it lingers for at least a while. Another thing I am wondering is could fasting and lowcarb improve insulin sensitivity for the same or similar reasons, like perhaps a break from glucose spikes and the need for insulin response? If so, the use of both low carb AND fasting may be redundant. You might only benefit from one or the other and the regular low carb diet may be more effective than episodic fasting. So far, all the research I have yet found on fasting causing insulin sensitivity was done with dieters eating diets that were probably carby. Nothing on low carb eaters who already experience improved insulin sensitivity even without fasting. Also historically, I am just not sure if ancient societies often had to endure fasting on a regular basis. Our ancestors were experts at preparing and storing foods and it is suspected that in ancient times, game foods and environmental resources were much richer than now when humans have overran and overtaxed the planet. I am keeping an open mind but am not yet convinced that fasting was common. Probably there were seasons or years when life sucked but I am betting that there were large swaths of time when food was regularly available and eaten when hungry and I suspect this would be especially true of the most successful groups that were most likely to survive to produce those now living. Also, there are many things that happen occasionally that are not necesarily good for humans, like I could break a finger tomorrow and then survive and recover from it. Yes, I have mechanisms in my body to deal with it, but that does not mean breaking a finger would actually be good for me. So I am looking for more data on this fasting issue before I decide to jump off the fence. Probably there is more research out there that I have not found yet that could help with this question.

    1. You’re absolutely right to question the logic of fasting.

      As I see it, the real reason to fast is that it teaches you what actual hunger feels like. For example: when you eat a big bowl of pasta, you just had a lot of food–but in a couple hours, you are probably hungry all over again! That’s not hunger. That’s grains messing with you.

      Real hunger is deep, and grows. It goes away when you eat real, whole food. And real, whole food doesn’t cause a crash after you eat it, or give you terrible headaches when you don’t eat it.

      You’re right: intermittent fasting isn’t really about restricting calories, or re-enacting the life of paleolithic humans (which we can never totally know about). The most important thing is to eat only when you are truly hungry; fasting, like many things in the “Primal/Paleo” life way, is a tool for learning what that feels like.

  69. I would like to know your take on sprouted grains. In my estimation, they’re digested nothing like processed or whole grains at all, but more like a vegetable.
    How good or bad do you think they are?

  70. Hi Mark,

    I was wondering if you had any information on how the body creates the fat that it stores. My question comes from my personal thought that anything created from eating SAD would load up the fat with toxins. Later as this fat is burnt when losing weight, these toxins would be released into the body. This could account for the different reactions (eg carb flu) people have when they first go primal. Not very scientific, I know. But something that has had me scratching my head.

    Love your work!

  71. Hi Mark,

    Living where I do [Tenerife] the post is incredibly flaky…is there any chance of offering both your Primal Blueprint and the Primal Blueprint Cookbook book as ebooks?

  72. Hi!

    A beginner’s question : what do you think about the use of microwaves to heat/defrost primal food. It doesn’t seem to me very primal….
    I heard about studies showing that eating food directly after getting it out from the microwaves is quite a bad choice for health, what is your mind about it?

    1. Wait! You should read those studies you’ve heard about before you draw a conclusion!

      In the meantime, my vote is: don’t worry about it. Like cars and showers, microwaves are one of those modern conveniences that make total sense (concerns about energy consumption and greenhouse gasses notwithstanding).

      Microwave ovens increase the temperature of water and ions (like dissolved salt) by making it move really fast, through electromagnetism. Basic physics! Ain’t nothing wrong with that!

      I don’t see how that could make something unhealthy.

  73. Hi Mark,

    I’ve done a lot of research recently into ‘hygienic fasting’ and wondered what you make of it? I found The Hygienic System Vol. II Fasting and Sunbathing by Dr Herbert Shelton extremely interesting and useful on this subject. I’ve tried a relatively short fast of 4 days and before that had been regularly using intermittent fasting, and in both instances felt great. Today is my first day of a longer fast of indeterminate length, I will break the fast with the appearance of hunger. Another thing I found extremely interesting in the aforementioned book is that Shelton says true hunger is felt in the mouth and throat, like thirst is. He says in true hunger “the healthy person is not conscious of any sensations in or about the stomach when hungry.” Now this suggests to me that generally speaking, as a race, we are perpetually overfed, even us Primal people. I can’t remember ever feeling hungry in my mouth. Apparently ‘hunger pangs’ or anything like that which you feel in your stomach are not hunger but are withdrawal symptoms, just like a drug addict would get (although not in the stomach). Just curious as to what you make of all this. My 4 day fast completely cured a mild smoking addiction I had, now I’m looking forward to breaking my food addiction.

  74. Hi Mark

    Well I am injured bad and at the moment can’t do anything but walk. I eat primal 95% of the time but putting on weight and since not doing weights just not hungry especially for meat. How can I stop myself putting on body fat? I am concerned eating to much but as you said you don’t need to worry about this when you only eat veg, lean meat nuts and fats. Only fats I have are nuts and avocado and oils and I would random have 1 piece fruit every 2-3 days. For a female its very frustrating as the body fat has gone on right around the stomach area. What is your advice for this when you can’t lift, only walk and you do eat primal….What am I doing wrong?

  75. Hey Mark,

    My question has to do with my wife. One of the things she runs into is a sulfite sensitivity, and it can be pretty brutal. Through trying to figure this out, we have found that almost all corn products and potato products are processed by soaking them in a sulf** solution for a couple days as a first step. Even the organic and hippy ones from Whole Foods. So cutting those out is pretty primal. However, the same appears to be true of coconut products too, which eliminates a lot of the primal alternatives.

    She herself is not doing the primal thing, and her first concern is not getting the painful reactions. So she eats what she knows is safe.

    The problem with these sulfur derivatives (and there are several, some of which are worse than others – dang chemistry!) is that sometimes the chemical is in the raw food (grapes, eggs), sometimes it is in the processing (corn, potato, coconut, wine), and sometimes it is simply a preservative (dried spices).

    I hate for her to have to suffer with this, and would love to hear you address it somewhere. It is a rare enough occurance that most of what we find is on the internet and among the alt.health sites. There doesn’t seem to be much solid research yet.

    Primal seems like an obvious answer, but it doesn’t help that I’ve been a little over the top about it. Some of the low carb things I’ll eat when I’m in a pinch (“Spam might be low carb – but it sure ain’t primal!”) are sausages (mixed meats with sulf** preservative) or eggs (the eggs themselves), bacon (I don’t know) which make her sick.

    I would love to hear some scientific investigation into the sulfite sensitivity problem.

  76. I would like to know if you are getting many Grokkers who are experiencing a reduction or cessation of bi polar symptoms since becoming Primal.

    Six months in and I’m now convinced that controlling my insulin through cutting grains and added sugars and keeping carbs below 100 g a day is what has made the difference.

    Another area for some scientific research me thinks!

    1. Glad to hear this. I’ve been eating Primal less than two weeks. My days used to cycle between anxiety, depression, and fatigue, but I’m MUCH more balanced already. I look forward to how I will feel at six months!

  77. I have a dear friend who I think is on the cusp of believing what you’ve been preaching. She is a vegetarian, due to digestive issues, maintaining that because of her blood type, she has a hard time digesting animal proteins. Debating the relevance of that is not the point, because regardless of what anyone says, that is what she believes and therefore, no use in arguing. My question is this: since she’s a vegetarian and we’re getting ready to ask her to give up her beloved grains, and potentially soy, what’s a girl to do for adequate protein? She will occasionally eat seafood and wild game, but those are not feasible for continuous staples in her diet. Any suggestions on how she can curtail her diet, to insure that she’s getting all the necessary nutrients, but without relying heavily on red meat and fowl to do it? I desparately want her to experience good health, but the protein issue is her one stumbling block on the whole primal diet.

  78. Wow, you have a lot of questions to answer…hope mine is not redundant. Could you elaborate more on the backbone of a Primal Fitness plan? I guess I have a hard time categorizing my activities, and thus planning out a week of an appropriate amount of each type. My background is dance. Lifting heavy is hard to reconcile with the needs of modern dancers to be extremely fluid, flexible, and have control over the SUBTLEST movements of the body. Do you have any opinions about people who choose to do things like dance and yoga and Pilates, in terms of how lifting heavy can fit in? I’m experimenting, and I wonder if I can get away with lifting heavy 2x a wk. But I wonder if it will ultimately prove too detrimental to my flexibility… Thoughts?

  79. I have been following my nutrients on FitDay. On the primal diet, I seem to not be getting enough calcium, based on RDA. I’m at about 65%. Is this significant? I supplement Vits D and K2. This is despite yogurt consumption along with nearly daily eggs and meat. What is a good source of calcium? Thanks.

  80. Mark,
    I thought I was eating healthy before and was at a healthy weight. I started the PB and started to eat foods that I never allowed myself like bacon and red meat. I felt better but also gained weight. I am very confused. Have you ever heard of this happening before?

  81. Mark what advice would you offer to people who suffer from hypoglycemia and don’t want to eat more carbs or sugar?

  82. hi, Mark…. i searched the archives, but didn’t find any info on sugar alcohols — how do they affect the body, and do you feel they’re deleterious?

    thanks!

  83. Dear Mark,

    Like most readers, I’m aiming for a long and healthy life. I once read that the average cave man lived to be 19. Presumably, this was due to injury and illness, but is there any chance that a primal lifestyle optimizes performance during our healthy years while not specifically optimizing longevity?

    Thanks!

  84. I’m looking forward to the fitness ebook. I’d like additional information on reconciling CW cardiovascular fitness guidelines with being primal. It would seem to me that converting from triathlete to primal, one could still maintain reasonable fitness & cv conditioning (like Mark). What if you’re a schlub, like me? I used to run 3mi in under 30m on my lunch break everyday. I stopped 3 years ago. Now, I’m going primal with great results so far but I’m concerned that I won’t be able to achieve my prior conditioning level with just lifting, walks & sprints once per week.

  85. Here are a few additional questions:

    I am planning a long-term trip (6mos to years if decide to Teach English to fund my travels) in Asian and/or third world countries. How can I remain Primal when meat can be questionable, sauces are often sweet, organic is not even a concept and grains remain the cheapest and sometimes only food available? Should I even continue eating Primal before departing? Will it make me hypersensitive to grains, causing pain, discomfort and such (I currently don’t suffer from any severe symptoms when I eat grains – which is why sticking with Primal can be tough – there is little immediate consequence for an indulgence)? I would hate to suddenly become reactive to all these things (I kind of believe in exposing yourself to harmful things so that your body can adapt – i am definitely not a germaphobic)

    Question 2: I can easily suffer from boredom and eliminating all grains makes eating meat and veg well… a little repetitive. I know you’ve released a cookbook but without an oven, I often BBQ. Since grilling meats remain pretty consistent, I am looking for a wider variety of homemade sauces/toppings that are primal to change up my bbq adventures.

    I love this blog, the forum and the book. I believe in the philosophy but have yet to fully implement it (i love my social life (ahem drinking beer) way too much. On that topic, I’ve read your blog posts on alcohol and you mention that we process that differently than other carbs but could you explain this in greater detail? Does it spike our GI in the same way fries do? How much is primal acceptable and won’t negate the progress you’re making? And how does it really hinder weight loss besides making your willpower go out the window when it’s 4am and everyone’s pigging out on pizza?

  86. I may be in way too late for this, but I was wondering if anyone could give me a rough ranking of which types of weight exercises would be hardest on the knees. I do all of these in different LHT workouts and recently seem to have slightly tweaked my knee. I think it is the get ups as they are what I have been doing more of lately, but any insight as to harder/easier on knees would be appreciated.

    – Turkish get ups
    – squats
    – weighted lunges
    – weighted split squats
    – dead lift (normal form with a barbell)
    – neutral grip dead lift (with dumbbells)

    Thanks!
    Chris

    1. Hi Chris, All of those exercises are actually healthy for knee health if they are done properly. Doing them correctly take the enough flexibility, joint mobility, as well as “Greasing the Groove.” If you’re not sure what this concept means, you may wish to check out Pavel Tsatsouline. His safety and performance concepts are a bit more sophisticated than those found on this site. He addresses every lift you’ve mentioned except possibly for weighted lunges.

      Cheers.

  87. Hey Mark!
    I love your website and all the helpful information you’ve provided. It has really gotten me on a track to much better physique and health. But there has been something that I have been thinking about that sort of contradicts the whole “no carb/grain” part of the primal blueprint(which is like the whole thing haha.)Anyway, it’s about cultures other than America in which carbs/grains are included in their diet. The biggest topic that comes to mind would be “The French Paradox”. If you haven’t heard of it I strongly recommend that you research it. Not just the French, though, have carbs/grains and are still very healthy but many Asian cultures as well. Japan apparently has the highest life expectancy in the world?(I have no source) I do believe a main part of their diet is white rice and noodles. This has just been bugging me lately, reality screams louder than any “fact” about health. That reality, I think, is that non-American cultures seem to be doing pretty well for themselves with carbs and grains. Especially in Europe and East Asia.

    P.S. This was in no way meant to challenge or disrespect you, I is just something I am extremely curious about and wanted an opinion of one of the most influential people in my life.
    Thank you

    1. Hi David, This link should help you on your search to get to the bottom of this apparent paradox. Good Luck.

  88. This is for Dear Mark… The internet is full of studies etc that purport to show that low carb diets can lead to depression. Do you have any insight on this? Cheers.

  89. This is for Dear Mark… The internet is full of studies etc that purport to show that low carb diets can lead to depression. Do you have any insight on this? Cheers.

    1. Would you mind providing the links for your most solid studies? I would like to check them out. Thanks.

        1. If they were also low-fat I would believe depression is possible. Most people miss the point of low-carb and think it is just high protein.

  90. I don’t understand how you can talk about being “primal” and have so many non-primal foods that you advocate. Grains have been eaten for thousands of years with superb health as a by-product. How can you explain this?

    1. Cobra, Mark has so many articles which significantly clarify his stance the two point you make. So to answer you’re two questions, I would suggest using the search and familiarizing yourself with the articles.

      Good Luck.

      1. Dave, It doesn’t help calling people foolish. We should be encouraging people, not degrading them.

  91. Hi Mark

    I would really like some help on the effects soy products have on the growth of young adolescent males. My 13 year old boy has barely grown in the last few years and the paediatrician is getting worried and is suggesting other reasons why my son is not growing but I really believe that it has been the soy in his diet (due to dairy and gluten allergies) but I have very little evidence to present my case to the doctor. Do you know of any studies on the subject that I can get access to the reports?
    Thanks
    Angelina.

  92. Dear Mark: Thank you for producing these products and information.

    It is 5.03pm here in Sydney, Australia, and I just popped down to the post office in time to pick up the delivery of my Primal Blueprint Cookbook… I wonder what I will have for dinner tonight!? Yum cannot wait!

    Keep up the great work – I look forward to the new products.

    Cheers,

    Luke

    1. Hey Luke, when did you order your PB Cookbook. I am also in Australia so was just wanting an idea on how long it took for yours to arrive. I ordered mine on the 19th April but still have not received it. Thanks.

      1. Hi Angelina,

        I think I ordered my around then, maybe the day before… I guess it also depends on where you are in Oz… I’m only a few kms from the centre of Sydney…

        As I said only got it late Friday afternoon… I’m sure yours is on its way!

        I will be making a suggestion for the 2nd edition – metric measurements as well as US/imperial!!! I’m not that good a cook as it is, and trying to convert as your cooking is tiring for my brain! 😉

  93. Dear Mark,

    One more thing, just reading about the Primal Leap kit… You may already be planing this, but a version without the Cookbook for those that already have purchased the cookbook would be great!

    I’m just getting into this lifestyle, so wouldn’t mind purchasing the kit (as my own self guided 30 days has had a number of slip ups and lots of trial and error), but seeing I have just got the cookbook, don’t need another one.

    Cheers,

    Luke

  94. What are the best aliments you eat everyday?Like what stuff would you recommend eating everyday.I see myself having problems thinking what to eat.

  95. Hi Mark,

    I am curious to know more about mild kidney impairment, (due to damage from a medication not diabetes and no longer taking it). I know that high protein in normal healthy people does not cause kidney damage, and in people with severe kidney damage high protein diets are not recommended. What about if you’re in the middle? The nephrologists default to what they treat the most-severe kidney damage and don’t recommend a high amount of protein (ie. over 80 grams a day). Yet it seems I haven’t found much information looking into those with mild kidney impairment (creatinine levels of about 1.4-1.6). Is there any information you can share?

  96. Hey Mark,

    will there be a special offer when the cookbook is released.
    like TPB + Cookbook for a special price?

    I want to order TPB but i hesitate because maybe there willbe a special offer.

    with best regards

  97. I’ve been hearing a lot of the miracle properties of virgin expeller pressed coconut oil. And when I say “miracle” I mean it can cure HIV and herpes. I’m highly skeptical of such claims but I have found one study in pubmed.gov that describes the possible maturation inhibiting properties against one particular virus (vesicular stomatitis virus) due to increased dietary intake of lauric acid. I’m sure it would be foolish, if not downright dangerous, to extrapolate this finding to the entire host of human viruses but many websites purport exactly that and without a single third party reference. Is there anything you can tell me about these oft touted extravagant claims about the health benefits of coconut oil?

    1. Read “The Coconut Oil Miracle” by Bruce Fife, and search on YouTube for interviews with Bruce Fife. Lots of good information there!

      1. I will definitely read that book but I have a feeling its going to be pretty light on references. I don’t really want a book extolling the virtues of said miracle item. In fact, I’m highly skeptical of anything with the tag “miracle” (I suggest you apply that stance when shopping for health foods as well). From my experience “miracle” usually means I’m going to tell you about how this one thing cures any kind of ailment that you can think of and probably extend your life and turn you into a superhuman. I’m not going to tell you why I know this aside from “tests” I’ve done on my own without even attempting to publish in a peer reviewed journal. I have a feeling this will likely be the case for Bruce Fife, Doctor of Naturopathy. NDs are not universally accredited and most states have no regulations on the application of this title.

  98. Mark, I have a question. (In the mean time I’ll keep away from canned tuna lol) Ever since I read this article in Greatschools.com. Back in Feb. 1 of 5 “foods” to avoid. You on the other hand say its ok. (The PB book) Is this just for kids sake or adults too? Should little be consumed? If so how much? Or should it be avoided? I can simply get by w/out it due to salmon, & other fish that is wild caught & not canned. Here’s the info. Thank you 🙂

    http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/health-nutrition/slideshows/five-ubiquitous-foods-to avoid.gs?content=2067&page=4#slide

  99. Mark,

    Since the Primal Essential Kit will have an abriged audio of your book, do you plan on selling the audio separate?
    I listen more than I can read and would love to have this in my car.
    BTW: I do have the book!

    Thx

  100. Mark,

    What is your opinion on what would happen if the entire world went Primal overnight? I don’t believe there is enough food to sustain 6B+ people if you remove grains from the mix. Would the world be grossly overpopulated for a while? What would a sustainable population be? Your apocalyptic post got me thinking this way and I was curious if you had a take on it.

  101. Mark,
    I have a question regarding finding a doctor who embraces, supports, and engages in a primal lifestyle. In my experience, doctors try to solve every problem with prescription medication and conventional wisdom. Do you have, or could you create, a list of primal doctors? Thanks for all you do. It’s changed my life for the better.
    Andy

  102. I’m in stage three adrenal fatigue and wondering if you have any other tips on top of reducing over all stress as a treatment.

    Is crosfit not an exercise routine that is too much on the body?

    And I posted this in response to your blog about standing at work..”Hey all. I’m new to the lifestyle and the website. I clicked on this link in the hopes of finding ways to combat/cope with standing at work not embrace it! So here is mystory..I’m a CNA (certified nursing assistant) and student nurse. Both my current job and future career involve A LOT of standing and walking. At the end of the day, the soles and heels of my feel throb very badly. I can only imagine what they would feel like if I were to be doing this bare foot or in those five finger shoes which I have been considering purchasing. So if I am to belive I should embrace this near constant standing, how can I go about avoiding the pains that come along with it? Any tips? Thanks all.”

    Thanks Mark

  103. Forgive me if this has been covered already. (I searched and didn’t see a post about it) But I have read that when a person initially goes low-carb, after being on a high carb diet, they initially lose a lot of potassium. (I may be mistaken, but I think they said sodium gets out of balance too?) Once your body gets used to lower carbs, does this “balance out”?

    I think it would also be helpful if there were a definitive guide to minerals.

    Thanks for your time, this website and community are awesome!

  104. Hi, I have bought and read the Primal Blueprint and am eager to get started living primally. I noticed some quotes in the book from ‘The Paleo Diet’ by Loren Cordain. I found the book on amazon and read the sample chapters. There seems to be a significant difference in opinion on fats between PB and the paleo diet – and whilst I am aware that the PB is not a strict paleo diet, I wondered what Mark thinks about this? Loren Cordain seems to be suggesting that saturated fats in meat and dairy are bad for you and will raise cholesterol and should be eliminated or reduced. I haven’t read the whole book so don’t know how far it differs in suggested diet from PB, but wondered if anyone else has read it?

    1. Hi Rachel. I have bought and read Cordain’s book ‘The Paleo Diet’. I was not overly impressed by it. I also found the difference in opinion strange but I feel that Mark presents his evidence more convincingly and found Loren’s arguments to be lacking logical reasoning, and they did not appear to be backed by any substantial evidence (just my opinion). My own doctor told me that I should eat the fattiest cuts of meat. Not only because I need the fats for energy but also because he has seen plenty of evidence that those on low-fat diets have a higher risk of dementia in old age (he has done a lot of autopsies and has also noticed that those who have spent most of their lives on low-fat diets have shrunken brains). I trust my doctor because he is in his 60’s, follows an almost paleo diet, is incredibly fit, and looks as young as Mark. He is also one of very few doctors who actually does a great deal of research into how to stay healthy.

  105. Thanks Angelina! You sound like you’ve got a really good doctor! It’s interesting how Mark and Cordain differ so much on this subject isn’t it. Still, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the ‘before and after’ pictures on the forum, and Mark’s way does seem to be working for a lot of people! I thought i’d get a medical with blood tests etc. before I start the diet and another one a few months in to compare the results anyway. I’m trying to get my mum to read the book – she’s petrified of getting dementia even though there’s no evidence of it in my family. She also has an underactive thyroid and I would be interested to see if there’s any change in that from eating PB style.

    1. Hi Rachel

      Yes, I have a great doctor and I live in fear of him retiring because there appears to be no others like him.

      I also suffer from underactive thyroid and adrenal glands. It was how I found out about my doctor’s diet in the first place 🙂 It is a slow process for us types. You may not find that your energy levels will instantly or dramatically increase like many others who have started the paleo diet but after having been on it for 4 months my health is slowly improving for the first time in years. My doctor even told me to definitely get off the grains. I think what also helps is eating hormone and antibiotic free meat. The hormones that are fed to chickens and then to cows (who are fed ground up chickens) etc. are doing more harm to our own hormones. Not having the constant insulin peaks I think is the other thing that is helping me a great deal. There is also a lot of stories that coconut oil is meant to be great for improving thyroid function. So I also use plenty of coconut oil. Another person I recommend reading is Elaine Hollingsworth “Take Control of your Health”. Her material appears to also support a lot of what Mark states. It is a good book that points out a lot of the causes of underactive thyroid and adrenals and how to avoid them.

      You can find the book on this site. Not sure if it is available at Amazon in USA but it might be worth checking:

      http://www.doctorsaredangerous.com/book.htm

      1. Hi Mark

        This is the first time I have received a message that my post is awaiting moderation. Is this new, or does this happen if we add a link to the message?

        Angelina.

    2. Hi Rachel

      Just realized this comment might be a bit confusing. Where I have stated paleo diet, I actually mean the PB (Mark’s) diet.

      Yes, I have a great doctor and I live in fear of him retiring because there appears to be no others like him.

      I also suffer from underactive thyroid and adrenal glands. It was how I found out about my doctor’s diet in the first place 🙂 It is a slow process for us types. You may not find that your energy levels will instantly or dramatically increase like many others who have started the paleo diet (PB diet) but after having been on it for 4 months my health is slowly improving for the first time in years. My doctor even told me to definitely get off the grains. I think what also helps is eating hormone and antibiotic free meat. The hormones that are fed to chickens and then to cows (who are fed ground up chickens) etc. are doing more harm to our own hormones. Not having the constant insulin peaks I think is the other thing that is helping me a great deal. There is also a lot of stories that coconut oil is meant to be great for improving thyroid function. So I also use plenty of coconut oil. Another person I recommend reading is Elaine Hollingsworth “Take Control of your Health”. Her material appears to also support a lot of what Mark states. It is a good book that points out a lot of the causes of underactive thyroid and adrenals and how to avoid them.

  106. Mark,
    How about a comparative analysis between the Primal Essentials Kit and the Damage Control Master Formula e.g. ingredients, end-state of the formulas, etc. Thanks.

  107. Mark.. really excited to hear about your Primal Leap Kit!! Can’t wait to get it – feel like I need the extra help and guidance – I’ve already ordered the Cook book back on May 20th but it hasn’t arrived yet..Hope you’ll put out a Fitness program to follow for those of u who need the ‘how to ‘ everyday guide to follow. I find it helps me to have an actual program outline to follow.. :)!..
    Want to be a lean mean primal machine – without a ton of working out everyday ..
    Can we preorder ??

    thanks!!
    Mich

  108. Hi Mark,

    Wow, so many questions, so I will just second the ones I have a specific interest in.

    *Adrenal Fatigue
    *Systemic Yeast
    *Primal Diet While Pregnant or Nursing
    -I would specifically like to know what you think of the Weston Price Foundation’s recommendations while nursing. They are very similar to yours with the addition of enormous amounts of raw milk.

    Thanks!
    Emily

    1. Hi Mark

      I second that:

      *Adrenal fatigue and underactive thyroid.

      Thanks
      Angelina.

  109. I’m interested if you’ve come across any information on how Primal living affects two age related issues.

    First, presbyopia, which is our diminished ability to focus on near objects as we get older. I wonder if any of the studies of other populations, particularly those who eat very primally their whole lives (e.g. Eskimos, who live on essentially zero carbs, or at least did before “civilization” reached them…) have shown any difference in the age of onset or severity of presbyopia.

    The second age (and genetic) related issue I’m wondering about is varicose veins. Are they at all affected by carbohydrate/insulin cycle? Have any studies looked at the frequency or severity of varicose veins in populations with lower carbohydrate intake?

    I’m just wondering if you’ve come across anything addressing these issues as you’ve pulled together information for MDA.

    Thank you and keep up the great job you’re doing with MDA.

  110. Mark,

    I’ve been working towards a primal lifestyle for about a year and greatly appreciate your insight. Last June I was taking Nexium daily for acid reflux and was determined to ditch that crutch and take control of my health and quality of life.

    While I do have a small haital hernia in my esophagus (which can lead to some reflux) I do believe it was heavily affected by high-carb diet while I was training for my first marathon. I’ve since moved to weight training and low carb, primal diet but still struggle with maintaining a balanced level of acidity in my stomach to prevent the reflux and/or burning sensation.

    I read your article regarding possibly drinking TOO much water, causing diluted stomach acid that could lead to poor digestion. I was wondering if you had any other helpful thoughts on what veggies to choose to help lower the highly acidic protein choices throughout the day. I notice that on days when my stomach is empty, my energy levels and stomach are A-OK but first meal (chicken/beef and spinach/broccoli) leads to lethargy, acid indigestion etc etc.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

  111. Mark,
    For weight lifting purposes what is a good post workout meal. Most bodybuilders eat whey protein and a sugary drink (gatorade, grape juice, apple juice). This is the only time they will take in sugars. Is this okay or do you recommend something else for post work out. Thanks
    adam

  112. I’ve lost 22 pounds in about 6 weeks of eating Paleo. But, I still get stalled for days at a time…any tips or should I just be patient and let the stalls break by themselves?

  113. Not sure if this is even a paleo question and may be to late to be answered, but does anyone have any information on foods or any other paleo product or process that helps with not being bitten by bugs. I have always felt I was targeted more than the people around me and have recently heard that studies have shown it is because of our smell. It is my belief that what we eat is a large factor into our smell. In the words of my beloved Beatles ” Help!”

  114. This is an interesting question Seamus. In the Northern Territory in Australia people used to take the old smelly vitamin B tablets for years to avoid getting bitten by mosquitos and sand flies. Apparently they do not like the smell. Unfortunately, most vitamin B tablets on the market today do not have the strong odour they used to have. Most people found it offensive so they starting selling tablets that did not make the skin smell. I am wondering if there is some kind of link here as to why some people get bitten more than others. I am also one of the ones that seem to get bitten while others around me do not.

  115. Mark
    A question for you concerning hiking and backpacking. Other than jerky of different types what can I pack inorder to eat primally on a trip? I find most backpacking food (store bought) are pasta/rice/oatmeal based which limits me for what I can take. Other than foraging and hunting during my trip, which may not line up with the hunting season and is not very efficent for the amount of food I need to consume I’d still like to stay primal. Can you help me out?

    1. I would think that a good trailmix would be good…mixture of nuts/dried berries/chocolate perhaps?
      I like to pack hardboiled eggs…if you can keep ’em cool?
      Can’t think of anything else right now…

      1. Thanks Cindy
        I’ve got the trail mix covered, GORP yummmm but light on the peanuts. I am looking more for meal time food. I like the hard boiled egg idea especially in the colder months.

    2. Nate, do you have a food dehydrator? You can make all your own trail food! This site (& more) has a recipe for pemmican – the *original* trail food. search the ‘net for recipes. There are also books on the subject.
      I have made various dried fruits with my dehydrator & they will keep for years! This past weekend I made training treats for my dog (goat liver jerky). You can dry entrees, vegetables, practically anything! A dehydrator is a must for any household. The money you will save is worth the investment, which is less than $100…

      1. Thanks Peggy. That sounds like a good idea. I’ll have to check them out.

  116. Dear Mark,
    I’m not sure if you can still ask your questions in this post, but I’ll give it s shot.
    I’m really interested in viewing your opinion in women’s cellulites. Do you think it’s something perfectly natural that’s supposed to be there, since almost all women have got them, or are they a sign indicating some sort of unbalance in the body?
    I am and have always been lean, I’m fairly young, I’ve been exercising quite a lot almost my entire life, and I’ve been eating a low-carb diet for two years now. Still I’ve had these cellulites on the back of my thighs way back since my mid-teens (or at least that’s when I first noticed them), and they seem to be there, unchanged, regardless of exercise level, diet or other external factors. If cellulites aren’t supposed to be there, what can you do to get rid of them? Or, if they are supposed to be there, what is the purpose and cause of this uneven fat tissue?
    Thanks for a great site, I read it every day and get tons of important information. Keep up the good work!
    Anna

  117. Dear Mark,
    I’m wondering if it really makes a difference what time of day you work out. I am NOT a morning person and I always (regardless of how much sleep) get up with just enough time to get ready and get to work. I’m most definitely a night person. In fact, due to having so much going on in my life, I usually end up working out around 11pm-midnight. And I’m just wondering if I’m missing out on something metabolically by doing it so late.
    Thanks!
    Erica

  118. Dear Mark…. I would love to have an insight into the world of allergies. How are allergies created. What can be done to reduce allergy symptoms. I do believe that this is possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  119. no doubt you are in great shape but lets look at the china study, do you not think you are digging your grave? Im asking as a nutrition student but with an open mind. Those not familiar with the china study-showed a very strong link between animal protein and animal fat consumption with the big killers, Cancer and CHD.

  120. nevermind, isee you covered it and linked to others that covered it, i’ll be honest, im still leaning towards colin campbell’s view, still not finished reading…think i could be reading this for years

  121. I began the diet at 260lbs and I am now at 245. The diet goes on and off between this point and 241 for one embarrassing reason. Every time I get cranking to go lower I start suffering from diarrhea symptoms. Not sure what brings it on if it’s the cheese (I do eat a lot of it) or things like spinach and olives, green peas which I tend to add to the plates. Hope you can help me since I have been on the verge of going through medical tests thinking there was something wrong. It does not happen when I am eating carbs in regular quantities.