Dear Mark: Budgeting, Calcium, Supplements, High Cholesterol, and Chinup Replacements

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering five questions, all coming from a single reader email. First, Rosa asks about buying high-quality produce and grass-fed meat for her family on a budget. Can it be done? If not, what should she do? Second, she wonders whether she’ll get enough calcium eating this way. It’s a valid concern, seeing as how basic Primal eating often eliminates dairy. I try to assuage her. Third, if the Primal Blueprint is such a healthy, nutrient-replete lifestyle, why do I sell supplements? How does one reconcile the two seemingly contradictory concepts? Fourth, should Rosa be worrying about eating a high-fat diet if she’s taking meds for high cholesterol? And fifth, what are some effective replacements for chinups and pullups that can be done at home sans equipment?

Let’s go:


I’ve been reading The Primal Blueprint and am very interested but I have a few questions :

– I have a family and am on a budget which makes it hard for me to purchase organic foods and grass-fed meats. What do you recommend I do to get the same benefits? I can buy lean meat at regular grocery stores but it’s not organic nor grass-fed.

– What about calcium? Will I be getting enough calcium?

– I notice you sell supplements. If we follow the program, I thought we are getting all the vitamins and minerals we need. Who would be needing these supplements and how do we know if we need them?

– I have high cholesterol and am taking medication. I’m so afraid to eat more fats as suggested in the Blueprint. And if I end up eating some carbs or cheating one day, won’t this fat end up being bad for me? How do I overcome this fear?

– In the fitness program, I don’t have anything around the home to do chin ups, what do I do?

Thank you in advance for replying. I appreciate it!

Thank you,


Thanks for the questions, Rosa. Let me address each in turn.


  • Hunt around for sales and stock up whenever something good (organic/grass-fed) reaches a price that works for you. Store in the freezer. Wrap tightly in freezer-safe ziploc bags, making sure to suck out all the air to prevent, or at least limit, freezer burn.
  • Keep your eyes out for Australian or New Zealand lamb (the former is usually pastured if not entirely grass-fed and the latter is almost always grass-fed). Uruguyan, New Zealand, and Australian beef are also widely available and usually grass-fed.
  • If you’ve got any friends or family interested, combine your funds to purchase an entire cow, or half or a quarter of one, from a local farm. This is also called cowpooling, so keep your eyes peeled for that term. You can check for local ranches that offer bulk purchases. I’ve also seen bulk purchasing listed on Craigslist.
  • Check out farmer’s markets in your area. Even the “non-organic” produce is often organically grown, just without the certification; don’t be afraid to ask the people manning the stands.
  • Frozen produce is an excellent and often affordable way to obtain high-quality (frozen right after picking to limit degradation of nutrients) organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Join a big box store like Costco, which often has great deals on organics and grass-fed meat.
  • Lately, I’m of the opinion that quality trumps quantity. Stick to smaller amounts of high-quality meat rather than loading up on cheap, CAFO-raised meat.
  • Plan ahead. Plan your meals for the week. Plan your shopping trips so you can make an extra stop or two for really good deals. Eliminate the random spontaneous stuff you pick up because you walked into the grocery store without much of a plan in mind.


Calcium can be a blind spot when eating Primal. Many people give up dairy when they assume a Primal way of life, thus eliminating the most reliable source of calcium in the average Western diet. But dairy’s not the only place to get calcium.

  • Green vegetables are excellent sources of calcium. Spinach, collards, and bok choy are probably the best.
  • Small, bone-in, oily fish. A can of bone-in sardines provides about 300 mg (plus tons of other vital nutrients).
  • Although I haven’t seen definitive evidence, it seems likely that simmering bones until they crumble would produce calcium-rich bone broth.
  • There’s also blackstrap molasses, one of the underrated Primal foods I highlighted a couple weeks back. A single tablespoon has around 200 mg of calcium.
  • And finally, there’s mineral water. I find myself beating this drum a lot, but for good reason: high-mineral content water is a great way to obtain trace minerals, including calcium.

Also, you don’t have to stop eating dairy. In fact, full-fat dairy appears to have many health benefits, assuming you can tolerate it. Now, if dairy gives you acne, destroys your toilet bowl (or makes it a barren wasteland), and clogs your sinuses, don’t eat it. If you’re intolerant of the proteins, if even a single half gram of lactose gives bad gas, don’t eat it. But don’t ditch dairy because you heard it was unhealthy somewhere. It’s a great source of calcium and other nutrients, and even if you weren’t born with lactase persistence, you can train your gut biome to digest lactose.

By all accounts, full-fat dairy is a helpful addition to the average Primal way of eating. Yogurt, kefir, good cheese — these are healthy foods. There’s no reason to avoid it if you don’t have to.


Not everyone needs supplements. But they sure can help many if not most people, and for some they’re crucial.

My supplements are designed to address the deficits common to modern diets and lifestyles. Vitamin D for the lack of sun exposure. Fish oil for inadequate long chain omega-3 intake. Primal Calm for a natural way to combat the damaging effects of chronic stress. Primal Flora for a healthy dose of beneficial bacteria that’s sorely lacking from the modern, clean, sanitized existence. And even my Damage Control Master Formula is meant to counter the oxidative stress and inflammation endemic to modern living. I take that one sporadically, as needed, to deal with particularly stressful times. Being a massive broad-spectrum antioxidant/phytonutrient blend, it’s actually more of a hormetic stressor designed to up-regulate our endogenous defense systems than a daily supplement. As far as vitamin and mineral supplements, fruits and vegetables grown today are generally less nutritious than produce grown in previous decades; supplementation can make up for the missing nutrients.

Also, people are imperfect. Though we often intend to make the right dietary choices and maintain pristine Primal lifestyles, we all slip up. We forget about the leafy greens in the fridge, and they get slimy. We skimp on the veggies. We don’t always eat as many brightly-colored phytonutrient-rich fruits and vegetables as we know we should. We go entire weeks without seeing the sun at midday, or eating fish, or consuming fermented food. And when those things happen, as they inevitably will in most people’s busy lives, having high-quality supplements on hand can really help.

Heck, I make these things to address problems in my own life. I don’t take anything every day, or even most days, but I’m glad to have something whose quality I can trust (because, well, I made it) for those days I do need the extra help. You might not, which is totally fine, but I know that many of you reading have had great experiences with them, as told in many of the success stories and elsewhere.

Fat and cholesterol

The vast majority of clinical trials comparing high-fat, low-carb diets to low-fat, high-carb diets find that the former improve cholesterol. Let’s look at two recent ones.

A 2013 study placed obese subjects on one of two diets for 12 weeks: a high-fat, low carb diet (33.5/56/9.6 P/F/C) or a low-fat, high-carb diet (22/25/55.7). Blood lipids, body composition, body weight, and inflammatory markers were all tracked. Subjects eating high-fat experienced greater improvements to blood lipids (lower triglycerides and increased HDL) and inflammatory markers (lower CRP and higher adiponectin). Body weight and body comp changes were similar across both groups, indicating that the higher-fat, lower-carb, higher-protein content of the high-fat diet was uniquely beneficial to inflammation and lipids.

And just the other day, a study was published showing that high-fat meals (whether the fat comes from cheese or meat) are less atherogenic than high-carb meals in overweight, postmenopausal women. They produce higher HDL and Apo-A1, both markers of improved resistance to atherogenesis. Both high-fat meals were high in saturated fat.

Couple those examples with the various observational studies showing a lack of association between fat intake (especially saturated fat) and cardiovascular disease:

  • A 2011 study found that “reducing the intake of CHO with high glycemic index is more effective in the prevention of CVD than reducing SAFA intake per se.”
  • From a 2010 study out of Japan, saturated fat intake “was inversely associated with mortality from total stroke.”
  • A 2010 meta-analysis found “that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.”

Ultimately, you’ll just have to see what happens. Keep your doc in the loop, continue taking your meds and check your blood lipids after a month or two on the new diet. Just keep in mind what the latest science is saying on the subject.

As for cheat days, many people discover they actually improve the effects of going Primal. The once-weekly foray into gluttony can boost leptin (which increases energy expenditure and makes fat-burning easier), satisfy cravings, and refill empty glycogen stores — all good things for your overall metabolic health.


Ah, yes, chinups and pullups are tough to do around the house.

First, look again for anything overhead that can support your weight. A ledge? A random pipe? A tree branch?

The best replacement for a pullup or chinup is probably a row. If you’ve got a sturdy table, you can do inverted bodyweight rows underneath it by grabbing on to the edge. Keeping your feet on the ground during the row will make it easier. Placing your feet on a chair will make them harder. Most people, particularly untrained ones, can get a great upper body pulling workout using bodyweight rows on a standard kitchen table. Here’s a nice video and article from Nerd Fitness showing the inverted table bodyweight row.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading and, as always, help out down below with any addition input you have to offer.

About the Author

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

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62 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Budgeting, Calcium, Supplements, High Cholesterol, and Chinup Replacements”

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  1. Great budgeting tips! I always cringe when people use money as a reason why they don’t/can’t eat healthy. I was a stereotypical poor graduate student spending no more than $40 a week on groceries and I always ate well. I side-eyed my fellow students who lamented about their inability to afford healthy meals when they’d spend $6 on a fast food lunch or a few bucks on vending machine sodas/candy.

    1. Agree with budgeting tips, but want to add an important point. Keep track of how much food is thrown away in your household – spoiled, not eaten, etc.. We plan our meals to minimize waste. This allows us to spend more for better quality products, like grass-fed beef, and stay within the same food budget.

      1. Very important point re food wastage. Once I started Paleo and cleaned out my pantry and fridge I realised how much fresh veg and fruit went into the bin at the end of the week. I’d bought lots of fresh stuff with all good intentions to cook and eat but ended up cooking a quick pasta dish or something with loads of mashed potatoes or if I was really tired, a couple of sandwiches.
        Also store bought cheesecake (a favourite), ice cream and apple/apricot pies.
        Too bad so sad about the fresh veggies and out they went.
        These days the junk food is gone and I usually plan my meals for fresh meat and vegetables. I buy in season local produce and scour the Paleo/primal sites for recipes for vegetables when in season and abundant.
        I’m in Australia and luckily there are lots of outlets and availability of grass fed meats, real free range chooks and eggs although I do wonder about the fresh fish sometimes. Tassie salmon is great but mostly farmed these days I think. If I’m wrong on that point can any Aussie Paleo let me know.
        Food wastage is now very minimal and saves me money so I can splurge on the occasional fillet steak (grass fed of course but not cheap).

        1. Hi Pauline
          All Tasmanian salmon is farmed. Canned salmon is generally wild in Australia, imported from USA/Canada. Canned sardines are a good option as are local farmed shellfish and locally caught wild fish.

      2. Yes, great point! Food waste is ridiculously high for most people. I’ve discovered that I can honestly live off of mostly eating friends’ and family’s (and sometimes strangers’ ????) leftover food!
        I am surprised mark didn’t mention the number one budget promoter I practice: hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering!
        So quick and easy to set a trap and you get free rabbit!

  2. As far as breakfast goes, my daughter never seems to tire of super cheap sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs. It’s primal, provides protein and fat and she can go all morning no problem without getting hungry. We also noticed that Wal-mart is now selling some of the brands that I use such as better body coconut oil for cooking, a certain brand of butter is .50 cents cheaper than at Whole Foods. Another thing I think people focus on is making primal treats that use a lot of specialty flours that are expensive. Not that this is bad, but the focus should be on quality meats, fats, and veggies, than on making treats. And if you really gotta have one, you’d be better off just buying a pre made mix once a week than investing in a bunch of specialty baking stuff. Just my two cents, hope it helps.

    1. Another option for a primal treat/snack is homemade trail mix. I like to throw in pistachios, almonds, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate. It’s pretty high calorie but healthy. Just gotta monitor the serving sizes.

      1. Pistachios are expensive. I think she’s be better off just concentrating on filling well rounded meals. Snacks could be an apple and almond butter ( which can be much more cost effective). I think also concentratingon the 80/20 rule will help get the most band for her food buck.

    2. Hey, that’s my breakfast too. Four eggs sunny side up, a small sweet potato heated up in the microwave with a couple teaspoons of coconut oil and a shot of cinnamon (like having pumpkin pie everyday!) Plus a handful of pistachios. Finish it off with two teaspoons of fish oil and a cup of green tea.

      I too never tire of it.

  3. My new breakfast is 1/2 a can of fish, 1 avocado, mashed up with mustard of some type…but 1st you have to love fish….my new goal is to eat one can of salmon or mackerel per day….

    1. I often eat a can of sardines as a late breakfast or light lunch, usually with a salad. I happen to like them, and I think eating the whole fish is better than loading up on bottled fish oil capsules that are of questionable origin. But, as you say, you have to love fish. Many people don’t.

  4. Soups and stews are a great way to extend the primal dollar. Use tougher cuts of meat like lamb shanks and the whole bird. Can a big batch in mason jars and have meals for days. On that note, lower the pH in bone broth by adding cider vinegar or citrus juice. The acid will draw the bone minerals(calcium)into the solution.

  5. I eat fish every day for lunch and almost every time it’s my turn to cook dinner I make fish. I get the bone-in salmon in the can for lunches and I cook a variety of fishes and sea foods for dinner. I find that fish is easier to come by than grass-fed meat and usually doesn’t cost $25 a pound. When I do buy grass-fed beef I get liver at the farmer’s market. It’s only $3 a pound, but I have to be quick because people snatch it up quick.

  6. We just bought all 19 packages of grass-fed ground beef on sale at our local Sprouts. Just 9 for us, 10 for my sister-in-law. It was $5.99 lb.

    We also recently bought a stand alone freezer to buy a quarter to half a cow. Once sealed from the butcher it comes to around $6 to $8 a lb. But this includes steaks and roasts.

    Regarding Costco. I have not found ANY grass fed beef there. Might be where I live. But I do buy lamb there.

    However a few things they absolutely excel in. Wonderful organic frozen berries. Hands down great prices. A great deal on organic lettuce.

    Unbelievable price on organic guacamole. Even though avo not considered a must for organic, I think everything is getting glyphosate on it now not organic.

    One of my favorites. A lb of wild Alaska salmon that is old school. It has brown sugar, salt, and is smoked. I can get away with 2 ounces per lunch. That gives me 8 lunches for $16. Now I eat other things.

    Old school Native American technique salmon from Alaska: awesome.

    Just be wary. There is Norwegian farmed salmon in a package that looks just the same right next to it.

    1. Good points, Larry. We frequently shop at both Costco and Sprouts, as well as Natural Grocers, occasionally Whole Foods, and even the local supermarket. I think one-stop shopping is a thing of the past if you want to get the best quality for your money. With Costco, you do have to read labels and know what you’re getting since they aim to please everybody, not just the health conscious shoppers.

  7. Regarding chinups and pullups. BUY A BAR.

    They are around $20. You cannot fully close a door when put up. But guess what? It literally takes 5 seconds to get down and 10 to 30 seconds for me to put it up.

    The path of least resistance is to get a bar. Anything else is likely to be much worse AND MUCH MORE hassle.

    1. Rings are good too. You can hang them in a garage or basement and adjust them up higher as you get stronger.

    2. Yep, I also have a chin-up/pull-up bar in one of my doorways, and it works great. I use it every morning. Cost was less than 20 bucks. Best investment I ever made.

  8. An anecdote to supplement Mark’s point about cholesterol and high fat, low carb diets:

    I’ve had very high cholesterol since childhood. My mother has it too — it’s clearly genetic. For that reason, I defaulted to the no eggs, no butter, very little red meat, nonfat dairy, high fiber, oatmeal every morning diet. For years. And my cholesterol always hovered at the same, high point. Finally, when my doctor suggested for the 8 millionth time that I “eat oatmeal for breakfast” (been there, tried that) and said we should start thinking about medication, I did some research and found more or less what Mark reported above. And since nothing else had worked and since I was leery about going on meds, I decided to make the switch.

    I now eat butter, eggs, all the red meat my heart could desire, full fat dairy, and I skip the oats. (I do still get enough fiber from fruit, veg, and seeds.) After six months of eating this way, I got my cholesterol tested again. Not only had it dropped from the dangerous levels to close-to-normal, but my ratio of HDL (“good”) cholesterol to LDL (“bad” cholesterol) was now registering at optimal: high HDL, relatively low LDL. Plus my triglycerides plummeted. Doing that eliminated the need for medication and stopped the suggestions to eat oats and cut the eggs.

      1. Oh, I wish. No, she was all, “Huh, that’s so interesting. You might want to start cutting back on the saturated fats now. They’re not good for your cholesterol.” ????? Now I’m on the hunt for a new doctor who doesn’t necessarily have to be a Primal enthusiast but who should be able to do some basic reasoning.

        1. Brilliant, that had me chuckling!

          Where did basic reasoning go eh… claps hands across eyes!

          Very similar story with my daughter who after 8 months or so has cured ‘incurable’ rheumatoid arthritis and PCOS (and lost 3 stone in weight)… does her GP want to know how…

          Oh I wish too

        2. Same case with my doctor, but I don’t mind. She is a very compassionate person, always available on short notice. So I just say “ok” and continue my happy ways.

        3. Yes, ditch the doctor. Two years ago my numbers were:
          Total Cholesterol 181, HDL 94, LDL 77 and TG 52

          Then I experimented to see how high I could get my HDL and how low my triglycerides.

          Now my results are:
          Total Cholesterol 235, HDL 110, LDL 116, and TG 46

          My doctor said “your HDL or good cholesterol makes this a good profile”.

          I have a doctor who “gets it”.

      2. I had the same experience. Years of eating the doctor recommended ‘heart healthy whole grains’, low fat and low meat. Hypertension, diabetes and weight gain. Went to a paleo-like diet, lost 90lbs, lowered my ldl to the floor, lost the high BP and blood sugar.

        Doctor was sure I was bamboozling him. So I got another doctor.

    1. Just out of interest – did you start/change your exercise patterns also when you went primal – a lot of people under estimate the power of certain types of exercise like Sprints and weight training to reduce cholesterol (Although other types of “chronic cardio” can raise bad cholesterol increases as a result – I can only vouch for this personally when I ditched the distance running and instead did HIT and Body Weight training instead).

    2. I wish high fat low carb worked that way for me. My LDL cholesterol is higher than ever, and it was at “genetic problem” levels to start with. I’ve been wondering if I hyper-respond to coconut fat, or possibly to the limited amount of egg yolks that I eat.

    3. wow! well done venessa! great to hear 🙂 my HDL was way too low too and LDL increased too when having a low fat high carbs diet …

    4. You may not read this with it being a couple of years later ! How many carbs do you eat ? I have high triglycerides , low HDL ( which happens with high trigs) high LDL…I am wondering if high fat will be okay for me

  9. I’ve had all these questions at one point or another myself, besides the chinup one 😉 Very helpful!

  10. I make soup, not bone broth. The times I’ve tried making bone broth, I couldn’t stand the smell in the house from cooking it for many hours on end. As far as cooking it until the bones crumble, and then needing to sieve them out, I find that idea mildly disgusting. To compound the matter, bone broth has little flavor of its own, particularly when previously-cooked carcasses are used.

    This is just my own aversion. I’m sure bone broth is quite healthful and I don’t mean to discourage those those who like it. It’s just never going to be a staple in my house.

    Homemade soup, on the other hand, is full of both meat and bones, as well as plentiful veggies of all kinds–but not vinegar. When cooked for a mere 3 to 4 hours it produces a lovely flavorful broth that perfumes the entire house, versus making people say “God, what is that awful smell?”

    When you get right down to it, good homemade meat and vegetable soup is probably quite comparable to bone broth as far as nutrients go. The problem is, when people think of soup these days, they think of a can of Campbells, which contains few if any nutrients and bears no resemblance to real homemade soup.

    1. I’m with you. I make the bone broth outside with a little water and a pressure cooker. It comes out like a gel when refrigerated. I heat up about two tablespoons and mix it with my dog’s dry kibble. He goes nuts for it and I don’t feel like I’m wasting the reason why canines and humans have lived together for thousands of years.

      1. My theory is that dogs can’t slap each other in a firm manner on the side and then rub them vigorously. Thats what they need humans for

      2. Good soup jells when refrigerated too. It doesn’t need to be cooked for several days in order to do that. When I warm up refrigerated soup, I have to dig it out with a spoon. It seems few people make soup from scratch any more, which is a pity since it’s so easy to do.

        1. I agree! The collagen sets up and holds all the flavor.

    2. I buy bone broth in those little boxes that they sell at Sprouts. It’s made from turkey bones. It doesn’t have much taste, but I add salt, pepper, cayenne and turmeric and it taste fine. I do it maybe twice a week, and just a cup or two’s worth, kind of like a tonic.

    3. I couldn’t stand the smell or taste of beef bone broth after cooking my first batch for 24 hours in the slow cooker.
      Now I buy fresh chicken pieces and simmer them on a low heat with vegetables for about 4-5 hours. When done I refrigerate overnight and the next day it’s a solid jelly. I’ve also used a roasted chicken carcass and veg with the same results.
      I’ve got some roasted lamb bones in the freezer and I’ll give that a go for broth when my current lot of chicken is finished.

  11. Quotes from the USDA’s “Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee”*:

    “Cholesterol. Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day. The 2015 DGAC will not bring forward this recommendation because available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol, consistent with the conclusions of the AHA/ACC report.”

    “Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”


    1. Would love to read the article, Adam, but the link does not work! Any other link?

    2. The really humorous part of all of this is that the original “lipid theory” study that claimed that fat is bad for us also noted that there was no connection whatsoever between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol. We sure locked onto the part that was wrong, while ignoring the part that was right.

  12. Based on info from several sources, red meat (beef) imported from Australia isn’t grass fed. In other words, they keep it to themselves, and ship out grass finished only. But still – it’s far better the CAFO.

    Your best advise is to stock up when on sale at open markets etc.

  13. The Iron Gym is an inexpensive chin-up/pull-up bar that is easily removed from a door frame – no permanent mounting at all. Takes 2 seconds to install or remove.

    1. I’ve been using the Iron Gym pullup bar for years and it’s fantastic…still going strong. The side grip is a lot easier on the shoulders.

  14. Chin-up replacements: I love towel rows! I swing a towel around the end of the banister by the stairs, bend my knees, then row dawg! ….Row, row, row your towel, gently by the stairs….merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily…nothing else compares!

  15. Some farmer’s markets might have reasonable prices, but I’ve found some farmer’s market prices more expensive than Whole Foods. Farmer’s markets, at least in my area, are definitely not always budget-friendly.

    Buying grass fed meat in bulk when it’s on sale is a great idea, but some people who live paycheck to paycheck don’t have the funds to buy in bulk.

    I know a couple of people who are disabled (on disability) and want to do Paleo but cannot afford to buy grass fed or organic. They do the best they can, but they’ll never be able to follow the usual suggestions on how to eat Primal/Paleo on a budget.

  16. Every day on my walk I go to this one tree that has a limb that I can reach. The limb is sort of springy, so I can pull it down. I pull it down and count to three while I’m holding it down. I do this eight times. I try to get as much weight off my feet as possible. This seems like a pretty good substitute for a chinup or pull up.

  17. Great article Mark. Couldn’t agree more about the budgeting tips and supplements use. With a little bit of effort it doesn’t cost much more to eat healthy balanced meals.

    The topic of supplement use just came up the other day with a few of my Crossfittng colleagues. They were shocked to find out that I don’t take a pre/intra/post protein shake or whatever the hell these muscle mags want you to believe and buy. I belong to the camp that believe that high quality supplements are useful to help SUPPLEMENT your diet occasionally, when our busy lives get in the way. They shouldn’t be a staple!!! A quick protein shake made with high quality ingrediates in the morning sure beats the McDonalds drive thru breakfast menu.

    1. Goes bad to age old rule of “common sense” – don’t eat anything in excess, eat from as many different sources you can find.

    2. Beef liver is a superfood. Kale is not. How come the books on superfoods *never* list beef liver?

  18. Calcium – I still eat full fat dairy, cheese and whey powder, I didn’t read anywhere that that wasn’t primal (it may not be Palio, but then, those guys are over the top).

    Chinup – go to the park and find a play gym, or if your lucky, you might even have dedicated chin up bars – and you get your vitamin D and “mindfulness” connection with nature at the same time, check out what these guys can do with a simple “park”, or even build one in your backyard:

    There is now scientific evidence that people training outside in nature, as opposed to a gym, develop structurally different wiring in their brain – mainly related to the ability to control stress, and thus, inflammation and a malody of other health benefits.

    This is where the Primal Blueprint beats other “diets”, they seem to lack any guidance on outdoor activity and exercise, which if you don’t have this, no diet will save you. They say you can’t out train a bad diet, well, the reverse is also true, you cant out diet bad “training”.

  19. This Australian farmer grows and eats his own lamb/hogget/mutton. It is always pastured and grain is only used as a supplement when the nutritional value of grass is low due to lack of sunlight in winter, or excessive bleaching in late summer.
    This is grain that is grown in the same paddocks that the livestock graze and which is introduced to their diet carefully so that the rumen and gut flora have time to adjust. Too quick a change in diet can kill ruminants.

    One tip. If you are buying a roasting piece, let the juices after cooking cool and retain the congealed fat for frying. It’s the same “dripping” that your great-grandmother used for most of her cooking, and you know how it has been treated.

    The same goes for beef, especially those going shares in a steer or cow. Most people treat the trimmed fat as garbage to the thrown out with the offal. Carefully roasted, the melted fat -especially from around the kidneys – can produce very clean dripping.


  20. Insurance nerd here- for the love of all that’s hilly, DO NOT follow the advice to use a random pipe to attempt pull ups. Water damage is a terrible thing, even if you can sprint like Mark to the shutoff.

  21. Chinups – Get a suspension trainer! It’s most commonly called a TRX, and brand-name ones are expensive, but there are less-expensive ones available on Amazon for about $30.

    If you set it high enough, you can do chinups. If you set it lower, you can do inverted rows at the angle that’s most challenging for you.

    It can hang from inside a closed door or off a pullup bar, tree limb, or any other place sturdy enough to support your bodyweight.

  22. Great ideas! I’d add for budget-friendly meats to consider the less expensive cuts or parts of the animal. Organ meat is not only great for you, but cheaper than other parts. Even Trader Joe’s has some grass-fed meat. I doubt it’s 100%, but it’s a step in the right direction. As for veggies, garden! If someone doesn’t have space most communities have garden spaces you can use. Finally, organics from TJ’s are far less expensive than at Whole Foods.

  23. Bone broth is actually not very high in calcium or other minerals. When researching their book on bone broth, Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla Daniel had the calcium content of bone broth analyzed and found that the amount of calcium in finished broth is basically negligible — even if the bones are cooked until they’re falling apart. ( Link to Daniel’s blog post on the subject: ) The primary nutritional benefit from bone broth comes from the amino acids it contains rather than the vitamins or minerals it has.

    1. Matthew Dalby also has an excellent post ( ) summarizing some older research on the mineral content of bone broth. The upshot of those studies? Broth is not a good sources of dietary minerals.

      On a practical/cooking related note, adding vinegar to bone broth does not appreciably increase mineral extraction when making broth. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since adding a couple tablespoons of a 5-10% acetic acid solution to a liter or more of water (like when you make stock) won’t shift the pH of the overall solution very much. It does run the risk of making your stock taste bad, though. Add your acid (a splash of sherry vinegar or a bit of citrus juice) at the end of making a fully cooked soup or stew rather than including it at the beginning of the broth-making process. It will be easier to control the flavor of the food and it will brighten everything up when added at the last minute.

  24. Hi Mark. According to the USDA nutrient database, molasses has 200 mg of calcium per 100 g, not per tablespoon. A tablespoon would have around 30 mg of calcium.

  25. We’re on a budget and we usually check the grocery store circulars on Wednesday for sale items. We bought a small chest freezer, and when chicken and beef are on sale, we load up. Last week, Sprouts had grass fed ground beef for $3.99 a pound. We eat a lot of GF ground beef, organic chicken when it goes on sale, and canned fish. Also, we eat a lot of pastured eggs, both for breakfast and also to supplement our lunch/dinner proteins – hard boiled. We also do a lot of soups/stews in our Instant Pot. If you’re not very low carb, starchy veggies are very filling. Hope this helps.

  26. Been on Keto since 2015
    I just got my blood test today: (I fasted) it reads: March 2017 Cholesterol: 284 (ref range: none) HDL: 47 (ref range: >40 mg/dL) LDL, Calc: 208 (ref range: <100 mg/dL) Triglycerides: 112 (ref range: <150 mg/dL) Testosterone1109, (ref range: <193-740 mg/dL) Glucose (fasting): 94 (ref range: 65-99 mg/dL) The rest is normal… should I be worried about my liver? or how my cholesterol and glucose have increased a lot in the last months? December 2016 Total cholesterol: 258 HDL: 51 LDL: 182 Triglycerides: 98 Glucose 72 (fasting) Testosterone 766