Dear Mark: Eating Meat

Folks can’t help but vilify meat. I mean, it has large amounts of animal fat, especially saturated fat. It requires the death of cute, fuzzy animals. It tastes good, almost offensively so. It’s “immodest” and “indulgent.” Oh, and even the good stuff – pasture-raised meat – displaces the local corn and soy populations and comes from animals that have the audacity to fart (enough, apparently, to bring about a global climate catastrophe). At least it gives people a nice opportunity to be smugly satisfied with themselves while displaying modest levels of indignation. Plus, it gives them a chance to talk about that Jonathan Safran Foer book. That’s always a good move at parties.

We Primal and paleo people, conversely, find meat to be an absolute delight, and most of us eat a decent amount of it. But questions do arise, as they will with any divisive subject:

Hi Mark

I’m having an intense histamine release – starting last night. Runny nose, sneezing, runny eyes… the whole shebang. I’ve never had hay fever, but that’s exactly what this looks like. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on protein and histamine?

In the last 5 days I’ve averaged 50-70 grams of grain-free carbs, lots of good fats, and, in order, 172 g, 140 g, 130 g, 113 g and 67 g of protein. (It took me a while to calculate the right number for me…)

What do you think could be happening? Have you had other people with this experience?

Thanks so much


Oftentimes when people shift toward a lower-carb diet and stop fearing animal fat, they avail themselves of formerly forbidden foods. Cured meats like salami, proscuitto, hot dogs, sausages, and bacon, along with artisan aged cheeses are admittedly delicious and easy to prepare, especially for someone who isn’t used to cooking regularly. They eat handfuls of walnuts and sunflower seeds, and stock up on smoked, canned seafood like tuna, sardines, herring, and salmon. They’ll start introducing new vegetables, or perhaps more of the old ones, like tomatoes, avocados, spinach, and eggplant. Some of these foods are more questionable than others, but a case could be made for each in a Primal eating plan. Each of those foods also has the potential to trigger histamine release symptoms in those who are histamine intolerant.

If you’ve been getting the bulk of your protein from processed/cured meat, canned or smoked fish, or cheeses, or if you’ve recently started eating more of the other foods I listed, you may be histamine intolerant which would explain your hay fever symptoms. For an idea of which foods to avoid, consult this list of high-histamine foods. Do some food eliminating and let me know if my suspicions are correct. I doubt protein is the problem.

I was under the impression that the paleo diet was pro-fatty meats? Here’s what I then thought about: Are the regimens that call for only eating lean meat referring to grain-fed meats, while those that condone fatty meats are referring to grass-fed meats?

So, in practice, if you can’t get grass-fed meat, choose a lean meat, but if you can get grass-fed, then choose a fatty one?

Thanks Mark and I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


You’ve pretty much got it right. Most people who recommend “lean meat” are assuming that you only have access to conventionally-farmed, grain-fed meat. I recall Robb Wolf mentioning that he recommends lean meat specifically for this reason, though things may have changed. I’ve said as much as well, with some qualifications. I still advise against going wild with fatty grain-fed meat, even though the commonly cited omega-6 issue is overstated, at least in red meat. Sure, grain-fed meat sports an unfavorable omega-6:omega-3 ratio (which I’ve mentioned before) but the absolute amounts are fairly inconsequential.

Where grass-fed fat shines and grain-fed fat fails is in the anti-carcinogenic conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content, which is far higher in grass-fed meat and fat. And that’s just what we know about with a degree of certainty. I’m willing to bet there’s a lot more to grass-fed animal fat than just the omega-3 and CLA. When it comes to whole foods, reductionism rarely reveals the whole picture. I don’t think we can consider grass-fed fat and grain-fed fat interchangeable or their differences immaterial.

That said, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If all you can afford or have access to is grain-fed meat, trim the excess fat, and counter the leanness by incorporating a nice fat-based sauce. Use it as practice for that red wine and grass-fed butter reduction you’ve been struggling with. A skilled cook can make any cut work. Just do the best you can and don’t sweat the rest.

Hi Mark,

Love your website. You were my gateway to the world of paleo/primal/ancestral diet and lifestyle. I owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank you!

My question: I eat a strict high-fat paleo/primal [blueprint] diet with the exception of some high-fat dairy, wine, and dark chocolate. The only sugar I ever use is when I brine meat. I admit to a deep love of brined pork chops, brined beef tongue, and corned beef. I’ve done brief internet searches on this topic, but haven’t found anything reputable that discusses the carb content of brined meat. Can you offer any insight?

Many thanks,


There’s good news and a tiny bit of bad news, but mostly good. The bad news is that your brined pork chops, beef tongue, and corned beef do contain sugar. The good news is that since you’re (presumably) making the brine yourself, the amount of sugar is completely up to you. So, yeah, brining with sugar will result in some residual sugar in the finished product. You’ll never get more than what you put in, obviously, and almost always quite less (seeing as how plenty of brining liquid gets poured off before cooking, rather than absorbed into the meat), but you’ll get a bit. The amounts are probably so minute that I really wouldn’t worry about it, especially when you consider a commercial brined product, like most bacon, contains “0 g” of sugar despite it being on the list of ingredients. Sure, that “0 g” is probably closer to 0.2 g, but that’s still inconsequential.

I’m not even convinced you need to add sugar to every brine. Although I don’t have experience brining pork, I’ve done plenty of sugar-free brine jobs on poultry and beef tongue. The best Thanksgiving turkey I ever roasted was brined overnight in a simple salt and tap water solution. I just dumped some salt in some water without really measuring. Contrast that with Alton Brown’s turkey brine, which calls for 1/2 cup brown sugar and which I found extremely disappointing. Great guy whose recipes I can usually count on, but not that time. So, if you’re still really worried about the miniscule amounts of sugar that make it into brined meats, look around for sugar-free recipes.

That’s it for today, but keep sending in your questions and I’ll do my best to them!

TAGS:  dear mark

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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93 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Eating Meat”

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  1. Thumbs up for brining pork. After doing some thick pork chops a few weeks ago, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. It’s a huge improvement to the flavor and texture.

    Sugar is unnecessary; I used water, salt, tamari, and onion/garlic powders.

    1. Mark, thank you for this tip:

      “If all you can afford or have access to is grain-fed meat, trim the excess fat, and counter the leanness by incorporating a nice fat-based sauce. ”

      Indeed, it is really hard for me to access grass-fed beef here! Yet, fortunately, grass-fed beef like the Anchor Butter still available and easily access here in Malaysia!

  2. You mean I beat the “Primal Toad” to the comment section?! 😉

    Great entry that answered a few of my current questions. Thanks Mark.


      Thank you for making me laugh. I loved it. Ironic too… the challenge of the week on my blog is to laugh a lot every single day.


  3. How timely to read this post as I was finishing off last night’s grilled grass-fed steak, including some of the yellowest fat I’ve ever seen. Great information, as always, Mark!

  4. Thanks for the answer about lean meats. I have been wrestling through what meats to buy as my food budget NEEDS to decrease. I am glad to have changed to this way of eating. Now, the challenge is to feed a family of five on it long-term!

    1. Right here with you chunkypickle, I HAVE to find ways to keep my grocery budget in line and feed a family of 5- no easy challenge! I was glad to see the answer about lean meats too.

  5. Thanks for this entry. I think it reminds us all to do the best with what we have and that being obsessed over eating the “right” thing can drive a person crazy. We might at a teaspoon of sugar here or there, but usually not, I don’t sweat it! Sometimes I find affordable grass fed meat and sometimes we have to go with the none, again we don’t sweat it. We know that as our budget grows over time we can spend more on what we want to eat. We started small and keep working up!!

    Thanks for the info on the histamines too!

  6. Do not brine with sugar unless you want all your brined meat to taste like HAM! LOL – there, I said it. Use salt, aromatics, etc.

  7. The first question is interesting. I read somewhere (and regret that I can’t find the link now) that your body stores junk in the adipose tissues (also perhaps in the bones) that it either a) doesn’t want to deal with, b) doesn’t know how to deal with, or c) can’t deal with right now due to a capacity issue to be processed later.

    Could it be that that Sarah is also experiencing some of that? Perhaps her body is just catching up with some ‘housekeeping’ that it put off until it had some spare time?

  8. Thank you for restating what I already believed and thought was true… I love when this happens!

    If you are not 100% financially secure and want some steak then go for the grain-fed version.

    The prices at farmers markets can be quite different. Ive found that 100% grass fed is a bit more expensive in most cases.

    Here is a very grand idea…


    Sorry for the caps… it was necessary imo.

    1. I second Primal Toad’s advice. Have a cow, man! My parents kicked me out and then let me come back home to a freezer full of fresh cuts of beef after I’ve been begging them to buy a whole cow again for a couple years.. I rejoice! My parents like to throw a bunch into the slow cooker with tons of vegetables but it’s so simple to cook if I don’t feel like putting much time into it. I just throw a steak into a pot of water and boil until it looks good, eat it (so juicy and savoury), throw the bones back in the pot and boil them some more, then gnaw off any edible marrow and whatnot and drink the broth once I think I’ve digested the meat enough to consume lots of liquid.

      1. Lol. That’s how you do it! We have one steak left from our most recent quarter cow. We purchased another quarter 2 months ago and then the farmer called us totell us that he wasn’t big enough. He put him back on the farm to eat more grass.

        We have yet to hear from him… but at least I am certain its grass-fed. He would not feed him corn but instead has been waiting more than 2 months to have him get bigger on grass.

    2. Absolutely!

      We bought 1/2 a grass fed cow and 1/2 pig from a local ranch just outside Phoenix. What a good decision that was! Grass fed porterhouse cooked in bacon fat and finished with grass fed butter? Yes, please! I’m not ashamed to say that I licked the plate.

  9. Wow, thank you *so* much for this post. I was a raw vegan before starting paleo, and I had incredibly clear skin on it. The only problem was that I had no energy and could not muster up the energy to last through even one ridiculously scaled crossfit session. So I decided to try paleo, but I began to eat bacon and processed meats (albeit, antibiotic free, gluten free) with abandon and my face broke out like mad. I’ve only recently figured out that my body cannot handle any type of processed meat (even if it’s gluten/preservative free). I’m sad that I’ve developed all these new acne scars, but it’s great to read from your site that certain foods, including gluten-free processed meats may be allergens for some people. I’m assuming it’s the heavy n-6 fat content of these meats, since they’re not grassfed that triggers my acne reaction? Thank you again, Mark!

  10. We usually buy the standard grocery store, grain-fed meat to fit within our budget… but sometimes we do find grassfed at our local HyVee. It’s usually pretty lean anyway, & I just substitute it’s natural fat with good ‘ol Kerrygold butter. Tastes awesome.

    The Kerrygold butter runs ~$4.75 per 8oz brick at HyVee…. but we stock up on it at Trader Joes for ~$2.79/brick when we visit family 3 hours away from here.

    Trader Joe’s is our butter store. 🙂

  11. I’m endeavoring to limit my meat and dairy to grass-fed whenever possible–but yeah, it’s pricey. And I already have a reputation among family and friends as being a bit particular (or, ok, nutty) when it comes to what I eat. The grass-fed thing isn’t helping.

    But then I think once they discovered I put bok choy in my smoothies and eggwhites in my cafe au lait, the battle was lost on that front already. Might as well embrace my nuttiness.

    1. They think I’m nutty too. Grass fed beef by the quarter, whole pastured hog (more reasonably priced this way), no grains. How can you live without grains? I have been declared nutty but that’s ok with me. I feel better

  12. ” from animals that have the audacity to fart (enough, apparently, to bring about a global climate catastrophe). ”

    When I read that I missed the word climate and thought; wow, that’s a really LOUD fart.

  13. I just ordered a half a 100%, grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free angus cow, the meat will be ready for pickup on August 13. 200+ pounds of dry-aged beef! Next up is to buy a chest freezer, which will be handy to load with the wild salmon when it’s on sale.

    Beef was $3.50 a pound hanging wait; yield is about 70%, so it’ll work out to a little over $5 a pound. So compared to commercial beef, you pay more for the cheaper cuts and way less for the expensive cuts. I am anxious to try my first ever grass-fed ribeye!

    1. Don’t forget to use the bones for bone broth, which should increase your yield…I am V jealous!

  14. Give me a steak that farted half his life, is fat as can be along with a lot of egg yolks.

    I am a former type II Disbetic that got off insulin and diabetic medications with a high fta moderate protein diet. I eat carbs one day a week, one meal only and really dont take in that many carbs even then. I feel great and NO SHOTS!

    If you want to cure Diabetes, do like they did before Insulin was on the market…Get some good fats and no carbs.

  15. Okay, so help a girl out: I’m getting overwhelmed.

    Can someone link me to the DEFINITIVE list!? As in, the “eat these meats only if they’re grassfed (aka, the OK fatty meats)” list, and the “eat only these conventional grain-fed meats” (aka, the lean meats)?

    My meat-filled head is about to explode!

    1. My personal opinion is that grassfed is ALWAYS better than grain-fed. Even if slightly leaner, they make up for that in myriad other ways.

      Look for grass-fed (or “pastured” WRT to poultry and pork). Check sites like for info and sources.

      1. “Even if slightly leaner, they make up for that in myriad other ways.”

        “Slightly leaner”? I have a freezer full of grassfed meats and I prefer the taste/texture of grassfed over grain-fed with one exception – steaks. If a steak doesn’t come with a healthy amount of tasty fat I find it unpalatable (and generally, cooking methods notwithstanding, too tough to enjoy). Grassfed steaks are WAAAAAY too lean for me (and everyone to whom I serve them), so if it’s a steak I’m craving, I go grain-fed every time and I gobble up all the delicious fatty bits. And I feel guilty as heck for doing it.

        Does anyone know of a source of truly grassfed beef that offers reasonably fatty steak cuts? Eating extra butter/oils alongside a too-lean grassfed steak just doesn’t cut it for me. I WANT THAT BEEF FAT! 🙂

        For what it’s worth, I find grassfed pork to be much fattier (particularly chops) than its grain-fed counterpart.

        1. I’ve been buying grass-fed (from several farms, using several breeds) and have never found them to be lacking fat in the steaks. Perhaps it’s personal preference, or perhaps it’s a matter of differences between farms. For comparison, I will eat grain-fed steaks if I am out at restaurants, but I find the difference in fat level WRT to my personal cache of grass-feds to be inconsequential.

          As with anything, one has to shop around, and the more you deal directly with farmers, the more informed your choice will be.

  16. Really helpful post. I was raised on a small farm where we raised and butchered our own meat, which left me meat-averse for many years. I’ve only reluctantly come back to meat eating in the last few years as I’ve tried to cut back on my grains, and I was shocked at how expensive even the lower-quality grain-fed meats in the grocery store were.

    1. DeeDee, I am in a similar situation as you. I grew up on a small farm, and it was very distressing to come home from school and and find my pets hanging to drain on the hitching post. I was a vegetarian for years, and I still have trouble with chicken and pork.

      1. Why is it that for ten thousand years people have grown up on farms and seen animals butchered, but all of a sudden it’s a traumatic experience that puts you off eating meat for decades? I am honestly not trying to sound rude (I couldn’t think of a better way to phrase the preceding sentence), I just don’t understand. How else are you supposed to get meat but by slaughtering an animal? I can see being shocked by it the first time or two but surely eventually it becomes commonplace and feels normal? I guess some people are just a lot more sensitive to that kind of thing.

        1. I think that I had trouble with it because I am an animal lover, and I would bond with all the animals on the farm. My sister didn’t care to play with them and it never bothered her to eat them.
          I was watching f-word the other day and it made me laugh because Ramsey was raising pigs for food and his son was becoming attached to the pigs, so they started referring to the pigs as ham and bacon, etc. My parents should have done that with me!

        2. I grew up on a farm as well (with 5 brothers) and my parents always had the local butcher come out to the farm and slaughter the prized steer or heifer in his mobile butchering truck. The first time I saw it as a young boy, it was a little shocking, but you soon learn it’s the normal cycle of life. We named the animals, Curious George, Ethyl etc., and they were like pets, but we took pleasure in knowing they were well treated, grass fed, with no antibiotics and clean from parasites (check the liver). We gave praise to the animals instead of some imaginary God every time we sat down at the dinner table to eat. It was nice to know where your steak came from. They were a little too lean at times and you would have to add fat to the burgers to get them to stick together, but they tasted great.

  17. I pay $3.05lb hanging weight for my grass-fed beef. People, buy in bulk from the farmer and save a lot of money!

  18. That’s really interesting about the histamine response of some foods. Interestingly, my husband experienced terrible sneezing fits Saturday night and all day Sunday. My suspicion was the 3/4 of a bottle of white wine he consumed that evening. 🙂 I think I may have been right.

  19. I have never brined with sugar. I put an appropriate amount of kosher salt into the water, add fresh rosemary, garlic, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, fresh thyme, orange peels and anything else I can think of to make it taste great. Bring the whole thing to a simmer, cool down before adding the meat and let it all soak in chilled brine for 24 hours. I guarantee this will be the best meat, chicken or turkey you will ever roast!

  20. When I started the Paleo Diet about 3 weeks ago I had just gotten back the results of my IgG Blood Allergy test and it showed that I was allergic to Wheat, Dairy and especially Eggs, which was off the charts. If I had started the Paleo way of eating I would have certainly been eating a lot of eggs. I was having problems with sinus congestion, runny nose and watery eyes too. While not gone completely in the last few weeks it is 90% better.

    Has anyone else had any experience with allergies to Eggs? I am guessing that with 55 years of eating wheat and dairy that I was allergic to that I most probably have also a leaky gut and that after I get this healed I might be able to eat eggs again. Thoughts?

    1. yes, sadly. the chickens that run around our yard produce beautiful eggs for the rest of the family, but I’m allergic. After being primal and off eggs for awhile, I can tolerate them as an ingredient in some things. Allergies can and do change.

  21. I’ve had terrible allergies for the last 20+ years… when I stopped eating wheat 3 months ago (and switched to a 90-10 primal diet), my allergies went away completely. And this year was the worst allergy season on record in our area!

  22. I don’t vilify meat per se, but modern meat producing practices are pretty horrid. I love meat, but I can’t condone animal cruelty. Plus who wants to eat a cow that’s been fed the kind of junk that gets fed to them on industrial feed lots. When I eat beef anymore it’s grass fed and from local farms where I’ve met the farmers.If an animal is treated with respect during it’s life and has a clean death that’s all I care about. Cows I’m sure have greatly benefited from their relationship with humans from an evolution standpoint, at least until recently when CAFOs became the norm. I don’t eat dairy at all due to allergies. This leaves me being a vegetarian most of the time due to the expense and eating a whole lot of beans and local eggs for protein. I still don’t eat sugar or grain. It seems to work, for me since I’ve gone from 260 lbs down to 194 lbs today. I’m seriously thinking about dropping some coin on a cow next year though.

  23. Is it possible to be allergic to meat?

    I mean…that goes against all logic and millions of years of evolution in my opinion, but is it possible?

    1. I am allergic to soy (and so are most people but don’t know it), and I feel it in my throat when a chicken was raised on soy.
      It could be that you’re allergic to the chemicals and toxins given to the animal and that’s what gives you the symptoms.

      Sometimes it’s chemicals in spices that people aren’t aware of.

  24. Yes Roth. I am allergic to beef, lamb, lobster, oysters, and all fish except salmon. Not very easy to eat around but it is definitely possible to be allergic to meats. I am very creative with chicken and turkey. 🙂 I had a friend in VA that was vegetarian during college due to budget issues and when she could afford meat she could no longer digest it properly due to losing the enzymes so that is also possible.

  25. Things that caused me to have allergies were high Omega 6, ALL grains and store bought, pasteurized milks, processed meats from the store such as salami, bacon with nitrites, crap meats with MSG, BHT, BHA and other chemicals made by man.

    Now I eat everything fresh from the farm, ground or waters, cook everything in butter and have 0 allergies.

  26. ok…maybe these posts are starting to answer my question/issue. Are fatty grain-fed meats bad for you? I ask this because I just got back from the doctor and after being primal for about 3 months my cholesterol is THROUGH THE ROOF. As in 346 (double what it was 6 months ago). I must be doing something wrong…is eating a lot of fatty grain-fed meats the reason why? It’s all I can afford! Someone HELP!!

    1. Grain fed animals are high in omega 6. When that’s high, it will cause a systematic inflammation throughout your entire body. This inflammation will cause your liver to excret cholesterol to be deposited in your arteries where the inflammation sits, which is your entire body.
      Therefor your cholesterol will go through the roof. This is the whole reason why Conventional Wisdom shuns red meat.
      Omega 3:6 ratio is supposed to be no more than 1:4. Grain fed animals are 1:20+.
      Also, dont consume homogenized milks where an enzyme will be passing through your intestinal walls into the blood stream cutting up your arteries. This will also contribute to inflammation and high cholesterol.

      To cut down on omega 6 eat more fish and organ meats. Make vegetable stews with bone marrow.
      This should cut down on some of your grain-fed meat consumption and will allow your arteries to heal and your inflammation to go away. Some people take fish liver oil to raise omega 3.
      Nuts are also high in omega 6.

      That’s all I have on information, maybe someone else knows more.
      Good Luck on your journey to better health and welcome to MDA 🙂

      1. PrimalPalate: thank you so so much for your response! Do you have any recipes for “vegetable stews with bone marrow?” (yes, this question is coming from someone addicted to cooking shows and I still can’t seem to concoct a darn decent meal on my own…hahaha!). I can’t stomach the idea of eating organ meats, so I guess I’ll be adding more fish to my diet.

        1. If you’re buying grass-fed beef, ask the farmer for pricing on soup bones (marrow bones). And if you buy a quarter, half or whole cow, they’ll gladly include the bones on request. Making beef stock from which you make soups and stews is as easy as cleaning out your veggie bin: those “borderline” carrots and the celery that’s starting to go soft are perfect candidates for a good stock.

          You can start by roasting 2-3 marrow bones at 450F for about 30-60 minutes to enhance their flavor, or simply add them to the stock as is. You can also roast your veggies, but I usually do not. To a large pot or Dutch oven, add an onion, sliced in half (stuck with 1-2 cloves if you wish); 2-3 stalks celery (leaves attached), chopped roughly; 2-3 carrots, (leaves attached), chopped roughly; 2-3 cloves garlic (don’t have to remove skins); and any mushrooms or leeks or bell pepper, chopped. The quantities can all be varied according to what you have, but those are the best flavor bases. Beets will overwhelm the color and cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower will overpower the flavor. Add the marrow bones and 6 quarts of water, 1 bay leaf, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 t. of salt to start, and 1 t. of black pepper. You can play with other herbs on hand, but don’t go too crazy. Bring to a boil, then turn to a simmer.

          I like to let my stocks reduce down to about 6 quarts, which can take about an hour. If they cook down too far, you can add more water. At the end of the simmer, taste for seasoning: you can add more salt, but because it reduces the it’s easy to OVER-salt early on. In any event, your stock will usually have much less salt than store-bought.

          Cool the stock and strain through a colander (lined with cheesecloth or an old tea towel) to remove the particles, and refrigerate or freeze. If you freeze, allow expansion space in the jar or it will crack the glass.

          That’s also the basic idea for making your own poultry stocks and seafood stocks (save those fish bones, shrimp shells, turkey giblets, and chicken carcasses in the freezer until you’re ready to make stock!). A homemade stock is 100x better than anything from the store, and much more nutritious!


        2. My own vegetable stew consists of a meat (usually pork) and then everything that’s green.
          Use a large pot, throw a chunk of butter in it and fry your meat pieces til they’re slightly tan. Also fry up onions at this point for more flavor if you want. When the meat and onions are a tan color, pour water over it until it’s barely covered by maybe another 1/2 inch. Simmer the meat on low for about 1 hour.

          Within that hour you can cut up everything else you want in the stew, some use carrots and potatoes, cabbage, green onion, parsley, cilantro (my favorite), green mustard, kale, etc.
          So after simmering the meat for about 1 hour, start adding all the cut up vegetables you picked for yourself. Simmer on low for another 30 minutes to 1 hour tops until the vegetables are as mushy as you want. Add Celtic sea salt or himalayan rock salt, done.

          Don’t buy store spice packages, theyre a waste of money and ruin the whole meal.

          My stew is pork, kale, green mustard, cilantro and green cabbage with celtic sea salt. Sometimes I thicken the whole thing a little with organic corn starch when I used too much water to start.

    2. I can only speak from my own experience and please realize that we’re all very different but here’s what happened with me: I’ve been primal for about 1-1/2 years. Prior to that I got on a kick where I eliminated ALL sugar from my diet. That included all cow’s milk/dairy, anything and everything with any type of sugar in it whether it was HFCS, cane sugar, agave nectar, whatever, plus just about ALL fruit except for a few berries now and then! And I also severely limited the veggies that are high sugar content such as carrots, tomatoes, red bell peppers, etc. (You can google sugar content of veggies and fruits for more info). Even before I went Primal and just by eliminating sugar and keeping total sugar gram consumption for the average day to under 15 grams (usually around 10 or so grams) I got my cholesterol levels way down. I also severely restricted carb intake: NO pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, etc. I had also totally cut out ALL wheat/grains from my diet not because of the gluten issues, but because I had read on other sources that grains are basically evil. And, yes, at least for me they certainly are. My total cholesterol dropped from 263 to 162 in 3 months with just those few diet changes.

      Now that I consider myself probably 90/10 Primal starting about 1-1/2 years ago, I still severely limit any type of sugar consumption and of course, based on Primal standards, still limit carbs. I think Primal allows more sugar from fruits/veggies than I prefer to consume so it’s still my choice to not eat over 15 grams max – some days I don’t get anywhere near 15 grams.

      So without knowing exactly what you are eating, it’s possible that you might be taking in more sugar than you think. Check out the types of veggies/fruits you eat and see what the sugar content is. It’s possible that it’s not the fatty grain-fed beef but other things you are eating that although might be deemed Primal, may need to be adjusted for your body type. I eat some grain-fed beef maybe once a week or so.

      Try Dr. Mercola’s site for lots of info on the correlation between sugar/high blood pressure/high cholesterol, etc. Or go to youtube and search for “Death by Sugar” by Robert Lustig, MD.

      It’s possible that Mark has also discussed this issue here on MDA — you might try searching the MDA site. Anyway, it’s just something to consider – good luck to you. Let us know what you come up with.

    3. If you are losing weight your cholesterol will go through the roof (mine did) google the wheat belly blog and search for cholesterol to find the technical answer. Several sources have suggested waiting until a month or two after your weight has stabilised before you get your cholesterol checked. After all, all that fat you have lost has to go somewhere before your your body excretes it 🙂

  27. I really do think that there is a benefit to eating grass fed meat. I always had acne and a strict paleo diet with an emphasis on good nutrition and minimal toxicity completely cleared it, but whenever I eat conventional meat I get some very small pimples that heal quickly, but it is clearly some sort of reaction. Grass fed doesn`t do this. For those who don`t need to be so specific grain-fed might be a good option, though, it`s a heck of a lot better than eating the grains.

  28. Mark,

    I recently purchased some grass fed steaks at US Wellness Meats website. I’ve read some good things about them, so I decided to try them out. It’s clear to me that grass fed beef is a better option than grain fed, but I really never got around to trying to incorporate it into my diet until now… small changes over time.


    1. If God didn’t want us to eat animals, then why are they made of meat??


  29. I just picked up my grass-fed 1/2 cow last Tuesday and couldn’t believe how cheap it was compared to buying the same quality beef by the cut. I paid $2.50/lb hanging weight plus $.60/lb processing fee so I ended up paying about $4.50/lb for the finished product (on a side-note, it’s amazing how much better a Porterhouse tastes when you know it was only $4.50!). I found a few great links to farms in my area here near Chicago on and ended up going with a farm about 85 miles south of me. Well worth the drive and the quality is incredible!

  30. But… What are vegetarians supposed to eat? =/ I’ve been gorging down almonds recently.

    1. Stop. Being. A vegetarian.

      Seriously. I’m not trying to be rude, but if you’re not ready to grasp the message, why bother hanging out here? You can’t do dramatic things halfway.

    2. Lots of eggs. Don’t eat too many nuts. Too many omega 6’s. More than a handful a day is overdoing it, in my opinion. It definitely makes a difference. Too many nuts and your anti-inflammatory diet is going to become super-inflammatory.

      I don’t know what reasons you are for being vegetarian, but if you can help it, try maybe adding fish into your diet? Because in as rude a way taihuibabe put it, eating primal as a vegetarian is kind of defeating the purpose.

      It’s a matter of priorities: the health benefits of the primal lifestyle or your reason for being vegetarian. It’s up to you to decide, but keep in mind that you can only choose one.

      If you go with the latter, you can always adopt other elements of the Primal lifestyle like the exercise, movements and mindset (stress-free, get more sleep, use your brain, avoid poisonous things, etc)

  31. Mark, all I can ask is why! my wife just gave me an article to read ( it gives all the reasons why the land is going to covered with lean/mean dead people from eating primal. My wife made a life choice a year ago and lost 90 lbs. I am near dead (68) and feel like 30. I guess all the references in the article are way smarter than you and the primal followers. I love “live long-drop dead.

  32. Thanks very much for addressing my brining question, Mark. I may try leaving sugar out from my favorite brining recipe next time and see how it comes out. Or, maybe not. 80/20 rule, right? Either way, give brined pork chops a try sometime. You’ll never make them any other way.

  33. Want good meat? Try snails garnished with oil and a heap of spices. You don’t even need to buy the snails.. they’re everywhere! Back to our roots so we don’t die on the withering, weighted down branches.

    1. Then by the transitive qualities of murder:

      If meat=murder, then murder=delicious

    2. That’s kind of what I was thinking when I ripped the heads off four living crayfish, pulled out their main intestine using the center tail fins, and scraped most of their guts out with a knife, all while they were still wriggling. Then I plopped them in a pot of boiling water and watched them turn red, along with the bundles of eggs still attached under three of their tails. But then after transferring them into a pan and frying them with some eggs, I enjoyed an excellent, hearty dinner that satisfied me to the core. This is the way of nature.

  34. The histamine affect could just be what my husband calls a ‘cleansing crisis’ due to cleaning out the crud from former habits.

    1. Kinda like artificial sweetener?

      Remember the olestra debackle of the late 90’s? 😀

  35. Hey Mark! I’ve been doing P90X for over 3 years now, and I’ve seen some good friends of mine in the Beachbody community follow you and recommend your book, and just recently, one of my friends here locally just began living Paleo and loves the results she’s getting. My fiance and I are getting married in 3 months and I was thinking about following the Paleo lifestyle until then. Anyways, no questions for now, and I just discovered this site today and am looking forward to learning more about you and this way of living!

  36. You carnivores have to check out buffalo meat. I live in northern BC, Canada, and we have a good source of lean buffalo. Actually, all buffalo is lean. These critters won’t eat grain, they won’t go in a barn, they spurn all attempts to civilize them. They range, munch on grass, and taste great.

    I swear on a stack of burgers, once you try buff you can’t get enough!

    1. Agreed! Just for a contrast to the bison burgers I’ve been ordering for the last 6 months, I decided to go back to grassfed beef. I was slightly disappointed. Bison is just so much tastier. 😀

      Don’t get me wrong, beef is plenty tasty, but bison is its more tasty, bigger cousin.

      Sure, some parts of it are tougher, but if you get it as burgers, it won’t matter.

      I suppose it’s the same kind of difference as between today’s homo sapiens sapiens on SAD, vs our cro magnon ancestors.

  37. Nice post Mark! I just want to add that lean red meat is not only a good source of protein and energy, but also has benefits in avoiding heart disease.

    And oh thanks for the info about histamines! Keep it up bro! 🙂

  38. Don’t forget about the environmental aspect of eating meat. Definitely go for pastured animals whenever possible to reduce your footprint 🙂

  39. Thanks for this response Mark! I think the saying “you are what you eat eats” is interesting to consider here!

  40. I was searching for info here on Histamine Intolerance and was glad to see this post! I had completely adopted primal eating, and felt a lot better in many ways, until eventually realizing I had a histamine issue. Now navigating how to do some kind of low histamine/ primal hybrid (without meat, eggs, broths, fermented veggies, or animal fats) Which is hardly primal I suppose. I’m a reluctant vegan right now, but still hoping to fix my body to the point where I can have at least the occasional meaty “treat”. Still managing a daily probiotic (primal defense) and praying that is helping. Any other info that could help would be much appreciated!