Dear Readers

I’m getting dozens of emails from readers every day. Though I try to give personalized advice to each and every one of them, I’ve got to say, it can be a little overwhelming. What is one to do? Lucky for me, many Mark’s Daily Apple readers are highly educated or otherwise informed about all health and fitness matters, and all readers at least have anecdotal evidence to share on a vast range of topics. So this week I’m leaving it up to you!

Below you’ll find 10 random questions I’ve recently received. I (and they too I’m sure) would love for you to share your thoughts, personal stories, and know-how in the comment board. (I’ll be chiming in, too!) It’s your chance to help a fellow member of the MDA community. Thanks, everyone!


Question 1

Hello Mark!

I’d be interested to know how common it is for Primal Blueprinters to eat dairy, and cheese in particular. I know cheese is a sensible vice, but I find myself relying on it for a good deal of my total calories. Is incorporating cheese into an otherwise totally Primal diet a regular occurrence?

Thank you.


Question 2

I saw your post on spinach bread. That recipe and the others listed in the comment board were a godsend for a Primal newbie. My question is: are there any good Primal-approved corn/potato-free chip recipes floating around the net? Maybe MDA readers know of some…

Thanks, Mark!


Question 3

What do you think of food combining? Acid-alkaline balance?



Question 4

Dear Mark,

I have a family history of kidney stones (Dad, Aunt, Grandmother) and was wondering what impact a high protein diet would have on me? I read that a high protein diet contributes to kidney stone formation, as well as high-Calcium Oxalate (CaC2O4) foods such as spinach, greens, rhubarb, tea (no!), nuts (double no!) and berries (triple no!). Vitamin C is also theorized to play a role in stone formation. Calcium supplementation, drinking lots of water and taking cranberry extract is thought to reduce the risk of CaC2O4 stone formation. I have found conflicting data on ALL of these points online and in PubMed. Once and for all… whats the deal here? How can I protect myself from this?


P.S. Cant wait for the book! Signed copy raffle…?
P.P.S. As always, thank you for your amazing site and the advice you give.


Question 5


I’ve taken an interest in CrossFit. The workouts seem pretty Primal to me. But I’ve read some things about CrossFit being dangerous; that if not done with perfect form and training you are setting yourself up for injury. Thoughts?



Question 6

Hi Mark!

We know exercise for the body is good. Do you recommend facial exercises? Would that cause more fine lines and wrinkles or should that be toned like the rest of our body?

Thank you!


Question 7

Hi Mark- I enjoy your website. Lot’s of good info! I was curious your thoughts on using olive oil, flax oil, and fish oil daily? Currently, I use flax oil and olive oil. Do i get enough Omega from those or should I add the fish oil also? Best, Bob.


Question 8
HI Mark,

I am writing to you from Sydney, Australia. I absolutely love your work on this site. You provide a wealth of helpful information. I have a burning question that I have not been able to answer.

What are your thoughts on Diet soft drinks. In particular I refer to Diet Coke, Pepsi Max and Coke Zero?

I understand that they do not have an immediate effect on blood sugar (or do they?) but surely they can’t be good for you.

Your thoughts on this topic will be appreciated.

Great job on the website and thanks for all the top quality information!

Kind Regards


Question 9

I was a “bodybuilder” and fell out of it due to family and home remodeling.  I’m starting to get back to it.

I used to squat 405 for sets, bench 315 and curl 65 pd dumbells (weighing 180 at 5’8″).  I feel I was fairly strong and was doing very well.

I’m 40 now and have no intention on that path again but to pose a question from my training days.

Is it still applicable to exercise in the am opposed to pm due to fasting?  I know this was popular and wanted to know if this still helps regardless of diet regimen.

I’m glad I ran across your site as this is the path I am now choosing to diet.

You look great, keep it up!!

Thanks in advance,
Ron from Illinois


Question 10

Hi Mark,

Thanks again for maintaing such a great and resourceful blog.  I now follow your Twitter Account and look forward to purchasing your book soon.

I am a coffee and tea drinker, usually 1-2 cups of coffee a day and 2-3 cups of tea a day (green and herbal). I stick to black coffee with a pinch of sugar and my teas are unsweetened and forgo the mocha choca sugar bomb lattes and other concoctions.  I know Grok didn’t have the convenience of starbucks but what is the role of coffee and tea in the Primal diet.  Is this something that’s “accepted” as a supplement to the primal lifestyle.

Keep up the great work and I wish you luck with your book.

Best regards,


Note from Mark: How many PBers drink coffee/tea? I have a cup of coffee with a little cream and sugar on most days.

Further Reading:

All “Dear Mark” Posts

Body Composition Through the Years

Should I Get a Flu Shot?

TAGS:  calories

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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102 thoughts on “Dear Readers”

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  1. 1. I eat cheese at 2 of my 3 meals a day. Otherwise I’m totally Primal. I don’t have (as far as I can tell) any problems with cheese/dairy so I’m ok with it.

    5. I’ve heard the same thing. CrossFit looks pretty intense. If you aren’t properly fit and trained I’d stay away.

    6. Seriously? I thought this stuff went the way of the dodo… sort of like the phrase “the way of the dodo.”

    7. I’d consider supplementing with a fish oil capsule, too.

    8. Diet soda is no good. It triggers your body into thinking you are consuming real sugar.

  2. re: Question # 10 from Nick
    Hi Nick
    I’m a PB newbie but think coffee/tea are fine. I drink 1 cup w/a splash of raw milk or low- homoginized/ non- pasturized cream in it prior to working out for a boost in energy (as per my naturopath & personal trainer). It really help with the workout. I try to use organic/fair trade beans. I also drink tea (I really like Tulsi tea from India- herbal & caffinated). Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is an ayurvedic herb that helps promote metnal clarity & supports the immune system. I don’t know of that’s true but it certainly tastes great! So indulge. I’m sure Grok & co at least made tisanes (herbal teas) back in the day.

  3. Okay MDAers! Tackle #4 for me b/c I am confused as… something really confusing?

    I just need some advice b/c kidney stones suck and a lot of the things I eat are “high oxalate foods”. I feel like Im screwed no matter what happens.

    Yeah okay, thanks all!

    1. My husband and I started following PB 16 months ago and our weight dropped and our blood chemistry improved significantly (he lost 60 pounds, i lost 45 pounds. we went from dangerously high glucose and triglycerides to healthy zone) Unfortunately, he now has kidney stones for the first time ever. I have no idea if it is related to PB or that he drinks 6-8 cups of coffee per day or what. However, I would love to see research on it so he does not want to go back to our old way of eating. That was killing us both.

  4. In regards to Nick and the Diet Coke questions: If you want to go 100% Primal, Diet Coke isn’t on the menu. Though I’ll admit I’m not 100% Primal. I’ve been avoiding the sugars and eating the healthy fats for about 2 months now and it’s worked well despite the diet soda I still drink. Dropping the Coke Zero is on my to-do list, but I don’t feel any pangs of guilt in the mean time.

  5. Question 6:

    Laugh. If you laugh regularly, you don’t need to do “facial exercises”. It’ll increase blood flow to your face, you’ll get a little twinkle in your eye, and hey, if you’re happy, no one will care about wrinkles.

  6. Regarding diet soda…there’s a new product at Whole Foods that’s sweetened with Stevia. I don’t recall the name and haven’t tried it myself, but it might be a good way to have a little soda without consuming artificial sweeteners.

  7. Re: Crossfit:

    I train at a crossfit facility that welcomes all fitness levels, body types, ages and abilities. The workouts are scaled appropriately depending upon your capacity, but keep the same, beautiful focus on functionality for all levels. There isn’t an expectation that everyone at every stage of fitness can perform the workouts “as prescribed” (crossfit lingo alert)–in fact, the expectation is precisely the opposite. Contact an affiliate, and get on in there!

  8. Question #3: From what I understand, more alkaline foods are theoretically better to counter-balance a typical acid heavy American Diet. But I’ve also heard that you’d have to eat an incredible amount of acid-heavy food before you experience any poisonous effects. In other words: Don’t design every meal according to its acid/alkaline balance.

  9. re #5 – crossfit

    anything can be dangerous if you’re not doing it properly!

    crossfit brand x posts the daily workout scaled to several different levels.
    the main crossfit site has links to video demos of every exercise.
    the main thing is to start easy. work with pvc pipe or a broomstick instead of using weights until you get your form down perfectly. then you can safely move up to more weights.

    i say dont be scared, just be smart about it.

    crossfit brand x:

    crossfit exercise demos:

    honestly, you can do it. i’m a 32 year old female and i’m doing just fine with crossfit on my own.

  10. Question # 1- cheese:
    I do a little raw-milk dairy, or soft goat cheeses. Stick to local/ organic. Goat’s milk tends to be the easiest to digest. But I’ve found dairy is not great for weight loss, even the good stuff.

    Question # 2- chips:
    if you have a dehydrator you can make all sorts of veggie chips. But be sure to eat them in moderatation as they lack water…and you’ll need
    to drink alot more h2o

    Question # 3- food combining: in my opinion, this is pseudo-science. Though you do want to be more alkaline that acidic to maintain good health. That means avoiding processed foods (which you do as a PBer already) & too many nuts (my downfall).

    Question # 6- facial exercise: this is just nonsense, sorry!

    Question # 7- fish oil: take ’em! I do 2 w/ each meal. Every live-long day.

    Question # 8- soda: please please please, no soda. There is nothing to be gained from this garbage (where is the Fuming Fuji when we need her?!)

    Phew, I’m done for now.

  11. 1. I’ll do a little cheese on my salad or in my omelet so long as it’s not the primary ingredient!
    2. Baking thin slices of eggplant works. It’s not going to taste like a bowl of corn chips, but it makes for a tasty snack.

  12. 5. Greg,
    I did Crossfit for some time. It is intense. You will build a lot of muscular endurance, but little strength. In Crossfit they look for form that qualifies as “slop,” which is any form required to get the workout done without hurting yourself. The problem with the program is that it focuses on “functional” training protocol without giving much definition to the term. Crossfit certainly is primal. But remember that primal humans were injured very regularly. If you want to move into Crossfit as a full-time exercise routine, then I would recommend that you first get a good grip on a few primary indicators of physical fitness:

    1)Mobility and Symmetry
    2)Muscular Endurance (not how much you can run before fainting, rather, how much power you can generate…before fainting)
    3)Limit Strength (not as helpful for CF but a helpful metric)
    and, most importantly,

    I know the goal here is to be as healthy as possible, however, if you want to be shredded and aim to look good nudie, then I would break apart heavy lifting, HIIT, and sustained cardio. CF claims to have this baked into their method but they’re lying. Organization will make your move into fitness a lot easier and more effective. Also, CF trainers tend to be underqualified.

    Yours truly,

    1. right on dudeman…I agree! Esp wwith the comment that they use the term functional without knowing what it means. how can something be ‘functional’ when you are only moving in the frontal and sagital planes and forgetting entirely about the transverse plane of meovement that we ‘function’ in every single day?!

  13. Question 1: Dairy/Cheese: I have a splash of cream in the coffee each morning and eat cheese 2-3 times a week. I didn’t have much cheese when I was first starting Primal eating; now, I’m more at a “sustaining” place now (how I’ll eat for the rest of my life), which includes a few more sensible vices here and there.
    Question 2: Chips: The Apple Chips in this post are delicious. Careful not to eat too many at a time though …
    Question 3: Food Balance: I eat Primal. Veggies, meat, some fruit and nuts. Don’t really worry about the rest.
    Question 5: Crossfit: Crossfit does hold-up well to Primal exercise. However, as with any exercise program, you have to cater to your own level and adjust accordingly as you get in better shape. If you’ve never exercised a day in your life, don’t try to lift a 300 lb barbell…
    Question 6: Facial Exercises: Can you imagine going to the gym and seeing a sectioned-off spot with people exercising their faces? Now THAT would almost convince me to work-out in a gym…
    Question 7: Fish oil: Take a fish oil! They work wonders. The Vital Omegas at are my faves.
    Question 8: Soda: IMO, the chemicals filling up diet sodas are worse for the body (and teeth) that even regular sodas. There have been studies showing that people who drink diet sodas actually tend to gain weight more (if I find the link to one, I’ll post it later). Stay away from sodas! Primal = natural!
    Question 9: AM Exercising: Following the PB is following what feels natural. If you feel like you can exercise the best in the morning – go for it. If you feel like exercising in the evening – go for it. Listen to what your body is telling you…
    Question 10: I drink 1 to 2 cups of coffee in the morning. Occasionally a cup of tea in the afternoon. Sensible Vice. I try to ensure that I am not relying on it, rather than actually taking care of my body (like sleeping). I just really like the taste of coffee.

  14. 1: I like to say I am primal… except for my love of dairy. I eat maybe 2T of cheese a day, 1/3 yogurt (strained) and about a half gallon of (raw) milk a week.

    2: I dont know if you wnat the crunch or the dip holdability buy I make kale chips a lot. Just pop some kale leaves in a 300F oven until they are crispy. Yum.

    3: Here is a list of Acid/alkaline forming foods. If you follow the PB then you should be getting the optimal 80% alkaline/20% acid food combo. I know that the typical american diet reducs pH of the body and can result in a host of inflammatory and malabsorption problems. The big thing seems to be the overabundance of grains and sweeteners (sugar, aspartame…) and lack of fresh non-starchy veggies. The good news: stevia and maple syrup are in the alkalizing side, but chococlate, all alcohols and all meats are in the acidifying side.

    4: Thats mine. Still dont know.

    7: Fish oil has the highest omega3:omega6 ratio (7:1) so far as I know. Flax less (3:1) and olive oil even less so. They are still better than the typical american diet ration of up to 1:30 though! Grass fed meat has about half as much O6 as grain fed meat, so that is a good ratio, as far as meats go. I remember seeing somehwere that animal based omegas have a higher bioavailability that plant based ones too.

    8: If you consume anything sweet, even if it isnt real sugar your body still reacts to the sweetness, not to the sugar. All the latest news is that even diet soda leads to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome… yes diabetes included. Also, you still taste something sweet so your body will continue to crave it. I have found that if I skip even fake sweet things (even stevia in tea) that I am better able to control cravings later in the day.

  15. Question #1

    Dairy is not primal, period. As Lauren Cordain (I think) put it, try milking a wild animal. Dairy products came along when we started farming, which was very recently in our evolutionary past.

    That said, I would say that being black and white about these things is pretty unhelpful and giving up grains would be a better first step on the road to true primalism. Many people find keeping dairy in their diet a good way to transition away from the modern diet without too much pain.

    Conclusion: dairy is not primal, but at the same time it is not by any means the worst of the non-primal foods you could eat. You should aspire to give it up if you want to be truly primal, but keep it in your diet for as long as necessary to allow you to comfortably transition.

  16. re: chips –
    You can make spinach/kale/swiss chard chips using this method:

    regular lettuce won’t work because it doesn’t have the internal structure. From my own experiment, you don’t want the veins – they’re difficult to dry out without burning the rest of the leaf.

    They work out reasonably well, there’s just not a lot of body to them. Kale would probably work out better.

    I’m going to be getting a dehydrator soon which will help with this, as well.

  17. I gave up coffee ten days ago; before that I took it black. It took some time for my *ahem* digestive system to get back on track, but other than that I find coffee to be a detractor to primal living if for any reason you can’t have any.

  18. 10: I drink 1 cup of tea every morning with a little cream. Also, if I am going to have a long day at school I can down a 12-oz cup of coffee too, with a cream and sometimes stevia. If I use the super strong coffee, thats when I need a little stevia so I can enjoy it.

  19. 5. Regarding CrossFit there are a lot of good things about it, and there are definitely some risks involved.

    Me, I think the risks outweigh the benefits. I would steer clear unless you’re already VERY fit and injury free (and then, why would you want to risk future injury). And I agree with dudeman, most CF trainers shouldn’t be coaching people about how to exercise. I covered CrossFit thoroughly on my blog – you can do a search for “crossfit” there if you’re interested in my complete review.



  20. And, I gave up soda completely 3-4 months ago now. For awhile, I was drinking just soda water, and over the past month have primarily switched to drinking just water. I’ll occasionally get a soda water – but only 1 bottle per day.

    Giving up soda was really difficult for me. I tried multiple times and had a really hard time with it. Now, though, I find I end up getting headaches from artificial sweetener in things (Not that there’s that much, but sometimes I don’t realize it’s there).

    I only make herbal iced teas – don’t really drink anything hot.

  21. Question #8 – Diet Coke is bad news. For so many reasons. Mainly, it contains caffeine, which is no good. Diet Coke has been the hardest thing for me to ever give up (worse than cigarettes). I make herbal teas and pour them over ice also, with some lemon maybe. That’s my go-to tasty-drink now. If it’s the caffeine you’re craving, best to say goodbye to it, after I stopped drinking caffeine, I believe it’s ruined my life all these years before!

  22. I haven’t been able to figure out the kidney stone dilemma either. It seems like a lot of the primal principles go directly against what doctors recommend for someone at high risk of developing stones.

  23. Looks like quite a few of us still like our coffee & dairy. I have my coffee with un-homogenized milk, and sometimes a little extra chunk of cream comes out of the bottle. Yum! I figure if those are be biggest “vices” since I made the switch a couple months ago, I’m doing ok. Besides, like it says here repeatedly, we each follow the PB in a way that works/is comfortable for us. Diet soda? YUCK! Chips? Crunch on carrot sticks or slices? with some nut butter? I like the dried veggie chip idea… HA HA! I’m getting my laughing(facial exercises)in by picturing the cordoned-off area of some 24hr fitness mall with the facial-aerobics class going on. oops, fell off my balance ball, Thanks Holly for the visual!

  24. #1: I really believe that there is not one single answer to this question. Yeah, Grok didn’t drink milk or anything, but you can’t deny the fact that our bodies actually already have started to adapt to dairy producs, which doesn’t mean that our bodies can handle dairy perfectly well already. I really think this is a question everyone has to answer for his or her own.
    In my opinion, it’s totally ok to go for some dairy products, as long as you don’t consume too much of it on a daily basis (which I still do, to be honest). But that’s only the case when you know that your body can handle dairy products relatively well. Some of us have lactose-intolerance, some do not, everyone is different.
    Needless to say that you always should go for the least processed option out there. So if you want to drink milk, raw milk probably is the best option.

  25. Regarding Crossfit: I’m a 66-year-old female, now in pretty good shape. I started lurking on the Crossfit site a year or so ago, a bit intimidated, frankly; then finally got into a Crossfit gym last October. I was interested in rehabbing a knee I’d strained, and in generally getting in better shape.
    The coaches emphasize form, and teach it carefully. Now I’m doing Olympic lifts (this morning, on my own: 50#-60#-70# and 80-# shoulder press, front squat, back squat and push-press), plus a variety of body-weight work outs — pull-ups, push-ups, etc., etc.) all without injury. As with any serious weight work, it’s sensible to start light and work up, and to pay strict attention to form because what you can muscle through with bad form at lighter weight will be problematic with heavier weights. I’m deadlifting 170# and 180# without problems — more than my body weight — thanks to the form.
    Crossfit in a coached gym is a scaled exercise: the coach starts you with what you can handle, whether you’re in good shape to begin with, or come in with a problem, as I did. My knee is cheerfully doing all the squats and deep knee bends with weight … after a reasonable ramp up. I had feared it never would be right again, when the MDs and physical therapists were unable to make it feel better. Crossfit ends up pushing you, and developing you beyond where you might have thought you could go; it STARTS with wherever you are. (They have 80-year-olds doing scaled Crossfit exercises.) But do go to a coached gym to start — it’s a hoot, you’ll learn good habits and safe lifts, and their certified coaches know what they’re doing.

    1. Now that is sound advice. Somebody who has experienced CrossFit in a coached setting. Notice the people who “heard” CrossFit was dangerous don’t have any real exposure to it.

      1. Good point, as an owner of a CF for the past 4 years, we have had no more injuries than typical sport play. Actually I am confident that we have far fewer. Yes there have been a few tendonitis issues, a strain or two, but nothing even coming close to the running community or the sedentary community. Plus, our members are stronger. I take offense to people that say CF will not make you strong. Ladies that DL 300+ safely, guys 500+, 400+ squats, etc… Of course it does depend on the affiliate, but most understand that strength is critical.
        Our trainers are not only certified in CF, but they are CSCS, ATC, Exercise Physiologist, etc. There are bad apples of course, but that is true for any area.

      2. I have alot of experience with crossfit but do not do it anymore b/c i found it wasn’t truely ‘functional’ for me. My question always remians…how is doing the same a variation of the same 10 or so moves really functional if you are an adventure athlete or even a mom or dad running around after kids. if you continue to only use the frontal and sagital planes of movement, you will experience injury or dysfuntion (more often dysfuntion from improper movement patterns that may or may not manifest as injury). Moving and training in the all important transverse plane is so vital. In the right gym with the right instructors (they should know the body and movement outside of crossfit b/c crossfit trainers don’t have to learn much actually…there are some great ones out there but ya got to look around), it can be highly beneficial as a part of a more well rounded way to move/workout…key being a ‘part’…my 2 cents at least from actually doing it for yers before seeing outside the ‘box’.

  26. I have been increasingly going primal and just got a kidney stone. Very painful. I am hoping that it is just a reaction from going to a diet of eating out most of the time to a more primal cooking at home diet.

  27. #1: I drink dairy. I’m in the class that handles dairy just fine. Only about 1/3rd of the world population does (but most of them speak English, which is will skew your answers – there are many people who live what we would call primal who can’t handle dairy – but most of them do not speak English) It isn’t primal in the sense that grok would drink it, but it is for me personally because my genetics can handle it. You need to experiment for yourself.

    There are many other “foods” that are in this category. Nightshades are used in a lot of primal cooking, but many people can’t handle them. You have to figure out for yourself.

    #2: chips are generally deep fried. Avoid anything deep fried – the deep frying process is how trans fats are created. If you want to cheat, a potato chip once in a while (say 4th of July party) won’t hurt. Just make sure it is fried in saturated fat which won’t become a trans fat!

    #5: Crossfit is big on scaling. Their posted workouts are for the highest levels. Don’t do the posted, there is plenty of information on scaling. Find the right level for your ability.

    The movements need to be done correctly (or at least you need to know which cheats are safe). This is no different from any exercise program. You just read about form being important to crossfit because the crossfit people want to make sure you know how important form is so they talk about it. All exercise programs require good form to do safely, but many say nothing about it, and cover up the injury potential.

    That isn’t to say you should do crossfit. However it is to say whatever you do, make sure you find out what good form is, and use good form.

    #7: the oils listed are all high in Omega-6s. (or forms of Omega-3 that are not used well so they don’t count) Nothing wrong with them, I use olive oil all the time. Make sure you are getting other fats to get your Omega-3s. Grass fed steak is good, as is fish oil.

    #8: drink water. Get a filter if there is something to worry about in your water. The downside of the filter is it will remove the minerals you need before the poison you want to get rid of.

    #9: Unless you are training for elite competition time isn’t a significant factor. If your are training; you and your coach (if you don’t have a full time coach you are not training for elite competition) should look over your training records, the schedule of your competitions, and all the scientific literature to find the right schedule for you.

    Exercise is important. Ideally mix up your times – grok never knew when he would have to exercise. The most important part is exercise, it is better to exercise at the “worst time” than not at all.

    #10: coffee is for grown-ups. I still haven’t grown up. (I’m 34 and a half years old)

  28. reply to Samantine-
    You may have gotten good coaching at CF. Good. But I would like to get it out there that good form is only a small priority to CF affilliates. Especially in regards to Olympic Lifting, mobility issues can go unattended by freshman coaches and cause serious injury. Be careful people.

    PS Samantine- nice work.

  29. Re: Crossfit

    If anyone would like to learn more about Crossfit, and what it is actually about, visit and click the “start here” link.

    Contrary to what a few other people here have said, Crossfit is all about scaling to your ability and developing real fitness. Crossfit isn’t about how much you can curl or how much you can leg press. It’s about running fast, lifting heavy things, and intensity. Intensity scaled to your ability.

    Head over to and click the testimonial board if you want to see people who have developed tremendous strength and amazing overall fitness.

    Please don’t let someone who gives you no real evidence as to why this program that will challenge you is bad, or that the program itself lies to you.

    It’s free, the community is amazing, and you’ll get far better results than you will by doing 45 minutes on an elliptical.

  30. I drink raw milk everyday without a problem. I eat cheese several times a week, but only as an occasional snack or as a condiment (shredded over salads, etc.).

    I’m also a coffee drinker–usually 2/day, unsweetened, with milk or cream unless its before a workout, then black.

  31. Re: number 1 – My wife and I have kept dairy; it was bad enough that she had to give up sweet potatoes, corn, and her beloved raisin bread. I can’t take her yogurt or cheese away or I’d be a dead man.

    Re: number 7 – As I understand it, the Omega-3 fatty acids from plants (including olives, walnuts, etc.) are the wrong sort for our bodies to use directly, and the conversion is less than perfect, meaning we only get the use of about 10% of what we take in. Fish oil is better, but supposedly “krill oil” is really the good stuff in that regard.

    Re: number 8 – I’ll be blunt – I fully blame Diet Coke for my “blood sugar issues”. I had no problems in that regard, switched to Diet Coke “to lose some weight”, and within 2 years the doctor is uttering the dreaded “D” word (diabetes).

    Re: number 10 – neither my wife nor I have ever been coffee drinkers. She still has a few cups of tea a day (with milk), and I’ll have an herbal tea about once a week (no milk).

    Just my $0.02 about a few of the above…

  32. about coffee~

    I recently actually bought a small coffee machine that makes only one cup at a time…b/c I thought it’s healthier to drink brewed coffee from organic beans than instant.*rolled eyes*
    I know it’s not so primal but my schedule this semester is just crazy and I love coffee too much to give it up completely..(I used to drink 5,6 cups a day)I think one cup in the morning and one more in the afternoon before that dreaded boring lecture is sensible…

    until I found a better alternative! I found bliss when I saw that 99% cocoa lindt chocolate bar in cologne..I didn’t even know it existed…anyways, not everyone love it’s taste on their tongue, but u can give this a try:

    home made hot choclate with a hint of coconut smell
    this is what I did:

    take three squres of that 99%chocolate
    a spoonful of coconut flour,

    blend and mix in ur food processer until its are fine to your satisfaction (mine is also small so it works fine)

    that’s it!

    as i said, my coffee machine only makes one cup at a time, so I take a spoon of the mixture and brew it like coffee~

    result: superb hot chocolate full of aroma, no sugar, very low carb, a shot of anti-oxidant and I’m drinking it as a substitute for coffee in the morning now~


    nutrition facts of lindt’s 99% cocoa chocolate bar:
    (I found it on some chocolataholic

    per 100g containing:
    (p.s. the bar is altra thin, only 50g)

    energy: 530 kcal
    protein: 13 g
    fat: 50g
    carb: 8g (!!!!!???)



  33. Although primal for the most part, I tend to be indulgent with caffeine (mostly from black tea), raw milk and aspartame. I like aspartame because it made (and still makes) it much easier for me to stay away of the refined carbs.

    While there’s nothing primal about aspartame, I’ve yet to find any hard-evidence supporting it’s terrible reputation. That it harms us by tricking the body into thinking it’s sugar, or that it promotes Metabolic Syndrome because it tricks us into consuming more calories are, to me, very bland reasons to label aspartame as unhealthy.

    Have any of you guys found any compelling evidence of aspartame being a harmful substance for normal humans?

    I haven’t, and until I do, I’d argue it’s a useful way good alternative to fructose or refined carbs.

  34. What about a search option for MDA? It would be nice to be able to pull up all past articles that mentioned coffee, or dairy or whatever a reader might be asking about that you have already addressed.

  35. @rob
    there is a search option, its on the right hand side, under the categories, above the big red newsletter button
    : )

  36. Rob – Yeah, we have a search option, but it isn’t that great. I’ll be rolling out a completely new redesign of MDA soon with all kinds of new navigation features, so check back in coming weeks!

  37. Mark I think a forum in the site would be brilliant. It could have a FAQ section, it would make you aware of the latest general concerns of your readers, and would allow the community to strengthen a lot more through the exchange of ideas.

  38. Re: SerialSinner questioning aspartame.

    As you may know there are no studies compelling enough for the FDA to discontinue their approval of aspartame in products. There are parties for and against aspartame.

    For myself, personally, I don’t believe aspartame is safe and it’s especially not “primal.”

    My personal opinion is formed from my own circumstances. My mother has suffered from MS for almost 30 years now, and she is very active in the MS Society, as a result I know numerous individuals who suffer from MS. Every single person I’ve ever spoken to about aspartame has told me that they were heavy diet-soda drinkers, and some still are. As was my mother. I believe there has to be some kind of a connection. Studies are studies, but the proof is in the pudding, no? As a result I’m staying away from it, but it’s an individual choice with whatever you want to put in your body. I’m sure the FDA approves some food items you probably wouldn’t touch. I suggest breaking from aspartame intake and see if you find a difference. For me the difference since I quit diet coke was phenomenal.

  39. I concur with the forum idea – a wiki would be awesome, as well. A great place for people to share static information such as recipes and what not. The current format is great, but kind of annoying to just browse the recipes as there are multiple recipes on one blog post making them somewhat difficult to find on occasion.

  40. Without a doubt if you want to get fit, strong and lean while commiting relatively small amounts of time to exercise each day, then look no further than crossfit. From my experience injury generally occurs when individuals who think they are fit and strong(and against advice) attemp elite level cf workouts and are found wanting. Crossfit destroys egos(not bodies)and thus humility is where the community gains its appeal. If your just starting out youll be lucky to even touch a barbell, most probably a kettlebell, skipping rope, broomstick and the support of everyone around you, will be your weapons of choice. Not mentioned often enough is that The imense mental toughness you will draw from the intensity of crossfit is carried over into all aspects of life, healthy choices in general become more clear cut. Strenght in mind and body.

  41. #7 – a bunch of other people have already responded that fish oil would be good to add due to its better omega-3 profile, and as a great source of good fats. I definitely agree, but I would also caution AGAINST taking flax oil. The lignans contained in flax oil are phytoestrogens – ie plant (phyto) molecules that mimic estrogen in structure. As a man, you want as little estrogen in your diet as possible. Most men age 40+ are estrogen dominant (more estrogen than testosterone), and being estrogen dominant leads to hair loss, obesity, enlarged prostates, cardiovascular disease, loss of energy and libido, etc. Other things to avoid in order to reduce the amount of estrogen you are consuming are: anything soy based, pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and anything that has leached plastic molecules (ie, microwaving a food or drink in plastic).

    Most women actually want to limit phytoestrogens as well, since most women of any age are also estrogen dominant (especially those on hormonal birth control pills), whereas women are much healthier when they are progesterone dominant. Women see the same problems as men when they are estrogen dominant, except replace prostate problems with breast, uterine, and ovarian fibroid problems and cancer. Ignore all the bullshit studies you see from soy manufacturers touting the “health benefits” of soy phytoestrogens. They’re bad for both men and women.

    PS. I second the request to add a forum to MDA – it would be extremely useful I think.

  42. Question 9: I’ve done a lot of intermittent fasting and I find it PREFERABLE to workout in the morning as opposed to the evening. I’m more alert and perform better, and presumably I’m accessing my body’s fat reserves for energy rather than my latest meal. Not to mention a good morning workout gives you energy for the rest of the day, whereas an evening workout gets you too worked-up to go to sleep within a few hours.

    My routine is to workout in the A.M. at the end of the fast and break my fast with my post-workout meal, which is my biggest and most-complete meal of the day.

    Question 10: I feel like coffee and tea are sensible vices, taken straight. If you use cream and/or sugar, they are less-sensible, but certainly at the low end of the decadence scale. Personally, I prefer not to need the caffeine to get me through my day. That said, I cycle in and out of my coffee addiction.

    I take mine black, and I recently discovered the wonders of a locally-roasted Kenya Peaberry single origin that blows chain brands out of the water for only about $1/lb more. I figure if it’s going to be a vice, I’d better at least get the most out of it.

    The high-quality singe origin beans at least feel like they have less caffeine than the store brands (way fewer jitters for me than Starbucks), and as good as they taste, you won’t WANT to add any cream or sugar.

  43. As a reply to the last comment, try to become accustomed to drinking coffee straight and black.

  44. Guess I wasn’t very clear. I only ever drink it straight and black. I was recommending that people who need cream and sugar find a better coffee bean that will make them want it black a lot more.

  45. Yoork, I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s MS, and I understand your caution regarding aspartame. I’m not a big user, but it makes my life much easier, particularly when it comes to coffee. I think Kyle makes a good point though. Adding sugar and cream to premium coffee sounds like adding coke to a single malt or ketchup to a good prime rib.

    On the other hand, many of us discovered the Primal lifestyle thesis as a result of being skeptical of common nutrition guidelines and open to evidence. Because of the above I find it hard to take a stand against aspartame. More details about the interesting controversy can be found here.

  46. Question 1
    As part of the primal blueprint, fermented dairy is preferred (plain greek yogurt, kefir) for its probiotic properties. Raw milk is a good nutritious source of fat, carbs, and protein, but pasteurized dairy leads to all kinds of health troubles. I will only drink raw milk. As for cheeses, it’s a good source of fat and protein (no carbs). I would go for raw once again. Once a food is pasteurized, it is a processed food.

    Question 5
    Any type of exercise program is dangerous if you don’t use proper technique. If you attend a CrossFit Certification, you will learn that technique comes before intensity. It is virtually impossible for someone to injure themselves doing pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. Use the free information provided on the mainsite to learn the technique on the exercise before you do it. If there’s a CrossFit affiliate near you, go in for a free introductory workout (you will be hooked). Or treat yourself to a Level 1 Certification. It’s well worth it.

    Question 7
    From what I’ve read from various sources, you can derive Omega-3’s from fish, as well as plant foods like flaxseeds and walnuts. The body absorbs the DHA and EPA Omega-3’s from fish much better than it absorbs ALA Omega-3’s from plant sources. If I could only take one supplement, it would be fish oil due to the highly absorbable Omega-3 content. I should also mention that to my knowledge there are no Omega-3’s in olive oil, but it is a good healthy fat. Flaxseed oil could be a great addition to a salad dressing mixed with olive oil and lemon. Yum!

  47. #7
    I agree with Ben above and other that fish oil is your best bet. Plant based sources of omega-3s are largely ALA which must be converted in the body to EPA and DHA. Apparently some people do this conversion much better than others, so the direct EPA and DHA omega-3s in fish oil are a better bet. I had forgotten about the estrogen-like effects attributed to flax, but I stopped using it years ago for this very reason. Olive oil is mostly mono-unsaturated fat which is a healthy fat too. I highly recommend Carlson’s Fish Oil which comes in 500 ml bottles. It isn’t cheap, but I don’t worry about rancid oil like you often get with the cheaper gel caps. Carlson’s has a pleasant lemon flavor to minimize the fishy taste. If you go the gel cap route make sure to bite into a cap every so often (yuck!, I know) to see if the oil tastes rancid. If you consume rancid gel caps without knowing it you are actually promoting inflammation and doing yourself harm instead of good. That’s why I like Carlson’s. Shop around as prices vary, and there are a few good on-line dealers if you take the time to look for them.


  48. #5 regarding CrossFit

    First off let me state my complete bias as I am a CrossFit trainer (a qualified trainer, thank you very much) and affiliate owner.

    … How this rumor started that CrossFit is dangerous I will never understand. Injury rates with CrossFit are LESS than traditional physical training programs, and SIGNIFICANTLY less than, say, long distance running, which seems to be the most popular athletic endeavour these days. If CrossFit killed or injured people at the rate that people die or get hurt in Marathons, they would have been out of business years ago. Instead its popularity is exploding all around the world. They (we) must be on to something…

    But CAN you injur yourself doing crossfit? Of course! You can injur yourself sitting at a desk all day too. Nothing is without risk.

    I used to be a competitive bodybuilder and was plagued with several chronic injuries in my shouler, back, and calf as a result of way too much time training non-functional movements. When was the last time you did a lateral shouler raise in real life anyway?

    The movements in CrossFit are safe and highly effective, but the workouts your see posted on are for highly trained elite level athletes! Don’t start there, for goodness sakes. Several people have already posted the plentiful resources available for getting started and working your way toward doing workouts “as Rx’d”. If you can afford it, find yourself a good affiliate with good trainers. Sure there are bad ones out there, like any industry, so shop around.

    I have everything from kids to grannies that do CrossFit. They use the same movement patterns, just scaled to different levels depending on their abilities. SCALING SCALING SCALING. I can’t say it enough. Nobody graduates from the wooden dowel to the barbell until their form is consistently accurate. When we changed our training methodology from the old 3 sets of 10 reps of isolated strength movements to CrossFit-style high intensity functional movements amazing things happened. Injury rates and downtime among our clients dropped like a stone. They got stronger, faster, more flexible – “fitter”, in a nutshell. Better results with less injury was all we needed to see to make CrossFit our sole training program for every one of our athletes.

  49. Re: Caffeine.
    I returned to drinking caffeinated teas and coffee AFTER becoming primal about 10 months ago. I think my body was looking to fill the void left by the loss of so many vices from my pre-primal days. It must have been a way to satisfy cravings for sugars and carbs, even though nowadays I never use sugar and seldom take milk. I suspect that I will regret all over again the dependency on a daily cup, but so it goes. I really think that all addictions are bad news (and if you don’t believe me try going a day without your cuppa and see what happens).

    But here’s the thing: Who knows if our HG, Pleistocene ancestors encountered caffeine in the daily lives? If they did, it certainly didn’t come from brewed coffee or tea, but perhaps other sources. And critically, how often were these caffeine sources encountered? It’s hard to imagine that Grok had a daily dose of any kind of caffeine. The vagaries of the natural world just wouldn’t have permitted it. That is true about most other food sources from back in the day.

    So my answer to the question is that addiction is never primal, nor is consuming the same foods day in and day out.

  50. #7 – following up with more info – if you’re worried about purity of fish oil supplements, there is an international testing body that certifies fish oils being pure (no heavy metals, impurities, etc.):

    Also, it is probably an excellent idea to take cod liver oil through the winter (assuming you don’t live in a tropical place), and then fish oil through the summer in order to get sufficient Vitamin D in the sunlight-deprived months. More info on that:

  51. #5 The statement that CrossFit doesn’t pay enough attention to form is a ridiculous generalization. In my CrossFit affiliate a rep doesn’t count unless the form is great. Of course there will be CrossFitters that have little to no regard for form but anyone who’s worked out at any gym has seen the dude swinging his entire body trying to bicep curl entirely too much weight. EVERY activity has followers that don’t play by the rules, but you can’t say that is what it’s ment to be.

    CrossFit is by far the safest and most effective means of fitness I have seen… as long as you follow the rules. I hold numerous other certifications that are considered “superior” but I only use CrossFit to train myself, my family, and my clients. My advice to everyone is go out and try it! But do it at reputable affiliate with soemone who knows what they’re doing.

  52. Re: CrossFit

    CF boards are run by the kool-aid drinking faction who hate those against CF.

    I wouldn’t have posted anything about CF Mark, you should have expected the flame war and MDA is better than that.

    CF has its place, but its for those with expendable income for sure. As far as form, I chuckle. What videos have you all been looking at?

    The form is absolutely horrid. You take those exercises outside of CrossFit to any person who does gymnastics or Oly lifting they’d laugh at this its HORRID. And people want to be this?

    That is the CF games 2008 winner. You mean to tell me that is what people are gunning to be like? Craptastic form for the sake of “intensity”. Ugh, I’d rather go hunt and gather.

  53. As a clarinet player, I use my face muscles all the time, and I can tell you that toning your face muscles has no real impact on your overall well-being. You’re better off spending your energy twiddling your thumbs, (which will at least improve your coordination). 🙂

    I drink coffee and tea almost every day, sometimes with a little organic cream, and I eat local, organic, whole-milk yogurt several times per week and good cheese whenever I can afford it!

  54. Question #6, sku# 21150…

    Yes, they actually sell facial exercising equipment. I doubt it does much for your wrinkles but it should help your wallet lose weight.

  55. 1. I eat cheese off and on these days, but used to eat quite a bit of it in my earlier low-carb days. It never adversely affected me. However, some people do seem to be affected negatively, and it can even stall weight loss. I’ve read that casein (a dairy protein) can actually provoke an insulin response, even as an isolated substance (i.e., in the absence of carbohydrate). I would say it’s probably fine for some, and not fine for others. I would experiment to see what works for YOU. If your goal is weight loss and you’re not losing weight, cut the dairy and see if that was the holdup. Good luck.

  56. Bob’s Question 7 –

    Fish Oil would be great to supplement with.
    They support heart health, joint health, and healthy brain function. Lately I’ve been reading that they even prevent asthma or improve symptoms. You could focus on eating oily fish such as salmon, herring, or trout but the fish oil supplements are much easier to consume and easier on the your breath. Taking four grams a day should do the trick.

  57. 1. I use to eat quite a bit of cheese but now I will have mainly Fetta cheese cubed up in a salad or sometimes grated Parmesan over a red sauce dish. I occasionally will use a little grated hard cheese and perhaps only about once or twice a week. On weekends I tend to not be so diligent and enjoy some smoked cheese. I tolerate cheese very well but do limit my intake to mainly white cheeses which are far less processed.

    8. Like anything that is Diet or low in sugar I personally prefer to avoid these and go for the actual sugar variety if I have to – but strictly limiting these choices. Water is my main drink most of the time. I read somewhere awhile back that artificial sweeteners may be linked to Multiple Sclerosis, this was enough for me to never ever buy it.

    9. I work out with kettle bells at around 6.30am and feel this works best for me. I use to always feel hungry about an hour or so after exercising but since cutting breakfast out due to no longer feeling the need to eat then, I seem to be fasting from after my evening meal right through till about 11am or so in the morning. Then I might just have some almonds and a piece of fruit.

    10. I drink a cup of very light tea with quarter teaspoon raw sugar in the morning. About 9am a cup of coffee with same amount raw sugar and a dash of full cream milk. (in my low fat days I use to always use skim milk). At night a cup of green tea.

  58. I would argue that everyone IS evolved to drink milk. Human milk and any other milk have the same components, if in different ratios. For most Northern Europeans, some parts of Africa, and Northern Asia (Mongols) milk is a important part of their heritage and their bodies are well suited to drink it. However, for large portions of the population, the human body stops producing the right enzymes to process milk correctly as it matures. Most importantly, lactose is not processes well. If your body handles it well, I would say go for it. If it doesn’t I would steer clear. Also, traditionally made cheeses, especially aged cheese, have almost no lactose and should be alright for everyone. Most cheeses made in the US don’t use the lactic acid creating bacteria (which eat the lactose) and therefore will most likely bother you if you are lactose intolerant. Finally, check out the traditional Swiss, some of the tribes in Africa, and the Mongols. They all ate/are eating almost exclusively milk products, and are/were in incredible physical condition.

    I have mixed feeling about Cross-Fit. Cross-Fit is good for people who aren’t familiar with a wide variety of training and good for promoting general fitness. For people who go to the gym without a plan and end up doing the same thing every time, it’s great. I have done a lot of their workouts and enjoy them. However, if you are training towards something specific, Cross-Fit may be too general. Also, I don’t really agree with (and I know this is going to upset some people) the concept of “slop” in lifts to insure higher repetitions. I HAVE seen people get hurt doing Cross-Fit because of horrible form when tired, failing on some of the more advanced movements, and over repetition of the same movements. (This is not likely to be a problem with beginners.) I guess what I am saying is if you are an advanced athlete with specific goals, Cross-Fit may help, but shouldn’t be your only source of training information. Despite this, for beginners it is a great way to get exposed to a lot of good information and promote general fitness. The main thing I don’t like Cross-Fit is a lot of the people who do Cross-Fit are kind of cultish about it. Most of the people, who do Cross-Fit in my gym, get extremely aggressive and upset if anyone says ANYTHING critical about Cross-Fit.

  59. To most questions asked;

    Take easy steps into your new life style.
    See how it effects you, keep what works for you, leave behind what doesn’t.

    Keep at it and be gentle on yourself.


  60. I’ve been convinced to take fish oil now! My next question is, which is more effective, straight oil or capsules?

  61. On question #7: I currently supplement with cod liver oil and fish capsules. About 4g total. I’ve always wondered if all fish oils are created equal and after reading this article

    am even a bit less sure about exactly what type of fish oil is best. Salmon vs. other deep water fish; one kind of salmon vs. another. So much choice!

  62. I just happened to see an ad in the Coscto magazine for 100% natural wild Alsakan salmon oil fish capsules, 1000mg.Their products are usually high quality and prices are reasonable They also sell Iceland health max. strength Omega 3 fish oil softgels I’m going there this week, so i’ll check them out.

  63. 6. I don’t know why you’d want to fool with separate “facial exercises,” but I’ve derived a number of benefits from oil swishing / pulling / whatever the current trendy name is every morning. You’re not eating these oils, so you don’t have to worry about getting the wrong fats. Use an oil like sunflower or safflower, preferably cold pressed and not rancid or deodorized (meaning it was rancid but they’re trying to fool you). Keep it in the refrigerator. Swish oil on an empty stomach, preferably before you do anything else when you wake in the morning, all around your mouth. If you gag, spit it out and start over (just use a small spoonful). Do it for 15 minutes or as long as you can. This will work your face, work out some of the snot in your nose and throat, and I believe that over enough time (maybe weeks or months), it helped that double chin we all have in my family (I am not overweight). It may temporarily enlarge your sublingual glands. It’s supposed to “remove toxins” from your saliva and/or blood stream. I just like how much cleaner my mouth feels after doing it. Different from simply brushing teeth and tongue or gargling with water or a solution made with water.

  64. 1 dairy: there is no natural limit to the amount of goat’s cheese I can consume, but most of the time I eat only an ounce of two of mature cheddar per week. However I do get through a lot of fermented double cream (perhaps half a litre per week). That contains very little lactose or casein by the time the bacteria are done with it. I actually have no problem with lactose digestion, but avoid milk because I don’t want the carbs.

    8 diet soda: I dislike the taste of artificial sweeteners and avoid them. I never had much of a sweet tooth, so I feel no need to consume pseudo-sugary drinks (with the exception of a very occasional gin and diet tonic).

    10 caffeine: I love filter coffee and drink several large cups daily -black, no sugar, not too strong. I did try giving it up, but since I don’t get the jitters or stay awake at night after drinking coffee all day, I decided there was no point in avoiding it.

    1. Valda, can you tell me how you ferment your cream? I haven’t had success with fermenting cream so I have to avoid it for now. Would love to know more!!

  65. I like my alternative to sugar in coffee…it’s still sugar, but I feel better about Green & Black’s Organic Hot Chocolate Drink. The first ingredient is raw cane sugar, and then it goes on to various fair trade dark chocolate ingredients – SO GOOD in coffee – and organic.

    Speaking of which – why is EVERYTHING organic now? I don’t believe any of it. Hopefully it doesn’t become one of those overused words that will soon mean nothing.

    Sadly, I’m not primal, but I’m so happy reading this site – it’s one of my favorites and pretty much the only one I’ve found where people aren’t vicious, mean, deragotory and generally cowards hiding behind their anonymous internet handles.

    I bet Grok had lots of buddies and they all needed each other to get through the hard times and he’s clearly a great role model.

    Rock on primal people! And thanks to Mark for a truly positive and inspiring place to visit.

  66. #5 CrossFit
    …Be careful driving your car because I heard there are a lot of injuries with that LOL

    I’m a crossfitter (for 2 yrs) and a trainer and helped to open a gym. I chose to do crossfit because it’s the closest thing I’ve found that combines all levels of using my BODY to it’s fullest ability & capability. I have had 3 knee-surgeries, no probs since learning how to squat correctly — I appreciate that even if the movement involves a barbell, it’s still teaching me the most efficient FUNCTIONAL way to lift — which translates to me being able to heft that 50lb bag of dogfood up on the shelf, or lift a small child, properly.
    I am very proud to say I have taken totally NON-ATLETIC sedentary people, and helped them become crossfitters… helped them to feel empowered.

    I am extremely PROUD that we have videos of good form AND bad form for people to learn from. Most other sports never show you the WHOLE PICTURE. We are only human and our community SHARES the good/bad/&ugly. We learn from our mistakes, and don’t keep ’em in the closet. So I think it’s pretty funny that everyone picks on that, instead of understanding that we have one of the higest DATA SETS of scientific information & results — and the percentage of injury and terrible form, can be accounted for and is LOW.

    ’nuff said.

    1. I disagree. I think the CF community keeps a lot in the closet. I think “coach” needs to be a lot more open with the methods to the madness. Sometimes I get the sense that CF’ers feel they are getting a beneficial punishment. As if coach is their benevolent dictatory. Also, who’s gonna take advice from a guy who looks like that? Totally creepy in my opinion. – he’s the real deal. No cultish nonsense. Just jacked-out and successful athletes.

  67. 4. I have only given it a quick glance, but it seems vitamin A could protect against kidney stones. That would mean a lot of carrots, I guess 🙂

    Anyways, you can dig deeper at The Daily Lipid, where I ran across the article.

    Also, here’s a link to a study confirming(?) this (I have not read the study)(There’s a link to it in the fourth paragraph of the article as well)

    Good Luck!

  68. #9 – Thanks for the responses. Though I prefer lifting in the late afternoon (5-ish, more focused) I still try to get the cardio done in the AM. Makes me feel energized for the day too.
    Just wanted others opinions.
    Thanks again!
    Ron from IL

  69. Re: food combining… There is absolutely no scientific basis behind the food combining theory. Most foods are a combination of protein and carbs to begin with and to imply that one needs to separate “carb” foods from “protein” foods, or to separate proteins of different origin, or to not eat fruit with anything else is pure shenanigan.

    Now, with that said, most people have, at most, and in my humble opinion, pretty fair digestive capacities to begin with (following the cumulative effects of less-than-optimal nutrition) and probably eat too much of the wrong foods at any one meal. Hence, what food combining does allow for is reduction in the quantity of food that is taken in during a meal through simplification of those said meals (fewer options at each meal). Hence the accompanying “better digestion” and loss of weight observed in many instances…

  70. RE: Question 5 (Crossfit)

    As the great late Dr. Mel C. Siff would have said, there is no such thing as a dangerous exercise, only faulty techniques (and programming) in performing the said exercise. Hence the myth that full squats are bad for the knees, that it is bad to do lunges with the knees going forward pass the foot (ever try to run like that!!), that machines are safer than freeweights or that endless crunches will make your core “stronger” and help protect your back…

    Crossfit is nothing more than what it claims to be: a means of increasing work capacity across broad time and modal domain. The methodology behind the programming requires the use of “functional” multi-joint exercises and changing everything up constantly so as to always be “surprising” the body.

    Now, the founder, Greg Glassman, has insisted on numerous occasions that the WOD (workout of the day) is in no way meant to be done “as is” by any one person walking into a gym for the first time. That would be ridiculous, and certainly no more “brighter” than looking up Charles Poliquin, or Alwyn Cosgrove or Eric Cressey’s latest training program and giving that a try if your highest level of intensity over the last five years has included getting up and walking to the fridge to get a beer at halftime. First, movements have to be learned and PROPER motor patterns have to be engrained; the proper mechanics, if you will, have to be laid down. This is where proper coaching comes in very handy, especially with the more technically demanding Olympic lifts and their variations. Then, these movements have to be repeated over and over, PROPERLY and then and only then, (faster or heavier) should intensity become part of the equation.

    Of course then, Crossfit is no more dangerous than any other program but again, one must use some common sense. I’ve been discussing and debating the benefits and disadvantages of Crossfit with people for years now, including on the Crossfit forum and T-Nation; the bottom line is, there is much to be gained by following Crossfit and the general iron game world could benefit from paying attention. For the most part, acerbic comments that have been written about Crossfit stem from ignorance and simply looking at the WOD posted on the website and deeming this whole thing cultish, stupid and dangerous.

    No one knowledgeable enough in the Crossfit world ever claimed that Crossfit could create the world’s next best sprinter, or the next world-record-breaking Olympic weightlifter, or the best marathoner. Those are events and sports that require specialized training. And Crossfit is quite exactly at the opposite end of the specialist-generalist spectrum: their specialty is “not specializing”!!! In more scientific terms, Crossfit could be called an ongoing and eternal form of general physical preparedness (or GPP), and should be seen as that. The fact that some people have turned Crossfit into a sport simply means that GPP is now being taken to a different level. And what could be wrong with that…

  71. You will have to pry my Java out of my cold dead hands!

    ADD may have been advantageous to Grok as he switched from generalised awareness of his total surroundings to hyperfocussing on one specific task, but this is not so useful in the modern world. Caffeine helps me concentrate (and also helps me sleep)

    I take it with a dash of milk, about the only thing I have carried over from my low fat diet is a preference for skim milk. I don’t have much on account of the carbs, but I confess to finding cheese a useful food, protein and nice healthy sat fats, ideal for snacking often along with *small* quantities of carbs for prolonged energy. Try creamed goat cheese with blueberries stuffed into it on an oatcake (the oatcake is to keep the sticky stuff off your hands, you may prefer alternatives)

  72. What’s certain, though, is the mountain of epidemiological evidence behind PM’s powers, in the form of centuries of use by Thai men and women. Dr. Sandy detailed many stories to me: In one particularly memorable account he described an 82-year-old woman whose daily consumption of PM kept her hair naturally jet black, and her body as spry as a woman decades her junior. Amazingly, she still had the energy she needed to chase after her grandchildren.
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  73. Re: #1

    I eat a lot of organic raw (white) cheddar… about 1/4 to a whole block a day (one block being 200 grams.) It’s delicious and I haven’t had any problems with allergies even though I always did growing up when I ate the processed stuff… I think raw cheese is worlds apart from pasteurized.

  74. Tara

    #1 Fermented Cream

    I happen already to have a yoghurt maker, so all I do is fill the canister with heavy cream, mix in about a tablespoonful of live yoghurt, and leave for ten hours or so. I think the yoghurt maker maintains a temperature of 40C. The longer you leave the cream at this temperature, the more sour it gets. When it’s done it has a consistency like set yoghurt, though not as firm. My partner makes his own yoghurt, but I think buttermilk or live yoghurt from the supermarket would work just as well to start off the fermentation. If your oven has a convection cooking setting as low as 40C, that would be a good alternative.

    If you can’t use either of these heating methods, try searching Stephan’s blog at for a lower-tech way.

    I also use my yoghurt maker for soaking quinoa and lentils – Stephan has good advice on that too, if you’re interested.

  75. I know lots of people will “cut out dairy”. I have so many problems with that. The Mayo Clinic Raw Milk Cure would be one for starters. People were given just raw milk and recovered from all sorts of incurable illnesses. This is how the Clinic was founded.

    Maybe its more about the “type” of milk. Its source and whether its pasteurized, homogenized, full of hormones and anti-biotics. I personally try to choose milk that is non-homogenized, best scenario, grass-fed and raw.

    I also make my own kefir. This is not the stuff you buy in stores. This is the real kefir grains from the Caucasus Mountain Region. It has both yeasts and bacterias up to 70 different strains. Compare that with maybe 5 on your typical label of yogurt. It also has trillions in bacteria count. So do I cut dairy? No way, this is a very healing food and is reputed to heal IBS. I know this for a fact and suffered from this terribly. Poor digestion, poor nutrient absorption, it was a mess. The whey from this kefir is particularly powerful. It is absolutely devastating to candida in the gut. For recipes and more information and sources see my site.

    Milk when it is pure, raw or cultured is a very valuable food for healing and improving the terrain of the gut and is a key essential to good health. It is also being shown to improve weight-loss and I see that too, in a diabetic, no less.

  76. Question 8

    All artificial sweeteners stall weight loss. What an irony.

    My suggestion is a little raw, unfiltered honey, maple syrup, sucanat, stevia and a little agave. People are divided on agave syrup. I would also replace sodas and so-called vitamin waters by having water with real squeezed lemon or lime and adding unrefined salt to it for the trace minerals. If you sweeten this it tastes rather like a non-alcoholic margherita (natural sweetener, of course.)

  77. Acid/Alkaline Balance
    Calcium is key to this balance in the blood. Good sources are dairy and bone broths.

    Eating too many grains with phytic acid, will bind with calcium and causes it not to be absorbed properly.

    Even small amounts of grains eaten should be fermented or sprouted to neutralize the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients which also inhibit the B-vitamins from being utilized.

    Stress and sugar also cause problems.

  78. Question 4 Oxalic Acid

    Steaming spinach lightly will ensure that there is no oxalic acid and will also make the nutrients easier to assimilate.

    Take it easy on kale, cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts eaten raw for the same reason.
    Soaking nuts in water will get rid of the problem there. I am not aware of these acids with berries.

    I love spinach salads but take it easy on this now. But steamed spinach is delicious whipped into a beautiful cream soup. With a dollop of creme fraiche on top is a nice finish.

    1. Does that work for spinach and broccoli cooked in, say, a wok? Or does it have to be steaming specifically?

      1. You can certainly cook them in the wok. The reason I mention steaming is because it is the most delicate and will be the closest to eating raw.

        My favorite way to eat spinach is now dumping it into egg drop soup. YUM! I buy it frozen so it’s always ready to use.

  79. Question 7 Omegas
    First of all I think you mean are you getting enough omega- 3. Olive oil has mostly omega-9. Flax oil has omega-3 but the best is fish oil for omega-3. My preferred source is cod liver oil that has all the vitamins intact.

  80. I also like Valda soak all my beans, grains and nuts. In whey for beans and grains to destroy all the phtyic acid and other anti-nutrients which inhibit mineral absorbtion and my nuts in a mixture of aalt and water for about 7 hours. All beans should be soaked 24 hours and lentils around 7.

  81. Question 4

    Preventing Kidney Stones.

    Yes, berries DO have oxalic acid which can be neutralized by cooking them. I have also now learned that the best thing to prevent stones is stay hydrated. This is number 1. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day between meals can get rid of stones as well. High protein intake is associated with stones but if you eat adequate (not high) protein with healthy fats this is probably the healthiest solution along with plenty of water betweeen meals.

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