Meet Mark

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

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January 27 2009

Meet Grok

By Mark Sisson
75 Comments

The Definitive Guide to Grok

He’s the oft-cited star of our Paleolithic backdrop, the poster-persona of the Primal Blueprint itself. We would be remiss (and a little rude, don’t you think?) to overlook formal introductions. “It’s about time!” some of you might be saying to yourselves. Let’s meet the man of the eon!

First off, he is simultaneously his own person/personality (incidentally male) and an inclusive, non-gendered representative of all our beloved primal ancestors (male or female who spanned the primeval globe). It’s Grok as both construed individual and collective archetype, you might say. In either capacity, Grok serves as our primal exemplar, a figurative model for evolutionarily tried and true lifestyle behaviors: diet, exercise, sleep, stress, etc. And, as Mark’s Daily Apple itself has evolved over the last few years, we’ve grown quite attached to him, you might say. A likeable fellow, really, who, incidentally, also has a charming family – a strong, resourceful wife and two healthy children (a young boy and infant girl).

Grok, as we have come to know and love him, is a rather typical hunter-gatherer. He hearkens from, say, the San Joaquin Valley of (now) California. Born before the dawn of agriculture, he lives the life of a forager – hunting game and gathering all manner of roots, shoots, seeds and fruits for both himself and his family/small band. He’s perhaps 30 years old, on the upper end of life expectancy in his day, but he has the remarkable health to live far beyond that if he can avoid the traps of his time: accidents, predators, illness – far different threats than ours today.

You see, by modern standards, he would be the pinnacle of physiological vigor. Picture a tall, strapping man: lean, ripped, agile, even big-brained (by modern comparison). And as for what’s underneath? An enviable workup: low/no systemic inflammation, low insulin and blood glucose readings, healthy (i.e. ideally functional) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. “Hmm,” you say, closing your menu. “I’ll have what he’s having.”

And what would that be exactly? Hardly the fare of our modern diet. Wild seeds, grasses, and indigenous nut varieties. Seasonal vegetables and leaves. Roots (once he mastered the art of cooking). Berries and other fruits when they were available. Meats and fish whenever he could get them: small animals like rabbit and squirrel as well as occasional big game like bear, bison, deer, and mammoth. Grok and his clan knew a good thing when they had it. No wasteful, finicky butchering methods here. Everything remotely edible was eaten: organs, muscle, marrow.

Grok, to be sure, works hard for his dinner. Chasing game has made him a solid, nimble sprinter. Regular foraging (for food and firewood, etc.) as well as the occasional necessary migrations have developed impressive physical endurance. The obligatory lifting, hauling, and building of primal life have made him tough and burly. Regular exposure to the elements has made him robust and resilient.

But in spite of all of this, he leads a life of relative peace, consistent rhythm, adequate sleep, little stress. There are times of scarcity, to be sure, but his body is adapted to generally weather their strain. There are the physical threats of predators, but he has the savvy and fitness to usually avoid these. On his side are the biochemical capabilities to, by and large, handle the demands of his day: a fine-tuned, selected-for orchestration of hormonal release and up-regulation that works efficiently for day-to-day activities and surges into action for necessary crises.

Lucky for him, his diet and activity supported those physiological processes. As hard as he worked for his food, he gained an optimum compilation of omega-3 rich protein, unpolluted fats, and peak antioxidants (those wild varieties of fruits and veggies, as opposed to watered down cultivated versions we moderns usually eat). The intermittent shortages activated subtle but powerful up-regulating mechanisms that could typically keep him healthy until the next feast could be earned. His efforts in obtaining sustenance and maintaining basic shelter and security healthily challenged his cardiovascular system, built his muscles, strengthened his bones and bolstered his immune system. The primal life demanded a steady balance of sprinting, weight lifting and nearly constant low level labor.

And stress? Life in his era might be called short and brutish, but we think that’s not the full story. Laborious, yes. Taxing, yes. Precarious, yes. Strenuous and at times perilous, but not defined by the chronic stress to which we moderns often find ourselves chained. Grok and his kind – by necessity – lived primarily in the moment addressing this need, this meal, this danger. It was a life of simple sustenance, but he lived and worked within a family and tribe to share the load. And in between these efforts, he was also free to live, rest and enjoy his own moments of peace walking by a river or sitting by the fire. A short life? For most, yes. A brutish life? Some of the time. But Grok’s life, for all its uncertainty and simplicity, also offered the basic human enjoyments of happiness, family, quiet, even beauty. As arduous as Grok and his clan’s life was, there was a certain freedom in living for daily sustenance rather than for future acquisition. As imminent as death might have been in his world, it’s also true that those of his era rarely lived a day in ill-health.

And that is a glimpse of our good man Grok, official primal prototype – his life, his practices, his physiology, his disposition. How different our lives seem in comparison. But how possible the lessons for health. The artless health of his day fused with the know-how and the plenty of ours. (Grok couldn’t have imagined it so good.) Grok’s guide, our gain – what the PB is all about. Thanks, dude.

Have your thoughts on the primal personage? Grok thanks you for your support. “It’s good to be among friends….”

Further Reading:

Did Grok Really Eat that Much Meat?

Would Grok Chow the Cheese Plate?

Didn’t Grok Eat Raw Meat?

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

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75 thoughts on “Meet Grok”

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  1. p.s. sweet Grok design. anyway we could get that on a MDA t-shirt? anyone else want one?

  2. Mark,

    Where did the idea of calling this primal being ‘Grok’ come from? Having read “Stranger in a strange land” I was surprised to find the use of Grok as it is in the Primal manking world.

    Any ideas?

  3. Great question, fatehunter. You’ll have to read the book to find out!

    Holly, Owen –
    There will likely be T-shirts in the future for all the Grokkers out there. Keep checking back. I’ll let you know when they are available.

    Cheers!

  4. BTW – What does everyone think of the Grok graphic? It is going on chapter title pages in the upcoming book. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    I may end up having a more 3-D type character of Grok designed somewhere down the line, but for now I am just looking for something that is more of a simple logo for our role model than anything.

    Thanks in advance for your comments.

  5. Mark,
    I must say that I LOVE the graphic on this page. It’s simple, striking and succinctly sums up the lifestyle: that of a vigorous, capable, leaping, bounding hunter. I can’t imagine an image that says so much on first glance.
    I’d wear it on a suit lapel. 🙂
    Thank a million for ALL of this.

    Owen

    1. That is an interesting point about the Amazonian people. Having done some study on North American Native Indians, I was always amazed at how healthy and fit they looked in old pictures from the 1800’s that I came across. They were hunters and gatherers (with a little horticulture mixed in). To me they resemble what Grok looks like.

  6. Mark:

    I really like the logo as is. I think the “shadow drawing” quality makes it look like a cave painting—superficially simple, but much more complex at a second (or third) glance. Kind of like the primal blueprint, in fact!

  7. Mark,

    I like the graphic! Another “Grok” image that really caught my attention was on John Berardi’s site. He wrote an article on the fitness of Neanderthal Man. The image he used on the first page he got out of some periodical. Here’s the link to the article with the image he used.

    http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/nutrition/built1.htm

  8. Hi Grok. I am your misguided, messed up, convoluted and “westernized” offspring. I am trying to recover though 😉

    I like the logo. It is maybe a little too graceful and “Ballet” for me… but good. lol

    The SoG

  9. Oh mighty Son of Grok!

    Know ye that ballet is very primal! The jumping! The lifting! The throwing! The music its set to . . . not so primal. But the speed the strength the grace . . . that’s very primal. Mikhail Baryshnikov with hair extensions and a spear? Think about it!

    Most ‘umbly submitted,

    L

  10. Nice Grok likeness.

    As someone new to this Primal idea I can’t wait to read the book!!

    I wonder what time frame of existence Grok belongs to and how he relates to Indigenous cultures that still maintain some resemblance to their traditional diets.

    I have read studies of Aborigines that have been relocated to traditional lands and ways of life for even short periods that have been “cured” of obesity and regained health and that studies of the Inuit demonstrate high fat, low carb diets can lesson diabetes and related heath issues.

    What do you think of the notion of diet based on your place of origin? There are cultures which have eaten and even cultivated potatoes and maize (however different from today’s varieties) and have them written into their creation stories and legends.

    Will any of these ideas be covered in the book?

    Thanks!

  11. “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words”
    I see Grok’s graphic expresses itself, i really like it!

  12. I love the graphic!

    I’d also love to meet lady Grok. I bet she’s nice.

  13. i too like the image and would like to see it on a t shirt. perhaps it can be released with the book??? thanks for the site and all the hard work involved.

  14. The Amazon Indians pictured in the link provided by JE Gonzales don’t look like well muscled physical specimens. The Masai look much healthier. I wonder what accounts for this.

  15. Grok like Mark. Mark almost correct. Grok tell it like is.

    Grok no eat plants unless run out of meat. Grok mate gather bugs, reptiles like lizards, snakes, turtles, and small mammals. Only pick up plants if can’t find good stuff.

    Would eat all meat all the time if could.

    Also, life not so perfect as Mark say. Spend lots of time fighting with other humans. Much more than fighting with animals. You not in my band? You danger! I probably kill!

    1. Grok is a bit presumptious to define HIMSELF” as being functionally illiterate.
      How does he arrive at the idea that our Paleo-Ancestors were challenged in both thought and verbal communication.
      UGGG! Maybe Grok Watch Movies Too Much?

  16. Maybe some rocks or a stream in the graphic would make it look less like a ballet dancer? Or a tree maybe.

    I like the spear, though.

    No razors… well, this might have to be an updated cavewoman, SoG. Sort of like Nova in Planet of the Apes. Sure I’m primitive, but my hair looks GREAT, just messed up enough. If she looks like Lucy the mother of mankind, I’m gonna be scared.

    TG

    1. Whats the big debate about Grokeena?
      Jeeze didn’t anybody watch the original 10,000,000 BC? I am absolutely positive she looked like Racquel Welch at 23.
      Now where did I leave my blueprints for that Time Machine again??

  17. I like the simplicity of The Leaping Grok (without any background images), launching through the air with greatest of ease.

  18. I came by this post by way of Grok’s biography (by way of explaining the late comment). Question: What on Earth led you to believe that the human body has stopped evolving? We likely didn’t evolve the capacity for introspection until about 3,000-3,500 years ago (the time of the Odyssey, the oldest books of the Torah/OT, the Vedas, etc.). If such a gigantic evolutionary change took place so recently, what makes you think that our digestive system suddenly reached a “final blueprint” by the time we started cultivating grains (and squash, roots, beans, animals, etc.)?

    A lot of your arguments make sense and the Primal Blueprint is a pretty good recipe for healthy living, not least because of how much it advocates play, exercise and sleep. Lots of anecdotal evidence obviously supports that. But the “Grok” explanation, that somehow we’ll be living like our ancestors if we change our diet and activities, doesn’t really seem to me like the most tenable. If the agricultural lifestyle were really so unhealthy, then why didn’t people suddenly start living shorter lives after the advent of agriculture? There was probably a dip in life expectancy in the neolithic and bronze ages, but after that it rose again to paleolithic levels and stayed pretty much constant for the next 6000 years. Wouldn’t that seem to indicate that we adjusted just fine to living on an agricultural (that is, high-grain/carb) diet? And doesn’t it seem at least possible that the advent of agriculture, which allowed for leisure time and specialization thanks to storable excess calories, contributed to the rise of the very ability that allows us to reflect on the consequences of our evolutionary history?

    My (wordy, sorry!) two cents for the day.

    1. Great points.

      Also, is Grok a different species from us? Could I mate with him and produce an offspring? If not, should I still be concerning myself with a diet of another species? Just curious….

      1. Yes, grok is still the same species. If you run into him, go for it. 😉

        Curious asks some worthwhile questions, to be sure, but the fact is that there are answers to those questions available in the anthropological record. And they point to humans still being poorly adapted to a carb-heavy diet based on grains (particularly gluten grains). Evolution never stops, but 10,000 years on that timescale is a VERY short time (and that’s just since the first established agriculture anywhere; many populations have been eating grains for less than 100 years, and their health invariably plummets when grains are introduced). If the bones of our ancestors have anything to say, it’s that early agricultural societies DID live shorter lives with much higher incidences of degenerative disease than their predecessors. And we still have shorter healthy lives (extended by our safer environments and modern medicine) with high rates of diseases and conditions that hunter-gatherers never experienced.

        Grains can sustain a population to consistently survive at least long enough to reproduce in reasonable health, so the fact that we’ve managed on them for this long does not by any means indicate that we’ve adapted to do well on them. They’re a slow killer.

        The biggest piece of evidence: humans have not developed any natural defense against the chemical effects of gluten. Some are more sensitive than others, but everyone’s bodies are slowly but surely damaged by gluten. Gluten is a toxin produced by grains to discourage consumption. Other plants that we’ve been eating for millions of years also have toxins for the same reason, but our bodies have chemical adaptations for dealing with those toxins. We know of chemical adaptations that rodents and birds have to deal with gluten and other lectins, but humans quite simply don’t.

        fwiw, most anthropologists have concluded that paleolithic humans enjoyed more free time and deeper social connections than most people in ancient and even modern agricultural societies. Hunter-gatherer societies today still do, so it’s not as if that’s wild conjecture. The question of the rise of the capacity for introspection, however, is highly suspect. Modern hunter-gatherer societies that have never known a system of writing or literature or significant specialization have not been shown to be any less self-aware than modern humans from agricultural societies. Such an argument has no foundation. What we do know of worldwide paleolithic cultures (particularly paleolithic art) certainly suggests self-awareness, either way.

  19. Oops, meant to post this on the “Would Grok eat a cheese plate” entry. Please ignore the first sentence.

  20. i know it’s not the specific area, but i was wondering if the book is still projected for april? thanks.

  21. mike –

    It sure is. As long as there aren’t any major hiccups things are still planned for April. In fact if the stars align both the book and redesign of this site may end up being launched even earlier – maybe mid-March. Thanks for the interest, mike!

    Cheers!

  22. To grok (pronounced /?gr?k/) is to share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity.

    Author Robert A. Heinlein coined the term in his best-selling 1961 book Stranger in a Strange Land. In Heinlein’s view of quantum theory, grokking is the intermingling of intelligence that necessarily affects both the observer and the observed.

    From the novel:
    “ Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthly assumptions) as color means to a blind man. ”

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines grok as “to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with” and “to empathize or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment.” Other forms of the word include “groks” (present third person singular), “grokked” (past participle) and “grokking” (present participle).

    In an ideological context, a grokked concept becomes part of the person who contributes to its evolution by improving the doctrine, perpetuating the myth, espousing the belief, adding detail to the social plan, refining the idea or proofing the theory.

  23. the fact that it is the only image ever to show up in the home screen of google reader means its a keeper for me!

    *grunt*

  24. Curious, we’ll be detailing much of this in the forthcoming book. Meanwhile, interesting to note that in early grain-based societies, life expectancy dropped to 18. Plus, stature decreased, as did bone density. Much more to come…

  25. OK, although I think that the Paleo Diet is a generally good idea, there are a LOT of assumptions in this “Grok” creation.

    1) “You see, by modern standards, he would be the pinnacle of physiological vigor. Picture a tall, strapping man: lean, ripped, agile, even big-brained (by modern comparison).”

    If you look at modern counterparts to this supposed Grok, (somebody posted a good link: http://www.amazon-indians.org/index.html),
    they are not all
    a) tall, in fact the average non-Grok is probably taller, maybe due to all the growth hormones in our beef and other meats, nor are they all
    b) ripped, although none of them are morbidly obese, their “ripped-ness”, God I hate that term, does not quite live up to your hype.

    “But in spite of all of this, he leads a life of relative peace, consistent rhythm, adequate sleep, little stress. There are times of scarcity, to be sure, but his body is adapted to generally weather their strain. There are the physical threats of predators, but he has the savvy and fitness to usually avoid these. On his side are the biochemical capabilities to, by and large, handle the demands of his day: a fine-tuned, selected-for orchestration of hormonal release and up-regulation that works efficiently for day-to-day activities and surges into action for necessary crises.”

    Relative peace? Relative to what? Certainly not relative to what most people in modern civilization consider normal. Unless you are living in Baghdad, Darfur, or some other warzone/shantytown, your life is a hell of a lot more peaceful than Grok’s. I understand that living in this comfy setting can make us long for the zest of adventure, danger, etc. of an existence in the wilderness but it is likely a case of biting off more than you can chew, or the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. Once placed in such a precarious and unforgiving environment, I suspect one would quickly want out and to return to cushy old civilization. That’s probably why Grok eventually domesticated animals and began the whole agriculture thing.

    “And stress? Life in his era might be called short and brutish, but we think that’s not the full story. Laborious, yes. Taxing, yes. Precarious, yes. Strenuous and at times perilous, but not defined by the chronic stress to which we moderns often find ourselves chained.”

    Not knowing where, if or when your next meal is coming day in, day out would qualify as chronic stress, wouldn’t you say? What about not knowing if the neighbouring tribe is going to come attack you and take your wife as a trophy or take your kids for slaves/concubines? Just a thought.

    All in all, I do think that eating as our bodies have more or less been “designed for”, yes bad terminology, but whatever, is a good idea, but to elevate “Grok”-style living is a little overboard.

    Feel free to chime in.

  26. George, you make some interesting points. Note first that “modern Groks” you cite are not necessarily exemplary of 10,000 year-old ancestors. We don’t really refer to modern Groks here that often. There are very few true hunter-gatherer societies left on earth. Many of the South American and African tribes have become quasi horticulturalists or pastoralists as a result of having been forced by civilization into increasingly smaller spaces. That has certainly affected their growth and stature.

    Grok’s people in northern climates grew to probably the same height as an average person today (We like to think Grok himself was a little above average – hence use of the term tall. But we’ll agree that he wasn’t taller than today’s average tall guy). Stature declined for thousands of years after him as agriculture took root. All the literature indicates that Grok was more muscular or “robust” than today’s average person. To us “ripped” means a decent amount of mass and low body fat – not excessive body-builder muscle.

    As for stress, we can’t truly “know” that he had lower stress because we can’t measure it. But we can surmise that his stress-response system wasn’t nearly as overly taxed the way ours is today (Robert Sapolsky’s book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” is a great resource in that subject). We think it was Grok (not a New Yorker) who first coined the phrase “yo, it is what it is…” Stuff happened and he just dealt with it.

    Mark

  27. Mark,

    Perhaps “modern Groks” aren’t NECESSARILY exemplary of 10,000 year old ancestors, some might be. At the very least, they are more exemplary of them than city-dwellers, country-farmers, etc. While are are very few hunter-gatherer societies left on Earth (by the way if anyone has any informative or interesting links on this topic, please post them), of those that are left we can’t say “Oh, they aren’t as physically robust as I thought they would be (Conan the Barbarian, perhaps), so they must not be exemplary of “real” Groks. I understand that there are probably important clues from the fossil record in regards to skull thickness bone mass, density, height, etc., so I could be proven completely wrong. As far as height goes, from all that I’ve read (granted, maybe not an extensive list by any means) modern humans are taller than our ancient Grok forefathers, from way before agriculture took root.

    Again I may be spewing nonsense, since I have not read “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” , but maybe Zebras don’t get ulcers because they get eaten before they have a chance to develop them. Or perhaps their brains aren’t developed enough to contemplate and worry about the future the way humans do. True, some animals may “plan” for the future by gathering enough nuts for the winter, or hibernating through winter, but humans worry about a time frame far beyond just the next winter. If humans were “freed” of our modern trappings of desk jobs, mortgage payments, yadda, yadda, and went to live in the wilderness a la Grok-style, we may see a radical drop in deaths caused by chronic stress-related illnesses, but we would also see a radical increase in deaths caused by animal maulings, malnutrition due to not being able to effectively compete for food, exposure to the elements, and who knows what else. And someone who survived long enough may just end up dying of those built-up chronic stress-related factors. Or they may not, simply because they are very healthy and fit individuals (as evidenced by the very fact that they survuved all those dangers and challenges).

    “We think it was Grok (not a New Yorker) who first coined the phrase “yo, it is what it is…” Stuff happened and he just dealt with it.”

    Perhaps, but this surely isn’t confined only to Groks. There are modern humans who take this attitude to life and also live relatively stress-free. And not all humans or Groks were the same. There must have been some who did have chronic stress problems. In our cousins, the apes, chronic stress is more prevalent than one would think.

    Link to “Emotional Stress in Monkeys”:

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=FaKoVOxNa9EC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&dq=monkeys+chronic+stress&source=bl&ots=8us-sITEhz&sig=l1SVFfqq3LMvGui6dtYT_X8HJhk&hl=en&ei=xlmTSeObBZC8MuGtnfsL&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPP8,M1

    I haven’t read the whole thing (just started), but if you start reading it, it may shed some light on some notions about Grok.

    Please feel free to comment.

  28. Dear George,
    Why are you bothering commenting on this page if you have read absolutely nothing about studies on pre-agricultural humans? There’s this little known site around called Google, use it.
    Cro-Magnon Europeans actually DID look like Conan the Barbarian, They had an average height of 6+ foot, large brains with large robust bones and strong musculature. Their height and brain size DECLINED and disease increased after agriculture was introduced.
    Also the idea that we only developed introspection 3000 years ago is a joke. Cro-Magnons buried their dead ritually with jewelry and tools/weapons. They also had impressive cave art, calendars, carvings etc.

  29. We had a Grok around recently:

    “Ishi (ca. 1860 – March 25, 1916) was the pseudonym of the last member of the Yahi, in turn the last surviving group of the Yana people of California. Ishi is believed to be the last Native American in Northern California to have lived most of his life completely outside the European American culture. He emerged from the wild near Oroville, California, leaving his ancestral homeland in the foothills near Lassen Peak.
    Ishi means “man” in Yana, which was the name Alfred Kroeber gave him when he discovered Ishi had never been given a name. When asked his actual name, he said: “I have none, because there were no people to name me,” meaning that no tribal ceremony had been performed”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishi

  30. Any chance of a Grok/Grokette t-shirt for ladies? Grok with a ponytail or a dress? I would wear it!

  31. the Maya, Inca, Aztec societies of Central & South America were NOT hunter-gatherers. PLus, they were HIGHLY urbanized!!

  32. the Cro-Magnons may have been cool, but not cool enough. They were pushed into extinction by the newcomers.

    1. “the Cro-Magnons may have been cool, but not cool enough. They were pushed into extinction by the newcomers.” I think you’re getting them mixed up with Neanderthals. Cromagnons become modern Europeans(with some admixture with farmers from the middle east).

      As for body shape, the skulls and teeth of modern humans have gotten smaller and less robust over the last 50,000 years. Ditto with muscles attachments and bone density. The coming of agriculture sped up the process. Early farmers were shorter and weaker than late hunter gatherers. I would also agree with Alan about the precolumbian cultures. They were as or more urbanised as Europeans. Very complex societies. Plus many of the hunter gatherers in the amazon basin were farmers not so long ago. Evidence of widespread agriculture can be found there today in the “black earth” deposits. So many of the “stoneage” tribes today were farmers 1000 years ago.

      I would also agree with another poster above that said we havent stopped evolving since then. More gene changes have happened in the last 10,000 yrs than in the previous 40,000. Mostly to do with novel and local food. Most huntergatherers would be intolerant to gluten and lactose and alcohol. EG People from India would be more lactose intolerant than europeans as milk products are found in much smaller quantities. Alcohol is an obvious one. Look at the damage that has wreaked in many older cultures when introduced. The native Americans and Australians good examples. Many Asian people cant metabolise alcohol the way most Europeans can.

      So while broadly speaking a paleo diet looks like a good plan, its far more complex than that. Our biggest evolutionary advantage is our ability to eat what comes our way. Lose the obvious boogy men like sugar and pretty much anything to do with processed corn, eat more meat and fish and eggs and a wide selection of fruit and veg with some olive oil. Throw in a glass of red wine if you can tolerate it.

      Though I would agree that more HIIT exercise is better than running on a treadmill for dear life.

  33. I found this site back in the first of the year i think its awesome.I started eating like a caveman working out quit drinking and have lost 15 pounds so far.I like the grok logo i would love a t shirt to show i’m a part of something thats a big part of the way I live.grok makes me want to leave the gun at home on the next hunt

  34. This was the part of The Primal Blueprint I had the most problem with. There are some studies cited for the fat/cholesterol/heart disease links, etc…. but none of the claims about our pre-agricultural lifestyle, the basis for the Grok character, ever had any sort of endnotes. On the basis of what studies/books/articles/etc was this character and life created?

  35. Came here after a search to see if skipping a meal once a week was bad for me. I just did by accident last night and I’m not hungry yet this morning. Pfft. And I’ve been wasting time exercising all these years.

    Anyway… I never knew there were people in California that long ago. Eye-opening. For some reason Irish me thought they arrived relatively recently, ie within the last couple of thousand years.

    Interesting. Love the concept of the book, but I’m only a caveman when it comes to my attitudes to women.

  36. Why is that as I my hairline recedes and birthdays creep up faster and faster I too feel myself becoming more and more like Grok.
    And my wife is also finding more clean cutlery and crockery on the table after I finish my meals.
    Oh dear, this is too close to the bone…

  37. I have always had a similar outlook on nutrition but never based it on evolution. I just feel that we need eat things as close as possible to how God made them. If you gotta grind it, stew it, ferment it, and preserve it, maybe it ain’t so good.
    Also, I have searched a few posts on Grok and legumes? Good to go? Or no, no, no?

  38. Hi Grok!! The Grok logo looks like he is leaping between two sections of land or between large rocks with effortless agility…or running in to spear Conventional Wisdom and its idiotic, false, misleading, corrupt, harmful, and “traditional”….ness…lol I didn’t know how else to finish that statement up :p. But Grok I strive to have a killer body like you with all the fixins(the physical attribute, perfect health, better functioning brain etc). Hugh Jackman in Wolverine…maybe not quiiite as much muscle, but let’s see how far the genes take me along with the PB lifestyle!! Primal Blueprint, not Peanut Butter haha, but u guys know what I mean.

  39. I have been reading with avidity and delight about the Paleo/primal etc diets… As a long time lover of Anthropology and Food, it’s fun to see my two loves married in such a fun way…

    But I have one question about Grok.. His diet doesn’t seem to fit much into what a Grok from where I originally hailed from would have been eating… Is it at all possible that different Groks from different geographical areas evolved on slightly different diets?

    My ancestors most likely ate a lot of starch heavy tubers that grow without being cultivated (Cassava being one example) and ate plenty of fish and other fruits (avocados, mangoes, etc) who didn’t need agriculture to thrive… and managed to survive in the Serengeti etc… Could they be considered Groks? Or is Grok a certain prototypical Paleo Homo Sapien hailing from a specific region of the globe?

    An Inquiring Mind wants to know.

  40. The paragraph about stress is particularly pollyannaish. I doubt the “simple pleasure” of foraging for food offsets the reality of infant mortality, infection, pain, starvation, etc.

    It reeks of the naturalistic fallacy and misplaced sentimentality.

    1. Agreed! Starvation, infection, or being eaten by an animal doesn’t sound like the best ways to go. It must have been pretty sad & stressful to see your friends and family die that way too.

      The diet seems good on its own, no need to convince us all by using a cheesy backstory about a caveman.

  41. Great post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thank you!

  42. love the article, though i think it’s a bit misleading, if still a step in the right direction, as compared with most people’s perceptions of how our ancestors lived.

    the idea that our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived short, brutish lives, constantly on the “knife’s edge” of survival has been pretty thoroughly debunked.

    the latest research suggests, rather, that hunter-gatherers were the “Original Affluent Society”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_affluent_society

    also, most research suggests that the short life expectancy attributed to our paleolithic ancestor’s lives is mostly due to infant mortality:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy#Life_expectancy_variation_over_time

    finally, considering our ancestor’s daily lives consisted mostly of ethnic TRIBAL, rather than FAMILY, groups, most researchers suspect they had very little to fear from predators; even a pack of wild dogs flees in the face of a well-organized group of a human tribe’s hunters.

  43. “…and an inclusive, non-gendered representative of all our beloved primal ancestors (male or female who spanned the primeval globe)…”

    What I didn’t know about Grok is that he was an indoctrinated frightened-to-death victim of Cultural Marxism. Excuse me Mark, I definitely respect you and your site, but that line is utterly pathetic. If you find it necessary, develop some Grokette, but please, avoid this sort of repulsive crap. Really.

  44. What makes modern humans so amazing is the ability to adapt. Our entire modern society is built around avoiding the common causes of death of our “Grok” ancestor, and it all works for the most part. We’re just at a point now where we need to find balance between technology and tradition. Unfortunately the current US culture is lacking any sensible traditional diet like anything in the Mediterranean, Asia, etc. so it’s great that this is something people are using to fill that gap. It would be great to see more farmer’s markets, butcher shops, etc. opening up around the country and see a reduction in the laboratory-made, food-like substances being stocked in grocery stores.

    If we’re going to get sentimental about this Grok guy, I’d love to see something about how “Grok” lives in harmony with the environment. Also, despite hunting and eating animals, he has a great respect for them. Don’t forget about all those ritualistic sacrificial ceremonies he probably had!

    This is part of what’s missing in modern human thought, the idea that we’re all dependent on each other for survival and we depend on the earth to support us– without that we have nothing.

  45. I want the “Live Long Drop Dead” t-shirt. As an Old Bat and proud owner of more Woot Ts than I should probably have have, I want that particular one. *chuckles* At this stage of my life, I’m working at getting healthier than I currently am. I first got acquainted with Grok via a library book and I’ve been hankering after that T ever since.

  46. ::sings::
    Modern man is not for me,
    the movie star or “Dapper Dan”~!
    Give me the healthy Joe
    from ages ago,
    a prehistoric man~!

  47. Love the idea. Not sure if someone mentioned this before, but “Grok” is a word coined by Robert Heinlein in the novel Stranger in a Strange Land. You may want to check with the Heinlein estate about trademark/copyright issues. The word has also has multiple meanings in the novel. “Grok” is to understand something so intuitively that you become it. Heinlein attributes it to his fantastical Martians in the novel.

  48. I just have to say, where in the world are you pulling your sources from about Grok? The history is all over the place. Before the “dawn of agriculture” (whatever this mythical historical event is supposed to mean exactly) in the San Joaquin valley lived California Indians. Actually their lifespan (and the general lifespans of indigenous people) were quite long. Sometimes significantly longer (many traditional Hopi elders for example). Is this paleo thing really underneath it all, a slightly sideways effort to bring elements of indigenous peoples lives that we ourselves have lost from our own indigenous ancestors being conquored? Well I think so. What about you? And I think if we are going to do that, we should be aware that’s what we are doing. Because if we are aware, our efforts and understanding can be grounded in actual reality and stories/wisdom/experience of real indigenous people, and not this strange ethereal mosiac of disjointed information that makes up the life and world of “Grok”.