It’s Time to “Get Real”

Dear readers, it’s time to get real.

I realize that most of you probably don’t think you need a lecture. You may not need any further motivation. You’re eating good, whole foods, getting daily exercise, and things are going well. For the most part, Grok gazes upon you with twinkling, approving eyes. But what of newcomers? What of the average doughy citizen happily bumbling along in blissful ignorance, unaware that his or her dietary habits and devotion to Conventional Wisdom might actually be counterproductive to those goals implicit in all forms of life, great or small? Survival, contentedness, and prosperity. Surely he deserves a harsh check of reality.

And even Grok stumbles. Even the most zealous adherents of the Primal Blueprint falter, or even relapse. Maybe they start taking advantage of the office snack stash on a regular basis. A few Twix can’t hurt, right? (Every day? Yeah, they can.) Or maybe they swing by the drive-thru because they put off grocery shopping that week. (Enjoy your microwaved pseudo-meat product flanked by enriched flour patties and plastic cheese.) Hell, even I’ve made that split-second decision – half-out the door, bedecked in workout gear, mind dreading the pain to come – to put off exercise for momentary comfort.

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional foray into our old ways, especially if the situation necessitates it (starving on a business trip in some far-off town with nothing but fast food joints open, or taking a day off to rest an overworked body). Just be wary of man’s unique ability to justify anything. We’ll eat vegetables chips and swear they’re healthy. We’ll order a light Frappucino and convince ourselves it’s cool (never mind that sugary sweet syrup concoction coating your mouth afterward). Call it self-delusion, cognitive dissonance, or just plain lying to yourself – we all do it, we’re great at it, it’s a coping mechanism, but it’s ultimately harmful and impedes progress in the Primal Blueprint. Because once we justify and rationalize a counterproductive behavior, we’re all the more likely to continue said behavior.

“Just one more day…”

“Just this once…”

“Last time. Promise…”

Sound familiar? When you’re promising stuff to yourself and convincing yourself that the lies you’re spewing are to be trusted (and falling for it!)… it’s time to GET REAL.

Consider this, then, a wake-up call. (If you’re diligent and secure, exempt yourself – but even then, you’d be selling yourself short. There’s always room for improvement. Thinking otherwise leads to stagnation.) A wake up call to the beginners, a wake up call to our most loyal readers. Let’s even consider it a wake up call to me, Mark, to get and stay serious about eating right and working out correctly. Following the direction of our evolutionary genetics is a beautifully simple endeavor, but it takes diligence and dedication nonetheless.

Are you prepared to re-up on the Primal Blueprint? If so, these should help you maintain composure and stay the course.

Get Real Meat

Eat real, actual meat. You want a slab of beef untouched by preservatives, by antibiotics, by hormones, and by soy feed. You want a whole roasted chicken so you can crack open the bones and suck the marrow. Eat clean, wild fish and pick out the rib bones. Most importantly, don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that greasy little Slim Jim you picked up at the gas station on the way home from work that oozes slimy nitrites with every bite is real meat. Nor are, for that matter, the treated cold cuts, the bargain bin bacon that miraculously survives for months in your fridge, and that pepperoni you pick off your spouse’s pizza. Get real meat, folks.

Get Real Vegetables

Don’t eat corn (on the cob, popped, or otherwise prepared – it’s actually a grain!), potatoes (although sweet potatoes and yams are decent in moderation), vegetable tempura (don’t let that flaky, crispy batter fool you), or veggie chips (the chubby vegetarian’s best friend). And President Reagan may have once proclaimed it a vegetable, but ketchup is definitely not a good choice – it’s loaded with so much corn syrup, sodium, and other pseudo-foods that the tomato can scarcely be detected. Instead, load up on the stuff that you know to be good. Broccoli, greens of all kinds, cauliflower (mash it up for a superior potato substitute), carrots (hold the cake), peppers, tomatoes (real ones), squash, and eggplant (among numerous others) work quite well.

Get Real Fruit

And get realistic amounts of it. Fruit was a luxury for Grok, a seasonal delicacy. He wasn’t slurping sherbet-based smoothies every morning, nor was he munching on apples engineered for maximum sugar content. When you eat fruit try to stick to organic. Rather than drink juice or smoothies (albeit, a better choice), try to eat whole fruits. They’ll fill you up faster. Also go easy on the dried fruit; it’s great in a pinch and on hikes (mixed with nuts), but you’ll fill up on sugar before you notice it because it’s so concentrated. As always, berries are best.

Get Real Nuts

Lose the peanuts, the candy-coated almonds, the caramel-fudge-encrusted macadamia nuts, those clusters of candy and nuts masquerading as healthy snacks (they may have exotic spices like anise and cayenne, but they’re still covered in a fine sheen of syrup). Eat real nuts and seeds instead: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp. And please – do not eat those dried crispy soybeans.

Get Real Fat

Though that header could be easily misconstrued, what I mean is that you need to get real sources of good fat in your diet. Avoid the processed, hydrogenated (partially or totally), trans garbage. You should be eating real animal fat (lard, tallow), olive oil and fats from avocados, eggs, nuts, seeds, and good cuts of meat (eat that crispy chicken skin!). If you’ve bought into the widespread ridiculous fear of fat in favor of artificial vegetable oils, margarines, and other disgusting lab creations, you need to get real.

Get Real About Grains

CW likes to tout grains as “the staff of life” – the foundation for the human diet. Deep down, you know better. You know that the best alternative to grains is eating real food our bodies were designed to eat. Meat, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and fats are highly superior to grains, and they don’t require loads of processing, heating, pressing, fermenting, soaking, or any other tampering just to be digestible. Get real about the Primal Blueprint, stay off the grains for a few months, and you’ll forget all about your former masters.

Get Real Workouts

The success and effectiveness of your workout depends on the enthusiasm with which it’s assailed. Don’t half ass your sprint day at 60% intensity when you know you need to be going 100%. Don’t show up at the gym when you’re supposed to max your squat if you’re not serious about it. Use these days for rest, play or some low level aerobic activity (think long walks/hikes or an easy bike ride) instead and you’ll still be perfectly Primal. Then, when you’re ready, regroup and give it your all. Otherwise, malaise or even injury can easily set in. Get real about what you’re up for, then do it! Oh, and if you’re counting your walk out to your mailbox and back as your workout of the day you seriously need to get real.

Get Real About Your Goals

First of all, get some real goals. Get out a piece of paper (or blog, or Word doc, whatever) and figure out what you’re working toward. Be honest with yourself, and don’t expect the impossible. I am a strong believer in one’s ability to control their gene expression, reprogram their body, and become a healthier individual, but you aren’t going to sprout a few more inches no matter how many reps you do or vegetables you eat.

That said, never sell yourself short. Push yourself to the limit, and don’t use common excuses – “most of my family is slightly overweight” or “my dad never was really that muscular” or “I’m too old to start over” – to avoid making changes in your life. Your ability to seize control of your life, your body, and your health is real. You just have to do it. Ewald (Otto’s identical twin) did.

I hope all of this wasn’t too harsh. Chalk it up to a little tough love follow-up to yesterday’s “Excuses” post. I think it’s important to have a call to action every now and then. And it’s not like I told you something you didn’t know. You know these are the keys to living a long, healthy life. You know eating the right food and getting daily exercise will pay dividends – today, tomorrow, and in thirty years. Don’t relegate yourself to a future of walkers, brittle bones, sagging guts (and spirits), and doctor visits, all because it was easier to delude yourself and take the easy route. Instead, get real about your abilities, about your goals, about your lifestyle, and about your body.

Good luck!

Further Reading:

Egg Purchasing Guide

Salmon: Factory Farm vs. Wild

Dear Mark: Is Flax Bad?

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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99 thoughts on “It’s Time to “Get Real””

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  1. This reminds me of a quote from a song:

    To change the world, start with one step. However small, the first is hardest of all. Once you get to your gate, you’ll be walking tall.

    1. People just need to make the decision to do it an then take massive action towards their goals. If one can’t motivate themselves, no one else and nothing else can do it for them.

      1. Motivation is an interesting thing. I have found that people’s excitement and dedication comes and goes during the first few weeks, but once they start seeing the obvious benefits of eating real food and notice clear improvements in front of the mirror, their success becomes self-motivating. And after they get used to eating the way we were all built to eat, it becomes hard to imagine ever eating any other way!

        1. True. I’ve been primal for 4 months and can’t imagine going back to my old ways. 99/1 ratio here. not 80/20.

  2. I’ve already gotten real meats, real veggies, real fruits, and certainly real nuts, but I’m having some trouble with the real workouts. I decided to let the gym membership lapse and start with more outdoor Primal exercise, but without the regimental structure of the gym, I find it hard to create/stick/to a goal when the playing field is…just an empty playing field.

  3. Oooh this was PERFECT timing! I am a newbie and I made some tuiles a couple days ago, and ate some prepared ones. Not THAT bad but then the next day I at 2 snickerdoodles. Guess what?!
    1. I looked in the mirror and looked bloated as hell! Seriously?! It can make THAT big of a difference? Apparently so.
    2. I am craving more sweets. If I dont have them, I dont crave them. When I do have them… wham! The cravings are back. Im doing better today though, thanks goodness.
    Now a Q for Mark: Not gonna lie, dairy is my weakness. I have just started drinking raw milk and yogurt so at least its a little better. Is it simply the lactose/ milk sugars we need to avoid?

    I could really have used an online face-slap fo the cookies. So no, not too harsh.

  4. I’m relatively new to your blog, so you may have already addressed this in a previous post. But are you saying that saturated fat does not contribute to arterial and heart disease?

    1. Not all saturated fats are created equal, medium chain fatty acids are actually very healthy. And No, dietary saturated fats and cholesterols has virtually no bearing on heart disease or arterial calcifications. In contrast the rise in polyunsaturated fats in margerines and vegetable oils has become the culprit. The link below is a good place to start your research.

    2. he is saying that. read his definitive guide to saturated fat to find out why.

  5. If I may say, you seem kind of agressive with pushing people to accomplish their fitness goals. Most people are not going to do it! Most people are going to succumb to pie and ice cream sooner or later. One of my father’s good friends has read all of the literature pushing a Paleo-type diet and believes in it, but always succumbs to the pastries his family sends him. He is corpulent, yet has all the knowledge of how to be studly and healthy, as do most people.

  6. JE – I fully recognize that people are going to make small compromises here and there and that there is room for this in a healthy lifestyle. Check out these posts:

    Sorry if I came across as “aggressive”. That wasn’t my intention. As I said, a little tough love was closer to what I meant to achieve with this post. Sometimes people just need a little strong worded encouragement to get them to take action. I know I do.

    And yes, I agree, it isn’t just about knowledge. People can be informed to the hilt, but if they don’t act on it it is worthless to them. I hope this type of post and others can not only instruct but motivate and inspire as well.

    Check out these posts and then let me know if you have any additional questions:

    Tara – Welcome to MDA and the comment boards! Here are a few relevant posts to your question. Hopefully it helps!

  7. I do have to say a little harsh. As a person running almost 100% primal for quite a while now, I am cool with it but that would have scared me off if I was a newcomer! I am pretty darn confident that I am doing well in all of the areas you list though.

    The SoG

    1. Harsh? You guys are a bunch of wimps! You can’t take a little encouragement and ball busting? This is the sign of a good trainer. Someone that’s trying to motivate you. 1/2 the problem in this country is the men are becoming a bunch of women. Too much estrogen in the beef, and too many phytoestrogens in the Soy! Many up!

      1. Excuse me, but it’s not the testosterone that makes you tough. If you went into childbirth labor right now, you’d die from the shock.

        T gives you a strength and aggression burst and is great for short-term energy but you also need endurance, and women best men in that department. True story. And it’s not because the men are doing all the work. (You wish.)

  8. I am a relatively newcomer and I don’t think it was harsh… maybe its because I grew up with “tough love.” Coddling doesn’t always get the point across. Thanks for the reminder/motivation/love Mark!

  9. Long time reader here, and I don’t think it was harsh at all. Although the “It’s Time To Get Real” is a little to Dr. Phil, I enjoyed reading this. Keep up the good work Mark.

  10. Hey mark, this was a great post. I have a question. In all your recommendations about nuts, you have not really recommended cashew nuts. Your favorites seem to be almonds and walnuts; and pecans, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds have got a mention here too.

    Is it a matter of taste that you don’t like cashews. Or are there compelling health reasons to avoid them, as there are for peanuts? I am curious, because I enjoy mixing cashews into my nut consumption, but am willing to cut them out if there is a good reason for it. It would be part of ‘Getting real’ I suppose 🙂


  11. Oh, one more thing? How come there is no word on ‘getting real’ about Intermittent Fasting? There is plenty of scope for ‘cheating’ with it!


  12. Mark, that was just the kick I needed. I would take it one step further – as I look at my ENTIRE life – all the crap we “cheat” on. New pair of shoes I can’t afford? There’s a credit card! Too busy to cook? There’s the frozen pizza that’s quick and easy! Cutting corners is so easy, but the price to pay at the end seems huge to me and not the way I want to live. You help remind me of personal responsibility and being true to myself and my ultimate goals. Thanks!

  13. They can read and study and practise all they want, but for some people, there are certain things that they won’t succeed in until they have their enlightenment, the moment when everything suddenly clicks.

    I’ve been reading and practising Art Devany’s EF for over a year, and synthesizing it with Mark’s PB for about 9 months, and in the beginning I had great results. I figured I understood just about everything there was to understand, and I was finally on the path to the body I’ve always wanted.

    But about 4 months ago I noticed a slowdown in my fat loss and muscle growth. I was doing everything right: heavy lifting twice a week, sprinting, lots of walking, and eating like a paleolithic superstar. Except for the candy binge once a week. Bread and other grain products were never a problem for me to give up, but the sweets were. Hey, they say occasional indulgences are fine, right?

    To a point. After reading an article (maybe it was posted here, I don’t remember) about how the effects of sugar can continue to affect gene expression for as long as two weeks, it all clicked for me, and now, for the first time, I’ve gone over two weeks without a speck of sugar (not even balsamic vinegar) outside ONE daily piece of fruit and maybe some berries, and I can see the fat starting to disappear again.

    Remembering my own experiences and feelings, coupled with watching my family’s eating habits, I realized on a deep, personal level that sugar is a drug, plain and simple, and I’m a recovering addict, and you don’t ever reward an addict with a dose of the poison.

    It’s really remarkable how much easier it is to give up these bad habits once you understand the concepts deeply and viscerally, not just scholastically. Now when people ask me about this lifestyle, and if they can still have the foods they love once in a while, I will tell them they will get some good results, but they won’t succeed until they eliminate all the behaviour that got them overweight in the first place.

    This post is over-long already but I do have a question: what is the difference between grains and the seeds you recommend eating?


    1. Nice response Evan – Black or white, with no grey area.
      I was reading an article on flouride (a lethal neuro-toxin)in toothpaste and drinking water. What I want to know is, who decides how much flouride is “acceptable” before it becomes toxic?
      Like any toxin, sugar included, I’d rather have zero thanks.

  14. I’m a (fairly) new reader and I didn’t think it was scary at all. I think a lot of times when someone is just starting out on a diet, they can grind to a halt trying to figure out the “perfect” plan and the “right” way to do it, when what they really need is to nut up and jump in with both feet. I know that’s always been my excuse. “This is good, but it’s not ideal. I’d better stop and find the perfect plan.” If I’d just done 50% perfect instead of trying to figure out how to get 100%, I’d probably weigh 50% of what I do now, instead of 100%!

    Easy to realize, harder to do … sigh. I need to Get Real.

  15. I never liked slim jim’s, but read the ingredients on them once. I forget if its the first, or second ingredient, but regardless, it was “mechanically separated chicken parts”.


    1. I do this when I’m considering eating something I know I shouldn’t (or a co-worker brings in a grocery store cake) – I read the ingredients.

      Very effective at eliminating that craving!

  16. Ryan – If you don’t like the sound of “mechanically separated chicken parts” you’re going to want to avoid this Saturday’s post.

  17. Could I get a little Reality Therapy for my diet pepsi issue? It’s the last holdout for me.


  18. Oh, I wish I had read this before lunch. It may have stopped me. Could you see me eating a filet-o-fish and fries all the way from Grok’s den in So Cal? I knew better and did it anyway, rationalizing that I hadn’t had fast food in 2 months.

    Thanks for the “reminder,” which was not considered harsh by my standards, just a “reality check.” Moving onward now with clean eating once again.

  19. I had to get real today!
    Damn lounge at work was FULL of Dunkin’ Donuts!
    I conquered the sugary beast, by avoiding the lounge at ALL costs and when in there be sure to have my own snacks in hand!
    Thanks for the gut check.

  20. Speaking of keeping it real… xxx and xxx sound bad enough, but I just read this today at Popular Science:

    “Flavor changing additives, developed by New Jersey-based Salvona Technologies, contain nanospheres encapsulated in larger microspheres. When the microspheres burst, one flavor is released. The rupture of the nanospheres, some time later, releases another flavor, creating a taste experience that changes over time.”

    Mmmmm… nanospheres and microspheres.

  21. Ooops, thoses xxx’s were supposed to be those chemicals they use in processing HFCS!

  22. Thanks for the “tough love”. I get real meats, veggies,fruits and fats, but I love my grains and getting real about exercise is a major effort for me. I appreciate the “swift kick in the pants” to get me motivated to get real about some of the other issues in my life.

  23. The real deal here is habit. I’ve eaten so well for over 2 years now its just habit. I couldn’t eat badly if I tried!

  24. This isn’t a lecture. This is a slap in the face. Wow! I need to get on my game and get real!

  25. I don’t think this is harsh…it is the truth. I have been eating more and more primal over the past couple years, and I feel better now then I ever did ( even 13 weeks pregnant!). Once in awhile when I slip up, because of social situations, I feel extremely bloated, tired and a bit cranky the next day. In the past one little slip up would have led me down a downward spiral of eating poorly, but now, I can snap back very quickly…because my body craves what is good for me. It is exciting to see this transition take place.

  26. I liked it. I love a man that can keep me accountable!

    It was also a neat reminder to me of how far I have come as I am able to say that I have adopted each point that your article makes. A couple years ago it would have been a depressing article about how far I have yet to go.

    Thanks for paving the road.

  27. I’ve been Crossfitting for a tad over a year, and been eating seriously Primal since July, I got into the real meats in August but have backed off since around mid fall. It was a case of laziness as the real meat is sold at a different grocery store then my main Veggie mart. I’ve been settling for the run of the mill Hormone induced beef and this post kicked my behind back in gear and I signed up for a Meat CSA. If anyone in the boston area is interested, I went with this one, convenient and affordable.

  28. I’ve been eating Primal for 4.5 months since I started Crossfit and have lost just over 50 lbs of fat. But after reading this site daily, losing weight is the least of my concern at this point. That part is easy. You don’t even have to think about it if you eat healthy for other healthy reasons which is what I do now. I rarely make excuses for myself when it comes to my diet. The times I do make an excuse, I then let logic settle in and it stops me from indulging or taking “cheat” days or meals.

    However, there’s only one problem I haven’t been able to get over when it comes to my diet. When I’m around unhealthy food as I live with people who don’t eat the way I eat. I never crave food I shouldn’t eat unless it’s right in front of me. That’s been my weakness. Now I don’t give in, but it’s still extremely difficult each time and I deal with this almost on a daily basis.

    I had to indulge a little on a vacation I took recently because it was either pay $30 for steak each meal, not eat, or give in and eat unhealthy as I had almost no access to healthy foods. Now what was surprising is a lot of the unhealthy foods I cut out of my diet no longer tasted as good as I thought they did. However, there were a few select things that still tasted pretty good that were very unhealthy.

    So now that I’m back home in my routine, every time I come across these foods, I face that problem with having to look at them, smell them, and watch others eat them knowing how great they taste. If I happen to be really hungry at the time as well, it becomes much harder. I haven’t given in yet but man is it difficult.

    My question to Mark or other readers is, how do you guys deal with this? Being in front of unhealthy food you know tastes great that you haven’t eaten in a very long time?

  29. Hi George, if you haven’t really eaten that unhealthy food for a long time, and you have been eating only a lot of good Primal fare, then I would say that the best way to deal with your situation is to actually go ahead and eat that meal. I am willing to bet that your actual experience eating the food would not nearly match up to your memory of it. It would not taste as good as you imagine, and the after effects would really be off-putting as well. And then you would most likely not even feel tempted to eat it in the future.

    That has been my experience, and also the experience of other people who have been posting here. It is worth a try, because eating one bad meal is not going to set you back much at all.

    Best of luck!

  30. Thanks Mark. Do you have an alternate theory on heart disease and heredity?

  31. I agree with what everyone is saying. When I go off I can’t wait to go back to a good primal hunk of meat, so I don’t spiral into a whole slew of bad eating. I feel bloated and lethargic and it isn’t worth it. And like others, I’ve found out that a lot of stuff I used to inhale just doesn’t really taste very good. In fact it sits on my tongue like a big oil-slick (which might actually be what it is).


  32. Apparently Mr. Sisson had well placed sources that saw me finally give in and dive into that box of Krispy Kremes at work last week. It was the culmination of a slide that generally started around Thanksgiving, and I’ve never quite been back on track. A dip into the candy jar here, munching on the mystery meat nuggets there…it ain’t been pretty. Good timing on this post…time to get it back together!!

  33. Very timely post Mark. My diet has been reasonably good this week but my exercise routine has been seriously suffering. I’ve been telling myself that I have been feeling tired which is true but nonetheless it’s no excuse. At least there’s still two days left this week to save my exercise routine 🙂

  34. I try to view it as a process, acknowledging how far I’ve come and looking to where I want to be—while enjoying the present and taking full advantage of all the resources (money, time, fitness level) and access (to gyms, the outdoors, good food sources) available to me each day. A few months ago I was at an indoor climbing competition. At these things you get 3 or 4 hours to climb from a selection of 50-100 routes; the routes each have point values based on their difficulty level and you can try any of them as many times as you want. The five best routes you climb successfully are totaled for your final score. So a huge part of the strategy is selecting which routes to attempt (or keep attempting). You can only haul yourself up a vertical (or sometimes overhanging) wall so many times before muscle failure sets in! So at this competition, I heard a coach tell a climber, “Ask yourself, can I climb this route? Do I WANT to climb this route? Base your decision on that.” I guess that piece of advice has become my mantra not only for choosing climbing routes, but for my decisions (large and small) on a daily basis. And I think when I approach each day by asking myself, “What can I accomplish today? What do I WANT to accomplish?”—I make progress toward my goals while still appreciating each day.

  35. Incredibly, here in the UK they are complaining about the huge increase in the deer population and how they will need to be culled.

    Now I don’t know about you but when I see Bambi gambolling about in the fields I think “venison!” Likewise for pheasants and cutesy bunnies. IMNSHO game is some of the all time BEST meat, it even blows away the local organic grass-raised beef and sheep and outdoor pigs for all round quality

    It’s spent its life free, running around using its muscles and not being stuffed with lipid-raising grains. Who does that remind you of?

  36. Mark,
    I did NOT see this post in no way harsh. I saw it as encouraging/motivational/inspiring/”CARING!” You just never know who actually needed to read this, but maybe nobody knew they needed encouragement. Or maybe someone is really very good @ encouraging others, but can’t encourage theirself at all.

    You are absolutely right about cutting corners. I say this because right now i have a friend who did just that. She told me that diabetes runs in her family and she knew she should of watched foods she ate. Well, she’d tell her husband oh, just pick up this/that @ fast food places. Oh, she just snacks on junk @ work. Oh, just eat fast food also for lunch( she’s @ work and in a hurry) Well, NOW she regrets it and very upset with herself because eating this way and being diabetic has caused her to be going blind, she has lost alot of vision. IF I’d of known her years ago, i’d of talked her out of cutting corners.

    Beth, you’re sooo right, in the long run, the price to pay is “Huge!” So, IF i’d of only known her years ago, i’d of talked to her in such a way as of this very post, now wouldn’t of that been NOT Harsh, but encouraging all the way to CARING! So, Mark, NO, YOU WERE NOT HARSH! You never know, you just may have saved someone from what my friend is going thru by making someone really think before it’s too late how IMPORTANT it is WHAT WE EAT, WHAT WE PUT IN OUR MOUTHS, THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU EAT!

  37. OK – it’s been over a week and I’m still thinking about this post. I really liked it – really needed it, especially living here in the Midwest where it’s SO SO cold all one really ever wants to do is sit around the fire, eat carb-loaded hot dishes (casseroles for the rest of you) and only go outside if necessary. Maybe a monthly “Get Real” post could make it on your agenda? At least through the winter? It helps, it really does.

  38. Thanks for the comment, Beth. I’m so glad it was encouraging. Keep coming back to it and tell your friends about it for those tough times. I’ll keep in mind that this sort of pep talk works for future posts. Thanks for being a reader!

    Now get down and give me 20! Kidding.


  39. Thanks Mark! Needed that kick-start to go 100% primal starting RIGHT NOW!!!

  40. I enjoyed reading your advice on the food portion. I also agree that when you do a workout you should be able to put 100% into it, and it is very important to set realistic goals inot your workout.

  41. This is a great post, full of information.

    I have been eating right for a long time, but I do fail from time to time, and it is amazing how much weight you can gain in just a couple of days of “misbeheaving”…it is maybe not eal gain, but I feel much worse

  42. Dear Mark,
    I loved this post and I already follow most of the recommendations. I just love your advice and the attitude.
    I face many challenges everyday that have to do with the stage of life I am in right now. I am a senior in college and every social activity revolves around food. For example, the other day my best friend came over, proclaimed she was dying of hunger and took me with her to buy a muffin. I am proud to say I did not eat anything and even watched her eat her muffin (there was a time when I would have bought five muffins with her) while I provided conversation. My friends constantly snack (even the skinniest) while I refuse to do this because it was what made me gain weight in the first place. Did the neolithic beast of a man ever have friends? What sort of things can we do to act like we partake in pleasure without gorging? What do we do about those friends who always appear on the doorstep with a tub of beer and Ben & Jerry’s?

  43. Mark, I buy the whole program and have done so for many years. I was surprised to see within your supplement adv. in triathalon mag. you seem to advocate whole grains as part of proper eating. Is that because the audience you are trying to reach there will not tolerate life without grains or do you believe the triathlete needs whole grains.

  44. Thanks for this, it’s a great resource.

    Seems like this article is promoting the Paleo diet. I’d like to pose this question to all interested parties:

    How do you reconcile the relative health of the mediterrenean peoples? Their diet allows for wines and cheese. Or the Japanese and other oriental asian peoples who eat basically rice as 75% of their diets. Japanese & mediterrenean peoples have nice skin complexion, lack of obesity, and lower occurences of degenerative disease.

    What I’m getting at, is isn’t the real problem ADDITIVES, PRESERVATIVES AND SURPLUS OF SUGARS (grms fo sugar and also high-fructose corn syrup) rather than grains?

  45. Thank you, thank you…I have been a personal trainer for 7 years or so and have always eaten close to paleo, even before the diet and the books came out about it. It just makes sense.

    My clients and people around me daily comment on my physique and say something to the extent of , “sigh…I wish I could look like that” as if I look the way I do magically, with no effort or will. Wake up people!!! I have the physique that I do because I bust my butt daily in the gym and i do not put garbage in my mouth. Not once in awhile, not for two weeks, but EVERY DAY consistently. It is HARD WORK but to me, the benefits are worth it.

    Thank you Mark for giving some tough love to people. Nothing worth doing is easy!

  46. Thanks for this Mark. It is always a good idea to “get real” once in a while. We all slip into decades reinforced bad habits and I am no different. This post prodded me to re-focus on my goals, my primal ways and most of all to let myself know that it is important to keep things in check!

  47. I believe that his concept has already been discovered, because it is identical to the zone diet, i don’t know which was discovered first but since you can’t really copy right ways to eat i assume nothing is infringed upon, I’ll stick with the good ol’ zone diet…thanks Barry Sears

  48. Thanks to the last poster, this article popped into my inbox at just the right time. I remember reading it a year ago when Mark first wrote it and at that time I wasn’t having any major problems. I was a primal convert and loving it! Then I got injured (herniated disc with ankle paralysis) and I’ve gone down hill for the last year.

    I’ve been seeing a personal trainer to be sure I get back on track within my physical restrictions. With her assurance that grains are ‘natural’ and vegetable oils are ‘safe’, I’ve strayed from Mark’s advice and gone down the broad road of convenience and conventional wisdom.

    Now, 15 pounds heavier, unmotivated and tired, I have become depressed, defeated, and delusional.

    BUT, TODAY it is time to change! Thanks a million, Mark, for the call to come back to the life that I once embraced and loved. I’ve ordered two Grok On shirts and the Primal Blueprint book. I think I’ll wear one shirt and hang the other one on my kitchen wall!

    With much respect,

  49. Yep, a slap in the face to get up and get going. Liked the part that’s too often missed from the food table: fats. Olive oil and fats from avocados, eggs, nuts, seeds. Digg it, Digg in.
    Mark Martinez,
    Testing out hypergain like the energizer bunny

    1. That’s called using weasel words. The audience has no idea what you mean by “sensible” or “health”. They sound good, but convey no useful information.

  50. Probably not. Granted, I’m a newbie, but there are very few sources of protein outside soy (very, very bad!) for a vegan.

    Raw, yes. Raw eggs, milk, red meat, two thumbs up to all of it (yep. I said meat. Steak tartar a la Grok is yummy.)

    A good starting place is unfertilized eggs from pastured hens. They serve no purpose other than as a food source. Pitch the FWIW, my two cents.

  51. Wow, not sure what happened there, but the last settlement is wonky.


    Pitch the WHITES and scramble the yolks in coconut oil if you can’t bring yourself to use butter yet. You need the saturated fat and CO is a great choice. Throw the yolks into a smoothie, mix in coconut milk with some vanilla and cinnamon for mock eggnog.

    Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I will weigh in, but

    FWIW, my two cents.

  52. I went produce shopping today…. in the middle of an intermittent fast day! …knowing I won’t be able to eat the primal deliciousness until tomorrow. How’s that for “Real”? 😉

  53. Wow, awesome article….feeling very inspired right now and im going to head right out and smash out todays workout.

  54. I started going primal almost 4-weeks ago & have never looked back! Family & friends have attempted to offer me ice cream, brownies, cake(birthday party), home-made chocolate-chip cookies, the whole nine yards! I have never been so empowered in all of my life! I’m not even tempted to cave in & partake of any of it. I only wish I would have figured this out 10, 20, 30 years ago! Love, love, love being primal! Thanks Mark, my life will never be the same. By the way, I’ve lost almost 30-pounds! Grok-on brother!

    1. i have tried too and have not been losing any weight. I am limited in my exercise program due to a really bad knee so indoor biking is my exercise. What should I do?

  55. grower…for now, just focus on doing it at 100% and really focus on how if makes you feel. your body will readjust.

  56. I am a 18 year old female and I’d like to think that I eat pretty healthy–I love all vegetables (I even crave broccoli and spinach!), appreciate a good piece of fish, and don’t even get me started on nuts. I’m still recovering from an eating disorder that unfortunately left my body in complete starvation mode. So now, for the past six months actually, I’ve developed the terrible habit of binging at night. Recently I came across this website and it has intrigued me for sure. It is definitely time for me to ‘get real.’ I’m taking the plunge to go primal–but maybe with a weekly indulgence of ice cream or something until I can wane myself off (everyone cheats a little right? haha). Hoping that writing my plan here will make me more committed! I am a pescatarian on a college budget with an injured knee, which makes things a little more tricky, but I think I can make it work. Mark-thank you for your interesting and enlightening articles and good luck to everyone out there.

  57. Molly,

    Make sure that you are writing your goals down on paper. This will greatly help you get back on track. Don’t feel bad because everyone cheats every now and then, but just make sure that you keep it in check.

    Maybe when your knee gets well you will be able to exercise more.

    1. Hey there! Sorry for the absurd 2 year delay in responding..yikes. But thanks for the advice! I do find that writing my goals down and telling someone about them makes me more accountable. I just saw your site–congrats on your wonderful path to health!

  58. Good Post. “Real Food” is a rough concept to convey. People often do not have an idea that the things they are eating are not food at all.

  59. I enjoy eating real food. Sticking with real food will evenutally make it very hard to do it any other way. It’s even getting to the point where I cook more now because my husband would make quick processed meals ( salisbury steaks, pork and beans,frozen turkey and dressing… high carb junk ). I can’t eat that especially since it will be several hours before I have my next meal. It takes time but low carb/IF grows on you and thank gawd it does. There is always something else, something better than the world of processed riches…Where’s the beef.

  60. The nutrition guide was funded by the agricultural group here in Canada, which is one of the reason to why they recommend so much grains.

  61. Great post! Just what I needed! A slap in the face to view my destructive habits from an outsider standpoint. Off to go eat some kind of primal healthy breakfast. Thanks!

  62. I am 45 195 lbs diabetic. I stated working of doing cross fit about a month ago. I slowly started scaling down the workout I am losing inches but I am not loseing weight. I am very eager to get health as I want to be around for my kids and grand kids. Will the pounds come off if I keep the 5 on 2 off crossfit and I have drastically changed my diet to more protien with every meak mor veggies and no sugar and snacks. Just weighed and was really bummed the scale has no moved , I have lost inches and people say I am having results by what they see..

  63. wow I should have edited that . I am sorry please excuse the mistakes.

  64. Bruce, this is like a wake up call for everyone! I think a lot of the food we eat today is too unnatural and processed. And it seems that ppl are throwing money into crap diets and weird nutrition and what nots..Sadly enough the media and the big guys are spreading disinformation about this.

  65. LOVED what you said about just doing some less active exercise when you are just not up for it. Last year, I got to the point, by being easy with myself, where I actually LOOKED FORWARD TO my more serious workouts. That’s when it feels SO good!

  66. I loved this post since it immediately helped me get back on track. I’ve been primal since June but fell in with the beer and burger crowd at work over the last two weeks. This post snapped me back to attention and I feel so much better now. Thanks Mark!

  67. I really like that this is a top post on the front page, so I can find it often. I can handle most of the primal lifestyle, but I’m a little worried about the morning smoothie. I make smoothies out of 1 scoop whey powder (with stevia), 1/3 cup plain yogurt, and 2/3 cup berries which I picked myself. I don’t want to give those up.

  68. What’s with all the whining and crying about the “agressive tone” of this post? Geez. I am a fairly long time reading and now I have finally posted. Mark and his blog are setup in the most follower friendly way that one could imagine. One poster said something about maybe being “scared away” if he were a new reader. Sheesh. THERE is the problem RIGHT THERE with today’s modern American populace.

    How could someone not feel unmitigated shame at not being able to handle simple truths? And pardon the PB pun, but how bad has it gotten when even our information (as opposed to our diet) has to be sugar coated?

    The entire POINT of this post, as well as this blog, is to shoot straight. Why would anyone not welcome that? Life was never meant to be the fun, cake walk merry-go-round that most of us would like. However, with a little dilligence, honesty and accountability, we can all make the most of things.

    Sometimes a boot up the bum is just what someone needs. Some of you overly sensitive posters should be in line for that.

  69. Thanks for the “reminder,” which was not considered harsh by my standards, just a “reality check.” I live my life by the 80/20 Rule…80% of the time I am good and 20% are my off days. When you get off course don’t put yourself down dust yourself up and get back on course!

  70. I have half of it right, after just having a smoothie half an hour ago, made with avocados and berries but
    and a big but

    i had a jaffa cake with it!

  71. Smack! I needed that one, dude. It is so easy to stop in and grab a Slim Jim and a Red Bull for a snack instead of a piece of fruit or nuts….

    I needed that reminder-thanks

  72. I think that is one of the such a lot vital info for me. And i am glad reading your article. However wanna statement on some normal issues, The web site style is great, the articles is truly great : D. Just right activity, cheers

  73. Mark,
    I recently bought your PB book and follow MDA quite regularly.Before buying the bookand reading MDA ,I have lost 60 lbs,but would like to lose some more.

    My question is when you eat a high fat diet and are fat adapted how can you lose weight? Won’t the fat you eat replace the fat you burned?Like when you eat carbs don’t you have to first deplete the glycogen before you can burn fat .Isn’t it the same for fat
    Enlighten me

  74. Mark thank you so much! I needed some motivation to stay focused and this was it! Thank you for posting and archiving. I always find what I need to read!
    Jodi aka Aine Vend

  75. Wow I didn’t know potatoes and corn were bad vege food sources! Dammit, I love corn on the cobs…(except when the corn gets stuck in your teeth).

    Mark what’s your take on fructose? Do you believe it’s unhealthy?