July 02 2014

Introducing The Primal Advantage

By Mark Sisson

The Primal AdvantageIt’s a big day here at Mark’s Daily Apple! Today I am pleased to introduce The Primal Advantage metabolic consulting program. Finally, you can engage one-on-one with a respected medical expert aligned with Primal principles to fine tune your metabolic function. The Primal Advantage is overseen by Dr. Cate Shanahan, a family practice physician from Napa, CA, one of the leading MD’s in the ancestral health community, popular PrimalCon presenter, and author (with her husband Luke) of two extremely popular books, Deep Nutrition and Food Rules.

I’ve realized a pressing need for Primal Blueprint to offer such 1:1 professional consulting for many years, due to the high volume of email questions I receive on matters of health and even medical conditions at Mark’s Daily Apple. Don’t get me wrong – I love fielding reader questions in my weekly Dear Mark column. However, a significant percentage of my reader questions relate to medical matters that are not appropriate for me to answer. Turning to a “regular” doctor for support when you are committed to Primal living but struggling with certain health issues, confused about risk factors, or second-guessing your prescription drug regimen, can often be highly problematic. Particularly when it comes to the link between nutrition and health, your doctor is unlikely to be qualified to offer sensible guidance.

While I have great respect for all the leading voices in the primal/paleo/ancestral health movement, I have incredible appreciation for the medical doctors who have embraced the movement and spoken up to oppose the status quo mindset in their profession – folks like Dr. Cate, Dr. Ronesh Sinha, author of The South Asian Health Solution, and many others (Dr. Doug McGuff, Dr. Michelle Blackwell, Dr. Lauren Jefferis among them).

While I enjoyed Cate’s book Deep Nutrition upon it’s release in 2010, she really caught my attention when she hooked up with my beloved Los Angeles Lakers to advise them on road trip meal planning and individual player diets in 2012. As Cate will tell you, it ain’t easy to the get the attention of a superstar like Kobe Bryant, let alone inspire trust and confidence in a radically different way of eating (check some of the links at the bottom of the Primal Advantage page; even the amazing physical specimens in the NBA are more inclined to chow down junk food than sensible dietary practices. Cate even diagnosed Dwight Howard with dysesthesia – his excess sugar consumption was compromising his fine motor skills and causing him to drop passes!).

Essentially, Cate is blending the best of medical science with ancestral health principles, and her experience in metabolic consulting with everyone from regular patients in her clinic to the world’s greatest professional athletes. When you participate in The Primal Advantage, you work 1:1 with Cate to fine-tune your dietary habits for weight loss, peak performance, and minimizing disease risk. Everything happens online or over the telephone, so this program is accessible to you wherever you live in the world.

Watch Mark Sisson and Dr. Cate Shanahan Discuss The Primal Advantage

While this program carries a decent price tag, it’s a pretty intensive relationship involving blood work (it’s a cinch to order Cate’s designated test package and get drawn locally with DirectLabs.com) that gets sent directly to Dr. Cate, complete a detailed health questionnaire online, and prepare an online food diary – all of which Cate will evaluate in detail with you over the phone as she prepares your Metabolic Snapshot™. The Metabolic Snapshot assesses your current health in six different categories: Cardiovascular, Intestinal, Energy, Immune system, Brain/Nervous system, and Connective Tissue. During your consultation, she will provide detailed dietary guidelines that enable you to improve your metabolic health scores and experience peak performance.

When you consider that the average family physician like Cate is mandated to spend only around seven minutes with each patient per traditional health care business model, this program is a bargain for the amount of personal consultation time you receive. Furthermore, working with Cate to improve your Metabolic Snapshot could help you discover blind spots in your dietary approach even if you are a devoted primal enthusiast. Check out Dr. Cate’s 2013 post where she discussed her consultation with Primal Blueprint’s own Brad Kearns. Brad was by all accounts a super healthy guy and exceptional athlete, but he too had dietary shortcomings identified by Dr. Cate that was compromising his performance and recovery.

Listen to The Primal Blueprint Podcast Episode #26: Introducing Dr. Cate Shanahan and The Primal Advantage

So, if you are dealing with nagging health or metabolic issues, wishing to bust out of a body composition plateau, have been frustrated by mainstream medical care that either conflicts with or is uninformed about your primal practices, or have no complaints but might enjoy a breakthrough in athletic performance, consider participating in The Primal Advantage. The Primal Advantage page explains the program components in more detail. Upon your registration, you will be given step-by-step instructions for completing the necessary blood, diet, and questionnaire elements and how to schedule your telephone appointment with Dr. Cate. Also note that after completing the initial program package, you can engage with Dr. Cate at any time in the future for follow-up 30- or 60-minute telephone consults.

Note: Since this post marks the official launch of The Primal Advantage program, I encourage you to act quickly and lock in your consulting time with Dr. Cate before she gets too busy. In anticipation of an enthusiastic response to the program, Dr. Cate is currently preparing a team of like-minded physicians to become Primal Advantage consultants, but currently the program capacity is limited by Dr. Cate’s availability. If you have any questions about The Primal Advantage, please feel free to visit the Primal Advantage page and live chat (lower right pop-up tab), email or call 888-774-6259 to discuss further.

Learn More About The Primal Advantage and Lock in Your Spot Here>>

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35 thoughts on “Introducing The Primal Advantage”

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  1. Mark, when are you going to create an organization to let people become certified Primal personal trainers and nutritionists? 😉

    1. I’d like to know this as well! I think it was in the “things to come” post around the New Year, something about an online Primal certification course?

  2. Mark,

    Thanks for all of your help over the years. My father is a diabetic who takes insulin along with other medications. Would this service be useful for him or would the medications he’s taking alter the blood test results too much?



  3. The Primal Advantage is awesome. I’m 58 yrs. young, I’ve been Primal for 6 months, have lost over 20 lbs. and look and feel as good as when I was in my 20’s living high in the Colorado mountains, skiing, hiking, climbing, biking. I have enjoyed every minute of my Primal journey and am now at the point I want to do some tweaking of what I’ve been doing to get even better. I was thinking I needed to consult a Primal oriented doctor to advise me and here it is! Yay! Thanks Mark, thanks Dr. Cate. I’m looking forward to gathering the resources so I can sign up!

  4. Mark – Dr. Cate is my personal physician and is outstanding at helping tweak the food and nutrient intact to assist recovery and optimum health. I cannot speak highly enough of her skill. She will be an outstanding addition to the Primal Team.

  5. I love Dr. Cate. Her book, “Deep Nutrition” is in my top 5 of all-time. Thanks for providing this service. It is very difficult finding doctors that understand nutrition and blood work.

  6. Does this work for international orders? I am worried about the lab tests in particular.

  7. I am confused about the cost. I see three different prices but no break down of what each offer consists of.. maybe I am overlooking something?

    1. I think you pay $699 for the program, the other 2 charges are if you want a follow up appointment

  8. A very positive step in what this community would agree is the “right direction.” This sounds like a wonderful opportunity and I can only hope it will grow as part of the Primal movement! Thank you, Mark, and thank you Dr Cate for getting this off the ground!

  9. Great to see this. I always cite Deep Nutrition as the best summary of what I’ve learned on my own over the last dozen years, plus additional information. Until recently it is the only book I ever recommend to others, just having added Denise Minger’s Death By Food Pyramid. Many people will benefit by taking part in this program.

  10. Do you know whether Dr. Cate’s program qualifies for the FLEX program so that I could use that benefit?

    1. You’d have to check with your HR department. Ask what they would require from a documentation standpoint.

  11. Well, I just re-read the previous post by Dr Cate and am wondering if I should get some liver and drink bone broth everyday. I’m not sure about EATING liver but might be able to swallow some frozen cubes.
    I have recently had some stressful situations crop up that are outside my control and I believe that bad things are happening inside me. I eat well, however, my eyes have become weaker and my weight has risen (mostly a bump of “unsightly blubber” below my belly button) so these show there is something amiss and I wish I knew what it is. I don’t have enough money to buy the program now. Wish I did.
    I get plenty of Magnesium and zinc, don’t know what else I need….. aaaack!
    I will just keep plugging along eating as best as possible and try to move more.

    1. 2Rae, for your own safety and well being, please go get checked.
      While you may not have the funds at the moment for this program (I know I don’t unfortunately), you can’t self diagnose and hope for a positive outcome.

      At least go to your local health department, and have them do some blood work and X-rays. Whatever it is (or isn’t), you need to know. If it’s not good, then it generally won’t get any better with time. If it’s nothing, then you can have the peace of mind in knowing so,

      Maybe eventually you will have the funds for such a program.


      Thanks for everything you do and have done for this community.
      This is another fine step in the right direction (IMHO).


      I spent most of my life serving, protecting and hopefully in some way, helping others through a career in Law Enforcement and time spent with the United States Coast Guard.

      For the last many years however, I have owned my own businesses.
      The one that keeps the family fed and a roof over their head, generally fails miserably in providing me with the sense of satisfaction I get when helping others.

      The other two are both training businesses (personal defense and marine safety). While both provide me with a sense of satisfaction, the opportunities are limited.

      I have decided at almost 58, to change career paths and venture into the physical fitness/health and wellness genre. As such, I am now seeking various certifications and would love for the Primal Blueprint Coaching certification to be one of them. I am looking forward to your breakout of the program.

      I currently study and research all I can o the Primal lifestyle, and “preach” it’s merits wherever and whenever I can.

      FWIW, the Primal Blueprint was in part responsible for my losing 52# in a matter of months. Crossfit aided in that loss as well.

      Thanks again Mark, and 2Rae, Please, Please go get checked out.


    2. 2Rae – I hate to sound like your Mother (and since I’ll be 70 next month maybe I can get away with sounding like everybodys’ Mother at this point!) but please make sure that the unsightly bump below your belly button isn’t caused by something like a hernia. And please get checked out and get some blood work done including your Vitamin D3 level.

      Also, I can attest to the wonders of bone broth – either from chicken or beef bones. I’m with you on the liver, but I can tolerate a really good quality liver paté and it’s easy and cheap to make yourself.

      Stress can undermine all good intentions and the healthiest of bodies (been there, done that!) Good luck!

      1. Please go get checked! I learned a long time ago that self diagnosis is bad.

        Concerning liver, I hide it in meatloaf and meatballs. 🙂

  12. Mark, terrific idea with The Primal Advantage and Dr. Cate! I have a question…I have comprehensive lab work including a recent Premium level test from Wellness FX as well as 23andMe genetic marker testing and Spectracell nutrient analysis. Is it possible to work through one of the “consultations” with Dr. Cate using this data? I believe if you work this kind of option into The Primal Advantage, it will be in high demand by your followers and others A lot of people like me that follow you, Dave Aspey, Abel James, Tim Ferriss, etc. have lots of test data and stay as up to date as possible, but cannot find a doctor who aligns with the Primal doctrine and understands “updated” health, wellness, and nutrition counseling.

    Let me know and I REALLY enjoy your blog, books, etc. Thanks for making a difference!!

  13. After reading the detailed explanation of the program, I didn’t see thyroid function mentioned specifically. Would this be part of the metabolic portion? I would love to see this since it’s so hard to find a practitioner willing to look beyond T4. Thanks so much for offering this!

    1. Try the Wellness FX tests, you can get a full thyroid/hormone workup.

  14. too bad its not covered by insurance.This is probably much more effective than a standard visit to the family doc.
    Unfortunately $700 may be a bit steep for most avg people out-of-pocket, especially since it seems like more of a ‘fine tuning’ than life changing medical advice for those of us that are already somewhat primal. convince insurance companies to cover it and i would be all in….

  15. Very exciting program, and I love Dr. Cate and her books. On another note, Cate and Mark, I think the videographer’s shots of your hands are weird. At certain points while you guys are talking, the camera moves from your faces to your hands, and during these moments you’re talking but we can’t see your faces. It’s really weird and distracting. I’m not sure what the message is supposed to be, but it would be better to stay focused on your faces.

  16. Getting an MD or a Cardiologist who doesn’t want me to have statins and wants me to follow an extreme low fat diet seems nearly impossible. They are fully stuck on the notion that saturated fat causes obesity and cardiovascular disease. It much be because they don’t read any other points of view, know nothing more than what they left medical school knowing and perhaps, don’t want to step away from the current practice protocols in case their is a law suit involved.

    Having access to a licensed MD who uses data to help me with my diet seems sound to me. I’ve lost 50 lbs (dramatic reduction of carbs), have a BMI just slightly over the given point I should be. But, I’d like to know her informed opinion on things beyond just diet. Is there a nutritional value or any reduced plaque by eating avocados? Should I take ubiquinol? Are liver pate’s a substitute for liver or other organ meats? What should be in a broth in addition to the gelatin from the bones? What supplements should I include?
    I cannot tell from the site, yet, what her diagnostic efforts include and further, what prognostics might include. But, I’m doing more research.