Is the Stone Beginning to Crack?

When all was said and done, yesterday’s post turned out to be a bit of a downer – at least for me. I literally felt the crushing weight of the preponderance of Conventional Wisdom bearing down on me as I wrote, and the light-hearted banter was all I could muster to keep from total despair. Even though I tried to illuminate the conclusion with a glimmer of hope, I almost felt like retreating to some dark dank place to set up shop and live out my days like some Primal Grok-Kurtz amalgam. The locals would whisper and tell tall tales, sure, but at least I’d be free to eat fat, munch protein, and abstain from excess carbs. Maybe Eades would send in a band of hapless recruits to retrieve me. Maybe they’d bear news that the war was ending and, though we may not be necessarily winning, we were at least making it respectable. Or maybe I just watched “Apocalypse Now” again. Have I gone temporarily mad? Perhaps, but that’s what fighting against an entrenched, illogical enemy will do to a person.

But all is not lost. No, I assure you – I haven’t given up. Neither have you guys, judging from the incredible comments to yesterday’s post. In fact, that influx of immediate and overwhelming support gave me a second wind. It made me realize that we’re all in this together, and that by standing firm and maintaining that implacable hold on the facts that we currently enjoy (and will always enjoy, at least as long as we remain genetically Grok) we will eventually win out. Human progress moves incrementally and often laboriously, but it does move. That CW stone is heavy, ever-looming, and resilient, but cracks are showing – and it can be moved, or realigned (Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, and the pyramids prove that). We do our part in chipping away here on this blog and in this forum, while countless others attack the stone from other angles and with different tools. Some use thoughtful, careful analysis of past research, others use humor, while still others use fiery indignation to combat the scourge of Conventional Wisdom. It all helps, and it’s all – I think and hope – leading to a tipping point.

Even big time publications are getting in on the game. While it isn’t ideal and the author still writes from the typical calories in, calories out vantage point, Time Magazine’s recent “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin” does touch on the vicious cycle of Chronic Cardio/overeating that plagues so many people who are simply trying to follow their doctors’ advice. Gary Taubes, who discussed the inefficiency and counterproductive effects of typical fitness efforts in “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” only gets a small mention toward the end, and the article’s author concludes that it’s what you eat, rather than whether you exercise that determines body composition – but there’s no mention of what constitutes a healthy diet, nor is there discussion of the positive effects heavy resistance training and intense metabolic conditioning can have on insulin sensitivity. Hey, it’s a start, and the article is still atop the “Most Emailed” list.

Last month, forum member brought to our attention an LA Times story on Vitamin D. I’ve always stressed the importance of getting enough Vitamin D through the sun (or through supplements, if it’s the only option), and it’s great to see that the “experts” are now recommending an upper daily limit of 10,000 IU (up from 2,000) – which is the amount the average person manufactures by spending an hour or so in the sun. Funny how they arrived at that number, isn’t it? Almost too perfect.

The NY Times just published a story on the growing barefoot movement (hey, it’s not just about diet, folks – remember that!). In my opinion, they give false equivalency to the “opinions” of the barefoot runners and the shoe companies (gee, I wonder which one has a financial horse in the race), but that’s journalism for you. The important thing to note is that not only is the barefoot movement growing, but that publications like the NY Times and Wired are beginning to notice. Maybe next they’ll do a piece on the Primal movement… who knows?

I like to mock the constant rotation of strangely similar “ab-blasting, bicep-rocking 10-week crash course for buff beach bods” workout plans that make the rounds in male fitness magazines, but even they may be coming around. Men’s Health, for example, published a damn good article on saturated fat. Their headline? “For decades, Americans have been told that saturated fat clogs arteries and causes heart disease. But there’s just one problem: No one’s ever proved it.” Music to my ears! The article highlights the work of Ronald Krauss, M.D., whose research has called into question the lipid hypothesis of heart disease. Peter, over at Hyperlipid, certainly finds his research useful.

Men’s Health also did a feature on Erwan le Corre, creator of MovNat. It’s a bit like parkour, except in a natural environment. The article focuses on the importance of truly functional fitness – the type of fitness that allows you to scale cliffs, climb trees, heave rocks, and swim lakes. Grok would be proud (and he’d probably be a damn good parkour artist).

And what about books? We’ve of course got the Primal Blueprint, which I can heartily recommend (I hear the author’s a really great guy, in fact). There’s also Primal Body, Primal Mind, Evolution Rx, The Vegetarian Myth (Dr. Eades gave a great write-up on it), Fat (nice and succinct, isn’t it?), and of course the Pollan books. And those were just the ones published this year alone. I don’t know how sales are for every book mentioned, but I do know that publishers generally don’t throw money away on hopeless ventures. The movement is picking up steam.

Film, too, is coming out with some great stuff. Food Inc. made a big splash recently (enough to force Big Agra into throwing together a hasty response). You know you’re on to something when they try to discredit you. Or there’s Fathead: The Movie, which is being billed as a response to Superize Me, but is really a great deconstruction of the lipid hypothesis. If you can’t get someone to read Good Calories, Bad Calories, get them a copy of Fathead. Move quickly, though, because as forum member chocolatechip69 mentions, both films are unavailable on Netflix due to high demand. King Corn is another good one that got a lot of buzz.

A quick look at Google trends for a few keywords reveals a few interesting surges. Take “fasting,” for example: a pretty standard pattern, with Ramadan accounting for the annual uptick in interest. But when you plug in “intermittent fasting,” you see a massive surge in interest in this year alone. Or check out the steady increase for “paleo diet”. “Crossfit” is also pretty impressive, and the Primal community enjoys a lot of crossover with that crowd. I’d be interested to see what other developments emerge in the coming months.

Taken as isolated instances of clarity, these don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. The CW stone still stands tall, and a crack here and there won’t do a whole lot. But when you assemble everything and view it as a whole, the picture becomes rosier and rosier. And the more things accumulate, the more the mainstream will take notice. Once that begins, all it’ll take to really cement things is a major milestone: a landmark, highly-publicized research article, an appearance on Oprah, or the other 50% finally accepting the veracity of evolution ( this last one is, sadly, the least likely). Until that day, though, we can’t let up.

Like anything else that matters, real progress is going to be slow and gradual, and accepting that fact is a big part of succeeding. We can’t expect everything to change all at once. It reminds me of that experience so many people have when they start out on the Primal eating plan. Those first few days (or weeks) of abstaining from sugar, grains, and processed foods can be difficult, but once you start seeing actual results – getting random compliments like “Have you lost weight?”, experiencing impromptu pants-around-the-ankles moments because you’ve dropped a few sizes, buoyant morning energy that isn’t coffee-related – it all gets even easier. We’ve all had those moments, and those are often the reason we keep this lifestyle up – because it works, and it’s obvious that it works. Our battle against CW is exactly like that, only on a much wider scale (and longer timeline). I figure I’ve been at this for about five years, give or take a couple. The blog only launched three years ago, but even before I was discussing evolutionary fitness and health, albeit without such a large forum. Loren Cordain has been at it for a bit longer (“The Paleo Diet” was published in 2002, but he’s long been a student of this stuff, just like me), while Dr. Eades has been a Primal-friendly practicing physician since 1986. And, of course, there’s the huge number of Primal and paleo blogs out there, with folks like the Weston Price Foundation and Beyond Vegetarian rounding it all out. We’re all working from different vantage points – some closer than others – but the ultimate goal is similar, if not identical: to show that the Conventional Dietary Wisdom of the last hundred years has done far more harm than good.

I dunno about you, but I’m finally starting to see some real results. Ol’ CW still has about five hundred pounds of jiggling adipose tissue to lose, it still needs machine assistance just to get a single pull-up in, and I think it’s still doing push-ups on its knees, but I sense a new bounce in its step. Let’s build on that! It’s up to us – the people who live this life every day and see the difference it makes – to ensure that all this momentum doesn’t just dry up. We can’t just expect real change to occur because of a few random articles in mainstream publications, or the release of a few films that question the status quo. We have to make sure we’ll all in this together – and it all starts with our personal commitment to living in accordance with our evolutionary genetics. If we maintain our health, vigor, and strength by doing everything CW tells us not to, people (friends, family, loved ones, co-workers) will eventually take notice. They’ll listen to your rants against grains for once. They’ll start skipping the treadmill and opt for the weights. They’ll pass on the bread basket, but keep the butter. They’ll finally read the “crazy” articles that you always forward suggesting saturated fat may not actually kill you.

From that point, it’s a domino effect, and it’s only a matter of time. Truth, logic, and reason always win out in the end – it’s just that it may take awhile. In the meantime, live correctly. Be the Blueprint, so that the others can follow stead.

Have you seen cracks in the CW stone? Is the mainstream beginning to cover Primal-related health topics? Drop me a comment with your thoughts and links. Thanks, everyone!

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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85 thoughts on “Is the Stone Beginning to Crack?”

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  1. Mark if you have read “The Tipping Point” by Gladwell you know you are on the right course.


    1. I was trying to explain that part of the discussion to my mother last night. Healthcare isn’t just expensive because of problems with the system. It’s expensive because Americans in general aren’t incredibly healthy. Pollan does a great job of expressing that side of the story

  2. dear mark,

    i was recently inspired by both you and crossfit to run the NY marathon. i have never run a marathon in my life, but i have train four elite runners in the last year (im a personal trainer) all of which i trained anaerobically and all of which saw dramatic results. as part of my training plan i have chosen to go against conventional wisdom by not training like a typical marathon runner. in fact i have been training for 6 weeks already now and the only running i have done so far was to the bus stop. thats right i have not run a single mile, meter, yard or foot and have been training heavy metcon, intense intervals, heavy oly lifts and so on. everybody, i repeat, EVERYBODY thinks i am crazy and i have 2 doctors who are each betting me a thousand dollars that i will end up walking if i finish at all. but not only do i plan on finishing the marathon, i plan on running it in under 3 hrs. and 30 min. and i am contemplating either doing 20 push-ups or 10 burpees at the finish line. i also am on a primal diet, but plan on loading up on carbs and fat the night before and day of (strictly fruit and vegies of course with some almonds and flax oil). wish me luck as this is my personal CHALLENGE against conventional wisdom.

    1. Mike, you will have to let us know if you succeed in your goals at the NY marathon. Ya got me curious now. Good luck.

      1. definitely. i plan on writing an ebook on the training methods i am using on myself as well as the ones i used on my clients. any groks that are marathoners or run 5k, 10k, half marathon or 50k races and want to increase there times dramatically send me an e-mail and when the book is finished i will send you a free copy just for being supportive of this lifestyle. also mark i would like to send you a copy adn get feedback on it when its all done.

        1. Hey! that sounds awesome, though I kind of hate the whole ebook deal… when you click on an ebook it is always some marketing scheme. I am sure that that is not what you are after, but if you can recruit somebody (to train) who can be a really good athlete and win some races than maybe you can get enough recognition to write a real book!
          Nonetheless, I would be interested in anything you write, and I am looking into improving my 10k time.
          I’d let you know how the book looks! My email is [email protected]

  3. Don’t despair! PB has something going for it that CW will never have -actually lots going for it. First, it is easy. Second, it is delicious. Third, you don’t starve. Last, it is a hell of a lot of fun and you get to hang out with great people! Hey, some members of my family think I’ve joined a weird cult but they also seem to like being sick and miserable too.

  4. It’s trite, but it’s still better to light a candle than curse the darkness. We’re just waiting for daylight. Information cascade is a powerful thing to go up against. And getting someone to admit he or she is wrong can be damn near impossible, because it involves a lot more than just logic. But results speak for themselves. Loudly. Every guy I’ve dated has been converted (and lost a fair bit of weight in the process) just by my cooking Primal style for them. I know that they’ve transmitted these habits to their friends and their families, as I have to mine. It’s all about the grassroots, baby 🙂

    1. Yes!! The process is viral! Don’t try to convince everyone…convince those who will carry the message to their families. The message is not a verbal one, but an experiential one. The taste, convenience, satiation of Primal food. The direct observation of the changes in physical, emotional, and intellectual health. The brain connects decision making more to emotion than logic. So screw the logic as a platform. Stand on emotion and experiences for the “concert”.

  5. “hey, it’s not just about diet, folks – remember that!”

    Glad you said this. I’d hate to see the PB become like a “fad”. A lot of the people I mention it to are eager to plug it right in with Atkins which is becoming so commercialized & pushing franken-foods it’s disgusting.

    It’s going to take a long while to make the turn. Remember, it’s a grass roots movement vs. 100s of billions dollars (trillions even?) of big business.

    If the turn never happens? Well… survival of the fittest! Us primals will be without worry 🙂

  6. Another great rallying cry! We’ve gotten my mother-in-law lifting weights and she is spreading the word too.

  7. Any plans for a Primal Cookbook? I’m sold on the Primal lifestyle, but I’d love more recipes!

      1. Mark, I’ve been experimenting with primalizing Indian recipes. If you have a reader’s section or would like to test recipes in your kitchen, I’ll be happy to share them with you.

        1. Thank God! I really could use one.
          I’m convinced of the Primal Blueprint, but it’s the lack of recipes that’s holding me back right now.

      2. YEAH!!!!!! Can’t wait!!!! My husband the gourmand and cook in the family needs some ideas beyond steak. The DD is about “cowed” out!

      3. User contributions to that cook book; sign me up bro! I have a lifetime of recipes…

      4. Huzzah! Excited to hear this. The recipes appearing in the blog are great, but I (we!) could use a lot more.

  8. I’ve a counter intuitive idea regarding weight. I think I’m a good test case because i’ve never been heavy.

    Here is the question. Is weight a response to the selection pressures you put on body? In other words, a homostatis response to the type of physical activity your doing?

    If i’m doing pull ups and losing weight from doing pull ups. Is it merely a case of burning fat or a homostatis response to allow me to do more pull ups by reducing the burden of weight in addition to building muscle?

    I know it doesn’t make much sense to me but somehow I think this idea might just be true?

  9. I’m a student at Georgetown Law (a repository for supposed “smart people”) and while our gym is still frustratingly full of Nautilus machines and I constantly hear people say about my diet, “yeah but fat is bad,” things are looking up.
    When I started here two years ago doing Crossfit and functional movement got me a lot of weird looks and requests to not make so much noise. Now there’s a number of other kids employing Crossfit and functional movement, and people ask me about that stuff out of genuine interest. The diet thing is still a tough battle; I can’t help but snicker when a fat person tells me that my diet is unhealthy.

  10. Tim Ferris’s blog ( gets a great deal of traffic. His current post is a guest post from Michael and Mary Eades regarding saturated fat. I’ve been seeing more and more posts that are sympathetic to the primal lifestyle (and not just because I’m looking for them).

    In casual conversations with friends, there is no longer a consensus regarding the “CW” diet … most people I know that pay attention to diet are restricting carbs, gluten, etc. The fear of saturated fat may take longer to go away!

  11. Mark,

    I would like to comment on one point in your post that I find concerning and that is that one must accept evolution to somehow validate a primal diet/lifestyle.

    I personally do not accept macro-evolution (that 1 species morphs into another species over a period of millions of years) and do not find any reason why I must accept macro-evolution to conclude that a primal lifestyle is how humans should eat and live.

    Now, if we are talking MICRO evolution (that a species changes in various ways over a period of time) then that is something that is evident and gives credence to the primal lifestyle.

    But I see absolutely NO reason that one must accept macro-evolution to recognize that our ancestors (humans) ate and lived in a primal way.

    1. Microevolution and macroevolution are the exact same process (change in the gene frequency within a population over successive generations). Rejecting one automatically rejects the other. And, no biologist would suggest that a species “morphs” into another. A species is a useful organizational tool, but the fundamental processes of evolution (natural selection, gene flow, genetic drift, mutation, recombination) are what matter.

      1. Macro-evolution is the addition of new traits or a transition to a new species.

        Call it morph, mutate or transition, Macro evolution is simply a theory (part of conventional wisdom) and is not a theory one must accept to recognize that our ancestors (human) lived primal.

        One can observe micro-evolution. One cannot (and no one ever has) observed macro-evolution. It is simply one theory and a theory upon which many disagree. And that theory is not required for one to support primal living among humans.

        1. Alas, wrong on both accounts. First, both the addition of new traits and speciation within a population are frequently documented in nature. Thus, by your own definition macroevoution is observable. Secondly, macro (“big”) and micro (“small”) are arbitrary and meaningless terms. There is only one scale of evolution, and that is at the population level. What you might consider big or small changes is irrelevant to the overall processes. Lastly, evolution is a theory in the same sense that gravity is a theory. Both are explanations of observed natural phenomena. Putting evolution in a different category than other science is untenable.

        2. Within the scientific community there is still disagreement over whether micro-evolution is proof of macro-evolution. To state otherwise is incorrect and misleading.

          Andrew M. Simons, “The continuity of microevolution and macroevolution,”
          Journal of Evolutionary Biology 15 (2002): 688-701.
          “A persistent debate in evolutionary biology is one over the continuity of
          microevolution and macroevolution — whether macroevolutionary trends are
          governed by the principles of microevolution.”

          But my real point is that one does not have to accept evolutionary thought (in the case of macro-evolution) to fully support that our human ancestors lived and ate in a primal manner. In fact the mascot for the site is Grok, which is a human and not something else.

          So, while we may disagree on the validity of macro-evolution (CW at its best :)), we can agree that our human ancestors lived primaly.

  12. great post! I’ve actually got quite a few friends and relatives interested in a primal/paleo lifestyle; unfortunately, I don’t know of any good german books or other resources to point em towards. I’m afraid books do seem more convincing than a 22 year old who’s never had any health issues (me) … luckily, the PB has reason on its side

  13. Rome didn’t fall in a day and neither will CV. But those cracks sure look like a lovely start. It’s like that feeling you get after you’ve inched your way to the top of the roller coaster and are staring down the precipice with exhilarating anticipation!

  14. Mark, you do outstanding work. The book and the site have been great. In the month since I’ve started the Blueprint, I can definitely see and feel results. It’s (relatively) easy as well, and it makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective.

  15. These last two articles have been amazing. Thanks for all your hard work Mark! I’ll do my best to spread the word, and change CW.

  16. There are some cracks. My brother-in-law and his wife are moving in the Primal direction after seeing how healthy my wife and I are becoming. One of my employees at work is also starting and there is curiosity on the part of some of the doctors at the clinic I manage. This is the kind of progress that most of us can contribute to. Especially if you have health issues (diabetes in my case) which are responsive to the Primal way of life and not to the Conventional Wisdom.

  17. I’m a Southern African American female. I’m used to CW not paying attention to anything that I might have to say, lol. It’s ok. Continue to live by example and reach those whom want to be reached. The obvious isn’t so obvious to those who have been brainwashed to think (and feel) a certain way. The powers that be spend trillions in advertising alone to convince the masses of their righteousness. It could be worse. Keep ya head up. 😉 Keep rising to the top.

  18. For my part, I’ve been unabashedly evangelizing the lifestyle, and I’ve been absolutely ENJOYING the looks I get when I talk about getting in touch with my inner caveman.

    If they think I’m crazy, I’m probably on to something.

    If they don’t think I’m crazy, I know I might be able to crack through the wall and be a positive influence.

  19. Mark if Vibram 5 fingers are any sign of progress, our Crossfit Gym (WindyCity Crossfit for those of you in Chicago) has experienced a tenfold increase in believers. It is now the odd man out who does not own a pair!

  20. I wonder if we could throw together a time-line of the cracks. Typical events would include:

    – Good Calories, Bad Calories is published
    – Fat (McLagan) is published
    – [and of course] The Primal Blueprint
    – Nutrition & Metabolism Society is formed
    – # online low-carb/paleo blogs reaches x
    – The Omnivore’s Dilemma is published
    – Vitamin D recommendations are updated

    I am sorry I don’t have the dates at hand, but I think you get the drift…


  21. Thanks for you site, Mark. About 5 years ago I did the South Beach diet and lost about 20lbs in 2 months while I was also lifting 3x/week, so the actual fat loss was probably even more. About 3 years ago I stopped and have been ballooning up since then.

    This past Sunday I came across your site and decided to give up grains on the spot. I’ve had some misfires (ordered a veal cutlet the other night without thinking about it being breaded, and had a baked potato tonight albeit a small one doused with butter) but 90% of the time I’m on track. It looks like I’ve dropped about 4lbs just since Sunday, and I can say that my chronic nighttime heartburn has been totally absent. From day 1, even.

    Keep up the good fight.

  22. Jeez, Mark, don’t get discouraged! Look at the enthusiastic community you have created here. You are making a big difference in the lives of all the people who comment on your posts and on the forum, as well as the many others who read and learn without commenting. Not to mention the people who are exposed to your book – after hearing me go on and on about fats vs. carbs during a family vacation last month, my sister and my mom both wanted copies of your chapter summaries.

    Coming to MDA every day offers me validation, motivation, and continual encouragement. I love it!

  23. Great inspiration and motivation Mark.

    Never fear, I AM the crack in CW. Believe me, if there was every a believer in CW to the tenth degree, it was I. For years I wouldn’t come close coconut, meats, nuts, or butter, and instead, would gorge on things like Kashi cereals (“Seven Whole Grains on a Mission.. Heck yeah!) and Popcorn (well, the button IS already built into the microwave) topped with Parkay Butter Spray (Uh, hello, it’s calorie free!) as my low fat snacks of choice.

    Blogs and advice given from this site are changing perceptions all over the country. And, because we all know and love our family, friends, and customers (in my case..) we’re bound to want the best for them and encourage a primal lifestyle on a daily basis.

    I say, let’s get you on Oprah! Or.. better yet, Dr. Oz’s new show. If the masses of this site patronize producers on shows like those – they’ll know it’s it’s a concept with truth and steam behind it. Consider congregating everyone and making it a topic in upcoming posts!!


  24. I agree with Noelle–let’s get you on one of those shows. . .it’s time to go mainstream with the message!

  25. Taubes’ book was fantastic. Unfortunately, today we live in a visual world where television coverage is more important than intelligent words written.

    A large scale network program needs to uncover the largest conspiracy in the health world has ever witnessed. The low fat high carb endorsed health option needs to be abolished forever.

  26. The website “debunking” Food, Inc. is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read.

    1. “The website “debunking” Food, Inc. is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read.”

      That’s probably because you base your misinformative worldview on vegan and organic propaganda instead of objective reality.

  27. Mark, the Aug ’09 issue of Scientific American has an article on gut permeability and the much higher rate (100 times more than initially thought) of Celiac Disease. Although it starts off on strong footing with discussions of evolutionary biology, it ends with the standard big pharma approach for a search for drugs because, as the author states, following a Gluten-free diet is too hard. Here’s what I sent to the editors after reading the article:
    Dear editors,

    I commend you on publishing Alessio Fasano’s article “Surprises from Celiac Disease” in your August ’09 issue of Scientific American. I have a couple of comments that I feel are critically important in the quest for answers and cures to autoimmune dysfunctions.

    As Mr Fasano highlighted, the percentage of those clinically diagnosable with CD was over 100 times higher than initially thought. The issue here is twofold: 1) Lack of education to test for CD based on symptoms presented, and 2) The threshold for diagnosis of clinical sensitivity to lectins (gluten being the lectin Mr Fasano has highlighted based on CD). As Mr Fasano noted, gluten has an abnormally high glutamine and proline content that makes it survivable in the harsh digestive environment. This is by design: the seed is the reproductive portion of the plant…and it wants to survive through germination.

    It is the contention of researchers such as Dr. Loren Cordain (Colorado State University), Robb Wolf and others that the intestinal lining of virtually ALL humans is sensitive to lectins, and that lectin intake induces gut permeability, at some level, for all humans. The human digestive system has not evolved to thrive on grains and their high lectin content. This highlights Mr Fasano’s statement that , “…in healthy people, most of these peptides are kept within the gastrointestinal tract and are simply excreted before the immune system even notices them.” This is true, but it does not account for the damage done to the intestinal lining prior to excretion.

    The dynamic involved in delayed onset or diagnosis of CD may also be a function of temporal destruction of the gut lining; some people’s gut lining degrades faster than others due to genetic/structural susceptibility while others wear down over a much longer time. I think what needs clarifying is not a delineation between “healthy” and “unhealthy” people in regards to gut lining, but what foods are “healthy” or “unhealthy” for the human digestive system. There are a multitude of other ailments induced by grain intake (such as phytate-induced mineral deficiencies and hyperinsulinemia from the high glycemic and insulin loading of carbohydrate-dense grains as the staple of the Western diet).

    Mr Fasano’s statement that “adherence to a strict gluten-free diet is not easy” is misleading and somewhat misguided, because it is based on what is now the social norm of grain intake. As his article identified in its opening paragraph, humans (and our evolutionary precursors) thrived on Meats, Vegetables, Tubers and nuts for millennia prior to the first hints of agriculture (i.e. grains). Cutting all grains (and not searching for gluten-free grain-like alternatives) has repeatedly shown (large n-count anecdotally and through ward studies) to abate (or send into remission) a slew of autoimmune dysfunctions (including Rheumatoid Arthritis, colitis, crones and acne), not to mention Type 2 and 3 Diabetes. Dr. Loren Cordain has done a multitude of research and publishing in this field. Although commonly labeled as a “Paleolithic” diet, a more apt nomenclature is “eating the way we are physiologically designed to thrive.” There are plenty of arguments against eating a vegetable and meat-based diet vs. a grain-based diet, but what is not arguable (at least not successfully) is the significant negative impact to human health since grains became the staple of our diet.

    I appreciate your time.


    Jeremy Gordon
    Yorktown, VA

  28. Yes! And I just stumbled upon your website through fitsugar (I think) a few weeks ago and am reading the Primal Blueprint Now. I’m so excited to have Mark’s Daily Apple to read everyday, it’s really encouraging. I know the Crossfit community is growing and think as interest grows in that so will interest in Paleo eating and eventually the Primal lifestyle as well. And I’m sure that as more people come across the website or friends and family that know about the Primal Lifestyle–I’m telling all my friends and family–that it will become even bigger. Thanks!

  29. I received my copy of “The Primal Blueprint” the other day and am getting ready to read it. I had to finish another book, “The End of Overeating” by David A. Kessler, MD, and I would strongly recommend it. He discusses the “hyperpalatablity” of foods in our society, due to the abundance of sugar, fat and salt in their makeup, along with the portion sizes and the unconscious eating so many of us do. I’m ready to believe that fat isn’t as evil as it’s made out to be, but too many of us don’t look at food as fuel, but as a tranquilizer, upper, or an idulgence that “I deserve because I had a rough day at work and traffic was lousy on the way home.”
    Also, I saw the Men’s Health article on Erwan le Corre and Googled him to find out more. He was way ahead of his time.

  30. I still get reactions from people that have not seen me in awhile. I went Primal on Oct 23, 2008. I was 6″2″ 215lbs. Now, I am 180lbs and have been for at least 6 mos.
    They always ask, “How did you do it?” I tell them how and the reply is something along the lines of, “oh no, that can’t be good.”
    My response is,
    “look at me. LOOK. AT. ME.”

    1. I always tell people… “I’ll put my numbers up against anyone 15 years younger than me, whether you want to compare cholesterol numbers, resting heart rate, body fat percentage, muscle mass, strength, speed, flexibility, endurance… you pick it”.

      This usually shuts ’em up… the proof is in the pudding as they say.

      1. Sigh. Maybe you should actually read Andrew’s article (he was a colleague of mine when I was at the University of MN) instead of quoting part of the abstract out of context.

  31. Another chip off of the CW block can be found in the September/October issue of “AMC Outdoors,” the periodical of the Appalachian Mountain Club, entitled “Barefoot in the Park: When, why, and how to shed your shoes.” While cautious, it seems appropriately primal! I did have to laugh at the first sentence, though: “Going barefoot in the outdoors may at first seem like a throwback to the Stone Age rather than a healthy fitness trend.” Rather than? Heck, they’re missing the point… it’s both! Grok on!

  32. I don’t know if CW is cracking, but I’m too new to primal to really say. However, I did read an article on SparkPeople that was called something like, “The Truth About Carbs” or something like that, and it was a freakin’ ad for the USDA food pyramid. What amazed me was the backlash from people of all different dietary styles, primal, Atkins, etc. who were calling the site out on what was clearly spin. Given how much garbage that site can produce, it was nice to see its members recognize it and fight back.

  33. “It made me realize that we’re all in this together, and that by standing firm and maintaining that implacable hold on the facts that we currently enjoy (and will always enjoy, at least as long as we remain genetically Grok) we will eventually win out.”

    In a way that’s what worries me. There are populations who have bred out lactose intolerance and alcohol intolerance over time. It looks horribly to cynical old me that current policies are designed to breed out carbohydrate intolerance from the Western population.

    Procrustrean bread anyone?

  34. While there may be cracks in the CW wall, there are plenty of people and groups hard at work trying to patch those cracks to keep it from tumbling down on them.

    Just saw a post on FaceBook about a Meatless Monday website developed by a group working in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:

    They have this on their home page:

    “You can’t nourish children on a steady diet of processed foods full of fatty, empty carbs and sugary soda or juice.”

    Fatty, empty carbs? It boggles the mind!

    We’ll just have to keep fighting the good fight.

  35. By a strange coincidence when I logged in to WordPress just now I was pointed to a “you may like to read” post

    The Men’s Health Article is pretty good, and Tom Campbell’s response to the ADA is excellent.

    The scary bit is that it is now three years later and CW hasn’t changed, despite that the opposition has spread in all directions and is even to be found now in mainstream academic journals and mainstream media.

    That Meat-Free Monday thing was also referenced here in the UK, you think the New World Order are still alive and well and worshipping giant owls in the woods?

    I got some complaints about this one

    but I stand by what I wrote, she didn’t look at all healthy. I suppose a meatless monday wouldn’t be a bad plan so long as you had a carbless tuesday to sunday . . .

  36. I knew when I realized that the pb was nap friendly that I had found the plan for me! Sweat hard, rest well, has always felt so natural to me 🙂

    Be the blueprint. I like it.

  37. Great writeup! “it still needs machine assistance just to get a single pull-up in, and I think it’s still doing push-ups on its knees, but I sense a new bounce in its step.” Got a good laugh there…

  38. Gday cobbers.

    Just letting you know your message is seeping through to us in Australia, not that we were ever anything but primal anyway 🙂

    Mark when you get rich and famous you should head over and have a chat to the people who have gone primal for the last 40,000 years, the australian aborigines, maybe they know a few things about it.

    Personally I’ve been on a “shake” diet for the last 6 months, dropped 24 kilos and many belt sizes, plan to do the same for another 20 kilos and then go into maintenance using your book as a guide (which I’ve oredered and am eagerly waiting for). I’ve dropped all carbs (except the shakes) for now and found it a great way to transition out of the carb way of living.

    Its good to know you Yanks are contributing something to civilisation now to make up for all those years of bad habits you’ve propogated 😉


  39. as a person who believes that everything is in some way connected, i believe that you (Mark) should link up with Erwan Le Corre. you’re both teaching essentially the same thing (living naturally, keeping your fitness on a functional and holistic level, eating the same way).

  40. While reading “Is the Stone Beginning to Crack?” I followed several of the links and made a few purchases. I bought “The Vegetarian Myth” to read myself but more importantly, for my teenaged daughter to read. She has two close friends who are vegetarians and feels the pressure to “not be cruel to animals”. With a little prodding I think she’ll read it and be able to eat primally and guilt free. When she realizes that entire eco systems have died due to agriculture she’ll know that she is doing the right thing. She’s already drastically cut her carb intake and lost almost twenty pounds. My hope is that I can convince her to combine that with the work out portion of PB.

    I also bought “Fathead” for my 77 year old father who refuses to read anything more than a menu. Hopefully the film will spark some interest and at least open his mind to the possibility that blind faith in CW could actually be harming his health. He and I recently had breakfast at a local diner and I watched him put five (!) sugar packets in his coffee. He also had his wheat toast (CW says it’s good for him) and homefries. Later that evening he had a dish of “healthy” fat free ice cream. He listens to me preach of the benefits of PB living but feels he’s too old to change. I feel that changing these bad habits could very well help him avoid ending up in an assisted living setting and maybe even add healthy years to his life. He has seen me go from 215 pounds to 175 pounds in six months (while improving my numbers) time but apparently needs more proof.

    Old habits die hard, but I won’t give up. I agree with what I read somewhere in this thread. We do this because we love our families.

  41. This movement has been gaining momentum. It’s become more and more know and followed. The results just speak for themselves.

  42. If we can get some celebrities onto it that will really help. People will copy celebrity diets even if it’s wrong. But once they get results the rest will take care of itself. Once it really gets media attention in the spotlight and stays there more people will take notice and more studies will be done etc.

    I feel like we’re at the stage where the low carb diet (atkins) was 10 years ago. People thought you were a nutcase if you said anything about too much carbs being bad and to eat more protein.

    The low carb diet was on the right track I think but the primal/paleo fills in the gaps.

    The point is, too much carbs is bad and eventually CW caught up (sort of) even if it took 10 years. now if someone says they are limiting their carbs it’s just accepted that this is a good thing.

    the time will come when the primal/paleo diet is in the spotlight to be scrutinized and debated. given that it works and is based on sound science it’s inevitable that it will take off in much the same way that the low carb diets did.

    no one can argue that this is not the healthiest diet. instinctively people always think back to the caveman days anyway. I doubt there would be many people who would not find logic in this diet if they actually took some time to understand it and why it’s the right diet. Put things into perspective with evolution etc.. once they have a better picture of what it’s all about they will believe it. will they follow it? that’s another story!

  43. My favorite song, “Against the wind”. It is the way I live my life. Always keeps things interesting.
    I think you should do a appearance on THE PEOPLES PHARMACY.
    Please let me know if it happens. I only get to listen about 1/2 the time.

  44. I’m envious of all the activity going on across the pond. The UK is firmly rooted (‘scuse pun!) in the grain culture despite forty years of it being demonstrated that a high carb diet induces obesity and diabetes 2. Gary Taubes new book ‘Why we get fat’ should be required reading for all med students and nurse students too. I’ve been Paleo/Primal now for 3 years and my weight has never been more stable. Thanks to Mark for this site, it’s a breath of fresh air and somewhere to come when the weight of UKCW bears down too heavily!

  45. Where was I in 2009 that I never saw any of this in mainstream? I wish I had! Would’ve saved me from my years of anorexia!