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

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November 09, 2017

Top 10 Paleo Apps

By Mark Sisson
16 Comments

application icons fly off the tablet computer in hand“Apps aren’t paleo, Sisson. Grok waited for days for aurochs to wander within spear-chucking range, not overnight for the release of the iPhone X.” True. But this is the world we live in. These are the tools we have.

If you’re going to lug around an addictive piece of tech in your pocket all day, it might as well contain some apps that make living healthy and living Primal easier, rather than harder. What follows are some of the best paleo/Primal apps I’ve found. Some I use, some I don’t. They’re not all explicitly “paleo,” but they’re all at least tangentially related to this thing we call the pursuit of optimal health and happiness.

Apnea Trainer

Apnea Trainer  (iOS, Android) is meant for free-divers, spearfishers, abalone hunters, and anyone interesting in increasing their lung capacity. It also has a “pranayama” setting that promotes a more meditative breathing pattern. Tim Ferriss turned me on to this, which he uses in an “off-label” manner as a replacement for meditation when he doesn’t have the time.

I’ve written about the potential benefits of meditation many times before, but I’ve never been able to get into it myself. Last year I gave you some alternatives to formal sitting meditation, and if I went back and wrote that one again I’d probably add Apnea Trainer to the list. It’s a great way to center yourself, do some deep diaphragmatic breathing, take a few minutes out of the day to get present, and improve your lung capacity in the process.

Interval Timer

Interval Timer (iOS) is exactly what it sounds like: a simple, no-nonsense interval timer. Completely customizable, so you can make any type of interval. 5 seconds on, 10 seconds off? You can do it. 2 minutes on, 1 minute off? Easy peasy.

There aren’t any bells, whistles, frills, or widgets, and that’s totally fine with me. You don’t need any. All that fluff just takes away from you, the work period, and the rest period. I’m sure other interval timer apps are perfectly fine and perhaps even have more functionality than the basic Interval Timer. This one’s free, so give it a shot and if it doesn’t meet with your expectations, try another.

Android users, this free interval timer looks to be a solid choice.

Bedtime Alert on the Clock App

The iPhone’s standard clock app is niftier than most realize. Rather than the wakeup alarm—which I try to avoid and usually succeed in doing—I like the bedtime alarm it has.

You choose when you want to wake up, how much sleep you need, and it determines a bedtime for you, backed up with an alert telling you to get yourself to bed. My only quibble is that it also includes a wakeup alert, or alarm clock that can’t be turned off or disabled.

If you’re like me and hate morning alarm clocks, use the basic “Reminder” app to set a bedtime reminder that repeats every day. If you like morning alarms, use the Bedtime Alert feature on the Clock App.

Nom Nom Paleo

There are other paleo/Primal recipe apps out there. Many, I’m sure, are quite good and full of incredible recipes. It’s just that I’ve tried a lot of the recipes from Nom Nom Paleo over the years, and I’ve never been disappointed. Not once.

Each recipe gets the full multimedia treatment, with stunning step-by-step photos and technique videos. Or if you just want the basics, the recipe cards give you the crucial information—ingredients, amounts, directions—you need to shop, cook, and eat. There’s even a 30-day meal plan included.

Zero

Zero (iOS) is a fasting tracker. You choose the fasting regimen you prefer—16-hour long fast, a “circadian rhythm fast,”or create your own schedule, then hit “start” and hit “stop” when you eat something. Over time, you accumulate reams of exportable data, which you can plot against bodyweight changes and relevant health markers to spot trends and identify connections.

I don’t use it personally. I’m not a quantified self guy, nor do I need any special assistance following a fasting schedule. Truth be told, I don’t even really follow a set schedule. I eat WHEN—when hunger ensues naturally. Yet, I can see where an app like Zero could help people just getting started.

Android users can try Vora.

AllTrails

Anytime I’m in a new area and have a few hours to kill, I’ll fire up AllTrails (iOS, Android) and see if there are any interesting trails nearby. I do this partially because I love to hike and take every opportunity to do it, especially if it’s someplace new. It’s also a key component of my anti-jetlag strategy which revolves around circadian entrainment to the new timezone. Physical activity alone is a strong entrainer of circadian rhythm. Physical activity outdoors in natural sunlight is an even better entrainer of circadian rhythm. 

You can filter the trails by difficulty, dog- or kid-friendliness, length, busyness, and route type.

Paleo (io)

How many times have you uttered the words, “Is it paleo?” How often does someone who knows you as the resident Primal expert ask it of you?

This is probably old hat to most of you. You can probably scan an aisle of food and immediately analyze the paleo-ness of the ingredients, complete with Terminator-style HUD readouts. Many of you have the answers.

In case you don’t have it, however, Paleo (io)(iOS, Androiddoes. A simple “yes” or “no,” that is. You can also search the app’s paleo food database of over 3000 foods to get more information.

Keto Diet Tracker

With keto gaining adherents and dabblers by the day, apps are popping up everywhere. Keto Diet Tracker (iOS, Android) looks to be the best of the bunch.

Pair this one with Paleo (io) for maximum accuracy. Use Keto Diet Tracker to identify the keto-friendliness of your food, then run that through a Paleo (io) filter.

It does require a monthly subscription. Quite a modest price, but make sure you know how to cancel your subscription in case it’s not a good fit for your preferences.

Cronometer

CRON-O-Meter (iOS, Android) draws on the latest USDA databases for nutritional info to help you track calories, micronutrients (including vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (including specific amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates) to plot them against the RDAs.

While its intended audience is the CRON (calorie restriction with optimal nutrition) crowd, most of whom tend to be vagualy plant-based, the app is just a solid nutrition tracker that provides a lot of detailed information relevant to any type of eater. It’s fun to enter a half a pound of beef liver and see your vitamin A, folate, and B-vitamin requirements instantly satisfied.

Spotify

A music app may not seem relevant to this list. Remember though: this is about health, happiness, and wellness, not just diet and exercise. A music app like Spotify (iOS, Android) offers major benefits to any Primal fan.

You can vibe to the music. Much of the best music attempts to capture the harmony of life, the rhythms to which we’re all subject.

You can dance. Nothing more Primal than moving your body to the rhythm that permeates all being.

You can sing along. Singing is repeatedly shown to be beneficial for elderly folks, particularly those with neurodegenerative diseases. I see no reason why those benefits wouldn’t apply to younger people as well. It’s been shown to improve heart rate variability, for example. But beyond all that is the basic joy of it. Song is a human universal; there must be a good reason to do it so much.

Those are the ten paleo/Primal smartphone apps that I’ve found most useful, interesting, and promising. What are yours? Thanks for stopping by today.

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16 Comments on "Top 10 Paleo Apps"

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Beth
Beth
3 months 14 days ago

I’ve been using Cronometer since I went keto in May. It’s helped me drop 45 pounds so far. It also provides a niggle in the back of my head when I don’t add what I’ve eaten during the day.

Dave
Dave
3 months 14 days ago

Spotify is staple for digital music to power me through workouts. You create a playlist and listen off line conserving valuable data.

I just down loaded ALL Trails – What a great idea

Curtis
3 months 14 days ago

Honorable mention to dminder for tracking your real-time, local Vitamin D exposures.

Dorothy
Dorothy
3 months 14 days ago

For Apple’s bedtime timer I use the wake up sound Birdsong set to about 15% of max volume, and that is not too intrusive

Gary
Gary
3 months 14 days ago

I too have been using the Cronometer with great results. I can use my phone or computer to tract everything that goes into my pie-hole (holds me accountable to myself) as well as taking notes and tracking biometrics, excercise, even alchohol consumption (gulp).The app also has a setting for keto diets (a module for Dr. Joe Mercola’s MMT program from, “Fat for Fuel”) so you can adjust for strict or moderate parameters (adjusting carbs and protein limits). Highly recommended for anyone interested in n=1 (self-experimentation) in order to find out how their body responds to daily inputs.

Elizabeth
3 months 14 days ago

I like Pedometer ++ to track my steps. Don’t think it’s completely accurate but nice quick visual reminder if you need a little extra movement. And fun to see how quickly they add up when you’re on your feet all day. I always aim for at least 10,000 steps. On days when I’m bartending all day I get closer to 25,000. And I really need to start using that alarm to go to sleep…that’s where I’m lacking

NaturalGirl
NaturalGirl
3 months 14 days ago

Enjoy a few of these apps already and looking forwarding incorporating this list to my daily rituals!

Fuel
Fuel
3 months 13 days ago

Are you a comment bot?

Shary
Shary
3 months 14 days ago

Hmm… I guess I’ll be the lone naysayer here. Does a fully functioning adult really need an app to tell him (or her) what a well-exercised brain should be able to figure out? Probably not. If apps are your idea of a good time, then fine, but the brain is like anything else: use it or lose it.

Gary Wellman
3 months 13 days ago

I’m with you on this one Shary. A stress free life for me.

Bitdy
3 months 13 days ago

Have a look at cronometer and tell me that your brain can calculate the amount of folate ect in the foods you’ve eaten that day. Having it as a tool to start off with makes you aware of how much/what you need to be consuming. Just my thoughts, I agree that this list was very hit and miss (especially the Sleepytime alarm made me laugh)

Joshua Hansen
Joshua Hansen
3 months 12 days ago

The brain is also finite and will be strong where it is excercised. I’d rather exercise my skills and let apps take care of trivial nonsense than vice-versa.

Thanks. I’m keeping a calendar app. It’s awesome. Reminders are awesome. Maps are awesome. Spotify is awesome.

I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to do things the old-fashioned way but I do protest to the idea that it’s somehow bad for your brain to allow computers to do what their best at while freeing up the human mind to do the same.

A ghost
A ghost
3 months 13 days ago

Cronometer also has a free web app. I have used it occasionally to see if there are nutrients I am always eating too little of.

Ross
Ross
3 months 11 days ago

Cronometer is fantastic for usability. I use the web interface. Easier to get things done.

SARIKA THADURU
3 months 11 days ago

From past 6 months i have been using Cromometer and had dropped my wieght from 65Kgs to 60 Kgs. Personally i love the app.

Jimmy Smith
3 months 5 days ago

Big time fan of Bedtime Alert

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