on March 8, 2012
My husband can't eat gluten and I ran across this book while doing my endless research on grains, inflammation and diet. This book is wonderful in many ways, but I'm going to focus my review on the information the book covers on grains and why we shouldn't be eating them. Give it chance. Don't immediately think this is the Atkins diet only with organic foods. Don't roll your eyes and think that this whole "gluten-free" thing you keep hearing about is some trend that the celebrities are talking about. This book spells out what grains do to us. Even though we had removed wheat from our diet, we had really just replaced it with a lot of corn products and other seemingly "safe" grains. We were overweight, always hungry, and my husband had a lot of pain throughout his body - just mysterious aches and pains everywhere. I was beginning to think we needed to get to a fibromyalgia specialist or a pain management doctor. I kept hanging onto this book and after several weeks of prodding, I finally got hubby to agree to give me a month on this diet. It was not an easy sell because he had already given up so many favorite foods by going gluten free, but I finally got him to say "yes." I cleaned out the pantry, made a shopping list, bought the food and we started in mid-January. Now we are in early March and we've both lost about twenty pounds each. Attention Ladies - the belly fat came off -six inches worth off my waist (I'm 49-not easy to do). But that is not why I love Mark Sisson and this book - not at all. I love it because the body-wide pain my husband had is nearly gone. He said he feels better than he has since he was a young man. I am so grateful to Mark Sisson because I was days away from looking into prescription pain relief for my husband as he deteriorated before my eyes. I hope some day I can meet Mr. Sisson and shake his hand. This morning as I left for work, my husband was bopping around the kitchen, making breakfast and looked happy and healthy. A few weeks ago he was hobbling around like an old man. His mother called me crying when she saw him walking from his car into her apartment building because she said he looked 80 years old.
Do yourself a favor and give it a month. Many people say the foods on this diet are expensive, and it is a shock to buy organic produce and meat, but a week or two into the diet, you are just not very hungry and I have found that I actually spend less on groceries. I buy grass-fed ground beef and large packs of organic chicken from Costco. We eat loads of organic salad, broccoli and kale. If we have a sweet craving we eat a little dark chocolate. Even if you can't buy totally organic - just apply the principles in the book and avoid the sugar and grains and you will feel like a new person.
Bottom line - we both feel great and my husband's pain is soon to be a thing of the past. It's great to have smaller pants, but it's even greater to have our health improved in such a short period of time.
UPDATE: September 2012 - my husband and I continue to shrink. This is the first time I have ever lost more weight than him (40 pounds)and that's just because he eats more fruit smoothies than I do. The big news is that my husband's bloodwork has completely changed in the time since I wrote the original review. Cholesterol dropped over 40 points, good cholesterol went up and triglycerides went down. CRP (inflammation) went down under 1 which means my husband is out of danger in terms of cardiac risk. This time last year my husband was in daily pain, couldn't remember anything and was being treated by a cardiologist. My husband's doctor told him he would never be able to turn his cholesterol around without statin drugs. This month, when the doctor reviewed my husband's labs he was amazed. He said, and I quote "what was the name of that book again?" This way of eating has changed our lives in ways I could not have imagined - we have so much more energy, brain fog is gone, more new pants for me, more inches off my waist, and people who haven't seen us for a while say we look 20 years younger. This plan takes commitment, but if you truly clean out the junk foods (grains) in your house and hang in there to get through the initial cravings, you will never look back. It is such a relief to never be hungry and not have to always think about food. If you are heading down the heart attack path of high cholesterol and your doctor is saying you have to get on statins - do this instead. If you have pain from arthritis or fibromyalgia, try this. It is truly life changing.
on February 6, 2011
First let me say that I am a believer in the Primal Blueprint Plan. I stumbled across Marks Daily Apple web site and wanted to learn more. I was pleased to discover that he had written a book. I figured rather than dig through the web site to find out more, I would buy the book and have the whole plan at my fingertips -- no more searching the web site.
WRONG. The book continuously gives an introduction and then section after section, refers you to marksdailyapple.com for more information. It doesn't say where on the web site, either. If I have to mine through the web site, why did I need to buy the book?
I agree with other reviewers who indicate the book is very repetitive without giving solid examples -- lots of overview. There isn't a 7 day plan or 30 day plan or sample work outs, just generalities. Again, if you want examples, you are referred to the web site.
I purchased the Kindle version of the book -- there are no charts or graphs, all text. I am not sure if the printed book is presented in the same format, but I find it hard to read. For example, identifying fruits from most favorable to occasional, a chart would have been easy to read. Instead, it is written in paragraph format.
Again, I am a supporter of the plan and am beginning to adopt it myself. However, I can't really recommend the book. It seems that all the info you need is on the web site. If you buy the book, you will be referred to the web site anyway.
I feel silly writing a review for a book that already has so many reviews. But I want to put this here for those who are looking for a review that they can really trust. Check my profile and you will see that I am a long term top reviewer for amazon - I am not paid, I give my honest opinion, I don't pull any punches, and I share my opinions only to help others who love books like I do.
I bought this book in February based on the recommendation from a friend who had lost 50 lbs doing this diet. Honestly, I thought she must be exaggerating about all of the health benefits she had gotten from this lifestyle. But I had been having some serious health problems and I was desperate enough to try anything.
A bit of background: I have always eaten a very "healthy" diet - whole grains, tons of organic veggies and fruits, cooking from scratch, eating almost no junk food at all. I spent most of my adult life as a vegetarian as well.
In 8 weeks on the Primal Blueprint plan, I lost 27 lbs. I was able to go off my blood pressure medication. I feel energetic and GOOD all the time. Gone are the constant muscle & joint aches, the serious GI problems, the chronic exhaustion - it has completely changed my life. After the first 2 weeks I found the diet part to be very easy to follow [there is a detox period that can range from 1-3 weeks depending on the person].
I feel 30 years younger [I'm only 43!]. I am energetic and happy, I am able to excel in my athletic pursuits, I can play with my kids and keep up with them, I feel like a new woman.
This book has changed my life in a miraculous way. I feel so strongly about it that I have purchased several copies and given them to friends. Three of my friends are now doing this lifestyle with me and ALL of them have seen very similar improvements in health, weight, and the way that they feel. [One of my friends has her whole family on this plan and they have ALL seen amazing improvement and serious weight loss].
So, if you are tired of being fat and tired and of feeling bad all the time - this book will be the best money you ever spend. It is a serious life changer. I feel totally indebted to the author and I am extremely grateful that I decided to buy this book and try the diet.
[Update July 28 2012 - I have now lost 50 lbs using this book! The weight just keeps coming off and I feel awesome!]
on February 15, 2012
Without question, the logic of this book is rock-solid. And as time goes on, the theory that it's the carbs that are making us fat will be seen as truth, not cutting-edge theory.
However, for anyone buying this book for weight loss, particularly post-menopausal women, you may have to go elsewhere for help. I've been doing this diet for a solid two months, and I've actually gained three pounds. And believe me, I've been diligent...no cheating, no overdoing it on the calories.
What's funny about Mark's web site and books (I have two) is that in the photos that accompany them, he proudly shows off his strapping physique (good for him). But the woman he's with is clearly much younger than him. Undoubtedly, she's doing the primal thing, too, but as any post-menopausal woman knows, your weight issues before and after "the change" are two entirely different animals.
I even went to marksdailyapple.com for advice, but the only listing that came up under a search for menopausal weight loss was one discussion board piece written by a woman who'd suddenly gained weight after menopause, even while following the whole primal protocol. Her solution was to severely restrict her calories.
But that was the ONLY INFO on his site...or in this book for that matter...for the 50+ gal. Not criticizing his theories here...just alerting women like myself that you may feel a bit left out of this whole discussion. I'm currently researching other books that will address this sudden weight gain. (I've gained 18+ pounds in just 3 years. Pretty freaky when you've been very thin your whole life.) If anyone has some suggestions for me, I'd appreciate it. I'll be back to check the comments.
on April 30, 2011
After reading numerous posts and amazing pictures of 'primal' meals by my facebook friend, curiosity got the best of me and I ordered this book. I expected it to be just like Atkins but it wasn't. Yes, it does promote low carb eating but it's not NO carb. I tried Atkins a few times and although I loved how I looked and felt when I didn't eat carbs, I could not sustain that for life.
Eating primal is something that I have been implementing in my diet w/o actually realizing it. The author does a great job explaining and drawing parallel examples of Grok and Korg....and I noticed that when I don't eat grains, I feel amazing. So I decided to get rid of all grains in my life as well as sugar (which is really hard for me as I am a chocoholic). I feel amazing, I don't feel bloated like I did before, I have so much energy and I am excited about eating....I can have a WHOLE egg with the yolk...something I haven't done in years.
The fact that I am encouraged to eat lots of veggies and some fruit and even dark chocolate is very appealing to me as this was the minus I saw with the Atkins diet.
I am not looking at this as a diet, I am looking at it as a lifestyle change. Since I've already cut out a lot of starches and sugar out of my life in the past year, this recent transition is not very drastic for me.
Since I am at my goal weight, I am not looking to LOSE weight but rather maintain it which is always a challenge for me. I am hoping that this way of eating will help me stay at this weight without putting too much effort into it.
And if you are just starting out cutting out grains and sugar (not carbs!) out of your diet and you find yourself not knowing what to eat...it really is easy. Roast some veggies and throw some steak/chicken/fish on the grill. Add cut up avocado, tomatoes or any other veggies on your plate with eggs. Have a huge salad with chicken or beef cut up and put some interesting nuts or seeds...flax, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. Make a homemade coleslaw that you can add to any meal....bag of coleslaw, thinly sliced red/orange pepper (I buy those mini bell peppers), grated green apple (or not), lots of fresh cut up herbs (cilantro, dill and scallions are my fav) and make dressing out of 2tbsp oil (I love sunflower seed oil) to 2-3tsp red wine vinegar...add some garlic, salt, pepper and voila...a wonderful side dish with any meal! Fills you and healthy too!
Think outside of eating just eggs and bacon (nothing wrong with those though) and add veggies! marksdailyapple forums are a wonderful place to get advice from other primal followers.
on January 3, 2012
Let me start off with a disclaimer: When it comes to implementing and sticking to things I'm about the laziest person on the planet. I usually get gung ho about something and then it fizzles out after a couple weeks or so. So if you're the same way, pay attention because this was so easy and made so much sense that it didn't happen with this book/program.
I first stumbled across the Primal/Paleo movement on facebook a couple years ago. I read a friends status update that she had started doing it and recommended this book. She filled me in a little bit more about it and initially I thought it made some sense so I bought the book.
At the start of reading the book I was a 31 year old 5'11" Male that weighed 208 pounds. I was in terrible shape, I couldn't even walk up a flight of stairs without breathing heavy. As I read the book, light bulbs started turning on in my brain... It. Just. Made. Sense. Mark makes everything incredibly easy to understand. He also has a humorous way of writing, which is refreshing when it comes to books like this.
So when I first started implementing this I decided to start slowly and only change the way I eat to see if that alone would do anything. On the Sunday before the Monday I started I literally went through my entire kitchen and threw away all the trouble items that Mark describes. So all I had left was Meat, Fruit, Veggies, Nuts and Seeds. I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to go all the way. I decided to completely quit my previous way of eating and go cold turkey. So on that following Monday I went 100% Primal/Paleo....
That's when things started getting interesting. (And remember, I wasn't working out AT ALL, just eating Primal.) I was literally losing 5 pounds a week for the first couple weeks. In only 2.5 months I had lost 35 pounds!! Let me repeat that... In only 2.5 months I lost 35 pounds!! This was all due to changing my eating style. I went down to 173 pounds. I was amazed at how fast the weight was coming off.
Here's the benefits I got (everyone's different) from using this book and simply changing what I eat:
--ENERGY: I had way more of it. On my previous diet that was heavy on Pasta, Bread, etc. I would have moments throughout the day where I was really fatigued. Mostly in the early afternoon and the early evening. Going Primal made me feel like I was 23 again.
--DECREASED HUNGER: Gone were the days of being hungry just an hour after eating a big meal. When I was on a high grains diet I would be hungry for what seemed like all the time. Since this is a high protein diet (and protein is a natural appetite suppressant) I didn't ever get any hunger pains.
--BETTER SKIN: Not sure if this one was a coincidence or not, but my skin just seemed better after getting off the grains.
--COMPLIMENTS: With as fast as I was losing weight I think people might have thought I had an eating disorder or something. I would get loads of what seemed like curious compliments about how I looked. Like they were complimenting me, but in their mind they were really thinking... what the heck is this guy doing?!? Inevitably their curiosity would get the better of them and they'd ask what I was doing. The sad thing is that even when I would tell people they didn't want to believe me. I quickly learned that most people are set in their ways, eating wise, and don't want to believe anything even if there's easy proof of someone standing right in front of them.
Here's the downside:
--BUYING NEW CLOTHES: Just in that 2.5 months I had to go out and buy news clothes repeatedly. I went from wearing a 36 waist down to my college waist of 32. This was a great problem to have.
I've been doing this now for close to 2 years (it'll be 2 years in March) and haven't looked back. Since I'm now more in maintenance mode I go by the 80/20 rule and don't fret if I want to enjoy a piece of bread or a plate of pasta. I just make sure not to make a habit of it. I also now do Crossfit and would highly recommend it as a compliment to this program. There's Crossfit locations all across the country.
One of my pet peeves about the Primal/Paleo lifestyle is that people think it's some sort of fad diet. When in reality it's the same as someone saying they're a vegetarian or a vegan. It's just a different way of eating, it's not a diet by any means.
Do yourself a favor and get the book. Do yourself another favor and really give it a try. The only way you'll be disappointed is if you don't give it 100%.
on October 18, 2009
So I read Sisson's book and have been a regular reader of his website [...]
I found that the book gives a good introduction to the Paleo-style way of life (cut the sugars, grains, processed carbs, and processed fats/trans fats) and focus on proteins and fats (good fats). This is from the simple premise that we evolved in an environment where grains weren't highly available and that sugar was difficult to extract (as there were NO government-subsidized grain programs and NO Green Revolution of the 1960s to mark the explosion of cheap grain availability). Furthermore, our primitive ancestors tended to be a lot more active than what we have been especially over the past half century (hugely to blame thanks to sedentary-style desk jobs that much of America has switched onto).
It all makes sense, and I do believe with everything Mark is saying --- and I would recommend this book.
The only reasons why I gave this book a 3/5 was because I felt that the biochemistry needed a bit more explanation as it was a little unorganized (he gives some basic facts about human metabolism but doesn't really explain it all the way through), and then goes on giving recommendations for how to do the program. It would have been helpful if he gave some more quantitative data as well.
For instance, he doesn't really explain how much higher carb intake to fat deposit turnover is compared to fat intake to fat deposit rates. It's important to describe these things quantitatively (and I understand it can't be too too complex given the audience) because a 100% rate stands out a lot more than say a 5% or even a 1% rate compared to the other.
So he will describe some basic biochemistry (which again is appropriate) but neglects to fill in some other pieces that make the entire picture clear.
The second minor complaint was that the book never really made references to its sources for evidence WITHIN the text and it should have used footnotes and not endnotes at the very least. The way the book is setup is that it makes verifying his claims more difficult to do because he doesn't cite sources when he needs to. This is important because it lends more credibility to what he is saying, and helps those who are doubtful to reassure themselves at the appropriate points when necessary.
Third, I don't like the subtle recommendations for his own supplements --- I mean, it's his book yeah, but I think it is unprofessional to be recommending your own products especially when you're trying to teach people the right thing. It makes the author look biased for the wrong reasons, looking for a quick buck especially when there are a lot of competing nutrition guides out there with similar claims. My advice is: Don't waste your money on any supplements as they're overpriced here, and you can find better deals at other stores. The only supplements that I use, btw, are a Centrum Multivitamin, Omega 3 fish oil pills (take 2 1000 gs a day), and 1000 IU of Vitamin D3 (I live in a high latitude/long winters). And how significant these benefits are by taking these specific supplements is still up for debate --- in Sisson's own words, you may be literally pissing gold. Mark, if you read this, you should realize that your message will be more easily accepted by people, who are already skeptical of supposed health claims, if you don't advertise in your book for your own personal profit.
Fourth, there should have been more recipes and a recipe guide/schedule in visual format that would help people get started on the Paleo-style way of eating.
The book is about 270-280 pages long, and it's in relatively big size font, and at the price it's selling at, I'm sure that the next edition (if there will be one),can afford and should include a good template for a beginner 30 day recipe guide for commonly/easily available foods/spices/condiments/etc. in American grocery stores.
Besides these points, the book is a good read, and is not overly complex or overly simple and it has a good balance of information and advice to follow.
Nevertheless, I would also urge all of you to read the book (and any other nutritional book) with a critical mind and don't just passively accept the arguments the author makes without verifying it for yourself.
Finally, I would also be cautious/wary of all the 5-star reviews that this book and any other book gets on Amazon.com and any other website --- especially seeing as you really can't tell if the writers work for the publisher/author, or if they may be influenced by a hive mind mentality (following the crowd), a placebo effect, or are just plain dumb.
on January 5, 2012
I've been familiar with paleo-lifestyle for about a year now. I recently heard of Mark on an episode of the Lew Rockwell Show.
Wiki: "Mark Sisson is an American fitness author and blogger, and a former distance runner, triathlete and Ironman competitor. Sisson finished 4th in the February 1982 Ironman World Championship."
I agree with most things in the book and have shifted my eating habits in his direction. I thought the book was informative, easy to read, but way too fluffy. I didn't like the fact that the book exceeded 200+ pages for the content presented. I feel like you could have understood everything in the book by just reading a few articles and in less time.
The book could have been easily trimmed to 100 pages.
Though, if you aren't familiar with the primal lifestyle then this is a good book to get started.
Mark presents an exercise routine and some dietary guidelines which I liked.
on February 27, 2016
I love Paleo and used to be a regular reader of Mark's Daily Apple blog. So I thought to myself, "I'll buy his book. It'll be great."
I'll sum it up like this: It's an okay book that's overly verbose.
Or another way: You can find all you need to know about Mark's "blueprint" on his blog/website for free, in a more concise format that's faster to digest and easier to put in practice.
Again, I'm a fan of this guy and personally I lost 30 lbs. using the Paleo method. My problem with this book is not the content, but that it could've used an editor to cut down large sections. My cynical, sneaking suspicion is that they can't sell a 20-page pamphlet as an authoritative "book" and needed to fill out space. That's probably not the author's intention. But it's my impression as a buyer and reader (take it for what it's worth).
My paleo tips for success summary (which would fit on a postcard):
• Eat lots of chicken, fish and vegetables
• Fruits, nuts and milk are sometimes foods
• Cut out bread and sugar except as special treats
• Walk and exercise some.
• Read Mark's Daily Apple for inspiring stories
• Watch Tom Naughton's "Fat Head" documentary (it's funny, you'll like it, and available on Amazon)
In conclusion, great guy, good book, but considering "time is money" there are more efficient ways to get this info.
on May 7, 2011
I've been dieting for years. I've tried Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, pills, fad diets, and exercised until I couldn't move. I'd lose. I'd gain. Lather, rinse, repeat. This past winter, I kept gaining and could not figure out why. I was using portion control, eating whole grains, lean protein, fruits & veggies, but I had to use fish oil supplements because my hair was falling out. A friend of mine directed me to "Mark's Daily Apple" online and after I signed up for his free newsletter and downloaded 3 free e-books, I was hooked. I just had to read more!
Because truly, that is why I love this book/plan/lifestyle. He recommends you follow his eating/exercise plan 80% of the time. You will see results. I've lost about 10 lbs in a month and it has been effortless. I only had to make a few modifications to my already fairly healthy diet. Once I started feeling better, I started exercising more, my skin looks better and people ask me what is going on. I'm just a happier person because I've stopped that vicious circle of insulin highs and lows. Sure, I still eat one serving of grains per day and have a drink too. But I'm losing weight, and I'm not killing myself or feeling deprived, which I've done with every other diet. I also don't obsess about food like I used to. His philosphy and science behind the plan made perfect sense to me.