Mr. Money Mustache vs. Mark’s Daily Apple

The Mustaches and the Sissons, sprinting it out in Malibu, CA.

A couple of months ago, I was relaxing in the Mustache Lounge and an interesting email came in. It was from the editor of a major blog called MarksDailyApple.com, which I had heard of but never really followed.

As it turns out, this guy was also an MMM reader and we had a great conversation about writing blogs on topics which tend to go against conventional wisdom. But even more fateful was the fact that he offered to send me a few books from author Mark Sisson, the original “Mark” behind that Daily Apple website and the employer of my new friend.

“Yeah, yeah, free books” is what you normally say in that situation. It’s flattering to get free stuff just because you have a blog, but I normally don’t accept the offers because I already get all my books for free - at the Library. Combine this with the fact that I already have a long queue of things I need to read, and the fact that free books are in general sent in hopes of getting free promotion from bloggers, and you can see why I don’t usually accept the gifts.

But in this case, I thought it could work out well. I was about to leave for the giant annual trip to Canada (a trip we’re just wrapping up this week, actually), and I figured it would be handy to have some more reading material on vacation. Also, the guy offering was a really interesting and genuine person, and the subject of health and fitness is one of my favorite to read about. So I requested that the books be sent to the address where I’d be staying in Canada, so they’d be there waiting for me when I arrived.

Then over the next two weeks, I forgot about the whole arrangement. I drove alone across the country, had a chance to meet many new interesting people, and had some neat experiences.

Eventually I arrived at my final destination in Ottawa, and found that my new books had been opened and were in active use. My wife and in-laws were eating differently, novel exercises were being performed, and both motivation and fitness levels were looking pretty good, by vacation standards. Occasionally I would hear the unusual phrase, “Hmm.. I wonder what Mark Sisson would think about this choice? Is it Primal?”

I had to figure out what all this was about, so I dug into the thickest of the three books, called “The Primal Blueprint”. And I’ll admit, even as a jaded fitness book junkie who thought I wouldn’t see anything new, I found it pretty interesting. And here’s why.

The Primal Blueprint is all about living a simpler, more powerful, and healthier life. The idea is to be inspired by the Badassity of our pre-agricultural human ancestors, who were actually just as clever as us and far more physically fit. In fact, if you adjust for the higher infant mortality of primitive times and the vastly higher danger of early death from infection and accidents, these people lived almost as long as we do now, and kept in much better shape throughout their lifespans, typically avoiding heart disease and cancer.

So the idea is that you can take the best of a primitive lifestyle, and incorporate it into your modern one, to get the best of both. In practice, this means thinking about our evolutionary past and sticking to foods and activities that are compatible with what we evolved to thrive on. Moving around all day, spending most of your time outside, and eating plants, nuts, organic meats and a generally low-carb diet: yes. Sedentary lifestyles, TV, refined carbs and grains: not nearly as much.

Mark Sisson suggests that we all live more laid-back lifestyles, walk around with bare feet whenever possible, let our bodies be forced to adjust to the climate around us, exercise moderately but with occasional heavy lifting and sprinting, and basically forego as much of the modern blare of flashy digital entertainment as we can stand to do.  In exchange, he suggests that you’ll have a much easier time maintaining an excellent level of fitness, and you’ll become happier and more productive and live much longer as well.

I’m sure you’re starting to see why I like the message. This stuff sounds awfully similar to Mustachianism itself. Over the past 1.3 years, Mr. Money Mustache has taken away your TV, made you live within biking (or walking) distance of work, taught you to get more of what you need from Nature, cut down on your purchases of unnecessary gadgets, told you to always put Muscle over Motor, and even drawn inspiration from another primitive culture of Badassity, the Native Americans. I took away most of your Air Conditioning privileges (never cool your house below 82F), arguing that it is better to make the most of your body’s natural adaptability to changing temperatures rather than wasting electricity just for the benefit of remaining a Climate Wuss.

In short, I too want you to live like a Cave Man or Cave Woman. You’ll be a well-educated and socially conscious one with Internet access, but in general you will be reaping the enormous benefits of this simpler way of life, with the six-pack abs and Giant Money Mustache to show for it.

The Primal Blueprint book is far more focused on nutrition than this blog, and I enjoyed the different perspective. For example, if you believe the studies cited in the book, dietary cholesterol intake has nothing to do with blood levels of “bad cholesterol” and heart disease . In fact, it is the excessive insulin production caused by high carbohydrate intake from grains and sugars that causes most of the lifestyle diseases we see today.

A recent breakfast, enjoyed outdoors at the Mustache-in-Laws.

In other words, the book suggests that having a giant plate of bacon, eggs, and avocados (all organic if possible) is a far healthier breakfast than a few slices of whole wheat bread covered with some modern low-cholesterol spread.

It’s far from conventional wisdom, but it actually aligns almost perfectly with what the “Paleo” eating crowd has been preaching. And from my own non-scientific experiments on myself, I have to weigh in on the side of the low-carb eaters.

I’ve dropped bread and most grains out of my diet over the past year, just to see what would happen. It’s a huge change, since in my 20s I was an avid low-fat follower, avoiding most oils and eating plates of spaghetti and drinking mugs of skim milk with protein powder even as I did long weightlifting workouts 3-4 times per week.

The results have surprised me. I eat rich oily foods now, and do much shorter workouts. But with very little effort I’ve lost almost all the extra fat I had been carrying in the earlier years. Energy levels are better than ever. Even more interestingly, my body seems to regulate its own appetite much more easily now. Instead of requiring 6 small meals per day, I now tend to eat a big greasy breakfast, and not need food until much later in the day. On active days, appetite scales way up. On sit-at-home days, I need much less food. In the event of food shortage, the body has become very good at just using stored fat, making the belly fat reserves very easy to control at will (“Sorry, Metabolism, no food available right now, but help yourself to those Love Handles over there if you’re hungry.”).

These are all things advertised by lower-carb advocates, but I just happened to stumble on them myself earlier this year. Pretty neat.

But the neatest part is how the ideas of the Primal Blueprint also apply so readily to the field of becoming wealthy enough to retire early, the primary focus here at Mr. Money Mustache.

Mark Sisson correctly recognizes the natural badassity of our ancestors and harnesses it to whip all of his followers into shape. If you follow the advice, you’ll have a nice body and a healthy mind. But you’ll still be locking those fine assets up in a cubicle all day, so you can earn enough to buy $100 steaks at Whole Foods and make the payments on the giant SUV you use to drive to the forest for hikes.

Mr. Money Mustache simply keeps going with that set of ideas, and teaches you to apply them to your spending as well. By embracing rather than running away from simpler living and heightened challenge, you can learn to save 50-75% (or more) of what you earn, while coming out happier than you were while spending much more. Don’t be fooled into spending lavishly to attain a healthy and primal lifestyle. It’s all around you – you just have to take off your shoes, run outside, and grab some of it.

 

Many thanks to Aaron at Mark’s Daily apple and to Mark Sisson himself for working to share such a useful message.

Welcome New Readers! Take a look around. Feeling Hardcore? Start at the first article and read your way through using the links at the bottom of each article. Casual Sampler? Browse the complete list of all posts since the beginning of time. Hope to see you around here more often. ~ Love, Mr. Money Mustache

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154 Responses to “Mr. Money Mustache vs. Mark’s Daily Apple”

  1. Ornella @ Moneylicious August 7, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    I just signed up via RSS to follow you. So, I’m a little new to your blog. So far I like your unconvential wisdom.

    I like the point you made about breakfast–bacon, eggs, and avocados—is healthier for you than whole wheat bread with some spread.

    I’m going to check out the book… I can always learn something new from someone else!

    • Travis August 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      Depends on what you think about all the nitrates and preservatives that go into making bacon. For us we avoid as much crap as we can which means no cured meats otherwise the rest of that would be a fine breakfast once we throw in some leafy greens like Kale.

      • BonzoGal August 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

        You can get nitrate-free bacon. I buy it at our local health food store, and it’s not much more expensive than grocery-store bacon. Local meat producers also do uncured bacon, which is nitrate-free.

        • Nurse Frugal August 8, 2012 at 2:10 am #

          One could also eat Canadian Bacon, Pancetta and Proscuitto which are just as delicious. The problem is also that these can be quite pricey! I love that last idea of saving 50-75% of what you earn and learning that you can live off the rest AND be happy!!! You start to realize how much crap you don’t actually need!!!!!

        • becca August 9, 2012 at 6:52 am #

          Now, I learned this through a meat microbiologist so take it with a grain of salt, but there is no such thing as uncured bacon, or nitrate-free bacon. If you read the packages, you will see it *called* “uncured” and you will see “no added nitrates!” displayed in prominent print.What’s usually in there is celery juice. From a scientific standpoint, even adding salt is partial ‘curing’, but celery is a plant (along with beets) that has extremely high quantities of natural nitrites, which will be converted to nitrates. If there was no nitrate in it, it would grow E. coli and Salmonella so fast you wouldn’t want to eat it. When we add sodium nitrate in conventionally processed bacon, we know exactly how much is in there (it’s regulated). When they measured nitrate from celery juice ‘uncured natural’ bacon, it varied a good deal, but could be much higher than in the ‘conventional’ bacon.
          I haven’t heard specifically about Canadian bacon, Pancetta and Procuitto, but I strongly suspect they have nitrates as well. Otherwise, why aren’t the the E. coli and Salmonella problematic?

          Chemically speaking, what you really want to avoid is nitrosamines (which the body can convert nitrates into), but it’s not clear which contexts nitrates are converted to nitrosamines most efficiently.

          That said, I originally did research with cancer biologists not food microbiologists, and they are pretty well convinced that lots of processed meat (including bacon, deli meat, ect.) and lots of charred meat (especially blackened) are nearly as good a way to get colon cancer as cigarettes are to get lung cancer. Colon cancer epidemiology is complex, but I wouldn’t bet on bacon every day being healthy.

      • Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

        Recent studies might suggest the fear of carcinogenic effects from nitrites and nitrates might be overblown, and that nitrates might actually be a positive vs. a negative in foods. Nitrates are also are found in far greater concentrations in vegetables (compared to bacon) due to the natural nitrogen fixation cycle.

        http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-banning-hotdogs-and-bacon-make.html

        • Travis August 9, 2012 at 8:20 am #

          Yes but there is a difference in limiting the amounts you receive from natural sources as opposed to being added to foods that never had them in the first place. Additionally depending on the food like carrots and which contain higher levels nitrates these can be removed or leeched out in the cooking process limiting ones exposure to them.

          I’ll take a look at the post however we don’t eat any bacon/ham/hotdogs etc cured or uncured.

  2. nathanbw August 7, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    I’m glad to see this post; I found Mark’s Daily Apple around the same time I found this blog and started thinking about early retirement. My two biggest budget items are rent and food.

    If you have any tips on how to eat primal on a budget, I’d love to hear them! It seems the main obstacle to budget-friendly primal eating is that beans and rice are right out, and quality meat tends to be expensive. That being said, I’d rather pay now and be healthy than eat cheap and spend money on illness later in life!

  3. Mr. Money Mustache August 7, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Yeah, there are definitely some ways to keep the primal eating style from becoming overly expensive:

    First of all, use oils (coconut, olive, etc) instead of meat for lots of your calories. You only need 0.5 – 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Eating much more than you need often means overspending.

    Eat eggs, nuts, and cheese for some of the protein instead. For the remaining meat you do eat, work it out in terms of cents per gram of protein and per calorie. Learn about the joys of avocados, squash, and sweet potatoes.

    Here’s some more on efficient grocery shopping: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/29/killing-your-1000-grocery-bill/

    Buy all these staples at Costco whenever possible. I eat huge amounts of raw almonds every day, and at Costco they cost about 75% less than they do in the Safeway grocery store.

    Costco has more organic stuff every day and the more you buy, the more they’ll add.

    Buy pasture-raised meat in bulk, and use ground beef instead of fancy steaks. Eat more fish like Tilapia. Learn about sustainable fishing and mercury contamination and choose fish that is safe in those areas.

    • nathanbw August 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

      Excellent tips; thanks for the reply! I definitely need to be a little more deliberate about increasing the percentage of calories from fat and cheaper sources of protein.

    • Tomas August 8, 2012 at 1:38 am #

      I’d avoid avocados and almonds and most nuts, they are far too high in omega 6

      • Nurse Frugal August 10, 2012 at 10:53 am #

        Blasphemy! I would definitely not avoid avocados and almonds! They are tasty and are a source of “good” fat.

        • Tomas August 13, 2012 at 7:01 am #

          they are sources of the bad omega6 fats

        • heather September 22, 2012 at 5:52 am #

          avocados are an amazing source of healthy fats. Nuts are high on the Omega-6 but are usually eaten as a snack in handfuls. And they have many other nutrients. Don’t eat raw, though. Soak and dry. Preparing them properly gets rid of much of the toxins and helps make the nutrients more bioavailable. And if you’re worried about O6 in nuts Mark Sisson has an article on his site (such search with keywords) citing amounts. Macadamia nuts have next to none. If you’re getting plenty of fish like salmon and tuna in your diet then you ratios will be in balance. (And it’s not that pastured beef has more O3 – it has way less O6)

      • Weight-lifting/running/teaching momma of 4 January 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

        My concern with almonds is the enzyme inhibitors (it keeps them from sprouting in your cupboard). By soaking almonds for 7 hours, it helps to make them much more digestible. And if you can, partially sprout by continuing to draine, rinse, and wait 12 hours. Then check for little white “tails”. If ready, dry in a warm oven. Otherwise, rinse, drain, and check again in 12 hours for the little “tails”. (Search in your toolbar for sprouting almonds, nuts, and seeds for more information.) Then when eaten they won’t take as many digestive enzymes and nutrients are more readily available! ***You do have to buy raw, unpasteurized almonds for them to sprout though. Check into California farmers who will sell you less than 100 pounds at a time. That is the limit of weight to sell unpasteurized almonds to one individual a day.

        Also, to balance out the omega 6′s in certain foods, blend in some organic high omega 3′s such as raw organic flax oil. I always add flax oil to my hummus, to balance out the high 6 omegas. By the way, never heat olive oil use extra-virgin, coconut oil instead for heat.

        By the way, 100% grass-fed beef has next to no omega 6′s and is chock full of CLA. CLA helps to fight cancer vs. helping to create heart disease like the high 6 grain-fed beef. Besides if aged for over 21 days tastes freaking awesome!

    • Kayleigh August 8, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      I’m trying to move towards a less grain-dependent diet while living on next to nothing (habits brought on by necessity at the moment, but that I hope to stick to in the future). For protein, I’ve been relying on eggs and… sardines! They’re a great pick-me-up snack in the afternoon, and taste great broiled with a bit of lemon for dinner. They’re pretty sustainable, and even the nice kinds (so far, I like fish that originated in Portugal or Morocco) are only about $2.50 a can. I know they have a bad reputation, but if you spend a little more money the general fishiness is not really noticeable, and the nutritional rewards are worth it.

  4. Lance@MoneyLife&More August 7, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    I had never heard about Mark before but his method makes sense at first glance. I will have to add this to my list of books to get at the library. I think the biggest difference is our activity level compared to our ancestors. If you ramp that up and eat less processed foods your health should hopefully improve greatly… now off to change my lifestyle one bit at a time to keep my changes sustainable!

  5. Honey Smith August 7, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    It is an absolute myth that “cave people” didn’t eat cooked grains (even bread). I work in an anthropology department and this “Paleo diet” stuff is generally considered ridiculous.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      Interesting criticism – is the difference of opinion perhaps based on different assumptions about time periods? I’ve read enough about evolutionary history to know we haven’t head bread since the VERY beginning!

      As for whether the eating philosophy is ridiculous, the real question is whether or not it works well for most people who try it. For me, it has been pretty surprising, even after 20 years of relatively high interest in nutrition and exercise. For anyone in perfect health with a totally different diet, I can certainly see the desire to stick with what’s working for them too.

      In general, I lean towards trying out semi-wacky experiments, regardless of what the standard wisdom on the issues is. Just because I tend to learn more that way.

      • Emmers August 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

        Not necessarily about bread, but maybe more vegetarian than your typical Internet Paleo will admit.

        (The issue of meat/veg is orthogonal to the issue of grain/not-grain, but still, I thought that might be helpful.)

      • George Carlson August 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

        If you are ever interested in trying another semi-wacky diet I would recommend the “Eat Like a Horse, Run Like a Horse” diet. Generally speaking, you chose to only consume oats before supper. Muesli would also be an acceptable alternative (http://tinyurl.com/muesli-recipe).

        As a side note, I generally follow this diet and rarely have a problem with a lack of energy. Recently switched from oatmeal to Muesli though, as I really like the nutritional variety it provides.

        • Jamesqf August 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

          Except that that’s not the way horses naturally eat. They are grazing animals by nature, and have a stomach & digestive system adapted to almost constant eating of fairly low-quality forage. In fact, feeding too much grain can cause serious health problem, e.g. laminitis.

      • Executioner August 8, 2012 at 6:29 am #

        I think most popular diets of this type (Paleo, Atkins, etc) are popular mainly because people want someone to tell them it’s OK to eat as much meat as they want.

        I submit that a diet is not truly “Paleo” unless you run down your meat yourself using a spear, then clean and cook your dinner over an open fire. With a lot of scavenged carrion thrown in for good measure, of course.

        For an equally compelling and exhaustively researched study of the benefits of a plant-based diet, check out The China Study (look it up in Wikipedia).

        • Amicable Skeptic August 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

          Executioner, I think your “truly” comment is a bit antagonistic, people are on the diet for health not re-enactment. But, I do agree that The China Study is a really great nutrition book to check out. I feel like the studies Campbell presents are far more rigorous (and thus can be trusted more) than the research which is used for most nutrition books (like this one) where evidence is largely anecdotal.

          For people not ready to invest time in reading the whole book they could check out the Forks Over Knives documentary. Also even more exciting is a new Forks Over Knives cookbook that is just coming out. I can’t wait till my library gets a copy of it!

          http://www.forksoverknives.com/forks-over-knives-the-cookbook-now-available/

          • Amicable Skeptic August 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

            Dang, they already have some super tasty/healthy sounding recipes up online:

            http://www.forksoverknives.com/spring-recipes-from-chef-del-sroufe/

            • J. August 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

              Also worth a look is the Engine 2 diet. Written by Caldwell Esselstyn’s son Rip. Lots of strong community support via the Social Networking, and I can attest it WORKS.

              My Girlfriend has dropped 30 lbs in about 4 months, and I’ve lost 10 in about 3 weeks.

              Super easy to stick to, made my grocery bill cheaper, and I feel AMAZING!

              http://engine2diet.com/
              Best part? You don’t have to buy the book. or anything, really.

          • Travis August 10, 2012 at 6:46 am #

            This documentary is good but there is one major flaw which is how they extracted the milk protein. While they don’t detail it I am almost 100% that they isolated the milk protein using a heat extraction. The problem is two fold. (1) Using heat will change the protein and it’s properties altering how the body processes it, and two nutrition is more complex than just looking on one part of a food product. You need to look at the diet as a whole and what factors play a role affecting the milk protein he focused on. I understand this makes scientific experiments harder but it would be a much more valid result.

            There is an argument for using raw milk over pasteurized or UHT milk which acts completely different in nature and in the body. This is something I wish they had explored more but alas they didn’t. However, I will say there is nothing wrong with going to a more plant based whole foods diet.

            • J. August 10, 2012 at 9:45 am #

              The China Studies (both the Cornell-Oxford and the State run) controlled for both Raw, unprocessed dairy and pasteurized. No statistically significant difference was seen in liver, stomach, or esophageal cancer rates between raw dairy and pasteurized dairy – but there was a significant differentiation between those who consumed dairy and those who did not.

              • Joy August 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

                Those sold on the China Study might
                like to check out Denise Minger’s thoughts.

                Just google her name with “China Study”

                She poured over all the results and, posted some
                amazing findings.

                Hint: Wheat not meat.

    • Heidi August 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      Wow – the idea that humans existed prior to human agriculture is ridiculous? Did bread evolve before or after humans?
      Heidi

  6. Posted On August 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    I’ve already got the mustache, now I need to lose the belly. This article times well with my thoughts on going away from grains, just to see what happens.

    About how many days/months will it take for me to see/feel a difference?

    Thanks again for a great article!

    • Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      I transitioned in 3-4 weeks from a carbohydrate-based diet to a fat-based diet. Cranky as hell the first week, massive hunger cravings the second week, but it got easier after that. I was not a big guy to begin with, but I lost a visible amount of abdominal and lovehandle fat in the first month. You may respond differently (I went to the ketogenic level of carbohydrates – 0-50 g per day) depending on your physiology of course. Some people transition fairly easily, others take longer to see results!

    • jDeppen August 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

      I’ve lost 35lbs since late December (215 to 180). I’ve found that if, for the most part, I stay away from breads, pasta, etc as well as the junk (candy, processed crap, etc), I don’t have cravings and only eat when I’m hungry. Since I sit at a desk most of the time, I don’t need a ton of calories.

      It sounds weird to say it but I actually feel, for the first time in my life, that it’s easy to lose weight. I think I would have lost more but I love my organic fruit and probably have too much. I also quit diet soda (all soda) which probably contributed to my weight loss.

  7. Mr. Money Mustache August 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    I’d say 3-4 weeks might be a good time period to put yourself through the experiment, keeping measurements as you go. People who have reported back to me seem to lose about 2 pounds of fat per week after dropping most of their bread.

    Obviously, if it is working, you make it a permanent change, since there should be no such thing as a “diet” you go on to lose weight and then quit to return to old patterns which made you store unnecessary calories.

    • Posted On August 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Yep! As my wife says, “You don’t go on a diet, you ‘change’ your diet.”

    • Sean August 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      I tried paleo a while back and lost 17 pounds in about a month. I’ve since become a bit less strict and eased back in a bit of pasta here and there, but I avoid bread and sugar like the plague. It’s worked out great.

    • Emmers August 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

      IIRC, the way to tell if a diet has “worked” is to see if the weight loss (or whatever other purpose) persists as it is for five years. If it has, congrats! If not, well, you’re in good company — 95% of people, so…not sure what to say. ;-)

  8. Travis August 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Looking at your ancestral heritage is nothing new in terms of nutrition but people have largely ignored it. Weston Price traveled all over the world looking at all sorts of cultural diets and published this in a book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (http://amzn.com/0916764206).

    We actually have adopted the Nourishing Traditions book (http://amzn.com/0967089735) for our food which builds on Weston Price’s research and basically says fat is good but but it needs to be the right type and in the right combination of food. If you want a total deviation from modern advice on nutrition then this is the book for you. This is an extremely researched and well documented book and goes in depth on many nutritional topics.

    From our personal perspective we are eating more fat now then in recent years but have lost more weight w/less work and look/feel much more healthy. It does require more work because of the need for real foods that are not processed but well worth the investment

  9. rjack August 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    I’ve been Primal/Paleo for 1.5 years now and I’ve converted several other people along the way. All those who stuck with the diet and lifestyle have lost weight, gotten stronger, and generally look younger.

    I have two other books to suggest to supplement Primal Blueprint:

    1) The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf (http://www.amazon.com/The-Paleo-Solution-Original-Human/dp/0982565844/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344363809&sr=8-1&keywords=paleo+solution). This book has more hardcore science than the Primal Blueprint.

    2) Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes (http://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-Bad-Controversial-Science/dp/1400033462/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344363873&sr=1-1&keywords=good+calories+bad+calories). This book has a history on nutrition research and describes in gory detail how the USDA and Food Pyramid became the mess that it is.

    • fastbodyblast August 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      Hi rjack. Gary Taubes himself agrees that Good Calories, Bad Calories is heavy going for all but the most devoted to this topic. So he wrote another book called “Why We Get Fat”. Its the easy reading version of Good calories, Bad calories. In Taubes’ own words its the book he wrote after many physicians asked him to write a book that they could give to their patients.

      “Why We Get Fat” has all the important information and is laid out in a very accessible format.

  10. fiveoh August 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    What are the guys credentials that wrote this book? I.E. does he have any nutrition/health background?

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      Although his understanding of human physiology seems pretty solid to me, I consider his main qualification to be the fact that he’s almost 60 years old and still looks like he’s made of steel. See Google Images for more details: http://tinyurl.com/9655t8j

      • fiveoh August 8, 2012 at 7:24 am #

        How someone looks is not really a good qualification imo. You just really don’t know what they do/have done to look like that.(having worked in a gym for various years you’d be very surprised at the amount and types of people on steroids) Not to mention the vast difference in genetics between individuals.

        That being said he looks pretty damn good for 60!

        I’ll have to take a look at the book although I’m skeptical of someone who doesn’t have an actual background in nutrition, fitness and or some other form of health related field. I pretty much stick to reading the medical journals for nutrition info. There is so much bs out there.(not saying this is bs just in general)

        • Kat August 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

          If you are skeptical of Sisson’s lack of nutrition background, you might want to try looking at “It Starts With Food” by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, who are certified sports nutritionist and have a bunch of doctors of various stripes and specialties endorse their book. Or try “Practical Paleo” by Diane Sanfilippo, who is a certified nutritional therapist. An honest-to-goodness MD named William Davis wrote “Wheat Belly”. And of course there is Dr. Loren Cordain, who studies it all in an academic, exercise and physiology setting and wrote “The Paleo Diet”.

    • Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      I trust Robb Wolf, given his background as a biochemist and his impressive knowledge of metabolism, exercise, immunology, and molecular biology. The fact that he also chats with Mat LaLonde (LAUGHS AT YOUR WEAK SAUCE SCIENCE) organic chemist extraordinaire. They definitely know what they’re talking about on a molecular and systemic level. Mark Sisson is a bit less fanatic, but he’s along the same lines albeit a few differences (Sisson says OK to dairy, LaLonde says absolutely not)

    • Sharron Sims August 17, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      I just returned from the Ancestral Health Symposium held at Harvard University last weekend. Mark Sisson was there but the speakers also included Ph.Ds in evolutionary biology, organic chemistry, biochemical and molecular nutrition, biochemisty, genetics, neurochemistry, archaeology and cultural history. There were also multiple MDs among the speakers, including a research neuroendocrinologist. All of these folks have done research supporting a paleolithic diet as health promoting.

      • Mr. Money Mustache August 17, 2012 at 11:28 am #

        Wow, that’s a pretty on-topic gathering to have attended!

        I was curious about Harvard’s own food guidelines at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/ as posted elsewhere in these comments by PeteyP.

        They claim that their food pyramid reflects the latest and best science. Yet they are still promoting grain and low saturated fat.

        In general, I tend to trust mainstream Harvard-style science much more than I trust any new style of “quackery” as Gerard aptly puts it. But at the same time, my own results from dropping grain and eating loads of fat have been so spectacular that I’m not going to give them up. So I’m forced to cover my ears and ignore just that one “Whole grains” bit of mainstream science, just this once!

        On the other hand, revolutions in scientific knowledge do tend to start with something controversial, then spread their way to general acceptance as more studies are successfully completed. It takes a decade two for this to happen, and this stuff is relatively new. In the long run, I DO believe that real science will converge on better and better nutritional knowledge for us, whether it resembles Paleo or something else.

        In the mean time, I’ll keep eating my plates of oily eggs, if they keep my systems running as well as they have been lately :-)

  11. Cecile August 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Ha great to see that ! I found about Marks website through a comment on this blog, followed the link, got interested, tried it out… and stuck with it !
    I never had weight problems though, I do this for other reasons. My energy is better, my skin is better…
    I found out that it is a pretty easy lifestyle switch to make when you already have a little money mustache. I cook 90-95% of my meals from scratch, so all I had to do was getting rid of some ingredients (pasta, bread…), and replace them with others.

  12. Holly@ClubThrifty August 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    This is awesome~!

    I guess we are living somewhat like cave people. We don’t have cable tv and rarely watch it. We eat basically a paleo diet and refuse to consume processed foods and unreasonable amounts of sugar. We walk around barefoot and my favorite feeling in the world is not wearing a bra!

    Great article. Keep it up. Sounds like a book I need to order off of Amazon. Have a great day!

  13. Mr. Everyday Dollar August 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    I think the most important factor in all this is to eat like our ancestors did – which means no McDonald’s, processed food, or soda.

    Eat real food, mostly plants, get exercise regularly and you and your body will do fine – http://mreverydaydollar.com/power-your-body/. This way of eating is cheap too!

    I haven’t read any Sisson books, I am intrigued and will add them to my library queue for sure.

  14. Debt Free Teen August 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    The photo shopped book cover is amazing! But it looks like Mark is grabbing your wife’s …..
    Chase

  15. Charlie August 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    What’s up Mr Money Stache. Speaking of books, have you ever read Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Now that fellow there can tell you a thing or two about living a “spartan” lifestyle. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!
    Charlie

    • Someone August 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Thoreau was a bit of a scammer though. For instance, see http://webpages.charter.net/sn9/literature/truewalden.html. He was one of those guys who poses as independent and self-made but relies largely on unheralded, unpaid women for his maintenance (and wasn’t *really* located in a wilderness). Oh well…

  16. TheHeadHunter August 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Ok, I’ve suspected as much for a while but now the jury is in, and the verdict… you lucky SOB your wife is beautiful. Look, I’m sure you’re a piece too but you’re not my type,ok? No offense… Hey, not that there’s anything wrong with that… ummm, am I protesting too much?

    Anyway, as your ever faithful MustachEvangelist I require information, a full article if you please, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. The topic: Finding Love in the key of Mustache or How to brainwash a hottie. As a single guy, the dating scene and mustachianism seem to not have much overlap, if you know what I mean. For instance, nevermind the question of where 2 like minded gainfully employed non-consumerist mustachians might meet (hurdle 1) but also, let’s face it the spartan lifestyle is hardly enticing to a potential mate. Case in point, in regards to going on a date (or worse yet, a first date), saying: Sure, I could take you to a nice restaraunt but I think it’s a waste of money and I’m stacking the ‘stache; might come off as: A) A lie to hide the fact you are in actuality, broke or B) convey to her that she doesn’t qualify for Red Lobster… Bestill her beating heart, I’m sure. So, give some tips on where mustachians (and those unbeknownst-to-themselves-mustachian-minded) might meet and some mustachian date ideas.

    Also, give up the goods on your situation. Were you a mustachian when you met your lady OR did you fake it till you made it? Ie, Wine & Roses until you had her hooked and then brainwashed (or de-programmed, if you prefer) her to your mustachian ways.

    Keep up the great work, you are changing lives.

    • Heather August 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

      To woo a frugalista, you must prove yourself useful or talented. My husband sent me a .mp3 of himself playing the guitar and singing a song. (Under the thin guise of sharing tips on recording software). After we were hitched, he built me a beautiful shed, with a covered front porch to sit on and play our music. I have always thought store bought flowers were an embarassing waste of money, but I get a big kick out of wildflowers, collected on the spur of the moment and delivered with a smile.

      Stuff like that.

    • BonzoGal August 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Cook! My husband invited me to his place and cooked me a great dinner. Later we went on picnics where he provided all sorts of home-cooked fabulousness.

    • Someone August 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      “How to brainwash a hottie.”

      Really?

      Ugh.

      How about we women choose someone for who he really is and how well he appreciates us for who we are, not just the way we look. We aren’t things to be tricked and scammed so we can fit into your all-about-you story. What is it with guys like this?

      As for us, we were both Mustachian before we discovered the Mustache. No “brainwashing” necessary on anyone’s part. Ick.

      • TheHeadHunter August 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

        I apologize, I assumed everyone had heard of this:
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humor

        HINT, the 3rd definition is the one to focus on…

        • Virgil Hilts August 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

          You made me laugh HeadHunter, unless you’re bland, you’ll always upset someone along the way, so don’t worry!

          I too have had a similar dilema, a few years ago I was living with a lovely girl, one day she came home with a Porsche designed kettle and toaster totalling £300 (479USD). Now the brushed steel surfaces did look beautiful, but the toaster didn’t toast at all well and the water in the kettle was no more boiled than from any other kettle. That day I realised she was not the girl for me. MMM wasn’t around then to guide us, but instinctively I have always known that buying trinkets was not going to help in making my great escape, which has always been my number one priority.

          Now when I go on dates, I never take the girls to fancy restaurants, it makes the wrong impression, instead it’s coffee in a quirky cafe, a visit to an art gallery or a bike ride. These are the things I enjoy and I want to be with someone who enjoys them too. Sure my fantasy woman, Kim Kardashian would not be impressed, but that’s it, she’s just my foolish fantasy.

          That being said – Kim, if somehow by a quirk of fate you stumble upon these words, you then go on to read MMM’s posts, decide to reject consumerism and realise that camping is more fun than a day spent getting your hair and nails done, then so long as I’m not seeing anyone else of course, I might, just might, take you out on a date. We could go for an afternoon of canoeing. Actually, probably best to just go for a coffee, canoes aren’t very spacious in the seat department.

          • TheHeadHunter August 9, 2012 at 9:03 am #

            Ha Ha, My man! If you do go canoeing with KK, make sure she sits in the middle ;-)

    • PeteyP August 7, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      Once you’ve got over the initial ‘it would be weird to go to your house’, then cooking at home seems to be far more impressive than eating out. My girlfriend (soon to be wife) loved it; she’s a mustachian in terms of ‘wasting money is stupid and most things are a waste of money’ and her idea of a good date is stimulating conversation and making a connection with someone rather than any particular kind of luxury.

      I think it makes good sense to take your time, meet lots of women and look around for someone who shares your most closely-held core values. It’s exceedingly unlikely to meet someone who’s embraced every aspect of mustachianism, but quite possible find someone who feels uncomfortable with consumerism and understands the concept of the ‘hedonic treadmill’. Also, be open-minded about where your relationship takes you rather than being 100% sure that you want to convert a partner to ‘mustachianism’.

      I’m not sure about the US dating scene, but I’ve heard it’s a little more formal than UK/Australia where I’m from. Still, going for a coffee and a slice of cake on a Sat/Sun afternoon in a nice and unique cafe would probably be preferable to a lot of women compared to going to a fancy restaurant. Remember – if you feel that you’d have to impress her with expensive meals in order for her to like you, she’s probably not for you!!!

      And I don’t know what your social life is like, but I always found getting drunk in pubs and clubs in the hope of picking up women to be pointless, despite being the ‘received wisdom’ (and I didn’t find many women who enjoyed my dorky geekiness). It’s partly a numbers game as well – having lots of platonic female friends and doing internet dating will mean you meet plenty of women.

      Finally, there’s a distinction between spending a little bit of money on, say, the first three dates and having a lifestyle of spending a lot of money on yourself. I think women would find a guy who fixes his own taps and lifts weights more attractive than a man-child with an Xbox, PS3, massive flatscreen and a gym membership he never uses.

      My advice would be to deconstruct ‘mustachianism’ into the basic core values that it really represents. One of those core values would be ‘possessions won’t bring you long-term happiness, but your relationships will’ – you’ll probably find plenty of women who can identify with that.

    • Eitan August 9, 2012 at 8:57 am #

      I could write this article. Where would you meet these frugal girls? Well, for starters, not at a bar and definitely not at a club. Think supermarket, farmer’s market, local meat house or deli shop. Or at the park or art museums. At the beach, by the lake. On the street, at the library. In other words, anywhere YOU would be for your mustachian lifestyle that is free and accessible locally by bike. Essentially, everywhere you already visit in your everyday life. It helps to live in a young hip city or big town where there are plentiful women.

      Before you approach, look at what she is wearing. Is it designer clothes, expensive bag, fancy shoes, perfectly styled hair, pretty jewels, etc. etc.? These are generally the women who like expensive things. Avoid them. Go for the cute girl-next-door type, the ones whose beauty doesn’t need to be amplified (or masked) by superficial crap. Natural hair, simple clothes which are still sexy not because of how much they reveal but because of how her body moves within them. Notice the way she sits or moves or smiles at something randomly across the street. Spot something about her that intrigues you and makes her unique, walk up to her and tell her about it. Tell her you like the flower in her hair, that her sun dress she’s wearing is really cute, that you were wondering what she was laughing at over that way, etc. etc. Whatever it is, be spontaneous and genuine!

      After you get her number, keep it up for the 1st date (and all the rest). Suggest something unique and fun. Movie and a dinner out is BORING. Eating out is BORING. Bowling or the arcades are BORING. Drinks at a loud bar or club are BORING. Do these when you’re in a committed relationship (and do them sparingly). For 1st dates, a bike ride through a historic local park or arboretum is fun. A walk to the local pier or beach is fun. My favorite: going to the farmer’s market to pick out veggies and meat together to be cooked at your place or hers. Get to know her values and core beliefs, instead of trying to impress her with an expensive date. Do you think in 5 years she’ll remember the steak and wine you guys had on your 1st date, or when you wrapped your arms around her as you were cooking to give her the 1st kiss? That is impressive. You are impressive. $40 NY strip steak is NOT impressive. There is no trickery involved. You are getting to know who she is, and see whether her values line up with who you are looking for in a partner. That shouldn’t cost a thing.

      I guess you can say I’m a lover 1st and a mustachian 2nd. Or maybe they go hand-in-hand? Also I like the shy, nerdy, smart and cute type girls. If you’re into other types I can write a few words about how to approach them too but the basic foundation is laid out here.

      • Marcia August 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

        My first date with my hubby was volleyball at a local high school (they had drop in games), and spaghetti at his apt after.

      • Jamesqf August 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

        [QUOTE]After you get her number…[/QUOTE]

        Aye, there’s the rub. If it works for you, fine (but then anything else would likely work too). For the rest of us, it’d be more like “After you make bail on the sex harassment charges…”

        • Eitan August 13, 2012 at 5:55 am #

          It isn’t complicated or difficult at all. Are you in decent shape? Decent haircut / facial hair? With decent clothes on and a decent pair of shoes? Once those are checked off the list, getting a girl’s number is simply, a numbers game. Be genuine with your intent, don’t be afraid to show your masculine sexuality during the initial conversation to show your interest: “That’s a real sexy skirt you have on right now =) (smile big and wide),” and ask for her number for the purpose of seeing her again in the future.

          The reason it is a numbers game is because about half will not be interested in you or have a boyfriend or for whatever reason. You will never get every woman you approach but as long as you approach consistently you are guaranteed to have women interested in you.

  17. Heath August 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I feel like I would have an incredibly difficult time cutting bread out of my diet. It’s just SO DAMN TASTY, and it’s basically everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I can see how it’s doable, and would even expand my horizons in healthy ways (I really dig avocados, but almost never eat them). However, I’m actually quite happy with my weight and my body at this time, so I’m not really going to ‘rock the boat’ until I see a need. Though it’s good to know that this change is an option for the future.

    Suggestion / Note: Mostly I wanted to comment here so that I could get emails for each subsequent comment, as that’s one of my favorite parts of this website: the commenting community. You really should figure out how to make it possible to ‘subscribe’ to the comments of a post, without forcing an individual to comment (because maybe they don’t have much to say?).

    • Ruth August 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

      No diet is one-size-fits-all. I eat mostly plants and bread and pasta and I’m slim and have more energy than I know what to do with. So if you’re in good shape and feeling good eating bread, just keep on keepin’ on.

    • Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

      I cut out bread two years ago due to the fact that it was causing me to break out in rashes and make my face swell shut. I added corn, legumes, rice, white potatoes and sugar to the shit list this year as well by going Primal/Paleo, and I feel much better than I ever thought I could have before (post-nasal drip that bugged me for 20 years is finally gone)

      What convinced me was listening to Robb Wolf’s 150some podcasts and understanding that grains are not only harmful to the body (likened to rolling around in poison ivy) but are an inferior source of nutrients (most are locked up with antinutrients). Worst of all, they tend to only make you hungry later, rocket your insulin levels up, and in general do bad bad things to most people. I will never eat grains by choice so long as I live, unless I’m starving in the wilderness.

      What I’d recommend is just try cutting it out for 30 days (known as the Whole 30 around the Paleo circles) and see how you feel. Maybe you are one of the lucky people on whom gluten’s gliadin and transglutaminase has no effect on, and that you run better on carbohydrates than fat (I am the complete opposite) but by RW’s estimations only 10-15% of people may possibly in that category.

    • Tina June 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask for a gluten sensitivity test at your next annual physical/blood work. My husband’s doctor did one on him as just part of the normal round of tests and we discovered to our great surprise that he is gluten sensitive. That’s not as bad as gluten intolerant but it means his body is having an adverse immune response to the gluten he eats and that it’s better if he doesn’t eat. If he had any symptoms, he didn’t know it. He is in the process of getting it out of his diet.

      It IS hard to give up bread but there are so many compensations: butter (on sweet potatoes, on plantain chips, in sauteed veggies, garlic butter on grilled salmon), heavy cream in your coffee, farmer’s market eggs cooked in butter or coconut oil, bunless burgers with homemade herb-garlic mayo and sauteed onions & mushrooms, etc, etc. Also, there are lots of coconut flour recipes out there for getting the bread fix!

  18. RichUncle EL August 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I have been hearing of this diet more everyday, I read in a magazine that the paleo diet is one of the most dangerous diets around for our bodies. Don’t shoot the messanger, that’s what she said. LOL. Well I do tend to mix in a bit of both, I think the best way is to find what works well for you. Some days I avoid breads, rice and pasta. Other days I use smart portion control and have a little bit of it with a random meat or veggies. The most important thing is and will always be to work out with some effort dammit!

    • PeteyP August 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

      It’s really interesting that you appear to be the first person in these comments to have mentioned that there’s another side to the debate about the paleo diet.

      I think there are definitely some dangers when people misunderstand the paleo diet and assume that it must mean eating loads of red meat ‘because cavemen did’, and the ‘all fats are good’ viewpoint isn’t really supported by medical research.

      It’s still very important to keep an eye on saturated fat intake. I’ve only just found out about Mark’s Daily Apple (and intend on devouring all the past posts today) so I don’t know whether he is pro/anti saturated fat, but excess saturated fat intake in low-carb diets is certainly something that doctors have warned about it in the UK.

      I think that a true paleo diet would be pretty much plant-based with some lean protein and wouldn’t have excessive saturated fat intake, but I’m no expert on what people consider the ‘true paleo diet’.

      This article is a great place to look at the actual science which has been carried out, showing that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats has resulted in lower rates of heart disease: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturated_fat_and_cardiovascular_disease_controversy

      Of course, if you eat more saturated fat it means you’re eating less of something else. If that ‘something else’ is refined carbohydates, then maybe you’re reducing your risk? Here’s three studies looking directly at that: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6877119
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824150/?tool=pmcentrez
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2950931/?tool=pmcentrez

      So the answer may well be “in terms of heart disease, saturated fats are worse for you than unsaturated fats, but they’re still better than refined carbohydrates”.

      At least you’re looking at this stuff with a skeptical eye, and that’s great – I hope this info is useful.

      • George Carlson August 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

        One other piece of information to consider before jumping into the paleo (red meat) diet is that our bodies have an intestinal track of a herbivore. Basically this means that animal products will start to rot before they make it out of our system. Generally speaking, true carnivores have an extremely short digestive track compared to ours to avoid this issue.

        • Someone August 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

          Not quite. We are not “obligate carnivores” with the short intestinal tract (note the spelling BTW), but we are not herbivores. We are omnivores, which is especially shown by our teeth.

          As far as I’ve heard, anyway, the short tract of obligate carnivores isn’t because of meat breakdown but because of parasites and other diseases that are much easier to get sick from if they’re in our systems for long.

          If we weren’t meant to eat meat protein, we’d have a lot more problems just digesting it and deriving nutrition from it than we do. Pro-veggie politics are silly and based on lots of wrong information.

          • Jamesqf August 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

            Consider the possibility that you’re putting the cart before the horse. That is, the short length of the carnivore digestive tract is an evolutionary adaption to a meat diet. That is, a creature which needs to catch its food supply will be able to do it better if it is not carrying around more intestines than it needs.

        • Uncephalized August 8, 2012 at 10:16 am #

          This is false. We have a digestive tract which is intermediate in length and volume for our body size between what would be expected for an herbivore like a cow, and a carnivore like a cat. Meat does not “rot” in our digestive tracts–it is nearly 100% digested and absorbed before it even reaches the colon. It is PLANT MATERIAL, in the form of resistant starches, soluble fibers such as inulin, and insoluble fibers such as cellulose, that our guts cannot break down themselves, and which reach the colon to be partially digested by our gut bacteria. The only one of these processes that involves any “rotting”, or putrefaction, is the breakdown of resistant starches and soluble fibers (even our gut bacteria can’t do much with cellulose–that requires the specialized bacteria and long transit times found in true herbivores like cows and horses). This is to be expected since all free-living human populations are omnivorous (the only exceptions being Arctic peoples like the Inuit who tend towards pure carnivory due to ecological constraints) and there has never in human history been a vegan civilization (lacto-ovo vegetarianism is more similar to omnivory in nutritional content than it is to veganism). Ecologically, evolutionarily and physiologically, humans are omnivores. I can’t believe this is even still a matter of debate.

          • BonzoGal August 8, 2012 at 10:22 am #

            Well put!

          • Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

            Thank you

      • Quaglar August 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

        I just wanted to stop in to say that the skeptical response to Paleo seems to be relatively rare on the internet. Either you run into folks who fall in love with the idea and accept it’s conclusions and assertions without giving strong thought to established nutritional science, or you see opposite where people disregard the diet out of hand without really giving the system much thought at all.

        You are one of the first people I have run into who takes Paleo seriously as a thought system and neither dismisses it out of hand or fully embraces it based on the evidence provided by Paleo advocates. Thank you so much. By doing so you have elevated the conversation to something beyond a agree/disagree reaction fest. Thank you again PeteyP, you have made my day.

        • PeteyP August 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

          Hey cheers dude!

          I agree – I’ve noticed people tend to get quite passionate when you talk about food; I think there’s definitely a bit of tribalism going on :) I feel a bit silly for just putting up a couple of studies to make a point; that was terribly one-sided of me – I’m not a dietician or a physician so I’m not really qualified to evaluate those studies properly, and neither are 99.9% of people. We’re better off just following the advice of the most impartial group of qualified scientists, which is relatively simple and they all say about the same thing: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/

          The short story is: carbs aren’t evil, and neither are fats. It’s just too much unrefined carbs and saturated fats that cause health problems.

          It seems that the Paleo diet’s firm rejection of refined carbohydrates and embracing veggies means that it is far better for you than the standard Western diet. I’m distrustful of a diet that’s as sexy and evangelical as Paleo and I’d tend to trust the Harvard school of public health a bit more (they’re not trying to sell you their books!), but when you really look at it, the differences are not huge when you compare them with burger and chips.

  19. Llama August 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    I have been SO GOOD about cooking at home this last week, so of course when I finally buckle and drive my car less than a mile to get some tasty chicken strips at Carls Jr to eat at my desk at work, a fresh article appears to make me feel like a jackass.

    But this is why I read your blog, sir: Remind me I’m a lazy, over-spendy weakling. With time, I hope that I too can learn to run on water- AND KICK UP DRY SAND WHILE DOING SO.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      I’m glad you were impressed with the way dry sand splashes up when I run in the ocean. I was hoping you would also like the way those jagged clouds of green leaves follow Mrs M and I when we start sprinting.

      It’s a good thing I made it back to the computer today after another week spent out in the wilderness – if folks like you are falling so far off the wagon that you’re driving out to buy fast food, it’s a sign that I need to post more often!

  20. BBaxter August 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    I also heard about the Paleo diet from a poster on this blog. I suppose nothing works for everyone, however in 6 months on paleo/primal I lost 40 pounds and my blood pressure and blood glucose dropped into the low normal range. I feel better than I have in years and I love bacon and eggs for breakfast. I hope you naysayers stay away from bacon as that will leave more for me. Hell, I’m almost 85 y/o, if I drop dead tomorrow I’m way ahead of the game. Time for my bicycle ride.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      WOW, BBaxter, huge congratulations!

      My hat goes way off to you and I’m going to save your comment for future inspiration!

    • Trader Rob August 8, 2012 at 7:15 am #

      That doesn’t surprise me. Many years ago, living in Germany and before Atkins and it’s variations became all the rage my wife wife went for her annual physical and commented to the doctor something along the lines of “I eat eggs and bacon everyday for breakfast” needless to say he was a bit upset, ordered all the usual blood tests and when they came back his reaction was prices

      “du hast jungfrau blut” or young womens blood, aka very healthy

      he was stunned, couldn’t believe it!!!! It also help my wife to lose around 80 pounds (since then about 30 have come back) But there are downsides to this diet, which I go into in a new comment

  21. Val August 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Excellent post! It was about time Mustachianism married Paleo / Primal.
    I follow Chris Kresser’s blog “Beyond Paleo” – excellent information of Paleo living.
    Speaking about going against conventional wisdom, how about butter being at the top of the “Top Fourteen Foods” list?

    http://chriskresser.com/the-top-fourteen-foods

    • Llama August 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

      So from that blog link I skipped around and found Kresser’s 5 part series on why antacids are dumb. LOVED IT. I learn so much from these comments! Thanks for the post!

      • Val August 10, 2012 at 8:48 am #

        Glad it helped!
        I agree, you can learn from the comments probably as much as from the blog post!

  22. Lorraine August 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Mark’s Daily Apple, ERE and MMM are the only 3 blogs I read on a daily basis. I love it when my interests cross over like this. I think the practice (on a large enough scale) of eating locally/ not supporting the food industry coupled with being frugal and self-reliant could change the world…

  23. Matt August 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    I’m not really big into paleo or anything, but I regularly read Mark’s site and it’s got a lot of useful information.

    I’ve always been into health and fitness (mixed martial arts for 12 years or so), and I generally agree with a fairly low carb approach, and a diet that allows liberal amounts of protein and certain types of fat. Maybe not a complete avoidance of bread or to the low-carb extent that Mark advocates, but something along those lines.

    For example, I eat some pasta a few time per month, but I use pasta that’s made from brown rice rather than wheat.

  24. Uncephalized August 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Wow, weird, MDA and MMM have collided!

    Kind of weird to see two of the sites I visit every day interacting…

  25. Jennie August 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    Mind BlownDiscovered Primal Blueprint 6 months ago. Changed my life. Just discovered MMM a few weeks ago. In the process of changing my life. And now to have the 2 meet up? It’s an explosion of inspiration and awesomeness. Great article. It’s so cool when the parts of your life come together and make sense.

    • Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

      Mark Sisson + MMM and myself in a room together? *dies*

  26. Levy August 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Hello Mr. Mustache!

    What else do you eat for breakfast besides bacon, eggs and avocados?

    Thanks!

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      Just for you, I went back and added a picture of an ideal breakfast I ate last week (yes, I always take pictures of my food before eating it if it looks unusually good :-)).

      My biggest breakfast staple is those almonds. Usually there’s a banana in there, slathered with natural peanut butter (even though it’s not paleo/primal approved) or almond butter. Some berries, a few slices of cheese. Maybe a whole cucumber if I find one in the fridge (I just eat the whole thing raw as if it were an apple, no peeling or slicing). I love those cucumbers. Sometimes a square or two of 90% cacao dark chocolate. A strong coffee with cream but no sugar. The eggs usually get fried in coconut or olive oil, or butter.

      MMM-mmm! All this talk is making me hungry and I can hardly wait for breakfast! I’d better get to sleep so breakfast will come sooner.

      • Levy August 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

        Feeling honored! :)

        Thanks Mr, useful pic for ideas for breakfast!

  27. fastbodyblast August 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Can’t say that I am at all surprised that you and Mark have finally crossed paths, its like the same ideas from a different angle as you have already pointed out.

    There is something you mentioned in passing that is SUPER IMPORTANT but not highlighted in your post. On days you exercise more you eat more. That’s right, when we exercise we need to eat more – that means more calories not less. This really goes against the idea that to lose weight we need to restrict our calories.

    Dont be fooled by years of “conventional wisdom”, a calorie is NOT a calorie.

    When you get the idea that its the type of foods hence type of calories that counts, losing weight is so much easier. As MMM correctly points out, your body can easily self regulate the amount you need. You don’t need an iphone app counting calories for you.

    In fact forget about weight loss, its all about fat loss!!

    Its actually easier to lose fat if you gain some muscle. The standard advice is that it takes your body more energy to maintain muscle but this is only a part of the total picture. Increasing muscle mass to increase insulin sensitivity plays a huge role in fat loss but is well beyond the scope of a comment to this post.

    Just starting looking beyond the idea that weight loss is all about “eat less and exercise more”.

    Marks Daily Apple is certainly a good place to start.

  28. fastbodyblast August 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Finding out if these or any other diet and lifestyle changes work for you is remarkably easy. Go and get a blood test right now, prior to making any changes, try the lifestyle and diet interventions for 12 weeks then get another blood test. At each test measure your cholesterol profile (that means the breakdown, not just the total amount), fasting blood glucose and C-reactive protein. If you show a substantial improvement as a result of the changes then clearly it works for YOU!

    • dude October 9, 2013 at 6:45 am #

      Spot on! I was converted to Paleo/Primal by a friend nearly three years ago, and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding (made with whole milk and dark chocolate, natch) — I’ve been a VERY active athlete all my life, and have been weight training since I was 15 (now 48). Ran a marathon in 2000. Climbed many 14K+ peaks in the U.S., Mexico and Ecuador, and am an avid rock climber. In short, I have always looked, felt, and performed like a healthy athlete. But it wasn’t until I went Primal that my blood serum numbers went from marginal to phenomenal in just 6 months. And the trend continues, after three years. LDL still going down, HDL still going up, tricglycerides bottoming out. More energy, stronger, fitter, much lower body fat, and no longer have that bloated feeling after eating (except when I treat myself to beer!). Mark Sisson says to give his plan 90 days — with all the success stories on that site (read them, they are truly inspiring, like many of the Reader Case Studies here), why wouldn’t you????

  29. Dragline August 7, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    I’ve followed Mark Sisson for awhile now. Lots of good stuff there. Check out Art DeVany sometime, who is the grandfather of this movement. Note that the ultimate theory behind this is related to N. Taleb’s work and the idea that most important things in nature like the weather and earthquakes and financial markets are governed by mathematical “power laws” — not normal or average distributions, and that its not really normal to force yourself into a “steady-state” environment where you do the same things and eat the same things at the same times every day. Variety truly is the spice of life.

    Honestly, I think Sisson’s exercise pyramid is even more interesting than the eating/diet recommendations. It’s really focused on getting the most healthy results out of the least work. See: http://www.epubbud.com/read.php?g=54RH8XCE&tocp=96

    I lost about 45 pounds about 8 years ago and never looked back. This stuff really helps keep me on track — and I’m not very orthodox about it.

  30. Isaac August 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    I’ve been following Mark’s Daily Apple and living primally for about 6 months now, i’ve only recently (in the last month or so) discovered MMM. Both have been life changing though I’ve often struggled to integrate the two. (organic beef/eggs/bacon get pretty expensive).

    It’s cool to see my two favorite lifestyle blogs colliding, but have you got advice to keep the costs of the primal diet down?

  31. Taylor August 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    I think this is awesome and I really look forward to seeing you talk more about this subject. I’ve been Primal/Paleo for almost a year and dropped about 50 pounds. I have had trouble fitting it in with being budget concious though. My monthly burn is about $1000-1200 and nearly half of that is food since that’s the one thing I refuse to compromise on. I very rarely eat out and I buy all my meat in bulk from a local farmer and most veggies from the farmer’s market.

    I hope you’ll do a post on how primal eating has changed your grocery bill or if it doesn’t how you manage that.

  32. Jamesqf August 7, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    I’m just curious: why would you (or anyone) want to eat a big greasy breakfast? Or any other big greasy meal. I suppose that if it had proven health benefits, I could manage to choke it down, but it’s anything but appealing

    • BonzoGal August 8, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      Man, I totally disagree. I prefer fatty/greasy foods for breakfast. Some fried eggs, maybe some meat (bacon, sausage, leftover dinner meat). I eat my big meal at breakfast and feel great all day. If I get skimpy or low-fat at breakfast, I’m starving by lunch and don’t feel quite as peppy.

      That doesn’t mean I skip vegetables of fruits- I love lots of both- and I also get good fats from nuts and avocados and such. But the big breakfast is great for me… YMMV!

    • Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

      We have been conditioned by conventional diet wisdom to assume that fat/grease/oil = bad, unhealthy,gross. Took a while for me to recondition myself, but now I slather butter on everything. Hell, I even mix it into my coffee sometimes. Fat is good.

      • Jamesqf August 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

        Who’s we? I’ve felt that way about excessive fat/grease since I was a kid, and I grew up quite a ways back in the hills, with little exposure to mass media or diet wisdom, conventional or not.

        Though butter, in its proper place (e.g. on fresh-baked bread) is good, in moderation.

        I suspect we have vastly different metabolisms: I couldn’t eat a big meal at breakfast, either. Indeed, in the warmer months I don’t eat anything until mid-morning.

    • Uncephalized August 9, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Yeah, have you ever actually tasted butter? Try some Kerrygold. It’s fucking delicious on almost everything.

      • Woodreaux February 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

        +1 and can get it cheap ($2.50) at Wal-Mart when available.

  33. Ben August 8, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    Wow MMM, I’m so glad to see two of my favorite blogs cross-promoting. I have been eating Paleo (unfortunately on and off) for the last two years, and consistently feel great when I eat according to the Primal Blueprint. Its great to see you are spreading two great messages. Keep up the good work.

  34. David Horne August 8, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    Just to chime in the part of this article that amused me the most was finding that the books were in active use when you got there.

    In terms of changing diet and so forth there is one really important factor to take in to consideration. When you eat something, how does it make you feel, not just how it tastes, but how it sits in your stomach. Does it sustain you, or make you feel heavy? If it’s hard to tell, try making a change for a week and then going back and paying attention to the difference it makes.

    The point is that when you pay attention, your body can give you a lot of important feedback, that you can use to personalize and tailor your diet for what’s best for you.

    Also, I thought the green cloud of leaves of dry sand splashing up was just a photoshopping artifact, but I now no it’s just what happens when Mr and Mrs. Money Mustache start sprinting. Incredible!

  35. Kate August 8, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    Where does oatmeal fit into the “primal” eating equation? I know you have previously praised it as an affordable breakfast staple, but it seems that it is contrary to the primal philosophy.

    • Uncephalized August 9, 2012 at 8:29 am #

      It’s gluten-free, so unless you’re worried about carbs per se (I’m not) then its a gray area, being a grain but it one of the “really bad” ones.

      I think Mark doesn’t eat oats but has said before that he doesn’t think they’re super evil.

      They don’t have a ton of nutritional value to them, though, compared to a lot of foods you could be eating.

  36. Gerard August 8, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    I wanted to dislike this, but I went to the website, and I kinda like the advice. The way it’s framed, with the romanticized ancestors, is the kind of bullshit that I’d expect Mustachians to laugh at, but it’s hard to find fault with advice like “walk a lot, sleep a lot, carry things, and eat less-processed food.”

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 8, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      Aww, c’mon Gerard! I know you’re a professor and all, but I really like romanticized ancestors, as you can see from my old Natives post. Whether they really were perfect or not is irrelevant.. The point is inspiration. And it really works – I hang out with several people who are extremely badass at modern life, in part because of strongly romanticized badass mothers, fathers and grandparents. And don’t even get me started about the great depression: that shit was the best thing to happen to frugality since stone tools! :-)

  37. Gerard August 8, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    It’s hard to argue with “walk a lot, sleep a lot, eat real food, and play in the sun.” But the social scientist in me sees the framing of Paleo-type diets as the latest in a long line of peculiarly Anglo/American quackery, pushing the same buttons: distrust of mainstream science (aka “contemporary wisdom”), desire to return to an idealized simpler earlier time, fear of “toxins”, obsession with the purity of the body, and the conviction that we can defeat fate and time and aging. I guess the trick is to take what works from this without necessarily buying the packaging.

    • Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

      I started with MDA/Primal Blueprint first. Then I hopped over to the Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. Man knows his shit, and studies the evidenced-based research to back it up. He breaks down food into their biochemical pathways and then explains why it is awesome, or why you should drop it like it’s hot and run away. If you’re looking for something a bit more scientific in its nature, I’d start reading his stuff.

      • Gerard August 9, 2012 at 7:12 am #

        I know nothing about nutrition science, so thanks for the leads. If eating this way works for people, and the science is good, then do it. My quibble is with the social science end of it. The diet’s proponents have created a fictional but appealing “simple” past. People buy into that and decide things based on those odd assumptions (“What kind of cheese would Stone Age hunter-gatherers eat?”), rather than sticking with contemporary empirical results. I get MMM’s point that people like a story line for inspiration (and to organize their knowledge). But I think Mustachians are generally pretty good at separating observable fact from hype and spin, and we should be doing it here.

        • Graeme August 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

          I hear you Gerard. I have issues with the term “Paleo” as well, as we really don’t know exactly what Paleolithic peoples ate. Further, there are examples of cultures that have thrived on very low-carbohydrate diets (such as the Inuit), and those that have thrived on high carbohydrate diets (such as the Kitavans) – showing that the human body can thrive on different types of diets.

          A great post that addresses these things is “Paleo 2.0″ by Kurt Harris, an MD who runs a blog which might be called Paleo, but also has a different type of viewpoint than most Paleo advocates.

          http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/3/30/paleo-20-a-diet-manifesto.html/

          It’s not exactly short, but well worth the read. Some highlights:

          “The “Paleolithic diet “ is a chimera, a myth.

          No more real than a Griffin.

          A beautiful thing that doesn’t really exist.

          ………..

          Paleo 2.0 is paleonutrition where the paleo- prefix means archaic, not paleolithic

          We appeal to archaic foodways to learn what is wrong with our modern Neolithic/industrial diet. These archaic foodways could be hundreds of years old, or many thousands.”

          Some of the key ideas are:

          “1) Reject the alternative hypothesis of saturated fat or cholesterol as a Neolithic agent – the so-called diet/heart hypothesis

          2) Believe that obtaining a substantial fraction of nutrition from animal sources is necessary for health

          3) Discount the absolute importance of macronutrient ratios in the nutritional transition.

          4) Believe that a whole foods diet that includes adequate micronutrients is the best way to eat healthy.

          5) Believe that tubers, root vegetables and other sources of starch can be healthy for normal people, but that gluten grains are a suboptimal source of nutrition in other than small amounts.”

          Note that there are some key divergences from some Paleo writers in his ideas – such as the idea that tubers are just fine and that macronutrient ratios is unimportant. I believe the ideas that Kurt is on to is really what Paleo should be about.

          p.s. another good blog post about the trouble with the term “Paleo” is by Chris Kresser, titled “Is Paleo even Paleo? And Does It Even Matter?”
          http://chriskresser.com/is-paleo-even-paleo-and-does-it-even-matter

          p.p.s. For a really good nutrition blog (not necessarilly paleo but excellent nonetheless) is Stephan Guyenet’s Whole Health Source: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/

  38. GaryG August 8, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    If you want to follow the latest science on nutrition and diet check out

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/

    • Scott August 9, 2012 at 8:07 am #

      I am with you. I’ll trust the PhDs and MDs or Harvard over the anecdotal evidence of a few people.

      I think Paleo works, but I think it works only because people take in fewer calories than they did previously.

      • Shane September 1, 2012 at 12:19 am #

        That’s the thing though. Many of us track our calorie consumption pre and post paleo and find that we lose weight, perform better and sleep better with the same or more calories eating a “paleo” type diet. (I hate the paleo label)

        I personally think it has more to do with better overall nutrition… And better absorption of the nutrition, possibly due to healthier guts, more fats, etc.

        But I really don’t care – low fat high carb made me fat and lethargic. Low fat high protein got me losing fat but was still lethargic. “paleo” ish makes me feel awesome.

  39. Joe @ Retire By 40 August 8, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    I’ll have to put the book in my library queue. We reduced our carb. intake quite a bit this year, but we still eat grain and bread. It’s a big change and we are taking our time with it. My weight is ok, but my triglyceride is high. We’ll keep working on it, but I think a little carb is probably ok. I’ll read the book.

  40. Trader Rob August 8, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    Mr MMM great post as usual, but unfortunately I can tell you from experience that this is not sustainable long term. Slowly over time you get tired of it. Here and there you begin to slip, it starts with a day where you’re in a hurry and decided to go for cereal for convenience sake, or perhaps home late one day and don’t feel like cooking so it’s peanut butter and jam or even a trip through the drive through.

    Secondly and sadly, fresh fruit and veggies are expensive and go bad quickly. Processed food on the other hand is dirt cheap and never goes bad. Matter of fact just finished off some Aunt Jemima syrup that sat opened in the back of my fridge for some 5 years (seriously)

    The only way to keep this up is to make it a life style change. During summers get used to filling half the BBQ with veggies, during the winter your stews (which we love) are 80/20 veggies meat. Buy a bread maker and start making homemade bread for those days when you crave it (just be careful as fresh hot bread is soooooo good!!!!!) This is sustainable!!

    But the worse part, if you’ve lost a lot of weight, is that over time your body adjusts and the weight comes back, IN SPITE OF DIET AND EXERCISE.
    I know this one from personal experience, my wife lost 80 lbs on Atkins but slowly gained back 30 or so and in spite of a very strict diet and exercise regime not only can’t lose it but it still slowly gaining it back, a pound or two a year.

    Being fat when your young stays with you for the rest of your life.

    PS can edit comments :):):):):)

    • Krissa August 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

      To be fair, while Atkins and paleo are both carb-restrictive, the Primal blueprint philosophy does not cut carbs nearly as much, and the emphasis is actually on eating a shit-ton of vegetables and some fruit for all their nutritional goodness – including carb content. If you read anything by the leading authors in the paleo movement, the eating ideals are not “eat all the meat you want.” Many people believe “low-carb = Atkins” but that is not the case.

    • Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

      Sorry, I am going to administer a face punch to you Trader Rob. If you are angry with me, that is OK, but I wanted to rebut your argument that Paleo/Primal is expensive, unsustainable, and doesn’t work…

      Slip up? There’s no slipping up for me. Not when I get stomach cramps or the shits if I eat anything out of line. I don’t eat something bad, I just go hungry until I can eat again. That’s part of the Primal Blueprint as well.

      Fresh fruits and veggies aren’t expensive, comparatively speaking. A head of green cabbage costs what, two bucks? Eat that instead of buying cereal, jam, fast food, or bread. The cabbage will fill you up and give you far more nutrition than any of the grain or sugar-based stuff will. Might as well burn your money in a trash can if you’re going to buy carbohydrates – you need fat, protein, and vitamins.
      Add in a bit of canned fish, some onions, some beef, some eggs, some butter. All for under $20 a week. Food going bad too quickly? Freeze it, or buy frozen. Can’t cook every night? Cook it on the weekends in a crockpot, or in the microwave in a pinch if you’re really starving.

      I do Paleo not because I want to lose weight or necessarily look good naked, or even to eat meat and butter and salmon (although they are tasty). I do it, because the alternative would have led me down the path towards type 2 diabetes, insidious abdominal fat that would build up to an inner tire like my father, Alzheimer’s (such as when my grandmother moved here and transitioned to a SAD) intolerable hayfever that would keep me from breathing at night, increased dental caries due to carbohydrate consumption, and a quite miserable life in comparison to the one I am living now. Paying a bit more for quality food (you don’t have to, but I choose to) and restricting my diet is definitely worth it from a health standpoint.

      I would encourage you to read Robb Wolf’s post on http://robbwolf.com/2011/09/21/paleo-is-expensive/ – that really opened up my eyes on the issue.

      • Travis August 9, 2012 at 6:40 am #

        Carbs are not the enemy…the over processing and overcooking of them are. There are ways to include grains in your diet but it takes a little more time to plan and prepare. Steel Cut oats as opposed to quick oats or sprouted grains instead of processed white flour.

        real foods take real planning but are worth the extra effort

  41. Trader Rob August 8, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    Bit off topic but how do you afford to eat like than and still 50-75% of your income? No Name cereals are cheap and last a week, fresh fruits aren’t and need to be replaced every few days

    thanks

    • Travis August 9, 2012 at 7:00 am #

      While we are not saving 50% of our income we do eat natural/organic food including lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. We have our weekly shopping trips where we head to the local farm for produce and the store for fruits. Buy in season fruit/vegetables and you can easily find ways to preserve them for winter storage. For a family of 4 (3 whom eat solid food) on an almost exclusively organic/natural plant heavy diet we spend roughly $450/mo on “groceries”. Note that figure includes our supplements (which we have some high quality vitamins), herbs for wellness tea, along with toiletries, paper/cleaning supplies, This is under the USDA average Cost of Food…ultimately it just takes some planning.

      The cost is more sticker shock than anything else and you can’t really compare a box of cereal to an apple. Plus you have to look at what you get for what you pay for. The cereal for example is not very good for no matter how “healthy” they say it is. It’s been processed so much that they add back synthetic nutrients that are not highly bio-available.

      Lastly we view it as an investment in your health care. Healthier bodies mean less sick time which means less time at the doctor and more time enjoying life. Our oldest son is 3.5 and has only been once to the doctor for illness, and the last time any of us were sick for any length of time was over 1.5 year ago. Prior to that I can’t even remember.

    • BonzoGal August 9, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      Fresh fruits and veggies don’t go bad if you eat them. Just plan your meals so that you use up all your supply of fresh food. I’ve only had a problem with fresh produce going bad when I joined a CSA and was innundated with more produce than my husband and I could use. When I buy it myself, I know what I’m going to do with it that week and then do it.

      If you have a garden or get extra produce, you can learn to preserve it so it doesn’t get wasted. Freezing, dehydrating and canning become your allies.

      • Travis August 10, 2012 at 6:51 am #

        Not only preserving it but harvesting it as needed. For example we have a lot of Kale and chard which are good nutrient dense leafy greens. These allow a continual harvest but cutting the outer mature leaves during the growing season so we have a continual supply of fresh greens on demand.

  42. Joy August 8, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Warning this diet is not for everyone.

    I tried it and, loved it. I looked great. Sadly, I felt terrible after 3 months.
    I was suffering from being very cold, fatigued, depressed, zero motivation,
    hair loss, poor sleep, frequent urination, excessive thirst, and constipation.

    Turns out this diet dropped my metabolism. It has taken me over a year
    to recover.

    I had hoped paleo was the answer. Prior to paleo I followed the “eat to live”
    protocol of Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I suffered many of the same symptoms
    described above after following this program for about 8 months. Paleo
    is the opposite diet of “eat to live” so in the beginning of paleo I felt
    wonderful. Sadly, it didn’t last.

    My trouble seems to be that my liver doesn’t store glycogen very well.
    I have to eat carbs to maintain energy. I do not eat gluten. However,
    I eat white rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Too, I eat fruit. I don’t
    count carbs. I eat meat. I have to eat meat as my body doesn’t do
    well without the B-12. Supplements are not an acceptable replacement.

    I know many do great on this diet. I just wanted all to listen to your body.
    If you notice you are getting colder, take note!

    Names to google for blogs that pertain to “paleo fail”

    Paul Jaminet Ph.D. “Perfect Health Diet” Great Book!
    Danny Roddy “The Peat Whisperer” new e-book.
    Matt Stone He has several e-books.

    Paul is a scientist who became extremely interested in health due to
    health issues. I highly recommend his book. However, he is in the process
    of updating the book so you might wait for the new release.

    Danny and, Matt are two guys that have been in search of health through
    diet. They have learned some interesting information. They both followed
    paleo for quite a while and, touted the wonders of paleo.
    They too suffered low metabolism on paleo. It took them longer to get to
    that point, than myself. Yet, I am a good 20 years older.

    Danny’s blog has been centered on hair loss. He suffered hair loss and,
    has stopped his hair loss through diet.

    Matt Stone is mostly an experiment at work through diet. Warning, many
    gain weight following his advice. However, they feel much healthier too.

    Take care.

    • Shane September 1, 2012 at 12:25 am #

      How come everyone associates low carb with paleo? It doesn’t need to be. Carbs are fine. Just don’t get them from a box. Sounds to me like you are still pretty paleo ish. :)

  43. Clint August 8, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Have any Ms out there read “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy” by Dr. Willett? http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Drink-Be-Healthy-Harvard/dp/0743266420/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344445561&sr=1-1&keywords=eat+drink+and+be+healthy
    My doctor recommended this as a guide to healthy eating after my triglycerides and bad cholesterol spiked. The authors basically frowned on meats high in saturated fats and favored healthy fats found in olive oil, lean meat, beans, nuts, etc. Also frowned on a lot of dairy (pushed by a powerful ag industry), white rice, white bread, pasta. Bonus–Willett pretty much gives thumbs up to an alcoholic beverage a day!

    So I tried it (though not religiously) for about four months, hoping to bring my levels down and avoid meds … and it worked.

    I prefer this approach because it doesn’t seem so much like a cult, fadish diet as a real lifestyle change with legs. There’s enough variety to the food choices to keep meals interesting instead of limiting people so much that they constantly drop or move in an out of diets.

    The guy backed up his advice with a ton of studies, but I don’t think I’ve seen it mentioned here before.

    • Marcia August 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      I have one of the books he wrote with mollie katzen. Great book.

  44. Michael August 8, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Hi MMM! I am glad you were turned on to MDA and the Primal Blueprint. I have been following both you and Mark since you both started out in the blogosphere. I totally believe that your health and financial health is super important. Both of you guys have a no bullshit but keep things simple approach. I have personally been doing the Paleo thing for a bit over 4 years and it has worked wonders for my health. I was never over weight but I used to drown myself in chronic cardio and ate low fat/whole grain until it brought about some negative health changes. I started to get sick all the time and I had the worst allergies and intestinal distress. Since dropping the gluten and eating nothing but whole foods my overall health couldn’t be better. Similarly, after following both MMM and Jacob at ERE I have lived a much more healthy financial life as well. Everything has been great and I owe a lot of it to both MMM and Mark’s Daily Apple. So I am glad you two have connected! It’s definitely a synergy of badassity!!

    Another pretty cool blog and author is Robb Wolf of the Paleo Solution. He has a weekly podcast, book and website that I am sure you will enjoy as well. Cheers!

  45. Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple August 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Wow, two of my favorite people in one place.

    I will preface this with: I am not a low carber. I do like to read about nutrition, however, and the thing I like about the vegans and Paleo folks alike is the emphasis on fresh veggies and fruits.

    That said, I do have the book. And I did try the 21-day challenge on the website in September. And I credit Mark Sisson and the Primal Challenge for making me pregnant.

    See, for years, I did the low-fat thing. I had difficulty getting pregnant the first time around (eventually got pregnant at 35). After over 1.25 years of trying again (this time at over 40), I gave up again. Then after my last triathlon I wanted to lose a few pounds, so I decided to go primal for 3 weeks. I got pregnant soon after. (Didn’t lose any weight though.)

    Even now on my heavy-carb nursing diet, I find that I’m much happier and less hungry if I incorporate more eggs, cheese, nuts, and protein and make an effort to cut the carbs. If I have a breakfast with eggs, nuts, fruit, and greek yogurt, then I don’t need to snack before lunch. I also really like the exercise philosophy (not that I’m exercising yet post baby).

  46. Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple August 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    I do have a question about beans. Beans are not primal/paleo. Do you still eat them? I love beans.

  47. Rob August 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    The timing is spooky, but I’ve been dipping into a similar subject. Difficult to explain so here’s a link to the BBC article in question:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19112549

    It all relates to a particular hormone that apparently promotes healthy longevity: “As levels of the IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on according to ongoing research by Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California.”

  48. marissa August 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    People living during the paleolithic era likely never ate a plate full of bacon. Recent research has shown that people living during this time ate mostly plants and had meat on rare occasions. Our guts are most similar to those of apes who eat mostly plants and bugs. Yes, humans can digest protein well but if I’m going to go back to basics, I’d prefer to do it correctly and not eat very much, if any, meat. It’s somewhat irresponsible to give the general public the go-ahead to eat as much meat as they can. Consuming red meat and processed pork products have been linked to a 20% higher risk of death. I know we’re all going to die, but I’d like for my time on this earth to be enjoyed in health, not dependent on 20 medications to “fix” my body because my diet is crap.

    • Travis August 9, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Change the type of meat you eat. Meaning grass fed organic beef is much different it taste and content than conventional grain finished beef. In fact they are much higher in CLAs and Omega-3s while being significantly lower in the risk of e-coli.

  49. Dancedancekj August 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    THANK YOU MMM.

    I started reading Mr. Money Mustache, and it changed my life. My mental health, my priorities, and my bank account all are in much better shape than they were a year ago.

    I started reading MDA, bought the Primal Blueprint, then Robbwolf.com, then started listening to Robb Wolf’s podcasts. Similar to some of us who felt that they finally found people who understood them, thought like them, and lived like them among the Mustachian community, I felt the same way with the Primal and Paleo folks.

    I have read through all the responses so far, and unfortunately there’s a lot of misinformation in the comments. There is a lot of ambiguity regarding Paleo and Primal diets and lifestyles, which is why I narrowed it down to Robb Wolf’s nitty gritty information regarding the physiology, biochemical nature, and molecular reactions of what happens with food and exercise and lifestyle regarding our overall health.

    I have found that just as Mr. Money Mustache does not hesitate from facepunching, neither does Mr. Robb Wolf hesitate from facepunching you either. Just as MMM would slap that high interest rate credit card application from your hand or scold you for getting another $7 latte on your morning route, so would Robb Wolf slap that baguette out of your hand, or scold you for drinking that beer.

    Let me also add a couple of Mustachian benefits from going Paleo.

    1. You won’t want to eat out – No seriously, you won’t. Everything is cooked in vegetable oils or coated in bread crumbs or drenched in margarine or hydrogenated vegetable oils or caked with sugar. I’d much rather starve than deal with the consequences of eating forbidden foods (i.e. cramps, the shits, runny nose, and joint pain).
    Bing! Money in your wallet. Plus in my case, a legitimate excuse for not ordering anything if I go out. It’s not worth it in either the dietary or financial sense.

    2. Simplify your eating – If 90% of the grocery store’s contents are off limits, it certainly makes it pretty easy to shop. Meat aisle, veggie aisle, dairy aisle (if you’re into that, only heavy whipping cream and butter for me), off we go to checkout! You know you’re only buying the stuff that’s good for you too, and you’re getting the best bang for your buck, nutrition-wise. A lot of the stuff we throw out from animals is apparently very nutritious and cheap as well – liver, heart, fish heads, bones and cartilage are some serious superfoods.

    3. Spend less time eating – if your body runs well on fat and protein like mine does (less than 50 g of carbs per day), then you may only need to eat one meal a day. I generally do two to three still, but if you’re trying to be productive, it can sometimes help not to have to stop and eat every three hours. I knew when I was running on carbohydrates, I’d have to constantly be thinking and scouting out my next meal, since I knew if I didn’t I would start chewing on paper to fill my rumbling stomach.

    4. Save on health care costs – I can’t get into the physiology too much here, but one of my basic reasons for Paleo eating is that it regulates insulin levels, reduces cortisol levels in the body, and decreases inflammation. Decreased inflammation = no autoimmune issues. Goodbye spending $100 a year on antihistamines, because I don’t need them anymore. Since cutting wheat out of my diet two years ago, I haven’t caught a cold (which in my case would mean missing work. For some of you Mustachians, this might mean little for your Mustache, but wonders for your own personal health and schedule). By my research, I should be able to limit or avoid most of the systemic disease pitfalls – type 2 diabetes, benign prostate hyperplasia, osteroporosis, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and so on.

    5. Live better – I really mean this. Paleo makes me happier about food than ever before. I eat, I feel full, and I don’t feel guilty. My joints don’t ache anymore, my nose doesn’t run from ragweed pollen, my eyes don’t itch from grass pollen, my skin is beautiful and clean, and I’ve finally started losing my umbellicus fat – a six pack is hopefully on it’s way! Energy levels are steady and up, no “3:00 feeling” after lunch, no new dental cavities (and no way of getting new ones with regular checkups and good oral hygiene!). I am sleeping far better than before, with some really fantastic and vivid dreams. I am excited about the fair nonexistence of my hayfever symptoms this year, and am looking forward to see if it addresses my seasonal affective disorder/depression in the spring of this year. It is a relatively small change in habit (eating right) that is a small mental investment but has enormous dividends for my future health and quality of life (the same as building good habits now to not only have a giant Mustache but also to enjoy the same lifestyle even after reaching my goal).

  50. Priam August 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    We buy bacon at the farmers market, $8lb.

    It’s from pastured pork, no antibiotics and it is the best bacon I’ve ever tasted.

    Try the farmers markets & farmers for real food. http://www.eatwild.com

  51. Ziggy August 9, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    MMM, are you sure you want to go here? When it comes down to it, you’re endorsing a guy who is part of the diet industry, something that seems to be the antithesis of what I understood to be moustashian ways. The entire thing is one giant merry-go-round that endlessly turns and turns, for now instead of demonizing fat, they’re demonizing carbohydrates and even legumes, one of the most cost-effective sources of protein that most of the world makes an important part of their diet by necessity because meat is an expensive thing. All the while, hawking expensive and unnecessary products that fit into whatever diet they’re peddling. Mark sells PRIMAL FUEL, a $33/lb supplement for all the protein-shake swilling cavemen out there, not to mention all of his other associated products.

    The simple fact is, diets don’t work, not because people don’t lose weight initially, but because long-term changes are really hard for people–particularly when they are extreme–and biological mechanisms in the body make keeping weight off a difficult thing–I’m not talking one year here, which is about how long this thing has been popular, I’m talking 5 years, 10 years and beyond. So people try the newest fad du-jour, looking for a yet another fix. Yet I can guarantee you somebody has suggested the same basic advice of this in the past, just in a different form, so it’s not really new. As one of your previous commenters said, there are elements of the whole “primal” thing that are sound, like not eating processed crap–a basic piece of advice that one need not diet to follow–but it’s really just a low-carb diet. A diet.

    The lentils… please tell me you don’t support throwing them out. $1 for a 1/lb bag. Such a moustashian food… and delicious with a little smoked sausage!

    I certainly see how elements of this are appealing to you, simplify, etc, and that like everything there are some good parts, but it just seems to me that there is so much wrong with with the entire outlook being hawked by people like Mark Sisson.

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

      Yeah, I’m pretty happy to speak out in favor of this primal lifestyle thing. I don’t care if it happens to contain food recommendations, I wouldn’t consider it part of a “diet industry”. It just works, and I’m recommending it because it has worked for me and everyone I know who tried it.

      As for losing weight: no, it’s not hard to keep excess bodyfat off if you actually know how to eat, live, and exercise properly.. it’s hard to keep it ON! The key is that most people don’t know how to do those things properly. (Low-fat fruit shakes and jogging or aerobics, for example, won’t help most people improve their body composition over the long run.)

      Now that I’ve accidentally become a teeny-tiny self help guru myself, I have much more sympathy for the plight of self-help gurus in general. Mark Sisson discovered some stuff that really worked for him. Then he started sharing it with people and got more and more excited, and it turned into a business for him. I believe his main reason for continuing is because he enjoys helping people.

      That’s exactly the same situation I’m in as Mr. Money Mustache. I started writing about some shit that worked for me, others reported that it is also working for them, and here we are. If I needed more income, I’d also start selling some products through the blog, which wouldn’t make the underlying message any less real (although it would certainly inspire more cynics).

      The main difference between me and the typical mega-selling spokesperson is the fact that I’ve disconnected the idea of having even more money, from being any happier. That saves me from a lot of effort in thinking up things to sell.

      And for the record, I DO believe that Mustachians should customize the idea of a primal lifestyle to their own liking. Don’t buy any expensive supplements. Get the books you need from the library. Eat beans and rice if they agree with your digestive system. Do research and don’t be a sheep. But if you need to lose fat, DO try a low-carb, no grain diet just to see what happens!

      • JasonR August 10, 2012 at 9:17 am #

        “Get the books you need from the library.” While I wait 6 years for it to show up…perhaps we could try…

        What if I send you postage and you ship your free copy to me, then I’ll send it to the next person who wants it and we can share all this info at a media mail rate. Sisson gets free PR while the hoi polloi gets reduced rate information.

        With all these different diets/gurus/lifestyles/studies, I don’t understand how people rationalize their decisions when faced with conflicting information. The China study (among many others) shows one clear outcome (all animal products are bad), Paleo shows a mutually exclusive and diametrically opposed outcome (meat is fine). Which one has the better science? Anyone have experience in translational medicine? It seems like every camp has “the real facts” that support whatever angle they’re pitching. Shady. Someone is wrong.

        What’s less frustrating but more disagreeable is that all this back-and-forth nonsense costs money. Once someone charges money for an interpretation/repacking of some *free* studies and widely available info (try NEJM and pubmed) it smacks of snake-oil salesmanship no matter how valid the underlying premise is.

        I don’t know what this incredibly annoying MD’s angle is, but at least the info is free: http://nutritionfacts.org/ if you can withstand his voice and delivery.

      • Scott August 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

        Sisson used to be an endurance athlete and has always been in great shape. Apparently, the main benefit of the Paleo diet to him is that he gets sick less. That is great, but I am not sure his personal experience proves much in the area of weight loss.

    • MrsTrimWaistFatWallet September 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      Diets DO work. People don’t :)

  52. Mike August 9, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    I love the ghetto photoshop of the cover! Almost as much as the mirror image photo between you and Ferriss!

    I started a whole foods program, Whole30, which is a little bit more restrictive than our on-and-off-again paleo diet and I’m blogging about it here if you want to see how it is working for us. I’m convinced now that I have some food allergies because aside from losing weight, several other aspects of daily life are much better.

    http://livetheneweconomy.com/health-and-wellness/

  53. Mrs_TrimWaistFatWallet August 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    You mean, Primal isn’t just about eating nuts and berries???

    *face palm*

    Sounds like an interesting read. We could all afford to take some Mustachian/Primal approaches in our daily lives.

  54. George August 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    After becoming more Mustachian over the last year, I have been riding my bike all over town, got a weight lifting set from craigslist to lift in my garage, jogging at the local high school track, and using my reel lawn mower, I found myself at the lowest weight (160 lbs) for as long I can remember. Back in my bad years around 2006 I peaked at about 200lbs.

    I don’t do this pateo diet thing, it sounds weird, and I like my bread, beer, and dessert after dinner every night. I eat these in moderation, eat only whole grain bread, cook at home, and have had no problem. I would like to see this Mark Sisson come to my house and try to take the bread and carbs from my kitchen, I will bust his MoFu ass up; he thinks hes so cool with his book, but ill smear his face into the ground if he tries to get into my house!! We can even go bare knuckle brawl style if he prefers.

    • Sarah October 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      I have this same response to the no dairy people. I could give up bread, but you will have to pry the dairy products out of my could dead hands. I’ve honestly thought if I ever became lactose intolerant I would openly weep (then get on with my dairy free existence I suppose).

  55. JaneMD August 14, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Wow there is a lot of discussion on which diet is favored by whom! Having read up on numerous diets and their primary research (JAMA just had an article discussing low carb versus low fat versus ‘normal), I ended up with a few points I think most MMM readers could agree on.

    1. Packaged/processed foods are not the best source of nutrition
    2. Packaging is expensive and wasteful.
    3. Eating out is expensive, wasteful, and usually not healthy.

    I’ve ben watching diets come and go, so at this point none of them particularly impress me. (HubbyJD favors the old ‘Caveman diet’ which he learned about in college – 150g of protein a day.) My personal suspicion is that many people lose the weight on whichever diet they pick because they are so committed they can follow one plan for months/years. Diets worry me when they start recommending things that are food safety/medically questionable – lack of pasteurization, cleanses, non FDA regulated supplements, overly restrictive diets (vegan+gluten free+organic+preservative free+add your own), failure to carb count in diabetics. Otherwise, if you want to eat no/50:50/all wheat flour/white flour/meat/dairy/plants/fill in the blank, go for it.

    In our case, we keep kosher at our house, so eating out or embracing a particular diet is nearly impossible. Unless you count one week per year of the glorious ‘Matzah diet’ during Passover. Delicious, tastes just like cardboard . . .

  56. Shannon August 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    MMM, how are you doing? I left you a message before on the internet sharing article. I am a big fan! So I want to ask you… Is that really YOU in the picture on the left? You look so young, athletic and handsome. I can’t believe you are almost 40 years old. Since you are so cute, why don’t you use your real head shot as icon to replace that “funny” mustache man on the top banner? I believe it will help to attract more readers. I hate to say this but that “funny” man on the top and comment area gives me some strange & uncomfortable feelings every time( my girl friends also agree with me)…like an dirty old man staring?! Anyway, more pictures please and keep good up the good work. Maybe Mrs. MM can start a new series for young readers of how to find a MMM as husband in real life?

  57. TLV August 21, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I’ve been curious about paleo/primal for a while now, and after reading this I started checking out marksdailyapple. I have no criticism to offer for the diet or lifestyle from a health standpoint, but after about a week I came across something that really bothered me, and I won’t be going back to that site.

    The articles on the site frequently reference the “4 essential movements” – pushups, pullups, squats, and plank. Occasionally, though, you’ll come across a reference to 5 movements instead of 4. I thought this was odd, so I dug deeper. It doesn’t take much searching to discover that the 5th movement was the overhead press/handstand pushup. But no matter how much searching I did, I couldn’t find any explanation as to why it was dropped, and only one place on the forums where users acknowledged that it was dropped (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread48359.html). At the end of the thread, you can see that they contacted the site to ask why, and the response basically said “It’s gone. Learn about the 4 essential movements from the free e-book.”

    If Mark were to explain why it was dropped (perhaps it was causing too many injuries?) so his readers could make their own judgment that would have been fine. But to revise significant portions of the site’s content to remove references to it, and pretend it never happened until directly confronted? That’s a slippery slope to Orwell’s 1984.

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