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The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  8,737 ratings  ·  485 reviews
Being healthy and fit has gone mainstream--millions sweat the calories away on the roads or in health clubs and scrutinize labels and menus trying to do the right thing to control weight, delay aging, and feel healthy, fit, and energetic. And it's simply not working. Rates of obesity, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer continue to climb, and even the most commi ...more
Hardcover, 283 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Primal Nutrition
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Rod It might make you reconsider being a vegetarian, and eat what we were meant to eat, as humans took 2 million years to get to this state of physiologic…moreIt might make you reconsider being a vegetarian, and eat what we were meant to eat, as humans took 2 million years to get to this state of physiological development and vegetarians have only really been around for some 1000 or 2000 years give or take 1000. (less)

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Audrey L
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very easy read with lots of great information on diet, sleep, play, and permission to quit exercising yourself to death. He promotes 10 easy rules:

1. Eat lots of animals, and plants.
2. Move around a lot at a slow pace (walk).
3. Lift heavy things.
4. Run really fast every once in a while (very short sprints).
5. Get lots of sleep.
6. Play.
7. Get some sunlight every day.
8. Avoid trauma (self-destructive behaviors).
9. Avoid poisonous things (sugar, processed foods, man-made fats).
10. Use your mind (
Skylar Burris
Jul 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: health
At this point, I am primarily detailing my reactions to the book itself, as I have not yet tried the diet and fitness plan. Excuse me, the “lifestyle.” None of these diet and fitness books want to call themselves diet and fitness books. The “Primal Blueprint” is a “way of life” – just like all those other ways of life out there. It’s not “restrictive” like a diet – unless, of course, you consider eliminating an entire food group from your diet to be restrictive, or only being able to purchase an ...more
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me make it clear up front that I'm giving 5 stars to the concept of primal eating and not to the quality of the book. I would rate the book more like 3 stars. The concepts in this book are seemingly life-changing for me. I've been eating according to these guidelines in this book for about 4-5 weeks now and have experienced convincing and even dramatic results.

But first let me give you a little background.

I've had gradually declining health for many years now. All my vitals are borderline d
Angela Boord
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diet-and-health
This is the best book I've read about what is also known as the "paleo" diet (no grains, reduced dairy, no sugar but honey, lots of vegetables, fruits, good fats like coconut oil, high-quality meat and eggs, and nuts). He explains the science in a logical way and outlines the diet in a down-to-earth, doable fashion. (His website at Mark's Daily Apple is also a treasure trove.) After putting many of these principles into practice, I've dropped almost 35 pounds since late January. My blood sugar i ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a vegan who was recently diagnosed with celiac disease, I wondered what the hell I was going to eat now. Along my research path, I stumbled across this book and I am now thinking celiac disease may be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Mark Sisson pretty much sums up all the common sense stuff that somehow we have forgotten in our culture. This is not a diet but a way to really LIVE. I've been gluten free for a little over two weeks and primal for about one week and I have l ...more
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book isn't written particularly well, but I would give 5 stars for the advice. If you want to get more into the details that Mark glosses over, pick up one of the Gary Taubes books. "Why We Get Fat" is a lot more readable than "Good Calories, Bad Calories".

However, the advice in the book is spot-on. I have been following the advice for about 3 months now, with very few variations. I was already in pretty decent shape, but following this advice, I was able to easily lose a little more fat an
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
I've been familiar with paleo-lifestyle for about a year now. I recently heard of Mark on an episode of the Lew Rockwell Show.

Wiki: "Mark Sisson is an American fitness author and blogger, and a former distance runner, triathlete and Ironman competitor. Sisson finished 4th in the February 1982 Ironman World Championship."

I agree with most things in the book and have shifted my eating habits in his direction. I thought the book was informative, easy to read, but way too fluffy. I didn't like the f
Krystal Williams
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mark Sisson’s enthusiasm for Primal eating and his robust and entertaining writing style make this book a pleasure to read! The premise of The Primal Blueprint is to encourage you to eat and move the way that mankind has evolved to over the past two million years. He discusses why “calories in, calories out” is not always successful, and what other factors you should consider if you want to not only lose weight, but improve your health and longevity.

The Primal Blueprint dispels many long-held my
Sonja Arlow
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
We all KNOW eating McDonnalds is bad for you, not exercising is bad for you and fat is bad for….. oh wait no it isn’t!

The book is over simplistic in some areas (ie the Grog (caveman) vs Krog (modern man) comparisons) and the gimmiky catchphrases (not to mention lame jokes) interspersed throughout the book but I guess it tries to balance out the more sciency parts to appeal to the mass market.

I sometimes think reading about the different arguments about essentially the same dietary principles (
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I had to give this book a certain amount of credence since I am exhibiting so many of the problems Mark Sisson claims results from eating too many carbs. Although I walk 5 miles a day except on week-ends and have since I retired a little over 2 years ago, I have not lost weight, I am developing an immuno response problem with my skin, and my cholesterol count continues to climb. The most alarming news I gleaned from this book is that the consumption of potatoes, rice, bread, etc. causes insulin ...more
Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
I really enjoyed this book. It's well written and nicely laid out. The chapter summary/highlight sections are great for sharing with people who are interested in the topic, but maybe not committed enough to read the whole book yet. The information presented here makes a lot of sense. Don't think of it as a diet...this is a plan you want to implement permanently--at least aiming to do so 80% of the time.

After only a week of seriously following the plan I feel better than I have in years. Of cour
Huma Rashid
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I found this book randomly and read it because for that stretch of time, I had nothing else to do. A lot of it was stuff I'd heard before, and the author referred to other authors I'd read and found compelling, including but not limited to Eric Schlosser and Jared Diamond. The rules are simple: eat mostly vegetables and fruits, then animal products, then nuts and dairy if you can digest it. Oh, and do low impact, low intensity exercise constantly - basically boiled down to, just move more, and m ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health-diet
Like all of these diet books, what should fit in a 5-10 page white paper has been stretched out to fill a book.

That said, this approach to eating has changed my life. I picked up the book because I was diagnosed with advanced arthritis in several joints and wanted to treat myself with diet rather than with drugs. My pain diminished markedly within 7-10 days, and has pretty much stayed away (except when I cheat).

Additionally, I've lost 10 lbs and digestive problems I've had my entire life have
Melanie Baker
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, food
Take every altered eating recommendation with a grain of salt, but Sisson lays out in a lot of detail why Primal recommends nuking grains, sugar, and processed anything from your diet. (And if you've read anything like Wheat Belly, you'll know in a lot more detail what's concerning about grains today.) As for sugar/processed, hardly any argument needs be made there as to why that stuff will kill you.

The book goes well beyond diet, though, into lifestyle territory, which sounds gimmicky, but isn'
Nov 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: diet-self-help
This guy is really gung ho. He used to be a marathon runner and mr ridiculously over firness-ified and now he's sorta reformed and goes by the "less is more" model of fitness. There aren't any recipes in this book and I think he would like to sell you some stuff on his website - I am curious if the fitness routines he advocates are effective. He makes it sound like if your routine is too complicated you are really an idiot and that his routine is so easy you shouldn't think a ...more
Alison Golden
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paleo
This book changed my life. Finally a book that tied together all the research and came to the conclusions I had after several years of studying nutrition and the effects on our health. No longer was I the crazy one. This is a groundbreaking, brave book by Mark Sisson that lays out exactly how far away from our genetic heritage we have come and what we need to do to align ourselves more harmoniously with our DNA for greater health. Ridding ourselves of processed and packaged foods is the first st ...more
Ryan Belworthy
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of those books I think most people should read if you care about your health and getting the most out of life.
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, food, health
There are many books on the Paleo "lifestyle" (the community doesn't want you to call it a diet even though all diets are simply what you choose to eat,) and they all say pretty much the same thing. I believe that this one is particularly popular because Mark Sisson recommends that you follow the "lifestyle" 80% of the time, and that should be good enough for you to experience all the health benefits. Plus he also has a popular blog (Mark's Daily Apple) in support of his blueprint, which can be ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Mark Sisson is on to something. A lot of things, actually.

While I don't really fit into the unhealthy or need-to-lose-weight categories, Sisson's advice about grains, chronic cardio, listening to the body, and making time for play were particularly of interest and very helpful for me. And it was all couched in what I believe is a sound philosophy--getting back to a primal way of life. I don't really need a lot of science to tell me that our pre-historic ancestors way of life was likely healthie
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who want to eat steak and be on a diet
Recommended to Holly by: Jacob Schumacher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2011 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It's an interesting plan although it does feel a bit like a repackaged version of Atkins. The science-based parts made my eyes cross so as much as I wanted to be mature and read and understand them I just skimmed them. He covers a lot of the same ground throughout the book so I got the gist of what the science was. Eat processed carbs get an insulin spike, feel tired, store fat. That doesn't sound unreasonable to me. And I don't have any trouble accepting t ...more
Feb 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Good contents, but--

Abysmally written. His explanations of biochemistry (insulin, ketone, and other hormones crucial for his lifestyle) are spectacularly nebulous and just hard to understand.

Another shortcoming is the structure. The chapter summaries are good, but the forbidding blocks of text in all chapters make for a hard, annoying read (not to mention all the lame jokes and an abundance of exclamation marks to boot). He would've benefited from taking a class in writing and presentation, ser
Not 100% sure what my feelings are here. While I have been experimenting with the primal lifestyle for the last few weeks, I'm not entirely sure I want to put away my oatmeal pot permanently. That being said, I do think I will try staying gluten free and keep my carbs in the "maintenance range" at least. I also have been finding that embracing a high fat diet is leaving me more full and making it difficult to overheat...always a plus.

I think where I really feel in tune with this lifestyle is jus
Michelle Lines
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is, hands down, the very best book on not only nutrition, but general healthy lifestyle choices, that I have ever read. I would recommend, no strongly urge, make that FORCE everyone to read this book and employ it's advice. I've been eating strictly primal for six weeks now and whole heartedly agree with every single word of this book. Not only is my weight at the lightest it's been in over a decade, but my energy levels are sky high all day long and I no longer have those uncontrollable hu ...more
Virginia MD
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting take on low carb eating, although the author considers it a take on Paleo, but what ever you call it, it is highly recommended for anyone interested in a more healthy lifestyle.

First he explains why we should avoid the following: Sugar, grains, an "industrial oils." He provides a good overview of the science. Even if you are familiar with the fact that science doesn't support the high carb diets that have been promoted over the last few decades, you will enjoy the info
Jenny McD.
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was fast and effortless to read. I was recommended it by a friend who has been on Mark Sisson's program for a long time. The results of his physique where proof enough for me to pick it up and read it.
Mark has a very refreshing look at general health. It is a back to basic approach. If primal man did it, so should we.
The diet and food portion actually contain food. Real food and good food. It really is so logical. Avoid the shit and eat the good. Lots of protein
Clayton Cornell
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is the best book I've read on the topic of evolutionary nutrition and physiology. I've also read The Paleo Solution (terrible) and The Paleo Diet for athletes (very good).

While you may not want to eat nothing but meat and vegetables, I'm finding it hard to argue against the simple fact that in millions of years of evolution humans never had access to an abundant supply of carbohydrates like we do today. If you still think 'fat makes you fat' look up the metabolic pathways in carbohydr
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I skimmed this book mostly because I'd gotten a lot of the information from Mark Sisson's web site,, its accompanying newsletter, and his free e-book, Primal Blueprint Fitness. I'm a skeptic but am open to this program because he approaches his methods in a very scientific way and backs it up with some research. He doesn't just say he thinks one thing is better than another--he says why and what research supports it.

In the end, I am trying this program to see if it works for
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Okay, kind of kitschy with all the enthusiasm but also incredibly useful. This is the eating template that the huz and I follow, and it's made us both happier and healthier as opposed to our previous 90% vegetarian ways. Our skin is better, we get sick less, we're both 20+ lbs lighter, and we no longer have GI issues that come from eating beans and whole grains. Thumbs up.

We read most of the book online obviously, but I bought the book to share with people who NEED a book. The sections on ketosi
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, health
I have been following the advice in The Primal Blueprint for 6 weeks now and feel absolutely marvellous. It has totally changed the way I think about food especially carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and fats. This is sound advice, easy to read and makes so much sense.

UPDATE: Continued to eat like this for 6-8 months but could not sustain it. Found it really difficult to give up bread, rice, pasta and all sugar for the rest of my life. Am now eating mostly whole foods as close to their natural for
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