Primal Fuel: What’s all the Fuss?

primal fuelYou’d think Mark Sisson went out and came back peddling rice cakes with a heavy load of gluten flour mixed in for chewiness; and soy for protein – all topped off with a sugary glaze.

Don’t believe me? Well, I’m sure some of you have seen his announcement, but you may not be aware of the deluge of negative comments.

Plenty of whinny, I’m-entitled, victim-mentality comments remain with only some of the most egregious ones having been removed. It strikes me that there may be a certain odd psychological thing going on, when I see this sort of thing. It’s so easy to slam and tear down that which others have produced. It’s like this sort of fake way to elevate one’s self and fake self-esteem all at the same time.

Then there’s the raw ungratefulness of it. These are people who’ve been benefitting from Mark’s voluminous free information and primal recipes for a very long time. Now, of course, they have no more obligation to purchase this new product than to purchase anything else Mark sells such as supplements, books, seminars. I guess that in conjunction with no obligation associated with all of Mark’s free stuff and giveaways, Mark was yet obligated even more to provide them with the perfect powder product at the perfect price. Anyway, it seems to me that if you partake of all the free stuff and opt not to pay anything through product purchases, the very least you could do is to keep quiet about what you think of the products you haven’t even purchased.

…One commenter — get this — was “in tears” as she was writing to complain.

I don’t get it. He went and designed a product to replace an eight year old product that contained soy and quite a helping of sugar. Look, I think we can all agree that whey powder isn’t paleo, nor, even, coconut milk powder, if you get right down to it (processing). Nor are quite a lot of things caned or packaged to preserve them so we don’t literally have to have every single thing fresh.

But as far as I can tell, if you decide to use whey at all (non-Paleo anyway), this is a pretty decent way to get it. Very few ingredients, the main ones being the whey itself and coconut milk powder. As such, it comes in at like 45% fat, 50% protein and 5% carb (nutrition facts).

The price is the price. It just is. Mark did tweak with the original deal a bit, that included his probiotics and now doesn’t. Quite a different comment thread there.

From my perspective, I did have the advantage of being a taste tester for both flavors (and I have a can each of the release product). I do use whey powders, usually about three times per week, 1-2 hours after a workout. This is the best tasting product I’ve ever had because it’s just a tiny touch sweet and has a rich mouth feel owing to the substantial saturated fat (I don’t have to add a raw egg or cream — but I can). Yea, you can add coconut milk yourself, and I have, often, but this is a lot more convenient for taking along somewhere and mixes up well with just water.

So just for the record, I haven’t a problem in the world with someone who decides this product is not for them, for whatever reason. I do have a problem with the insane vitriol demonstrated in that comment thread, directed at someone who has done much for the primal / paleo advance toward greater exposure and public credibility.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. JK on October 15, 2010 at 14:28

    I’m the one who posted the original thread, inquiring about PF’s price, which seems to have sparked this entire topic.

    I wasn’t whining, I was just a bit shocked over the prohibitively high price tag. MORE power to Mark if people will pay $99 for a small-ish tub of whey protein, seriously, but the rest of us will have to stick with purchasing corn-fed beef from the supermarket until we’ve reached that level of prosperity.

    • Sue on October 15, 2010 at 15:45

      I haven’t read the above link but it kind of does sound expensive – $99.

    • Dave Fish on October 15, 2010 at 16:12

      It isn’t protein powder, its a meal replacement shake and it is cheaper than any other quality products on the market for that category. But if you think it costs too much there’s always Slim Fast.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 16:58

        That’s a good point Dave, though 200 cals is a pretty slim meal for me. I tend to use shakes as meal enhancements.

      • Dave Fish on October 15, 2010 at 17:12

        I just got my canister of Dark Chocolate today and made one with water and ice. It was a slim meal, though tasty. I’ll probably use whole milk or add some cream in my next one and throw in some fruit (strawberries would be good). Yes that ups the cost, but still not bad value compared to going to a fast food restaurant (even with the Dollar menu).

      • Phocion Timon on October 16, 2010 at 08:10

        I work in a mobile laboratory in the oil fields of west Texas and east New Mexico and I do all my own cooking. In this environment, convenience is the name of the game. The problem is the convenience very easily leads to very poor nutrition choices: sandwiches and chips, chips and sandwiches, cookies, Fig Newtons, etc., leading to a fifty pound weight-gain in ten years and the beginnings of the onset of Type II diabetes and very high blood pressure.

        In the past year, thanks to Sisson (Primal Blueprint and his blog), Dr. Michael Eades (Protein Power), Dr. Richard Bernstein (Diabetes Solution), and blogs such as Nikoley’s, I have lost 30 pounds, completely rid myself of my pre-diabetes problem, and dropped my blood pressure from 140/110 to 110/65. I now hand-prepare my meals but convenience is still a priority and “protein shakes” are an integral part of my menu while in the field.

        The shakes themselves don’t last as long as a real meal but adding coconut milk and an egg or two can keep one satisfied for many hours. Usually, if I do a shake with the coconut milk and two eggs for breakfast, I do not require another meal until suppertime. Hell, on some long, stressful days, I’ve done only the shakes because cooking a meal was just too much to even think about much less actually do.

        I am glad Sisson came out with this powder. I have always wondered about the quality the powders I have been using and if Sisson says he is using the best of the best, then I believe him. His auto-ship is also a convenience factor: I often work many miles from a grocery store — on one job I was eighty miles from the closest town — and the stores in these small towns do not offer protein powders as the larger stores do. Having the product come to my house once per month will remove an item from my to-do list.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 16:18


      I just read you comment and for the record in no way consider it out of line. It was polite, honest, and respectful.

    • mm on October 15, 2010 at 18:53

      it isn’t just whey protein, it’s high-quality, tested and filtered multiple times for impurities whey protein… it also has 27$ worth of pro/pre-biotics, and some fats – a meal replacement. I’ve got no need for it so I don’t care if you comment that you dislike it, but at least get it right…

  2. Jorge on October 15, 2010 at 17:40

    Mark has an enormous merit for luring people from the SAD into Paleo. His idea of the 80% principle and the way he approaches the lifestyle is way less threatening to the regular folks than most of the online resources out there. A ton of people owe him gratitude for this, and if he can profit from this, well then more power to him.

    His approach to Paleo is very pragmatic and, I would think, pretty rational as well. As Melissa McEwen very cleverly puts it, the Primal approach is about *emulating* a paleo metabolism with whatever tools we have at reach: supplementation, being somewhat tolerant with some food groups, lifestyle tweaks, etc.

    Based on the above, I would say that a product like Primal Fuel is absolutely aligned with what Mark’s approach to Paleo is all about. It’s a meal *replacement*, something you can have if you are not in the mood for a fast and have nothing else eligible. It’s supposed to yield 30 servings, ie, 30 meals. Do the maths and see if it’s worth it’s price or not. If not, just chill and don’t effing buy it.

    A Paleo approach is supposed to give us a clear north about how to reach our maximum health. That’s why we take our ancestors as a *reference*. Vilifying stuff just becasue it’s “not Paleo” seems pretty dogmatic and irrational to me.

    • Bushrat on October 15, 2010 at 20:32

      At 30 meals for 100 dollars then you are looking at 3.3 dollars (approx) for a single meal. Thats a hell of a lot better than buying takeaway or at a restaurant. The big crux (and I can’t believe no one else has seen this) is that Mark is offering a meal replacement with a basis of fat. Good, yummy, healthy fat. In our fat-phobic society is there even another meal replacement with a basis of fat on the market?

      I am considering buying it because I spend so much money buying bacon and eggs at the moment. I’m also a poor student so I have to save my pennies.

      However, if you look at it as a protein powder than its over priced, and for some reason everyone has it in their heads its just a protein powder.

  3. AJP on October 15, 2010 at 14:03

    The forum over there has been taken over by whiners, all the while they miss the fact that Mark offers them a tremendous resource for free.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 14:14

      Yea, I’d heard that, but I usually don’t have time to spend over in the forum.

    • AJP on October 15, 2010 at 14:35

      I will add to my comment that the same thing happened over at Dr. Eades blog a couple years back when he did a small post on a product he had developed.
      Some vermin went absolutely ape shit and said the nastiest things to a man who has shared countless LIFE SAVING INFORMATION FOR FREE.

    • Wolf on October 16, 2010 at 08:58

      I am amazed that Mark has done this to be honest.What is sad….he has many followers that will succumb to this and spend hard earned money on a ridiculous product.Like Sears did with his “must use my fish oil” marketing of his highly priced oil,Sisson has done same to his followers.After watching the video of how these two men are such great business men its almost understandable…….still though!

      $100 dollars for 30 servings?Sucrose,maltodextrin…..and the kicker”cheaper than a Mcmuffin meal you can have a nutritious meal”… I check the calories since I need 800 to feel satisfied and primal fuel comes in at a whopping…….hold for it……190 caloires from a ridiculously priced satisfying “primal” milk shake.

      • AJP on October 16, 2010 at 10:17

        “followers that will succumb to this”? Yeah, Mark and his capitalist evil voodoo at work.

  4. rsg on October 15, 2010 at 14:03


  5. Russ Taylor on October 15, 2010 at 14:06

    Yeah, come one, if you don’t want it, don’t buy it. The whole point about all his free info is excellent Richard. I read a lot of Marks Daily Apple when I switched over and bought and read his book. This is a niche product for a certain segment of people, and I’m sure it tastes great but it’s just a little out of my price range, and I try not to drink my calories. But for some people this probably works great. Give Mark a break the guy is just doing his thing.

  6. Laurie D. on October 15, 2010 at 14:14

    I felt the same way you did about the comments. When I found MarksDailyApple over a year ago, I was astounded at the amount of free information on his site. Everybody else lures you with “click here for the rest of the eBook for $25, but not Mark. And he seemed genuine about helping people discover paleo/primal eating. I know that I went from someone that thought there was something wrong with me because I could not eat gluten, to someone who realized that there was a lot more wrong with our food supply and that I was normal (well, mostly). I am eternally grateful for that. I buy a package of Mark’s products because I trust that they are what he says they are and I feel the quality is worth the price. I was going to skip on the Fuel because it was a bit pricey for my pocketbook, but then again, I never begrudged the guy to sell the stuff at that price. Again, I think he values quality and he obviously worked hard to produce a product that came as close as you can get to a paleo product as processed as a shake powder. After the price reduction as an incentive, I bought one container, because there ARE those times when I get up for work at 5:30 am and don’t have the time or incentive to make eggs and bacon. I’m also going to split the container with my grad school daughter who could use a quick alternative from time to time. That doesn’t mean I’ve gone to the dark side, for god’s sake. Maybe it just comes with reaching my 50s, but people really need to chill out and worry about the important stuff, like being attacked by banana-eating vegans. Jeesh.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 14:20

      I should add this to the post but for me, I like the vanilla more than the chocolate, which holds true for all protein powders. That said, othe chocolate is semi-sweet, a bit reminiscent of a dark chocolate bar (not paleo either).

  7. Steve Cooksey on October 15, 2010 at 14:17

    Sincere, thanks for the post Richard.

    I have missed much of the “fuss” about Primal Fuel and I must say, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    Mark has meant much to me and has helped me directly with all the free advice/information on his site. He’s helped me indirectly too… I used his blogroll to expand my breadth of primal/paleo knowledge that lead me to you and so many others. Today, I share my own experiences with primal living to others…

    I am a Type 2 diabetic who takes -0- drugs and -0- insulin…and I have normal Blood Sugar…. in part, in LARGE part due to Mark Sisson. I owe him much…. How much in diabetes drugs, statins and insulin savings have I had due to primal living? How many months/years has my association with his MDA website added to my life?

    I will try his product, if I like it and it’s low inflammatory I will buy and use it.

    If I don’t like it… I will not re-order but I sure as HELL will NOT whine, bitch or moan about a man that has helped me tremendously… FOR FREE!

    Steve Cooksey

  8. james on October 15, 2010 at 14:18

    Not gonna lie, it doesn’t help to promote paleo as an affordable solution, but then again I’ve always been skeptical of the efficacy of shakes anyway. But it should be known they are a luxury, I mean you can get 72g of protein from a dozen eggs, which if you eat every day at about 2.80-3.50 for a dozen organic ones, comes out to about the same price at the end of the month.

    Just because mark’s done a lot of great things for the cause doesn’t mean people can’t complain and be skeptical of his products.. that makes him seem like some sort of infallible guru, which is turning us into the same brand of crazy as veg*ans.

    • Steve Cooksey on October 15, 2010 at 14:22


      No one said you have to eat PF to be paleo…. use it if it helps you… if not DO NOT.

      Criticism is one thing… the BS that’s been said about him is another level.

      • james on October 15, 2010 at 14:49

        Steve, I’m talking about an outsider’s perspective. You don’t need to convince me.

        And I didn’t really read the comments, I never do, so I don’t know what BS you’re talking about but I hardly doubt that all the reasonable criticisms you could come up with for it can be lumped together as BS.

        Stop white knighting Mark.. he’s fallible, and it’s not whining, since when am I not allowed to criticize something I would never try? We do it all the time, shit Richard does it all the time, by criticizing veg*anism, religion, etc.

      • Steve Cooksey on October 15, 2010 at 15:00


        You are so “off the mark”, you assume you know my “angle” …but I assure you, you do not.

        White knighting Mark … hardly. Mark fallible?? I KNOW he is fallible.

        Criticizing the product is fine… consumer feedback is important… it’s the personal attacks that I am against. IF you don’t know what I am talking about then you should not comment on them.

      • james on October 15, 2010 at 15:01

        Alright. Chill out, bro. lol

      • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 16:30

        James, for the record:

        No, Ive not tried veganism. We evolved beyond apes, with small guts and large brains, the exact inverse of them. Their diet is no more applicable to a human than is the diet of birds.

        I have tried religion. Even a year of divinity school.

        I’ve tried the SAD. That story you probably know.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 16:12

      James, I didn’t think the comments on Mark’s post to the effect “not for me” were out of line at all. That’s valuable information.

      The stuff I’m talking about is at a whole other level.

  9. VM on October 15, 2010 at 14:20

    It’s the nature of the internet.

    Same way that vegans all get made to look like self-righteous, judgemental, whiny, psychotic pricks.

    I’ve always theorized that the same thing that makes people get all road ragey while driving leads them to be tactless, rude and jackasses online.

  10. Henry on October 15, 2010 at 14:22

    Richard – I have to agree with you on the insanity of the hate being spewed at Mark. But, if you think the comments on MDA where ridiculous, you should check out Leigh Peele’s blog post: . Someone should put the smack down on her…

    • Dave Fish on October 15, 2010 at 16:08

      I don’t know who she is but she has a VERY high opinion of herself (“call me a critic, but call me a leader” – please!) and in a brief look around her site it is obvious that she is very narcissistic. I wonder how many idiots pay her $10 a month to see pictures of her dogs?

      Unfortunately she is also woefully uninformed. It isn’t protein powder, its a meal replacement product that contains protein powder. It is a hell of a lot cheaper than MLM scammers Beach Body’s Shakeology and it tastes pretty good.

      But with hundreds of people using the Internets every day there’s bound to be a few losers cropping up from time to time.

  11. Lyle McDonald on October 15, 2010 at 14:25

    if criticizing Mark’s overpriced bullshit is whiny victim mentality crap, then this is simple bullshit apologism.

    1. The product is vastly overpriced. And it’s not even a good product.
    2. Whey protein is NOT fucking paleo.
    3. Sisson is full of shit on this one.

    • VM on October 15, 2010 at 14:32

      Hey, you the guy with the ketogenic book? I bought it a few years back.

      • Laurie D. on October 15, 2010 at 14:37

        Apparently he is eating vegan now. Sometimes I think the entire world has gone completely insane.

      • Sue on October 15, 2010 at 15:42

        Is that Lyle that has gone vegan?

      • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 16:20

        Yes he is and though I always tangle with Lyle – seems about every 6-9 months, his books are valuable. I have rapid fat loss and one other I can’t recall.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 16:41

        Of course, he who lives in a glass house and sells 100 page ebooks for $39.95 perhaps ought not throw stones on price issues for perceived values.

        Personally, I would never complain about Lyle’s prices.

      • Sue on October 15, 2010 at 20:13

        I have rapid fat loss too. Lyle always needs to make a dig at paleo.

      • Sue on October 15, 2010 at 22:29

        How do you know Lyle has gone vegan? Did he do a post about it? Would interested to read it.

      • Laurie D. on October 16, 2010 at 13:02

        I was being sarcastic in light of Richard’s last post. I was referring to the spit slinging vitriol in his post. Then again, we don’t even know if this is really McDonald, do we?

    • Keith Harvey on October 15, 2010 at 14:39

      1. Then don’t buy it.
      2. Then don’t buy it. Hang out in your Temple of Purity, instead.
      3. “Sisson is full of shit on this one” This doesn’t even make sense. Is he committing fraud?

      Apparently, capitalism is a crime. Apparently, the fact that nobody is forcing anyone to buy anything is irrelevant to the whiners. I would love to have a better iPod, but I’m not gonna get my panties in a bunch and tell Apple that they’re full of shit because I don’t like the price.

      Oh, wait, iPods arent Paleo.

      • AndreAnna (Primal Matriarch) on October 15, 2010 at 15:48

        “iPods aren’t Paleo.”

        Best. Line. Ever.


      • Keith Harvey on October 15, 2010 at 17:30

        Thanks, I’m here all week. 😉

      • David Csonka on October 18, 2010 at 07:46

        Hahaha, classic

      • Mallory on October 15, 2010 at 18:57

        hahah my thoughts exactly… if you think its expensive then get over it, you aint getting it and spend your money elsewhere. no one ever said that his concoction is the end all be all to primal, just an option.

        im personally 100% not interested in whey as i get my protein with no problem

        people are acting like this is something you MUST have when its about as optional as brussel sprouts

      • S Nikoley on October 18, 2010 at 10:59

        Neither is the computer these idiots are posting there complaints about Marks PF. Love the iPod comment.

    • AJP on October 15, 2010 at 14:42

      Lyle’s ego is vastly overpriced.

      • anonymous chris on October 15, 2010 at 15:57

        I used to read McDonald until I saw a photo of he and Aragon. Alan was fat and Lyle looked like he weight 98 pounds. Haven’t read either of those gents since.

      • DamnDirtyApe on October 16, 2010 at 02:32

        Both of them are insufferable.

        Their criticisms of “that’s not paleo” seem to center on the fact that since we can no longer consume authentic Mammoths and Aurochs then the entire premise of trying to eating foods humans are evolutionarily suited for is stupid.

        I have seen no evidence from them that they know the first thing about paleolithic human development, hunter gather diets, the health impacts of modern processed foods, the lipid hypothesis, human longevity etc. If someone wants to learn how to train for speed skating, then I’m sure MacDonald is a fine choice. As for how to maximize health and longevity, then people need to look elsewhere.

        And since they routinely mock and ridicule the topic and have no interest in learning anything about it, it’s bizarre that MacDonald would waste his time here other than to make petty insulting comments.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 16:06

      Hey Lyle, if you’re you’re gonna give me a point by point, fine, but ya outta at least read what I wrote, first (#2).

      On number 1, to whom? Seriously. You’re smart enough to know that one man’s bargain is another’s budget breaker.

      As to the rest of it, I like it, it’s worth it to me. I don’t buy any of his other products, but this one I will.

    • mm on October 15, 2010 at 18:48

      “2. Whey protein is NOT fucking paleo.”

      How many supplements is mark selling? More than 4? Perhaps he’s following his own 80/20 rule… 🙂

      • anonymous chris on October 15, 2010 at 22:55

        2. Sisson’s approach is “primal” not “Paleo”

    • Travis on October 16, 2010 at 09:30

      The fulminating and boorish volcano of unbridled ego has returned. Yawn …. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • kevhughes on October 19, 2010 at 09:47

      Amen Lyle.

  12. Dan Gregory on October 15, 2010 at 14:26

    The comments and whatnot over there are nothing short of insane. Herd mentality at its worst; as if somehow Mark violated some *agreement* he had with all of these readers and this now renders worthless his volumes of free, helpful, transformative information. Like it or not, this paleo/primal thing is growing…people, if they so choose, have the right to make some money with related products or services. Get over it. Think for yourself; if you don’t like a product, don’t buy it. Thanks Richard, I always enjoy your perspective.

  13. JP on October 15, 2010 at 14:26

    I like what mark has to say. I just think the product is not for me. I think it is overpriced, but that’s fine. I’m not the one selling it so I’m not the one who is going to decide on the price.

    I would expect people to bitch way more about his multivitamin than his protein powder though.

  14. William in DC on October 15, 2010 at 14:49

    I have this on Google Reader, and though it was at Marks daily apple (I have both on the feed), so I was like “wow, that’s the most Nikoleyesque post I’ve ever read outside of this blog, then when I clicked the full-version I was like “oh, no wonder” 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 16:23

      that’s interesting William because I really held back on this one.

  15. michael on October 15, 2010 at 14:54

    Geez Zoo! I cannot believe the comments from people on Marks Daily Apple! Marks! He earns a living from efforts on his blog – big deal, but he gives so very much more than just about anyone. Holy Cow. He deserves none of those harsh comments.

  16. Matt on October 15, 2010 at 15:01

    Why don’t all those people do something useful with their time… like maybe some push-ups or something.

  17. Tommy on October 15, 2010 at 15:16

    The internet is a funny place. I’ve been “online” since the 90’s and have been a member of many forums. Long (years) before the “blog” craze started or Myspace, Facebook etc. I take much with a grain of salt. Over the years I have actually met, in person, a few online members and discovered they were nothing like they portrayed online. I actually know someone personally for about 20 years who hates working out but loves martial arts. He is very intelligent, reads a lot of karate material and purchases videos etc…but a fighter he is not. Hold any rank? Nope. Yet he became a well respected member of a karate forum. Everyone thought he was really good and knowledgeable and asked for advice etc to the point that if you told them he was a fake they wouldn’t believe it…or care! But in real life he was worthless and really just more of a reporter. As technology advanced and people started to post photos someone questioned him about a belt he was wearing that didn’t match the karate style he claimed and he disapeared. I know more than one person like this and the people I have met from the net leaves me suspicious of all of it.
    We call them keyboard warriors. From the safety of there cushy little homes behind a computer screen they can be brave and anything they want. They can complain about products or people without fear. If you were to google Protein powders you would weed through what you thought was expensive or good or bad and just make a decision on what to purchase. You wouldn’t make a comment…you would just move on if you didn’t like what you saw. Once there is a forum or comments section people feel brave and mouth off when it would be better to just keep your mouth shut. Just shop and move on based on how much you want to spend or the amount of quality you expect or whatever. People act like they are owed something. Keyboard warriors. It is amazing how, when you meet them face to face, they shrivel and become quiet. Could be my unfriendly face too…lol.

  18. michael on October 15, 2010 at 15:26

    I like that guy Tommy.

  19. Bay Area Sparky on October 15, 2010 at 15:40

    I wonder how much of the commentary here and at the Daily Apple is simply the work of internet trolls and/or hatchet jobs from our counterparts in the vegan community?

    Certainly people like yourself and Mark are targets, as was pointed out in a recent post here.

    And it’s likely that such sabotage goes both ways. I am largely paleo but I don’t think we occupy a higher moral ground than do the vegans.

    Most vegans I’ve met are well-intentioned people (they don’t want to see animals suffer) but there are probably vigilantes in the ranks of both camps. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to know that there is conscious or even organized mass-trolling going on.

    And that will likely increase as the financial stakes increase.

  20. ben on October 15, 2010 at 16:15

    on i was one of the original posters asking people their opinions about Sisson’s new product. Throughout the diatribe that ensued i defended him every step of the way. My opinions are essentially in line with yours, Rich. Its too easy for people to blithely attack someone who is in the spotlight quite a bit. Many of us owe a lot of our journey to Mark’s book and site.
    Bottom line: if you want a quality, probably tasty protein shake i think his is one of the best. More power to him for making a product that will satisfy a need, and maybe make him some income.

    • Girl Gone Primal on October 15, 2010 at 22:41

      Total tall poppy syndrome. I mentioned on PH once that I take Mark’s multivitamin & fish oil (after he offered me a good deal on international delivery: free, so I get a tub every six months or so since I don’t need it every day), and received an absolute rip-up from someone about how it was ‘a waste of money’. I pointed out that I bought it to support Mark’s mostly-free contributions to the improvement of many, many lives, but apparently that wasn’t a good enough reason. Are we just so used to trashy advertising splashed all over free online resources that any other form of funds-generation is weird and contemptible? I’d rather give my money to Mark who knows what he’s doing, than some hack trying to cash in on Mark’s work by proxy. PF is out of my price range since it’s not really a product I need, though I wouldn’t mind trying it for the pre/pro-biotic factors, so maybe I’ll get a tub the next time I feel like thanking Mark for all his great work.

      • Ben on October 20, 2010 at 06:06

        Very cool perspective.

  21. Emily Deans MD on October 15, 2010 at 16:49

    I bought a canister today with the $20 off coupon Mark offered. I’m a busy person, and don’t always have enough leftovers to get me to the next moment I have to spare to cook. I imagine the 30 servings will take me 6 months or so to go through. I’ll probably keep it at the office, and each serving will be a heck of a lot cheaper than a primal modified Chipotle burrito bowl. And more filling and more healthful than a larabar.

  22. Eric W on October 15, 2010 at 16:59

    IMO Mark brought this on himself. Mark does some things very right (lots of great info on his blog, and his book is great) and some things very wrong (over-marketing). He misjudged his audience, and I think has been for a very long time. Part of it is his background in supplements (I understand he was actually behind Beachbody’s Shakeology drink), and that whole “scene” comes with a certain kind of skeezy marketing tactics (autoships, long pitches/landing pages, excessive email marketing, etc). Works wonders on the WeightWatchers and Jillian Michaels crowd, apparently, but I think rubs “paleo” folks the wrong way. This customer has been through that whole mess before and feels like they’re “leaving behind” that whole stigma when they try paleo. Then all of a sudden they find Mark is trying to sell them something seemingly with EVERY blog post and EVERY email communication and it all seems so familiar.

    The product itself isn’t the issue here, it’s the positioning and marketing of the product. And Mark’s image as an over-marketer.

    • Bay Area Sparky on October 15, 2010 at 17:21

      Nice take, Eric W.

      Not totally sure if you’re correct but what you write certainly rings accurate.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 15, 2010 at 17:24

      I agree with you in many respects, Eric, in the sense that Paleo is definitely a different crowd and as such, new, more effective / efficient marketing methods need to be developed over time. But this requires information.

      So, there’s a distinct possibility that this experience benefits Mark in the long run. That said, such information certainly could and should have been provided in a more gracious manner considering all Mark does do for free and with no obligation. Can we agree that telling him a product is not for you, or you don’t like the way it’s presented is perfectly OK, but not the vitriol that was spewed? I think given Mark’s record he has earned that.

      Marketing is tough, man. One of the early department store pioneers said once that he knew half of his advertising budget was wasted, but that he didn’t know which half.

    • Dave Fish on October 15, 2010 at 17:54

      Mark didn’t develop Shakeology, but he did develop the P90X Results and Recovery drink. That was before he really came around to being Primal and it was done on a contract for a very specific customer (body builders).

      I have to disagree with you about your over-marketing comment. I get one email a week from him which contains links to the previous week’s articles and yes it does have the advertising for various products but hey you gotta pay the bills. The information he makes available for free I believe more than makes up for it.

      As for the “Paleo” folks who frequent his site, they run the gamut from hard core to dabbling, but one thing I’ve noticed, not just on his site but all over the internet, is the amount of people pleading poverty. I chalk it up to the 80/20 rule. I think I read somewhere that close to 80% of the population live paycheck to paycheck. I understand if people can’t afford his products but to whine and bitch that it’s too expensive is too much for me. Try walking into a BMW or Mercedes dealership and complain about the prices and see how much sympathy you get. As Dave Ramsey often says, if you’re hungry, go out and find something, kill it, and drag it back to the cave. Hey maybe he’s a paleo financial adviser!

    • Elysa on October 15, 2010 at 19:30

      Eric W,

      As a newcomer to the Paleo scene, I couldn’t agree with you more. It took me a while to dig into his blog because of all the overmarketing–and this is coming from an ex-commission sales bizatch. The only reason I finally gave in was because he was listed on so many blogrolls. And *then* and only then did I start poking around his site and ultimately buy both his books. Which are amazing.

      That said, I’m not over on his site crying that he tried to sell me something. He’s not inviting people to parties that turn out to be Amway meetings. He’s not selling “starter” sales kits for $1000.00 a pop. He’s just “here’s my shit…want to buy some?” Not a thing wrong with that. You don’t ask you don’t get.

    • Bushrat on October 15, 2010 at 20:27

      The paleo ‘community’ is full of contrarian people. The sort of people who can turn their back on CW, authority and do their own research and make up their own mind are the hardest people to market to.

      • Paul C on October 16, 2010 at 12:23

        That is a point worth expanding. Those following contrarian nutrition ideas know how badly marketing has harmed them in the past, and are overly sensitive.

        Also the general crowd on Mark’s site has no experience with tubs of protein or the cost.

  23. Tommy on October 15, 2010 at 17:51

    When things get too “strict” people get turned off. When a method offers more “choices,” IMO, it’s a good thing. You can find Paleo methods that are very restrictive or you can get the same results , maybe more comfortably, with more choices. The ability to tailor something to fit “you” isn’t a bad thing. IMO he is just offering another choice for people.

  24. Stratispho on October 15, 2010 at 18:05

    I read through the whole slew of posts over at about this new meal replacement shake. While I personally can’t afford it and will continue to make my own from 100% isolate and coconut milk from a can… I don’t see Sisson FORCING anyone to buy this product.
    I don’t see him charging for hardly anything on his site unless you go to the store and you choose to purchase something… So what’s wrong with all the whiners out there that seem to have a victim mentality?
    If you don’t like it, develop your own website, do tons of research, literally save or change thousands of lives, and provide all of that for FREE… And then develop your own meal replacement shake formula that you think is better and sell it for half the cost.

    I’m half tempted to buy a can just to support Sisson on this so he knows that some people do appreciate the years of hard work and the copious amounts of information he shares with everyone for FREE.

    Whiny bunch of @#$%tards over posting on his blog.

  25. Michael on October 15, 2010 at 18:19

    I’m glad Eric W brought that up because I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it as well. I feel the same way in that the marketing of the product rubs me the wrong way. It is one of those things in which the paleo/primal organic, local, sustainable, whole-foods lifestyles are in this sort of artisanal economic niche a la Wendell Berry and the economics of it can at times seem at odds with the lifestyle. I respect Marks 80/20 rule, but to me the shake seems to be in that 20ish zone (although likely better than most shakes) but taken at face value, doesn’t seem to represent the paleo/primal-wholefoods-avoiding-CW-crap lifestyle he does such a good job making accessible to the public.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want Mark to be VERY successful but the primal fuel seems to me to be somewhat of a minor contradiction (I don’t feel this way about his fish-oil, pro/prebiotics). Anyway, that was one take besides the money that I thought people were getting upset about. Tell me if I am wrong.

  26. mm on October 15, 2010 at 18:38

    Primal Fuel does not interest me, so I won’t buy it. That’s that – what’s the point of complaining about it? Especially when Mark Sisson does a good job of not over-marketing his products (or even his Primal Blueprint book) on his free and super-informative website – which is basically comprised of the same concepts as the book, which means he’s practically giving the Primal Blueprint book away in the form of his website, despite earning a major part of his livelihood on these things. When he had a post on supplements he didn’t even mention his own line of supplements in the post itself (but a commenter brought it up, and Mark told him he felt there’d be a conflict of interest there). This doesn’t sound like the actions of a shameless marketing hack, but of someone with principles who really cares about the well-being of his readers… and someone who also happens to sell supplements and books for a living…

    Seriously, what *is* the fuss all about?

    • Christoph Dollis on October 19, 2010 at 02:01

      Politics, man.

  27. Walter on October 15, 2010 at 18:40

    Mark has done a lot for the community. His approach is a good gateway from SAD to Paleo. I think the vitriol was unwarranted. I think the take home message Mark took from it was correct, sell the product for less without the bonus items.

    I find the purity thing tiring. How does this apply to Mark with his 80/20 rule anyway? You’d think he admitted to eating a potato. 🙂

  28. Joseph on October 15, 2010 at 18:45

    Like many here, I like Mark a lot. I don’t buy protein powder. No big deal.

  29. Paul Verizzo on October 15, 2010 at 18:55

    No good deed goes unpunished.

    The amount of space and energy on shakes on a paleo/primal site like MDA amazes me. Grok had a blender?

    I will be perpetually grateful to Mark for turning my health around. I have bought and shared his books. I can’t afford this new product, but I certainly do not begrudge his efforts to make a living.

    I agree with the poster above that the forum quality has really gone downhill. Over a year ago I was on it multiple times a day, now, seldom once a week.

    Maybe I’m just getting old…….oh, I am, 64. (But vitals and heart like a 30 year old! Thanks, Mark!)

  30. Mike on October 15, 2010 at 18:59

    You’re right that some people are insane like the one who “was in tears” over someone offering a product that they didn’t like. Yes, that ridiculous.

    But, I don’t get this whole argument that Mark is such a great guy for offering “FREE CONTENT” and his readers are ungrateful freeloaders. It’s a business model. If he didn’t have a blog that offered free content no one would give a shit about his products or know about them. It’s the freemium idea. Offer free content, while charging money for other products. Sure he may be a stand up guy, I do get that impression, but its not because he offers so called free information.

    • AJP on October 15, 2010 at 19:49

      Mark is just practicing Internet Marketing 101.
      Take it or leave it, but people don’t need to bitch about it.
      It is not like he is requiring anyone to purchase the product to have access to all the resources.

      The amount of information Mark provides is above and beyond any sales offerings.
      He actually needs to ask more often.

  31. Katt on October 15, 2010 at 19:07

    The price of PF is still out of my range, so I’m very glad I was able to be a tester. I liked the Vanilla better, as well. It actually tasted more like coconut to me, so I loved the flavor of it.

    I think you hit it on the head though, Richard. A lot of holier than thou whiners who somehow felt they were being cheated out of something they could not afford, but should have had access to, or that Mark had somehow let them down by making this product.

    People need to get a grip. They’re losing it.

  32. Justin on October 15, 2010 at 19:34

    I’ve always looked at Mark’s site and products as being pretty clearly divisible into his supplements and his Paleo or “primal” information. I don’t think a lot of supplementation is necessary and when I do supplement I usually keep it pretty basic (some fish oil and D3). I don’t need Sisson’s products for this so I pretty much never paid much attention to them. In short it was easy for me — and I suspect a lot of people — to compartmentalize away Mark’s supplementation business.

    The problem with Primal fuel is that it makes this compartmentalization next to impossible. People now think primal = Paleo. Nothing Paleo about primal fuel. Worlds collide.

    I think if Mark had just called it something else – not borrowed the Primal brand – he’d have saved himself a lot of grief.

    Apart from this point I’ll add that I don’t see how Primal Fuel really fits in with the Primal framework — Even assuming 80/20. Given Mark is selling PF as a Daily supplement, assume a 2000 calorie diet and PF is now making up 10% of caloric intake *per month*. That’s automatically 10% of your diet not being paleo – processed stuff. Its 50% of the 20% leeway from the 80/20 rule. To me that just doesn’t make much sense.

    And I’ll stop with just echoing Eric’s comments about Mark’s marketing. I suppose he’s simultaneously great at it and awful at it – look at how primal has grown – but sometimes it just doesnt work so well and kinda rubs me the wrong way. Regardless of all of this I’m thankful for Mark’s work and ultimately will just see past his shortcomings. None of us are perfect.

  33. Bushrat on October 15, 2010 at 21:02

    I think Mark’s biggest problem was his own success with his original marketing strategy. The emphasis on lifestyle, enjoying life, getting back in touch with nature, living the way we were meant to live etc gave Mark a certain image (and it was very helpful in promoting the Primal Blueprint) but selling this Primal Fuel goes against that image.

    People like to have others slotted into nice little compartments and anytime will get angry at that person for rocking the compartment and going against the other’s comfortable image of that person. Its the same reason why a lot of people have to see self improvement or change in others.

  34. Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on October 15, 2010 at 21:10

    Richard – this is an interesting row to observe as a Brit, because we are typically more squeamish about profiteering than you US folk. Yet somehow I find myself much more comfortable with Mark’s position than many of the (presumably) US-based whingers.

    To me it has always been self-evident that Mark is in this for the money; but at the same time, that he wants to spread a message he believes in and to see people benefit from that. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    The fact that Primal Fuel is not strictly Paleo is a red herring because as others have pointed out, Mark has always made clear that he’s pragmatist. In that context, what he has done with this product makes perfect sense.

    To me it seems naive to be surprised at Mark’s money-making intentions. His other supplements are not exactly cheap, and it does not take someone with a business MBA to see that the objective of the free stuff on the blog is to create a market for the paid-for products. This is well-intentioned entrepreneurial capitalism in action. Perhaps Mark just did too good a job of emphasising his peronal belief in this, and one or two people mistook it for charity.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 16, 2010 at 00:22

      Meth, you need to emm / immigrate without delay. We need more clear heads here.

    • Sean on October 16, 2010 at 03:59

      As an American who has spent the majority of his adult life in Europe (and is a big fan of your blog), I’m not quite sure I agree. There is a British (almost) obsession with ‘taking the piss’, and I think this deeply affects the modern British approach to entrepreneurship. Brits are necessarily more subtle because they are playing to a much tougher crowd. There’s also a prevalent anti-capitalist sentiment in Europe that does extend to the UK despite its evil ‘Anglo-Saxon’ style government. I don’t think that makes Brits (or continental Europeans) less entrepreneurial than Americans, I just think they have to work a lot harder at hiding the fact that they are trying to turn a buck.

      • Sean on October 16, 2010 at 04:07

        I mean a quid . . .

      • Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on October 16, 2010 at 05:46

        I think we are in agreement Sean – when I said we are more squeamish, I was thinking of the individuals from whom money might be made, rather than the money-makers themselves. So I agree that we are every bit as entrepreneurial, but we just don’t like to see our entrepreneurs laying bare their avarice.

      • Sean on October 16, 2010 at 06:25

        I do think we are pretty much in agreement, but I’m somewhat leery of associating entrepreneurs with the denigrating term of avarice. I’ve encountered many ex-communists and it’s safe to say that avarice was the trait they shared more than any other.

        I have been self-employed for most of my life, not because I’m in love with money (or laying bare my avarice) but because I thought I could produce something on my own, without a boss.

      • Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on October 16, 2010 at 08:25

        Sean – oh, I see where you’re coming from. My wife has her own business and I seem to have a disproportionate number of my friends who chose to find their own way rather than work for others and I have the greatest respect for them. They are certainly no more or less greedy than the average person in the street, I think. Just braver. By using the phrase ‘laying bare their avarice’ I mean to reflect the perception of the entrepreneur watcher rather than the reality of the entrepreneur.

      • Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on October 16, 2010 at 08:27

        ….or more the the point, the perception of the less enlightened entrepreneur watchers.

      • Sean on October 17, 2010 at 01:25

        Sorry, my bad. I’m American so I have no understanding of irony or was it just subtlety? See, I don’t even know which it was 😉

      • Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on October 17, 2010 at 06:33

        I’m not sure myself. Perhaps it was subtle irony 🙂 Convesely, we Brits overuse irony because we hate the idea people might figure out what we actually feel about something!

    • Michael Miles on October 16, 2010 at 08:49

      To me it seems naive to be surprised at Mark’s money-making intentions. His other supplements are not exactly cheap, and it does not take someone with a business MBA to see that the objective of the free stuff on the blog is to create a market for the paid-for products. This is well-intentioned entrepreneurial capitalism in action. Perhaps Mark just did too good a job of emphasising his peronal belief in this, and one or two people mistook it for charity.

      Well said. Seems to me a lot of well regarded blogs fit into this category, even if the “paid” stuff is only Google ads, donations, and affiliate sales, which only come into play if you rpovide enough perceived value to drive a sufficient amount of traffic to your site.

      That said, there is the philosophical criticism of what someone is providing, and there is the fact of making money off what said someone is providing. Unfortunately many who really don’t like the latter (especially if its out of their price range) use the former as a cover for their objections.

      I know little about Mark’s product other than his web post, have no intention of buying it, and no desire to read whiny cultic comments from followers of primal/paleo style nutrition who don’t like it, although I am sure there are some well written and thought out criticisms that don’t fall into the logical fallaciousness mentioned above.

      I’m always pulling for bloggers to make a butt load of money so they can spend more time advancing the battle against post-industrial junk nonsense, even if I don’t agree with everything a particular blogger writes or says (or sells). If they are meeting a perceived need in their niche, they will survive and thrive. If they don’t they won’t.

      And really, that is how it ought to be.

  35. Tin Tin on October 15, 2010 at 21:16

    Hey, if you don’t like Mark’s marketing you can always pay $39.99 for a 12 month subscription to Compare the value. Seriously though, Mark updates his site daily and I’ve only seen him pitch two products in about 2 years – his book and Primal Fuel. When he wrote about omega 3 supplementation he did not mention he sold the stuff!

    Sisson offers excellent content for free. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

    I also find Sisson very trustworthy. I’d happily pay 15-20% more for his products because I know he won’t sell junk.

    • Sean on October 16, 2010 at 06:27

      My sentiments exactly.

  36. Ned Boggan on October 16, 2010 at 12:04

    Thanks Mark! You shouldn’t have to explain yourself, because if people actually read your posts they will already know your stance on these issues. Thank You for everything!

  37. Dave from Hawaii on October 15, 2010 at 22:14

    There have always been a certain element of paleo-puritans at MDA.

    Check out his ,a href=””>thread on alcohol consumption…I had a little exchange with one such fanatic who chastised Mark for daring to write about consuming alcohol.

    RIchard, you’re absolutely right…for all of the free, detailed, informative and life changing info he’s given out for free, you’d think people wouldn’t begrudge him trying to make a little $$ on the side.

  38. Chaohinon on October 16, 2010 at 01:05

    It’s funny, people get so enraged over a simply overpriced product, as if they’re being forced to buy it.

    Why don’t I see this kind of anger over things that truly are being forced upon us? Compulsory education, compulsory military service, compulsory funding for military/police violence, parents forcing their kids to attend mass, licenses needed for every activity under the sun. Where’s the anger then? People would rather tear down someone who’s engaging in voluntary trade? I don’t get it.

    And really, if you want to complain about overpriced products, you shouldn’t be pointing your finger solely at Mark – he could offer this powder for a lot less were there not so many hidden costs to producing something of quality. Look around – you have to pay out the ass for real sourdough bread that has 4 ingredients, you have to pay more for eggs, meats, and milk that come from animals that have been fed their natural diets, you have to pay more for veggies and fruit that haven’t been contaminated, and so on.

    “Artificial scarcity” is your word for the day, kids.

    • Phocion Timon on October 16, 2010 at 07:11

      Chaohinon: you left out compulsory health insurance and its compulsory costs.

    • Michael Miles on October 16, 2010 at 08:54

      Unfortunately if you have spent any time here at Richard’s blog it is quite obvious many don’t complain because they agree with all that coercion. Without it Mark wouldn’t have the “freedom” to produce his product, LOL!

    • Christoph Dollis on October 19, 2010 at 02:12

      “People would rather tear down someone who’s engaging in voluntary trade? I don’t get it.”

      Live and learn, son.

      It really is that simple.

  39. Dimitris on October 16, 2010 at 01:06

    First of all, I would like to express my everlasting gratitude to both Richard Nikoley and Mark Sisson. Richard thanks for your amazing blog, it has been a life saver. Regarding Mark’s blog all I can say is that if you have the time to go through the articles you can figure out the “primal blueprint” without purchasing the book. That says it all for me.
    Health-update: 2 weeks ago 100kg, now 98.2
    21.8 kg (3-5kg water) loss in 3 1/2 months! Fasting glugose after 3 hours after eating a 400gr salad+600beef steak (I like big meals :)) 73!!! Fasting glucoze after a 24 hour fast 72!!!
    At this rate you should expect a complete success story posted around new year’s eve. Grok on!!!!!!

  40. Dave on October 16, 2010 at 01:54

    Too Expensive, Way Too Expensive.

    • Tin Tin on October 16, 2010 at 04:13

      Dave, if you know of a comparable product for a better price, post it here. I’d be interested in seeing it.

      • Alex on October 16, 2010 at 13:09

        Buy pure whey protein isolate in bulk from and use canned coconut milk. Flavor and sweeten with your choice of ingredients. It’s comparable except that it’s not an all-in-one powdered mixture. If you don’t need the convenience of premix powder, Mark’s product is a waste of money.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 16, 2010 at 13:55

        I’ve always found it highly amusing when one person tells another who is spending their own money on their chosen values for they’re own reasons that it’s a “waste of money,” as though that person’s values somehow define objective waste and thriftiness tradeoffs.

        But I’m sure there are even more pretentious things people say even though none come to mind at the moment.

      • Alex on October 16, 2010 at 14:08

        I’d love to hear a rationalization for how lower quality ingredients plus fillers at a higher price are not a waste of money. Besides the convenience factor of premix powder, what benefit is there?

      • Richard Nikoley on October 16, 2010 at 14:13

        Just more pretense from you, Alex. You have reasons, others, rationalizations.

        You must be under the misapprehension that I somehow give more than a runny shit about what you like, dislike, or how you choose to spend your money.

      • Grok on October 17, 2010 at 01:02

        “Give a runny shit” LMFAO

        I’m definitely borrowing that one Richard.

      • Christoph Dollis on October 19, 2010 at 02:14

        “Besides the convenience factor of premix powder, what benefit is there?”



        It hasn’t occurred to you in the year 2010 that many people will freely pay a hefty premium for convenience?

      • kevhughes on October 19, 2010 at 10:15

        How about fasting? It’s free, convenient, and only 190 calories less than PF.

  41. kennelmom on October 16, 2010 at 06:34

    I have a great deal of respect for Mark and have no problems supporting him or his site when he as products that make sense for me. I have his book, his cookbook as well as my Grok On apparel! Heck, I’d happily pay to read his blog, though I’m really grateful it remains free since it is the #1 site I refer people too looking for more info on paleo/primal or general health and fitness (FTA is in the recommended reading list as well 😉 )

    That said, I commented in the forum thread that I thought the price was too high for what the product was, and disposable income is not really an issue for me. I don’t think I was whiny or vitriolic…just giving my own feedback. I did think some of the comments were uncalled for. The guy has a right to make a living! And I, too, use PWO shakes to supplement workouts a couple times a week. Paleo/primal is a way of life, not a dogmatic religion. I’m not going to Paleo hell because I use a protein powder and Mark isn’t going to paleo hell because he sells a meal replacement. My issue was purely with the pricing…I thought it was too high. Never argued that he didn’t have a right to price it at whatever he wanted. I think the interwebs has created a mentality with a lot of folks that EVERYTHING should be free or priced at whatever *they* can afford or its somehow “unfair” or a personal affront.

    The revised autoship price point is much more in line with what I’d prefer to spend, so Mark will be getting my business when I run out of what I’m currently using. That is how the free market works. Sellers pricing their products for what the market will bear, and the market responding. If something is too rich for my blood or my wallet, oh well…that’s life. Can’t buy everything my little heart desires.

    Personally, I hope Mark makes a crap ton of money from his products. He’s earned it 🙂

    • Bushrat on October 16, 2010 at 19:25

      Paleo hell…would that be a gingerbread house with candy doors?

    • Christoph Dollis on October 19, 2010 at 02:20

      That said, I commented in the forum thread that I thought the price was too high for what the product was, and disposable income is not really an issue for me.

      Certainly you have every right to your opinion. I probably even agree.

      Heck, I read your whole post. I agree with every word of it and the thinking behind it, in each and every respect. Exceedingly well put. If you’ll forgive me for judging you.

  42. Jim Arkus on October 16, 2010 at 06:35

    I read an interview with Dave Mustaine once where he said “the internet is nothing but anonymous shit-stirrers.”

    I thought it was ironic – all the talk about what does and does not constitute ‘primal’ on the post’s comments, so I went over to the forum out of curiosity. Right after the 12+ page post about that was “The Primal Cook!” advertising custom made Paleo-cookies. I should have taken a screen shot of the two of them together.

    What are you going to do though? Like I said over on MDA – people wanted to portray it like Mark just came out of some alternate reality and started forcing these products on us poor unsuspecting primal/paleo folk. But come on, you don’t just launch a whole new product line on the basis of “well, that sounds fun.” There was a demand for this product. I think all the anger and vitriol would be much better directed at people wanting to make paleo-pancakes and talk about “I can’t eat ANYTHING on this diet” yadda yadda yadda… Mark’s marketing never bothered me in the slightest. But every time a ::ahem:: still overweight person posts about doing “primal-inspired type diet” it makes me want to go out and do back to back to back to back Tabata Sprints!

    Well, this is the closest to a rant I’ve gotten on the internet in a long time. Thanks, Richard! Lol…

  43. Jeromie on October 16, 2010 at 06:56

    *About post-workout shakes (and just a small side note): “There is a significant difference in amino acid delivery in the 1st hour after exercise, with the pre-workout amino acid drink providing a significant advantage. Amino acid uptake into the muscle is twice as high with a pre-workout amino acid drink as compared to consuming it after. Protein synthesis from blood amino acids is significantly higher when amino acids are taken pre-workout. The response of net muscle protein synthesis to consumption of an EAA and carb solution immediately before resistance exercise is greater than when the solution is consumed after exercise, primarily because of increased delivery of amino acids to the working muscle.”
    “Tipton’s group suggests that taking whey protein earlier before training may result in the same effects as the EAAs. This is great news for lifters on a budget! Research by Beelen and colleagues corroborates Tipton’s belief that the timing of whey protein intake to allow complete digestion before training enhances the anabolic effect of weight training just as free form amino acid solutions consumed immediately before trianing.” (this is quoted from my teacher in my nutritional supplements class and the references follow)

    Tipton KD, et al. Timing of amino acidcarbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise.
    Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Aug;281(2):E197-206.

    Tipton KD, et al. Stimulation of net muscle protein synthesis by whey protein ingestion before and after exercise.
    Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan;292(1):E71-6.

    M. Beelen, et al. Protein coingestion stimulates muscle protein synthesis during resistance-type exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, July 1, 2008; 295(1): E70 – E77.

  44. Aaron Curl on October 16, 2010 at 06:56

    I took Metrx back in the day (90?), It was the first meal replacement shake. It worked….but I just realized overtime that real food is just as easy and convenient. Four hardboiled eggs and four pieces of bacon (precooked) is about 600 calories, 44 grams of fat and 42 grams of protein. This is just easier for me. Don’t get me wrong I think Mark is awesome and he has every right to put a price on his product. I’m sure it’s worth every penny but i just don’t like any meal replacement or protein drinks.

  45. Phocion Timon on October 16, 2010 at 07:01

    I try to avoid injecting politics into discussions, mostly because I despise politicians, but this time I couldn’t help it: my first reaction, upon reading the worst of the whines, was that these people are Obama supporters and apparently think they deserve free health care, even the products of small-business capitalists.

    One thing was definitely obvious: most of the whiners are abysmally, and abyssally, ignorant of aspects of the Law of Supply (it costs a lot to bring even a cheap product to market) and Demand (if you don’t want it, don’t buy it.)

    A sort of amusing side-note: I was really surprised at the negative reactions; I can only wonder at Sisson’s reaction. Not to mention the look on his face.

    • Paul Verizzo on October 16, 2010 at 07:13

      Phocian, I suggest you keep your political projections to yourself and stop painting with a broad brush.

      I am proudly liberal and mostly support President Obama – not blindly, but mostly. I am very active politically and I can assure you that NO ONE thinks health care is “free.” Many of us do believe that the cost can be much, much lower as well proven in three dozen other countries with single payer. One may receive care either here or abroad without a payment in the doctor’s office, but I think everyone knows that taxes paid are providing the care.

      Oh, and the second part of my response is that per my comment yesterday, I perfectly well understand that Mark can price this what he wants. No whining, not little tiny bit. I also, having been a small businessman myself, am perfectly aware of the hidden costs of business that so many truly don’t have clue about.

      So, your original hunch about keeping politics out of the discussion about Primal Food was correct.

    • Mike on October 16, 2010 at 08:09

      Obviously you don’t avoid injecting politics into things that have nothing to do with politics. Somehow you connected people bitching about what they perceived to be an over priced protein powder to the fact they most support Obama because Obama voters believe they are entitled to “free” government services. I’m far from Obama’s number one fan, but that is one hell of a stretch.

      Secondly, I don’t think most people were disputing his right to offer a product at whatever price he wants. It seemed from what I read people were giving feedback (sometimes overly emotional) that they thought the product was overpriced for what it is. And Mark like any good businessman listened to his customers and made changes which seemed to be well received.

      I think we are missing the point. Should we even be consuming protein shakes? Forget, the argument its not paleo/primal, alot of the stuff we consume isn’t close to what our ancestors ate. But, is it helpful to consume whey protein when we don’t have time to make a meal or after working out? I would argue, if you don’t have the time to whip up lunch, just skip it. Make up the calories at the next meal. And I’m not convinced of this “window of opportunity” that we must consume large amounts of protein after working out. De Vany has some posts dispelling this myth.

      • Phocion Timon on October 16, 2010 at 08:30

        I normally do avoid injecting politics into such situations, or at least keep it to myself, and, as I said, it was my immediate, first impression of “the worst of the whines.” I did not connect all the bitching to liberalism. (Although, heh, I do connect all liberalism with bitching.)

    • Bay Area Sparky on October 16, 2010 at 08:10

      Ninety-two comments…I was marveling at all the intelligent and thoughtful opinions…and then I read yours.

      Obama supporters = whiners?

      Thanks for the deep thinking. Now take a couple of aspirin and lie down. You must be spent.

      • Jeromie on October 16, 2010 at 08:23

        As an Oregon native, I am more of a “latte-sippin’ lefty” and, yes, I did vote for Obama. That said, when I found out about Mark’s promotion of his protein powder, the first thought that came into my head was, “cool.”

        Since I’ve been following his blog (for about a year) he’s promoted many things. Some I’ve bought (like his book and cookbook) and others I ignore (like his supplements). I know he’s trying to make money, but he’s also providing the community with tons of information and recipes (like Richard emphasized).

        I don’t think political preference has anything to do with a reaction towards a man who provides free information and provides a product for sale to earn a few bucks. If you don’t like that he sells things, don’t buy them and check up on his blog for the information that you are looking for.

        We don’t need to act like children and throw a fit. A scene doesn’t have to be made about it.


      • anonymous chris on October 16, 2010 at 12:47

        I’m not sure that Phocion Timon’s associations are entirely off base. (Although interjecting Obama’s name is sure to raise the ire of his political supporters.)

        The contemporary American sense of entitlement, particularly amongst the young is rather striking.

        Most of those negative MDA comments are very much demonstrations of entitlement sensibilities. Where does this notion of entitlement originate? Phocion Timon could argue that conservative/libertarian aesthetics eschew guarantees and rewards which are not based on the direct result of one’s labor. And he could argue that neo-Liberalism, as prescribed by Obama, does foster an exaggerated belief in equality which contributes to the feeling of being treated unfairly even when the evidence for such treatment is non-existent or contradictory (e.g. MDA readers miffed at the price of something they are in no way obligated to purchase.)

  46. Bill Strahan on October 16, 2010 at 08:28

    $99? Peanuts!

    For $10,000 I will personally come to your house and cook you an AWESOME dinner of grass fed beef and vegetables of your choice. After we dine together, I’ll whip up some chicken and veggie curry that you can eat the following day. Then I’ll collect my $10,000 and leave. Have a nice life.

    Now, will I be villified for offering this? I mean, $10,000!!! It’s too expensive! It’s outrageous! It’s robbery!

    No, no one will bitch or moan because I have not created any expectation from them thay they receive any value from me freely to begin with! Isn’t that ironic? No one expects anything from me, so my $10,000 offer is summarily ignored. But because Mark has essentially posted useful information freely on a daily basis for years he has a group of people who expect to benefit from him with no cash outlay whatsoever.

    It’s the conflict of intersecting social versus market norms. The more rational you are, the more easily you separate socials versus market norms, so I find the reaction a bit fascinating. Fascinating, but not shocking. I’ve seen it happen many times.

    There’s no easy solution once you have a conflict of social and market norms. The best you can do is what Mark has done, which is to be polite and rational with any freakout that occurs and wait for the dust to settle.

    • Christoph Dollis on October 19, 2010 at 02:22

      Thanks for explaining that, Bill.

  47. Bill Strahan on October 16, 2010 at 08:45

    Had to make one other point on the whole “Is it paleo/primal?” thing. A few years back I was telling some old couple that I only ate meat, veggies, a bit of fruit and some nuts. I summarized it as “Basically only what I could hunt and gather.”

    Now, this couple was in their late 70s, and fit as could be. The gentleman looked at me and sweetly asked where I got my meat and veggies. I described Whole Foods, Sprouts, local grass fed beef suppliers, etc.

    They both looked at each other and smiled. Then they told me that what I was doing was a good start, but then went on to tell me where they acquired their food. They lived in the Northeast, so took a couple of hunting trips a year to Canada where they hunted a variety of game and packed out the meat themselves! They raised their own veggies, and collected nuts and berries from a local forest. And they were SERIOUS!

    Over the next hour I learned how they had both had heart attacks in their 50’s, within 6 months of each other. They decided to read everything they could to figure out how to avoid continued decline and realized (remember this is 20+ years ago!) that a natural diet that was as similar as possible to the diet humans ate before modern machinery would be best. So they started down that path and settled on their current model within about two years.

    They don’t eat anything from a grocery store unless they just can’t acquire it locally. And they eat no meat whatsoever except that which they’ve killed and cleaned. And after this chat, they got back to work on the airplane they were building together. In their late 70’s.

    So, the whole Paleo/Primal versus Neolithic is a measurement of degree, not perfect state. It’s not on/off. Do you ever use a can opener? Ever eat food from a package? Did you buy it? Did you use an eating utensil or your hands (and thereby consume bacteria on your fingers and under your fingernails!) or in other words, how Paleo does it have to be for you to call it Paleo?

    The “Is It Paleo?” question is not nearly so powerful as “Is it useful?” or “Does it work for my goals?” In that light, Mark’s meal replacements may sometimes be useful. A tin of canned sardines sometimes works as my source of protein. Packaged grass fed beef definitely works for my goals. And I have certainty that some of the very few supplements I take are useful. Paleo? None of it.

    I’ll pursue what works long before I expend energy pursuing a nearly unachievable ideal that can always be deemed inadequate for someone judging me.

    But yes, I eat Paleo. 🙂

    • Julie on October 16, 2010 at 09:51

      “I’ll pursue what works long before I expend energy pursuing a nearly unachievable ideal that can always be deemed inadequate for someone judging me.”

      Love this!


    • Travis on October 16, 2010 at 09:57

      Eloquently put, Bill regarding “Is it Paleo?”, and a great story about the couple you met.

  48. Mark Sisson on October 16, 2010 at 10:17

    Man, what a week. So much to address and so little time, so I’ll hit just a few points here. I would never have predicted the response I got to the release of Primal Fuel would be so polarized – and polarizing. First, thanks to those of you who truly do understand where I’m coming from. It was tough to see all the haters out there, in light of the fact that I simply wanted to create a product that would mostly help people stay on track while they were adjusting to eating low-carb. You would not believe the number of people who tell me that they’d like to cut grains and sugars, but can’t find enough “easy” things to have around the house for those times when they’re tempted to reach for the bagel. This was a response to that request.

    Not Primal? I have always espoused the use of certain supplements as fitting into a Primal lifestyle. I talk about using protein powders, especially whey protein isolates, in my book. Sure, you can say it’s not paleo, but Primal isn’t necessarily Paleo and people need to get that. Primal is designed more for the masses. I often describe the Primal Blueprint ™ lifestyle as a “kinder, gentler” Paleo, with a little dairy for some, some “sensible vices” (Sisson drinks red wine? the horror!) and an eye for sustainability and enjoying life. That’s why we have the 80/20 rule. On the other hand, I note some of the recent offerings of paleo foods that have minor compromises necessary to bring foods to market and I’m OK with all that. That’s the nature of the food/supplement business. I think we did a great job of reducing whatever compromises were possible here. For example, the maltodextrin in PF isn’t even my doing. It is simply added to the coconut powder by the manufacturer (along with a touch of sodium caseinate) as a means of reducing the natural clumping that happens with a high fat product. Otherwise, the powder doesn’t mix well. It appears as an ingredient in the panel because that’s the law. Two measly grams per serving (which also count for two “sugar” grams and eight carb calories). Meanwhile, maltodextrin is nothing more than a glucose polymer (in this case from cassava, not corn, but that’s irrelevant). Maltodextrin is cleaved into a single glucose molecule almost instantly in the gut. Hell, I used to sell pure maltodextrin by the ton to endurance athletes as “rocket fuel” twenty years ago. Hundreds of companies do so today and it remains the easiest way to deliver pure glucose to the bloodstream. In fact, it’s probably the safest, most benign way to get glucose into the bloodstream, so anyone who suggests it’s “toxic sugar” or poison is clueless.

    Next, sucrose. I chose to use two grams per serving as a sweetener instead of artificial stuff or using too much stevia (which does have an aftertaste). I could legally have called this “evaporated cane juice” on the ingredient panel which is technically what it is, but I figured people would call me out for obfuscation, so I simply went with the common name. Grok would have definitely eaten evaporated cane juice – or sucrose. And the fact that sucrose is comprised of a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule apparently gave people license to accuse me of lying that it had no fructose. So be it. I have changed the statement to “no HFCS”.

    The price? It is what it is. I’ve written about why I priced it as I did and that as my costs come down, I will pass those along to the consumer. You can now get it for $2.63 a serving (and technically $2.23 if you are on auto and would have paid for shipping otherwise). How much below that makes it the “fairer deal” that it has to be to pass muster with everyone? I’ll probably offer a smaller version in the near future. As for calling it a meal or a snack, I use more than a serving size to make it a meal and less for a snack. In the Primal realm, who’s to say every meal needs to be 400-500 calories? Sometimes I eat 1500 calories and call it a meal, sometimes 200. Meanwhile, lots of people have ignored the vitriol and have ordered. Thanks to those of you who have. Many have already reported back being extremely pleased with the taste and the convenience…and the nutrient profile, which is contemplated to take the edge off and support fat-burning pathways.

    To close here (and get into my non-Paleo car to drive to a non-Paleo restaurant), MDA and the Primal Blueprint have helped hundreds of thousands of people understand how the body was designed to work. That’s my main mission. No site in this genre comes close to the traffic we get, because, apparently, people like the free information and it works extremely well. A tiny fraction ever buys anything from me (including a tiny fraction who has actually bought the book). I’m OK with all that. I’ll just keep doing what I do. Thanks again.

    • AJP on October 16, 2010 at 10:34

      “I’ll just keep doing what I do”
      Thank you Mark!

    • Phocion Timon on October 16, 2010 at 10:59


    • mizski on October 16, 2010 at 11:36

      You’re a class act, Mark. Unfortunately, the MDA forums have become overrun with posters (many who are teenagers living at home with mom and dad) whose focus is to cruise the boards arguing against everything. If you eat grass-fed beef, how lucky of you to be so rich and we can’t afford that. If you say you eat grocery store beef, then you get called out for eating junk and don’t you know that isn’t primal. Nothing one does is ever primal enough in these poster’s eyes when responding to posts but they will whine on about their right to their 20% eating.

      You can never win with these people. Just wanted you to know that there are a whole bunch of folks over there on MDA who do appreciate what you do, who have read the book and taken the time to understand its message. Primal Fuel is an excellent offering and those who use this type of product are glad for its introduction to the market. Thanks again….and sorry you got beat up.

    • Emily Deans, M.D. on October 16, 2010 at 15:04

      Right after you came out with Primal Fuel, I got an email from my by prescription only supplement company – they have a paleo powder for a similar price. Heck, my plain whey isolate from whole foods is $50 for 2.2 pounds, and I have to add coconut milk at a $1 a serving and superfood greens and fruit or other stuff to make it a meal. I’m not saying Primal Fuel is particularly economical, but it doesn’t seem to me to be CRAZY overpriced, considering the convenience.

      And call me a sucker, but I do like to support Mark. I send patients to his blog all the time. It’s a terrific free resource for all sorts of things, from acne to sleep to nutrition. Amazing.

    • Jonathan on October 16, 2010 at 17:11

      I bought your book but haven’t read it all yet. I’ve been low-carb since Jan 2010 and found MDA in April. I still drive my car, I still get burgers without the bun at restaurants, and still go to church but I’m down 65 pounds, my blood sugar is under control, I’m happy with my diet, and I’ve never stuck to low-carb like I have with PB.

      Thanks Mark for all you’ve done. My life is one that will forever be changed for the better.

      • Christoph Dollis on October 19, 2010 at 02:33

        But burgers without the bun isn’t Paleo … . You cad.



    • Grok on October 17, 2010 at 01:33

      Maybe it’s just me, and I haven’t read it… but doesn’t the “Paleo Diet For Athletes” advocate the use of maltodextrin? I don’t recall seeing Cordain being crucified as a sugar devil for saying this.

      I don’t visit MDA as much anymore, and I never could visit the forums again after the initial signup. There was just way too much bull in there for me. That said, I’d still be on the path to a quick death or completely sick & miserable life had I not found Mark.

      Not only has Mark Sisson help me to “reprogram my genes,” he’s also help reprogram my dreams!

      THANK YOU MARK! (Yes I’m Yelling).

      • j4 on October 17, 2010 at 18:43

        Yes it does on page 40. It is recommended over fructose based sports drinks.

    • Alan M on October 17, 2010 at 07:20

      It took this site’s endorsement for me to take the plunge. 🙂 Yesterday I ordered the vanilla Primal Fuel to go along with that nifty blender bottle. One day I’ll have to take a picture of myself wearing my Grok T-shirt, sporting a Grok rub-on tattoo while drinking my Primal Fuel. Of course my stable is grass-fed ground beef seasoned with Kerrygold and other meat seasonings with a slew of veggies.

    • Travis on October 17, 2010 at 10:07

      Yes, Mark, please just keeping doing what you do. “The Primal Blueprint” is invaluable for so many of us and so is all the information you provide at MDA. I doubt if many of the naysayers have thoroughly read your book or your articles. Thanks for everything, you’ve made a difference in my life for sure!

    • Christoph Dollis on October 19, 2010 at 02:26

      You’re a good man, Mark.

      And I say that because of, and not in spite of, your capitalism.

  49. Hugh on October 16, 2010 at 11:32

    This situation has outed a few people as shit-disturbers and of questionable character in my mind. Leigh Peele’s blog post sticks out most in my mind, where she indulgently likens herself to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. in her criticism of Primal Fuel. In her mind, not only is she a critic, she’s also a leader.

    She then proceeds to call Mark a lying scam artist, but the details or evidence for this claim can only be found behind her paywall! How brave. Call someone a liar and withhold evidence for that claim. Good for you, Leigh.

    • AJP on October 16, 2010 at 14:41

      Leigh Peele has issues.

  50. Walter on October 16, 2010 at 11:49

    Dr. Kurt Harris had a post (maybe 2) where he stated that the paleo label had outlived its usefulness. I agree. The bottom line whether it is paleo or not is what happens physiologically when you put in in your body. Since optimal diet is taken, how about physiological diet? Nah.

  51. patrick on October 17, 2010 at 07:41

    Just like any other mass movement, the paleo primal thing has attracted a lot of assholes who do it mostly for the fact that they like to feel special. They get off on telling people that they’re true paleo because they don’t eat nightshades, or they do everything raw, but don’t really offer any useful info. Reminds me of church. Its group mentality. One person starts it then everyone else jumps on board with the whining. Kind of like healthcare. Don’t eat f*cking cake, how about that? Instead they expect everyone to pay for their diabetes. Basically, if you’ve cut out most sugar and aren’t eating velveeta your doing better than 90% of the population and the rest is elitist bullshit.If you can’t say anything nice GTFO.

    • Joseph on October 17, 2010 at 13:17

      The fanatics are everywhere. I have been trying to escape them my whole life (starting from the time I began to recognize myself as one: the true fanatic is identifiable by his determination to convert others no matter what the cost to his public dignity or private self-respect).

  52. […] we enhanced the meal with a Primal Fuel shake mixed about 50/50 with raw whole milk & […]

  53. slow_mo on October 18, 2010 at 04:02

    this is imo the essence of the problem:
    Primal Fuel is not primal, therefore mislabeled (and this coming from the primal guru).
    right or wrong?

    keep up the great work

    • Alex on October 18, 2010 at 04:44

      In a nutshell, it isn’t strictly primal, but it’s primal compatible in moderation.

      The primal guru on dairy:

      “Dairy isn’t strictly Primal. After all, Grok didn’t start his day off with milk – at least not after infancy. But some forms of dairy, like yogurt, provide probiotics that help with digestion and even to some degree, nutrient absorption. Additionally, butter and heavy cream offer a high source of healthy fats. I consider cheese a “sensible indulgence,” fine in moderation. And if you do drink milk, I would suggest milk with higher fat content like whole milk rather than skim or 2%. The bottom line is dairy, for those that can tolerate it, can be enjoyed in moderation on the Primal Blueprint diet.”

      The primal guru on whey protein:

      “Whey protein falls into the 80/20 category. It isn’t strictly Primal (and certainly not paleo) in that it wasn’t available to Grok, but it can be an effective, occasional high-protein meal replacement with most – if not all – of the potential allergens mitigated or negated. It’s an analog, a bit like dairy itself. If you can’t handle any dairy, skip it (or try whey isolate) and take the time to prepare a meal. If you can handle dairy without a problem, a whey protein powder is a pretty good way to shuttle nutrients into your body, especially if you’ve chosen to go the post-workout nutrition route – which I usually don’t.”

      • justin on October 18, 2010 at 08:30

        Thanks for this post — can’t believe it took so long for someone to post these two points.

        So a MR shake can fit in with 80/20 in the Primal Blueprint. Simple enough — “in moderation” — as it’s not strictly primal.

        Of course, that’s sort of the point — and it’s what all the Mark Sisson apologists are missing. This isn’t “primal fuel” per Mark’s own definitions. It’s not “strictly primal” it’s in the 20%. And that’s in moderation. So why did Mark call it “primal fuel?” To me, that was just a dumb marketing move on his part and it does deserve criticism because it’s *not* in keeping with his own thoughts on what is or is not primal (as quoted above).

        Given Primal Fuel is a 20% food, I have to ask: is it “in moderation” to take it every day, 30 days a week? I’d say no — you probably shouldn’t be consuming the same processed food for 10% of all of your calories, which is more or less what is being advocated based on the 30 days supply container. Or am I missing something?

        To wrap:

        – The biggest point being missed by the Primal Fuel apologists: **Yes, Mark made a mistake in calling his shake “primal fuel,” which is definitionally out of step with Mark’s own teachings on what is or is not Primal**

        – “Primal Fuel” doesn’t seem in keeping with the Primal Blueprint’s 80/20 rule given that it’s being marketed as a daily meal replacement shake.

        I’m only jumping in the fray here because it seems to me that the blind apologists who see no fault here are just as bad as the whiners who see fault in everything. If nothing else, expecting Mark to be consistent in his naming conventions — so that they make sense with his own definitions — is a reasonable request. That he failed here is a reasonable thing to call Mark out on. Outside of this single, very niche issue, I see no other problems with Mark’s supplementation business, pricing, or whatever. He’s a great resource and I’m thankful for his insights.

    • AJP on October 18, 2010 at 05:33

      “primal” is a about guideline, not absolutes.

      This whole Grok didn’t do this or do that, is just silly.
      Grok didn’t open the fridge to get out the beef he bought from Whole Foods to cook on his electric range either.


  54. LCforevah on October 18, 2010 at 08:47

    This whole thing reminds me of the Kathy Bates character in Misery. It’s just overkill trying to tell Sisson how to run his blog and his life. Be a fan and be rational.

    I think people let a blog become part of their lives and then think they have the right to tell the blogger what to do! It’s not that kind of reciprocity.

  55. Nancy R. on October 18, 2010 at 10:04

    To me, this whole dust-up is a result of some very misguided individuals thinking Mark Sisson is their guru. When the guru then does something that they perceive as “unguru-like”, these people feel betrayed. Their guru is now nothing but a charlatan. It’s sad and ridiculous. Why anyone is put on that kind of pedestal in the first place completely escapes me. Beware of being the guru, the masses will turn on you in an instant if they feel you’ve betrayed them.

    • slow_mo on October 18, 2010 at 12:06

      the word guru was tongue-in-cheek,
      if anything, his followers-turned-critics should be credited to be skeptical enough to confront him;
      their world view/”religion” probably won´t collapse (at least mine won´t) but mark should be called out.

      having said that, he changed my life, and the lives of thousands others…
      so forgiveness is also in order 🙂

      • Nancy R. on October 18, 2010 at 12:48

        slow_mo – I had not read your previous comment using the term guru. I wasn’t at all using your post as a point of reference. I simply jumped in with my take on this. However, I have to ask you, what, exactly, does Mark Sisson need to be “called out” on? Being a business man? Using a term for a product that his followers don’t think deserves the term? Because if that’s the case, it really makes no sense to me. It still smacks of something other than a simple dislike of the price point or naming convention. For me, the only thing that begins to explain the amount of vitriol and whining is the fact that some followers felt betrayed by the guru they trusted. Heck, the next day, after Mark essentially apologized by way of explanation and put out a price break, the tone changed dramatically. Most of the naysayers now decided Primal Fuel was something wonderful to try or at least not bash. Mark was now called a “classy guy”. Trust restored, guru reinstated. OK…off my soapbox.

      • justin on October 18, 2010 at 12:56

        Since slow mo and I seem to have a similar view on Mark’s misnomer of “Primal Fuel,” I’ll take exception to your statement here:

        >what, exactly, does Mark Sisson need to be “called out” on? Being a business man? Using a term for a product that his followers don’t think deserves the term?

        Mark *himself* said that whey protein isn’t strictly primal. He also seems to indicate it falls in the 20% of his 80/20 rule. I’d guess a slice of pizza falls in the 20% rule, too. I don’t think anyone would shrug it off if Mark created a pizza recipe with his own special ingredients that still incorporated dough and a bunch of processed stuff and called it “Primal Pizza” — great for eating once per day and primal b/c it fits in the 20% rule.

        I think Sisson’s followers just expect some consistency with the use of the word primal — and even outside of these details — simply on the face of it — “primal fuel” doesn’t really pass the “primal” smell test *outside* of the 80/20 rule.

        Maybe it’s okay to use your own diet loophole to promote something that’s not “strictly” in your diet and then call it your diet. Just seems a bit absurd to me.

  56. slow_mo on October 18, 2010 at 11:49

    alex, AJP,
    true, let´s not get too hung up on dogmatic paleo strictness, i also understand the need for 80/20, whey proteins, etc.
    but again, what i think rubs people the wrong way is the fact that he named his product
    something that it isn´t.

    we´ve all known about his supplement business, i can´t imagine people being outraged in the same way, if mark had just called the product differently.

    i can understand why he wanted to capitalise on the paleo name/concept, but it was a mistake imo.
    Primal Fuel is NOT primal fuel. period.

    my advice: change the name, problem solved.


  57. Derek S. on October 18, 2010 at 14:25

    To those of you who keep calling it a meal replacement, for whom could 190 calories possibly replace a meal? Calista Flockhart? Maybe…but for the rest of us who eat paleo/primal/etc it would take 4-5 servings of his powder to replace a meal.

    I don’t know if the batteries are dying in my calculator, or what, but it keeps telling me that 4-5 servings comes out to $13.20 to $16.50 per “meal”. I fail to see how that is less than a McMuffin meal. Maybe he’s talking about a McDonalds in Tokyo, or perhaps Abu Dhabi.

    For that price I could eat a grass-fed ribeye or ny strip, which has infinitely more nutritional value than “plastic tub o’shit”, thank you very much. And f-ck convenience…isn’t that the reason many of us used to frequent McD’s in the first place? Are we coming full circle with the “convenience” excuse in order to justify eating bags (or in this case, tubs) of shit?

    • Grok on October 18, 2010 at 23:29

      “Are we coming full circle with the “convenience” excuse in order to justify eating bags (or in this case, tubs) of shit?”

      Kind of have a point here. My life is total chaos a good part of the time, and I still manage to eat 100% whole foods these days. I’m not anti-Primal Fuel, but is carrying a baggy of nuts and a banana any less convenient? It’s quite possibly MORE convenient. This is coming from a guy who used to drink 5 pouches of MetRX every day at work. Now I have a car full of fruit 🙂 But hell, I guess that’s not paleo either! Ha-ha. Sue me.

      Want convenience? Enter intermittent fasting! Easy enough to say, but not always easy to do. Especially when under heavy work stress. The brain burns a lot of fuel.

  58. Laurie D. on October 18, 2010 at 16:19

    I would have thought this thread would have died out long ago, but I keep getting email notifications with more comments. And I see now that people are even concerned with what Sisson has named his product. I think you all don’t have enough to worry about. It is odd to me that the very people who claim paleo is a religion to others also seem to be the most upset. Why? Has it questioned your faith in paleo? I don’t believe in any religion, paleo or otherwise – perhaps that is why I am not upset. What anyone markets to anyone else is their business and I make my value of that product known by buying it or not. If I want grass-fed beef, I will buy it. If I want a easy replacement for those very few times I might need it, I will buy it. There’s really no need to be concerned with what anyone else buys. Period.

  59. Christoph Dollis on October 19, 2010 at 01:23

    Hear, hear.

  60. Nicole on October 19, 2010 at 03:53

    I actually make my own whey powder mix to do in a shaker bottle while I’m backpacking. They contain pure Whey Protein (from, Coconut Milk Powder, 100% Cocoa powder and a little Truvia. Obviously, I don’t see what the fuss is about, since this is pretty close to what he’s doing.

  61. Jerry on October 19, 2010 at 21:34

    I agree Richard, the first thing I thought of when I read the negative comments whats, whoa, we get so much information from this guy for free, and the products he sells allows him to spend all this time getting the research done and putting it on his site so its available to us in an instant. One thing I like about Mark too, is hes not just “peddling” his stuff. He recommends lots of other peoples products that help out. Ive learned about youbar, tanka bar, us wellness meats, just to name a few, that I might have taken much longer to stumble across if he didnt endorse those peoples products. So I think he does a good job of focusing on products that benefit us all, and not JUST out to make a profit, although from a business perspective, he has to. Yes people, he is trying to make a profit, but shit he has a family to feed too. Give the guy a break.

  62. KeyMaestro on October 24, 2010 at 16:41

    I’m a little late on this blog post, but I have to thank you for writing such a poignant and articulate summation of the events of “PrimalGate”.

    I was reading a post by Brad Pilon that led me to a blog written by Leigh Peele. I’m not really sure who she is or what her true credentials are, but she wasn’t very kind to Mark. I then stumbled upon her post of the Primal Fuel situation. The word “lying” was used. What?!?I felt compelled to comment. Unfortunately, I wish I had read Mark’s response in these comments before I had written it. In fact, I withdraw any questions I had about the product.

    There’s nothing more that I could say that hasn’t been said better already. I have no desire for the product at this time just for the fact that I have no need for a bridge product to get myself low-carb, nor do I feel the need to supplement enough to need a ready-made shake. I use plain whey powder a few times a week in smoothies. Now, with that said, I didn’t even think to ask, “why the ‘high’ price?” Nor, did it ever dawn on me to attack the man for his product or question his motives. Whether I agree with the pricing or not, I would never think to lash out against anyone about that.

    This, however, doesn’t mean that I think the price was that outlandish. I think there is a lot to say about some MDA readers. Many are new to supplementation and, therefore, have little or no experience with market price. At one point, I was paying $60 for 30 servings of a powder that wasn’t remotely as high of a quality as this product and literally left me in the fetal position questioning why I would abuse myself for muscle gains.

    I’ve been reading Mark’s blog for about a year and a half and have never at any point felt like I was being marketed to. Let’s be honest; supplements are his game. If he wasn’t making a product to support his blog (or visa versa), wouldn’t someone speak up at some point in notice of his lost opportunity?

    I can’t ignore or forget what I’ve learned from MDA and the results of that newfound knowledge. I’m in the best health of my life. The Mack truck tire around my middle is barely a 10-speed tire. I can see my abs. I breathe better. I sleep better. I eat better. My general attitude to life is improved. I did the work myself, but it was the generosity of Mark and MDA that lit the yellow brick road for me.

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