The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
All the news you want to click!
1) There’s something worse than a donut, actually.
There’s a caffeinated donut . No cops were hurt in the making of this product. The rest of us should just stay away.
2) Cure for diabetes!
That’s no joke. There is a very simple, free, enjoyable way to prevent – even cure – many cases of diabetes. It’s called exercise, and people aren’t doing it. In fact, diabetics seem to studiously avoid exercise, according to this clickativity .
Guess what? Diabetes is a stupid, made-up disease. We invent it from a combination of sloth and sugar and stress. It’s not even an interesting or worthy disease. If health problems were softball, diabetes would be the one shuffling around in the dust while all the other problems got chosen first. Why? Because they matter. Because they strike innocent people. Because they need research and cures. Diabetes is a big joke compared to diseases we should be worrying about.
Which is why, in our softball game, diabetes would go home crying. Over milk and cookies, little diabetes’ mother would explain: “Junior, 99% of the time, you’re simply not a disease deserving of any attention – not when there are so many other real diseases that don’t have cures and can’t be prevented. You just don’t need to exist. You’ve been needlessly invented and you have no excuse. In fact, your father and I haven’t quite known how to tell you this, but…you’re just a big, pointless waste of our health, time and money. In fact, I have to remind myself not to exercise, dear, or you’d simply vanish. Poof.”
Just imagine if we ate caffeinated donuts.
3) Counting Calories? Don’t Read the Label
Companies have all sorts of ways of making labels reflect the amount of calories they feel like their food contains, as opposed to how many calories the food actually contains. Slate brings us an excellent investigative piece on some of the crazy chemistry adventures of the food industry. May we point out: who really cares about calories? If you are eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and some good fats, you won’t exceed your caloric needs. Another tip-off to too many calories: feeling stuffed. That’s a definite indicator.
We’re not opposed to nutrition and caloric information on food products – the more information, the better. But rest assured, if there’s a rule or a regulation, companies are going to find a way around it. Trans fat gets banned? No problem – they’ve just come up with a new refined fat that’s even worse. People don’t like the word “lard” on their ingredients’ list? That’s okay – just change it to mono- and di-glycerides and fool ’em all! It shouldn’t be a big surprise that calorie information is often misleading. Fortunately, if you eat fresh, whole foods, you won’t have to worry about calories. Cool, huh?
4) A Dangerous Cocktail
Antidepressants, kids, and pharmaceutical companies: it’s a deadly combination. In this case , it’s
I’m pretty shocked by what people are willing to trade to be thin. Limbs? Eyesight? Marriage? Lifespan? Children?
I’m shocked, because avoiding obesity really doesn’t have to be so dramatic.
Yes, the statistics are dramatic – two-thirds of Americans are lugging around way too much weight.
The effects are dramatic – heart disease, diabetes, cancer, reduced quality of living.
The purported cures are dramatic, too – billions on drugs, herbs, gimmicks, and gadgets.
Yet avoiding obesity is not a dramatic undertaking at all. It’s very easy – truly. And that’s a relief, isn’t it? You simply decide not to harm yourself.
Avoiding exercise is harming yourself.
Eating fast food, junk food and huge portions? Harming yourself.
Smoking, drinking, getting into stressful situations? Harming yourself.
Eating sugar is harming yourself.
Not enjoying and using your body is harming yourself.
So don’t harm yourself.
Because harming yourself is really just death – warmed up.
Are you ruthlessly committed to enjoying yourself?
At first glance, this can sound selfish and counter-intuitive – even shallow. But I believe that total commitment to enjoyment is the best way to love yourself and others. What does this mean?
It’s not about possessing material goods, and certainly not about instant gratification (in fact, instant gratification is often the exact opposite of true enjoyment and self-love).
Committing to enjoyment means having gratitude – even (or especially) for your flaws and shortcomings, your mistakes, and the things you feel are missing from your life. True gratitude for life – your life – frees you from needing things, from needing approval, from needing control. True gratitude is pure, simple, and joyous.
Committing to enjoyment means steadfast obedience to your inner voice – your heart or instinct. We all know the satisfaction and peace that comes from the times you do listen to your intuition – why not commit to this 100% of the time? How many painful mistakes and personal tangles could have been avoided if you’d simply been true to yourself? Commit to what philosopher Marcus Aurelius referred to as “fidelity to self”. This can seem selfish at times, but by being faithful to your own heart, your actions will be a blessing to others, rather than a cause of misunderstanding or pain.
Ruthless commitment to enjoying yourself – what an idea. If you can commit to pure and genuine participation in your life – because you know it in your heart to be the right thing for you – you can turn your world upside down. Commitment to yourself means commitment to your purpose. The beautiful side effect is that those in your life actually benefit when you commit. When you sacrifice things you know you shouldn’t, and do things your heart isn’t really into, not only do you harm yourself – ultimately, you harm others, too.
Be gentle with your soul by being tough with it – commit to true enjoyment.
Most of us eat out for at least one-third of our meals. It’s a necessary convenience these days. Unfortunately, that means a lot of extra calories and unhealthy choices. It’s no wonder Americans have gotten wider as restaurant dining has become the norm.
This week, resolve to eat right when you dine out. That means no junk or fast food. No sea of bacon grease or pasta swimming in alfredo sauce. It means no basket of bread with butter before your meal, and no dessert after your dish (the food we eat after we’ve already…eaten?). Stick to salads, grilled fish or chicken, simple vegetable or fruit sides – and hold the grease, sauces, and spreads! You’ll feel really great choosing the healthiest thing on the menu. (And you’ll probably lose a few pounds).
And here’s the second part of the challenge:
Help others make healthy choices, too. Click on Forum above, and take a moment to share how you stay healthy while dining on-the-go. If you aren’t already an Apple, registering takes just a few moments, and of course, joining is completely spam-free. Tell us your tips!
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Quick bites before you start your weekend (go on, get out of here!).
1) Another Study from Denmark
This study was well-done (for once). And the news is pretty cool: a little coffee in the late stages of pregnancy is probably safe. Worker Bee Sara begrudgingly gives “the motherland” some credit.
2) Varsity Blues
You’ve probably heard the obesity-football ruckus this week about high school football players being too beefy. In general, yes, football players are bigger and taller than your average chess club member. But this study is a good example of why the BMI is…well…lame. Many athletes and extremely fit individuals – particularly men, including Mark – are “fat” according to the BMI, which simply measures inches and doesn’t account for muscle mass, muscle distribution, bone density or physique. If you need to lose a few, don’t you just kinda know it?
3) Billion Dollar Birth Defects
Birth defects are among the most expensive health care costs, running into the billions every year. Many birth defects can be prevented completely by avoiding alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and unhealthy foods. Environmental factors like exposure to chemicals should also be considered, and mothers are encouraged to avoid eating more than one weekly serving of fish from warm waters (where mercury and other contaminants are often more highly concentrated). Additionally, prenatal vitamins (really just an extra-potent multivitamin with plenty of folate) are a must, as is prenatal care.
The Difference Between Fact…and Factitious
I’ve noticed that frightening myths about vitamin E persist in spite of vocal opposition from scientists and top experts. For those who want to know the facts behind the E “controversy”, here it is (just call it the E! True Supplement Story).
For years, doctors have recommended vitamin E supplements to patients seeking better heart health. But a fairly recent study claimed vitamin E increases the risk of death and should not be taken. Let’s take a closer look – because there’s fact, and then there’s factitious.
What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E, a fat-soluble nutrient, is found naturally in many oils, grains, nuts and fats. E is also present in meats, dairy and leafy greens.
What is it used for?
The body needs vitamin E for various processes in the blood, eyes, brain and skin. Doctors have been supportive of E because of its heart benefits. Vitamin E helps to thin the blood and fight free radicals, so many Americans fighting heart disease, blood clots or high blood pressure like to take this natural treatment. Vitamin E can help ease leg cramps, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and the pain associated with several cardiovascular diseases. Even some migraine sufferers have benefited from vitamin E supplements. Though the benefit to the heart may not be as powerful as initially thought, vitamin E may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
What is the recommended dosage?
400 IU daily is the general recommendation of the government and most health experts – individual needs can vary.
What are known side effects?
Doctors have long known that excessive vitamin E intake can cause too much thinning of the blood. For that reason, large amounts of vitamin E should not be taken if you are already taking a synthetic blood thinner. There are no other known drug interactions and vitamin E cannot become toxic.
Will Vitamin E kill me?
No. A recent study that got a lot of spin (Vitamin E is bad! Oh no!) merely observed a correlation.
Are there any problems with that study?
Where to start? There are several issues with the study that launched the vitamin E scare:
It only looked at people over age 60 who already had serious pre-existing conditions like heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease; this study cannot possibly be applied to younger and/or healthier patients.
It eliminated observational studies from the analysis, most of which show clear benefit over several years.
The study of 136,000 people grouped dozens of studies together without taking into account the different – and possibly incompatible – processes and analyses the various studies used.
Many of the studies included in this broad study have been independently questioned for their reliability.
This study used “meta-analysis,” which means there was not a consistent, controlled approach in each individual study.
Most of the patients taking the vitamin E were also taking other drugs, and the study did not control for the possibility of interaction or complications.