Meet Mark

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...

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Month: June 2007

Why Are Potato Chips More Expensive Than Filet Mignon?

Potato chips are one of the most popular American snacks and are our favorite “vegetable”. We spend nearly 3 billion a year on these fried starch crisps. The health issues associated with chip consumption are well-known. What you may not realize is that, pound for pound, potato chips often cost more than the choicest cut of premium beef.

Why eat this…

This is Slice’s Flickr Photo (CC)

When you could eat this?

This is Bruce Lee’s Flickr Photo CC

Relatively ridiculous pricing goes beyond chips. We groan about gasoline being expensive, but salad dressings, sauces, sodas and even bottled water cost far more. And how about a gallon of toothpaste? Hundreds. Most processed foods, beverages and household items are relatively inexpensive to manufacture. We’re not paying for ingredients, we’re paying for the marketing of those ingredients.

Another reason to eat food, not food products.

I’m sure we could come up with dozens of “cheap” snack and household products that in truth cost more than seemingly expensive foods. Anyone up for a little arithmetic?

[tags] potato chips, food production, beverages, processed foods, agriculture [/tags]

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Chicken Cutlets Are Not Out to Get You

It’s just your kitchen they’re after.

Sara here. Calling all germophobes! Specifically, that sub-species of kitchen clean freaks with a special loathing for dealing with raw chicken.

As many of you know, I’m pretty much the world’s worst vegetarian. Better not ask me what I’m eating…this week…because I’m not even sure. But, I will say, carnivorous concerns aside, handling anything beyond fish severely interferes with my clean-counters-or-else philosophy.

Enter this cool kitchen gadget:

The Sensor Soap Pump from Simplehuman

Now, a lot of kitchen gadgets I’ve purchased have been cause for regret. There was the special avocado slicer. The garlic press degunker thingy. I’ve managed to cull my culinary compulsions down to a top-drawer assortment of knives worth more than my graduate degree and an indefatigable hand-held mixer. But I love, love, love this automatic pump! How many times have you cracked an egg all over your hands, gone to wash your digits, and gotten raw chick goo all over the soap pump? (Hey, that’s what it is.) A simple attempt at preventing germ cross-contamination turns into yet another squeamish edition of Wash the Soap Dispenser.

Whether collecting yoga mats or pondering the grand benefits of plastic caps, I don’t normally like to recommend purchasing products. I think humans are better off when they simplify. I’m a bit of a tree-hugger. And blogs that promote new products, especially the health and fitness blogs for women, glaze my eyes faster than a rerun of Family Guy. Oh, wait, first run. (One not-annoying example of such bloggery is the delightful and engaging FitSugar, a bigosphere blog I pretty much devour on a daily basis. Still, Miss Fit tends to promote a whole lot o’ shopping. Nothing wrong with that, but I like to save my cash for what I see as the more important things in life, like artisan goat cheese.)

Simplehuman Sensor Soap Pump: highly recommended. What kitchen gadget would you be lost without?

[tags] sensor soap pump, gadget, kitchen appliance, gizmo, Simplehuman [/tags]

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McDonald’s Does Not Do Subliminal Advertising

Click on the McDonald’s USA pic above to view the video. 

Picture Courtesy of McDonald’s

We know this scandal is a few months old, but we still think it is deserving of the infamous Rotten Apple Award. Congratulations McDonald’s!

It Was Simply a Glitch

Iron Chef America Secretly Lovin’ It

More Awards

Are you lovin’ it Apples? Let us know what you think in the Forum!

[tags]McDonald’s, subliminal advertising, Iron Chef[/tags]

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Mold: Why, It Tastes Like Chicken! (and other mystery ingredients)

Welcome to 2007, where people eat food products full of interesting chemicals and fascinating representations of flavor. This is your food supply – and mold is just the beginning.

10. Ice Structuring Protein (ISP)

Sounds harmless enough, right? ISP is used in many ice creams these days, especially light and low-sugar varieties.

Translation: “genetically-modified fish ‘antifreeze’ proteins from the blood of ocean pout”. Hey! ( Source )

9. Phosphoric Acid

This tangy chemical is in so many foods – particularly carbonated beverages – no one thinks much of it anymore. It’s cheaper than real ingredients like ginger and lemon. Folic acid, citric acid, phosphoric acid – acid is good, right?

Translation: Phosphoric acid is an efficacious, plentiful and cheap industrial chemical. In all but the most modest amounts, it’s corrosive and dangerous. Phosphoric acid is a terrific rust and stain remover – just pour Coca-Cola on rust and wait a day. Now, just imagine what it’s doing to your bones, tooth enamel and digestive tract. ( Source )

(We don’t have osteoporosis because we’re lacking in calcium, though Big Moo would love you to believe that. We consume more calcium, in the form of dairy, than many cultures – particularly those in Africa and Asia. Yet despite all our chugging, osteoporosis is a persistent American problem. It’s the soda!)

8. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

It’s been linked to heart disease and cancer, but evidently…whatever. BHA and BHT are both actually antioxidants, hence their use in preserving processed fats. But these antioxidants aren’t the happy sort you want in your body. Their safety has not technically been “proven” per se – the FDA has simply approved them because, like any other food ingredient, they’ve gone through the standard approval application process. This means that the burden of proof has fallen on industry. You can guess what that means. ( Source )

7. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

I believe HFCS is one of the most destructive food ingredients humans have yet to invent. There’s nothing “ natural ” about this ingredient. It’s a highly refined industrial product. HFCS is linked to diabetes, obesity, anxiety and many other prevalent health conditions . Avoid it at all costs. This incredibly cheap sweetener nicely deals with the surplus corn issue in our country (since we inefficiently continue to subsidize corn farmers according to outmoded 1970s models of production).

From wikipedia : “High-fructose corn syrup is produced by milling corn to produce corn starch then processing that corn starch to yield corn syrup that is almost entirely glucose, and then adding enzymes that change the glucose into fructose.” Wow, I’m drooling already.

(Note: Plain old fructose is not the same thing as HFCS. Fructose, though incredibly sweet, comes from fruits and honey. Though fructose consumption will produce an appreciable rise in blood sugar, it is metabolized more slowly than HFCS. I don’t recommend that you consume sweets and flavored beverages – including juice – but modest amounts of fruit or honey are certainly acceptable for most people. I eat berries nearly every day, and I often

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What to Eat at the Gas Station (and Why It Beats the Cheesecake Factory)

Your local 7-11 has more to offer in the way of health than most popular dining establishments. True, quick marts are a landfill of trans sprinkles and grease crisps, but if for no other reason than portion size, you can often fare better in the linoleum aisles of the corner gas station than in the extra-wide banquettes of chain restaurants. Even seemingly healthy items like salads and vegetable omelets are typically two or three times more than the average adult’s caloric needs (read all about sneaky sauces and oils in “healthy entrees”). While fresh is infinitely better than fried, canned, packaged or pickled, you can make out pretty well in even the most forlorn and dusty of gas stations. Road trip? No sweat!

What to pick:

Jerky is a surprisingly lean, healthy choice. Don’t get the teriyaki or flavored kinds – they contain a lot of sugar. While it’s not grass-fed meat, this beats a hot dog or burger and will fill you up.

Trail mixes are always a smart bet. Whether you pick one with dried fruit or not, make sure you’re going easy on the salt. Tip: avoid the mixes with coated peanuts or candies. “Yogurt” covered nuts are nothing more than a sugary, trans-fat coated nutrition disaster.

Nuts. Try to go for almonds or even seeds over cashews and peanuts (which are not actually nuts, as you all know by now from my endless admonitions on this unhealthy legume). Watch the salt, friends.

Water. Yeah, yeah, obvious choice. But no one’s holding a gun to your head making you buy soda! (hmm…that may, in fact, be a terribly tasteless joke. Sorry.)

What to skip:

Everything else.

Exhibit A: Why the gas station beats the Cheesecake Factory.

Even chain restaurants’ salads, stir fries and chicken dishes are larger than your average body builder’s biceps. If you dine out, split the portions, go “dry” with the sauces and oils, or pick smart sides like fresh steamed veggies and grilled fish.

Sisson Spoofs

Obscene Calorie Awards

Most Popular Posts

What other smart compromises can be found in convenience marts? I’d like to hear your tips.

[tags] convenience food, gas station, Cheesecake Factory, what to eat on road trips, healthy snacks [/tags]

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The Devil You Know Is You

One of the most stupid maxims in the history of humanity is “Better the devil you know.” I’m sure you’re familiar with this phrase. I get really tired of hearing it. No axiom is better if you want to fritter your life away.

Essentially, the idea is that if you’re stuck in a less-than-ideal situation, it’s somehow better to stay stuck, because changing the situation might make things worse. Ostrich and mud metaphors aside, apparently comfort and familiarity are more desirable than living.

To play my own devil’s advocate, “the devil you know” might serve as a sensible note of caution against change for the sake of change. But I don’t see why the little gems we all seem happy to live by need to be put into binary terms. The opposite of “the devil you know” isn’t necessarily change without purpose, an obviously foolish thing. Restless is one thing (there can be character-building value in sticking with a “devil” you detest). Fear is another thing entirely. When I hear “the devil you know,” I hear fear. I hear defeat. I hear a negative outlook on life.

“Calculated risk” isn’t much of a risk at all. Comfort is just death warmed up. Making a change when you’re stuck is scary – that’s the whole point. So what if you fail? Do you think you’re going to go through your whole life without making some big mistakes? Would you really even want to?

Embrace your fear, embrace the gray, go grab the new devil by the horns. The one you know? He’s you.

(P.S. Things that are more interesting than the devil you know: wet toast, cardboard, reheated oatmeal).

More Monday Moments

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