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

What’s Behind the #1 Cause of Death? (psst: it’s not cholesterol)

WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES

Mark wants us to make sure we share a very important study about inflammation and heart disease. Sisson’s been grousing about this for years, and you can read some of his choice thoughts on why cholesterol is just one of many important factors for heart health. Cholesterol drugs aren’t the best approach to reducing coronary heart disease rates (CHD is our #1 killer). But still totally the best way to afford a house in the Hamptons.

The “Hot” Heart Disease Marker

Men who have a particular antibody indicating widespread inflammation have triple the risk of heart disease.

As usual, they’ll get around to testing the women when they feel like it.

Nevertheless, triple is a huge deal. Inflammation is also linked to type 2 diabetes and arthritis (which increases the risk for heart attacks as well). In fact, metabolism, immunity, and obesity are all linked to inflammation. These issues are often referred to as the umbrella-ish Syndrome X.

What We Need Is Another C-O-M-M-I-T-T-E-E!

The FDA released a statement addressing the can’t-keep-track-of-all-the-scandals issue. Their brilliant solution? An oversight committee! Aha! Perfect! Except, isn’t the FDA an oversight committee? Mark’s Daily Apple predicts a long and delicious line of self-sustaining bureaucratic complexity coming to a tax hike near you.

Michael Moore Is At it Again

Mike is taking on Big Pharma and HMOs with the soon-to-debut documentary, Sicko. He was on Oprah today and he’s hitting Letterman and Leno next. Will you be weighing in on Sicko?

More Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

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[tags] FDA, oversight committee, Michael Moore, Sicko, HMO, inflammation, Syndrome X, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, preventable causes of death [/tags]

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What Does 4,000 Calories a Day Look Like?

The average American consumes almost 4,000 calories every day and counting! That’s anywhere from 1500 to 2500 more calories than the average man or woman really needs (children and athletes have different needs).

Translation: 3500 calories is equivalent to one pound. If you’re an “average American”, you could be eating anywhere from 12 to 15 excess pounds every month, adding fat to your body, increasing the pressure on your heart, and stressing your organs (not to mention the environmental impact of all this gluttony).

But why are we eating so much?

I decided to see what it would be like to eat the way the average American supposedly eats.

Breakfast: How about McDonald’s? That’s a typical choice for millions of Americans every day.

To be an average American, you need to eat at least 700 calories and up to 1300 calories at each setting. McDonald’s can help you with that. Another tip: it helps to drink your calories, so remember to wash it all down with a big slosh of soda or juice! Or a nice venti mocha will do the trick.

Lunch: I know Burger King is bad. I’ll go for Subway. Subway is fresh, so I’m sure whatever I eat there is going to be good, right?

Well, maybe if you get a 6″ whole-grain sandwich with vegetables or a salad. But according to Subway, the most popular Subway item in the world is the toasted steak and cheese sandwich . This will give you a very generous 400 calories per 6″ section. Don’t forget the chips and soda (an extra 300 calories!), and you’re easily on your way to 4,000 calories today! It’s nice that convenience chains are offering slightly more healthy options these days, but it’s still disingenuous counter-marketing to offer it along side the regular high-calorie fare. Eat fresh, indeed.

Dinner: Pizza and burgers are beloved American foods. Sign me up!

Carl’s Jr. says there’s only one thing that can “slay the hunger of a young guy on the move”. Hey, that’s me! I can even get their burger for breakfast. But wait, am I really that starving that I need to be slaying my stomach? The six-dollar burger with a large Coke and a side of fries will round out my day with an additional 1,200 calories (give or take a few).

(Honestly, I’ve always thought it’s sort of sad that the most famous American foods – pie, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, French fries – are all junk foods. The French get cheese, wine and sauces, and Asia’s got vegetables down cold, but when it comes to cuisines of the world, we can sure be proud of our corn, salt, sugar and trans fat, all right.)

Conclusion:

I thought it would be a little bit of a challenge to eat 4,000 calories, but thanks to the vast majority of what’s available at every restaurant these days, it’s actually pretty hard not to consume twice as many calories as you need – and that’s the whole problem. It shouldn’t require a degree in nutrition or hours of online research to know what’s reasonable to eat

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How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

How can you turn this down?

Health, in my view, is really about enjoyment and quality of life. It’s not all celery sticks and cardio – far from it. Dark chocolate and red wine shouldn’t be consumed with the reckless abandon I sincerely hope you reserve for vegetables, but they are reasonably healthy indulgences. Here’s how to indulge a little more (am I looking out for you or what?).

10. Drunk Marinara

My editor, Sara, shares this tip: wash and chop up 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Don’t bother with that canned stuff if you want the healthiest possible sauce. This is easy.) Add in half your normal amount of water or broth (you’ll see why in a second). Next add several fresh garlic cloves and any other spices or herbs you fancy in your tomato sauce. The antioxidant boost: after the tomatoes have simmered and stewed for a while, pour in 1 cup of red wine. Between the cooked tomatoes, garlic and wine, you’ll have a sauce so good, you’ll want to drink it and forget about whatever you were going to pour it on (better not be pasta).

9. Chocolate, Meet Meat

Buy the darkest, most bitter, pure chocolate you can find. Even mass chocolate manufacturers like Hershey’s are pushing darker and darker chocolates. You can find upwards of 70% these days without breaking a sweat. Melt a bar in a saucepan with a big dash of cayenne pepper, a generous pinch of oregano or marjoram, a touch of olive oil, and a decent sprinkle of sea salt. You now have a very interesting and incredible reduction to drizzle over your pork chops. Just trust me.

8. Drink Wine at Lunch

A necessary word of caution: I am not recommending a future career as a lush here. But you might enjoy splitting up that nightly glass of red into two small glasses (emphasis on small) and having a splash of wine at lunch. Many cultures around the world enjoy a little swill at noon. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone depending on schedules and workplace expectations. And, if alcohol is something that you tend to indulge too much in, then skip this tip (matter of fact, skip this post).

7. Goodbye Coffee, Hello Chocolate

Chocolate for breakfast? Sure. This tip is for the morning vice crowd. If you want whiter teeth and you never seem to eat anything for breakfast, tackle both issues by eating a piece of dark chocolate instead of coffee. You’ll get some fat and caffeine to nourish your brain, quell your starving stomach and stimulate your nerves. I think some sliced tomatoes or scrambled eggs are both obviously better ideas for your mornings, but if you’re a coffee junkie and you have trouble ingesting a morning dose of calories, hey, I say work with the problem instead of fighting it. Dark chocolate still has some sugar, so if you’re trying to lose weight or if you need to

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More Juice; Coke Hearts Stevia

A brief update: we’re juicing this apple (so to speak). The blog is going to be down later this afternoon for a spell so we can install some new plug-ins that will improve the blog tremendously and add to your experience. No worries, we’ll be back up later in the day.

Be sure to stop in tomorrow for the always-popular Tuesday 10 and a discussion of everyone’s favorite topic: chocolate.

In the meantime, I recommend the following links for your daily health dose:

The biodegradable heart stent.

What will they come up with next? You all know I’m going to be grumbling about prevention on this one, but I do agree that this is a promising turn for problematic stents.

Stevia is fine – now that Coke wants to use it.

I’ve used stevia for years, which is saying something, as it can be tougher to get hold of than a real human when calling any customer service number. You can stop using it for “skin care” – with big soda lobbies on your side, that is. This doesn’t make soda healthy for you, though.

More problems with food from China.

Yet another unfortunate consequence of the global food web (this time, toothpaste).

All the toothpaste you need – this is Toasty Ken’s Flickr photo.

[tags] stevia, Coke, biodegradable heart stent, China, toothpaste [/tags]

Last week’s Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

My Most Popular Articles

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How to Eat More Fat

Sara here. Alert the press, for I am going to share with you the best ways to eat a lot more fat. That’s right (whew…you can stop stressing now).

Your weekly health challenge: eat more fat.

I want you to get greasy with it.

But this isn’t a license to hit up the candy aisle or to stop in at McDonald’s. I want you to eat more healthy fats this week. Here are some tips and types. Try them out and then give all your fellow apples a hand by talking about your favorite fats in the forum (we narrowly missed a tongue-twister there, didn’t we?).

Fats to eat:

Cream, eggs, butter

That’s right – I’m recommending saturated fat. Irresponsible of me, I know. Actually, provided you’re eating organic dairy and eggs, and you’re not getting crazy with the portions, saturated fat is not the monster it’s made out to be. I personally am more concerned about triglycerides and inflammation than I am about cholesterol, and refined fat and sugar have the most impact on these two health wreaking balls. I’m not saying cholesterol doesn’t matter; it does. It just doesn’t matter as much as you think. You can enjoy a little saturated fat.

Nuts, avocados, fish

Omega 3’s, people!

Coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, olive oil

Put down the corn, soybean and canola oil. These may be unsaturated, but that doesn’t make them healthy (they are still refined, and contain some undesirable fatty acid chains). Liven up your meals, give your tastebuds something to live for, and try out new, omega-3-rich oils. Go and drench thyself. Stat.

Fats you’re too good for:

– fried anything, breaded anything, processed anything, packaged anything, not-natural anything. Keep these junk fats away from your precious body! I mean it!

Why eat fat:

Well, for starters, fat doesn’t make you fat. Fat also helps with stress management, cognition, mood, sleep, energy, weight management, healthy tissues, skin and hair – even digestion and nutrient absorption.

Why I know what I’m talking about:

I’m not a scientist and I’m not a doctor, so while I hope you consider my thoughts to be helpful, just remember that if you tell your doctor “But my homegirl Sara told me…” you might not have her immediately convinced of the glories of your newfound decadent fat consumption. I have spent the last several years reading endless studies and articles, so in my own defense I am pretty darn educated on the subject. Please don’t let all those nights your editor spent reading go to waste. 😉 But what probably matters most and is ultimately most insightful is my own health story . For several years there, I was quite the little frumpalump, and I wasn’t very healthy, either. Thanks to what I’ve learned from Mark, I dropped 20 pounds of literally depressing and unattractive grad-school pudge (the impossible “last 20” stubborn clinger kind), and got rid of my horrendous migraines and “adventures” with mood imbalances. That was just the

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Am I Missing Something?

As many of you know I travel a good deal for business. I’ve been doing a fair amount of consulting and speaking lately, and of course I travel for my own company. I was recently in Texas for a television taping. Now, something I’m proud of is that I’ve become an ace traveler. I used to make frequent short trips to Asia for business, and I’ve got the jet-lag thing nailed down pretty well (Texas is a walk in the park compared to those days).

But nothing ever prepares me for the humorous cultural differences even in our blessed 50. To wit: I arrived in Dallas fresh off a really early morning flight, so I decided to grab some breakfast. After my coffee, eggs, and tomatoes (instead of bacon and hash), I was all set to pay my check when the waitress came over, looking concerned – in fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d say disapproving was a more apt description. She gave me a good looking over, and in all the chiding severity of a stern grandmother, said, “But, honey, you haven’t even had your dessert yet!” She motioned to the glass case of various cakes, cobblers and other sweets. I suddenly noticed that a few guys at the counter were digging into assorted pie slices to top off their greasy spoon breakfasts. Of course, I said no, but not without some negotiating. I left feeling like a puppy with his tail between his legs – the nerve of me, not having dessert with my breakfast! I love travel, and I always have a good time in Texas, but dessert – for breakfast? Come on!

[tags] Southern food, Texas, grease spoon [/tags]

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