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: July 2007

The Yolk’s On You

Apologies for that headline.

By now, most folks are aware that eggs are not unhealthy despite their high cholesterol content. (Though not everyone, because Eggbeaters is still in business!) Eggs contain quality protein, fat, and important vitamins and minerals. Most of the nutrition is found in the yolk of the egg, which is why we’re making the yolk this week’s Smart Fuel.

Paul Goyette’s Flickr Photo (CC)

Yolks contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that nourish your eyes, your brain, your heart and your mood. A sampling: lutein, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin E, Omega-3’s, sulfur, tryptophan, choline, magnesium, B12, the complete amino acid profile, and much more. Yolks are truly one of the most dense nutrition sources on earth. Take a look at this rundown from the USDA.

Egg tips:

– Choose organic or free-range eggs. Better yet, if you live near any farms, see about purchasing fresh farm eggs. The best yolks are a rich yellow.

– You can eat eggs after the “sell by” date, but definitely toss them a week beyond that. Fresh is best with eggs, both for safety and nutrition.

– If you aren’t sure about the freshness, plunk your egg in a bowl of water. If it rises, it’s old. If it sinks or bobs near the bottom, it’s fresh.

– It’s not really a smart idea to eat eggs every day, because allergies can sometimes develop (this is true of many foods). But several eggs a week is genius.

More Smart Fuel

[tags] egg, yolk, cholesterol, food [/tags]

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The 7 Habits of Thin (Healthy) People

Bibliona Flickr Photo (CC)

There are more diets than donuts, and the truth is that most of them will work in the short-term. But the reason few diets work long-term is because they are rarely sustainable for a number of reasons: boredom, severe restrictions, expense, impracticality, and so on. Most diets are vanity diets – we start them because we want to look sexy in that swim suit, rather than be fit and healthy. If humans actually thought with the end in view, we wouldn’t see such exorbitant rates of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

If you want to lose weight, I’d first encourage you to think about why you have the desire to do so. If it’s to impress everyone at your upcoming reunion, that’s certainly harmless (hey, we’re all vain). But I hope that you plan to lose weight for more than your reflection in the mirror. Studies show time and again that just a few pounds of weight loss can reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, depression and stroke. We don’t often think about the long-term, but we should. Changing your lifestyle right now – today – will yield you feel-good results for many years to come. And you’ll lose the weight sooner than you think, making a lifestyle change smart for the short-term, as well.

Here are seven essential steps for following a healthy lifestyle that will naturally shed those extra pounds. You cannot maintain long-term weight loss and simultaneous good health if you don’t make these changes.

1. Carbs: know good from bad

You frequent readers know that I ascribe to a diet rather like the “Paleo diet” or “Caveman diet”. My views on human biology inform my nutritional bent that I call “ Primal Health “. I recommend complete exclusion of all refined starches, sugars and grains, and beyond that, I recommend that you choose vegetables, fruits, squashes, and legumes over wheat-based grain carbohydrates such as pasta and bread. Know good carbs from bad carbs. You don’t have to eliminate carbs entirely to remain slender (unless you happen to be very intolerant to begin with, as I believe many of us are). Axing an entire macro-nutrient is a recipe for a health disaster (and serious boredom, let’s be honest). But you need far fewer carbohydrates – particularly the ones that rapidly spike your blood sugar – than the U.S. government’s food pyramid tells you to get. See my Carb Pyramid below for more help with this.

2. Fat: ditto

You cannot be healthy without fat. Period. Fat is required for all kinds of important processes in the body, including digestion and nutrient absorption. But it’s not simply about health: you likely will not be able to maintain fighting form without fat, as well. We all avoided fat in the 90s, and nobody got skinny – just diabetic and depressed, evidently. Fat is high in calories, but being so nutritionally dense, it’s a smart, hunger-staving source of fuel. You’ll actually be able to maintain a healthy weight more easily if you

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Clickativity: Deep Fried Pizza

Via fxcuisine.com

An important part of any sensible weight-loss plan!

On the agenda for today, Apples:

Mark’s Primal Health column will hit the page tomorrow, because for today we’re bringing you some more can’t-miss weight loss tips. So easy, a pizza could do it.

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Sweets: a Natural Pain-Killer?

Now here’s an interesting study, as reported at Science Blogs:

The smell of sweet odors helped participants withstand discomfort. Apparently, smelling something sweet specifically increases pain tolerance. Scientists compared three groups, exposing each group to a different smell (sweet, pleasant but not sweet, and unpleasant – civet musk). What’s interesting is that a sweet odor did not actually reduce the pain, but merely the ability to withstand it. There’s likely nothing causal here, as the article points out. We’ve learned – or have been taught – to associate sweets with pleasure.

Orangejuicy’s Flickr Photo (CC)

A marketing tidbit, apropros of sugar: bakeries and cookie shops and even some markets pump sweet scents through the air intentionally.

[tags] pain, science, medicine [/tags]

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Are Men Morons?

Apparently, when it comes to health, men can barely keep up with the family dog.

It started out innocently enough. To wit: the old Carl’s Jr. ad that featured a forlorn dude in the bread aisle attempting to choose the best loaf. Classic. But it just snowballed from there. Oh, there were always the typical, annoying commercials featuring wives who were just super-excited about things like cavity-preventing floss and allergy-friendly detergent – as if family life precludes personality – along with the obligatory grumbling husband. But the men-are-oafish-and-unhealthy motif was taken to a new level by Listerine. In the commercial, smarty-pants mom comes home with groceries and parades the goods in front of eager hubby and brood. Out comes the Listerine, and wouldn’t you know, the kitchen is suddenly a ghost town. For both kidlets and manlet have whisked themselves magically above Evil Mouthwash Lady’s head. Was this dazzling feat of flight made possible by jet propulsion? A magical sleigh? Chi? Who knows!

As if anyone, let alone a grown man, would be afraid of mouthwash, even junior has the right to tell dad he’s a total moron these days. In a recent breakfast cereal commercial a knowing youngster was forced to school dear old dad on how to eat a healthier breakfast – ‘cuz we want you around for a good long while, Pops. Oh, that Pops. He really needs to learn a thing or two.

But the trend of making men appear dumber than your average slug has reached a pinnacle of annoyance only matched by the Empire Carpets jingle. It seems every commercial of 2007 has accepted the “fact” that old Pops is just uninterested in health and that men only care about burgers. To that end, Burger King encourages guys to accept their stupidity and “eat like a man, man”.

Commercials portray a consistent message that women are genuinely thrilled by nothing more than the likes of mopping and killing germs (and this has been going on since television was invented). The men, however, apparently lack even that capacity for such heights of thrillery, for sadly, they are morons.

I guess we’re supposed to laugh at these portrayals. Admittedly, the above commercial is hilarious. But isn’t that why we have The Simpsons? I think it’s rather odd that companies openly mock the health I.Q. of half the population as a way of getting us to buy their products. I don’t think it’s the end of the world or anything – political correctness kills me – but it’s getting a little old!

[tags] Burger King, burgers, men, eat like a man, commercials, advertising, stereotypes, gender [/tags]

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10 Alarming Health Care Stats Put in Ruthless Perspective

Are we broken?

All signs point to yes: the obesity “problem”, the diabetes epidemic, Sicko at the box office. Yet we risk developing psychological immunity to the spiraling health care problems we face, if for no other reason than saturation. Let’s put our health care problems in perspective.

10. The pharmaceutical industry’s profit margin is six times greater than the average profit margin for all other industries.

The average Fortune 500 company can expect profit margins hovering around 3 per cent. Heck, if national growth beats 3 per cent it’s considered a swimmingly good economy. The pharmaceutical industry, however, consistently posts upwards of 18 per cent profit.

9. Twice as much money is spent on marketing drugs as developing and testing them.

Pharmaceutical companies spend over 15 billion dollars each year marketing their drugs (about half of that is in the form of free samples to doctors). About 7 billion a year is spent on R&D. It gets better: roughly one-fifth of employees work in R&D; two-fifths work in marketing.

8. The AMA is a sell-out organization.

The American Medical Association earns about 20 million dollars a year by selling information about doctors to the pharmaceutical industry.

7. Half of personal bankruptcies are due to unmanageable health care costs.

And three-fourths of those are with individuals who have existing health care coverage. Fortunately, our government has made it much harder to declare bankruptcy, so that totally fixes everything! Hooray!

6. America is one of the only industrialized nations that does not have nationalized health care.

Contrary to popular opinion that nationalized health care would create a wild ‘n crazy bureaucracy, this is patently and demonstrably false. Nationalized health care has already been successfully and efficiently implemented in most industrialized nations. In fact, single-payer national systems cost half as much as our glorious version. No more million-dollar salaries to CEOs or oceans of paperwork to deal with all the deductibles, HMOs, and premiums. In fact, 15 cents of every American health care dollar goes to simply handling all the paperwork of our patchwork system.

5. America is one of the sickest nations on earth.

Contrary to popular opinion that American health care is the best and Americans enjoy relatively long lives and good health, we are among the very sickest, fattest, shortest-lived of industrialized nations. In fact, our life spans and infant mortality statistics more closely resemble that of many developing nations. We spend the most money on drugs, the most money on surgeries, the most money on total health care, the most money on health insurance premiums, and we have the highest lost productivity costs of any nation. Period. You know who we beat? Latvia.

4. 18,000 Americans die every year because they do not have health insurance coverage.

50 million Americans have no health insurance. At least that many more are under-insured. We exacerbate our health care costs: Americans who do not have adequate care wait until routine health problems become severe, thereby greatly increasing both deaths and costs.

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