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: October 2009

Dear Mark: How to Politely Pass on Dessert

It’s a common question I get: how to graciously decline the proudly presented delicacy, the traditional or long-labored sweet, the celebratory dessert. Like it or not, desserts are woven into our cultural doings and gatherings. As one reader put it recently, “I’ve been trying to go quasi-primal for about 6 months and have had very good results. A challenging situation that I’ve experienced is declining dessert offers from friends who LOVE to bake. How do I politely decline a chef’s generosity without offending them?”

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 68

You may notice a few adjustments to the regular Weekend Link Love. I’ve decided to add the Recipe Corner as a permanent fixture (including perhaps the best link in the history of MDA linkage, Grok chefs will know it when they see it). And I’ve added a new “Time Capsule” section which contains posts that were popular on this week one or two years ago. It’s a great way to find hidden gems in the annals of MDA history!

What is The Roman Box, and how will it help you lose weight better than any diet or fitness plan? Head over to Pay Now Live Later to find out.

Early in the week I discussed the importance of muscle balance and symmetry. Someone needs to pass the message along to this German armwrestler.

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Italian Sausage Meatballs with Fresh Herbs

Perhaps there is a more eloquent way to say it, but Shalon perfectly describes the flavor of the meatballs she entered in the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Contest with this quote: “They satisfy my mmm, goodness requirement.”

It’s true. “Mmm” is likely to be the first thing out of your mouth when you take a bite, thanks to a flavorful combination of ground beef (or bison) and sweet Italian sausage. Italian sausage is traditionally made from pork but chicken and turkey varieties are also out there. Fennel seed, which has a slightly sweet and very faint licorice-like flavor is the distinguishing characteristics of sweet Italian sausage. The Italian sausage perfectly matches other ingredients in the meatballs like fresh herbs, garlic and red pepper flakes. You can dip the meatballs in ketchup or mustard if you want, but with so much satisfying flavor packed into them you’ll be completely satisfied eating the meatballs unadorned.

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Book Tour Update

(This video can’t be embedded, so when you click the screen you’ll be directed to a new site – kcra.com – that hosts the video.)

An update on last week’s event announcement:

Early this week I hit the road for a mini book tour in Northern California. I started off shooting a spot on NBC’s local news affiliate (KCRA) in Sacramento (video above). Between this and a stop at another local news station (this time in Reno, NV) I had the pleasure of giving my first official Primal Blueprint PowerPoint presentation to CrossFit Genesis and other Primal enthusiasts in Roseville, CA. The response was overwhelming. It was unbelievably inspiring to meet people one-on-one that are turning their lives around with the PB lifestyle behaviors. You see, I get emails every day from readers with success stories; we have dozens of them showcased here, and many others have been featured on MDA. I cherish every one of these as life affirming tales of personal triumph. But there is something altogether different to have someone approach you, tears welling up in their eyes, to tell you that you’ve changed their life. It was an incredible experience for which I am immensely grateful.

I want to thank everyone that came out. And special thanks goes out to Phil Mancini at CrossFit Genesis for being such a gracious host. I had a wonderful time and hope to be able to do it again sometime.

As The Primal Blueprint begins to make its way on to store shelves I’ll be holding more speeches and events like this. In fact, in early November I’ll be back on the road. This time to San Francisco to film a spot on ABC’s “View of the Bay”. I am planning on setting up another speech or two, so if you’re in the San Francisco area stay tuned. I’ll be providing updates in the next couple weeks.

Check back tomorrow for another reader-submitted Primal recipe. Have a great weekend, everyone, and Grok on!

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Bodyweight Exercises and Injury Prevention

Despite our recent spate of posts extolling the many and varied benefits of heavy resistance training, I’ve actually been moving away from the weight room for a couple reasons. Foremost is my desire to stay active and as injury-free as possible. While I still wholeheartedly endorse and believe in lifting hard and lifting heavy, at my age I’m starting to realize that the potential for injury – at least for me, personally – is too great to risk spending three days lifting heavy things on a weekly basis. At this point in my life, my motivation is simply different. I’m not really interested in pushing myself to the limit, let alone past the limit (realistically, those days are behind me); I’m instead focusing on maintaining my current performance. It’s almost a Buddhist thing where I’m content with my strength and my body (and have been for a long time now), rather than dissatisfied and constantly striving for more. I also Grok (or “own”) the notion that my diet dictates 80% of my body composition, so I really don’t have to work so hard to maintain muscle mass, strength, power, body fat etc. I’ve touched on this in the past, but a recent email from reader Griffin made me realize a substantial post was in order.

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The Danger of Muscle Imbalances and the Importance of Symmetry

Symmetry is a beautiful thing. It seems to be nature’s preferred state, at least in the structure of organisms: two eyes for stereoscopic vision (the better to hunt you with), two legs of equal length for injury-free traversal of the environment, two hands, two arms. For all intents and purposes, the two sides of the body are approximate mirror images of each other, with corresponding muscles and ligaments and tendons. Our anatomical symmetry is obviously a product of evolution, because a balanced body simply works better. Kids born with right legs an inch or two shorter than the left are more prone to injury, just as cars with bigger wheels on the left will be more prone to disrepair. Objective human beauty is determined by symmetry of the facial structure, as if we’re innately drawn to balance. A balanced body structure, too, is objectively attractive, because it connotes strength and competence in matters of survival (war, hunting, protection). It becomes clear that if symmetry weren’t important for survival in this environment, it wouldn’t have been selected for, we wouldn’t be drawn to it, and plants and animals would have assumed entirely different forms. Maybe we’d be amorphous blobs just kind of oozing around (as opposed to the amorphous blobs with legs and arms that presently populate our planet).

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