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: December 2009

Primal Eggnog

If ever there was a seasonal drink, eggnog is it. Imagine drinking eggnog on spring break or poolside during the summer… it just doesn’t work, does it? We’re getting towards the end of prime eggnog drinking season and if you don’t make a batch soon you’re going to have to wait until next December rolls around to have some. Now is the time to whip up a batch, and it’s easier than you might think. The little effort it does require is worth it; homemade eggnog has a pure, custard-like flavor and is less sugary and less full of questionable ingredients than most of the eggnog sold in stores. We’d actually forgotten how good homemade eggnog could be until one of our readers, Anna Salveson, reminded us. This recipe is inspired by the eggnog recipe she sent in and hers is included below, too. According to Anna she’s been continually making batches of eggnog all month to keep her family satisfied, which we think qualifies her as an eggnog expert.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone, and a happy new year!

My family and I are lucky enough to be celebrating the holiday season in Aspen this year. We’re playing, resting and relaxing before the new year begins. Before I get back outdoors, mimicking Grok in the snow, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their support this year. Thank you for reading Mark’s Daily Apple, for participating in the forums, for commenting on my articles and for being active participants in this little experiment meant to change lives for the better. I couldn’t do it without you! Happy Holidays!

And here are a few articles that I think are fitting for this holiday season:

Benefits of Benevolence

Spirituality and Health

The Many Uses of Junk Food

Cooking As a Spectator Sport

Choose Your Booze: A Guide to Healthy Drinking

Dear Mark: Low on Willpower

Will Momentary Compromises Derail Your Efforts?

Social Wellness, Or Why Friendship Should Be a Health Priority

80/20 Principle

80/20 Principle Revisited

The Power of Holiday Tradition

10 Active Ways to Celebrate the Holidays

Savoring the Holiday

What Happens to Your Body When… You Carb Binge?

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Is Organic All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Several months back, a major study comparing the nutritional value of organic food to conventional food made the rounds. Organic food, it found, was “no healthier” than ordinary food. There were no significant “differences in nutrient content,” and the study’s authors found “no evidence to support the selection of organic over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.” Hmm, so there were “differences,” but they were “unlikely to be of any public health relevance.” Okay – even if I accept that the differences were unimportant, there was a major, glaring qualifier: “nutritional superiority.” Going organic, then, doesn’t suddenly change the essential composition of a plant. A grape remains a grape (small differences aside), whether you use artificial pesticides or “natural” pesticides. I buy that, and I don’t think many people who support organic are arguing that industrial organic farms produce purer, more “appley” apples than conventional farms. They’re simply wary of ingesting the artificial chemical cocktails applied to conventional crops.

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The Value of Lab Values

Yesterday I challenged you to estimate my body fat percentage by looking at a recent picture. To be scientific about this little exercise I chose to reference as the correct answer the results of the “gold standard” hydrostatic weighing I had subjected myself to at the Malibu gym (it was actually a specialized truck that shows up once a year and performs the intricate and expensive underwater weighing tests for $60 each). 317 of you took a stab at guessing from the photo of me. It’s clear to me that many of you are quite good at estimating actual body fat levels (the average guess was 6.7%), but Gwen, anticipating the tenor of today’s post, took the prize with the closest guess at 12.5%… Ironically, that was also the highest guess of all and yet it was still a full 4 percentage points lower than what the actual “gold standard” test demonstrated. That’s right, my test score showed that I am 16.9% body fat. That’s 28 pounds of pure fat – if you believe the lab values. Even my wife Carrie tested lower at 13%. Am I really that fat? Probably not, but I went through this exercise to illustrate a point about which I will write today: that quite often, these so-called “gold standard” lab values are of little actual predictive value. Sometimes these tests are just plain wrong. And sometimes they can create far more problems than they solve. And if they are that far off when something is largely visible, what happens when they are dealing with more intricate hidden body chemistry? In this case, my jeans still fit loosely, so I really don’t care what the lab value was. I know the reality. But if I lived only by the lab values, I’d be inclined to start cutting calories immediately to lose weight.

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11 Tips for Kitchen Efficiency

Cooking can be an enjoyable, meditative, even therapeutic endeavor, but there are plenty of times when you just need to get dinner on the table. I hear from a lot of readers new to the Primal Blueprint who are dealing with the kitchen learning curve: how to condense shopping trips, how to assemble good Primal meals throughout the busy week, how to free up time for other activities outside the kitchen. A group of readers recently took up the discussion in our forum. I thought I’d throw out some of my own best suggestions for maximizing Primal cooking efforts but minimizing actual kitchen time – especially on busy work nights. I hope you’ll join the discussion and dole out your own favorite tips.

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Contest: Guess My Body Fat Percentage

Before we get to today’s actual post, I have a challenge. At the risk of sounding like a carny barker, guess my body fat and win a Damage Control Master Formula. The winner will be the one who, before tomorrow’s post, guesses what the “gold standard” hydrostatic test showed my body fat percentage to be – to the nearest tenth of a percent without going over. (Submit your best guess in the comment board.) If several people guess the same number, we will draw a winner from that group. Malibu gym members are specifically excluded from this competition (’cause that’s where I had the test done). This photo was taken around the same time.

UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Find out who won the contest and learn the value of lab values by clicking here.

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