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: January 2010

Dear Mark: PUFAs

In last week’s Dear Mark I took up a reader question about trans fats. While we’re on the fat subject, I figured it was a good time to keep the conversation going and cover an email I got last week about polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Thanks to Brent for this one.

I loved your posts on trans fats last week, but now you have me wondering about all the other truths I know but can’t explain. How about polyunsaturated fat? When I was reading the Definitive Guide to Oils, I was having a rough time remembering exactly why PUFAs aren’t recommended. Can you jog my memory, Mark?

Let me take this one apart – separate out the good PUFA from the bad from the downright ugly. We’re talking everything from grains to nuts, corn and canola oil to fish oil. When it comes to PUFAs, it truly is a mixed bag.

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 81

Zen Habits delivers the goods again with an ultimate how to get lean guide. You may recognize (cough, cough) some of the contributors.

I hate to even mention this because of the sheer headline-grabbing sensationalism it wreaks of, but if you feel like shaking your fist at the ridiculous, a doctor in Britain wants to ban butter.

Like ham? Would you spend $3,000 for good ham? Check out the BBC‘s piece on the most expensive ham in the world.

A little BPA leaching couldn’t hurt, right? The NY Times reports on new concerns over BPA in your baby’s bottle.

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Fat Guacamole Devils

Breathing new life into a tried and true recipe is a simple way of adding variety to your diet. Take deviled eggs, for example. They’ve been around as long as any of us can probably remember, although you don’t see them at parties as often as you once did. It’s not because deviled eggs aren’t good, it’s just that they’re not that exciting anymore. You might, however,  start seeing them served more often again if enough people see the recipe for Fat Guacamole Devils Tamara Baysinger entered in our Primal Blueprint Cookbook Challenge.

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The Belly Whisperer

A little departure from our regular fare this Friday, the Worker Bee and I definitely had fun with this one. We’ve shared our thoughts on the Biggest Loser in weeks past. Now we show you what the future of weight-loss television could look like if it continues heading in the direction it’s in…

“Oh, here’s a good one. It’s called the Pound-O-Meter,” Joe Gideon chuckles and holds up a device that looks suspiciously like a bathroom scale. “It’s a bathroom scale. But we trademarked the term ‘Pound-O-Meter,’ hoping it would become synonymous with weight loss. “Want to measure your weight, American consumer? You’ll need a bathroom Pound-O-Meter! You can still find them at discount stores and outlet malls. I think I make thirteen cents every time one is sold.” Joe Gideon is 73, fairly trim for his age, with more salt in his hair than pepper. He sits at a soda-crate desk on a folding chair in a cramped office in the back of a cramped gym in Philadelphia. His desk is cluttered with diet pills, weight loss toothpaste, aerobic rubber headbands, eyelid-fat calipers, chocolate inhalers, and an array of other health products, all bearing his name or likeness. Fourteen years ago, this man ran one of the largest televised health franchises in the nation.

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GMOs: Safe for Consumption?

We’ve examined the arguments for and against GMOs in the past. Indeed, there are reasonable and valid points to be made on both sides of the issue. Nonetheless, we concluded that there are just too many red flags to support the industry’s direction in GM technology. Not only do GMOs drive the use of naturally occurring and regionally suited seed varieties into the ground, they lock farmers (including those in developing countries) into a legal deal with the devil – one that often comes back to haunt them. Their rampant subsidization further encourages farmers to raise the same garbage grains and other “staple” crops that undermine our public health. And then there are the nagging, unsettling questions about our physiological response to these organisms. What happens exactly when you eat plants grown from seeds that are synthesized with everything from bacteria to fish to herbicides? What happens when you eat the animals that ate these crops? How much do we really know about these GM crops? With that in mind, a good reader sent this recently published study my way. See what you think.

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The Definitive Guide to Oils

Before you can hope to make it as a speculator and start slingin’ barrels for big money, you’ve got to understand exactly what’s gushing forth from the earth’s crust. Yes, that’s right – it doesn’t start and stop just with crude, and there’s far more to oil than dinosaur bones. In fact, most experts agree that the bulk of crude oil is derived from prehistoric single-celled plankton remains. Then you’ve got the abiogenic theory, which posits that…

Er, wrong oils. Sorry.

Today’s post is actually about edible oils. Well, they’re all technically edible – they can all be swallowed and digested – but as for being palatable, let alone healthful? That remains to be seen. Not all oils are created equal, especially given the fact that most of the ones people use nowadays are actually created in an industrial laboratory. No oil “exists naturally,” mind you. Olive oil isn’t harvested by leaving open containers under leaking, dripping olives on the branch, nor is that liquid sloshing around inside a coconut pure oil. I’m not trying to disparage processing in and of itself. It takes a certain amount of processing to get any sort of oil, but a good general rule is to avoid consuming the oils that require processing on a large scale. If it involves an industrial plant, multiple stainless steel vats, a deodorizer, a de-gummer, and the harsh petroleum-derived solvent known as hexane, I wouldn’t eat it. But that’s just me (and Grok, who probably wasn’t processing wild rapeseed to get the precious canola oil).

But this is the Definitive Guide to Oils. Everything goes. No stone left unturned. No oil left un-tasted and bereft of analysis for fatty acid profile, oxidative potential, and rancidity proclivity.

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