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 2010

13 Holiday Gifts to Support a Primal Lifestyle

Whether you plan to herald the birth of an early Jewish radical, celebrate your Pan-African heritage and tradition, stimulate the lagging economy, perform feats of strength around the Festivus pole, observe the lighting of the menorah, or participate in Saturnalia, Yule, Modranect, or any of the other winter solstice celebrations, the latter half of December is generally devoted to gift-giving and gift-receiving. Or maybe you’re not religious at all and just use the season as an excuse to let friends and loved ones know how much they mean to you. That works just as well. Whatever your motivations for giving gifts, it’s important that they be meaningful to the recipient – that they reflect an understanding of what makes them tick. And so, since Primal living tends to be infectious, I imagine you need some good gift ideas for the meat-eating, barefooted, weight-lifting, lard-rendering grain-abstainers in your life. We do this every year, and it tends to serve two purposes: help people give Primal gifts and raise awareness of products that deserve to be seen. Today, I’ll try to do the same.

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The New Evolution Diet: An Excerpt (plus Art De Vany Answers Your Questions)

If you’ve been lurking in the Primal/Paleo community for any length of time, you already know who Art De Vany is. If not, here’s your chance to get a quick glimpse of the man who is billed as the grandfather of the modern Paleo movement. He’s been living this way for a quarter century, and his personal results speak to the long term benefits that come from emulating a hunter-gatherer existence. All of us who dabble in the Evolutionary realm owe Art a debt of gratitude for his early and continuous exploration of this lifestyle and philosophy that we all hold so dear. In fact, my own first few essays in the blogosphere were actually guest posts on Art’s site. And it was the enthusiastic response to those posts that helped convince me to try my own hand at this “blogging thing” back in 2006. Thanks, Art.

His long awaited book The New Evolution Diet goes on sale next week, and he has graciously provided an excerpt for you here today. I think you’ll find it thought-provoking on several levels (the math, the historical and personal perspectives, and especially that last line). While Art normally confines his comments and answers to his paid site (arthurdevany.com), he has agreed to lurk on MDA for a few days and answer as many of your questions in the comments section as he can. Make ‘em good, people. You can pre-order his book on Amazon right now (affiliate link), and it goes on sale officially December 21.

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Monday Musings: Dirt Deficit Depression, Active Learning, and Thought for Food

Things are nice and clean nowadays. You can easily go a day without seeing a single speck of visible dirt, while hand sanitizer stations dotting the modern landscape take care of the less visible stuff. This is, of course, an environmental novelty with big implications. We”re all familiar with how the extreme sterility of modern environments negatively impacts the ability of our immune systems to do their jobs. We get more exaggerated and sustained inflammatory responses to things that don’t really merit them. We get a lot more asthma and allergies, especially as kids. Well, a recent review in the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests it goes even further – all the way to clinical depression. To be more precise, dysfunctional inflammatory responses of imbalanced immune systems due to sterile environments are causing depression in kids. A lack of exposure to “old friends,” or the microorganisms normally present in dirt, food, and the gut, increase levels of depressogenic cytokines, so the natural inflammatory response to psychosocial stressors is “inappropriately aggressive.”

So, like I’ve said a bunch of times already, don’t fear the dirt. Exercise caution, however, when using this study as justification for shirking household chores.

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WOW: The Climb

25 Minute Climb

Variations on this WOW are encouraged. See the “How-to” and “Variations” sections below.

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 121

Author Gary Taubes of Good Calories, Bad Calories fame is coming out with a new book later this month, Why We Get Fat. If you’re not familiar with Gary, get familiar with him. He’s a truthbringer.

Meat makes you happy. Eating it and, apparently, also just looking at it. The Colbert Report certainly takes this news seriously; perhaps you should as well.

For all the folks who don’t know how to stay Primal while traveling, look no further than Dan Merk. The guy crams an entire Primal pantry into a collapsible travel cooler.  Remember, never leave home without a stick of butter.

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Tender Braised Brisket with Carmelized Onions and Tomatoes

Brisket is a little like meatloaf, in the sense that it’s a simple, unglamorous comfort food that everyone claims to have the best recipe for. The recipes all turn out to be pretty much the same, with minor variations, and they all lead to the same place: a hearty, gut-warming meal that will have you licking your plate at the end.

Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the breast section. It’s relatively thin and relatively tough, which means that long, slow cooking is the best approach. Many people favor slow grilling for brisket with a crispy coating and smoky flavor. This time of year, however, we favor braising because it requires very little effort and warms our house up with a savory, meaty aroma. The magic of slow-cooking never ceases to amaze, as the transformation brisket undergoes from a relatively inexpensive cut of meat to a meal that literally melts in your mouth is truly astonishing. In an oven, this transformation takes place in about 2 1/2 hours for a two-pound cut of brisket. In a slow cooker on high heat, about twice that.

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