The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
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...Tell Me More
It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!
I want to share my story because it has to do with beating my eating disorder through Primal living. When I was about 21 years (I am 29 now) I started on a quest for health. I was never super unhealthy compared to the average person. I didn’t grow up on fast food and my parents never bought the sugary cereals, but I basically grew up on a high carb diet. Usually pasta, bagels, and lasagna, which we thought were pretty good for us.
My quest for health had good intentions, but was always overshadowed by my doctor diagnosed Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder which happens to show its ugly face through food and my own body image issues. So instead of eating healthy JUST to be healthy, I became obsessed with being thin. My main goals were to take in as little calories as possible, eat zero sugar, eat whole grains, and eat very little meat (because I thought meat would make me fat). Here is what I ate daily for my first year or so of being “healthy”:
Whenever I think about antibiotics, I stymie my inner Star Wars fan and admit that it’s a good thing the Force isn’t real and Art Ayers is not actually a wizened microbiologist version of Ben Kenobi. Otherwise, he’d be internally wincing every few seconds as another round of antibiotics commences somewhere in the world and a few billion flora cry out in terror and are suddenly silenced, never to be heard from again.
I jest, sort of, but this much is true: every time you take antibiotics, billions of domesticated gut flora die. As I mentioned last week, antibiotics are designed not to target human cells, but the same cannot be said for the commensal bacteria living in our guts. See, most antibiotics don’t discriminate between “good” and “bad” bacteria. They target bacteria. They aren’t us, they are foreign entities, but we wouldn’t be us without them. We need them to function properly. It’s a bit like bringing in an exterminator to kill the bugs infesting your house, and the guy ends up killing your dog and making your cat act funny, along with killing the insects. The job is done, and he technically did what you requested, but now you have to tell your kid that Buddy moved to a farm upstate to go be a sheepdog and figure out how to deal with your cat peeing on the sofa and scratching up your stomach (leaky gut, get it?). Not very fun, and not what you bargained for.
It’s been my experience that people rarely have trouble eating more meat when going Primal. Sure, former vegetarians may struggle with the transition, but the average omnivore usually welcomes the opportunity to indulge more often. Vegetables, on the other hand, seem to present more of an issue. We don’t live in a very veggie friendly culture. Vegetables get a bad name from the overcooked, colorless portions served in schools to the tiresome model of bland “house salads” across America. (Can we all just agree that iceberg lettuce is just a handy wrapping agent – for real food?) I get emails and comment board questions from time to time asking how to incorporate more vegetables into a Primal Blueprint diet. Sometimes they’re from self-professed vegetable haters. Other times, folks are just looking for tips to expand their limited horizons in the produce section or in the cooking realm. Fall might not be the height of farmers’ market season, but it’s a good time to up your antioxidant intake. Why put off making a positive change? Let’s dig in.
Almost all of our Friday success stories have one thing in common (besides the whole Primal thing): they finally “decide to do something about” their health. Something changes. Their health, their stamina, the health of those around them change for the worse, or maybe a diagnosis is made. Whatever it is, life reaches a tipping point, after which change is a hurtling inevitability, moving almost of its own accord. And as you can see from their stories, success comes rather quickly. It’s a few months, sometimes up to a year, but when you consider the immensity of an entire life of ill health, those months or that year are mere blinks of the eye. After that, there’s really no going back.
Okay, but what does a tipping point look like? What does it feel like?
Apologies to everyone that has had a difficult time accessing Mark’s Daily Apple in recent days. Due to high traffic volume and technical issues I don’t begin to pretend to understand, we have experienced some site outages. Please hang in there as my team resolves this problem. Thanks, everyone!
Yesterday was the Malibu Marathon (and Half Marathon), and yeah, I snuck a peek. I could never do it myself, not ever again, but I always like to take a gander at the hordes of faithful. Tons of folks in Fivefingers (and even a few totally barefoot runners), about half of whom were either still heel striking, running with a total disregard for midline stabilization, or bobbing their heads up and down like pigeons trolling for scraps of bread. At that point, their heads are in the right place but they’re doing even more damage to themselves. Barefoot running isn’t a panacea. In fact, it opens you up to even more injury if you persist with the same shoe-centric running form you used before. Oh well. They’ll learn. I just hope the lesson takes before any serious damage is done.
This week, we’ve got questions on whether IF is safe for teens, whether the runner’s high is worth pursuing, whether stress can lead to weight gain, and whether matcha green tea matches up to the hype (see what I did there?). Let’s go.