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!
After one full year of Primal Living, I thought now was as good a time as any to share not only my story, but my thanks as well for where I am today.
I feel alive for the first time in years!
A friend of mine had been chirping in my ear for months about Primal/Paleo as well as her obsession with CrossFit. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm was a bit much at times, but it was nonetheless curious to me. I had spent the past few years living a high stress, sedentary, and depressed lifestyle which, looking back on now, was extremely unhealthy and setting me up for an early demise. It’s odd how easy it is to blind yourself to the unhealthy actions you take upon yourself without a conscious understanding of their effects. However, after a few emotional breakdowns and panic attacks that hit me in the latter half of 2011, my awareness became attuned to the dire emotional and physical situation I had put myself in.
In the midst of topical wound ointment, baby wearing, and gynoid fat, sometimes it’s nice to just back up and focus on the basics. How much more fundamental does it get really than getting up in the morning? I think we can safely count it as square one. Whether you’re stopping by today as a Primal newbie or old timer, most of us need the reminder at some point. Ah, morning. It’s an alternately grim and comical scene in most American households. There’s the snooze parade, rumpled faces, chronic grouchiness, catatonic showers, coffee frenzy, mad dashes, and neon colored breakfast with cartoon characters (fun prize included!). We’re quite a species to behold at 6:30 a.m. What can we do to change this picture? Is there such a thing as a Primal morning short of rising from a sleeping bag in a remote corner of mountain wilderness? You decide. A more approachable goal this morning might be this: what can make the morning feel – and be – a little healthier and happier?
As Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal community have grown in popularity, I hear a lot of stuff bandied about. Some of it is positive, some negative, and that’s to be expected. You can’t please everyone – I would probably be surprised if no one ever criticized me. However, I’ve noticed that for whatever reason, some people have a skewed perception of my opinion on certain issues. Maybe it’s my fault for not being more clear. Maybe they just haven’t plumbed the depths of MDA (I don’t blame them; it’s got some deep archives) to find the truth, instead going on what someone else told them. But whatever the reason, I have an obligation to set the record straight. I don’t want people getting the wrong idea about me or my ideas.
In this post, I’m going to describe five common misinterpretations about me and then explain where I truly stand. You may still disagree with me. That’s cool. At least then you’ll be able to criticize me for what I actually said or wrote.
So, what are some things people assume about me that are wrong?
Every so often, people ask about foods that are clearly not Primal. While the more diehard among you might expect me to ignore and lambast these fine folks, I think this is the wrong tactic. We can’t have any sacred cows (except, perhaps, grass-fed ones) in this business; we must always be willing to examine our beliefs and explore “forbidden” foods. If some of them turn out to be not so bad – or even beneficial – we end up with even more choices. And that’s generally a good thing to have. Plus, even though most of the questionable foods may not end up getting “Primal approval,” at least we’ll be more informed and better prepared to make good choices when we decide to “stray” or cheat. Because cheating is going to happen. Because the 80/20 rule is a good rule to follow. Why not know what we’re getting into? Why not lean toward harm reduction, even as we eat something that isn’t exactly Primal?
That’s ultimately what this ongoing series is all about.
In today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll be covering a trio of topics. First is a parent with a problem common to members of her species: enforced sleeplessness. She wants, nay, needs, help with amelioration of the situation. Normally, I’d say “get more sleep,” but the point is that getting adequate sleep isn’t always a choice. Next, I discuss some potential causes of, and strategies for, chronically cold extremities. Luckily for the reader, strategies for fixing cold extremities can be as enjoyable as eating more food, using more salt, and breathing more mindfully. Finally, I allay a reader’s concern with the “sweet feed” being used to supplement the mostly-grass-and-hay diet of the cows he hopes to eat.
A new study (of old, “missing” data) found that reducing saturated fats (to below 10% of energy intake) from animal fats and increasing omega-6 linoleic acid from polyunsaturated margarines (to 15% of energy intake) increased the risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease. Okay, but those are just clinical endpoints. Who cares about those? I want to know what happened to their cholesterol levels.
An “active lifestyle approach” (raking leaves, gardening, walking to the store) was just as beneficial as a “structured exercise approach” in reducing metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, those in the “active lifestyle” group were far more likely to get the recommended 30 minutes of “exercise” a day.