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
I recently read a piece from the New York Times in which the author, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, recounts her lifelong struggle with dieting and body acceptance and her relationship to food. She tackles the failure of most “diets,” the fat acceptance movement, the Weight Watchers-as-support-group phenomenon, the Oprah Winfrey body weight yo-yoing. What makes it an effective article is that, rather than cast herself as dispassionate journalist reporting the facts, Akner is elbows deep. She herself is the subject as much as anything else. It’s a powerful article. Go read it.
The article doesn’t come to a neat conclusion. There’s no prescription at the end. It meanders. It explores. It’s messy. I think that’s exactly how most people feel when trying to tackle this diet/health/bodyweight/eating thing: confused, lost, conflicted, overwhelmed. Go look at the comment section from the article, and you’ll see that pretty much everyone got something different from it.
My friend, former co-competitor, business partner, and writing buddy Brad Kearns had been on a “Quantified Self” kick, tracking biomarkers, testing blood sugar and ketone levels, and staying abreast of all the various ways we can quantitatively check our progress. He’s months into a ketogenic experiment and had hoped to marry his subjective impressions to objective measurements to strengthen his intuition and improve his results.
The microorganisms that reside in, on, and around our bodies influence almost every facet of our well-being. Part of maintaining microbiome health is maintaining homeostasis. Another is supporting diversity.
Our goal, then, is to improve our microbiological real estate in the many areas of the body that commensal and symbiotic bacterial like to put down roots—the gut, mouth, lungs, skin, reproductive organs, and so on. The average Primal enthusiast is well-versed with the role of food choices and smart supplementation (although research is always uncovering new wrinkles—more on this to come).
I thought I’d give a little attention to some of the other basic practices that can influence microbial diversity and homeostasis. There are more answers and nuances than I can cover today, but let’s start with some of the fundamentals.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a couple questions from readers. First, is nature always relaxing and blissful? Or are there instances where being in nature is far more stressful than being indoors? Why, and what should we do about it? Second, how do I use fish sauce, and how would a parent use fish sauce to get picky kids to try (and like) new foods?
Last week I waded into the adaptogen theme, examining the many ins and not-so-many outs of American and Asian ginseng. It got me thinking—why not keep the ball rolling? The ginseng varieties I mentioned are only two among many adaptogens after all.
Let’s dive right in and take up three additional adaptogen choices—along with some additional suggestions for discerning the safest and most potent formulations.
In a few months, I’ll be releasing a book extolling the virtues of a ketogenic diet. I’m currently several months into a ketogenic experiment, which is going well. I just wrote a Definitive Guide explaining why you should consider going keto. I’m on record as stating that everyone should dip into ketosis from time to time. You’d think I’d recommend that everyone go keto. Right?
There are caveats. There are contraindications. There are very good reasons for a person not to go keto, or at least to take a few extra precautions. Today, I’m going to tell you when you should exercise particular care when considering a ketogenic diet.