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
A few months ago I wrote about the impact of noise – the constant din of traffic, flight patterns, crowds, etc. that we generally live with these days. Whether it’s an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or a decreased sense of mental well-being, we all pay a price for civilization’s soundtrack. I’ve been thinking a lot about the subject since that post and the thoughtful comments folks shared in response. (I have my contemplative moods like anyone else.) As is often the case with questions of health, the real issue isn’t just what to avoid (e.g. noise) but what to embrace in its stead. Loud and/or chronic noise is annoying, grating, even downright unhealthy. We agree we could all use less clamor in our lives, but is it as simple as turning down the volume in our society? Is silence just the absence of noise, or is there something deeper that defines silence – something we’d do well to understand, contemplate, or invite into our lives? When it comes to the real power of silence, does the peace stem simply from the quiet?
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
Albert Ellis, psychologist
This week a friend of mine lost her mother. A year and a half ago she’d been diagnosed with bone cancer. Despite numerous surgeries and treatments, the cancer continued to spread widely and was found in her brain two months ago. After accepting hospice a week ago, she died at home with her family. She was 57. By all accounts my friend’s mother was an active, youthful, gentle woman. “She lived quietly, with meaning and purpose, and loved deeply,” a close relative shared at the funeral. Her death got me thinking, as these events will, about the relative shortness of life – even for those who live to a ripe old age far beyond this woman’s years. How will any of us feel about how we’ve lived our lives when our own time comes? Have we taken ownership of every moment and accepted our choices – compromises, triumphs, screw-ups, and all? Will we feel like we’ve lived life on our own terms? Or, more tragically, will we realize we’ve wasted precious time always blaming others, blaming circumstances while we put off creating the healthy and fulfilling life we’d always wanted?
I’m off to NYC next week to spend a few days at the BEA (Book Expo America) and attend a meet-up organized by John and Melissa. I get a real sense of excitement and anticipation – and maybe a little unease – whenever I leave my pastoral digs in Malibu for the bright lights and big city. I love a good visit to a major metropolis, but the impending trip did get me thinking about the effects of city living on mental well-being.
Those who live in a city (by choice and not just circumstance) love something about the bustle. Where others see mayhem, they see mosaic. There are the people (and people-watching), the cultural offerings, the sporting events, the restaurants, the public space, the public transit, the eclectic neighborhoods, open air markets, street musicians, and general tapestry of cultural, commercial, artistic, and architectural nuances that make for rich living. On the other hand, there are the massive throngs of said people and their vehicles moving at every speed, in every direction. There are the flashing lights from every corner and kiosk. There’s the perpetual roar of traffic, the horns, sirens, and car alarms that go off at 3:00 a.m. There’s the pollution, the crime, the buses that don’t stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
Blogging is the lifeblood of the growing Primal/paleo movement, as you know, and new veins, arteries, and capillaries are popping up every day. I’m calling this the underrated blog post, but really, given the steadily increasing span of the community, even the most underrated blogger has a fair amount of readership. In fact, as I review my list of “underrated blogs,” they all get a significant amount of readers and comments. Oh well, they’re still worth listing. I suppose you could say we’re all underrated in the grand scheme of things.
I did a similar thing a year ago, and it’s time to do it again. The blogs I listed in 2010 remain essential, but these all deserve consideration to be included in your blog rotation. They’re not all Primal, or even strictly paleo, and some of them rarely ever mention exercise and nutrition, but they will enrich your lives and broaden your knowledge base.
Scenario time. You’re in the grocery store picking up the last couple of things for dinner. Pushing your cart through the small throng who also stopped on their way home from work, you weave your way through with the obligatory, alternating “excuse me” and “pardon me.” You fumble through your pocket for the list you’d scribbled last minute on a post-it. Hmmm… good sale on chicken thighs. The familiar ding of a text notification goes off with your partner’s reminder of one more thing needed from the store – spinach. You reach over and grab the onion you were looking for and go in search of the garlic. Annoying music over the speakers. Better check work email one more time. “Ooops. Sorry about that,” you remark after bumping someone’s cart. The person grimaces at you with a passive aggressive nod. Thanks. There’s the email response you were waiting for. Great, another meeting on the same issue. You’ll have to gather materials to email tomorrow for everyone. What else was on the list? Don’t forget to wash the whites tonight. There’s the garlic. Why is it necessary to waste more time on that project? Tonight is the night to fix the shutters. After dinner. No, after the kids are in bed. Man, that was a mother of a wind storm last week. It would be nice to have a free night for once. That Netflix movie has been sitting there for how many weeks? Maybe just cancel the service. Why bother? Checkout. Long line. Geez, that person has how many bags of Cheetos? Any good magazines while I stand here? Celebrity baby bumps – who cares? Next in line finally. Hmmm… didn’t know she was pregnant. Wait, the d–n spinach! Groan.
What can you smell around you right now? Food? Coffee? Copier ink? Soil? Cleaners or chemicals? An office mate’s cologne from twenty feet away? It’s true we apprehend the world primarily through pictures and sound unlike, say, our canine friends. If we lose our sense of sight or hearing, we embark upon a physically, emotionally, and socially challenging journey of adaptation. If we lose our sense of smell, it’s strange and unfortunate, but life goes on pretty much the same as it always did. Nonetheless, smell still pervades our interaction with the world (and each other) in ways we don’t appreciate or even fully understand.