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
An old friend who is in town recently shared with me, “I look back on life and can’t believe the amount of time and energy I’ve put into events that never even happened.” His observation, which I think more of us identify with than we’d care to admit, was testament to the massive power of self-talk and the endless tributaries it sweeps us down. “What about this?” “How would that work?” “What if x, y or z happen?” The infamous tides of when, where, how, and if drag us through the currents of hypothetical conversations, speculative planning, strategizing retorts and other means of conjectured insanity – most of which lead to total dead ends, blatant non-occurrences. Over time, many of us realize, as my friend did, that we’ve spent enormous amounts of effort and anguish living for these non-starters. Likewise, it may be the external obsessions as much as the emotional rabbit holes that snatch us away – the lure of gadgets and overworking among many others. In a culture where the mundane is viewed as undesirable, we’re convinced we need all manner of distractions just to tolerate much of everyday life, and so we absorb and increasingly apply the practice of checking out. Whatever the source of our diversion, what are the real implications of this mental absence? On the flip side, what’s possible when we can operate more fully in the moment?
Last week, I shared my evolving relationship with alcohol. I’m off it, basically. A big change has been at night; a glass or two of wine with Carrie used to be my nighttime ritual. It would help me unwind from a stressful day, relax and reconnect with my wife, and get me ready for bed. So when I decided to give up alcohol – or at least make it an occasional rather than regular indulgence – I knew I had to figure out another way to unwind before bed. I haven’t really settled on anything yet. I’ve only explored some of the research on nighttime unwinding and thought I’d share my findings with you.
I’m not going to include routine, everyday advice like “Read a book” or “Have sex” or “Listen to calming music,” despite their effectiveness. You already know about them so it would just be redundant (but do them nonetheless!).
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I answer one question and Carrie answers another. First up is one from Diane, a (full-time) working mother who’s noticed something interesting about her variable response to sprinting: when she’s relaxed and low-stress or on vacation, sprints lean her out; when she’s working and inundated with stress and responsibilities and concerns, sprints make her retain or even gain body fat. Since she realizes the power of sprinting and doesn’t want to give it up completely, Diane wants a few tips for hacking sprints on a high-stress lifestyle. Next, Carrie gives a quick overview of her transition into the Primal lifestyle and breaks down what Primal living looks like for her these days.
Let’s get into it:
After I mentioned it in last week’s 10 Principles of Primal Living (Finally) Getting Mainstream Media Coverage post, several readers emailed asking about leaky gut. What is it? How do I know if I have it? Why should I care if I have it? What do I do if I have it? And so on. Turns out many and maybe most people have but a vague idea of what leaky gut actually means.
Today, I’m going to fix that.
In most popular conceptions of human physiology, the gut exists primarily as a passive conduit along which food travels and breaks down for digestion and absorption. It’s where bacteria hang out and digestive enzymes go to work. It’s a “place,” an inert tunnel made of flesh and mucus. Lots of things happen there but the gut itself isn’t doing much.
We talk about aging gracefully, but what does it mean? How does one age gracefully? To me, it means ensuring your final years are good ones. Basically, we want to avoid the “regular” maladies of aging like dementia, osteoporosis, blindness, sarcopenia, and immobility. We want to live long and drop dead, not live long and wither away from a host of degenerative illnesses that prevent our ability to enjoy or even experience life, relegated to a bare room tucked away in a building somewhere. That scares me more than anything, more than heart disease or cancer or shark attacks: helplessness.
When I’m nearing 100, I want to be able to…
In response to last week’s “Rethinking Stress” article, a number of readers noted the relevancy of meditation to the insight. Meditation, of course, isn’t something that changes our outer circumstances. It’s an inside job, so to speak. It can change our processing of stress by shifting our relationship to ourselves and to our own cognitive responses and emotional patterns. The result? We over time come to view our own reactions and feelings from a more grounded distance. We learn to observe our emotions instead of letting them run the show. We learn, in essence, to talk ourselves down from our own trees.
Meditation can seem like such a lofty thing, but it doesn’t need to. Anyone can do it, and everyone can benefit. So today I’d like to explore meditation; the health benefits it confers, how it may fit into an ancestral framework, and how to get started. Let’s jump right in.