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
The 21-Day Challenge is simple in theory, but not always easy, especially if you are brand new to the Primal Blueprint and trying to change decades of bad habits and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. With the first week of the Challenge behind us, a couple days ago I asked you to share any questions you may have, and I promised I’d give you my thoughts. In today’s Dear Mark, I’ve tried to answer most of the submissions in a rapid fire format. If your question isn’t answered below, stay tuned. I’ll try to get to it in a future Dear Mark article. Also, be sure to check the comment section of Saturday’s post. There are tons of great answers from readers that are worth a look.
Let’s get to it!
Just like Primal eating flies in the face of any typical “diet,” so I think the 21-Day Challenge leaves most similar events in the primordial dust. Despite my penchant for boldness, why do I say this? For many reasons really. For one, because the Mark’s Daily Apple community never disappoints. Every year it blows the previous Challenge out of the water in terms of engagement, creativity and enthusiasm. But there’s something else – something more fundamental to the 21-Day Challenge – and the Primal Blueprint – themselves. Primal living doesn’t have need or patience for deprivation. It’s about enjoying the full measure of health, happiness and contentment. It’s about living the good life in every sense of the word – where your vision and values intersect with genuine well-being. The Challenge can be the ultimate kickstart to initiate or deepen or more fully personalize this possibility in your life. My vision for everyone: approach this 21-Day Challenge with an abundance mentality. Abundance? As in more than enough, plentiful, profuse, copious, bountiful, you ask? Yes to all of the above.
When it comes to living a healthy, Primal lifestyle, for the most part I’ve got things dialed in. There are very few things, if any, I’d change about my eating plan, my workouts, or my sleep schedule, for example, but there are some areas in which I know I can improve. Some major, some not so major. Like everyone does, I’d imagine. Nearly all of my struggles are related to finding a deeper sense of peace and contentment in this hectic modern world. In fact, I selfishly wrote a book, The Primal Connection, to give myself more tools and strategies to achieve the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from within that we all seek. (The book, you may be happy to know, recently won the Eric Hoffer award for best self-published book of 2013.)
While I’ve made some strides in these areas in recent years, the journey is never over. There is no perfect lifestyle or perfect diet or perfect workout. We all have something, or some things, we’d like to get better at. We all have struggles. So, today, I thought I’d share with you guys some of my personal struggles, as well as some ways for addressing and even overcoming them.
As much as we focus on food and fitness as the “physical” arbiters of health and longevity, there appears to be much more to it. In fact, most research fails to find any grand commonalities in the diet and fitness patterns of the longest lived. From Okinawans with their sweet potatoes to Japanese centenarians with their dairy to the Ashkenazi with their higher rates of smoking, drinking, and lower rates of formal exercise to the 107 year old with her butter, no exercise, and mistrust of medicine to the supercentenarians with their liver, bacon, wine, chocolate, and eggs to the other supercentenarians with their caloric restriction. Sure, they’re generally not eating Twinkies and Panda Express, but the secret to longevity – at least as it’s practiced by living centenarians – does not lie in one specific diet.
Last week, I made the case for the inclusion of chill-out, relaxing, and otherwise anti-stress teas and herbs, particularly for the stress-wracked among us (and who doesn’t deal with significant amounts of stress?). Several readers on the last post made the comment that, while effective, these tea ingredients don’t necessarily please the palate. I believe one even used “feet” to describe the flavor and aroma of valerian tea. That may be true, but I’d argue that when your sanity, your testosterone:cortisol ratio, and your mental well-being are on the line, pharmacological efficacy of a particular herb supersedes any concerns regarding its flavor. Stress kills, and, well, we want to live – and live well.
With that said, let’s look at a few more options. With any luck, you’ll find at least a couple that you can stomach and perhaps even enjoy.
A popular product class is the “sleepy time” tea. These are the teas which purport to help you unwind from a rough day, relax in the midst of exterior (or interior) chaos, and chill out in a state of relatively peaceful bliss. Many of us live in a state of constant stress punctuated by bouts of acute but transient ease of mind, when it should be the other way around (constant ease of mind punctuated by bouts of acute but transient stress), and these teas and their ingredients claim to help you correct the imbalance. But supplement manufacturers say a lot of things, not all of them true.
What works? What actually helps you ease troubled thoughts? What’s actually worth your money and the time it takes to brew a cup of hot water?