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
Transitioning to the Primal Blueprint way of eating should be simple. There’s no need to invent the wheel at every meal. That said, it does likely mean shifting some of your routine in the kitchen. If you’re used to processed food, enjoy getting your hands a little messier. If you’re used to take-out, capitalize on the chance to use your creative skills. (Don’t worry, you’ve got an abundance of recipes and cookbooks right at your fingertips.) That said, all Primal cooks—beginners to old-timers—can make life easier with a few select tactics.
Five years ago, I wrote about all the odd animal bits one can find at ethnic markets. I procured and photographed the blood, the guts, the tendon, the tripe, the tails and heads and feet and all the other weird things you can and should eat—meaty bits you won’t find in the local Whole Foods.
Today, I’m going to talk about the weird plant bits available in ethnic markets—spices, greens, roots, noodles, and fermented things.
Standard Primal eating is quite simple. Meat, veggies, and perhaps some starch. That’s partly what makes it so effective and intuitive. As far as dietary lifestyles that call for making most of your food from scratch, the Primal Blueprint is one of the easier ones.
As a red-blooded American, most of the recipes I post on MDA and publish in my books are “Primalized” versions of American cuisine. It’s only natural. So you get Primal meatloaf, Primal casserole, Primal pancakes, and other familiar fare. I even published an entire cookbook devoted to it called Primal Cravings.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t like different flavors. I do.
You’re reading a blog about nutrition. You’re clicking links to scientific studies and abstracts. You’re in deep. You obviously care about the quality of the food you eat and the effect it has on your health.
But you also know that perfect is a myth. We can’t achieve it, and if we think we can and spend all our time obsessing over perfection, we usually subvert our own goals. Perfection becomes the enemy. But better is always within reach, and today I’m going to give you a few ways to improve your nutrient intake and make your food healthier and safer. Who’s in?
Primal eaters like eggs and eat many of them. What’s not to love? Highly bioavailable protein. Extremely nutrient dense. A good source of fat, including omega-3s if you pick the right type of egg. Versatile; good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It even comes in a tidy little package that travels well. And eggs are inexpensive, especially for the amount of nutrition and enjoyment you get. Yeah, eggs are good. Real good.
We don’t want to squander this precious gift from the feathered gods. So today, I’m giving you my top 22 tips, tricks, and guidelines to make the most of your eggs.
It’s time, yet again, for another edition of Dear Mark. As per usual, I’m doing a roundup of reader questions. First, I cover high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. It’s the subject of an ongoing study that’s been getting a lot of play in the media, and, while we don’t have access to the as-yet-unpublished research, we do know a little something about HIIT from numerous other studies. Next, a reader asks about the effect of cooking on the omega-3 content and stability of salmon. I provide a bit of research and attempt to assuage his despondency about what he sees as a lack of reliable seafood. Finally, I give my take on the gluten-free baked goods phenomenon. Sure, it’s gluten-free, but does it belong in a Primal eating plan? Read on to see what I think.
Let’s get to it:
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another round of Dear Mark questions and answers. This week I’m answering four reader inquiries. First, I discuss the suitability of tanning beds, and try to give the best answer I can muster given the lack of hard evidence either way. Next, I cover whether or not a guy should definitely eat breakfast. Dr. Jack Kruse’s leptin protocol, which prescribes eating a high protein breakfast upon waking, is getting pretty popular and having some incredible results, but is it necessary for everyone? Then I field a question about cooking with essential oils. They may not be the powerful healing agents promised by aromatherapy, but can they replace dry and fresh herbs and spices? Looks like it (maybe). And then I give a quick response about glycerol-bound stevia versus powdered stevia. All in all, a nice little selection of questions, I think.
Let’s dig in:
Marrow is great and all, but what about the bones that aren’t blessed enough to bear the sacred gel in easily extractable amounts? We can’t forget about those. Chicken backs, beef knuckles, ham hocks, chicken feet, lamb necks, hooves and any other animal-derived matrices of calcium phosphate and collagen fibers are all worth saving, cooking, and perhaps even eating. Hell, I bet elk antlers would make a fine, mineral-rich soup. The best part is that bones, feet, hooves, heads, and connective tissues are all pretty inexpensive, sometimes even free, parts of the animal. They also represent an entirely different realm of nutritional content than basic muscle meat, being complex organs playing multiple roles in the body.
Cooking can be an enjoyable, meditative, even therapeutic endeavor, but there are plenty of times when you just need to get dinner on the table. I hear from a lot of readers new to the Primal Blueprint who are dealing with the kitchen learning curve: how to condense shopping trips, how to assemble good Primal meals throughout the busy week, how to free up time for other activities outside the kitchen. A group of readers recently took up the discussion in our forum. I thought I’d throw out some of my own best suggestions for maximizing Primal cooking efforts but minimizing actual kitchen time – especially on busy work nights. I hope you’ll join the discussion and dole out your own favorite tips.
Just when you feel you’ve made the successful transition to Primal eating in everyday life, you stumble upon a scenario that sends you back to the drawing board. For some people, it’s the holidays. For others, it’s travel. For reader Brian, it’s regular camping trips into the real “primal environment”:
Each summer and throughout the year, I spend weeks at a time leading hiking, backpacking and camping trips in the backcountry. While this seems like it’s definitely a primal activity, traditional backpacking fare consists of oatmeal, tortillas, granola, peanut butter, pasta, rice, and beans. These foods are light, compact, durable, will fill you up, do not need to be refrigerated, and are easily packable. At the end of each week, though, I always feel worn out – depleted, almost – and I realize now that it is probably because of what I eat. Do you have any primal menu suggestions for those of us who actually live, at times, in a primal environment? (Hunting and gathering are unfortunately not viable options.) Thanks!