Meet Mark

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...

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Tag: grass-fed

Dear Mark: Grass-Fed vs Grain-Finished, Lamb Feedlots, and What About Grass-Fed Eggs?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few questions about grass-feeding several of you raised in last week’s comment section. First, is there a difference between grass-fed and grass-finished?What is the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished? Next, is it true that lamb is by definition grass-fed? Are there actually lamb feedlots, or can we be certain that the lamb we eat lived a fairly decent, grassy life? And finally, what about grass-fed eggs? Does such a thing even exist? After all, when most of us think about happy egg producers, i.e. fowl, are they munching away on their fair share of freshly sprouted greens?

Let’s find out:

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Grass-fed Vs. Conventional: When Does It Matter Most?

By now, you’re convinced of the general overall superiority of grass-fed, pasture-raised meat. If you come at it from the nutrition angle, grass-fed wins across the board. If you’re more concerned with the ethics of animal husbandry, grass-fed animals live overall better lives than animals in concentrated feedlots. If you worry about the use of antibiotics in agriculture and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, grass-fed animals receive less medication (and sometimes none). Whatever your inclination, animals who range free and nibble their biologically appropriate diet of various grasses tend to be happier, healthier, and produce more nutrient-dense meat, milk, and fat. It’s objectively “better.” Even an honest vegan will admit that.

But the stuff is expensive. I have the luxury of buying and eating solely grass-fed, pasture-raised meat and dairy, but not everyone can. Most folks have to choose. They have to pick their battles. Today’s post will help you choose wisely.

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8 Ways Going Primal Can Help the Environment

No, you yourself can’t save the world. You personally won’t make a dent in the climate, or the amount of plastic in the ocean, or the number of cute baby seals that are bludgeoned to death. But collectively, we can. The choices we make, the things we value, the food we eat, the way our food is raised, who we buy our food from, and how we conduct our day-to-day lives in attempted harmony with our Primal natures really does seem to mesh well with the environment. Multiply those small personal choices by millions of readers (and their dollars) and you get real change.

I’m not putting any extra pressure on you. These are things you’re already doing, by and large. These are the ways going Primal can actually help, not harm, the environment.

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Dear Mark: Bone Broth Edition

With bone broth bars popping up in cities, broth-based cookbooks appearing on Amazon, and grass-fed bone broth now available for order online, hot bone water is experiencing a renaissance. And not just among Primal devotees. Dr. Oz is recommending it as a coffee replacement and Kobe Bryant uses it to support his aging body. The renewed popularity has brought an endless string of questions from readers, and today I’m going to answer some of them. Is bone broth truly a miracle food? Yes, but maybe not for the reason you suspect. Should you make deer bone broth? Yes, with a caveat. Does adding vinegar to your water really increase the mineral content of your broth? Probably not as much as you think. Do beef brisket bones work? Yes. And finally, what are the best parts from each animal for making broth? I give a slightly more detailed answer than “All of them.”

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Nutrient Deficiencies and Fatigue, Anxiety, CLA Supplements, and Plant-Derived Oils

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions from readers. First up, are there any specific nutrient deficiencies that can contribute to fatigue? Which minerals and vitamins should you shore up when experiencing malaise? Next, what’s the deal with anxiety? Does it serve an evolutionary purpose, or is it just a pathological condition? Third, is there a place for conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation in a healthy diet and lifestyle? I dig into the studies to help you decide. And finally, what plant-derived oils beside just avocado oil are good to use when staying Primal?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Preventing Age-Related Muscle Loss, Sprouted Barley-Fed Meat, and a Pistachio Downside

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got three questions and three answers. First up is a question from Casey, whose father is losing strength and muscle despite maintaining an active lifestyle. What can he do — dietarily and otherwise — to staunch and reverse the losses? Next, Australian cattle farmers are increasingly turning to sprouted grain as a replacement for standard grain feed. How does it compare to pasture feeding? Are there nutritional differences between sprouted and regular grain fodder? And finally, what do we make of the recent study showing negative effects in cyclists who ate a high-pistachio diet for two weeks? Should we rethink our stance on pistachios — and nuts in general?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Vegetarian-Fed, BCAAs, and Bland Grass-Fed Beef

You’re at the store, and you want to get some beef. You’ve been keeping up with the word on the street, so you’re aware of the importance of the cow’s diet. You look around for grass-fed beef, but have zero success. They do, however, have “vegetarian-fed” beef, which sounds nice. I mean, who wants their beef eating animal parts? And aren’t vegetarians pretty healthy? Why, I bet vegetarian-fed cows are even healthier! Eh, not so fast. What does it really mean? Anything? Labels can be tricky. Usually are, in fact, by design. And sneakiness works.

So – do these labels actually tell us anything we didn’t already know? Let’s find out the answer to this and other reader questions.

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Dear Mark: Vitamin K2, Washing Eggs, Tapioca Flour, Short Term Grain Feeding, and a Raw-Fed Pack

I both love and hate the time change that just happened. Those first few days are magical. You wake up on Sunday at around 5:30, and you’re raring to go. Full of energy with a whole day ahead of you, plus an hour. It’s like time slows down and you’re ahead of schedule on everything. It’s always an hour before you thought it was, no matter what time it is. But then you get used to the time change, and you notice it’s getting dark out at like four in the afternoon. The afternoon ceases to feel like the afternoon. You get sleepy earlier, which is a good thing in some ways, but I also like to get in something outdoorsy later in the day. Maybe a hike, maybe some paddling. I can’t do that anymore.

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Human Interference Factor

Have you ever had wagyu beef? Wagyu is the breed of cattle from which the infamous kobe beef is derived: highly marbled, impossibly tender. I mean, this stuff is ridiculous. I’ve had wagyu steak that you could cut with your fork, no knife required. It can actually be too melt-in-your-mouth tender for me. I’m not saying I like meat tough and stringy, but I like to know I’m actually eating something’s muscle tissue. At PrimalCon 2011, the wagyu steaks were grass-fed, grilled perfectly, and not overly tender or excessively marbled. Just great. I suspect they were a wagyu-angus crossbreed, which is true for most wagyu raised in the US. I can get behind wagyu like that.

So why am I talking about wagyu beef (why not?) and what does all have to do with “human interference factor”? Well, last week I happened across an interesting science story in a newspaper. It was your typical science reporting – kind of vague and prone to make broad proclamations based on limited evidence – but the study being referenced got my attention. In it, Australian researchers compared the postprandial inflammatory markers of patients after eating either 100 grams of wild kangaroo meat or 100 grams of Australian wagyu beef.

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Dear Mark: Marcona Almonds, Olives, Grass-Fed Whey, and Carbquik

If you weren’t at UCLA this weekend for the Ancestral Health Symposium, you really missed out on the brainiest, brawniest, most physically and mentally impressive gathering I’ve been witness to. My hat’s off to the organizers (and my friends), Aaron Blaisdell and Brent Pottenger, and all the presenters and volunteers who made it happen. It went more smoothly than I’ve ever seen a conference of this magnitude go – and this was the inaugural one! I’m looking forward to the future and I’ve got a good feeling that this weekend will prove to be a powerful milestone in the story of the movement. All the presentations were filmed. I’ll alert you when they become available.

Let’s get to the questions. I field a Marcona almond query, discuss the unpalatability of raw olives, explain my stance on grass-fed whey protein, and lambast Carbquik.

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