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
I’ll be serving up a traditional post soon, but I thought I’d check in and see how everybody is doing. I know we have a LOT of folks participating in the 21-Day Challenge led by my excellent staff. It’s been exciting to watch from the sidelines this week—to see them share their best tips and connect with our audiences.
If you aren’t joining the crew on Vimify (or if you are!), you can check out their Instagram Story videos and photos from the Mark’s Daily Apple, Primal Blueprint, and PRIMAL KITCHEN® Instagram accounts. (Just click on the circle logos when you pull up the app to see the latest additions.) The staff and videos are all different, so you’ll get the most by following all three channels. Definitely worth popping in and seeing what they’re up to!
Have a great day, everybody, and Grok on!
Before I delve into Dear Mark questions today, I want to put out the reminder that the June 21-Day Staff Challenge begins TODAY! The community board on Vimify is already hopping this morning as folks share their goals in the Challenge and what they’re doing today toward those intentions.
As I mentioned in last week’s Summer Reset post, this Challenge is all about getting a foothold on the summer you want. It’s about living the good life at its finest and healthiest.
At the onset of our annual 21-Day Challenge this past January, I offered up a post that proposed thinking small—“41 Primal Action Items and Individual Experiments for Success in 2017.” The idea here wasn’t shrinking our scope to the exclusion of big visioning, but homing in on the day to day aims we can set for ourselves that make the big changes happen.
I think June is a good time to revisit that premise—and to host another 21-Day experience for those more inspired in the summer months.
For all the focus on hearts and arteries, brain tissue and muscle mass, we tend to neglect one critical part of the body with dramatic influence over how we fare in later decades. It’s little surprise really. Feet don’t exactly garner much attention, let alone media time. Yet, the stakes are big.
For example, research shows that foot conditions like hallux vagus (HV, a common forefoot deformity in older people commonly referred to as “bunions”) was directly associated with marked decreases in quality of life. Foot pain, reduced foot function, lowered social capacity, and even degraded general health. That sort of thing.
But that’s just one foot condition, right? Yes…and no. The picture of averages looks rather bleak.
Autoimmune diseases really throw the body for a loop. You’re attacking your own tissues. Your inflammation is sky high. What’s usually good for you—like boosting the immune system—can make it worse. You’ll often restrict eating certain foods that, on paper, appear healthy and nutrient-dense. You take nothing for granted, measure and consider everything before eating or doing it. Sometimes it feels like almost everything has the potential to be a trigger.
Is it true for exercise, too? Must people with autoimmune diseases also change how they train?
As a Primal lifer, I recognize that purity has a certain allure, just as I know it has its decided limitations. I frequently find myself wondering, “Would my paleolithic forebears have done/said/eaten that?” and choosing my course of action based on this line of educated assumption. It’s the WWGD lens on modern living. In a Primal-perfect world, that would be sufficient to ensure continued health and happiness. But things don’t always work out as planned…
Let’s say you hurt your back in an unfortunate turn of events. Primal dictates can certainly help with healing you over the long term, but if you want to get out of bed in the morning you’re likely stuck with the doc’s prescriptions. Similar situation if you’ve suffered physical damage to your eyesight, hearing, brain, or any number of your less robust anatomical sectors. Sometimes to get life done, you’ve just got to suck it up and take your meds.
It’s possible, however, that this may soon change. In my recent post on the vagus nerve, I touched upon an emerging curiosity in the medical world: electroceuticals. While still in comparative infancy, electroceuticals may end up revolutionizing a health care model currently dominated by the drug industry.
There’s a saying that people who snore always fall asleep first. My days of overnight sports chaperoning and group camping trips have frequently confirmed that notion. Most people would say that snoring is less a problem for the snorer than anyone lying awake in the vicinity, and on those specific nights in memory I probably thought as much. But the health researcher in me knows there’s more to the story.
We know sleep apnea is a big deal. No one wants that. But regular, run-of-the-mill snoring? Is it really an issue? Everyone has someone in their family who does it. It’s often a running joke, in fact. Some estimates suggest more than half of us snore (although that might be an exaggeration, given that the estimated range is so extensive). How concerned should we really be? And what is there to do about it anyway?
Intermittent fasting, schmittermittent schmasting. The hot new trend is the extended fast—eating nothing and drinking only non-caloric beverages for no less than three days and often as many as 30-40 days. A mere compressed eating window this isn’t.
If fasting for more than three days sounds riskier than just skipping breakfast, you’re right. Long fasts can get you into trouble. They’re a big commitment. You shouldn’t just stumble into one because it sounds interesting or some guy on your Twitter feed wrote about it.
In recent years, I’ve regularly vouched for the gut as our long-abused secondary brain. Given what most of us grew up learning in school, it can feel like a mammoth shift. Science and philosophy have long revered the brain as seat of consciousness, even the seat of humanity itself. But when it comes down to it, everything is interconnected. Our consciousness extends well beyond the brain. How we feel and who we are encompasses a much more expansive and intricate system than any of us learned in high school biology. At the center of this paradigm revision is something called the vagus nerve.
Vagus…as a word it sounds a little off-putting. If someone called me a vagus, I’d probably be mildly offended. But the literary origins of this word are actually kind of mystical: “vagus” in Latin translates to “wandering.” And I’d struggle to find a more apt definition.
Here at Mark’s Daily Apple, I avoid writing off anything without first investigating it. I keep one foot in the “alternative” health world and one in the “conventional” realm, making sure to maintain a skeptical—but openminded—stance on everything. There’s no other way to do it, if you’re honest. At least as far as I can tell.
No, not every alternative therapy works. A lot of it is pure hogwash. But whether we’re talking about off-label uses of conventional drugs and illegal drugs, natural pharmacological agents, or downright outlandish-sounding interventions, some therapies are worth considering. Not trying, necessarily. Considering.