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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Month: June 2007

How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

How can you turn this down? Health, in my view, is really about enjoyment and quality of life. It’s not all celery sticks and cardio – far from it. Dark chocolate and red wine shouldn’t be consumed with the reckless abandon I sincerely hope you reserve for vegetables, but they are reasonably healthy indulgences. Here’s how to indulge a little more (am I looking out for you or what?). 10. Drunk Marinara My editor, Sara, shares this tip: wash and chop up 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Don’t bother with that canned stuff if you want the healthiest possible sauce. This is easy.) Add in half your normal amount of water or broth (you’ll see why in a second). Next add several fresh garlic cloves and any other spices or herbs you fancy in your tomato sauce. The antioxidant boost: after the tomatoes have simmered and stewed for a while, pour in 1 cup of red wine. Between the cooked tomatoes, garlic and wine, you’ll have a sauce so good, you’ll want to drink it and forget about whatever you were going to pour it on (better not be pasta). 9. Chocolate, Meet Meat Buy the darkest, most bitter, pure chocolate you can find. Even mass chocolate manufacturers like Hershey’s are pushing darker and darker chocolates. You can find upwards of 70% these days without breaking a sweat. Melt a bar in a saucepan with a big dash of cayenne pepper, a generous pinch of oregano or marjoram, a touch of olive oil, and a decent sprinkle of sea salt. You now have a very interesting and incredible reduction to drizzle over your pork chops. Just trust me. 8. Drink Wine at Lunch A necessary word of caution: I am not recommending a future career as a lush here. But you might enjoy splitting up that nightly glass of red into two small glasses (emphasis on small) and having a splash of wine at lunch. Many cultures around the world enjoy a little swill at noon. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone depending on schedules and workplace expectations. And, if alcohol is something that you tend to indulge too much in, then skip this tip (matter of fact, skip this post). 7. Goodbye Coffee, Hello Chocolate Chocolate for breakfast? Sure. This tip is for the morning vice crowd. If you want whiter teeth and you never seem to eat anything for breakfast, tackle both issues by eating a piece of dark chocolate instead of coffee. You’ll get some fat and caffeine to nourish your brain, quell your starving stomach and stimulate your nerves. I think some sliced tomatoes or scrambled eggs are both obviously better ideas for your mornings, but if you’re a coffee junkie and you have trouble ingesting a morning dose of calories, hey, I say work with the problem instead of fighting it. Dark chocolate still has some sugar, so if you’re trying to lose weight or if you need to watch your blood sugar, stick to … Continue reading “How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day”

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More Juice; Coke Hearts Stevia

A brief update: we’re juicing this apple (so to speak). The blog is going to be down later this afternoon for a spell so we can install some new plug-ins that will improve the blog tremendously and add to your experience. No worries, we’ll be back up later in the day.

Be sure to stop in tomorrow for the always-popular Tuesday 10 and a discussion of everyone’s favorite topic: chocolate.

In the meantime, I recommend the following links for your daily health dose:

The biodegradable heart stent.

What will they come up with next? You all know I’m going to be grumbling about prevention on this one, but I do agree that this is a promising turn for problematic stents.

Stevia is fine – now that Coke wants to use it.

I’ve used stevia for years, which is saying something, as it can be tougher to get hold of than a real human when calling any customer service number. You can stop using it for “skin care” – with big soda lobbies on your side, that is. This doesn’t make soda healthy for you, though.

More problems with food from China.

Yet another unfortunate consequence of the global food web (this time, toothpaste).

All the toothpaste you need – this is Toasty Ken’s Flickr photo.

[tags] stevia, Coke, biodegradable heart stent, China, toothpaste [/tags]

Last week’s Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

My Most Popular Articles

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How to Eat More Fat

Sara here. Alert the press, for I am going to share with you the best ways to eat a lot more fat. That’s right (whew…you can stop stressing now). Your weekly health challenge: eat more fat. I want you to get greasy with it. But this isn’t a license to hit up the candy aisle or to stop in at McDonald’s. I want you to eat more healthy fats this week. Here are some tips and types. Try them out and then give all your fellow apples a hand by talking about your favorite fats in the forum (we narrowly missed a tongue-twister there, didn’t we?). Fats to eat: – Cream, eggs, butter That’s right – I’m recommending saturated fat. Irresponsible of me, I know. Actually, provided you’re eating organic dairy and eggs, and you’re not getting crazy with the portions, saturated fat is not the monster it’s made out to be. I personally am more concerned about triglycerides and inflammation than I am about cholesterol, and refined fat and sugar have the most impact on these two health wreaking balls. I’m not saying cholesterol doesn’t matter; it does. It just doesn’t matter as much as you think. You can enjoy a little saturated fat. – Nuts, avocados, fish Omega 3’s, people! – Coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, olive oil Put down the corn, soybean and canola oil. These may be unsaturated, but that doesn’t make them healthy (they are still refined, and contain some undesirable fatty acid chains). Liven up your meals, give your tastebuds something to live for, and try out new, omega-3-rich oils. Go and drench thyself. Stat. Fats you’re too good for: – fried anything, breaded anything, processed anything, packaged anything, not-natural anything. Keep these junk fats away from your precious body! I mean it! Why eat fat: Well, for starters, fat doesn’t make you fat. Fat also helps with stress management, cognition, mood, sleep, energy, weight management, healthy tissues, skin and hair – even digestion and nutrient absorption. Why I know what I’m talking about: I’m not a scientist and I’m not a doctor, so while I hope you consider my thoughts to be helpful, just remember that if you tell your doctor “But my homegirl Sara told me…” you might not have her immediately convinced of the glories of your newfound decadent fat consumption. I have spent the last several years reading endless studies and articles, so in my own defense I am pretty darn educated on the subject. Please don’t let all those nights your editor spent reading go to waste. 😉 But what probably matters most and is ultimately most insightful is my own health story. For several years there, I was quite the little frumpalump, and I wasn’t very healthy, either. Thanks to what I’ve learned from Mark, I dropped 20 pounds of literally depressing and unattractive grad-school pudge (the impossible “last 20” stubborn clinger kind), and got rid of my horrendous migraines and “adventures” with mood imbalances. That was … Continue reading “How to Eat More Fat”

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Art and Mark on Doping, Endurance and Health

A few months back I exchanged a series of interesting letters with Art De Vany on fitness, doping, cardiovascular health and other issues related to health and to endurance athletes in particular. Here’s the complete set: I have followed with great interest your discussion and analysis of purported steroid use and home-run distributions. In a recent post, you asked about the incidence of false positives in sports drug-testing and you wondered how that might factor into the equation. I’ve given great deal of thought to that and related issues over the past 15 years and now feel compelled to add my two cents to your discussion – but on a much grander scale. At the risk of sounding a bit brazen, I would suggest to you and your audience that sport would be better off allowing athletes to make their own personal decisions regarding the use of so-called “banned substances” and leaving the federations and the IOC out of it entirely. (Even the term “banned substance” has a negative connotation, since most of these substances are actually drugs that were developed to enhance health in the general population). Bottom line: the whole notion of drug-testing in sports is far more complex than even the media make it out to be. First, I should tell you that I was the Anti-doping Commissioner of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) – a relatively new sport within the Olympic Family – for nearly 13 years. I had to act as “prosecutor” on many doping cases (doping = drugs in sport). Prior to that, I helped write the first set of “anti-doping” rules for triathlon in 1988. Before that, I was an elite marathoner (2:18) and triathlete (4th Place Ironman Hawaii) in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so I have accumulated a fair amount of “inside information” regarding drugs in sport at the Olympic level. I also own a supplement company and have done extensive research on performance enhancement in pursuit of natural, legal alternatives. There are three main points I want to make here: first, that it is impossible to fairly police and adjudicate drugs in sport; second, that the notion of a “level playing field” is a farce and, finally, that the performance requirements set by the federations at the elite level of sport almost demand access to certain “banned substances” in order to assure the health and vitality of the athlete throughout his or her career and – more importantly – into his or her life after competition. Impossible to fairly police and adjudicate. Most people think that a positive test is conclusive proof of guilt, but the reality is that almost all these tests are nothing more than GC/MS (http://www.scientific.org/tutorials/articles/gcms.html for a good description) quantitative analyses that look for parts per billion of certain metabolites in the urine. They are not black and white indicators of guilt. They are wavy lines on a graph subject to interpretation by scientists with varying degrees of expertise. In many cases a “threshold level” is established … Continue reading “Art and Mark on Doping, Endurance and Health”

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Healthy Tastes Great!

Marinated Tri-Tip Roast with Mushrooms and Garlic

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Stump Sisson Friday

I get several dozen emails every day asking health and fitness questions. I try to respond to as many as I can. Often, readers will write in with similar questions, so I’ve decided that I’ll collect the multiples, as well as the toughest questions, each week and post my responses here. (First names only for confidentiality.) Let me know if this is a helpful feature for you. I’m game for just about anything that will benefit you, so don’t hesitate to contact me with suggestions. Reader Ben wrote: You’ve mildly badmouthed soy milk and tofu on your site many times, usually citing processing as your biggest gripe. But what if I did this “processing” myself? Is Big Tofu doing something insidious that I could avoid doing myself? Real soy milk is basically just whole soybeans that are boiled, mashed, and strained. To get tofu, just take the real soy milk and add nigari (rinsed sea salt). Would the mostly-healthy status of soybeans be preserved by doing this? Big Tofu, I like that. Yes, my general beef with soy has to do with the processing. I think most can probably agree that just about any healthy, natural food, from fruit and vegetables to a humble soybean, can be and often is reconstituted into many less-than-desirable food products. My general rule: eat food, not food products. But there is a bit of a dark side to soy food production, which you can read more about here. I’m not really “against” soy milk; I think organic, unsweetened non-GMO soy milk is certainly no worse for you than dairy milk and possibly better. And making your own tofu? I think that seems like a very healthful proposition. Let’s remember that as “bad” as soybeans might be (this week), dairy is a food that nature intends for hoofers, not humans. I know many of you eat dairy, and some of you are fans of raw dairy. I think there’s plenty of room for individual preference. To anyone who worries about the phytoestrogens (plant hormones) in soy, while I share those concerns to a limited extent, remember that regular old dairy – even organic dairy – is loaded with bovine hormones. Soy milk consumption hasn’t created the epidemic of man-boobs that paranoid souls everywhere feared (but then neither has regular milk). I understand the other health concerns about soy, and while I am mindful of those concerns, I feel there are other far more pressing dietary concerns, such as sugar, trans fat and heavy food processing in general. I’m not in favor of heavily processed soy foods, but a little lightly-processed or fermented soy food, especially made organically or at home? Sounds great to me. (I often discuss “marginal nutrition” issues here at the blog. I think soy is one of them. By marginal nutrition, I mean that first science reveals a potential health benefit of some food, and before you know it, every food company on God’s green earth is injecting said food into myriad … Continue reading “Stump Sisson Friday”

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