Month: November 2009

Diet as Dogma

People are dogmatic. We’re territorial, stubborn, obstinate, and we cling to our ideologies even as accumulating evidence invalidates them. I sometimes wonder whether there’s evolutionary precedent for this apparent character flaw – did stubborn dogmatism confer some benefit to our ancestors? Did our tendency to cling to one another, to shy away from that which opposes or clashes with our current paradigm (whether it be a new tribe with different practices encroaching on your land, or a guy you meet at a cocktail party with completely different political views) make us safer? To a point, yes. Being wary of anything new promotes better survival than a tendency to rush headlong into foolhardy pursuits. There’s certainly that human legacy of fear of the unknown, and it normally manifests as dogmatic belief and cognitive dissonance. That much is obvious to anyone who watches the news or picks up a history book.

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Dear Mark: Insurance and Alternative Therapies

One benefit of the national debate over health insurance is the spotlight on health care itself. I don’t pretend to have the answer to the political quagmires, but I have to say I’ve enjoyed the deliberation (most of it anyway). Most of all, I appreciate seeing health care issues hashed out in a wide public forum. (I’m holding out hope that it will lead to a real discussion of genuine health itself. A few public figures have tried to steer it that way to little avail so far.) While politicians and talking heads bicker and vent, I tend to take more interest in the stories of independent-minded people who’ve learned to steer the system in their favor, those who’ve fought it tooth and nail and those who’ve checked out of it altogether to go their own route. (Gee, no one fitting that description here … wink). In the last year I’ve gotten a good number of emails from folks trying to do just that – navigating the health care system and their insurance companies as they take charge of their health and buck CW in favor of what they consider more effective interventions that complement their Primal journeys. Here’s one such message…

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 72

Jimmy Moore is a low-carb super star. The man pushes harder than most to crack conventional wisdom on his blog, and he just released a new book, 21 Life Lessons From Living Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb: How the Heatlhy Low-Carb Lifestyle Changed Everything I Thought I Knew.

I’ve posted the piano thing before, but The Fun Theory is just too inspiring not to spread.

Want to strengthen your bones? Buy a jump rope. Want to weaken them? Become a cardioholic, drive your cortisol levels crazy, and prevent your bones’ uptake of calcium. Read more about a fascinating new bone study at the NY Times.

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Contest Video: Primal Blueprint Sprint Routine

As part of our ongoing Primal Blueprint Fitness Video Contest readers Anders, Annika and Rob submitted their interpretation of a Primal Blueprint Sprint Routine (the latest contest theme). They’re in the running for a cash and Primal prize package and have a one in four shot of winning.

If you liked this video be sure to check out other videos Anders has submitted: Bringing Home the Bacon and Primaldelphia.

If you’d like to be featured on Mark’s Daily Apple for a chance to win Primal gear read the Primal Blueprint contest details and submit your video (fitness or recipe), real life Primal story or Primal recipe today!

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Diggin’ a Hole to Install a Ladder to Wash the Basement Windows

Picture a house with absolutely filthy exterior basement windows, the kind that just barely peek out above ground level. The owner can’t see through the things, and they need a thorough washing. He could grab the bucket and a rag and squat or kneel down to commence cleaning. He could make it easy on himself, but for some bizarre reason, he doesn’t.

Instead, he spends the entire day slaving away with a shovel and a pick axe, hacking at the earth to loosen it and shoveling the loose dirt out. A deep hole appears, about eight feet in depth and wide enough to accommodate him and a ladder.  In goes the ladder, and he follows with the wash bucket and rag. Dirty, grimy, sweaty, and disheveled, he ascends the ladder to finally reach the basement windows. He manages to clean them, but his alternate self in a parallel universe – that guy who decided to just kneel down to wash the windows – has clean windows, a killer tan from spending hours at the beach doing pushups and sprints, a couple racks of ribs on the barbecue, and a nice glass of Cab paired with a wedge of French brie. He enjoyed his day, while the ladder enthusiast had to work for hours just to arrive at the same point.

At the end of the day, the windows are clean in both instances. But which method made the most sense? Which method featured a whole lot of redundant BS, and which method allowed for plenty of free time?

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Is the Primal Blueprint a Type of Asceticism?

Last week, MDA member Bobbylight posed a pretty poignant question in the forum: is the Primal Blueprint an ascetic lifestyle? As you’ll see from the actual post, he basically answered his own question (he agrees that the PB, by definition, is not asceticism, but his particular brand of the PB has gradually morphed into a kind of personal journey away from material pleasures; a “food as fuel” mode of asceticism), but the concept of asceticism gives me a jumping off point for a larger issue that needs addressing.

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