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 2010

Weekend Link Love

If you haven’t seen Pay Now Live Later’s “Primal In a Nutshell” videos, watch them now. Then enjoy his most recent release: Primal in a Nutshell: Sunshine.

Before Grok was Grok, he was Li’l Grok. Head over to Psychology Today to find out how early hunter-gatherer children learned to hunt and gather.

Smell the bacon candle. But don’t eat it.

Damien Walters is okay at acrobatics. You know, decent, not too bad. He made a mix-video. It’s okay.

Cows don’t just taste great, they may also be the ecological solution to revivifying wastelands. Read Fast Company’s expose on the man who won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge for finding a gee-whiz solution to a major environmental problem.

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Chicken Curry Clafouti

Almond flour and coconut flour can be perfect substitutes for traditional flour in many Primal baked goods, but they don’t always provide a texture that is as light and airy as we want. This is why we were so pleased when Katie Hudgens sent us a recipe for baked clafouti that eliminates flour entirely. Her Chicken Curry Clafouti bakes up into a rich, savory pastry with a texture that’s so smooth and buttery it made us wonder why we ever thought clafouti needed flour in the first place.

A clafouti is a French pastry with a texture somewhere between cake and custard. It’s usually served as a dessert, and Katie often makes it this way herself by adding mixed berries to the batter. As good as this sounds, don’t let the temptation of berry clafouti dissuade you from trying Katie’s savory version, Chicken Curry Clafouti. A simple batter of eggs, butter and coconut milk (or whole cream) bakes into a flourless, sugarless pastry that’s more like a quiche than a cake. It does retain a pastry-like quality, however, in the puffy, light-as-air crust and in the sinfully buttery texture. The butter and coconut milk also lend a slightly sweet flavor that is the perfect backdrop for spicy curry powder. A generous amount of chicken adds to the ample amount of protein already in this savory, eggy custard that can be enjoyed any time of day. Make it for dinner and eat the leftovers for breakfast, or pack it up for lunch or an afternoon snack. Whenever you eat it, we think you’ll find it as surprisingly delicious as we did.

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The Lowdown On Lectins

Little known to the public at large. Little understood by the health community. Omnipresent in our conventional food culture. Proven to be at least mildly detrimental for everyone and downright destructive for the more sensitive (and often unsuspecting) among us. We’re talking lectins today: common natural agents on the one hand, cloaked thugs of the anti-nutrient underworld on the other. Our popular health media, if they’ve heard of lectins, certainly never make mention of them. Famous health gurus never deign to speak of them. In short, lectins thrive in the American diet basically unfettered, unscrutinized. Make no mistake, however. They’re a menacing power to be reckoned with. I’ve addressed them on Mark’s Daily Apple in the past (Why Grains Are Unhealthy) and in my book (The Primal Blueprint), but I still get a fair number of emails and forum questions asking for more info. As I always say, let’s break it down….

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Vitamin D: Confounding Factors

Yesterday I recommended 4000 IU of vitamin D each day as a good starting point for most people. Though, it’s difficult – nay, impossible – to provide a perfect, universal prescription for vitamin D3 intake. People, and their lifestyle behaviors and environmental conditions are just too different. It’s like with diet. Everyone does well with the basic building blocks, stuff like meat, fat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts, but the optimal ratios are going to differ for individuals based on genetics, dietary history, activity level, and glucose tolerance. Everyone needs vitamin D, but multiple confounding factors must be taken into consideration to determine the right dosage. To start with? Yes, 4k is a good starting point. From there, though, things get considerably more complicated – as they always do.

Now, I don’t want to overcomplicate things, however. The same basic advice holds: get unfiltered sunlight, avoid burning, and take supplements when sunlight is unavailable. But I do want you to be aware of certain factors – environmental, climatic, dietary, genetic, etc. – that may affect vitamin D3 production, requirements, and availability.

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Vitamin D: Sun Exposure, Supplementation and Doses

From the presence of vitamin D receptors in our cells and vitamin D factories in our epidermis, along with the central role vitamin D plays in calcium metabolism, immunity, and gene expression, it’s pretty clear that having adequate vitamin D is an essential component of being a healthy, successful homo sapien. And yet, many health practitioners suggest that vitamin D deficiency is one of the biggest nutrient deficiencies in modern society. The question, then, arises: What’s the best way to get enough vitamin D – via oral supplementation or sunlight?

To determine that, let’s examine a few common questions surrounding the various modes of intake.

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Deconstructing Vitamin D

Before phototropic plants began bending toward sunlight, before jellyfish developed ocelli, the light-sensing organs that allow them to distinguish between up (sunlight) and down, before the bikini-clad beach denizens began tanning en masse, and before the first house cat followed the sliver of sunlight around the room all afternoon, our primitive, microscopic marine forebears were flourishing by converting the sun’s energy into chemical energy usable by biological life. You’re probably aware of photosynthesis, the process by which plants, algae, and other organisms do it and produce byproducts like oxygen, but even the unicellular archaea that do not produce oxygen utilize sunlight for energy. And if you aren’t obtaining energy directly from the sun, you’re probably eating the organisms that do. Either way, sunlight directly or indirectly supports all life (well, except for the chemoautotrophs living in deep sea hydrothermal vents feeding off of inorganic energy sources like iron, ammonia, or sulfur).

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