2019 In Review: My Favorite Events, Experiments and Trends

2019 was a big year here.

I’ll start with the obvious. I sold Primal Kitchen® to Kraft Heinz back at the start. And though some of you expressed doubt and skepticism (totally understandable), I’m happy to report that things are going great. The brand and its products are still as high quality as ever while appearing in more stores than ever before. In fact, they’re getting even better. It’s been great to offer more varieties and flavors of the products people enjoy, and with the increased power of Kraft Heinz we’re able to get the best manufacturing facilities (for instance, we’ve secured use of a facility that does not process wheat—a real rarity in the industry).

What else?

As always, I tried a bunch of stuff. Did some experimentation…

My Top 2019 Experiments

Kefir Megadoses

There was a paper from a few years ago talking about the connection between fermented foods and anxiety. Their basic conclusion was that fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt and kefir can actually reduce anxiety in the long term. That always stuck with me. I definitely don’t have anxiety, social or otherwise, but like I said I do care about the outcome. That can manifest as something like anxiety (without the neurosis). It’s “justified anxiety.”

So, I tried drinking a quart of kefir in a single day on those days when I have a lot going on, when I’m doing some planning or just feel a bit out of sorts, like I’m on the cusp of the future and have yet to fully commit. It worked. It smoothed things out. I’m still doing it semi-regularly as needed.

Verdict: Keepin’ it.

Rest-Pause Super Sets

Instead of taking an hour or 1.5 hours to train at the gym, I played with a new way of lifting that’s much quicker and more condensed. I pick a weight and lift it as many times as I can. Rest for 30 seconds. Do it again. Rest for 30 seconds. Do it again.

Sometimes I’ll do a final drop set. Drop the weight by 15% and do another set of max reps.

That’s under 5 minutes per exercise, I get a great workout, and because I don’t feel obligated (or able) to push really heavy weights, my risk of injury is lower.

Verdict: Keepin’ it.

Coffee experiments: I’ve always loved messing around with my coffee. It’s one of the most reliable and consistent things I put into my body. It makes a great vehicle for all sorts of tasty and nutrient-dense ingredients. So, what did I try?

Super Dark Stearic-Enhanced Ganache Coffee

Melt 1/2 bar of as dark a chocolate as you can handle in some cream, then add to coffee. Cocoa butter is rich in stearic acid, a saturated fat that causes mitochondria to fuse and become more efficient at fat-burning.

Verdict: Very filling. Provides steady energy. Might be worth trying if you want to cut calories. Delicious.

Hemp Coffee

Blend raw or toasted hemp hearts in hot or cold coffee along with Collagen Fuel, cinnamon, and sea salt. Provides an enormous dose of magnesium (which caffeine can deplete) and creaminess. Here’s the full recipe.

Verdict: Delicious, calming. I use it from time to time.

Now for the big picture….

My Take On 2019 Health Trends

Keto is solidifying. More people than ever have learned to access their own body fat for energy. Keto isn’t as “exciting” or “explosive” as it was, but even better is that it’s becoming normalized. No one bats an eye when you skip the bun at the burger joint or opt for more meat instead of fries. Normalization is where the real power lies. My upcoming book, Keto For Life, is all about harnessing keto as a normalizing force for the rest of your life.

The Carnivore Diet is also exploding in a very exciting way; research is scarce, but the cascade of powerful personal success stories is increasingly undeniable. Even if carnivore isn’t the answer, the fact that people aren’t dropping dead and actually seem to be thriving is a harsh rebuke to the standard line about diet and health. We can learn a lot from carnivory.

Meanwhile, the anti-meat conglomerate really showed their hand.

The EAT-Lancet commission unveiled its global target diet, consisting of 0.75 eggs per week, a rat paw-sized serving of red meat each day, and so, so many almonds.

The “meat is murder, not just for the animals and your health, but also for the planet” message was really hammered home harder than ever before. This might have been the most insidious side of the conglomerate—conflating a legitimate issue with the strawman vision of ruminants destroying the planet. Luckily, there are people and projects speaking back to the misinformation and offering a healthy and sustainable vision. I’m doing what I can to support them.

Game Changers—a slick, well-produced documentary buoyed by a ton of moneyed interests pushing the plant-based agenda—took the Netflix-watching world by storm. I’ve heard from hundreds of readers whose families, coworkers, friends are going (or are considering going) vegan after watching the film. Still not gonna watch it though.

Germany is mulling a meat tax.

Maybe it’s all a coincidence, and these are all isolated pushes from independent actors who simply want to make the world a better place. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s a coordinated effort to change how people eat across the world—less meat and more plant-based products. My money’s on the last one. Either way, there’s a big fight coming, folks. There’s a lot of money and power behind the plant-based push. That’s going to be the big story in the next decade.

Despite all that, the most important part of 2019 was very personal.

The Best Part Of 2019…

I became a grandpa.

And my genes felt it. They said “My gosh, Sisson, you’ve done it. You’ve made it. You’ve really made it.” Because after all, from a natural selection perspective, having kids yourself isn’t enough. Passing on your genes to the next generation isn’t sufficient. No, your genes want to see themselves carried over to the next-next generation, too. And yeah, this hasn’t been quantified in the lab or anything, but it’s real. That’s the promised land for your heritage. You mean to tell me your genes don’t sense the shift? Mine definitely did.

Becoming a grandpa also made me wonder about the “source” of all this. Because that kid is a real miracle.

What does your 2019 roundup look like? I’d like to hear about the food, health, and fitness stories and experiments that resonated with you the most, but I’d love to hear about the personal journey you took. What were your defeats? Your victories? What did you love? What did you learn about the world or about yourself? What made you stop and reconsider what this thing we call life and existence is all about?

Tell me everything. And enjoy these last few days of 2019.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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