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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10 Basic Human Skills the Younger Generation Isn’t Learning

There are many reasons to be thankful for the cushy existence modernity affords us. War and other extenuating circumstances aside, you probably don’t fear for your life on a daily basis. You have clean water to drink. Food is widely available, and it’s affordable. You survived infancy, childhood, and adolescence, which is quite special on a historical scale.

But there are downsides. Food has gone industrial. We increasingly live our lives in the digital realm and ignore the physical. Perhaps the most recent change relative to that shift has been the physical neutering of our kids. This has happened more broadly across all ages as countries shift away from manual labor toward more of an information economy, but it’s become incredibly pronounced in the generation coming up. At least when I grew up kids still wandered the streets in search of adventure, testing themselves out physically, undergoing mental and physical challenges, breaking bones and straining muscles, and learning about movement from the best teacher of all—hands on experience. Now? The lucky ones will get gymnastics or martial arts or dance training a couple days a week. But most languish indoors, prevented from the kind of free-form exploratory play human children have enjoyed for thousands of generations.

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Primal Starter: Retrospective Truths

The fact is, life teaches us. I’m not talking just about the collection of data—more information gathered, more studies skimmed. I mean the self-knowledge acquired, sometimes through hard-won means as well as the priorities that have come into focus over time. It’s often about the lessons learned through a variety of epic mistakes and frustrating dead-ends. Beyond the neat world of “good life” theory exists the full dimensional backdrop of living feedback.

Still, I wonder what it would mean if we could take certain viewpoints on faith earlier in our lives. Maybe we do once in a while. While you think on how that’s worked in your own life, let me throw out a few pieces of retrospective truths I’ve found or friends and clients have shared over the years.

  • Let yourself rest more. Seriously, there’s plenty of time.
  • Find something you really love to do as a way to move every day. Make it something you look forward to – a want rather than a should.
  • Learn to cook. No, really. Learn to enjoy it. Enjoy experimenting with it. Value your time in the kitchen in a way the culture doesn’t encourage as much anymore. You’ll be healthier for it – and a kick@$$ host.
  • Pretty much 90% of what you’re stressing about will mean nothing in ten years – most of it nothing in 10 days. Learn to let it go.
  • Play more. But don’t make it an official, planned, self-conscious exploit: “Hey, I’m going to play now!” Just stop taking your life so seriously. Look for ways you can make everyday life more in the spirit of play – exercise, parenting, work, cooking, etc. Loosen up and embrace your inner fool.
  • Tithe your time – to yourself, to your own joy.
  • Look for a job that doesn’t take all your time and energy. Think about the conditions that will make or break your happiness here: long commute – no, long vacation time – yes.
  • Meditate – not because it’s supposed to be “good” for your health as you get older but because it will help you enjoy your life more exactly where you’re at.
  • Don’t think of health in terms of components – like add-ons you can incorporate one after the other. Give up the divisions in your life. Live from a healthy center, and make everything else – all your other – choices reflect that value.

What are yours to share? And to read more this morning, check out “What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?”

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Dear Mark: More Embracing Your Wildness

Last week’s Q&A about cultivating wildness was a lot of fun, but there were some questions I didn’t get to in the original post. Today, I’m going to answer some more. From stirring stories of a father and son pursuing and living their dream after experiencing extreme tragedy to how to go barefoot more safely to the balance between creativity, progress, and Primal values to accepting the reality (and beauty) of having work to do to the value of sun exposure in winter to circadian entrainment. In short, we’re covering a ton of ground today.

Let’s go:

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Primal Starter: Drive Your Day—Or Your Day Will Drive You

While few if any of us get to choose everything that will happen in our days, the morning, in particular, has the power to determine who/what will be leading the way and how much we give to our own interests—versus simply responding to others’ as the day progresses. As psychologist Roy F. Baumeister suggests in his Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, our willpower is greatest in the morning before we’ve had to fend off the slew of issues and choices that come our way. In other words, if you struggle to keep a given commitment to yourself/your well-being, you’ll likely be more successful making it part of your morning routine as opposed to holding off until later in the day.

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Weekend Link Love — Edition 491

Research of the Week

Eating “ultra-processed foods” linked to cancer.

Studying outdoors is more motivational, and therefore more effective.

A brain implant that increases memory.

Weight gain triggers changes in hundreds of genes.

Patients who stopped taking statins fared no worse (and may have even fared better) than those who continued.

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Clams in Creamy Mustard Broth

It’s easy to forget that a pot of steamed clams (or mussels) makes a perfect weeknight dinner. It’s one of the easiest seafood meals to cook, and also one of the healthiest. Shellfish cook in 5 minutes flat once they’re in a pot of simmering liquid. That’s a quick meal, even on the busiest of weeknights. Shellfish even tell you when they’re done, by opening their shells and revealing plump meat inside. That morsel of meat is a uniquely dense source of nutrition.

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