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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Quick Bites

Yo, Apples!

A few quick updates:

– I’m going to be moving my blogroll to a separate page in the very near future, because, hey, it’s getting a little long and I want to keep the main page looking really clean and uncluttered.

– You may have noticed I added several new general categories (e.g. Stress, Food, Nutrition). We still have all the specific weekly columns you know and love (Fuming Fuji, Monday Moment, and all the rest). But the Bees are hard at work grouping every post – over 300 of them now! – into general categories, too. I think this will make things easier for new readers and loyal followers alike. If you’re desperate to crush that stress or on a mission to lose five pounds or simply in the mood for a delicious, healthy recipe, the new general categories will make these pursuits easier. We’ve also been playing around with Technorati tags, but I’m not sure that we’ll keep it up.

– Your comments and emails are greatly appreciated. This is what is most rewarding about blogging for me – interacting with customers, friends, and people from all over the world. I think of MDA as a health-and-wellness water cooler, so don’t be shy! I’ve really had fun starting this blog, and I’m looking forward to the conversation getting bigger. I love that I can chat with you about health from anywhere – even Thailand (more on that later).
Of course, I’d really like to hear any of your suggestions for ways I can improve the site so that you get the most out of it. Your thoughts are always welcome.

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Does It Have to Be This Way?

Something has been on my mind and I want to ask for your thoughts on the matter.

The other day, I stopped at the local Starbucks for a coffee. Rather than book it to my next errand, I decided to sit and relax for a few minutes. Yes, I’m a people-watcher (guilty as charged). It was late in the afternoon and people were hurriedly running their errands, trying to get everything taken care of before dinner.

I started to notice something: everywhere I looked, people were stressed out. Brows were furrowed, children were ornery, wives looked anxious, the husbands had that “I’ve officially hit the wall” numb look. Drivers were impatiently honking horns, the intersection was jammed, and the general feeling in the air was pretty lousy.

I shook it off and walked over to the drugstore to pick up a few sundries. Same thing – a woman was tearing the poor clerk to pieces over a soda discount error. The line was piling up, people were complaining and grimacing, and there was a lot of huffing going on.

Against my better judgment, I headed for the bank to take care of some business, and it was the same scene there: a college kid crying about her overdraft charges, an incompetent teller, a missing manager, an obnoxious guy in a suit screaming on his cell phone.

We all have those days. Evidently, this day, everyone was having it at the same time. We all hit our limits, and sometimes the manners just go. Nobody’s perfect. Life is really stressful. And yet, I find myself asking: why do we accept this?

Is there ever really a reason to scream at a clerk, your child, your spouse? We all dread getting stuck behind “that person” in line – that person who gets rattled by the tiniest mistake and apparently feels that yelling at another human being is acceptable behavior. Even worse, most of us have been that person at least once, despite our best attempts.

So, is this just life? If life turns ordinary people into angry, stressed, impatient souls, should we really say that’s just the way life is? Should we accept it?

I don’t have the answers. I don’t even know if I’m asking the right question (but I think I am). I’m certain you know what I’m talking about – we all witness this hum of stress on a persistent, sometimes even daily, basis. All I want is one good, compelling, logical reason why it has to be this way. I don’t want to know why it is this way – that’s easy enough to figure out if you simply look at our modern lifestyle and the insane pressures many of us face. That’s not what I’m asking.

I want someone to tell me why it has to be, not why it is. Does it have to be this way?

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Healthy Tastes Great!

Stir-Fried Chinese Greens with Ginger, Oyster and Soy Sauce

(Nix the sugar and you’ll have one tasty & healthy bok choy stir-fry!)

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You Don’t Have to Try to Like Celery Anymore

Celery doesn’t have a passionate fan base. There are no “core users” of which I am aware. In fact, I’m convinced that even the celery fans among us (myself included…sorta) probably wouldn’t eat it if it weren’t, well, just there all the time.

Celery is great in soups and somehow also got the reputation of “peanut butter’s soul mate” though I for one will dispute that. A world without celery would probably also upset the makers of Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix, so celery does serve a good purpose.

But, there’s a stringless alternative to celery that I love: allow me to present bok choy. Talk about genius calories.

Bok choy isn’t quite as bland as celery, so I don’t recommend forcing it on your almond butter. This is mainly because bok choy actually tastes like something. But bok choy’s noted fresh flavor is mild in a mushroom kind of way – it’s not overpowering and it complements whatever else it’s paired with.

Bok choy is loaded with calcium, Vitamin A, and vitamin C, and even if it weren’t, I’d still love it for the lack of strings. Although it’s technically a cabbagey thing, bok choy bears stalky resemblance to celery and is virtually interchangeable. And again about the strings.

Use bok choy in stir fries, vegetable medleys, casseroles, soups, stews, and even those Bloody Marys. You’ll love it!

Here’s a recipe.

[tag]bok choy[/tag]

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Good Fat, We Love You

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites: We also love our Apples! Here’s the roundup, kids. What’s the Big Omega? This study says Omega-3’s don’t help with depression or anxiety. This study says they do, and that they help inflammation, too. What gives? Without requiring you to get a chemistry degree, here’s the basic gist of why these two studies differ: 1) Study 1 is not a study, but a review. A review can be a helpful way to make sense of a lot of different information, but it is not, in itself, a scientific study. Just tell your friends this (they’ll think you’re a total genius): Reviews are problematic because they tend to look at studies that are conducted under different circumstances – it’s sort of like comparing apples to oranges and asking if they’re like a banana. A review can provide some insight, but that’s usually about all. You’ll notice that many of the more sensational health news items (vitamins kill you! tea is a magic cure!) often come from reviews. We like that Study 1 points out that low-quality fish oil supplements are a problem because they’re often contaminated with pollutants like mercury. Plus, they cause burping and fish breath – sexy! You do get what you pay for, so buy the best. 2) Study 2 is an actual study, and though small, it’s a good one in a series of rigorous studies conducted by Ohio U. Unlike Denmark, we love these guys and gals from Ohio, because they are so methodical about their research (we are allowed to pick on Denmark because their studies are suspiciously pro-Pharma; also, we keep a Dane on staff). They found that it’s the balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats that is critical to good health. Interestingly, the healthiest, slimmest cultures around the world consistently reflect this – but, that’s a very good example of an empirical review! Helpful, but not scientific. Good science means backing it up – check out our Q&A on fish oil for more info. Mark’s been talking about this whole fat balance issue for a good long while, so if you want to learn more, definitely check out the Study 2 link. Or click this for a selection of all the lovely good fat musings we provide on (frankly) an obsessive basis. Oh Yeah, and the Rest of the News Obesity: such a problem, dangerous drugs banned in Britain are being prescribed off-label…to kids! Our suggestion: cut out the snacks, turn off the TV, and get those munchkins into a sport! Meditation: it’s scientifically proven to beat stress. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to enjoy it. Here’s an enjoyable little read that tells you how to do it and why it helps. Caffeine and soda: it’s no secret that we have a bit of a problem with soda ’round these parts. Rosie, Tami and the rest of the brilliant gang at the Los Angeles Times health desk brought our attention to a must-read article on … Continue reading “Good Fat, We Love You”

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Healthy Tastes Great!

Grilled Shrimp with Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

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