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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Category: Alcohol

In Vino Veritas (and Health?)

With the holiday season upon us, we thought it might be helpful to perform some healthy rationalizations for our alcohol consumption. Yay!

Now, obviously, people have been getting intoxicated for many millennia (animals will seek out fermenting fruit, too, so it’s not an “unnatural” desire by any means), and that includes our beloved Grok. Neither a teetotaler nor a raging drunk, Grok probably limited his consumption to very rare occasions: namely, whenever he happened across a stash of fermenting fruit. See, all evidence suggests that the purposeful production of alcoholic beverages didn’t begin until around 10,000 BC – pretty much in line with our estimations of the advent of agriculture. Indeed, the process of purposeful fermentation could be said to run against Primal ideals – our commitment to fresh, whole foods, free of artificial additives or manmade machinations – especially nowadays, with enormous industrial factories dedicated to churning out millions of gallons of beer and liquor. That said, fermentation itself is a wholly natural occurrence; beer factories and whiskey mills simply exploit and amplify the process.

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Sensible Vices: Round 2

What can we say? We love our vices: those delightful, scrumptious, indulgent little morsels of gratifying transgression. O.K., this isn’t really how we look at it, but it’s kind of fun (and relatively harmless) to linger for a moment in imagined decadence.

In reality, our vices are simply healthy pleasures, satisfying and rather sensible indulgences. More Tom Hanks than Steve McQueen. More Jane Austen than Candace Bushnell. (Whatever floats your boat – you get our meaning.) The point is, these are vices that come without the guilt. What a deal! 100% satisfaction with no self-imposed penitence. Sign us up!

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Dear Mark: Alcohol

Dear Mark,

I keep hearing news stories about how alcohol is good for you, but I wonder how that figures in with the Primal Blueprint. What’s your take? Can I have that beer when I come home from a long hard day at work and not feel guilty?

It’s true that we tend to hear a lot about a given piece of advice publicized again and again with a slightly different spin from varied studies. While researchers will often pursue subjects that are “timely,” I sense the media (popular and even medical journals to some extent) is more the influence in this case.

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Smart Fuel: Wine

Now this is some smart fuel we can live with! Step aside kale, move over broccoli: the best way to ward off a wintry cold is to drink red wine.
You’re not reading that wrong. Not one, but two major studies have just reported evidence that those who drink wine moderately – no more than two glasses a day – have better immunity and resistance to infectious cold viruses than those who do not drink. This benefit is cancelled out if you’re a smoker, however.
Of course, red wine is also healthy because it is rich in resveratrol, a vital antioxidant. To learn Mark’s great and creative ways to enjoy wine more often, read How to Drink More Wine and Eat More Chocolate Every Day.
polifemus Flickr Photo (CC)

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How to Stop Heart Burn Naturally

Heart burn is a bit of an umbrella term we use informally. We’ve probably all experienced the isolated case of heart burn or indigestion, but if you’re dealing with chronic discomfort, it’s time to take a look at your diet and lifestyle. Also be aware that heart burn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) are not the same thing, although prime time drug commercials would love to convince you otherwise. (GERD is – in my opinion – essentially an invented condition, though technically it’s a combination of chronic heart burn and acid reflux. I would argue that in the majority of cases, lifestyle is to blame. I’m just not aware of any genetic component behind heart burn, acid reflux, and “GERD”. Nevertheless, it’s serious – let it get out of control and you risk major esophageal damage, even cancer.)

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Wine Prevents Cavities

A new study out today confirms the antibacterial power of both red and white wine. Apparently, researchers have proven that wine destroys the bacteria responsible for cavities and throat infections. Interestingly, it’s not the alcohol that kills the germs, but rather acids in the wine.

Imagine the possibilities here:

– Stop fighting the nightly battle with your toddler and the toothbrush. Just get ’em tossed instead. Sure, they’ll be a little hungover at preschool, but you can never be too careful when it comes to your child’s dental health.

– Until cough syrup comes in a believable-tasting grape, wine has won points for flavor. Now we see that “Grandpa’s medicine” really is medicine. Because if you’re calling in sick, you might as well be drunk.

No wonder bums have such great teeth! I’m being facetious, of course. I don’t know if replacing your toothbrush with a wine glass is such a bright idea.

This is Kjaergaard’s Flickr Photo CC

The study was a test-tube run, and when the active acids were removed and tested on their own, they killed germs better than the wine. So while wine is a naturally antibacterial beverage, other properties in the wine probably cancel out any benefits. The study also illustrates the fact that just about anything can be promoted as having a health benefit.

For example, because wine contains the antioxidant resveratrol, it’s touted as being healthy. While there’s plenty of evidence to suggest modest amounts of alcohol may exert some protective cardiovascular benefit, to reap serious antioxidant benefit, you’d have to drink enough jugs to put Gallo out of business. I think wine, in moderation, has healthful properties. But don’t expect wine to save your arteries if you’re not also living a healthy lifestyle. You’re better off eating fresh fruits and vegetables and supplementing with a multivitamin that contains antioxidants.

The moral here is that even scientists can justify that Dionysian dinner tab as a business expense.

Further reading:

How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

[tags] health benefits of wine, antioxidants [/tags]

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