End of the Year Review: What We Learned in 2015

2015 review on blackboardI’ll readily admit I love New Year’s. Beyond the parties and hoopla, honestly it’s the reflection and planning that really appeals. What can I say? I love what I do here…. As I mentioned last year, it’s been an annual tradition to sit and take stock of all we’ve put together at MDA over the previous months. This year is no exception! It’s incredible what happens in just a year’s time. New Year’s for me is the time to appreciate all that—what we’ve explored here and what others have contributed. Let’s take a look at some of what we’ve discovered, shared, cooked and experimented with for 2015!

Where to start?

On the fitness end of things, I laid down the law on what not to do if you’re looking to build muscle (and who isn’t). I offered alternatives to burpees and ways to assess your true fitness level. I introduced our Primal Beat HRV as the perfect way to regulate the stress patterns of life and exercise—the ultimate modern tool for optimum Primal fitness as I shared in my Primal Endurance book (the surprise early publication of which was a great way to end the year).

As always, I had my fun taking apart controversies, including whether the paleo diet is supported by scientific research (I’ll give you a guess) and the most recent WHO report’s warning for meat eaters (Hint: I’m still enjoying my bacon). We questioned whether regular health check-ups are necessary, and the Primal Prescription taught us how to navigate the health care system when illness or injury brings us there.

My team and I certainly didn’t leave weight loss interest hanging either this year. How many of you had bells going off with the new Fruit Belly book? And for those of you who haven’t picked up your free ebook The Primal Blueprint Definitive Guide to Troubleshooting Weight Loss, there’s no time like the present. We looked at why regaining weight is so common and offered a couple dozen ways to improve your insulin sensitivity.

On a lighter note, we learned how and why to nap as well as the napping practices of famous people throughout history. If Winston Churchill and Salvador Dalí did it, why fight the pattern of greatness?

And in case anyone needed any motivation, we looked at how to create a self-perpetuating string of successes, I offered a primer for getting unstuck, and we got real about why getting in shape isn’t the best kickstart for getting one’s duff off the couch.

Now and then I waxed a little poetic (or at least philosophical) offering health perspectives for all the life stages, comparing ancient to Primal wisdom, imagining what we’d tell our younger selves, and reflecting on the Primal fear of dying.

Finally, we occasionally waded into some novel or flat-out unusual subjects like the real deal on how hunter-gatherers really slept and what role psychedelics will play in new medical frontiers, and which foreign words have something to teach us about living Primally.

At the close of each year I also like to thank our guest writers for the amazing perspectives and expertise they offer MDA. It never ceases to surprise me all I learn from them and the ways they expand my Primal practice. How many of you tried isometrics for the first time after reading Todd Kuslikis’ post on their incredible benefits? And then there was Al Kavadlo’s take on calisthenics as ultimate Primal and Zen practice. For those of you interested in revamping your workday, I loved Katy Bowman’s look at moving more throughout the day. Of course, there was Primal Superstar Tara Grant’s story behind of the Autoimmune Protocol. With resolutions on the mind, how could I not highlight Alessandra Wall’s incredible look at goal setting as indispensable for success. And, finally, there was Exo co-founder Gabi Lewis’ illuminating look at how bizarre foods have won acceptance over the years.

What would the PB life be without all the good Primal eating? Sure enough, we’ve worked hard to bring you all manner of recipes (and even some new Primal goodies!) this year. Personally, I’m loving the Fish Taco recipe that uses the new Primal Mayo. And while we’re on the subject of the mayo, how about that excellent Resistant Starch Potato Salad from GrassFedGirl? Oh, and one more mayo recipe for good measure. You can’t do much better than the Paleo Spinach and Artichoke Crab Dip offered up by PaleoSchmaleo. (To me, that’s got New Year’s Eve written all over it.) I’d suggest enjoying it with some Primal Mocktails of course! Maybe throw in some Chicken Skin Chips or Sweet Potato Skins?

For your New Year morning, how about whipping up some Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes? And as we settle into the cold weeks of winter, don’t forget that Cumin & Coriander Lamb Stir FrySlow-Simmered Cabbage Soup, or (when you’re craving some take-out on a night in) Primal Chinese Orange Chicken. And I can’t help but mention our Dark Chocolate Almond Bars, the appeal of which literally crashed our site.

Finally, I can’t leave out my favorites of all—those always amazing success stories. The truth is, every single one inspires me, and they’re all worth looking back on. As we all head into 2016, I think they’re the ideal prescription when you’re having a bad day, when you’re working your Primal principles but are struggling to get over a hump. These folks’ stories are sure to get you back on track. How about James’ story of beating Crohn’s, mouth ulcers, joint pain and weight-loss free fall (to mention just a few symptoms!)? And there was Michael’s story of ditching the old conventional weight loss ways that just weren’t working for him and embracing Primal to go from skinny fat to amazing shape. Mark’s transformation (complete with Superman shirt) with 100 pounds lost and medication kicked to the curb was enough to knock your FiveFingers off. And then there’s Tressie’s story of losing over 100 pounds and ditching nearly a dozen medications.

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for the couple stories and loved Danielle and Pat’s story of transforming their body comps, getting in amazing shape and beating everything from eczema to emotional issues to gastrointestinal problems. And what about the Australian family who went Primal—“striving and thriving together”? Not only did they lose weight, but they kicked a whole myriad of conditions—not to mention medications! Finally, who could forget Mike’s experience of going from weighing 500 pounds to deadlifting it? With over 200 pounds lost and a new lease on life gained, it’s one of my favorite success stories of all time.

Wow, that’s a lot to take in—and it barely scratches the surface of all we covered this year! What were your favorite posts of 2015? I hope you’ll share the articles that taught you the most or gave you serious food for thought.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. I’m looking forward to ringing in 2016 with all of you! We have so many good things in store for the next year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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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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