New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week — Edition 127

Research of the Week

The metabolic and hepatic consequences of a single extended bout of binge drinking and fast food eating.

Blocking histamine signaling blocks exercise adaptations.

People have been shaping the world for at least 12000 years.

Pursue happiness and you may never get it.

Magnesium and vitamin D supplementation improves the mental health of kids with ADHD.

More meat, less dementia.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 485: Zach Schleien: Host Elle Russ chats with Zach Schleien about his new speed dating app with a special focus on the keto and paleo communities.

Episode 486: Dr. Brett Hill: Host Brad Kearns chats with Dr. Brett Hill about how to build resilience and come back from rock bottom.

Health Coach Radio: Erin and Laura chat with Matteo Franceschetti about sleeping like your life depends on it (because it does).

Media, Schmedia

Regenerative pork production in the UK.

Interesting Blog Posts

Always look behind the veil.

Why I gave up being vegan.”

Social Notes


The future matters but don’t focus on it.

Everything Else

Does this work?
Billions of T-rexes.


Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Podcast I enjoyed: Tim Noakes on ultramarathons and “nutritional genocide.”

Interesting research: Suicides fell during the pandemic.

Fantastic concept: Periodic table of food. Love the idea of “dark matter.”

I am not surprised: Whey is more effective than plant or insect protein.

I am not surprised: More inactivity, greater COVID severity.

Question I’m Asking

Do you pursue happiness? If not, what?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Apr 17 – Apr 23)

Comment of the Week

“‘gets a little nervous telling people how much meat they eat.’ Pfffft – not this fella. I’ll deride people for their ignorance, tell them to stop being a mindless herd animal and why, evolutionarilly (?) speaking: meat + fire + decreased plant chewing muscle necessity (therefore allowing outward brain expansion in the absence of constraining chewing muscles bound to the sagittal crests) … made us who we are today.”

-Nice work, Jim.

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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55 thoughts on “New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week — Edition 127”

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  1. Mark I only have access to the abstract on happiness but it suggests the reverse on what your stating, the more people pursue happiness the more anxious they become. As someone who needs an antihistamine everyday the article najes me sad but not surprised. Tried quinine as an alternative but it’s very expensive for the quantities required so was never able to try a 3 month try of it.

  2. Re: Looking for happiness. Lao Tzu wrote – “Look for it, and it can’t be seen”

  3. Re: This week’s Sunday with Sisson. On point as usual, and I always appreciate these thoughtful weekly messages, Mark. This week, however, I found my reading experience disrupted by the advertisement placed before the last three paragraphs. Would you be willing to keep these essays free of ads, or at the very least position them at the end?

  4. I appreciate your comments about genetics but obesity is also to do with self-regulation where neglected children have not internalised a sense of safety and the ability to manage their feelings this is then done with food to bring them back into an adequate window of tolerance if you read Allan Shore neuroscience has come along way in the past 20 years proving what happens in the brain regarding affect regulation

  5. it is all the poison we get from poisoned food.Our guts are ruined by it.Monsanto and the likes are responsible .We must STOP them.
    Cannot governments see what happens to their people?
    We get sicker and sicker.

    1. Yep! There you go. Exactly my thoughts daily. People do not take responsibility and read the ingredients and packaging. They are eating chemicals and preservatives that are not being digested properly.

      And some sugar substitutes cause the pancreas to react the opposite and causes the body to gain weight. Dinner remember exactly, a read from long ago about hypoglycemia.

      Look at fat people’s carts when they check out. Full of boxes and packaging, hardly any REAL food. Real food costs money.

      Fructose, corn syrup, sugar, more sugar, dextrose and on and on and on.

      1. This is not always true… I am fat and my cart is loaded exclusively with whole foods. I’m not looking for suggestions or sympathy or critique. I’m just saying not all fat people eat crap. Many of us are very well versed in nutrition – I’ve spent large parts of my life looking for the answer to weight management. Along the way I’ve learned a lot. And one of those lessons is that if shame or judgement was a cure to fatness, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic in our country.

        There are many cases where what you’re saying is true – as is often the case about generalizations. But as Mark’s essay says the issue is much more nuanced and complicated.

  6. I think there are a lot reasons why we’re all fatter, but the most significant thing in the last 100 years is the advent of seed oils and hydrogenated oils. And then the promotion of them by the AHA and the whole Ancel Keys debacle. Currently reading Super Fuel by Drs Dinicolantonio and Mercola. I just ready your latest – Two Meals a Day. So many things!

  7. Intersting subject on genetics and obesity. Personally I do not believe genetics have anything to do with obesity. The colour of our eyes,our hight and body shape are definitely genetic.
    It is simple we all eat too much. Mark is proof of this. He looks amazing and eats very little. 50 years ago we didn’t count calories or count our steps but we all were much slimmer. This generation live on take out and quantity and poor food choices make it worse.
    I lost 40 lbs. about 15 years ago. I had to measure my food. . Guess what I realized I had been serving the same amount of food up as my husband for years. Gee who knew. Lol

    1. With all due respect, I think the quality of the food that Mark (and others that read MDA) eat is MUCH more important than quantity. If you eat a whole-foods diet (cut out all processed junk foods), and be sure to include lots of nutrient-dense foods, you will likely be able to naturally maintain a healthy weight. Counting calories is completely unnecessary, at least in my experience, if you eat this way. By the way, I doubt that Mark would agree that he eats “very little food” – it’s just that he eats the right foods, and skips the processed pseudo-foods that I believe are the main driver of our obesity epidemic.

      1. Agree that the quality of food is important. I have followed Mark for years Rob. Mark eats 2 meals a day and about 1200 calories.
        I was thinking back 50 years ago. A Lot of folks ate bologna,spam, white bread and margarine. Yet they were all slim. Just an observation.

        1. True, but most of those foods have changed in order to decrease costs and increase profit for the manufacturers. They aren’t what they once were.
          Back in the day, most people ate meals that were cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients. They weren’t consuming weird additives and preservatives on a daily basis. Heat-and-eat processed stuff was unheard of in the average home prior to the 1960’s, and the kitchen probably wasn’t full of snacky junk. If you wanted a snack, you grabbed an apple.

        2. Most people will be highly uncomfortable eating even 1600 calories a day. This is called by nutritionists and other professionals as a “semi-starvation” diet. It is not an eating program that can be maintained by most and is a key reason that the prescription to eat less and exercise more for weight loss fails most people.

          1. Interestingly I did quite well on 1600 calories while eating very low carb and with 30 lbs to lose. My working theory is that I was tapping into my fat stores and was rarely hungry and could easily go without snacks between meals (and small meals at that).

        3. Can you please cite your source for the statement that Mark Sisson only eats 1200 calories a day?

        4. I would love to know how many calories Mark eats from the man himself. I just don’t believe that an adult human male could live on 1200 calories a day for any sustained period of time

      2. I think you’re spot on. I find it hard to overeat when all I eat is natural foods. Especially when I start with a lot of vegetables, the food is very satisfying and I don’t feel a desire to eat much more. Going out for pizza or having fried fish with French fries, I feel like a vacuum cleaner. That said I think Kathy has a point in that our portion sizes are huge in the US. I like the idea of “eat until 80% full” which I think can be attributed to the Okinawans. Combine this idea with sticking to natural foods and it’s much easier to maintain weight.

      3. If it were as simple as eating whole foods, Mark the rest of Primal Blueprint wouldn’t have moved into keto and now carne-flex or whatever he’s calling it these days. And he does eat quite a bit less food than he used to according to recent podcasts, videos, etc. In any case, I think we need to stop the reductive thinking and acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diet and health. Mark himself has acknowledged this many times. His own lifestyle is an experiment and all he has are his opinions as he’s said many times. One need only consider how much the recommendations have changed since the beginning of Primal Blueprint to see that this is a process, not a set of hard-and-fast rules.

    2. I absolutely believe that most anyone can out-eat their genetics and that diet is 80%+ of the answer to weight management, but to say obesity has nothing to do with genetics is medically incorrect – talk to a woman with poly cystic ovary syndrome or a man with endocrine problems or anyone with insulin resistance. Never mind any discussions of predisposition to addictions. Genes determine our baseline. What we do with it is up to us and we have to responsible for ourselves, but to say obesity has nothing to do with genetics is saying everyone has an even playing field in life when it comes to health… that’s a very privileged place to sit in this debate.

    3. I agree with you Kathy. You look at your food you get in restaurants they are all super sized!! We all need to eat less by controlling portion sizes. Restaurants should downsize the portions along with the price. When someone gets the gastric bypass surgery their food intake is cut in half or more. That is how we should be eating. Smaller sizes n healthy foods.

      1. We only see obesity with animals living in captivity, (including humans living a modern life), along with cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Our zookeepers have not figured out what to feed us to keep us healthy, and hunter gatherers didn’t count calories.

  8. Interesting comments about genetics. A lot is blamed on our genes which we have barely begun to understand. What we do know however is that it is literally impossible for a genetic disease to increase exponentially. That’s just not how it works. Which is also why the current autism epidemic in our children (we have gone from about 1 in 5000 to 1 in 50 if I recall correctly) needs a better explanation than blaming the parents genes, especially that of parents who have no history of autism in either of their families. Autistic children typically have a wide range of health problems including serious G.I. issues too and yet the medical industry stubbornly wants to label it a purely neurological phenomenon and insists the painful G.I issues are separate and something else. Sometimes I grow tired of living in such an intentionally obtuse world!

  9. On obesity, genetics and environment. American obesity took off when we started adding high fructose corn syrup to increasingly over refined food in this country in the 1960s and 70s. Then, read Matthew Walker PhD, Why We Sleep. We have been getting less sleep for a couple of generations and getting increasingly heavier. The research says without adequate sleep we misinterpret fatigue for hunger, producing ghrelin and eating accordingly, with disastrous results.

  10. As much as a lot of the weight gain may be attributable to “engineered” food, seed oils, added sugars of all kinds, etc., I think a lot of it comes down to having lost touch with what we eat. Are family meals and cooking together much of a thing anymore? Or are we busy running around to a multitude of activities and being “busy” with life? All those aforementioned destructive food choices become habits when we don’t take the time to connect with our food and cook.

  11. Epigenetic adaptations can explain many of the changes that are causing the increase in obesity. These alterations to our genes don’t change the DNA itself, just the expression. The question remains the same — what has caused the changes? It could easily be seed oils and the shift from more natural foods to processed ones. They can possibly be changed by the shifts in our gut bacteria. Since epigenetic changes can last for the life of a cell, or could even potentially enter the germ line. Now isn’t that a cheerful thought?

  12. Dear Mark,
    I’m the Paleo dentist and after years of research, I’m 100% convinced that of the problems you mentioned today are tied to sugar and not genes! In 1950, the average American consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per YEAR! In today’s world the average American consumes almost 200 POUNDS of sugar per YEAR! That is the problem!
    Dr Spiker Davis

  13. There are numerous reasons for obesity, but I don’t believe the genes we inherited are involved. People continue to look for feel-good, “it’s not my fault” reasons, but obesity is overwhelmingly due to the amount and types of food we consume.

    We’ve also been lead astray by entities we trusted. For example, the old 1970’s food pyramid recommending a whopping 6 to 11 servings of grain products each and every day! Ye Gods, that would make anybody fat! We’ve further been encouraged to snack between meals when in fact snacking is neither necessary nor desirable.

    Further, people don’t cook from scratch using fresh ingredients anymore, if they cook at all. As another commenter said, just take a look at what’s in the grocery carts while you’re waiting in line to check out. Odds are excellent that they will be full of sweets and various other processed, additive-laden junk and very little to actually make a meal with. We are just beginning to find out what that stuff does to the human body. Likely it will be decades yet before word reaches the general population. Even then, many people won’t care. They just want food that’s fast and easy.

  14. One doctor’s experience with treating obesity led to the development of the study of Adverse Childhood Experiences. There is a lot more going on than we can know.

  15. Re: Sunday with Sisson, why everyone is overweight:
    Unless some toxin in the environment is changing our genes really quickly, you’re right, it’s not genetics making us fat. When I was a child, 50 years ago, I knew 1 obese person and 2-3 chubby people. Women had indented slender waists, not straight lines down their sides.
    Toxins and damage to the microbiome are likely big factors.
    Ancel Keys cherry picked data to convince the US government that saturated fat caused heart disease (and covered up cigarettes as an actual cause). This led to low-fat, high-carb diets. His fraud probably killed millions of people.
    When I was a child the food supply was mostly food. Then we got Velveta and CheezWhiz, and through the years what we call food has become filled with semi-edible profit-building additives, some of which are manipulating the brain’s perception of taste and creating food addictions.
    Doctors love to have someone to blame besides them selves, so they say It’s a willpower problem, when the diet they recommend fails 99% of those who try it.
    It scares me that young people don’t even know this is not normal. When I was young, chronic illness was rare, too. We need to recognize that our food, lifestyles, toxins and repeated assaults on the microbiome are making most of us fat and sick. This is not a decent way to live (and die), but we’re letting it happen with barely a squeak.

  16. Food for thought:
    “We overeat because we are getting fat. NOT we are getting fat because we overeat.” – G. Taubes
    I am almost sure the prevalence of carbs and the resultant insulin secretion are to blame for the obesity epidemic. Please read “The Case for Keto -Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low Carb/High Fat Eating” by Gary Taubes.
    Even if you are not interested in full on Keto, the book is a revelation of why “conventional wisdom” and the standard American diet are way off when it comes to weight control for most people. Gary Taubes is an award winning science and health journalist. He explains in vivid, can’t put the book down, why exercise more and eat less is a failing prescription for most people trying to lose weight.

    1. From what I’ve read and seen, obesity is an issue in some less-developed parts of the world also. Starvation is now rare, with food much more abundant than in earlier times. But protein, especially animal protein, is relatively expensive, so carb-heavy diets predominate.

  17. I think it’s the mass marketing and manufacturing of processed foods. It’s also the extreme rapid rise in availability of cheap fast foods. It’s also the family eating habits. In today’s culture, eating out several times per week is the norm. I was there 3 years ago, I knew nothing about proper diet and nutrition. That’s where most of the public is. Another problem is GMO crops. The environment has changed since the 1980s. People in general, don’t know that the food is poisonous. It’s a slow kill. But, I think it’s going to get better. People are onto it. There are more and more people shopping in the produce section and shopping at stores that promote healthy foods. But, the road back to good health has to come from the grassroots. The food and medical industries won’t do it.

  18. Obesity and genes. Our choice of food and what is now in the food would contribute to our obesity issues, along with mental issues such as kids who are ADD, more cases of Autism, and even adults now going off the rails.
    Didn’t see these things 50 years ago.
    Just my opinion.

  19. Whatever it is that most people are doing isn’t working. Do the opposite!

  20. Epigenetics clearly comes into play on an individual level. Through our individual choices we can influence gene expression without changes to DNA. I come from a family with a history of obesity. Some in my family chose to take a different path and are not overweight at all. A sister who is morbidly obese went Primal for a couple of months, lost 30 pounds, felt better and then went back to eating bad food, and now weighs more than ever. She told me that she could see that a Primal regimen works, and that it’s a workable option, but that no one in her household or workplace ate that way, and she didn’t want to be eating alone. She chose to live SAD, with a diet based on excess sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans fats, and all of the chemicals, hormones and antibiotics that food processors can force into pseudo-food. So yes, epigenetics and gene expression variations play a significant role in societal obesity. DNA hasn’t changed. Lifestyle influences epigenetic change from one generation to the next.

    1. So sad that after a great response to primal, your sister decided to go back to the SAD way of eating.

      My brother is the same. He just says that it’s easier to stay the same as everyone else.

      The thought that pops into my mind…… “everyone is running towards the cliff edge, think I’ll join them instead of turning around”…. sigh…. 🙁

  21. All it took to foster obesity was dietary change that raised basal insulin levels. Insulin has a threshold behavior in which you won’t burn fat above a certain level. So it’s not genes. We are fat because we are insulin resistant, not insulin resistant because we are fat.

  22. The rise in obesity certainly correlates w/ increases in Fructose and Seed Oils. I remember reading somewhere that Insulin Resistance harms the Metabolism of Progeny to the 3’rd and 4’th generation. Epi-genetic change can and does happen very quickly. I believe in Intelligent Design and this seems to be a built in curse to limit Gluttony. Seeing this as a Moral Problem is very freeing – you can repent and receive Divine Assistance to overcome Gluttony.

  23. I believe MY obesity struggle revolves around my memory (I can “taste” with a memory) of all the high carb/processed foods I ate for 20+ years, and the unprecedented availability of such foods in our everyday life. Even though I have adopted a healthy real-food, active lifestyle for the last 11 years, the battle is daily. If only my memory of brownie ice cream sundaes and Lay’s potato chips could be erased!

  24. Genetics and obesity – My personal experience with higher BMI, as I age, upon reflection has been mostly related to my habits that have changed over time. I have become more sedentary, more targeted to food with higher sugar content purchased ready to eat. I have exercised the weight off while eating a restrictive diet only to suffer from significant arthritic pain. I have keto dieted the weight off while missing foods. In both cases I have put it back on in about two years. Recently I have decided to change my lifestyle (habits) and have found the most pain free happiness while still eating items with sugar very rarely. Keto helped me get my cravings under control. The elimination diet while reintroducing fruits and vegetables helped me notice that sugar hurts my joints. As a retired engineer and science teacher I am pretty sure that genetics are what I am born with but habits give me the power to make myself happy.

  25. The over-consumption of carbs in general, along with grains and seed oils, is definitely a major cause of the population becoming fatter and fatter. But chemical contamination of water and food with PCBs, arsenic, and other nasty chemicals causes malfunction of insulin receptors as well as insulin, and is a hugely unappreciated driver of insulin resistance and diabetes. It’s easier to blame the genes, the patient, etc, than to it is to uncover environmental contributions to ill-health.

  26. Another contributing factor to consider: I get really hungry when I’m low on any particular nutrient. But the hunger doesn’t go away unless I get that nutrient, regardless of how much I eat. Since it’s only been in the last few years that I have even known about the existence and necessity of things like choline, glycine, and animal forms of vitamin A, I spent many years hungry and sick. If this is true for others, I imagine it would contribute to the problem.

  27. I think I overeat sweets, hfcs etc because of psychological/emotional hang ups (lack of self-love mostly, I think). Show me someone that loves and cares for themselves deeply that eats terrible all the time.

  28. Dear Mark

    At the risk of being screamed at for blaming the victim, here are a few of my thoughts on the obesity epidemic.

    I can’t help thinking that many are overweight because their subconscious is telling them that being fat makes them look important, successful, authoritative- maybe even rich, maybe even strong. In a way they may be egged on by noise from the media and perhaps our educators that you absolutely must “be somebody” and “do great things” and just be a big time mover and shaker. Well, most of us aren’t going to light the world on fire, but a little voice might be telling us that a big gut or fat ass will make it look like we are. Consider the enduring, if sometimes pejorative term “fat cat.”

    Conformity may also play a role. Many no doubt are convinced that if everybody else is fat, they should be too. They may consider it an inevitable result of aging or working or parenthood- so they should look the part. They may also be worried that if they slim down, their fat friends and family will be thinking “well, aren’t you the smartypants!”

    If a person overcomes these subconscious impediments, there are other challenges, such as changing eating habits, which may require accommodations at home. Others in the household may be irritated by any nutritional weirdness rocking the boat.

    As far as an exercise program for weight loss goes, men in particular might have a hard time getting started. Many of us have been raised with the idea that only a weirdo moves his body any more than absolutely necessary. For real men, the only valid movement is to thunder down the gridiron, knocking the opposition out of the way like bowling pins. If a guy can’t be doing that then he should be sitting still while the rest of the world comes to kiss his ring. So, the idea of doing what for most fitness candidates would be the first step- say, walking- may be out of their frame of reference. Just walking?- that’s for women and old geezers! Then, there’s the gym- are you really going to be the wimp working out with 10 lb. weights?

    So I hope others will take time to consider any possible psychological and social underpinnings of the obesity epidemic.

  29. 50 years Round-up was introduced and glysophate interferes with gut health. Watch “Kiss the Ground” on Netflix for the history of the damage to the soil and the micro-biome and a solution. It is regenerative agriculture, which rejects all artificial inputs and builds the soil, also is more profitable for the farmer.

  30. Re obesity: I have been following the impact of chemicals on nature for the last 30 years and it is my firm belief that it is the chemicals which are altering people’s metabolism. It is also my belief that endocrine disrupting chemicals are having an enormous impact on reproductive health and the normal development of children. No matter how careful we are with our diets these chemicals are so ubiquitous we are now breathing glyphosate as well as a whole raft of pesticides and herbicides.

  31. Mark,
    Per you genes, bmi, adaption sunday email:
    I think you will find the same group of scientists and their profession heirs from the tobacco companies have been working for the processed food industry … longer than you think. 50% less salt? bitter tongue receptor blockers, little to no fda oversight … one of many many food changes. Food is being engineering like Pharmaceuticals.

  32. Hi Mark, my issue with low carb is the bonk. I am talking about competitive high intensity events over 90 mins. At low intensity, being fat adapted can work I think, however at high intensity when glycogen is
    depleted, not so much. What is your take on high level athletes like Kipchoge or Bekele? Can they avoid carbs entirely?

  33. Regarding obesity, I’m pretty confident it’s due to our society’s large consumption of ultra processed foods, hormonal changes due to poor nutrition etc.

    Quitting refined sugars, going easy on the carbs and eating clean has made me drop 10 kilos. And, in regards to keeping my slim form, I rarely have to think* about dieting.

    *Of course, being dairy-,gluten-,and sugar-free for the most part, some people would call that dieting, I suppose. I call it intuitive eating, if anything.

  34. The rise in obesity follows the rise in glyphosate use, and consumption, globally. It destroys the gut , and other microbiomes, including the soils microbes and the enzymes that activate (hydroxylate) vitamin D. This is why we see increased covid symptoms in countries that use the most glyphosate, even the “tropical” countries. Its odorless, colorless, and isn’t being tested for or tracked, but its everywhere, even in tampons, and candles. It works in conjunction, with excessive amounts of deuterium, and destroys mitochondrial health (this also encompasses why industrial seed oils are so dangerous). Its an explanation for modern chronic disease that’s sitting out there in the open, waiting for everyone to discover, but its getting harder to avoid these villains, and stay healthy.

  35. The primary cause for the “epidemic” of obesity is fast food and the impact it has had on our eating habits. The most significant of which is that it is available anywhere, anytime. Once upon a time we used to eat regular meals at regular times at a table with a knife and fork, and it was a leisurely communal experience. No-one ate meals while walking in the street or in their cars. We also eat fast food much too fast, so none of the satiety filters that tell us when we have had enough have time to kick in. I could go on, but the source is fast food, which generally has the added negative impacts of high calories and unhealthy ingredients.

  36. Just want to add regarding obesity that it is not always bad food habits. We are a swedish family with 4 children and we all love food. I always cook dinner and we eat together. We very rarely eat out and I have always been interested in healthy food. One of our children is very obese and has had weight problems since early childhood in spite of constant struggles. It feels like his body is really working against him

  37. I had great aunts and great uncles born at the end of the 19th century who weighed 300 lb apiece. One great aunt in particular could not get out of bed due to her size. This was before McDonald’s, before seed oils, before coca-cola, before HFCS. Simply everyone was diabetic.

    All this is to say that genetic influences are real and do exist. It is nothing but your dumb luck if you’ve escaped them so please stop congratulating yourself, you look foolish.

    In my case it was also dumb luck that I stumbled upon low carb eating in my 30s. I stopped snacking and after dinner eating in my 40s and started intermittent fasting in my 50s. Within my family, I alone managed to escape diabetes and in fact enjoy very good health.

    You can overcome your genetic legacy with behavior but it’s a hell of a fight.