The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate in...
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...Tell Me More
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m addressing four questions and comments from readers. First up, do I subscribe to the idea of superfoods? If so, what do I like? If no, what do I consider “super”? Next, we know that plants—house plants, garden plants, trees—can absorb pollution and release stress-lowering odors. Is there an optimal arrangement of flora to achieve these goals? After that, I address a reader comment about the dangers of eating raw liver, followed by an intrepid reader who found the reference for the sunbathing testicle study from last week.
Let’s go:Read More
No, you yourself can’t save the world. You personally won’t make a dent in the climate, or the amount of plastic in the ocean, or the number of cute baby seals that are bludgeoned to death. But collectively, we can. The choices we make, the things we value, the food we eat, the way our food is raised, who we buy our food from, and how we conduct our day-to-day lives in attempted harmony with our Primal natures really does seem to mesh well with the environment. Multiply those small personal choices by millions of readers (and their dollars) and you get real change.
I’m not putting any extra pressure on you. These are things you’re already doing, by and large. These are the ways going Primal can actually help, not harm, the environment.Read More
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. The first one comes from Neda, who’s experiencing some issues that may be related to her fasting schedule. How should she modify her fasting? Or should she eliminate it altogether? The second question concerns a common issue: neck pain during pullups. Why does it happen and how can we avoid it? And finally, what’s the deal with red palm oil? I give my take on the controversial oil, drawing on randomized controlled trials and personal feelings about orangutans to arrive at my conclusion.
Let’s go:Read More
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First, I cover the potentially estrogenic effects of milk thistle extract and discuss whether or not it’s a problem for your endocrine health that outweighs the benefits to liver health. Next, I discuss the reasons why someone might have a low libido eating a paleo style diet, and give a few potential solutions to explore. And finally, Carrie helps a reader figure out some ways to mitigate or avoid the damage wrought by air pollution. It’s everywhere these days, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit there and accept our fate.
Let’s go:Read More
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another edition of Dear Mark. This week, I’m covering three topics. First up is iodized salt and its place in the Primal eating plan. It’s processed, it’s conventional, and plenty of alternative health purveyors warn against eating it, but how bad is it? Is there actually a place for it in a Primal lifestyle? After that, I discuss the myriad ways the weather can affect our health and physiology, including lowering body temperature, impairing immune function, increasing blood pressure, and triggering joint pain. Finally, I explore whether or not mercury fillings in our teeth are a health hazard, weighing the evidence from both sides of the argument. I also discuss what to do if you want to have them removed.
Let’s get to it!Read More
At first glance, these may seem inconsequential to the casual reader. Biodiversity? That sounds like some fancy newspeak conjured up by Greenpeace! Soil health? How can soil be healthy? It’s just a collection of inanimate bits of dirt and clay and sand! Bee health? What do I care about a lousy bee? All those things have ever done is sting me, vomit up fructose, and make annoying buzzing noises. Carbon sequestration? Carbon dioxide is a mythological compound! It doesn’t even exist. Worker health? I dunno about you, but it looks like they’re getting a great workout to me, and what’s healthier than that?
Although I’m exaggerating these reactions, of course, the fact is that a lot of the potential benefits of organic farming are lost on consumers because they fail to immediately impact your health in the here and the now. You might be vaguely aware that biodiversity, the health of the soil, the role of bees, the ability of soil to sequester carbon, and the health effects of conventional farming on farm workers are “important” to consider, but are they important enough to nudge you toward consuming organic?Read More
Regardless of how well Primal living has worked for you, you’re eventually bound to hear something like the following: “Sure, you’ve lost a hundred pounds, ditched your statins, regained your fertility, doubled your squat 1RM, gotten your diabetic cat off insulin, saved a couple hundred bucks on fancy shampoos, traveled to Southeast Asia and had no problems with the squat toilets… but can you feed the world? Yeah, exactly. I didn’t think so.” What can you do when confronted by such a query? While I sometimes don’t quite get the knee-jerk resistance some sustainability types have to the Primal Blueprint lifestyle, this line of questioning is a prevalent one that deserves an answer. In last week’s installment of this series, I addressed two of the main global sustainability issues commonly raised by detractors or skeptics of the Primal Blueprint – the environmental impact of “all those cows” required to keep us “eating steak for every meal” as well as the (non)issue of supplying 3700 Primal calories for every man, woman, and child on the planet – and today, I’m going to cover something else.Read More
Last week, I opened the discussion of whether or not the whole world could go Primal. As you may recall, I noted that given the realities of our infrastructure, our policies, and the entrenched interests who wield considerable amounts of power and influence, practically speaking such a dramatic shift simply isn’t likely anytime soon. While it may be true that much of the world can’t access or afford grass-fed beef or other examples of privileged dietary staples it shouldn’t keep those that can from enjoying it. In fact, pulling out wallets can go a long way toward changing the state of things as they are now. That was last week, though. Today, I’m going to address some of the logistical concerns many of you raised regarding a transition to a world of Primal eaters. This is a huge topic beyond the scope of any one blog post, and there’s no magic bullet, but I’ll give it an honest go.Read More
Every couple weeks, I get an email that asks about the global sustainability of the Primal Blueprint diet. It’s a common question, one that probably deserves a comprehensive answer – or as close to one as I can muster. See, the problem is that the world is really, really big. And the problems that affect the world have many layers. Each of those problems is made up of dozens of smaller problems, localized issues whose solutions – if they even exist – don’t necessarily apply to the others.
Indeed, the question posed in the title of today’s post isn’t just one question. It is many. Next week, I’ll attempt to answer the question(s) as best I can.
But for now, I just have to ask: is it even a valid question?Read More
Is there a sight more idyllic, peaceful, and touching than that of a fish farmer tending to his flock? In case you aren’t aware of how fish farming works, here’s a sample day in the life of a fish farmer:
Just before dawn each day, he rises from his water bed, dons his denim board shorts, enjoys a mugful of the fermented fish liver brew he keeps stewing in a bucket beside the front door, leaves his rickety old farmhouse boat, and sets out for a day’s labor. Wherever his paddleboat passes, carp, salmon, tilapia, phytoplankton, algae, and shrimp cease predating each other and crest to greet him. The fish farmer knows each by name and has a wink, chin scratch, and fish flake for every little shy fry cowering behind its mother. At slaughtering time, the old farmer sheds a single, solitary tear – every single time, whether it’s the ornery old catfish with greying whiskers or the months-old tiger prawn just hitting his prime (which, unfortunately for the prawn, is when flavor and texture are at their peak). It’s a simple life, but, all-in-all, an honorable one steeped in tradition, stewardship, and respect for the natural flow of aquatic life.
Okay, okay… how does fish farming really work? Well, it encompasses more than just fish, for one. A more accurate term to use is actually aquaculture, which includes multiple varieties of fish farms, shrimp (and other crustacean) farms, shellfish (oyster, clam, mussel, abalone, etc) farms, and sea ranches (this is the coolest). Let’s dig in.Read More