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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Tag: Grok

What Would Grok Do?

I have to admit I’m still caught up in the excitement of last week’s launch of the new Healthy Sauces, Dressings & Toppings cookbook. (Favorites yet, anyone?) But wouldn’t you know – there’s more in the hopper. In a few short weeks I’ll be releasing The Primal Connection, the long planned sequel to The Primal Blueprint. As friends and colleagues within the ancestral movement have so generously described, The Primal Connection offers the first really new dimension in the paleo/Primal space in years. Is there any better way to start the new year – not to mention the fact that we all survived the Mayan apocalypse? In all seriousness, I’ve been pumped about this launch for months now. Like The Primal Blueprint, The Primal Connection is both a culmination and expansion of principles I’ve first introduced here on MDA. Inherent to The Primal Connection is the concept that we can use the model of our ancestors to create not just a healthier existence but also a more balanced and fulfilling life.

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Do We Need Rites of Passage?

The young native American teen sent off into the darkness with nothing but a bow and arrow and expected to return with a wolf pelt or two or three. The Masaai warrior tasked with stalking and killing a lion in single combat. The donning of a glove lined with stinging bullet ants to commemorate becoming a man. Ritualistic tattooing, branding, or mutilation upon reaching a certain age or completing a certain task. The bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah, celebrations of a Jewish boy’s and girl’s respective entrances into adulthood. The Latin American quinceañera. Rites of passage are nearly universal throughout human cultures, both ancient and modern. Universally-preserved behaviors, whether physiological traits, or cultural artifacts, are usually there for very good, or at least very important reasons. So let’s take a closer look. Why do we have rites of passage? Are they still a significant part of growing up in the modern world? If not, should they be?

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Dear Mark: Why Do We Procrastinate and How Do We Beat It?

Do you procrastinate? If you’re an actual human being – not a replicant, nor an android, nor an AI – and you’re being honest, then you should probably be nodding your head. But what’s odd about a ubiquitous behavior like procrastination is that it’s almost unanimously regarded as being detrimental to our success, our happiness, and our progress as human beings, and yet we still put things off until later. Counterintuitive yet persistent behaviors fascinate me to no end, because they suggest (at least to me) an evolutionary incongruence at hand. They suggest that in another context, another environment, the counterintuitive was anything but.

Is procrastination just such a behavior? Let’s explore:

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Ancient Wisdom Confirmed by Modern Science

This is a guest post from Jonathan Bailor of The Smarter Science of Slim and JonathanBailor.com.

Executive Summary
Short Version: Primal has been proven right.

Longer Version: Endorsed by the world-wide scientific community including top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, and UCLA, and approved as curriculum for registered dieticians (RDs) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the single largest meta-analysis of health and fitness ever conducted shows that conventional “eat less, exercise more” approaches are far less effective than going Primal, harm our health, and lead to fat gain 95.4 percent of the time.

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Grok Throws a Party

Some weeks ago after the Power of Ritual post, I had to laugh when SophieE and desert tomte shared their idea for creating our own Primal holiday. Needless to say, the musing has got the better of me. (I’ve been dipping into the egg nog one too many times, you’re wondering.) Sure, the MDA community is scattered around the globe, and our holiday schedules are likely filled. No matter. Today, I’m letting all reason and purpose fly by the wayside. Sisson’s gone nuts, you might say. Maybe so. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard that. I respond to the charge with those immortal, wise words, “Why ask why?” So, I’m taking SophieE and desert tomte at their word today and devoting today’s post to a virtual Primal bash – with everything befitting a Primal fete as well as a New Year’s celebration. The staff and I are in. Are you?

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Dear Mark: Egg Shell Calcium, Fully Hydrogenated Oils, HG Walking, Gorging, and Frozen Produce

This was a crazy week, eh? I offered up a brand new book and an accompanying special offer, and you guys responded. Although I’m not sure if we sold enough copies of The Primal Blueprint 21-day Total Body Transformation to make the New York Times best seller list (we’ll see and my fingers are crossed), I know it will changing many, many lives. And regardless of the ultimate outcome, I just wanted to thank you all for your support. I couldn’t – and wouldn’t – do it without you.

Anyway, it’s Monday, and that means it’s time for another round of “Dear Mark” questions-and-answers. We’ve got a good one on fully, as opposed to partially, hydrogenated oils (and the answer may surprise you). I cover homemade egg shell calcium supplements, average hunter-gatherer walking distance, the place of gorging in a Primal eating plan, and whether frozen produce retains sufficient nutrient content when compared to fresh. Let’s go.

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Ken Korg Finally Gets It

Things are going pretty smoothly in the House of Korg. At this point, the whole family’s got the dietary stuff locked in. They know what to eat, what not to eat, and it’s no longer a struggle. The low-carb flu has come and gone, the once-tempting foods frankly look kinda disgusting and downright unappealing. Son Kenny’s happily eating meat, Ken’s continuing to slim down, and Kelly no longer carries a feed bag to support her snacking habit.

The pantry has finally been purged. It was a big job, one Ken began immediately after that first chat with Valentina but only just finished because he had run out of garbage bags for all the old food (their pantry is a walk-in and just massive). When all was said and done, the food bank walked away with six hefty bags full of supplies and the Korgs had almost 100 square feet of empty space. Since Ken’s pantry replacements – canned seafood, coconut and olive oil, a big jerky stash, dark chocolate, loose leaf tea, coffee, and a small bag of rice for Kelly’s cardio carb-ups – only filled a couple shelves, the family has started using it for fitness equipment storage.

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How Ken Korg Got the Ball Rolling

The Korgs are in a major rut. Their health and their happiness are suffering.

Ken Korg’s doctor has been on his back since the last physical, pushing Crestor and blood pressure meds on him. He doesn’t want to end up like his father did, wedded to the pill organizer for the last fifteen years of his life, but he also doesn’t want an early heart attack. Things feel hopeless. His wife, Kelly, is frustrated because although she had her last kid fourteen years ago, she’s never been able to ditch the baby weight (can she really call it baby weight anymore?). Things between husband and wife are friendly enough, but the fire’s gone out of the relationship, and those ED drug commercials are starting to look more and more attractive to them both.

And then there’s young Kenny.

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Human Interference Factor

Have you ever had wagyu beef? Wagyu is the breed of cattle from which the infamous kobe beef is derived: highly marbled, impossibly tender. I mean, this stuff is ridiculous. I’ve had wagyu steak that you could cut with your fork, no knife required. It can actually be too melt-in-your-mouth tender for me. I’m not saying I like meat tough and stringy, but I like to know I’m actually eating something’s muscle tissue. At PrimalCon 2011, the wagyu steaks were grass-fed, grilled perfectly, and not overly tender or excessively marbled. Just great. I suspect they were a wagyu-angus crossbreed, which is true for most wagyu raised in the US. I can get behind wagyu like that.

So why am I talking about wagyu beef (why not?) and what does all have to do with “human interference factor”? Well, last week I happened across an interesting science story in a newspaper. It was your typical science reporting – kind of vague and prone to make broad proclamations based on limited evidence – but the study being referenced got my attention. In it, Australian researchers compared the postprandial inflammatory markers of patients after eating either 100 grams of wild kangaroo meat or 100 grams of Australian wagyu beef.

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The Connection Between Height and Health

Height has historically been regarded as a marker of health and robustness. We seem to implicitly accept that bigger is indeed better, even if we don’t want to admit it. On average, tall people attain more professional success and make more money, the taller presidential candidate almost always wins, and women are more attracted to tall men. On a very visceral level, the taller person is more physically imposing. After all, who would you rather fight – the dude with a long reach raining punches from up high or the shorter guy with stubby arms who has to work his way inside your guard (although Mike Tyson did pretty well for himself with such “limitations”)? And on that note, who would you prefer as a mate – the physically imposing specimen or the shorter, presumably weaker male?

We in the Primal health community are quick to point out that agriculture reduced physical stature. Generally speaking, bone records indicate that Paleolithic (and, to a lesser extent, Mesolithic) humans were taller than humans living immediately after the advent of agriculture. Multiple sources exist, so let’s take a look at a couple of them before moving on:

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