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
I’m not interested in talking about Supreme Court decisions, the Affordable Health Care Act or for-profit versus non-profit business models. No, today I have something else in mind. It’s a perspective on health insurance that gets almost no attention at all despite the high costs and even higher stakes.
Let’s look at an actual definition first. From Wikipedia: “Health insurance is insurance against the risk of incurring medical expenses among individuals.” And can those darn expenses ever get expensive… Just as budget experts and lifestyle minimalists advise that the best price is no price when that’s an option, I’d argue the same principle applies here. The cheapest health bill is no bill. And what if our daily choices could help make this possible?Read More
Isn’t it a funny thing when you spend time on a given project (like, say, a blog post) only to find when it’s done that an intriguing new angle shows up in your line of vision? Take last week’s post on health check-ups and how they might be more effective with some strategic re-envisioning. The next day an article on culinary medicine got me thinking about medical training and the myriad of possibilities for physicians who want to enhance their understanding of nutrition, exercise and lifestyle change (and for patients who would prefer a doctor who has this everyday health knowledge).Read More
This past weekend’s “Link Love” highlighted an article called “Rethinking Movement: Why You Should See a Physical Therapist Every Year.” Arguing for a systemic approach to movement and a deeper appreciation for the interconnections among the body’s neuromuscular, skeletal, cardiovascular and even endocrine functioning, professor emerita of physical therapy, Dr. Shirley Sahrmann proposes that taking a more preemptive approach to movement (a.k.a. prehab) throughout life can head off injury, osteoarthritis, chronic pain as well as the common surgeries and other intensive or pharmaceutical treatments related to these conditions. Whether you’re an elite athlete or a channel surfer, she claims an annual check-up by a physical therapist should be routine practice. Having seen so many injuries and pain issues as a trainer (and suffered from them myself), I find her proposal very compelling. More than that, however, her reasoning opens up a larger question: what really should we be monitoring on an annual basis?Read More
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got three questions and three answers. First up is a question from Casey, whose father is losing strength and muscle despite maintaining an active lifestyle. What can he do — dietarily and otherwise — to staunch and reverse the losses? Next, Australian cattle farmers are increasingly turning to sprouted grain as a replacement for standard grain feed. How does it compare to pasture feeding? Are there nutritional differences between sprouted and regular grain fodder? And finally, what do we make of the recent study showing negative effects in cyclists who ate a high-pistachio diet for two weeks? Should we rethink our stance on pistachios — and nuts in general?
Let’s go:Read More
Almost everyone I know has a chronic injury of some sort. Maybe it’s a lower back that needs extra warming up before a long day, a knee that gets stiff on cold nights, or a tweaked shoulder that prevents good overhead positioning. They’re usually not crippling, debilitating, or otherwise serious infirmities, but they are injuries that limit quality of life and performance. And all those people, to a person, got their injuries from training. My understanding is that this is true for most people who exercise regularly. Injuries happen to everyone.
It’s possible that I’m experiencing selection bias. Perhaps the injury history of the general exercising public isn’t anything like the history of my circle of ex and current endurance athletes, serious fitness buffs, Ultimate Frisbee enthusiasts, and otherwise active individuals. But I’d wager that most people who step foot into a gym have a nagging injury of some sort. The research suggests injuries happen quite frequently.Read More
You could be the picture of health to everyone who beholds you, feel generally “okay” on a daily basis without any real complaints, and never really feel compelled to visit the doctor for any specific issue. Plus, you’re Primal, so what could possibly go wrong? Except that many of us, if we stop to think about it, have little niggling symptoms that annoy us. And some of them could portend more serious conditions. I don’t want to worry anyone or freak you guys out. I just want you to be aware of seemingly inconsequential symptoms before they become more serious.
I’ve omitted the obvious signs that people don’t ignore, like blood in the toilet or the sudden inability to bear weight on one leg, to focus on the subtler symptoms that many of us take for granted.Read More
How does sun exposure relate to skin cancer risk?
The simplistic, popular story is that sunlight exposure has a linear relationship with cancer, similar to how we view smoking. None is safest and each additional minute in the sun will increase our chance of getting cancer. Many people (maybe most) therefore live in a world with danger lurking beyond every shadow, umbrella, overhang, and roof. You let your kid go outside without a layer of sunblock so thick he looks like he’s been smashed in the face with a whip cream pie, and you’re a terrible mother. And don’t even think about the beach unless you’re wearing a burqa. It’s even got a scary name: ultraviolet radiation. Radiation! Isn’t that the stuff inside nucular bombs?Read More
“Let food be thy medicine,” said some old Roman guy, I think. Whoever he was, he was right. Food is the foundation for preventive medicine. It’s the first thing we examine when figuring out a health issue, and successful changes to what we eat usually have the most profound effect on our health. If we don’t eat well, we won’t be healthy – simple as that.
But what if food literally was medicine? What if certain foods had specific, established pharmacological effects that rivaled certain pharmaceuticals?Read More
For years, experts have known that in mild to moderate cases of depression exercise is as effective (or more effective) a treatment as prescription drugs. Yet, here we are in 2014, with still climbing obesity rates and higher than ever numbers of people taking anti-depressants – a 400% jump in the last 20 years. This past week, exercise as medical therapy got another round of press after The Atlantic highlighted the issue in their thought provoking feature “For Depression, Prescribing Exercise Before Medication.” Let me add, however, that we aren’t just missing the boat in terms of depression therapy. Research has shown time and again that exercise offers just as good if not better results for an array of medical conditions. I might be preaching to the choir with the general theme, but let’s go beyond the basic assumptions and home in on the critical underlying messages reflecting why exercise isn’t just the safest and often most effective choice but why it so often remains the least accessed therapy.Read More
This is a guest post from Dr. Ronesh Sinha (aka Dr. Ron). Dr. Ron is an internal medicine physician in Northern California. He specializes in helping patients from diverse ethnic backgrounds reduce heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes. I’ve recently published Dr. Ron’s book The South Asian Health Solution. You can learn all about the book and the special offer that ends tomorrow here. Enter Dr. Ron…
I started off about a decade ago with an internal medicine practice in the heart of Silicon Valley. I learned from medical training that a typical heart attack patient is an overweight, old white guy who smokes and eats red meat. That would have been incredibly useful if I was put in a time capsule and sent back to the 1950s to practice medicine in the heart of Framingham, Massachusetts, which is where the outdated guidelines originate from. I was flooded with sedentary, mostly non-smoking, non-white, non-obese and often vegetarian patients who looked nothing like those case studies from medical training. Back then they were getting employer-based health screenings that only drew their total cholesterol level. Most of them had a total cholesterol of less than 200 and if these screenings happened to check LDL levels they often looked “good” also. These individuals were patted on their back, told they were doing great, and sent home. However, these same patients, mostly Asian Indian, were developing rampant diabetes and heart disease. One of my first heart attack cases was a 32-year-old, non-smoking Indian vegetarian. I started seeing similar cases and as I delved through the research back in those early days, I discovered that Asian Indians had one of the highest incidences of heart disease in the world. The part that puzzled me was when I looked at their cholesterol through my medically trained Framingham lens, their cholesterol numbers continued to look pretty normal…or so I thought! I went to big companies and lectured about cholesterol and feverishly preached the virtues of a low-fat, high fiber diet, one that I also practiced. However, something started happening. I never reached an overweight BMI, but my waistline did start expanding a bit and as I started checking my own numbers I noticed that my total cholesterol and LDL looked really “good,” but the other numbers on my cholesterol panel didn’t. Let’s take a look at my lipid timeline:Read More