The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
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
Most people learn about ancestral health through books and blogs, which makes sense—Primal folks tend to be big readers, and the complexity and depth and constant evolution of the knowledge almost requires the written word for proper transmission. But a well-produced, beautiful film with great content has a unique effect on viewers. The combination of video and audio are more convincing than prose to our lizard brains, making documentaries a great vehicle for the introduction of a radically new idea. Skilled creators in the paleo space have taken note, producing some excellent ancestral health documentaries.
Doesn’t hurt that we’re right, of course.
And though “ancestral health documentary” is definitely a sub-genre that’s on the smaller side, trends are emerging. Earlier documentaries were celebrations and explorations of (and introductions to) the relatively young lifestyle, intended for individuals hoping to gain control of their own health. Future documentaries are looking at the bigger picture—how ancestral health can help the entire world and the natural environment get healthier. In today’s post, I’ll go through some of the standouts, explain what they offer, look to some upcoming movies, and track the trends.
Each year is fuller than the last. More and more scientific papers are published each year, and that trend is only quickening. The same trend goes for books, products, businesses. Humans are incredible producers. It’s what we do—create and consume.
So, whenever I do a “year in review” type of post, it’s harder than the previous year. There’s too much to cover. Hell, in 2017 alone there were over 17,000 papers published on saturated fat. 17,000.
But let’s give it a shot. What are some takeaways as we finish out 2017?
Grok may not have an entire cable network or billions of dollars in net worth, but I’d suggest he’s at least as good as Oprah at picking good gifts. This is his gift list for 2017. For a dude whose idea of high technology was an atlatl, it’s an impressive one.
If you’re shopping for the Primal types in your life, or maybe you want to treat yourself to something not just nice but useful, use this gift guide for ideas.
The book is an ancient technology whose importance has only increased in modern times. With a book, you gain access to another person’s mind or life experiences. That’s hard to beat. People who aren’t reading are really selling themselves short and missing out on an enjoyable pastime as well as a leg up on the competition.
Here are some fantastic books to dig into this coming year. Most of them are new and deal with health, fitness, and nutrition. Others are about history, productivity, or self-improvement. Some are just fun reads. They’re some of my recent (or long-time) favorites and all great options for people looking to read more this coming year.
I love podcasts. They might be my favorite part of the Internet revolution. World-class lectures on every topic. Interviews with experts from every field. Hilarious comics ripping on each other. And it’s all free. Today, I’m going to list some of the health podcasts I’m enjoying lately.
First, check out the post I did several years back. All those podcasts are still great, and you should still listen to them. But as the movement has grown, so has the stable of health podcasts. It’s impossible to keep up with all of them, but it’s fun trying.
Here are a few I’m digging lately.
“Apps aren’t paleo, Sisson. Grok waited for days for aurochs to wander within spear-chucking range, not overnight for the release of the iPhone X.” True. But this is the world we live in. These are the tools we have.
If you’re going to lug around an addictive piece of tech in your pocket all day, it might as well contain some apps that make living healthy and living Primal easier, rather than harder. What follows are some of the best paleo/Primal apps I’ve found. Some I use, some I don’t. They’re not all explicitly “paleo,” but they’re all at least tangentially related to this thing we call the pursuit of optimal health and happiness.
The paleo diet and Primal Blueprint way of eating (a.k.a. Primal) are both based on similar evolutionary science. The story goes something like this. Our modern Western diet bears little resemblance to the eating habits of early humans throughout several 100,000 years of evolutionary history. Instead, since the Agricultural Revolution some mere 10,000 years ago, we’ve adopted a nutritional regime to which our physiology is poorly adapted. When the basics of our diet return to the patterns of our pre-agricultural ancestors, we work with, instead of against, our physiology. More simply: eat as our ancestors ate, and we’ll be healthier for it.
The paleo diet and Primal Blueprint both recommend limiting carb intake (especially grains) to only as many as you require for performance, eating more protein and fat, and including lots of veggies as a base. But in the midst of this common ground are some key differences.
In 2002, Gary Taubes penned a New York Times piece that questioned the legitimacy of the presiding low-fat dogma. His article made a persuasive case for the safety—and metabolic urgency—of eating more animal fat and fewer carbs. It shifted the national conversation on healthy eating and paved the way for the rise of the ancestral health community. If the experts were that wrong about a healthy diet, what else were they getting wrong?
Last month, I installed an infrared sauna in my house. A company offered it to me to try out, and I was willing to give it a go, knowing a little about them already. It also inspired me to dig into the research—to test it personally but also to see what studies had demonstrated in terms of benefits. I’ll say I’ve been pleased with what I’ve found from both angles.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been following a new bedtime ritual: a half hour in the sauna, a cold plunge in the pool, bed. The reasoning is that after warming up my tissues in the sauna, I drop them back down to prepare for sleep. So far, it’s working. I wasn’t exactly starting from a deficit—my sleep has been consistently good ever since I changed how I consume alcohol—but I’m really happy with the new setup.
A traditional sauna heats the air around you. An infrared sauna uses infrared light to penetrate your skin and warm you directly without affecting the ambient temperature. This makes them great for home use.
Podcasts have become a lifesaver for me. Whenever I’m stuck in traffic (which is whenever I drive in LA), or have a long trip ahead of me (and I don’t feel like or can’t read), I use podcasts to make otherwise wasted time incredibly productive, engaging, and enjoyable. Here are what I consider to be the best Primal/paleo/ancestral health-related podcasts in the world. I’ll also throw in some of my favorite podcasts that have nothing at all to do with health and fitness and Primal living.
Let’s get right to it: