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: reviews

What’s the Pegan Diet? (And How Does It Compare To Primal?)

Because people don’t have enough diets to choose from already, there’s a new one on the scene: the Pegan diet. Actually it’s not that new—Dr. Mark Hyman started writing about it back in 2014, but it’s gained traction since he published his latest book last year, Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? According to Hyman, Pegan is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek play on the fact that it’s not quite Paleo and it’s not really vegan, hence Pegan. It claims to combine the best of both diets, namely a focus on eating lots of vegetables, as well as an emphasis on sustainable agriculture and ethical and ecologically sound animal farming. Setting aside the obvious issue that it’s 100% possible to be a vegan who eats few to no vegetables, or to be a paleo dieter who cares naught about the environment, Pegan is touted as being easier to stick to than either vegan or paleo (presumably because Pegan allows for consumption of foods not allowed on either). Frankly, trying to frame it as a bridge between the two hasn’t proved to be a seamless, happy compromise based on social media conversation, but that’s probably of little surprise to anyone here. I’ve had some readers ask me about the merits of Pegan and whether it offers any particular advantages over paleo/Primal, and I’m taking up that question today. (Note that I’m only focusing on the Pegan diet proposed by Dr. Hyman, not the “Pegan 365” diet offered by Dr. Oz. The latter isn’t paleo at all, allowing whole grain bread and pasta, corn, tofu, and a weekly “cheat day.” You can imagine my response to this version.) Defining the Pegan Diet These are the basic tenets of the Pegan diet in a nutshell: Focus on sourcing high-quality food – Prioritize organically grown and pesticide-free produce as well as meat, eggs, and fats from pasture-raised and grass-fed animals and finally sustainably harvested seafood. Choose seafood with the lowest possible mercury content. Buy local when you can. Avoid CAFO meats and foods containing chemical additives. Eliminate processed modern food-like substances and franken-fats – Processed carbohydrates have a high glycemic load and lead to excessive insulin production. Refined vegetable and seed oils such as canola and sunflower are pro-inflammatory. Avoid all such products. Go gluten-free – Even if you don’t have celiac disease or an obvious gluten sensitivity, modern wheat is still a frankenfood, and gluten can damage the gut. Occasional consumption of heirloom wheat (e.g., einkorn) is ok if you tolerate it. Go dairy-free – Dairy is problematic for most people and is best avoided. If you do decide to include some dairy, consider choosing goat and sheep milk products instead of cow. Grass-fed butter and ghee are acceptable. Make vegetables the centerpiece of your diet – Vegetables (mostly non-starchy) should comprise 75% of your diet. Enjoy healthy fats – Focus on omega-3s, as from small, oily fish. Eat plenty of healthy fats from grass-fed and pastured meats and whole eggs, nuts and seeds, … Continue reading “What’s the Pegan Diet? (And How Does It Compare To Primal?)”

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Ultimate Guide to Non-Dairy Milks

Some people just don’t do milk.

There are many reasons why. Maybe you have a dairy intolerance. Maybe you don’t like the way cow’s milk tastes. Or maybe you think cow milk is unhealthy.

I won’t contest the reasons why. That’s another topic for another post, and I’ve already covered the most common anti-dairy arguments. If you want to read about my stance on the healthfulness (or lack thereof) of dairy, read what I’ve written about raw milk, cheese, yogurt, and dairy in general. If you want to learn how to identify dairy intolerance, read this.

But the fact is, lots of people either need or want a milk alternative. Water is great to drink, but it’s not the right smoothie substrate, and it can’t replace milk in recipes or coffee drinks. You need something vaguely white and thick enough to pass as milk.

Normally in a post like this, I’d cover all the different varieties and what sets each apart—their strengths and weaknesses, their nutrient profiles, their unhealthy ingredients. And I’ll certainly do that today, but first there’s good news and bad news.

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The 2018 Primal Gift Guide (and One Awesome Book Deal)

It’s about that time of year. Whatever your inclination or creed, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukah or nothing at all, gift giving is a solid, time-honored way to establish and maintain bonds and friendship, show people you care, and make another person happy (and, as you’ll see after today’s post, healthy). Today I’m going to lay out some of my favorite products. These are purchases I’ve made and loved, gifts I’ve received and given. (And I’m throwing in one of the best deals I’ve ever offered that combines new and old favorites on the Primal scene—but you’ll have to scroll to the end.)

Without further ado, here’s the 2018 Primal Gift Guide.

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Top 9 Keto Apps

I’m not a big app guy, instead preferring to keep a loose running tally of how I’m eating, training, and living, but my understanding is that kids these days love smartphone apps. Besides, I often forget that not everyone lives and breathes this stuff. Not everyone geeks out over all the minutiae and maintains an extensive database of keto and Primal-related errata in their heads.

So today, I’m giving you a list of the top 9 keto (and keto-relevant) apps.

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Ultimate Guide to Allulose Sweetener

A few months back, I put Swerve under the proverbial microscope. This time I’m looking at a relative newcomer in the alternative sweetener field. Allulose is quickly growing in popularity, since it’s both naturally occurring and virtually identical to table sugar in taste and texture. Then there’s the claim of sidestepping many of the ill-health effects associated with many other sweeteners.

I know many of you are with me when I bring a sizable dose of skepticism to these kinds of bold proclamations. So, I did my own research, asking whether it’s truly the full-flavor, guilt-free choice many suggest it is. And, if it is (or if it comes close), I wondered, what are its best uses in the kitchen?

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8 Recommendations: Insights and Trends in Ancestral Health Documentaries

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.

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The Best of 2017: Research Insights and Other Breakthroughs

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?

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Grok’s Favorite Things: 14 Gifts For Yourself (or Other Primal Types in Your Life)

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.

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21 Books to Begin 2018

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.

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12 Health Podcasts I’m Enjoying Lately

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.

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