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

Dear Mark: ApoE4, Red Eye Recovery, TEDx Paleo Debunking, and Cough Drops

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another edition of Dear Mark. This week, I’m covering four reader questions. First up is a really tricky one: ApoE4, the ancestral allele that’s classically associated with a host of maladies, like cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. What’s the deal with it? We don’t have any concrete answers (yet), but I give my take on it. Next, I tell a reader who’s flying to Chile for vacation how I recover from travel-related sleep disturbances and realign my circadian rhythm. After that, I cover another paleo debunking that’s actually not much of a debunking, this time a TEDx video from Christina Warriner. And finally, I explore the eternal question of Halls cough drops, including whether or not any natural alternatives exist.

Let’s go.

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Is It All Just a “Paleofantasy”?

So this is my review of the new book Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live. It’s been making the rounds for a few weeks now, and although some other people have already weighed in, I’ll add my two cents. At the outset, I’d like to make very clear that I actually agree with a decent portion of Marlene Zuk’s individual arguments. Though it may surprise you to know that Mark Sisson agrees with the most prominent paleo debunker du jour on several topics, I’m not saying I support the overall product or her final conclusions. In fact, Paleofantasy is an odd, meandering book whose ultimate purpose I’m not really sure I truly understand.

There are two main problems with the book, as I see it. First, she’s working against a straw man. Many of the arguments she debunks, like “eyeglasses aren’t paleo” or “the paleo diet was carnivorous,” seems to have been dug up from some random Internet commenter or drawn from fringe camps. In other words, they aren’t arguments people like Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Paul Jaminet, or me (or our readers) are making. Second, many of her counterarguments or “nuanced approaches” are the very same ones we’ve been exploring at length for years! After reading the book, John Durant tweeted “Paleofantasy shouldn’t have been a book in 2013, it should have been a blog post in 2010,” and that’s as good a description as I can think of.

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In Search of the Perfect Human Diet

I was recently given the opportunity to watch a pre-release copy of CJ Hunt’s long-awaited documentary, “In Search of the Perfect Human Diet.”  Honored and delighted, I accepted. This is a big film, guys. I wouldn’t expect to see it on any Oscar lists or anything, but it’s big nonetheless. You may have heard of it already. Robb Wolf’s been championing the cause since way back in 2010, when CJ was trying to raise funds for production. Erwan Le Corre drummed up some support, too. I gave the trailer’s release some Weekend Link Love last year, and now, on the eve of its release, I’m reviewing the film. I couldn’t be more excited.

This film was a labor of love on the part of CJ. It kinda had to be, since its premise isn’t blockbuster material. It doesn’t tug at heartstrings, nor does it present a harrowing, gripping narrative full of conflicts and conflict resolutions that rival the best feature films. No, “In Search of the Perfect Human Diet” is exactly what it sounds like: the chronicling of one man’s quest to figure out what humans should be eating. It’s not a sexy premise that sponsors would fall all over themselves to get in on. It’s not selling anything (but the film itself). It’s not even promoting any particular paleo or Primal eating book. It appears, on its surface, to be a niche title, with a limited audience, but consider the subject matter. It’s about you, me, your friends, that guy across the street whose name you don’t even know, billions of strangers scattered across the globe, and billions more scattered across time. In short, this movie is about humans, about real people, and the diet we evolved eating. That sounds like a massive target demographic to me. But because the ancestral health community, while growing, is still relatively small, the film had to funded almost entirely by donations from individual humans who love this way of life and believe in it, have garnered benefits from it, and who want it available on a larger, different stage for all to see. If you were among the donators, I thank you, because you made this very important documentary possible.

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Worker Bee Field Trip: MovNat One-Day Fundamentals Workshop

Ever since Mark linked to that Men’s Health feature by Christopher McDougall on Erwan Le Corre and his MovNat system a few years ago, I’ve been interested in it. I saw the videos of a barefoot, shirtless Erwan lithely moving from rock to rock, climbing cliffs, leaping from high places, sprinting, diving, and moving fallen trees. His interview describing the plight of the “zoo human” and what to do about it really resonated with me, so I began trying to work MovNat-esque training into my life. It seemed like a good fit. Outdoorsy stuff has always been my thing, and I’ve never been one to avoid dirt. I didn’t make natural movement a huge priority, instead focusing more on weights, but I always kept it in my thoughts and played around with it whenever the opportunity arose.

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7 High-Tech Tools for Better Primal Living

Superficial observers of the ever-growing Primal movement often assume us to be a bunch loin-clothed Luddites, but, generally speaking, we aren’t paleo-romaticists eschewing all things new. In fact, many of us are nerds, technophiles, and gadget freaks that embrace the digital age. Sure, instead of slumping in a chair with Cheeto dust ‘staches, we’re constructing makeshift standup workstations with lard-slicked lips, but computers are still a part of our lives. Today’s post is about highlighting the tools that enable better Primal living through technology. There are some good ones out there, some new, some old and largely unnoticed, but all deserve a good hard look.

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The New Evolution Diet: An Excerpt (plus Art De Vany Answers Your Questions)

If you’ve been lurking in the Primal/Paleo community for any length of time, you already know who Art De Vany is. If not, here’s your chance to get a quick glimpse of the man who is billed as the grandfather of the modern Paleo movement. He’s been living this way for a quarter century, and his personal results speak to the long term benefits that come from emulating a hunter-gatherer existence. All of us who dabble in the Evolutionary realm owe Art a debt of gratitude for his early and continuous exploration of this lifestyle and philosophy that we all hold so dear. In fact, my own first few essays in the blogosphere were actually guest posts on Art’s site. And it was the enthusiastic response to those posts that helped convince me to try my own hand at this “blogging thing” back in 2006. Thanks, Art.

His long awaited book The New Evolution Diet goes on sale next week, and he has graciously provided an excerpt for you here today. I think you’ll find it thought-provoking on several levels (the math, the historical and personal perspectives, and especially that last line). While Art normally confines his comments and answers to his paid site (arthurdevany.com), he has agreed to lurk on MDA for a few days and answer as many of your questions in the comments section as he can. Make ‘em good, people. You can pre-order his book on Amazon right now (affiliate link), and it goes on sale officially December 21.

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The 5 Best Dark Chocolate Bars in the World

The Modern Paleo blog’s been doing chocolate reviews recently, which struck me as a novel but totally understandable practice for a blog called Modern Paleo. In my mind, good dark chocolate – high cacao content, high fat, low-ish sugar stuff – makes any downsides to living in this modern world well worth it. Good dark chocolate really is that good. And one of the best parts about going Primal has been the way my heightened sensitivity to the slightest dash of sugar enables true appreciation of the bean’s slightly sweet product.

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The Vegetarian Myth

Wow.

It isn’t often that I write book reviews (have I ever? – serious question), but it isn’t often that a truly important book like Lierre Keith’s The Vegetarian Myth pops up on my radar just begging for one.

You may remember it from a brief mention I gave back in September, or maybe from Dr. Eades’ endorsement of it. You may have even already read the book yourself. If you haven’t, read it. And if you have? Read it again or get one for a friend.

That goes double for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone on the cusp of adopting that lifestyle. If you fit the bill, especially if you’re considering veganism/vegetarianism for moral reasons, drop what you’re doing and run to the nearest bookstore to buy this book. It’s incredibly well-written, and the author has a real knack for engaging prose, but that’s not the main reason for my endorsement. The real draw is the dual (not dueling) narratives: the transformation of a physically broken moral vegetarian into a healthier moral meat eater; and the destructive force of industrial agriculture. The “Myth” in question is the widely-held notion that vegetarianism is the best thing for our health and for our planet. On the contrary, Keith asserts that a global shift toward vegetarianism would be the absolute worst move possible. It’s vitally important. It’s definitive. It’s somewhat depressing, and it’s brutally honest. It also might be the book that changes your life.

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The Truth on Truvia

For better or for worse, we’re hell bent on finding or concocting the “perfect” non-caloric sweetener in this country. Call it the spirit of creative innovation – or capitalist enterprise. Call it incessant perpetuation of Americans’ bad eating habits. Call it a pragmatic step toward at least a more healthful alternative for what people will eat regardless.

First it was the pink packets, then the blue, then the yellow, and now the pleasantly, nature-inspired white and green foliage-designed envelopes. Truvia is a lucrative marketing merger of the “true,” (the essence?, the genuine?, the handy emotional affirmation?) with the herb stevia and all its natural (or novel) associations, depending on your familiarity with the natural foods (er, dietary supplement) arena.

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The Primal Blueprint Sneak Preview

As you may know, I’ve been working on my comprehensive diet, exercise and lifestyle book, The Primal Blueprint, for nearly two years now. This exciting project is nearing completion, with a planned publication date of April, 2009. In the spirit of the holiday season, I want to give you a detailed sneak preview! The message is aligned with many of the concepts and topics I address on Mark’s Daily Apple, but finally organizes the entire “primal” philosophy into a single work – your “owner’s manual” for all things primal. At 300+ pages, The Primal Blueprint will be an extremely comprehensive work, but I also envision it as a mere starting point for a brand extension of more specialized publications (e.g. – companion workbooks for athletes, weight loss enthusiasts, healthy families), a DVD series that is already in the works, live seminars and much more.

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