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: women’s health

No Joe? Caffeine and Miscarriage Update

US researchers said Monday they have conclusive proof to show that women who drink a lot of caffeine on a daily basis in the early months of pregnancy have an elevated risk of miscarriage, settling a longstanding debate over the issue. To be absolutely safe, expectant mothers should avoid caffeinated beverages of any kind during the first five months of pregnancy, the researchers said in a paper published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The study defined high intake as 200 milligrams or more a day, the equivalent of two 7.5 ounce cups of coffee or five twelve ounce cans of soda. In the study, women who ingested 200 milligrams of caffeine a day had twice the likelihood of miscarriage as those who abstained from caffeine.

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Scrutinizing Soy

You’ve heard me comment here and there about Big Agra’s favorite legume, but I thought it was time to truly sit down with soy, stare it in the eye and get to the bottom of its real intentions.

Just so you know, we had an amicable exchange, and both parties came away from the table having learned a thing or two about open-mindedness and media frenzy.

It’s true, soy was once nutrition’s sweetheart. It could do no wrong (much like multi-grain anything these days). Within a shockingly brief period, it was thrust into the limelight, granted liberties it wasn’t ready for and didn’t, in all fairness, ask for. Its sudden fame propelled it into the likes of the dairy aisle, the barbeque line-up, even infant formula. Talk about big shoes to fill! Could anyone truly stand up to such phenomenal pressure and responsibility?

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Dear Mark: Pregnancy Diet Tips for Inquiring Minds

It’s been a good long while since I opened up the proverbial mail bag. Maybe it’s resolutions for the New Year or the extra time off everyone’s had the last week or so, but my inbox has been working overtime with your questions and comments. They’ve run the gamut—questions about everything from herbal supplements to strength training tips to farm policy.
As always, thank you for your thoughts and questions—and, of course, for reading. I try to answer as many messages as I can, but know that the good folks in the forum community offer great perspectives as well.
This week’s round is for all the expectant moms (and dads) in the MDA community. However many of you fall into this category, I’ve received a string of inquiries lately from the expectant set. Congrats, and here you go!

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Labor Laws: Exercise Tips for Pregnant Women

When it comes to pregnancy, Heidi Klum is the anti-Christ. Not only has she delivered three children in as many years, but her body has rebounded—to Victoria’s Secret’s expectations no less—each and every time. Her secret? A comprehensive fitness routine during pregnancy (and freaky German supermodel genes.)
But even if you don’t plan on strutting down the fashion runway on the way home from the maternity ward, working out while you’re waiting for your little bundle of joy to debut has many benefits. Physically, exercising while pregnant can reduce aches and pains, prevent wear and tear on your joints (which become loosened during pregnancy) and help your body snap back more quickly after delivery (although I can’t promise you’ll ever look like Heidi!). In addition, a good fitness plan can help temper mood swings (not that the hormone-fueled emotional rollercoaster pregnancy invokes isn’t a laugh-a-minute), reduce fatigue and improve sleep. Still need convincing? Women who exercise have shorter and less intense labors.

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Worker Bees’ Daily Bites: Fitting in in 2008

Despite her five-a-day frappuccino habit and penchant for late night Mickey D runs, the tabloids are reporting that Britney Spears has purchased herself a whole slew of skimpy new outfits to wear once she slims down to her former pop princess physique.
While the list of things one might have in common with Ms. Spears generally falls under the “few and far between” category, buying clothes a size (or two) too small is something many of us can relate to. It’s an ego boost of sorts, to slip on a smaller size and realize that, while you’ll have to give up breathing and you definitely won’t be able to sit down (or stand comfortably for that matter) the zipper is up and the button has fastened…ummm…more or less.

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Chemicals That Harm Baby Boys

I’ve long been suspicious of the side effects of certain chemicals present in plastics that are billed as safe. Even mainstream sources have been questioning the safety of particular toxic chemicals found in petroleum-based products, namely phthalates.

Experts initially dismissed the phthalate debate as nothing more than needless, unsubstantiated worry. Subsequent studies gave the concerns some validity and recommendations to conduct further investigations were deemed worthy. Still, until recently, the evidence was not persuasive enough for the authorities. Now the lid on the Tupperware, as it were, has sealed.

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Should Pregnant Women Eat Fish?

This is officially the last aquatic health post of the week. However, the issue of pregnancy, mercury contamination and fish consumption is just too important to skip. In an about-face, experts are now recommending (really pretty much begging) that women consume fish during pregnancy. They say that the fat in fish is crucial to proper fetal development and this far outweighs any concerns about possible birth defects due to chemical contamination. 90% of women don’t eat sufficient amounts of fish during pregnancy, and the consequences are severe: impaired cognitive function in babies and depression in mothers. It’s a stand-off between environmental groups and public health advocacy groups, with the FDA just trying to stay afloat as usual.

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Age Well, Avoid Osteoporosis: It’s Easier Than You Think

Few things are more important to your longevity than bone health. Your bones are living tissues that require adequate nutrition and exercise just as your muscular system does. Compelling research indicates that your bones appear to play a role in metabolism, hormone production, and immunity. In fact, a recent study posits that the skeletal system appears to be a part of the endocrine system (with implications for type 2 diabetes). And significantly, bone health is critical to manage as we age. Despite our ability to “get milk” (and cheese, and yogurt, and cream), Americans suffer from high rates of osteoporosis. It seems unbelievable, but a fall or a fracture can have fatal implications – in fact, fractures are the #1 cause of death in people over 65.

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Ain’t No Thing But a Chicken Wing

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

All the news, none of the trans fat.

1) Angering dermatologists everywhere!

Another holy grail of health is about to crumble. Here’s more evidence that a little sunshine is not only okay – it’s probably good for you (something any cat could tell you…if they could tell you). Want to prevent osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer, and maybe even MS? Check out this clickativity.

2) We still love apples

This is an interesting little article about how Americans are so unhealthy, not even our favorite fruits and vegetables are the best. Wow, thanks, Science Daily.

Among the findings: most people still do not know they’re supposed to eat 5 daily servings of produce. And actually, that’s not even correct – a bunch of health organizations got together two years ago and proved that 7-9 daily servings is actually what’s needed for optimal health.

The point of this daily bite is to introduce a little thing Mark refers to as relative nutrition. Sure, potatoes and apples and iceberg aren’t the healthiest produce choices in the world (go for yams, berries and spinach).

But relative to the processed tripe convenience food that’s shoveled at the overwhelming majority of Americans – including the kidlets – any produce is better than some. Think about what you eat in a day. How much of it actually looks like something that grows in a garden?

Everyone is at a different point along the nutrition curve, which probably flows something like: raw, vegetarian, organic, fresh, selective, indiscriminate, destructive.

Most Americans, sadly, fall into the last two categories. Even most “health-minded” folks, Mark believes, hover somewhere around selective. Thanks to unethical food marketing, these well-intentioned shoppers are selecting foods that have the ring of health but are not really healthy. For example: low-fat dairy, canola oil, multi-grain bread, cereal bars, and pork – because it’s “white” meat.

The further you get along the nutrition curve, the healthier you’ll be. But keep relative nutrition in mind. If you know spinach is better than iceberg, and you can afford it, then for Pete’s sake, eat some spinach! But it’s just good to keep in mind that different people are at different points on the curve, so any progress is still progress. And it’s not just because we like apples (okay, maybe that’s some of the reason).

Why men have love handles and women have bellies

3) Killing is wrong, but Big Pharma evidently missed that memo…

Because they were too busy writing emails figuring out the best way to lie.
And lie some more.

4) The C-Section debate

Is elective Cesarean section a safer bet for baby? We already know it’s safer for mom, but the stigma remains in some societies. This study updates the debate.

Web it out:

Astrology affects your health? Study not funded by Miss Cleo (we checked). Yet another fabulous episode in Silly Studies R Us.

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Sting Like a Bee…

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

So much good stuff. And a lot of funny stuff, too. Here’s the fresh mix:

1) Cheer Up, It’s All Okay!

Sometimes it’s tempting to throw your hands in the air and say “Hey, why bother? Everything’s unhealthy!” We hear you. Today, let’s put things in perspective a bit. For example, recently headlines have been popping up with the news that denser breast tissue doubles a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Yikes! Doubles?!? Double yikes!

Guess what? The overall breast cancer likelihood of, say, a typical 50-year-old woman is about 2.5 percent. For a woman with dense tissue, yes, it’s “double” – 5 percent. But doesn’t a five percent risk sound less scary than double the risk? That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the way these studies are presented. Sometimes – many times, unfortunately – medical news gets sensationalized to get to the head of the headline race. Breast cancer is scary enough – we don’t need to be dramatic about it, too! Let’s breathe a collective “whew”. And ladies, get your mammograms. Here’s the clickativity.

2) We’re Going Down, Down…

Cancer is down for the second year in a row – and not just breast cancer. Colon cancer and lung cancer, too! Smoking rates are on the decline, and awareness about colon screening (everyone’s favorite) has spread. Good news is so clickative. And this cancer can now be prevented with a simple vaccination.

3) Good Switch, Starbucks

First they do away with trans fat. Now they’re eliminating hormones in the milk. If only they’d stop with the sugar. After all, as Mark has been saying, sugar is the new trans fat.

Oddballs:

A Nation of ‘Girly Men’?

And Here We Thought BK’s Chicken Fries Were Weird…

Square Melons Are Less Stressful or Something?

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