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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June 17 2012

Weekend Link Love – Edition 194

By Mark Sisson
63 Comments

Why our food is making us fat (hint: it’s not the fat).

How America’s grocery buying habits have changed – for the worse. Via NPR.

Also from NPR, “Commenters Bite Back on the Paleo Diet,” complete with a totally representative image of some guy eating a raw steak out of a paper bag (an unwitting foreshadowing of world where red meat is regulated and steak must be consumed clandestinely, perhaps?). This is a response to an earlier article which got taken apart by said commenters.

Hospitals in Europe (and, hopefully, elsewhere) are poised to roll out the world’s first quick, cheap, and accurate test for gluten intolerance.

While I’d personally prefer having R2D2 rolling alongside beside me, whirring and beeping encouragement as I lift, sprint, and train, I guess a flying exercise drone will have to do.

I’ve discussed how humans are hard-wired to be optimists before. Here’s a similar take on the evolutionary origins of optimism.

A pretty slick stand-up desk.

In yet another edition of “What Can’t Butter Do?”, Qualcomm discovers a novel way to test the thermal efficiency of their smartphone chips.

Bell pepper bread?

Recipe Corner

  • Jerk chicken is great, but why stop with birds? Throw some pork in there, too!
  • Some people don’t do white potatoes, while others have sweet potato intolerances. Everyone, however, loves them some squash. I present: squash fries.

Time Capsule

One year ago (June 17 – June 23)

Comment of the Week

Blowing through your lips to make a “raspberry” or “horse lips” helps open the sphincters to ease release as well. It is also fun.

– Um, really, yoolieboolie?

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63 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 194”

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  1. whoa… a red bell pepper sandwich! How on earth have I not thought of this before?! Need to try ASAP

  2. So we are spending way less on food then we used to. Surprise! Stuff like television, iPhones, cars, etc. are more important to us.

    And the amount we spend on meat has been cut in half… it would be cool to see that double and processed foods to be cut in half. I bet that would make a huge difference…

    I love the idea of using bell pepper as the bread for a sandwich! I’ll be doing this right away.

    1. It’s amazing how expenses have changed since our grandparents’ day, or even since I was a kid. Back in the day, we had had no cable bills, internet bills -a phone bill, but only the long-distance calls drove it up. The entire concept of the cost of living has changed. It’s no longer clothing, food, and shelter.

      1. A century ago, we were spending 30% of our take-home on food, and it was coming from the farm. A century later, we Paleos are just about spending the same amount (maybe a little less), although the take-home and outgo have changed drastically.

    2. I don’t think it signifies that we’re spending less on food, I think it shows that we are *preparing* less of our own food–ie less grocery store, more Applebee’s.

      1. What’s far more telling here is that the mass industrialization of meat is driving lower prices. Even though the % of food budget allocated to meat has dropped in the past 30 years, overall consumption has increased.

  3. As one who greatly appreciates your work and the insight and wisdom of your commenters, I feel compelled to point out a bit of possible conflict. When you highlight the silly stereotype image of a raw steak eater doing so clandestinely, you might take a quick gander at your ubiquitous use of “Grok” here.

    As a non targeted demographic – neither a bodybuilder nor child bearing age woman, I confess that it took many favorable references to your site before I got past the Grok image and into the content.

    I now tend to overlook stereotype images linked to Paleo/primal/ancestral diets. Forget about health – Paleo folk dealt with a lot more gathering and community building that is ever referenced on the latter day blogosphere.

    Not to say any of this diminishes the benefits of the content. But I hope you understand how images can also have negative effects, intentional or otherwise.

    1. I always saw such images as tongue-in-cheek. There are people who understand humor, and people who take things literally. That will never change.

      1. You further the point, Jen. The perception of images and their associated meanings varies widely and wildly.

        However, you also imply that your perception of the image and your judgement of those who don’t share it (lacking a sense of humor) is the sole correct one. FAIL

  4. What an awesome idea, swapping bread for crunchy, juicy pepper. I will try this. I will also try using grilled pumpkin instead of pepper.

  5. MARK! Thanks so much for linking up my Squash Fries post! I’m glad my ideas can help those on MDA and in the gluten-free, primal, and paleo communities 🙂

  6. I tried Peggy’s bell pepper bread and it was delicious. I avoid all grains and hate when people suggest I just use gluten free bread instead (yuck!). So glad Peggy thought up a clever bread alternative for me to put my lunch meat in. Genius!

    1. I have used pepper this way, though didn’t call it bread – I was thinking of it more like stuffing a raw pepper.

      Here’s a way to make a bell pepper flat: Cut off the top as close to the top as possible, and cut off the bottom, close to the bottom. Then you can cut the pepper in half (across the ‘poles’, which you have just cut off), and the pepper opens up flat. Or you can just cut one side of the pepper with top and bottom cut off, and this gives you one large, flat square.

      1. Meant to say that you (obviously) need to take the seeds out before it’s ready!

  7. Nice post.

    Just want to share this weekend experience …

    So I’m at the New York Philharmonic yesterday for a matinee of of Schubert and Nielson, and about 95% of the folks in near sell out crowd were in their 70s and 80s – hunched over, walking excruciatingly slowly, many with walkers, some toting around external oxygen supplies, virtually all overweight.

    During the intermission, I decided to do a little “research” – by seeing if I could find one person in that age group with a lean body, walking at a normal pace, standing up straight.

    And I did. I found ONE PERSON, out of about 2,000+ people! (An elegantly dressed lady, probably in her mid-80s.)

    Hmmmm … something seems wrong, doesn’t it? Gee, wonder what it is 🙂

    1. Susan, I live in a tourist town that attracts old folk for theater, and it’s the same story here. The older folk who live here are often quite fit and look younger than their age, but the visitors are as you described: oxygen tanks, hunched, poor mobility.

      Everyone likes to say that we’re all going to live longer than the previous generations, but I’m not sure at all.

      1. it seems people who can afford to be artificially “propped” w/medication, oxygen and full-time caretakers are living longer…and I dont want to seem like I am diminishing the value of LIFE,but to “live” barely able to walk? to be unable to breath on your own? to hurt all the time? what’s the point?

        1. I sure didn’t see much of what looked like high quality of life yesterday.

          These people didn’t look or seem happy. Instead, they appeared very stressed by the basic physical tasks of (a) getting to their seats; and (b) getting to the restroom during intermission; and (c) returning to their seats.

          I also noticed a certain disconnect between people who were together, in pairs or groups. Few were communicating in any way (chatting, holding hands, etc.). Mostly, people seemed depleted, silent, and kind of sad.

          Which was sad to see.

          It made me think about how I want things to be when I’m their age, and it doesn’t look anything like that!

        2. Actually, a lot of those people *cannot* afford the care you are talking about. Medicare and the VA (in other words, taxpayers) pay for a lot of it. That’s why there’s a lot of money to be made to provide that kind of care.

          I like to think that if extensive medical intervention wasn’t so cheap for the recipients, people would make more effort to take care of themselves with diet and exercise, but I’m really not so sure.

      2. Karen: The efforts of medical science seem way more invested in keeping life going once it’s downward spiraled than it is in prevention.

        There are many reasons for that, not the least of which is the money to be made in products and services (pharm companies, doctors, medical facilities, etc.).

        People might be living longer than previous generations, but from what I saw yesterday (and you’re seeing where you live), it doesn’t look to good, does it?

  8. oooh squash fries! trying those today! We grill up bell peppers regularly and stuff em with everything you can think of…sausage, ground beef, eggs, grilled fish & veggies…they rock!

    Happy fathers day Mark and all you Primal Pops out there!!

  9. Happy father’s day and thanks for the link love, Mark!

    I missed the article about a cheap test for gluten intolerance. That could potentially improve a lot of lives. Although, probably not so much if they just switch from wheat junk food to gluten free junk food…

    1. Getting rid of the gluten free junk food may be the best answer, but I’ve read your blog. I’m sure you understand how *wonderful* life can be without gluten for those of us who can’t eat it! You’re entirely right, it has the potential to improve the lives of so many, especially in the States where getting diagnosed is so hard!

    2. Canada has had the celiac home test for a while now. Called Celiasure, I think.
      You can buy it in pharmacies with no prescription.
      It uses antibodies to TTG-IGA. Just like the blood tests here.

      I wish it would come to pharmacies here in the US, but Big Pharma is stopping it. Aarrghhh!

  10. Mark, thanks so much for the Link Love! Me and my Jerk Pork love your site and all you do for the paleo community. MUAH!

    Hey, and Happy Father’s Day to all the men!

  11. The Guardian writer blames Nixon for the high-carb diet craze, but also references Gary Taubes, who put the blame on McGovern’s shoulders. Can’t get away from politics 🙁

    1. The Guardian article is based on an excellent BBC show (referenced at the end), the first of 3 episodes. If you are in the UK (and I think even if you are not) you can go to the BBC website and watch the programme again (as well as the next two, which I hope are as good as the first).

  12. Bell Pepper sammich sounds like a party in my mouth. And on another note, I must be the only person who doesn’t love them some squash (horf). Chewing my dog’s nails off with my teeth is more appetizing than squash. Even the name is icky…SKWAAAASH. ew.

  13. It’s what people eat but it is how much we eat too. Looking to old recipe books (british, french, italian, argentinian, spanish) one thing that really comes out is the portion sizes. Food was nutrient dense, there was fat in it, and portions were smaller. If I follow a twelve people lunch recipe today (from entree to dessert) I’d be lucky to feed six people today (and be criticized probably). There’s less sugar in desserts, pasta/rice was 50 gr a head (and now doubles at least), and so on. Even salt content comes out lower. If I get one of the old recipes for a pie I can end up with a fairly low carb dessert (and do it even better if I ditch grain for almond flour) but following newer recipes I end up with a sugar nightmare.

  14. Love the first article on sugar making us fat. This is why regulatory taxing measures are necessary to curb the sale of sugar-filled products; Americans have been nearly forced into this addiction–time to get us out of it!

    Happy Father’s Day!

    1. The government has been pushing Americans to eat worse and worse for 50 years, i.e. low fat, high carb.

      And now you actually suggest giving the government more involvement in ‘helping’ us with dietary choices?

      That is just bizarre logic. Keep regulations out of my dietary choices, thank you very much.

      (Nearly forced into this addiction? You really should watch the movie Fat Head.)

      1. Thanks for your response! Always good to hear the other side 🙂

        I haven’t seen Fat Head yet, so maybe I’ll be better able to respond once I have… but from what I understand, it doesn’t go too far from what I am arguing. America has been driven on the low fat, high carb, and high sugar diet. We’ve been misinformed about fat and driven to sugar–some form of processed sugar is in nearly every product in a normal grocery store. This is what I mean by “forced.” I’m not saying that it was some vindictive plan thought up by McDonald’s.

        btw, from what I understand, this guy eats at McDonald’s every day and doesn’t get fat. My guess is he doesn’t eat the buns or the fries. I’m wondering if they tested other aspects of his health, the quality of his skin, etc. Again, can’t say much on this until I’ve seen the film.

        But sugar has been proven to have addictive qualities. Bottom line: this overconsumption of sugar is harmful and addictive– Like tobacco. In my opinion, that should give enough reason for excessive servings of it to be taxed/regulated.

        1. I think what John is saying Alana, ( I hope) is that handing more power to the people who got us into this mess isn’t likely to fix it. If we could wave a wand, and convince them to reverse 50 years of bad policies it might be a different story. 🙂

        2. Mntnmom (love that tag) is right: giving government power to coerce our food choices isn’t likely to fix anything.

          You really should find an hour to watch Fat Head – it’s available on Hulu. The message isn’t Primal per se (he does eat the buns and fries), it is about misinformation – the government and the anti-fat crusaders.

          Just because something is addictive is not a reason to give the government power over it – need I point out the billions of dollars and thousands of lives being wasted on the drug war, and drugs are easier to get and cheaper than they were 20 years ago?

          As you make your way through law school, I suggest readings from all political sides of the coin (if I may garble a metaphor a bit), including some of the libertarian points of view which tend to focus on the negatives of government involvement in our lives.

    2. Get your filthy know-it-all hands away from my diet and my money, Alana.

      1. Eric,
        There are no regulations against it, so go ahead and drink Coke and have sugar in your hamburger bun.

    3. Instead of creating yet another new tax, rather we should just eliminate the subsidies for corn, wheat, sugar, etc. Remove the tax dollars driving the prices lower and viola, industry will stop creating as many products for the profit will be gone from them.

      1. I’m with ya on this. People don’t seem to realize that corn subsidies and other govt interventions are what keeps the prices of HFCS artificially low.

        And for those who think agriculture subsidies help small, independent, family-owned farms, that is absolutely not true. I live in NW Iowa surrounded by corn and soybean fields and it’s widely known in theses parts that the biggest, wealthiest crop farms are the most heavily subsidized of those who receive them.

        Also, as they’ve made abundantly clear, if the govt taxes an industry more they will also increase subsidies for that same industry. They operate like someone who breaks your leg then acts like your savior when they hand you a crutch (paid for by someone else, of course).

  15. Ironic that just as we learn about pepper ‘bread’, the NPR article suggest that peppers are one veg that has gone up significantly in price…

    1. Especially organic bell peppers–they either come from Holland or Israel. That’s why I started growing my own, and quit paying the import price.

  16. I take issue with the first link. It’s part of Lustig’s misguided crusade. It’s true that it’s not the fat that’s making us fat, but it’s not the sugar, per se, either. Calories, people, calories. Lustig’s biochemistry, especially pertaining to fructose, is an abominable mess. Should people stop eating so much refined sugar? Yes. Should we ban the consumption of bananas because they’ll somehow cause diabetes and obesity? HELL NO.

    1. Ian,
      From what I have seen Lustig does not say that we should not eat bananas. Eat your sugar with fibre, in fruit, he says. He’s against sugar, HFCS, soda and fruit *juice*, not fruit.

      I think his work is pretty good. Are you from the sugar industry, by chance? And, by the way, I do think that many primal folks either don’t eat bananas or eat them rarely.

      1. Seriously? Because I suggested his science is a mess, I must be from the sugar industry? Wow. . . . The banana comment was a completely facetious exaggeration, by the way.

    2. I agree -the problem with people is that they take fairly no-brainer information like “too much sugar makes us fat” and declare that all sugar in any amount makes us fat. No…

  17. Very good article from the Guardian. The message about processed foods, especially sugar in all its forms, is slowly seeping out to the mainstream. Interesting how politics and money had such big roles to play in contributing to the obesity problem.

  18. Happy Father’s Day, Mark! Hope your kids go bag you an elk or something.

  19. That photo at NPR is ridiculous. There’s *nobody* I know who eats paleo that would tuck into a raw steak. Rare maybe, but mostly BBQ’d medium-rare like the rest of the normal people around here.

    1. *BBQ snob alert*
      Steve, you can’t barbecue something medium rare. That would be grilling. Barbecue takes hours and the entire point is to cook it long enough for the entire thing to be basted by rendering fat and collagen. That takes 180F and lots of time. Medium rare stops around 120F for a little time.
      It’s ok. My wife is from West Texas and frequently confuses the idea.

  20. Fantastic read from The Guardian article. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing this with us Mark!

  21. Hey is the dude eating the raw steak the same dork who complained about Durant eating nightshades in the new York times “meet the new cavemen” article?

  22. The picture of the obese child in the Guardian article infuriates and saddens me at the same time.

  23. lol, for some reason I thought it would be good to share the trick I learned from Ina May Gaskin’s book while in my third trimester. No amount of squatting was getting me going, so every morning my family laughingly joined in the calls of “horse lips”. Looking back I realized probably not many people on this site suffer constipation. It’s just as well, even as comment of the week yours was the only response- and it made me smile. Thanks 🙂

  24. Just a little nit pick. I know the science daily link title is what you used, but that title is incorrect. EU researchers have developed a new test for *celiac disease*. Not gluten intolerance. They are two different things and we still don’t know what causes gluten intolerance or how to test for it.