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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April 26 2015

Weekend Link Love – Edition 345

By Mark Sisson

I’ve got an exciting opportunity headed your way next Wednesday, so be sure to stay tuned. I’m releasing a new ebook and much more, so mark you calendar!

Research of the Week

Here’s more confirmation that BPA could have harmful effects on the environment and human health.

Real Vegan Cheese. Is it headed to a market near you?

Researchers get a few steps closer to understanding just how common biomarkers of sleep debt found in humans, rats.

New Primal Blueprint Podcast

Episode 64: Elle Russ and Eli Rohde: Get the female perspective on the paleo journey as these two women discuss the misconceptions, excuses, and objections that prevent people from taking the plunge, and offer their own wisdom and encouragement in response.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Interesting Blog Posts

How to tell if your beef is grass-fed without even asking.

Wondering how to store your fresh herbs? Here’s a detailed guide.

Getting to the root causes of your food cravings.

Jazz up your green smoothies with frozen kale cubes.

Media, Schmedia

Jeb Bush goes paleo for the presidency.

Why almost everything Dean Ornish says about nutrition is wrong.

Directions to the most drought-friendly section of the produce aisle.

Everything Else

The Atlantic breaks down “Food Porn” and how it affects your brain.

The Soil Will Save Us: A Manifesto for Restoring Our Relationship with the Land.

CNN gives us a bird’s eye view of living a “zero waste” life.

A refresher of the simple rules for healthy eating.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Apr 26 – May 2)

Comment of the Week

Same here. That’s actually one of the things I’ve come to love most about this site, having beliefs challenged.

– You have come to the right place, M.

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27 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 345”

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  1. Concerning the link to the difference between grass fed and CAFO beef:
    My wife and I raised grass fed and grass finished beef cattle in Maryland. The article is only partially correct. Here are my comments based on experience with our own animals and those of other farmers.
    Point 1. Correct. The fat will be yellower from the carotenoids from the grass. Sometimes pale yellow, sometimes egg yolk yellow depending on the time of year of slaughter.
    Point. 2 Depends on how the animal was raised, the breed, how it was butchered. I have had flat iron steaks from our cattle that were as tender as sirloin. Othertimes, not so much.
    Point 3 True – it tastes like an animal not like lab grown protein. Grass fed beef has true terroir.
    Point 4. All depends. Some breeds, such as Devons, are great for marbling fat. Other breeds, not so much. Also depends on how it was finished. Feed the animals on fescue year round – no marbling. Finish them on legume rich forage – very different.

    1. Tom, we bought and shared a grass fed/finished cow this winter with some other families, raised just down the road from us. The meat tastes amazing, but I have noticed there is a lot more gristle in some cuts, such as bone-in rib eye, than I find when I order a grass fed steak in a nice restaurant. I am wondering if this is the type of cow, the age of the cow, or how it was butchered. Do you have any ideas?

      1. CBG – the amount of gristle is dependent on the breed of animal, the age, the way it was raised, and the method of butchering. It is not particularly dependent on whether the animal was grain or grass fed/grass finished. For example, a butcher could be instructed to cut out all the gristle. However, that would mean a higher proportion of ground beef to other cuts and preclude some cuts all together, e.g. shin/osso bucco or few bone-in cuts. If you can discuss cut instructions with the butcher, you may be able to better weigh the tradeoffs. Failing that, involve your source/farmer in the discussions. Many cattle persons rarely taste their own meat.

        1. Tom, thank you so much for your reply! I did get a chance to discuss the cuts I wanted with the butcher, so when the time comes in the fall to buy another cow, I will ask them about the gristle issue. I will also ask the rancher to see what she thinks. Didn’t want her to think we were unhappy with the meat, so thought I would ask here first just in case there was a simple answer.

    2. Tom, hi, yes, appreciated your comments on grass fed beef in addition to those articles published by Mark here today.

      There is also a big difference from the angle of ‘pasture raised’. Our cattle range over 500,000 acres here in Nevada with only a perimeter fence. They drink out of springs and from a few deep wells, they have a choice of browse or grasses with many, many varieties they themselves pick from when they want certain types at certain times of the year, they also have a valley to mountain habitat where they range up and down based on the time of the year/seasons. This is a very natural wild type pasture. Other pastures may have only one type of grass for the animals to eat, but it’s still ‘pasture raised’ and the grass may be planted, not natural habitat.

      Also, age the animal is processed makes a difference. ‘Old Tmers’ didn’t like to eat ‘young’ beef i.e. beef less than 3 year’s old unless they had too. They preferred 5 year old steer meat so they could work hard all day long and not feel hungry or tired. And they ate a lot of it. Here in Nevada up through the 1980’s a lot of the big outfits would butcher a beef a week for the ranch hands to eat. My guess is that the micronutrient density of the meat was also high as well as the quality of the protein from it. They didn’t like soft meat either, they wanted something they could ‘sink their teeth into’ as the old saying goes and they didn’t mind fat and liked animals that were butchered when they were the fattest. Also the plains Indians liked to kill cows that had lost their calves and had fattened up because they weren’t having to feed another living thing (calf) as well as themselves or cows that were barren. But they sure were tasty! Also nice natural selection process going on there…

      Another factor, cattle raised in pastures next to highways and freeways eat grasses that are perhaps more laden with air and grass contamination from exhaust fumes. Just somemore thoughts…these are things that are hard to know or really estimate.

      Yellow fat is now-a-days a turnoff because of our conditioning from big agra and government that white fat is better. Well, I love white fat for sure and yellow fat is good too and probably better. Even 4-H kids were told ‘white fat’ is better in their judging contests. Older animals’ fat also darkens with age and becomes more yellowish…probably from, as you mentioned, more micronutrients in it.

      Anyway, there are, as with everything so many variables!!!…but mainly: Meat is GOOD! Our ancestors weren’t too picky about where it came from or always its condition. It could already be dead and a wee bit past its prime! Ha.

      All the best, Jacks

      1. Jacks,
        Thanks for the response. Yellow fat is not a turn off for us or for our customers but we are a small operation and doing direct-to-educated consumer marketing. The yellow fat issue is interesting. Three days ago I took out to thaw a shin cut from a 2+ year old steer we had butchered. The marrow in the middle was as yellow as egg yolk and the fat around the gristle on the bone was fairly yellow. Today, I was thawing a 2lb chuck roast from the same animal. Both the shin and the chuck were aged the same way for the same amount of time. The fat marbling on the outside of the roast was very pale yellow. What is the difference? I suspect different drying rates for different parts of the animal. When hung the legs (where this shin was from) are at the top. The shoulder (chuck) at the bottom. The shoulder portions, while drying to certain degree, will have more water than the portions above them. Hence greater density in the fat of the hind leg shin.

      2. Jacks,
        Your cattle range of 500,000 acres boggles my small east coast mind 🙂 I agree with you about the importance of diversity in the forage. Three days ago we moved our cow – calf herd (to separate them from the bull and co.) to a pasture with two types of clover, two types of fescue, orchard grass, rye grass, daikon, and edible “weeds” such as canada thistle. In the previous pasture the calves were eating leaves from a horrible, invasive species of multiflora rose. Animals raised on grass from birth “know” what they need when they need it.
        We are moving to perennial pastures to get away from having to seed at all.

    3. Tom,
      Do you still raise grass fed beef in MD? I’ve been looking for a good source that doesn’t also “supplement” with grain.

  2. Anybody know what the Japanese feed their Kobe beef, and/or what the American version “Kobe style” beef here is fed?

  3. The zero-waste lifestyle article is really inspiring. A good motivation for all of us be conscious of how much waste we create and how small behavior changes can really make a huge difference.

  4. Re the produce story: why no comparison of water usage by grass-finished versus feedlot beef? Why no comparison of nutritional values between said pastured beef and artichokes? How many pounds of lettuce would one need to eat to equal the nutrition in one pound of beef?

  5. Ahhhh, vegan cheese from a test tube. Should I blow chunks now or wait until it comes out on the market shelves?

    1. I await vegan breastmilk that comes from a genetically modified boob that men can wear as well, coz, politically correct that way. 😉

  6. Favorite quote of the week, “It’s just a fad, there’s no magic to it,” … “If you called it something else and just ate more lean protein and fresh fruits you would lose weight.”

    I should start using this for everything. “Studying is a fad, if you called it something else and just read your textbook you’d still make good grades”, “Sleeping is a fad, if you called it something else and just lost consciousness for 9 hours a day you’d still reap the benefits”, “Researching is a fad, if you called it something else and just looked at various studies on a topic you’d still learn a lot.”

    1. I’m always amazed at the labeling of Paleo as a fad and wonder if they even know what Paleo is. I guess when you give up those “healthy” whole grains they close their mind to it. I’m just not sure how eating meat, eggs, fruit and lots of veggies is a fad. Seems like vegan is way more of a fad to me.

      I dieted for 16 years using the method that guy mentioned and didn’t lose a pound permanently until I went Paleo. I’m sticking with my fad diet.

      1. Yep, Paleo is the absolute best for weight loss. It’s also surprisingly flexible, depending on a person’s needs and goals. My weight and health are good, so for me it just means eating close to nature about 80 percent of the time. That 20 percent leeway keeps me from getting too compulsive about it,

        Thing is, Mainstream America has forgotten that SAD isn’t the only way to eat; hence Paleo gets labeled as a “fad.” But so what? It works, and that’s all that counts.

    2. +1 LOL thought the same thing. “Looking both ways before you cross the street” is just a fad, if we have situational awareness when moving from one side of a thoroughfare to the other we’ll get the same results.

  7. Ugh, can Dean Ornish just go the frick away already? The downside of the op-ed: swaying countless readers with opinion vs science.

  8. The title should be Bush Goes “Paleo.” Wine not Paleo compliant? Pfft! His cheating or 20% not OK? Pfft! Just one slice of bacon when he could have eggs and more bacon? Hungry all the time? Someone needs to tell him about the Primal Blueprint. But I think he isn’t even doing Paleo right. I don’t want him to win but I do want Paleo/Primal Blueprint to win.

    The chart about how much water plants use is interesting. I’ll still eat as many avocados and as much asparagus as I can afford, which isn’t much. Sweet potatoes are a surprise. The bit about how much water it takes to raise cattle is standard vegetarian b.s. I have worked in California conservation for 20+ years. You can’t count all the rain and other water on cattle ranches as just for cattle raising. A lot of other critters benefit from it and the preserved open space.

    1. That sounds like a lot of classic Cordain advice. Cordain is a fine researcher, but I think that Mark has a better handle on the entirety of nutrition studies as they pertain to macros, micros, and the overall focus for optimal health and (equally importantly) mental sanity.

  9. Nice to see a major publication, Scientific American, is where the refutation to Ornish appears.

    I saw a youtube video recently of a panel of big name vegan doctors. They made the statement that type 2 diabetes is caused by fat clogging the insulin receptors of our cells.

    Shockingly irresponsible. Either that or I’m going to be in for it, because I’m not giving up the fat.

  10. Each time I read about someone living the zero waste lifestyle it leaves me so frustrated that I can’t do it. I’m pretty good with everything that doesn’t involve food but I still need to eat. We sure don’t buy organic chicken for the environment here because it’s got 3 times the amount or plastic wrapping that normal chicken has.