Ep6 – Mark Sisson on the Primal Blueprint and Primal Kitchen

What is the Primal Blueprint, and why would an endurance athlete go “low-carb”? Let’s talk to the founder of the Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson about this health and wellness approach to peak fitness, eating, and aging.

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What is the Primal Blueprint, and why would an endurance athlete go “low-carb”? Let’s talk to the founder of the Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson about this health and wellness approach to peak fitness, eating, and aging.

so welcome to another episode of head first with dr. hill today’s guest is
marxist and creator of the primal blueprint so welcome mark thanks for being here thanks for having me yeah
absolutely so I know a lot about the problem open or at least I’ve done it myself for many years but I’m guessing some of our
listeners don’t would you just give us a little bit of background about who you are what your story is and what this thing we call primal is sure always been
interested in health and fitness since I was you know 11 read as many books as I
could which weren’t that many even in existence at the time on what it would take to be strong and lean and fit and
and so in my teen years discovered that running and the whole aerobic movement
was where it was at so I embraced that sure I also embraced this concept of
eating lots of complex carbohydrates to fuel the running and over the next decade I began to became a really good
runner quite quite fast raced very well in marathons and ultimately in
triathlons however as fast as I became and as fit
as I looked on the outside of starting to fall apart on the inside I was getting sorts of injuries that I
shouldn’t be getting inflammation osteoarthritis tendonitis I had
irritable bowel syndrome most of my life I had upper respiratory tract infections
several times a year so this this pursuit that I’d launched initially to become healthy took me in our path of of
ill health and so when I retired at an early age unable to continue to compete
at the level I had been because of injuries I really kind of dedicated the rest of my life to figuring out what I’d
done wrong or you know where the shortcuts they call them hacks today
were to get to this level of fitness and health to where I was back to being
vibrant and energetic and enjoying life and I’m not miserable from having overtrained and
and and inflamed from having eaten the wrong kind of foods so over the years I developed a way of living based on an
evolutionary model that was starting to emerge we sort of referred to it as paleo but there are other there were
other influences so based on on a way of
eating a way of orchestrating the rest of my life making my workouts fun less
grueling trying to get the most out of every workout paying attention to my sleep paying attention to how much Sun I
got stress levels I crafted a life way that I said that seemed to resemble what
an indigenous person might use as a guideline throughout their their lives
and lo and behold because I’d been doing some research into genetics and how our
genes recreate rebuild renew us on a minute-by-minute basis based on the
inputs they get I started to create this framework that I would call the primal blueprint based on a primal primary
evolutionary model but it was sort of a blueprint in that it’s a template for
making choices in your life that might serve you better if your goal is to be strong lean fit happy healthy productive
this is not just about a diet it’s not really that restrictive it’s not about a
diet and you can’t really achieve all of
the goals and the benefits you seek without paying attention to the diet so it’s not just a diet but but and diet is
probably 40% of it’s 50% of it there are a lot of other factors but you really do have to you have to dial that diet in at
some point and that’s sort of just to probably grossly oversimplify is focused
on keeping good fats up keeping most carbs down and eating a nice balance of
proteins vegetables correct so it again to use the Paleo paradigm that was
emerging starting 15 years ago this idea that our genes expect certain inputs
from us and that food is a you know food is a is a signaling device among other
sugar in the body and obviously for repair and for energy but as a as a you know it sends signals so
every bite of food has a hormonal effect on the body so to the extent that we can switch on jeans and build muscle that
burn fat turn off the genes that store fat turn off the genes that cause inflammation through the foods we eat then the choices of foods they it’s kind
of not coincidental that they mimic what our ancestors would have eaten lean
proteins clean healthy fats minimal or no amounts of sugar for the most part
minimal processed foods and and processed carbohydrates and there you have it and that’s the meat fish fowl
eggs nuts seeds vegetables a little bit of fruit that kind of forms the basis of this sounds great I mean I’m a big
biased you know Pro primal guy from my perspective I teach a lot of people about you know brain health and there are things that can do modifiable
behaviors to affect aging to affect performance and I often get asked about primal versus paleo and I’m I’m sure I’m
not doing it justice but my sort of take on it is Palio’s less focused on the carb limit and primal is more permissive
of dairy yeah I mean in terms of the eating right and I think even to reduce
it to those sorts of distinctions is becoming more blurred now as well
because we we are more car bagged
Gnostic okay as time goes by we were where paleo for instance would have been
kind of don’t eat legumes of any time you know the whole legume length
anti-nutrient story got told a lot and as I dug deeper and deeper into that I started to see that some of the reasons
that that that was making the headlines in the paleo world were maybe unique and
probably ill thought that instead with the advent of this this focus on the
biome on the microbiome in the gut and gut health and 100 trillion cells that
live within us that are not us right and how we feed them all of a sudden the idea that the substrate provided by
legumes properly prepared legumes could be an important factor in maintaining
good health so we’ve allowed more legumes back into the primal blueprint properly meaning
fermented soaked yeah not just simply right I mean they’re a certain yeah there are certain types of legumes that
that can be problematic if you don’t prepare them correctly and I think that’s one of the reasons that the Paleo
world in general sort of shun them point uh you know carte blanche right but we’re looking at a number of
different methods of preparing them sort of the Western a price bringing Western a price into the into
the mix here and suggesting that and by the way the the original idea behind the
primal blueprint was to be as inclusive as possible not as exclusionary structure so that’s why if you don’t
have a problem with dairy there are certain types of dairy that I would allow in the primal blueprint right and say go for it you know altered fermented
dairy yeah raw milk you know artisanal cheeses certainly cream you know organic
cream butter you know gay things like that so yeah I’m a pro dairy guy I’m
yeah but that’s simply because you know I’m Scotch Irish and we survive I’m Darius the primary protein for hundreds
of years Papa right so right that’s wonderful Arian in spuds yeah the potatoes were a relatively
recent before the potato became big in in Ireland Scotland it was it was dairy
and like forty seven kinds of different like fermented dairy as the main you know source of protein you know kind of
interesting stuff so paleo is still pretty anti dairy though yes as a movement correct but that’s just the the
food component of it there are other things in certainly the primal blueprint that are much more about act
architecting your lifestyle archiving your activity your behavior you know I praise going to mind like move slowly
often and lift heavy things yeah can you say more about the idea that we need to be actually activating the bodies axiom
yeah I mean we’re you know we’re bipedal which if you think about it and you and you think of all of the work that Dean
came and put into the Segway to get two wheels to stand up and not fall over it
and that’s what we have two wheels that we can stand up and not follow it’s amazing how we don’t just topple
over all the time well the way we’re designed is to be mobile and to be to be agilent to move
around a lot and by the same token we’re not designed to be running marathons
every day unlike some recent authors might have you believe
you know we’re born to run once in a while but not necessarily on a daily basis we’re born to be fit enough to run
when we need to and to the extent that we can orchestrate a life way in a lifestyle that allows us to maintain
that that level of fitness that is robust and well-rounded so that we can
lift heavy things once in a while so we can sprint once in a while this is what our genes expect of us and that was so
those are three of the 10 primal blueprint laws or move move around a lot of the low level of activity and that
just means it doesn’t mean burn it’s not really about burning calories it right about moving it’s just about the fact
that your body needs to move through as many ranges of motion and planes of activity as possible lift heavy things
again really no more than twice a week but you know are the ancestral model was to drag the carcass back to camp to
build a camp to carry a baby all day long to to to lift things that prompted
a response at the genetic level to make that muscle stronger right so to the
extent that we want to lift heavy things to build muscle mass you would say well why do we want to build muscle mass well the whole body the systems of the body
are orchestrated around supporting lean muscle mass so your heart beats according to the demands of the muscle
your lungs expand or contract according to the demands of the muscle do we need
more oxygen we need taken taken greater volumes of oxygen you know the liver processes fuel and and removes toxins
largely according to the demands of muscle and so on for the frame that I
had thought about it well so you know it and then if you look at in the in the ultimate iteration of that you say well you know what does that look like when
I’m 80 or 90 years old and I don’t have my muscle mass well what it looks like is the fact that you haven’t done anything for decades and you have
muscles of atrophied also means that the heart has had no reasonable to bump jurors clear so the
and the body doesn’t want to hang on to any system that it doesn’t really need today it’s a waste of resources so body
is very efficient in getting rid of stuff that that it doesn’t need except for that right but in terms of muscle
mass the fact that you can that you can decide to move and then by you’re
deciding to move and making that movement the heart then says oh I guess I got to be a little bit faster and keep
up with that demand on the lungs start to breathe a bit more so when you when you don’t have muscle mass and you don’t
have these demands on the body now you’re you know 80 or 90 years old and you get up in the middle of night and you trip and fall and break a hip
well your bone density is is terrible because the bones had no reason to maintain their structure because you
hadn’t been doing any weight-bearing activity you break a hip you get pneumonia you’re prone you can’t cough
up the sputum you’d basically either die of you know of the pneumonia or of heart
failure from from the heart not being able to keep up with you know congestive
heart failure so all of this goes back to the beautiful design of the human
body which sort of still requires that we do something to maintain its integrity on a regular basis that’s
wonderful so this sort of is in line I’m a gerontologist teach courses at UCL a– an aging and we tell people that no less
than depends on what year it is but now it’s 7000 steps a day you see 5,000 and it’s just step sitting and not burning
calories per se it’s remaining active and one of the biggest predictors of a quick decline in health is loss of
mobility absolutely the hip thing you know happens a lot and the hip itself as
you as you alluded to is not the reason people tend to die it’s because of secondary infections from the hospital
because of loss of mobility and damages and lifestyle yeah so this is all pretty congruent with aging yeah and ER so I
mean we and we could take that to as many different generations or iterations
as possible one that one would be you get an infection in the hospital and because you have been in the Sun for ten
ten years your vitamin D levels are low mm-hmm many have been supplementing with vitamin D so there are a lot of a lot of
aspect to the primal blueprint that are based on this longevity model which is how can
I live you know we have t-shirts it’s a live long drop dead right you know compression of morbidity yeah
yeah push your illness to the last few moments of your life and right and the the bizarre and perverse iteration of
that currently is you know you live long but you steer but you’re ill for 20 years and somebody’s got to pay for that
yeah I think about this a lot in terms of flattening trajectories yeah all decline a little bit yeah there’s a in
terms of body mass there’s a single sarcopenia where 30 years old and older we tend to have a long slow drop in
muscle mass bone mass water mass and an increase in adipose mass yeah but I imagine and I’m not sure but I imagine
that remaining active weight-bearing exercises these things will blunt that trajectory more than London I mean I on
a daily basis thousands of people you know discover the fact that at 55 or 60
they start working out and they haven’t for decades and they they realize that they can increase their muscle mass they
can still decrease the amount of fat mass yeah so the sarcopenia isn’t just you’re just not just stemming the
decline you’re actually reversing reversing it and improving some of the most compelling studies I’ve ever seen
her on octogenarians who are dead ridden who you get them into a leg press machine or some kind of machine in the
gym and their strength improves three or four hundred percent over a six-week
period the body still responds you just have to make it do something I just have to make the decision so with that
increase in strength comes an increase in mobility and the next thing you know they’re out of bed they’re not in a
chair they’re walking around they’re enjoying life more and it’s it’s a it’s
an amazing transformation that can happen just by engaging in some form of
exercise that’s wonderful so now you retired from competition how old were you when that happened when you I mean
the first time I retired I was 28 uh-huh and your body’s pretty who’s fit was significant that it should have been at
28 essentially oh yeah oh yeah I had the inflammation any injuries and it just more than anything I was having fun I
mean I didn’t I’d already spent a decade more than a decade so I started running last I think I like every tire – 29 or 30 I
guess but you know what every day of my
life was about managing pain right and you know running 15 or 20 or 25 miles I
ran out of miles a week for seven years it was about in a race it was about same
thing managing pain it was never about having fun it was just about some drive
that I had and as did millions of other people during the running boom seven eighties to go prove something to myself
or whatever but by the time I’d been doing this for ten years and I’d been in 200 contest between the mile two mile 5k
10k marathon triathlon you name it I was over it yeah there’s no money to be had those days it’s like
what am I doing with my life for one more medal yeah so I basically hung up the shoes yeah
now oddly enough I had a I had a Jones for that endorphin rush that lasted
another decade so I trained as if I was coaching for about a decade yeah I did you still have some increased injury and
and you know lack of a recovery because you were training that way yeah I mean I trained at that point that’s when I
started the I started to understand the nature of training and because I wasn’t racing and I didn’t feel compelled to
match what other competitors were doing in their training I coached a
professional triathlon team for a bunch of years and to my to my wonderment and
pleasure I found that I could keep up with them in whatever workouts I chose
to come to participate with them I just didn’t participate every day right so I might do one bike ride a week in one run
a week but almost and that one bike ride net one run I could keep up with them and you were probably ten or twenty years old in these guys yeah I was in my
late 30s by then so it was that’s when I understood the nature of recovery and rest and and how you know most endurance
athletes who are on the line there are beating themselves up in a basis or not recovering and then of course the diet the highly inflammatory diet just
makes it worse right right so I changed my diet by then I’d gotten rid of a lot of the sugar I’d gotten rid of most of
the alcohol which was there were copious amounts of alcohol on the running days uh-huh
beer was a carbo-loading strategy so some joyful strategy but you know it was
no this was in the days when when beer company sponsored races all over really Bud Light you know that yeah they were
there were all sorts of trucks with spigots at racers you know actually my
brother sorry my sister and my father had both long distance runners my sister’s a lot of marathons five feet
tall and yeah runs marathons and I remember as a kid seeing a top truck yeah Adam beer 3 yeah so I gave up I you
know I stopped I stopped with the prodigious consumption of beer cut back
on the sugar started to recognize the benefits of healthy fats and limited a on healthy fats and and and that really
affected my my health greatly and then the final thing that the final really
piece the puzzle that fell in a place for me was when I gave up grains grain time range it wasn’t written transform my life yes my inflammation went away my
IBS went away my you know my heartburn that I had on a regular basis went away it was yeah I didn’t experience I gave
up grains the first time after reading primal blueprint whenever it first came out decade ago or more at this point and
I was reading your book and Rob Fagin’s natural hormone enhancement on the same time and I started cycling and doing
some you know cutting that way and found it to be just transformative and then started realized in the absence of
grains when I let some slip in I oh yeah that’s how I’ve been feeling bright house 30 years of my life oh oh yeah
this isn’t actually how I should be feeling again ace lines and there’s a danger to that because I mean the good news is you recognize the feeling but
the danger is too slight to backslide into you know what how much can I get
away with yeah you know we don’t know humans tend to do what they can do right up to the point right up to the edge and
whether it’s at work you know how little work can I do in so collect a paycheck or whether it’s you know in
relationships or whether it’s in with in with food it’s basically how much you know how much bad food can I eat I not
suffer more than I need to yeah I have this perspective that it’s at least partially due to the bat
and foods quote-unquote have such high reward value and that from an evolutionary perspective we only had
access to things with this high reward value yeah occasionally yeah Kim across the honey comb or the overripe tree or
fruit or whatever it was these were not daily occurrences where you couldn’t sit and just binge on hundreds of grams of
rice free carbs every day so I think that’s one reason why they’re so compelling because evolutionarily
required heirs yeah we’re wired we’re wired to to consume as much sugar as you can find in
a in a hive now we’re finding of course you know the the culprit is not fat the culprit in health consequence is usually
sugar I mean I rant about this in my classes on my show most of the brain health most of the diseases of aging you
know Alzheimer’s cancer diabetes Parkinson’s all the dimensions these things are all driven fairly
aggressively by sugar a glycation of tissue shows up in beta amyloid glycation shows up in Lewy body disease
so there’s an obvious argument for dropping that out but beyond simply
restricting carbohydrates what sort of you know primal implication is there for actually improving long-term aging
decreasing brain inflammation that has less about sugar more today was actually the addition of fats or your body using
fats give me a sense about that sure I mean again food is fuel and it’s
information and so the first thing I do is cut out the sugar I mean that’s the
more gets accomplished by doing that than any other single factor yeah and I’ve said this for probably a decade
and Ron Rosedale said it for two decades and that is the less sugar you burn in a lifetime the less glucose you burn in a
lifetime probably the better off you are so to the extent that you can eliminate sugar eliminate that that first part of
the glycation experience to reduce inflammation as a result of having
reduced sugar to reduce insulin which is also inflammatory all those things fall
into place as you come back on sugar now in terms of the healthy fats the latest
trend is to experiment with ketogenic diets surely how do you think about that I’m a big fan I’m writing a book on
ketogenic diets and I’m uh but I’m a fan of it as a tool in a lifestyle and not a fan of it as a
way of living okay necessarily partly because I just enjoy right other kinds of food so much I
don’t want to again I don’t want to be exclusionary and one of my personal boundaries is I want everybody food I
ever put my mouth to taste great so I don’t want to choke something down just because it’s supposed to be good for me right right and I don’t want to be over
consuming the crunchy salty fatty sweet stuff that’s going to you know even though it tastes good I will say yeah
you set up some bars of your your clinic they’re crunchy so don’t find any salty sweet and yummy I mean I’ll say a couple
my great research techs went through a box and about yeah half an hour we have it but no I am past week I’ve been
eating a bar as breakfast with my cup of coffee after yoga school and just forgetting that I need I need food it
has this really profoundly satisfying good part of it is they’re chewy and they do you have to work at them to eat
them so you’re you know I had a problem with bars that we just you know eat three bites and they’re gone you’re like wait I just had 240 calories and I don’t
even feel like I did so we make you work for it a little nucleus next hypothalamus that actually I’ve almost
this feeding and sometimes a specific nucleus that actually looks for crunch yeah that tries to get by breaking the
bone marrow or something attention airily so if you satisfy that that’s a big piece of it so I you know that’s one
awful and then just to sort of segue that back to original discussion about mobility you know we have eight grams of
collagen protein in their content collagen is is an integral part of
connective tissue so not just bones and muscle and skin hair nails which which
in which collagen is prevalent but tendons and ligaments and so when you’re doing that wide range of motion in those
movements and you over time you tend to lose that mobility because you’re not doing them the the supplementation with
collagen helps to support the regrowth of that healthy tissue that’s great so in my case I had dust severe achilles
tendinosis about four years ago was told I needed to have surgery on both Achilles to scrape them down I scrape
the scar tissue off and then put them in a cast for a couple of months and it’s like I’m doing that and your collagen
producing cells fibroblasts at your age I don’t you’re probably about sixty two or three I forget how old you are
yeah be 64 in July yeah you you know your collagen cells are still they still exist but they aren’t replicating
anymore by producing more collagen yeah so this is almost a dietary strategy to continue collagen access exactly and up
until very recently bone broth was the sort of go-to collagen source yeah and
um you know I like bone broth but not everyday and I’m trying to get 20 or 40 grams a day while I was repairing my
achilles and and it worked I literally because what I recognized was that after sprinting playing
ultimate frisbee once a week with 20-somethings and keeping up with them by the way I would get home and I’d be
sore and I’d be you know stiff and and because I’m a meat centric eater yeah
and I wasn’t getting a lot of collagen and the methionine in meat protein is
sort of an anti College genetic or college Enic amino acid all these things
conspired to where my body was going hey wait we want to we want to fix this Achilles thing but you haven’t given us
any raw material so we can’t do it so we’re going to do know what we know how to do which is build scar tissue so we
can certainly get 8 grams of collagen in your bars yeah what other dietary sources besides going full-blown in a
bone broth I mean do I forget just is there but collagen in like the skin of roast chicken I mean uh yeah there’s you
know there’s you know it’s like PII friends like I told professional baseball player about my bars and goes
yeah well I I eat the bones of chicken that’s how I get my collagen Wow well you know that the soft connective tissue
between the ends of the bone certainly and you know if you cook a chicken enough or if you if you stew it yeah
it’s edible so it’s it’s really the other parts of the of the animal that
are providing the collagen same with you know a lot of there’s a marine collagen now comes from fish bones uh-huh which
is a great use of the leftover carcass or after the meats been filleted cause a
little bit less of an ethical challenge to directives of staying with marine animals tend to be a lot more sustainable right so so they say so they
say it will be we may find out in the future that I grew up in a fishing village in Maine oh yeah where’d you grow up Boothbay
Harbor I grew up in or I was born in Bangor actually in Hampton outside of Bangor how come you don’t talk like that
anymore because when I was seven years old or six years old I moved on to Boston and my mom would always say don’t drop your R’s you found Co top so I end
up with sort of neutral accent I used to have that may next thing yeah several recluse plays nice but yeah heavily
fishing yeah you probably get a lot of access to early good fats as a kid – yeah but it was also the sustainability
issue always became because it was a lobster fishing town yes omit the Maine State fisheries controlled tree the catch every years
and it’s size varied from web season to another it was pretty well done yeah I eat lobster two three times a week
growing up my grandfather was a lobster man out of Narragansett 25 cents a pound yeah gives me trivial but after doing
that for most of my life and past few years I can’t eat lobster anymore you’re saying figures like an allergic reaction
yeah but for most of my life I was fine and it’s just accumulated enough right I
think I might have overdone too much right I don’t know so um we tell me ask you more about your these primal kitchen
products that you’re producing right I have a couple of my office now I noticed a lot of these things are sort of driven
by avocado oil tell me about avocado oil as a fat as a food substrate what right so what about
so we’re looking for in my company in my life we’re looking for the best possible fats in terms of fats in avocado the
fruit is an amazing fruit it’s one of my favorite things to eat and the avocado oil derived from from the fruit not from
the seed part but actually it’s pressed foul okay so you get some of the antioxidant oh yeah so we actually sell
two types of avocado oil at my company we have one that’s a extra-virgin first breast Hass avocados straight from
California it’s the most beautiful emerald green color has a little bit of
that same bite on the back of the throat that extra virgin true underrated excess virgin olive oil has and then we have a
more refined version that has a higher smoke point so it’s got a more neutral taste to it you can cook with it up to
500 degrees vibrant and that’s really not true the extra versions of the extra-virgin fresh press has it has
enough of of the polyphenols and even some of the bits the micro bits of
the fruit because of the way it’s been pressed yeah that you want to remain in there they give it that for like salad
dressing slings alders and lo roasting you can roast in at low temperatures but the idea behind avocado oil is it’s a
it’s a source of these are heart-healthy fats so these are mono and predominantly monounsaturated fatty acids okay which
is the Omega nine so we hear a lot about the Omega 3 being any inflammatory in the omega-6 being pro-inflammatory the
cations have their own space on that and we don’t necessarily get enough of them so the real search now is on the mono
mono unsaturated fat I spent a while a few years ago trying to find a good source of nine because I didn’t I could
didn’t seem to be anything out there this woman cashew but the cash is also fairly high carb for a nut right or
pseudo nut so I wasn’t all that excited by that but from my limited experience or research on Omega 9 it seems to
activate satiety and fat burning in a way that the other fats don’t yep and I
was kind of excited to do that so I may have to start you know drinking large well so you know in addition to the
cooking oils we we make a mayonnaise that’s oh yeah our mayonnaise is 70%
avocado oil Wow so where most mayonnaise is off-limits because it’s made with soybean oil or corn oil or some
derivation thereof it’s literally may contain one of these on the label
because it’s whatever’s cheapest that day those oils cost one twentieth the
amount yeah avocado oil cost so we use only the best ingredients we have it’s avocado
oil it’s organic eggs from cage-free hens organic vinegar from non-gmo beets
sea salt great little rosemary extract and it’s a great tasting mayonnaise then we make our salad dressings based on
avocado oil as well so we have I took your honey mustard salad dressing and I poured it over a pound and a half of
chicken thighs pop it in the oven for 40 minutes at 350 and it was the lightest
most school tender I can’t say enough good things about that particular ya know it’s as many people use it as a
marinade for marinade as do a dressing and then we just launched this non-dairy ranch dressing which is just killing it
everybody that we have that will we’re just we’re sold out were and we were in a lot of stores now and we sell out
where we go but it’s again it’s based on this idea that people want to have access to healthy foods and my theory
about eating is once you get rid of the sugars once you get rid of the processed grains and the industrial seed oils
there’s not a lot of variety you know it’s meat it’s like five kinds of meat
you’re going to eat right next year and this couple lines of fish and there’s you know namely eighteen vegetables you’ll eat yeah what the difference is
is how you prepare them well how you cook them what you put on them the sauces the dressings toppings Europe spices so we create a line of products
that allow you to take these clean protein sources or these organic
vegetable sources and then beautify them and make them incredibly tasty while
imparting additional health values to them so it’s a it’s a cool concept that
people have talked about over the years but no one’s really executed really well so we look at every aisle of the
supermarket we go okay what is it that people want to eat but are afraid to because they’ve been told to stay away or use it sparingly or it’s not really
good for you and how can we improve upon that and make it something that makes the whole taste experience spectacular
noble calling means a great business but it’s a really wonderful calling down before to the micron you mentioned briefly the primal kitchen which I was
delighted to find out is not far at all from my Culver City peek brain office is
that a lab where you’re building products is it a place where you’re actually serving food yeah it’s a restaurant it’s a task casual dining
experience breakfast lunch and dinner vas casual all based on yeah all based on the primal blueprint eating strategy
which is again clean sources of protein healthy fats little to no sugar great no processed things of any kind
we’ll be cooking with avocado oil that’s very that’s almost unheard of in a restaurant most restaurants are using some form of canola or soybean over and
over and over and it’s a it’s a well I have lots of employees that try to eat in a healthy way and I can send them all
down the stroll because it’s right next to our ramen on that okay that’s great that’s wonderful so a couple of the
questions about healthy things in general I think you do drink coffee right I remember for a while you had an egg
yolk coffee where you’re experimenting with I never tried that but yeah in general it’s different
mm-hmm it was a my response to the whole bullet-proof movement yeah yeah I mean I I thought the bulletproof coffee was a
great idea um the problem was that I have with it is I like coffee too much yeah I I know I’m a I’m a snob for that
flavor the nuance I have you know small batch organic stuff shipped down from places I like you know small good
healthy ethical farms and I really like the nuance flavor of coffee when I had
too much fat to it or you know no fat and MCTS suddenly I can’t taste the
grade and I and I’d rather chew my calories and then then drink them which
is another thing but I also um you know when I wake up in the morning I have a cup of coffee that’s the that’s the only
thing I have until probably one o’clock in the afternoon so I’m I’m a I have a compressed eating window again we talked
a little bit about the ketogenic diet that not that that’s a ketogenic so intermittent fasting that’s sort of an intermittent fasting
thing but it still promotes a ketogenic you know effect and and it sets you up
for the ability to embark on a three or four ten day ketogenic life without any
major concessions what kind of Windows is a six hour eight hour 10 hour what do
you do well so I from 1 to 7 because I don’t eat for 6 hours but I mean I only
eat anything that’s it at the buffet just so anything yeah which happens sometimes people start to
do this I have no it’s yes yeah it’s interesting starve until they don’t it’s people it when I first started talking
about healthy fat people’s eyes this is awesome mark I can eat healthy fat they didn’t cut back their carbs right and I
go in there say mark I did your healthy fat thing and I’m gaining weight I’m not losing weight I’m gaining weight oh dude when you take in 4,500 calories a day
and 300 more still carbs yeah you know you’re worse off than you were before yeah I tell you I rant given any
opportunity that there’s zero evidence in the absence of sugar that fat does
anything and the presence of sugar access it’s a perfect storm of horrible health yeah so I took coffees a plus
because the antioxidants get a little stimul what about things like meditation how do
you feel about that you do that you know I think it’s a wonderful thing and I don’t do it by just just alright I my
excuses that I spend enough time alone paddling or hiking in the zone yep that
that’s my form of meditation rather than finding a quiet space in Rome I mean I’m out of the ocean alone
sure I’m sure sure digging it so so and in those moments that I can find going
to be out on a paddle board our few and far between because I’m so busy now that
when I do those that that serves as the meditation so I’m but I’m a big fan of meditation for people to do my sister
was one of the original disciples of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and she taught it for you guys in years and so don’t get
me wrong it’s just sure I just feel like I’m also you know from my perspective
the brain building there’s a lot of a lateral frontal lobe cortex that you lose with aging and normal aging about
15-20 percent of that cortex can be lost over time from the ages of 40 to 70 yeah
if you are a meditator for even 20 minutes a day you seem to sidestep that completely but you’re probably also
already sidestepping a lot of that loss because of the way you eat and because of how active you remain and I have a
hunch you’re an active guy who has to deal with lots of different challenges intellectually day to day moment alone
as a business owner as somebody who’s a thought leader you don’t have a set path
of challenges that you do the same thing every day right you’re always urging gear it’s almost the antithesis of a
regular work day yeah yeah it’s that’s quite good for you I so know meditation but you’re probably getting meditative
experiences at least some intermittent fasting in there of course we’re eating primal yeah what other things do you do
the size well so one of my I try to
stick to a regular sleep schedule and okay big fan of sleep and I think at least one of the most overlooked aspects
of health in general certainly of mental health certainly auto in addressing depression yeah and probably in
addressing productivity I travel a little bit more than I’d like to so when I do travel I
I’m very aware of the tweaks that I need to accomplish because I think crossing time zones is probably one of the most
stressful things a human can do sure yeah and I meet people to do it you know that’s their life they do it all day
learn on their road warriors so but I’ve you know when I travel I’ve got a
process where I can like I never get jet lag because I can dial it in so specifically I know exactly how how much
I need to sleep on the plane when I need to sleep on the plane how late I need to stay up when I get to the place I’m going to be when to take melatonin how
much melatonin have to take but it’s become such an intuitive part of who I am as long as I have my tools in front
of me as long as I have my melatonin yes and as long as I have access to a place to sleep at you know I’m not being
forced to you know spend the night in an airport waiting for a connection I get that pretty dog in but in my day
to day life I try to go to bed I try to get eight hours of sleep a night okay and I don’t apologize for that because I
think again sleep is is wonderful and so I have a ritual at night when I’m home I
have a pool that I keep unheated and as you cozy right next to it so around 10
o’clock most nights my wife and I’ll go out and she doesn’t like cold water I do a plunge so I’ll usually walk into the
pool to start and it’s right now it’s around 52 degrees so it’s pretty damn
very cold yeah yeah and just before I start shivering I’ll get in the jacuzzi then we’ll hang out for 20 minutes and
shooting go over the days you know whatever happens by the way all the lights in the in the house have turned been turned out off all the lights and
the yard have been turned off there are no neighbors around and we didn’t we have a fire pit so I got a fire going so
we got we got a nice fire light uh-huh and so we’ll spend 20 minutes doing that and then then when she she heads up to
get ready for bed I’ll take one more plunge in the pool so I’ll finish cold ok I was up those capillaries yeah and
it’s it’s brilliant I mean it’s I sleep like a baby it’s it’s a great part of my
ritual she doesn’t understand the the cold part and I gotta explain to you when I was a I was a triathlete for a
while and I one of the reasons I quit doing triathlons is I just hated the cold water I hated weapon so I grew up
in Maine yes where I was forced as there any little poor little kid to go to a YMCA day camp
and learn how to swim in a saltwater pool that filled up you know twice a day from the ocean from the ocean yeah and
so I just had this this thing about cold water I never you know as what’s your
name in Gone with the Wind said as God is my witness I’ll never again you know what we called so when I walk like when
I was doing triathlons I hated getting in an 81 degree public road and we say whoo cold right okay so now my latest
kind of thing is our address cold for what it is it’s not good or bad it’s just a sensation so I literally you know
I’ll go from my house into the pool and and I walk into the pool I won’t dive in
I won’t plunge I’ll walk in with that thought process that it’s just a sensation it’s just a feeling it’s not
good or bad and it’s interesting how once and then once I’m in there and I can hang out for a couple of minutes and if I stay still I I can get to the point
where I don’t there’s no sensation or hold if you stay still if you stay still so it’s a it part of it’s a process part
of its meditative for me in that regard and it’s but anyway so that’s so part of
my ritual is to make sure that I go to bed cool enough to get right to sleep you have to have had no more exposure to
a blue light for at least an hour before I go to sleep and it’s just that warm amber light from the fire and you’re
avoiding blue light by just avoiding screens and yeah I didn’t condense or are you actually using things like oh I
don’t LOX in blue blocker glass no I don’t use FX because I try not to be on the computer that late and I don’t you
know the blue blocker glasses I have some but because I don’t work on the computer I don’t I don’t feel like I
need them and so I haven’t I haven’t really taken advantage of that and you know some of the shows now are shot in
sepia tones anyway so like Westworld you know I yeah it’s basically no blue
light coming out of West world at all so anyway so I digress here but I try I try to get the sleep and then the sun
exposure I’m a big fan of sun exposure now because I’m I’m for some reason I
had my DNA tested a couple years ago and I’m not a good converter yeah so I do supplement with vitamin D okay and but
you know I my company makes a vitamin d a– a lot of thought I meant based on blood levels you supplement a staunch us
just uh I’ll get my I’ll get a test done every once in a while and a tangential
result of the vitamin D level show up I don’t specifically get my D levels tested but I doing you know 5,000 IU’s a
day what is yeah it’s um it’s a bit it’s a bit fractal so it would be ten
thousand some days five thousand twice a day other days skip a day fifteen
thousand some days it’s it’s really like I take a handful of I make capsules that have 2000 IU per capsule so I’ll just
take a handful or not mm-hmm and what affects your DDoSing day-to-day like why
is it ten thousand some days and none something because I’m a there’s no method to the madness other than I’m a
believer in the fractal nosov all this stuff keeping a signal varied to the body right doesn’t accommodate right and
it Rob Wolfe and I joked a couple years ago it’s actually starting to come true about creating a vitamin product with a
with a black packet and it was called fractal formula and you didn’t know what you were taking every day and everyone
was different just to keep things getting keep Thanks oh that’s great laughter that’s wonderful
all right another hot topic these days in health and I really don’t know how I feel about it I’d love to know what you
feel um these zero rise or barefoot approach to Footwear oh look at that
so marks holding was footage which is like an audio he’s got some Vibram FiveFingers looks like on s on his feet
so you’re pro the zero rise all have worn for ten years is actually all have
worn his Vibram FiveFingers I mean I’ll do a vivo barefoot once in a while I’ll do some other some of the other shoes
but it’s the toast bread as well as the low-rise or no rice that so there’s a lot being wide enough a lot of fun of
your foot to actually yeah so so any any even of the wide shoes I haven’t found one wide enough that that accommodates
my feet partly because I’ve I’ve grown them that way in the last ten years by wearing by wearing the vibrance so I’m a
huge fan of the minimalist barefoot movement I’m I’m frustrated because
there aren’t more of those sorts of shoes that that look good in a workplace
saw some height some barefoot hiking boots yeah online yesterday and I was like that’s interesting I’m making boots
cover the ankle and is yeah very little soul to them yeah I I hiked the Grand Canyon in these Vibrams with a backpack
on and through snow and ice and okay no you know no socks just bare feet and the in the vibram so I was I started out I
didn’t think I was going to be able to do it and so I started out with hiking boots I threw the boots away after two mile I just said this is not working
my feet were cramped yeah yeah and I literally I throw them away I put him in
place where somebody could put them put them on if they wanted to and not recycle them let’s uh-huh that’s great
clear about that all right let’s see all right so go back to this idea of sugar
people asking this question and I usually tell them no but the question is does the brain even need a carbohydrate
source coming in five miles so that’s a quick that’s a that’s a bit of a trick question because the brain does need a
little bit of glucose right it doesn’t need carbohydrate from by mouth so ah so
it can make the glucose you because the body can make enough glucose particularly if you’ve if you’ve built the metabolic machinery to be able to
burn fats appropriately and use ketones then the body will make as much glucose
as it requires to fuel the brain and the rest of the rest of the energy comes
from a more efficient burning of fat provided you’re not just going all out
for hours at a time right so you know so the carbohydrate the idea behind
carbohydrates is there’s no minimum daily requirement for carbohydrates there is four there is four fats and there is four protein and the body will
make 50 to 100 grams of carbs a day from gluconeogenesis or from you know
stripping off the the glycerol from-from triglyceride which is which would be
sufficient in the brain which in a in a what we call a sugar burner somebody who
has not become fat adapted probably requires 100 120 grams a day of glucose
yep – and I mean the brain uses 20% of all calories required by the human body
22:25 is okay so it’s a it’s a it’s a hot burning machine that requires some fuel but if
you can if you can become good at burning fat and become fat adapted and then create ketones as a byproduct of
that fat metabolism and then use those ketones the brain actually prefers ketones which is why a lot of you know a
lot of the science now in epilepsy and in your some of these traumatic brain
injuries and other and now they’re starting to use it with stroke victims a
key a highly ketogenic diet now they’re using ketone salts and supplements you know to address that as well and there
was some Alzheimer’s work being done now taking symptomatic Alzheimer’s patients I mean the research Alzheimer’s has been
really focusing like specific interventions specific mechanisms and Alzheimer’s and research has been finding things not progressing to a cure
most of them have been centered around what a large drug company can create and make money absolutely and historically
for the past 50 60 years research on people the Alzheimer’s has excluded those who also are diabetic which gets
rid of most of the disease mechanism that drives Alzheimer’s right so you aren’t even studying acute Alzheimer’s
mostly in the literature so study out last summer where they took a bunch of symptomatic people took them off all meds in these people with severe memory
problems and gave them supplemental ketones and had symptoms reverse I mean one of the aspects of Alzheimer’s of
course is insulin resistance in neurons before they died and so the idea is you can you can’t we spare those neurons by
eating more sugar if you’re and people who have Alzheimer’s often crave early Alzheimer’s are craving carbohydrates
I would guess because the neurons are insulin resistant and are being fed yeah so they’re their insulin resistant but
they’re still screaming for fuel yeah because they haven’t built again there’s no access to ketones yeah and over time
there’s also this mechanism this mitochondrial biogenesis where the mitochondria become even better at
burning ketones so they become more efficient so and where we the one of the
sort of the most obvious manifestations of someone who hasn’t gotten to that
space yet would be a carb carb centric eater or a sugar burner as I lovingly
refer to people who goes and attends a one-week ashram where they’re there
they’re not eating but you know juice and water 500
calories a day for four days or for five days in a row and they go into ketosis
but they’re still Logie and tired and you can smell it on their breath
because they’re expelling this this amazing fuel because there’s no mechanism to really burn it to use it
yeah so that actually leads me to another question it confuses me about this big push in supplemental ketones I see lots
of product split for latex lots of claims I mean human bodies store something in the neighborhood of 500
grams of carbohydrates as glycogen in the muscle we can only feed about 50 grams of carbs per hour so it’s of a
limited restore that means unless you are fat adapted lowish carb you probably
have a fair amount of glycogen stored carbs you’re carrying around what does the dietary ketone the supplemental
ketone do in the presence of existing glycogen I mean is it useful you tell me because I’m not buying it yeah I’m not
buying thank you yeah so that’s that’s a this is the you know this is the attempt
to take existing science fringe science and and popularize it with a supplement
that everybody can take an access fat-burning right away and it just doesn’t work that way so unless you’ve built a metabolic machinery to use
ketones you’re just the same thing you’re going to sweat them out you don’t piss them out yeah that’s my thought and I see these companies who say we have
ketones and I say well how are you you know justifying that you’re saying this is causing fat burning when the people
aren’t low-carb and they say oh well we can measure ketones in the urine simply yeah you’re you’ve just eaten that ketone yeah you’re you’re supplementing
your toilet to the space except right and and it’s there’s a cascade effect that I’m only postulating right now
because when mostly ketone supplements 14 grams of beta hydroxy butyrate which is about seven calories per gram isn’t
that much energy that you’re providing so where’s the energy coming from you know and if you so so if you’re not good
at burning ketones and you and you’re not using the ketones to jumpstart some
more ketone production which is one of the theories that that people have about keto adapted people taking these ketone
supplements and if you’re a sugar burner and you’re Kinky’s ketone supplement and you’re paying them out then then you’re
getting nothing yeah we’re where’s the benefit no I have the same perspective I wasn’t sure if there was something I was missing there was some real science
there but as far as I can tell it’s you know marketing mostly you know uh one
related idea every so often I go fairly low carb I have this may be informed by your book I
don’t remember I’m perfect about 80% of the time and the other 20 from the time
I throw caution to the wind and he’s perfect well dietarily oh I eat I far from
perfect in any other way but about 80% of the time I keep my per meal
carbohydrates well below 20 grams I heat my daily carburetors below about 65 grams by came from Rob’s book and it
works really well for me but if I’ve been out of shall we say good behavior for a while and I’m put on some pad and
I’m getting a little dark for some reason I seem to be able to kick off a
much quicker sort of back into good diet back into fat burning with chicken livers it seems to be this magical turn
on everything for my system I have no idea why doesn’t contain ketones it’s just it’s a lot of good nutrients but I
have no idea why chicken liver scenes with this magic fuel when I need to really just start kicking off that you
know better fat metabolism I mean chicken livers are certainly fatty so you know you’ve said one source
of fats it may resonate with her body more than others yeah it seems to otherwise I don’t have an answer okay
all right well I appreciate the the stab at it so I’m mark any other thoughts or
general advice you have any other bio hacks you’re playing around with any future perspectives want to share with
us on where primal is going or where your own adventure six well I think my
my theme for 2017 is mobility okay yeah I think that between my interest in
college and supplementation and my interest in maintaining my own mobility
so that I can play and have fun yeah and for me that means paddling it means snowboarding it means playing ultimate
frisbee so so my my focus is going to be how do I maintain mobility great through
the next one three years three decades yeah 30 years exactly and we’re of course accelerating aging medicine –
so you wanna search while you know thing comes to pass or I guess while I got to be ready for that yeah I mean he keeps
pushing back to the date as he gets older I think he’s just trying to make it you know happen in his lifetime yeah well thanks so much for being on the
show if viewers and listeners are you know want to chase you down and learn more about you learn what the products where can they do that the blog is
Marc’s daily apple.com the book is the primal blueprint available on Amazon the
product the product line primal kitchen is it primal kitchen calm and you can find it on Amazon where the number one
best selling mayonnaise on Amazon every day oh with allow for the last 12 months I have some of mayonnaise I haven’t
tried it but I’m going to go home and get out so yeah great well thanks so much for your for your time today mark and I’m sure listeners have lots of
questions and we’ll point them at all your your places to find you on the show notes sounds great great thanks

Mark Sisson

Mark Sisson is an American fitness author and blogger, and a former distance runner, triathlete and Ironman competitor. Sisson finished 4th in the February 1982 Ironman World Championship. He has written several books, including The Primal Blueprint, which incorporates aspects of the Paleolithic diet. The Primal Blueprint is his fifth book. Sisson also blogs on fitness and health at his website, Mark’s Daily Apple.