Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
Returning to the show is a man who routinely skips breakfast… and often skips lunch, too.
Mr. Mark Sisson is a rebel who takes great satisfaction in beating the tar out of conventional wisdom.
He’s one of the veterans, of course, of the Paleo, Primal and Ancestral Health Movement. I very much doubt that we’d be where we are today without his intelligence, dedication and passion for helping others improve their lives.
Mark is a former running and triathlon phenom, bestselling author of The Primal Blueprint, founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, and a bone fide cool dude.
He’s been very supportive of some of our artistic projects over the years (I even played music at some of his conferences).
On today’s show, he’s joining me to chat about:
- Why metabolic flexibility is like a Swiss army knife
- Bacon as a gateway drug into eating real food
- Dirty keto and what to look out for
- How to get off the hunger treadmill and become a fat-burning machine
- And tons more…
Lets go hang out with Mark.
Mark Sisson: Still Crushing It In His 60s
Abel: Alright, folks, returning to the show is Mark Sisson, New York Times bestselling health author, blogger and entrepreneur.
Mark, thank you so much for joining us.
It’s great to be here, Abel. Abel James, the Fat-Burning Man.
Are you still burning fat, man?
Abel: I’m burning fat right now, my friend.
Okay, good, that’s the main thing.
Abel: I learned from the best.
It’s so cool. It’s been a while a lot of stuff has happened.
There are a lot of new words and terms, a lot of fads and communities and all of that have come and gone, but many things have stayed the same.
You and Brad especially are still crushing it, not acting your age in a good way.
Maybe we can just start right there. Why are you guys still crushing it?
Well, first of all, this has been my passion from the last 30 years is to change the way the world eats, and it started with doing some books on training, racing and performance nutrition. And sort of evolved into Mark’s Daily Apple, this blog.
Then I started writing books about the subject matter, and as I wrote more and more about this lifestyle that we call the Primal Blueprint, so much of it came down to teaching your body how to burn fat and how to extract energy from fat as opposed to being dependent on carbohydrate.
The passion has been now to teach the world about metabolic flexibility, because really after all these different iterations of paleo, primal, ancestral, low-carb, keto, dirty keto, Atkins, whatever.It turns out that really what we're all after is metabolic flexibility. @Mark_Sisson Click To Tweet
However we get there, once you become metabolically flexible, you have the world at your fingertips.
You have the world of energy, muscle mass and strong cognition.
All these things are there at your disposal because you’ve trained your body to tap into this genetic potential that we’re all born with, but we all happen to lose over the first part of our lives as we get charging down that path of carbs and sugar and sweets and all this other stuff.
That’s part of what keeps us going, is this message that is so exciting that I want to scream it to everyone in the world.
Like, “Metabolic flexibility, pal, that’s where it’s at. You have to get there. Once you get there, it’s empowering in so many areas of your life.”
Abel: And I love that you’re referring to it as “metabolic flexibility” because calling something, “You’re in the state of ketosis,” or, “That’s keto,” or, “That’s paleo,” it’s so obtuse and squishy.
Metabolic flexibility, at least when I hear you guys talking about it, I’m thinking, “This is a skill. This is like a survival mechanism that we all used to have, and for most people it’s atrophied or never actually developed.”
Yeah, it’s a Swiss army knife that your body has to use different tools to extract energy from different substrates.
Whether it’s the fat on your plate of food or the fat stored in your belly and thighs and hips, whether it’s the carbohydrate on your plate of food, the glucose in your bloodstream, the glycogen in your muscles.
Whether it’s the amino acids, whether it’s ketones that your liver is making when you’re short on carbohydrates to feed the brain, all these things, as they come together, make this beautiful symphony of energy substrates that we can all draw upon, regardless of when we’re eating, or how much we’re eating, or how often we’re eating.
Again, that’s the part of it that is so freeing.
If you can go about your day and have all the energy you want, and have the strength that you want, and the muscle mass, and not get sick, and most importantly not get hungry, then you are metabolically flexible.
It just frees up so much time to do a lot of other things.
Abel: Yeah, and I’ve heard you refer to intermittent eating, which I like the term much better than intermittent fasting just because it makes more sense.
You’re not really accounting for—at least when I’m fasting, I’m not accounting for it as time not eating.
It feels like a default mode that I’m in until I start eating, and then I’m in eating mode.
For a lot of people, they can get a whole lot of benefit if they just start there.
They start squishing their eating time into—for you I think it’s 1:00 to 7:00 PM.
Typically it’s 1:00 to 7:00 PM, although more recently there are many days I just don’t eat lunch.
I find that if I eat what I used to consider a regular lunch, it’s just too much food. So I’ll just go till dinner time and eat.
Again, any listener who hasn’t delved into this, don’t get scared off.
This is by choice. This is me just not being hungry.
I’m not consciously thinking, “If I can just make it till dinner time, everything is going to be okay.”
It’s me going, “I had a great paddle and now I’ve have to do some work, and I’ve got a meeting that I have to get to, and I don’t have time for lunch. No problem.”
Again, it all comes down to harnessing hunger, appetite, and cravings.
If you can get control of that, which otherwise historically has been in control of you your whole life.
It’s hunger that controls most people’s lives, like, “When is breakfast?”
Then “When is the mid-morning snack?”
And “When is lunch?”
And “Oh my God, we just had lunch. It was great, it was a great lunch. What’s for dinner?”
Or “I can’t make that meeting because it’s lunch time. Otherwise, I won’t be able to eat, and I’ll go hangry.”
All these things dissipate when we get rid of hunger, appetite, and cravings, and we just come down to this thing where we just enjoy every bite of food we eat for what it is.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy every bite of food I put in my mouth, but we’re not tied to this regular eating strategy.
I was just hanging out with my new massage therapist the other day, bless her heart. She doesn’t know what I do, and it was her first time working on me.
So, she’s telling me all about her strategy of achieving good health, and how she does detoxes, and how she uses herbs, and how she eats five small meals a day.
I’m like, “Jesus.” I just, “Zip it, Mark.”
But that’s what a lot of people still think they need to have these small meals that are evenly spread throughout the day, because that’s what keeps your energy levels up and that’s what dissipates hunger.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Abel: Yeah, and there’s so much power that comes from not eating, somehow.
It builds over time, don’t you think? It’s bizarre and novel at first when you experience it. A lot of people haven’t felt true hunger. It’s a sensation that you have to get used to.
The first time I had beer, I spit it out. It was gross. Wine too.
Abel: Now, it’s delicious.
Yeah, right. Now, I told people for a long time, if I had to pick two foods that I could live on for the rest of my life, it would be peanuts and beer.
Abel: There you go.
I don’t do peanuts because they’re bad. They’re horrible for me.
The same for beer, although I have a little bit of beer. In fact, that was my go-to.
People would think, “Well, Cherry Garcia ice cream, maybe, or Cinnabon?”
No, beer and peanuts would be my go-to foods; but we digress.
Anyway, that’s sort of what we’ve been focusing on. He and I both are denying our age.
Brad, he probably told you earlier, he just went out to a track meet the other day.
He got in a track meet and ran a 400 meter run, and then did the high jump. He did pretty well.
He didn’t do anywhere near what he would have done, but he’s in his 50s, so you have to hand that to him.
I just had a conversation with my best friend literally an hour ago, and I said to him I came back from my ultimate frisbee game on Sunday night and I was pretty beat up.
There were 35 guys that showed up, and so we had like four teams that were on and off the field.
It was a very fast-paced game and I had a blast.
But I came home and I thought to myself, “Alright, I’m going to be 67 in July. Really, when does this end? When is it no longer appropriate for me to be doing this?”
For right now, I’m having a blast so I’ll keep doing it.
Part of that whole thing is to keep playing, to keep hanging out with younger people, and people who are very energetic.
It’s become a bit of a cliche, but it’s so true.You're the average of the five people you hang out with. @Mark_Sisson Click To Tweet
So, I try to hang out with really good looking young people who have a lot of money.
No. I try to surround myself with energetic people.
Abel: Yeah. Spending a lot of time with the Primal team today, talking to Brad this morning for a couple of hours, you guys are defying status quo in such ridiculous ways.
I’m sure people who have trouble believing that you are the ages that you are.
But I think it’s more than that, because you mentioned it, too; it’s more about the energy.
Talking to Brad, it feels like he’s in his 30s, and he could hang on a run with me.
Actually, I don’t know if I could hang with him. You know what I mean?
Yeah. Can you hang with him for seven minutes in 34°F water?
Abel: Right. I don’t think so. I don’t think so.
Tomorrow, I’ve got a nice paddle. I’m in Miami beach and so I’m going to be in the bay, paddling for an hour and a half with my buddy, Elliot Bisno.
I don’t know if you know Elliot. Summit Group. I can’t wait to do that. It’s not a workout, it’s just fun.
By the way, we are getting a workout but who cares? We’re just having a blast, chatting it up on the ocean there.
Yesterday, I did a ride. I have a fat bike, you know the four and a half inch wide tires?
We just ride on the sand, so I can go 10 miles up the beach from my house and get the most amazing workout without climbing hills, without the fear of going too fast downhill and crashing.
On a fat bike, in deep sand, the worst that happens is you’re going like two miles an hour and you fall over, and you get sand on all of your sweaty body parts, and you just hope nobody saw you do it.
What’s the Right Amount of Sun?
Abel: Yeah, but you just have to keep it fun like that.
Also, one thing that I read in your book, and I’ve wondered about this, is how do you manage getting enough sun but not too much to the point where you could be developing skin conditions later, right?
I’m in Miami Beach but it’s winter now.
I was in the sun for two hours today. First time in a long time.
The UV index was like four and down to two and a half or one and a half by the time I left the beach.
I was there from 2:30pm to 4:30pm. That was good sun. I literally have not been getting enough sun per my prescription.
For a while, I’ve been traveling back and forth to California and I was in Hawaii for a week.
Even then, I’m careful not to get too much sun, but I’m also getting those sorts of issues that the dermatologist wants to burn off at my age because of the enormous amount of time I spent in the sun in my 20s, 30s and 40s.
Literally, I was a contractor. I worked outside all through the summer with my shirt off.
I would go home and run 20 miles with my shirt off. I spent my whole life pretty much close to naked in the sun, and that did add up over time.
I’ve been very careful in the last 20 years about putting sunscreen on my face and being careful not to burn.
I’m very aware of where that little burn zone is, and I come in.
If I have to stay outside, I just put on clothing and keep doing what I’m doing.
Abel: Yeah, and that’s really what it is, right? You just want to avoid getting burned.
For me, it’s always the schnoz that gets burned, especially on my runs. Sweat off that zinc, and oh god.
Anyway, a good hat and you’ve got it covered.
But it is something that’s definitely worth paying attention to.
It’s worth saying too, we’re up at 8,000 feet here in Colorado, looking at a bunch of 14,000 foot mountains.
If you’re up in elevation, don’t let the sun get ahead of you, more than ever now.
It’s easy to do, especially in the cold, especially in the winter time.
I spend time in Aspen and even in the fall when it’s nice and crisp. It’s crisp at night but it’s warm enough in the day that you can hike without a shirt.
You go up to 11 or 12,000 feet and it feels like nothing’s happening.
All of a sudden, you get back and you’ve been lobster-ized.
So yeah, good to pay attention there. Having said that, I think everybody needs to get sun.
Vitamin D is the most important vitamin and I supplement with it a lot throughout the year if I’m not getting regular doses of sun.
Abel: Yeah, I do as well. It’s one of those things that, especially just a little bit of sun, I think five or 10 minutes today, that’s enough. It makes a big difference.
In between shows when I’m recording all day, go outside, just a little bit of sun.
It only takes a few seconds. You can feel something happening and it’s powerful stuff.
Abel: But once again, you don’t want to abuse it. Okay, I want to hear you rant a little bit, if you don’t mind, Mark.
Mark’s “Dirty Keto” Rant
Abel: Dirty keto, all of these products that I would never eat, that you would never eat, being called the same thing.
Oftentimes it’s what we do, whether it’s paleo, keto, and I’m sure there are going to be carnivore products with plants in them and sugars in them.
They’re going to figure out a way. Let’s hear you rant about what’s going on and what we can do.
It’s a little bit disappointing that people are trying to hack their way into eating their comfort foods, and then creating these bizarre concoctions that they’re calling keto.
They call them keto because they’re high in fat and they don’t have any actual real sugar, but they might have xylitol or mannitol.
Abel: A lot of it.
And erythritol and the sugar alcohols, or they might have stevia or monk fruit or something like that.
Not so great choices of fats in many cases, and added ingredients that you would otherwise never consider eating if it was a regular middle of the grocery store thing that you picked up and you say, “That’s processed. I’m not going to eat that.”
But if it’s processed and keto, “It says keto. It must be good.”
I do have a real problem with that and for the longest time.
I have friends who are in the food business and I love them. They’re trying to appeal to an audience that’s, I guess, demanding these kinds of products, but I’m not a dessert person.
When people make me Primal and Paleo and Keto desserts, I’m like, “That’s sort of defeating the purpose.”
It’s almost like in the old days, people said regular soda, Coca Cola and Orange Crush, these are bad for you because of all the sugar.
And those companies said, “Okay, we’ll give you the same experience without the sugar.”
So they made diet sodas and they wound up being probably worse in some regards.
The answer is always simple, Abel. It’s always come back to real food.The answer is simple. It's always come back to real food. @Mark_Sisson Click To Tweet
If it’s real food, if it’s meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, a little bit of fruit, maybe some starchy tubers once in a while.
And if you prepare it either how you cook it or the herbs and spices that you use, you can mix it up and you can match it up and you can make it very tasty and very palatable.
The problem with the whole hacking community, this bio-hacking community, I think, is dangerous because they’re looking for shortcuts.
They don’t want to do the work.
Like, “Give me the benefit of a 50 minute workout in 6 minutes where you wrap my thighs in ice and I ride a bike real hard.”
Or, “Give me the benefits of sleep by putting on a 3D headset and playing funky music and throwing some spiralized hypnotic stuff at me.”
I’m not buying it.
The same goes for the food. It’s like, “Eat real food.”
It’s pretty darn simple.
Get sleep in a blacked-out room with a cool bed. Go outside and get some sun. Eat real food.
I think some people embrace that. You and I have, for sure.
But some people are like, “No, I want a shortcut. I don’t want to earn my way into this. I want to buy my way into this.”
Abel: Yeah, by consuming more fat to lose more fat, right?
Which is a concept that you loathe, as I understand.
It’s so bizarre because the whole popularized keto movement started in that regard, which is, “Oh boy, we can eat all the bacon we want.”
That was the original keto thing. “I can eat 4,000 calories a day and not gain weight.”
Well, maybe so, but if you eat 4,000 calories a day, you’re not going to lose weight, you’re not going to burn off your stored body fat.
You’re going to up-regulate some systems in your body that are going to cause thermogenesis that you don’t want, that are probably going to, in the long haul, be deleterious to longevity because you’re revving the engine too hard, as your body tries desperately to get rid of those 4,000 calories that it can’t store because you shut off the insulin access pathway.
But that was the entry level for this gateway drug for a lot of people was bacon.
“I can have all the bacon I want, and I can have all the fat I want, and I can eat whatever I want and never go hungry as long as I don’t eat sugar and grains. I can put a pat of butter on my beef burger without the bun.”
People are looking for ways to add fat to an otherwise fatty meal.
I think we’ve thankfully gotten away from that now, but it was kind of crazy at first.
Abel: Because one thing, it seemed like, was getting lost was the nose to tail approach, the eating real food approach.
Then here comes carnivore with that, which is great. I love that that’s built in, but the idea that you can never have a plant?
Not that that’s the way that people are doing it, exactly.
It’s either you’re never having a plant or you’re using words wrong. I object to both of those things.
Yeah. Well, Shawn Baker and Paul Saladino are good friends of mine.
Abel: I’m having them on, as well.
Yeah, I really applaud what they’re doing. I applaud their passion for what they’re doing.
I completely understand, especially in Saladino’s case, I understand his objection with plants and I think it’s a very novel approach to think that plants are basically emergency food, and as long as you eat nose to tail, you get everything you need from the animal.
And that, as emergency foods, plants, they have these things that we used to call antioxidants, and some of us still do—antioxidants, phytochemicals, polyphenols.
Which so many nutritionists would say, “They’re beneficial and they’re necessary.”
Paul would say, “Not only are they not necessary, they might be harmful.”
That’s a really interesting approach.
What’ll be, I think, telling in the next couple years is to see somebody who’s been on a true carnivore program for years and look at their health and their markers, right?
But until then, I feel like I’ve definitely cut back on my vegetable intake. Don’t tell anybody, but I don’t eat a big ass salad anymore.
On a regular basis. I’ll have a salad once in a while, but I look at it differently now.
I look at it as it’s going to fill me up with some non-nutrient-dense stuff that I really don’t need.
I think one of the things that Paul, and I think Shawn but more specifically Paul, talk about would be the fiber conversation, right?
Like, “You have to have fiber or else you don’t poop right.”
Well, everybody I know that’s been on carnivore poops like a pro.
Abel: Yeah. My dog does, too.
It’s not an issue of not enough fiber. It turns out, and I’ve thought this for 20 years, fecal matter, poop, is supposed to be bacterial turnover.
It’s not supposed to be bits and pieces of straw that you ate to scour your intestines, and because you couldn’t digest them, you shat them out.
It’s supposed to be bacterial turnover.
You have 100 trillion bacteria in your gut. They have a very short life, sometimes days, sometimes hours, and they turnover at a fairly rapid rate, and that’s a good thing.
As long as your bacterial turnover is good, you’re going to be having regular movements to get rid of those.
It does not require fiber in the amounts that they’re talking about.
The other thing, which I find really compelling, is the notion that plant matter acts as a substrate for some of these bacteria to create short-chain fatty acids with which to feed the lining of the gut.
Now, that’s an interesting and a very, again, another compelling statement.
But recently, Paul has done some research. And again, I approve of the research and it explains a lot of what’s been going on with me.
It turns out that collagen peptides can act as a substrate for these shorter chain fatty acids.
If you eat nose to tail, and you’re getting collagen as part of your diet—by the way, if you think back to 100 years ago, 300 years ago, 1000 years ago, people ate gristle. You ate gristle and you swallowed it, right?
It might have made its way down to the back end of the small intestine and the first part of the colon, and it might have acted as a substrate for those bacteria.
So he’s got some great arguments and I’m starting to think that there’s something there.
Having said that, as I said, I cut back on my vegetable intake, but I haven’t eliminated it because I do like the occasional broccoli.
Today, I had what I think is my ideal lunch. I had a skirt steak with some sauteed spinach. Fabulous.
It was all I needed, and it was probably 570 calories total.
I’ll have dinner tonight, and those are the two meals I’ll eat all day, because the other thing that you realize when you get really metabolically flexible is that you also get metabolically efficient.
If you do the math, you think, “Well, why do I need that many calories in a day, anyway?”
How is it that if I do the math in a textbook from 20 years ago, it says, “I need 2500 calories a day to sustain my 170 pounds, and 3500 calories a day if I’m working out an hour and 20 minutes a day.”
If you do the math and you realize that protein at four calories per gram—nobody needs more than 120 grams of protein in a day. Nobody.
So if you get 80, that’s 320 grams. But if you’re doing this right, of those 320 calories, 320 calories in 80 grams, the first 30 grams aren’t even combusted.
They’re not supposed to be combusted. So why would you even assign them a caloric value? They’re not even being combusted.
They’re being used to rebuild, repair, renew, regenerate, and enter that cycle of building in the body.
Then if you are low on carbs and you cut your carbs down and you’re convincing your body that you need to burn fat, your body starts burning fat and it starts creating ketones.
I don’t know if you’ve heard this number before, but do you know that the liver can make 750 calories a day worth of ketones?
Abel: I didn’t know it was 750.
750 calories a day. If you’re keto-adapted, most of those calories feed the brain. They run the brain.
The brain has a daily caloric requirement of, I forget, 500, 600, maybe, total in a day.
A couple of neuronal cells require a little bit of glucose.
The body can make that through de novo, well, through gluconeogenesis.
But also, when you take that triglyceride and you combust it, you combust the three fatty acids, and then the glycerol is there available to be used to create glucose.
So you’ve got this beautiful closed system in you that does not require as many external calories coming from the outside to the inside on a regular basis as most people assume.
There are weeks when I get by on an average of 1,700 calories a day and thrive, and doing fine, and do hard workouts, and don’t feel like I’m sacrificing.
I feel like I eat as much as I need, and when I’m finished eating what I need and I’m no longer hungry for the next bite, I push it away and I’m good to go.
Abel: Yeah. When I indulge myself in not eating that much and having a very small meal, oftentimes I find that I feel much better the next day.
You wake up feeling nice and fresh. It’s the opposite of having a big meal before bed.
As our buddy Art De Vany used to say, “You’re most human when you’re not eating.”All the good stuff happens to the body when you're not eating. @Mark_Sisson Click To Tweet
Eating is sort of this obligatory thing that we must do to put fuel into the system.
It’s obligatory and much the same way that sex feels good and so we do it. And just as a sort of a after effect, we procreate.
The reason we’re able to procreate is because we’re enticed into having sex because it feels good. If sex didn’t feel good, we wouldn’t want to procreate.
Well, if eating…
Abel: Not worth it.
Really. Especially in this day and age.
Abel: Oh god.
Me too. If eating didn’t taste so great and we weren’t wired for these sensations, we’d be disinclined to add on this fuel and take it in in the amounts that the body wants us to.
Now, originally, when we evolved over millions of years, throughout most of humanity, there was not a lot of food, and so we were wired to overeat, as Rob Wolf would say.
We’re wired to eat this excess amount of food.
The good news is we have these systems that take the excess energy, convert it into energy that we carry around with us on our bodies, conveniently located right over the center of gravity so we can walk miles carrying our extra fuel with us for that.
I haven’t told this story as an analogy yet, but I’ll tell it to you right now.
I hiked to the top of El Cap with my son and a friend of ours.
My friend is a base jumper and so once a year on his birthday, he hikes to the top of El Cap, and it’s like a four-hour hike, and he jumps off the next morning.
My son and I went with him this one time.
As we’re getting closer to the top, a mile from the top of El Cap, he says, “Well, if we’re going to make a campfire and have some food tonight, we have to bring firewood with us.”
So for the last mile, each of us dragged what amounted to two giant log trees with us to take so that when we camped on this bald granite face, we had enough fuel for a campfire.
Imagine humans having to lug those logs around with them everywhere they went to make fuel for themselves.
The beauty of how we’re designed is we can take excess calories, overeat, store it as fuel, carry it with us, and then if we go a day or two or three or five without eating, no problem.
We got all the systems to take the fuel out of storage on our butts and thighs and hips, combust it in the muscles so that we have the energy to move and do stuff, make ketones so that we can use the brain to stay alert and fresh and happy and thriving, and everything worked beautifully that way.
The problem is, 99% of humans never—they have that ability to eat, overeat, and store the excess as extra fuel as fat on their body, but they haven’t built the metabolic machinery and the enzyme systems to take it out of storage and combust it in times of need.
If they haven’t done the work, then if they skip a meal, all hell breaks loose.
They get hangry because you have to do the work to cause the body to want to build the energy systems.
To want to build the metabolic machinery, to want to create the mitochondria in which the fat actually burns, to want to improve the efficiency of the mitochondria, to get the brain used to burning ketones and instead of just having the body spill the ketones out in urine and breath and blood because you haven’t built that metabolic machinery.
The good news, and what Brad and I talk about throughout all of our books but most particularly in Keto for Life, is the process by which over three weeks, and then ultimately about six weeks, you can convert your body into this fat-burning machine that disengages you from that treadmill that is driven by hunger, appetite, and cravings, that leash that mealtime has created around your neck, and become empowered to do all the things, and to have the energy and freedom.
When I say freedom from food, it’s a big, big issue for a lot of people.
I’d say many of the people that I talk to and I meet in middle America—who haven’t gone keto, haven’t heard of paleo, and don’t know about Primal—Food, it’s an obsession.
That New Vegan Documentary
Abel: Yeah. One thing that’s happened, though, since I’ve met you and first found your blog, it’s been like a decade now.
I thought things might be getting better for a minute there, and now I’m not so sure. Where do you stand on that? How are we going to right this ship?
Well, we have dark forces against us in the vegan community.
Game Changers was a real bizarre propaganda piece that turned out to be a well-financed and a fairly compelling argument if you don’t know anything about nutrition.
I meet a lot of people who are like, “Mark, have you seen Game Changers? What do you think? Isn’t it great?”
I’m like, “No, it’s a f*#!ing lie.”
One of the things that’s wrong with this country right now is that everybody thinks that going vegan or eating a largely plant-based diet is not only better for you, it’s better for the planet.
Both of those statements are 100% wrong.
Vegan is not better for you, it’s worse for you.
A plant-based diet for humanity is horrible for the planet and will hasten our demise.
We need to be grazing ruminants and creating topsoil so we can grow whatever vegetables people want to eat.
It’s insanity what’s going on in the popular press, in the sort of left wing, Hollywood elite, buy-into-anything kind of climate.
It’s really, really annoying to me.
To your point, we got a sh*!load of work to do. We have a lot of work to do to swing this ship around.
I thought we were headed in the right direction, and then whether it was climate change or the vegan thing or whatever, everything came together and, by the way, are judged as being synonymous, climate change and veganism.
You can’t have one without the other and again, that’s inaccurate as well.
Abel: Yeah, and well, I did. I finally caved after being introduced and asked.
I was introduced to some of the people who made the movie and everyone’s asking. They’re asking, “Have you seen this movie?”
I finally caved last night and I watched it.
Last night? You’re a latecomer. Okay.
Abel: Yeah, super late because I’ve seen enough of these, as you have, right? It’s like, come on.
No, that’s exactly right. Enough of these, I would say.
I not only don’t want to watch because I know it’s going to be a waste of my time, because it’s not going to convince me, and I’m just going to get pissed off.
Anyway, tell me about your experience.
Abel: Well, it’s very convincing if you’re coming into this as a normal person who’s not obsessed with health and all of this like we have been for years, and for your entire career.
Watching it, I know how TV and documentaries are made, and it still works on me. You know what I mean?
It’s like there’s a magic at work there and they’re doing it on purpose and I don’t like that, but I have more to say, too.
Yeah, it’s a story. Humans are storytellers.
I watched the Oscars the other night and Joaquin Phoenix and his don’t drink milk thing. I mean…
Abel: I didn’t see that. What a joke, I must say.
It was horrible. But one of the intros to the documentary award, and documentaries are wonderful.
They tell the truth. Something about how documentaries are supposed to be some objective analysis of some issue in the world.
Again, it’s the exact opposite.Documentaries are the most biased, pointed propaganda. @Mark_Sisson Click To Tweet
What a beautiful opportunity for anyone who has a story to tell at any level, in any direction, of any political bent.
The better you tell the story and the more you weave in magic and alchemy and things that people don’t understand and can’t figure out for themselves, the more they’re snowed and baffled.
And like, “Oh my god, that was amazing.”
And, “That guy, he’s so strong. He’s strong as an ox ’cause he eats like an ox.”
Well, he’s dumb as an ox and he eats like an ox too, so I mean pick one.
I mean, I’m sure he’s a sweet guy, but you can’t just say I’m strong as an ox because I eat like an ox. Do you have five stomachs in you?
Abel: But documentaries are true.
Well, exactly. But people assume because it’s a documentary that was produced by a responsible upstanding documentarian, it must be giving a point of view that’s more accurate than the opposite side of that story.
Abel: One thing that I found really objectionable, though, was the amount of fake meat. You wouldn’t believe how much.
They were eating chicken tenders. They were eating, I think they had Fakin’ Bacon.
They’re just like, “These burgers are so good, and these chicken tenders are so good.”
It’s like, “You’re saving the world and virtue signalling. What is this even about?”
It’s falling apart in my mind, but most people who are watching won’t watch it that way, unfortunately.
Right. It blows my mind that people who say we should be eating more vegetables and not eating animals are then trying to take their vegetable matter and create an animal.
Abel: And make it bleed.
And make it bleed. Right.
If a listener who’s not simpatico with what you and I believe is hearing this, I want to challenge you to think about it.
Think about how bizarre it is to make fake meat, to take kibble and frankenfood and shape it into something that resembles meat because you want somebody to be healthy and not eat meat.
Abel: And save the world.
And save the world. Yeah, yeah.
Abel: Well, so the saving the world part, if I may too, I did think this way and I tried being vegan and vegetarian back in the day, and I did think I was helping things.
We all did, we all did. Well, I didn’t think I was helping things. I thought I was helping myself.
Abel: Well, sure.
But I don’t think that there’s one of us in this paleo, keto, low-carb community that didn’t try vegan at some point and failed miserably.
“But you were doing it wrong, Abel.”
Abel: Right. I mean, I was. If you’re going to do vegan, you have to have it dialed in, even best case scenario.
Anyway, before we get too carried away on that, I want to see if you’d talk about the son on the slope story.
When you talked about aging gracefully and what that’s supposed to look like.
Well, I don’t want to tell the story for you, but it really touched me. If you would, share that with us.
Abel: When you were going down the double black diamond, I think it was, with your son.
I see. I thought you meant the sun on the slopes. The orb in the sky. I’m like, “Okay.”
Abel: That might be a better story.
No, no, Kyle, my son, he was 10 when he started snowboarding. He wanted to snowboard.
I’d been a skier all my life, so he and I learned together. I learned pretty quickly and I taught him a bunch of stuff about how to turn.
Do you snowboard at all?
Okay. Snowboarders, you watch them turn, there’s a bit of an action like this to get the tip around.
Do you remember Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live when he used to do the motivational speaker?
The motivational speaker, who lived in a van down by the river, by the way.
I would teach my kids to turn that way because they were fans of Chris Farley. That’s how I taught him how to turn.
Anyway, so over the years we, as a family—and my wife snowboards too—as a family we’d go and we’d snowboard and we’d have a great time.
And Kyle would get better and better, and I actually got better and better.
There was a time one day when he was 14, and we’re at the top of this double black, and it was on Highlands in Aspen.
We’re going down the hill and I’m in front of him, and I’m hauling ass and I’m just going really, really fast.
I’m thinking, “I’m going a little bit too fast, man. I have to… I should probably scrub off some speed. This is as fast as I dare go.”
All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, my son passes me going probably 12 miles an hour faster than I was, and cut across the front with plenty of room to spare.
He looked up at me and gave me a thumbs up.
I’m like, “Okay, the torch is passed. My son has now overtaken me forever.”
But, you know, as a parent, it’s your proudest moment.
As a human being, it’s like, “Jesus, there goes that. I guess I’m not the top dog in that regard anymore.” But it was a beautiful moment.
He and I, we’d play frisbee together and still do. He became one of the best ultimate frisbee players in Southern California.
He and I, we still are on the same team.
Every time we do pick-up games, we make sure we’re on the same team and try to hit each other with long bombs. It’s great.
Abel: That is so cool. What a great example of, I think, how it’s supposed to work, right, because as we, just to come back to, you’re defying the norms.
Most people can’t get out of their cars in their 60s and 70s, and you’re hanging and playing pretty much elite level frisbee, from what I understand.
Yeah. I wouldn’t call it elite level anymore, but I still play well, and I still play an old man’s game.
I can spread, I can run, I do all that stuff, but I’m the guy who hangs out in midfield and I’ll take a hand off from the handler.
I’ll just give it right back to him so he can reset. I don’t know if you know the game at all but…
Abel: A little bit. Yeah.
I’m a utilitarian player. I’m not a superstar. I’m just a utilitarian player, but I have a blast doing it.
Where to Find Mark Sisson
Abel: Yeah, I’m sure you hold your weight.
Well, Mark, we’re just about out of time but before we go, please tell folks about your new book, Keto for Life, as well as all the other stuff that you’re working on.
Keto for Life, again, it takes a look, a holistic approach at using a ketogenic sort of template, but it doesn’t require that you be in ketosis.
You just spend a little bit of time in and out of keto.
We talk about pivoting and flexibility, mental flexibility and being able to withstand the rigors and the assaults of social media and whatever situation you’re in, how to come out of that with a sense of well-being as opposed to feeling like you’re beat up.
Abel: Oh my gosh.
Yeah, I know. It’s crazy. Then Primal Kitchen Foods. We have all these amazing salad dressings and barbecue sauces and condiments, and..
Abel: Mustard and…
Ketchup, and they’re all good for you.
Literally, the more you put on your food, the better the food becomes for you, I think.
We’re introducing frozen foods in the next quarter. These amazing meals that you can buy in the frozen section.
Grass-fed beef, free range chicken, organic vegetables and things like that that are just easy to prepare. Very excited about that.
Abel: Mark, thank you so much for putting in the work over the years and being so generous with your knowledge.
You’ve really helped me navigate dangerous waters over the years, many times, and I’m so thankful for that.
I’m not sure I’d be doing this show without finding you way back in the day to help me revamp—I think I found barefoot running and really got into it at Mark’s Daily Apple. What a valuable resource.
Thank you. You and I can both say we go back a long way together.
Abel: Yeah. I love that.
Very cool. Very cool.
Abel: We need each other. Thank you so much for this, Mark.
Thanks, man. Take care.
Before You Go…
Here’s a note that just came in from Blake. He says…
Hi Abel, we are very rural and there isn’t much in our area for health and wellness except 1 little Anytime Fitness. Your show and your book are a constant spice of motivation.
Anytime I’m felling weak, or get the f%#k it’s. I just read a bit of The Wild Diet, or listen to a couple episodes of the show.
We are now just about a year in with 0 sugar, 0 grains. (Occasional wild rice that we harvest ourselves).
We have nearly eliminated alcohol and I am down 40 pounds.
Thank you for being out in the public and available to us.
Blake, thank you so much for writing in. And so many things about this when I first read it made me smile.
Let me just quickly cover a few things that you said here. Zero sugar, zero grains. I was just talking to Vinnie Tortorich who of course leads the no sugar, no grains movement, has been for years, and we have some shows coming out for a lot of you who are listening out there or watching.
That’s an easy win right there. If you can ditch sugar or turn it down as much as possible, any added sugars and all that nonsense, and then kick out the grains as well, then you’re going to get a lot of results really quickly, just by doing those two very simple things.
But Blake, I love that you had the occasional wild rice that you harvest yourselves, because that is one of the greatest examples of one of the wild edibles that’s still around if you’re in the right area for it.
And we love wild rice. It’s such a treat, it’s such a different kind of food, really filling.
Especially when you compare it to the type of rice that most people are used to eating.
And then you said that you nearly eliminated alcohol and you’ve dropped 40 pounds.
So if there’s another quick win, kicking out alcohol if you’re looking to lean down and really restore your health, then kicking out alcohol is another really easy win.
So good on you, Blake.
And of course the 40 pounds came off. So your health is going to be better because of that.
You’re doing it. I love it, thank you for that and also, kudos to you. It’s easier said than done.
Kicking out alcohol or turning it down in your life can be very difficult, especially for some people.
So anyone who’s able to do that, that’s an extra skill because a lot of us are relying on substances and we might not even know it.
So anytime you can pump the breaks on pretty much anything you’re consuming habitually in your life, it’ll do you a favor and give you a little bit of perspective.
So, well done Blake.
Now, how about you dear your listener?
Any questions you have or anything else? So shoot me an email—sign up for the newsletter, respond to my emails and I’ll respond to you when I can.
I love reading your perspective on things.
It’s a very confusing world out there. I’m not always clear on exactly what you need help with.
So every time you write in and get in touch with me and let me know where you’re struggling, it really helps me know who to have on the show next.
Now if you would like to support this show, it’s getting challenging out there but we have a lot of different projects where we’re trying to give a lot of value to you in exchange for supporting this show.
So for example, these days, most people don’t get enough nutrients from their food. So my wife Alyson and I started Wild Superfoods to make it easy for you to load up on the critical nutrients your body needs.
Right now, you can grab all 4 supplements in our Ultimate Daily Bundle, including Future Greens, Mega Omegas, Vitamin D Stack and Probiotic Spheres, and save over $128 off by selecting the Subscribe & Save option.
Just head on over to WildSuperfoods.com/save128 right now to get the deal.
Again, for those of you who are in the U.S., you can type it into the device you’re on right now to get the deal — it’s WildSuperfoods.com/save128. When you subscribe, you’ll also get free access to our group coaching program in the Fat-Burning Tribe as a thanks for supporting our work.
Now, you may have heard me mention in a recent episode of the Fat-Burning Man show my new book with the silly title Designer Babies Still Get Scabies.
It’s a book of mostly silly poetry and ridiculous rhymes, and it’s now a #1 international bestseller in 7 countries.
If you’d like to hear over 110 of my poems, which might make you laugh out loud, be sure to grab your copy from Amazon. It’s available in paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.
We’ve been getting a ton of feedback from readers who are enjoying the poems, and a lot of people have commented that they’re buying extra copies for friends and family members.
It’s really meant to be a book that can be shared with people around you.
So, if you’d like to introduce your friends to a collection of poems that will put a smile on their face, then be sure to grab the book, and then head over to DesignerBabiesBook.com to claim your free bonuses, including the audiobook which I narrate myself.
I hope you enjoy it. And be sure to shoot me a note to let me know which poems are your favorites.
What did you think of this interview with Mark? Drop a comment below!