This week, Mark Sisson — former professional athlete, founder of Mark's Daily Apple, and developer of the Primal Blueprint health & fitness lifestyle — returns to discuss nutrition. In his opinion, it's the single most important factor for a healthy life.
While other key components like physical exertion, good sleep, de-stressing and sun exposure contribute to overall health and well-being, too (see our 2013 interview with Mark for a full background on his recommended regime), the food we eat can literally determine which of the genes in our genetic code get activated and expressed. So, in a very real way, we indeed are what we eat.
Which raises concerns when looking at the traditional "food pyramid" we've been told to follow since the 1950s. In Mark's eyes, it's based on poor or absent science, and recommends a dangerously flawed regime responsible for many of the chronic health problems of modern society (obesity, diabetes, intestinal disorders, etc). It's so out-of-whack that one of the single most impactful steps we can take as a society would be to flip that pyramid "upside-down":
Humans are by nature very resilient in many regards. The good news is we can live on just about anything—bear claws, seaweed, shoe leather. We have been shown over history to be able to get through long periods of famine because of our ability to extract calories from whatever we put in our stomachs. That's the good news. The bad news is that a lot of the stuff we put in our stomachs has an effect on our genetic expression. Our bodies are trying to rebuild, recreate, renew, regenerate us every day. And based on the inputs that the genes get, we either turn on genes that store fat, that make us sick, that cause or predispose us to cancer, or we turn those genes off. Then we can turn on genes that build muscle, to give us more energy, that make us more clear thinking.
And a lot of these genes operate in a principle we call epigenetics, through food signaling. So it is the types of foods that we choose to eat that cause genes to turn on or off. And we can literally discover what I call these hidden genetic switches and make our food choices in such a manner that we can have a much better chance at arriving at the desired outcome. That might be losing weight; it might be getting off the meds; it might be reducing the ADHD in a young child. All of these things are possible, and quite likely based on food choices. It does not mean that if you are somebody who is living on fast food and soda all day that you are a bad person or even that you are doomed to die at 50. It just means that you have a greater likelihood of not thriving throughout your lifetime.
The gut biome story is going to be a big story for the next two years, and has been for the last year. It is the new frontier. We have a 100,000,000,000,000 organisms living in us that are not us. You know, we have a hundred trillion cells that are bacteria versus ten to fifteen trillion cells that are human. So 90% of the cells in your body are Not You, and there's a lot that they are doing. Some of them are helping you digest food. Some are creating vitamins. Some of them are feeding the cells lining your guts. And some of them are bad. And this balance in the gut biome between the good bacteria and the bad bacteria is huge, and it is an issue for a lot of people. And it relates back to the foods you eat in several ways. One of which is if the foods you eat are causing a leaky gut and the bad bacteria in your gut are leaking into your bloodstream, that's not a good thing. A gut is supposed to be a barrier to entry and only allow the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, simple fatty acids and sugars. But the fact that it's leaking and allowing in bacteria and setting up an immune response is huge. And that is the cause of a lot of people’s inflammation and the cause of a lot of people’s autoimmune diseases. And that relates back to the gut biome. So that is point number one.
Point number two is you have to feed that biome. So the food that you eat is also supporting the bacteria in your gut. And sugar we know tends to support the unhealthy bacteria. Some of the pre-biotic fibers, resistant starches, insulin — things like that — actually support the healthy bacteria and allow them to produce the short-chain fatty acids that then go on to feed the cells. It is so critical: it does come down to what you eat. So much of your life and so much of your health and so much of your ability to be energetic and healthy for the rest of your life comes down to what you put in your mouth. That part of it is not rocket science. The real rocket science is figuring out within that spectrum what is best for you, individually.
Mark's organization is releasing the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification program on August 20th. Those interested in better understanding the science of nutrition, and how best to implement it in your diet, can learn more about it here.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Mark Sisson (33m:55s):
Chris Martenson: Welcome to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host Chris Martenson and today we are going to delve into one of the most important topics of life no matter what sort of future arrives—being in shape. Now, note that I did not say "getting in shape," as if that were the goal, but being in shape. Now whether your goal is to be more resilient or more healthy or, like me, both, being in shape is essential. However, if we were ranking the most confusing topics of our times, nutrition would be right near the top of my personal list. There is bad science. There is paid industry propaganda. There is good old-fashioned entrenched belief systems. All conspiring to keep nutritional information in a near perpetual state of murkiness.
Now, as we now know, and probably should have always known, you are what you eat. Nutrition is undoubtedly the single most important input to your immediate and long-term state of health. Now the good news is that the clouds are parting and good science and solid research are now available. And we are lucky today to have back on the show one of the leaders in bringing this information to us. Today we are talking with Mark Sisson, a prolific and energetic author, speaker, and businessman dedicated to changing how you eat, look, exercise, and feel.
Now if you have heard of the Paleo Diet and the Primal Blueprint, you are familiar with his work already. His primary website is Marksdailyapple.com, a website with an enormous wealth of information on health, fitness, nutrition, success stories—which I personally love—and a host of other resources. Now we have linked to it at the bottom of the podcast along with first podcast for people interested in hearing Mark’s background and the basics of the Primal eating regime. Mark, it is a real pleasure to have you back on the show.
Mark Sisson: It is a pleasure to be back, Chris. Thanks for having me.
Chris Martenson: Well, since we are what we eat, our nutritional guidelines that form the Food Pyramid we see everywhere, and which inform the sorts of foods we feed to our kids every day in school lunches, for example—that should be as credible, defensible, and data-driven as the engineering that goes into the car I drive. Is it?
Mark Sisson: You would think so, right?
Chris Martenson: Yeah, I would. Is it?
Mark Sisson: No. And therein lies probably one of the biggest problems we face, you know, as a society is this reliance on a set of data that is 50 years old and was never really accurate to begin with. And yet we have seemed to come down this path with, despite our individual best interest to want to try and do the right thing—"tell me what I need to do to be fit and lean and strong"—we have been given horrendous advice, in my opinion. So one of the things that I have set about as my mission is to educate people and to provide information on what would be more appropriate choices if people said, “I want to be healthy and resilient.”
Chris Martenson: And so if we start on that with the Food Pyramid, just grossly speaking, what is wrong with it?
Mark Sisson: Well, a lot of things are wrong with it. First of all, it was created by some individuals within government policy making committees that had no idea what they were doing, led astray by special interest groups—go figure—and backed by science that was then reinvested in discovering once again the wrong outcomes. It was a horrendous mishmash of sketchy politics, shady special interest, and shoddy science. And the bottom line is: 6 to 11 servings of grains a day form the basis of our Food Pyramid and within the Paleo and the Primal movement we look at that as just an outrageous basis for anyone’s diet. It is just a cheap source of calories that converts to glucose pretty quickly in your bloodstream. And that is the best you can say about it. It is fraught with industrial seed oils because we were told a long time ago to avoid saturated fats even though saturated fats are not the proximate cause of heart disease or any of the issues that they seem to have been linked with. And yet, we have been told then to avoid these saturated fats and to consume vegetable oils—corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola. And it turns out these are the exact oils that have been helping to increase heart disease and even cancer.
And I can go on and on. I mean, there is an abundance of sugar. We now consume far more sugar than we had ever in any point in human history and that is causing us to gain weight and to become pre-diabetic or get metabolic syndrome or even Type 2 diabetes. And that is a direct reflection of a food manufacturing industry that once they got the directive from the US Department of Agriculture to reduce fat, all they could do was increase carbohydrate and to do so they increased sugar.
So virtually everything is wrong with the Food Pyramid, as many people in the ancestral health world would tell you. The best thing you could do would be to turn it upside down.
Chris Martenson: Well, you know, it is okay to get things wrong from time to time, but we have some epidemiology—we have got some data, I am sure, everybody has seen this and I am sure you have too—which is that horrifying map of obesity over time where you just see states turning from blue to red starting about from the fifties, coming up through the 2000’s. And it is clearly an obesity epidemic. And we clearly have to pin that on something. Would that not be our eating habits?
Mark Sisson: Absolutely. I do not know what else you would pin it on. It is not—you know, some people assume, “Well, wait a minute, it must be largely due to our inactivity. We are not moving around that much. We are not exercising. Maybe that is the problem.” But, as we know from the science, 80% of your body composition happens as a result of how you eat. Very little of it is due to how much exercise you do. Now that is not to say that we should not exercise. We all should. But to think that you can exercise away a bad diet is just faulty logic and faulty reasoning. So it does come down to the food choices.
And I want to be clear that, you know, humans are by nature very resilient in many regards. The good news is we can live on just about anything—bear claws, seaweed, shoe leather. We have been shown over history to be able to get through long periods of famine because of our ability to extract calories from whatever we put in our stomachs. That is the good news. The bad news is that a lot of the stuff we put in our stomachs has an effect on our genetic expression. Our bodies are trying to rebuild, recreate, renew, regenerate us every day. And based on the inputs that the genes get, we either turn on genes that store fat, that make us sick, that cause or predispose us to cancer, or we turn those genes off. Then we can turn on genes that build muscle, that give us more energy, that make us more clear thinking.
And a lot of these genes operate in a principle we call "epigenetics" through food signaling. So it is the types of foods that we choose to eat that cause genes to turn on or off. And we can literally discover what I call these hidden genetic switches and make our food choices in such a manner that we can have a much better chance at arriving at the desired outcome. That might be losing weight. It might be getting off the meds. It might be reducing the ADHD in a young child. All of these things are possible and quite likely based on food choices. It does not mean that if you are somebody who is living on fast food and soda all day that you are a bad person or even that you are doomed to die at 50. It just means that you have a greater likelihood of not thriving throughout your lifetime.
Chris Martenson: Now, Mark, as you brought this up, the whole idea of our flexible genetics and our ability to consume shoe leather if need be—this forms a part of some criticism I have been reading about the Paleo diet. I think Scientific American called it “half-baked” primarily on that idea alone that we are much more genetically flexible than perhaps Paleo is speaking to. Michael Pollan took time out to speak about what is wrong with the Paleo diet. How do you respond to these criticisms?
Mark Sisson: Again, these are not—we go back to the original premise, which is the confusion among most citizens about what is the right thing to do. "I want to do the right thing. Please tell me what the right thing is. Where is the science?" And the answer is: There is no right answer. There are just choices that we can make based on the data, based on the science. And with regard to the Paleo diet or the Primal Blueprint eating strategy, a lot of the science is based on a combination of evolutionary biology. What did humans thrive on throughout the first two and a half million years of human history that pretty much forged the genetic recipe that we currently all carry right now? And then how is that borne out in modern genetic science? Every time we do a study now, we have the ability to look at the effect on the genes of whatever that food or that nutrient that we were introducing into the study—what was the effect at a gene level, which is really how all of these things manifest themselves is at the genetic level.
So when you go back to a discourse or complaints about the Paleo diet or the Primal Blueprint, they are really not substantive. They just suggest that there is much more diversity available to the average person. In other words, there are a lot of people that I know that are vegetarians who do very well, who thrive quite nicely on a vegetarian diet. That is difficult to do when you are eating Paleo, because lot of Paleo has to do with quality sources of animal protein, animal fat, and so on and so forth. So it is not to suggest that our way is the only way. It is a way that has been proven to work for a lot of people. I mean, on Mark’s Daily Apple, we have hundreds of thousands of user experiences.
And, as you pointed out, Chris, your favorite part of MDA is the Friday success stories. And these are extremely compelling stories of people who have lost massive amounts of weight and gotten off their medications, have more energy. You know, understand now that it is a way of life that is actually quite easy to embrace. And probably I think the thing that is most compelling about this way of living—it is not just a diet, it is how you exercise and sleep and sun exposure and how you play and de-stress and things like that—but the most compelling part of it is it's just really easy to embrace. It does not require struggle and sacrifice and calorie counting and portion control and a lot of the other nonsense that you sort of have to embrace if you take on one of the other strategies. Does that make sense?
Chris Martenson: It does make sense. And speaking to the science on this though, I have to confess as a smart guy trained in the sciences, I still find the whole topic of nutritional science a little perplexing because, you know, one day this thing is considered a superfood that you should eat every meal and the next day it is reviled. And vitamins help. No, they do not. Yes, they do. No, they do not. Correlation and causation are difficult even for the trained to separate, but the casual reader has no hope on this. On and on. What are we to—is there a body of knowledge that we know about that we can rest upon? And what do you do with all this new data that comes out? How do you make sense of it?
Mark Sisson: Well, so it is interesting that I feel that—look, if you go to the man on the street and you start interviewing people about their eating styles, you will find a variety of eating styles. Now if you start to challenge their eating styles, it is as if you are challenging their religion. So if I encounter a vegan and we have a discussion about what might be more appropriate style of eating, we are not going to change each other’s minds, at least not in that initial conversation. So I tell people, "look, if you are searching for a possibility of how to address your issues, whether they be overweight, whether they be arthritis, a pre-disposition to heart disease. You are on medications. Whatever it is. The first thing you do is do a lot of research and literally pick a style, an eating style, a style of living where there is a lot of good, solid research behind it." And you will find that on some of the vegan sites and some of the vegetarian sites. And you will find a lot of in the Paleo sites and certainly on Mark’s Daily Apple, which is my site. I mean, we have got 4,000 articles we have written in the last seven and a half, eight years.
It really at some point, it still is a belief system. I'm not going to lie. It is difficult to pull out the exact appropriate way of eating for every individual because everyone is different. So there is a point at which you sort of say, “Okay, I have read enough. I have done enough research that I am going to commit to this style of eating for a while. And I am going to do an experiment on myself and I am going to eliminate these foods. And I am going to start to include these foods. I am going to notice what happens.” And that is really what happens to a lot of people who take on a Paleo eating strategy is they will say, “Look, I am just going to do this for 30 days. I am all-in for 30 days. I will see what I notice.” And, of course, people notice almost invariably the weight drops off, the inflammation goes down, the blood sugar normalizes, the blood lipids come back into a range that is indicative of health and a lack of risk of heart disease and so on and so forth.
But this is sort of a very libertarian approach to taking control of your life and your health, which is really a major part of your life. And doing so in a way that you understand the variables and then are able to put new variables in or introduce new variables along the way, understanding why you are doing it. "Okay, if I am going to take out whole grains, why am I taking out whole grains? Well, I have read so many articles on how grains convert to glucose in the bloodstream and we do not want that much glucose in the bloodstream. We want to be burning more fat than the typical human. And many of the grains have anti-nutrients like gluten and gliadins and lectins and phytates and saponins." The more research you do, the more you are able to conduct this experiment on yourself. Going, “Okay, if I give up grains and I notice that my arthritis clears up or I notice that I have lost weight or I notice that my sinus infections do not linger or I do not get sick anymore, there is more than just a correlation there. There may be some causation in my particular genetic component.”
And then, of course, the obvious conclusion is either I eliminate this stuff forever—and, gosh, there is a whole passel of amazingly tasty, healthful foods I can substitute so it is not like I am sacrificing anything—or I can continue to do what I was doing and suffer the pain of the arthritis or the Irritable Bowel Syndrome or whatever there was that I was trying to address. But at least the choice is mine and I am making it consciously, as opposed to being a victim of the US Department of Agriculture’s advice on how to eat right.
Chris Martenson: Excellent. So I would love to—let’s make this personal. So I have been eating very well by American standards and pretty good by Paleo standards for a while. And I noticed that I have been feeling pretty rundown still. And in particular, my joints were limiting my exercise because they hurt a lot. And so after doing some blood work out with a really good naturopath who is all about the data. So we did some blood work and there were some interesting results there. We recently discovered I have huge amounts of circulating antibodies, IGG specifically, mainly against dairy. Eggs were off the charts—top of the line. And grains, so wheat especially. So I think I now know that I have been generally inflamed because I have been having pretty strong reactions to certain foods that I have been eating. So I have been doing a couple of things.
The first is I have now cut those specific inflammatory foods out of my diet and I have been including more anti-inflammatory things like turmeric, dark berries, things like that. What advice can you give on the whole topic of dietary-induced inflammation? Because that feels like it has been a pretty big mover and shaker in my life. Am I making too much of it? Is it a real thing? And can it be treated successfully through an improved eating regime?
Mark Sisson: Well, how do you feel now?
Chris Martenson: I feel better. It has only been three weeks, but I can feel better—
Mark Sisson: It has only been three weeks and you feel better and you feel noticeably better?
Chris Martenson: Yeah.
Mark Sisson: Alright, well, I mean, you just answered your own question. Absolutely, most systemic inflammation that we suffer has a dietary etiology. Most systemic inflammation is a result of something that you are eating that is either causing your gut to leak and creating an immune response or just causing a systemic inflammation throughout because of high sugar—there are any number of possibilities. But they literally almost all come back to something in your diet. And your job as an interested individual who wants to achieve the optimal health level possible for yourself is to research. And one great way to do that is to go get your blood tested and see if you have inflammatory markers—homocysteine, CRP, IGG, as you saw. And to be able to parse that blood work and go, “Wow, there is something going on here.”
And then, as you noticed and probably prompted your initial visit, your joints should not be hurting at your age, you know, unless you are beating yourself up working out too much, which is another red flag for us. People’s joins should not hurt that much. And this is what—I mean, I was a grain eater my whole life. I was a marathon runner and a triathlete and I felt I needed grains to carb load every single day of my life up to the point of taking in 700 to 1,000 grams of carbs a day. And I was—I had irritable bowel syndrome. I had basically arthritis at an early age. It hurt to get up and move every morning. It was ridiculous. And here I was supposed to be one of the fittest people on the planet, and I was really very unhealthy and falling apart. And yet I defended my right to eat grains. Because I thought, “Well, whole grains, they have to be healthy. Come on, whole grains? Seriously?” They have got to be healthy.
And yet I started doing—I have been researching this for 30 years. And even as I was reading the research about the problems with grains, I was still defending my own personal right to eat grains because I am not a celiac. So it must be okay. Well, it was not until I gave them up at the age of 47. I mean, I have been doing this for 40 years, for crying out loud. At the age of 47 within 30 days my arthritis went away. The Irritable Bowel Syndrome that had run my life since I was 14, cleared up, went away. Sinus infections...
So when something that—I did not need blood markers to even—to prove to me that that was problematic. It was my feeling better that was the big “aha” moment for me. And I said, “Wow, if I feel this good giving up grains, especially in light of the fact that I have continued to almost stubbornly defend my right to eat grains because they must be healthy for me. Imagine how many tens of millions of people have similar issues that could be addressed by giving up either grains or eggs or dairy or whatever it is and simply by just being a little bit more conscious about what they eat, what they put in their mouths. And noticing the difference, if they have the discipline to eliminate those foods for a certain period of time and kind of just sit back and notice the results.
Chris Martenson: I love this idea of the individuality of noticing the results. Because the best you can do is come up with some broad guidelines. You know, the Food Pyramid, if we turned it upside down is correct, broadly speaking. But then there are the individual things. In my individual readout, I had a sensitivity to almonds as well, which were a big portion of my diet. That is fine. I switched to walnuts, which I had almost no sensitivity to. And with that data, I am now armed with something that is very useful. We have also found through the emerging field of epigentics, the gut biome, other studies that are showing that DNA is anything but a fixed element. That it has a communication that exists between our bodies and the world. And so I am just wondering what you have been noticing in that whole field, particularly with the gut biome? Is there any research or data yet supporting the idea that people either have better or improved or changed for the better gut biomes as a result of Paleo?
Mark Sisson: Oh, absolutely. The gut biome story is the big story for the next two years and has been for the last six months or a year. It is the new frontier. We have a hundred trillion organisms living in us that are not us. You know, we have a hundred trillion cells that are bacteria and ten to fifteen trillion cells that are human. So 90% of the cells in your body are not you, and there is a lot that they are doing. Some of them are helping you digest food. Some are creating vitamins. Some of them are feeding the cells lining your guts. And some of them are bad. And this balance in the gut biome between the good bacteria and the bad bacteria is huge and it is an issue for a lot of people. And it relates back to the foods you eat in several ways. One of which is that if the foods you eat are causing a leaky gut and the bad bacteria in your gut are leaking into your bloodstream, I mean, that is not a good thing. A gut is supposed to be a barrier to entry and only allow the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, simple fatty acids and sugars. But the fact that it is now leaking and allowing in bacteria and setting up an immune response is huge. And that is a cause of a lot of people’s inflammation and the cause of a lot of people’s autoimmune diseases. And that relates back to the gut biome. So that is point number one.
Point number two is you have to feed that biome. So the food that you eat is also supporting the bacteria in your gut. And sugar we know tends to support the unhealthy bacteria. Some of the pre-biotic fibers—resistant starches, inulin, things like that—actually support the healthy bacteria and allow them to produce the short-chain fatty acids that then go on to feed the cells. It is so critical, it does come down to what you eat. So much of your life and so much of your health and so much of your ability to be energetic and healthy for the rest of your life comes down to what you put in your mouth. It is not—that part of it is not rocket science. The real rocket science is figuring out within that spectrum what is best for you individually.
Chris Martenson: Well, everything is an experiment as long as you remember to collect the data and that is certainly something that has been part of my program here as I have been consciously really altering my diet is just a quick daily jot of how I am feeling and what I am noticing. And it has helped me really observe and be cognizant of the changes that have been happening. Because they are kind of slow and subtle, but not when you compare back three weeks ago and say, “Woah, I wrote that, huh?” Today I do not sound at all like that. So that is a really good part of this.
Now, what I love about what you are doing is that you are out educating people and that is really what we do at Peak Prosperity. We are just about—we think that information is the most important thing people can access and we live in the Information Age. There is so much available. But it has to be parsed and made available. And I know you have got a lot of books and pieces out, but you have got a new program running soon that is really around helping to educate and bring people up. Can you talk to us about that?
Mark Sisson: Sure. So we have just introduced the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification Program. This is an online training program. It is 13 modules, multi-media. There is a lot of text, but there are videos. There is a test at the end of each module and it is designed to allow people to test their knowledge of the Primal Blueprint technologies, if you will, specifically. So, we have ways of teaching individuals to become better at burning fat and not so dependent on sugar. We have strategies for hacking your sleep so that you get the most out of your sleep and benefit from the hours of sleeping. Or how to figure out how much sun exposure is appropriate for you. This certification is designed primarily for trainers, for medical and health professionals who want to specifically increase their knowledge in this area. Registered dieticians who historically have had to learn some really dated dogma in terms of the Food Pyramid—once they have gotten their degree, now they can have fun implementing some of the Primal Blueprint eating strategies. So it is designed to allow professionals to literally put on their business card, “I am Primal Blueprint certified.” And if that adds to their income, great. And if adds just to their knowledge, that is just as great.
We have also designed it for just people who are not intending to make a living doing this, who just want to sort of prove to themselves that they really fully understand all of the concepts that are behind the Primal Blueprint. And to have that sense of knowledge going forward in their lives that—I mean, there is a real empowerment and confidence when you intuitively know that the choices you are making are serving you well. I mean, that is really what this comes down to and that is my mission in life is to educate people on how to make choices that will serve them with the knowledge of what the ramifications of those choices will be.
So if you make a bad choice, I am okay with that as long as you know what the ramifications of that choice are. If you make a choice willingly and say, “Look I am willing to have a entire piece of cake with ice cream on it because I am at a friend’s party and that is what I am going to do and damn it I am willing to do that,” knowing full well that you are going to suffer for the next five hours and why all of these different biochemical reactions are going on in your body. I am okay with that. You know, it is not about—I just want you to be informed. That is really my mission in life is to educate people.
Chris Martenson: The libertarian eating regime. I get it. It makes sense. We are all informed and we make our choices and that is where personal responsibility comes in. Personally, I cannot wait to actually take a look at this certification program. Because here is what—I am just interested in how you take that large of a body of work and turn it into a structured way that people can step through it. I am interested simply as an observer how you went about doing that because that is a lot of work.
Mark Sisson: Well, we have been working on it for two and a half years. It is 110,000 words of text. Like I said, there is an exam at the end of each module. They are not easy. They are designed to truly test your knowledge. I think we have done a great job of distilling it. And, of course, there are hundreds of links to additional reading material and things like that. The idea is to—we want people to pass. We want people to understand this and we want them to impart that wisdom to their friends. We feel that this certification is one of the best ways to leverage this incredible technology that we have tapped into that up to now has really been only offered by my books and my website and a few other tangential offerings that we have. But this is a way to leverage so that everybody who gets certified is now the go-to expert in their town or their city or their CrossFit box or whatever.
Chris Martenson: So if somebody really burrows in or starts down the Paleo regime, would you say to anybody listening, no matter what their current state of health, that they could improve that?
Mark Sisson: Absolutely. That is interesting you bring it up in that way. I think as I go through life and I meet people all over the world, everybody has an issue. And it may be really benign in your point of view. But to them, it is really driving them. They wake up with a little soreness or they do not have the energy they wish they had, even though they go to the gym and they work out and they think they eat right. So everybody’s got some little thing, some little physical thing that still sticks in the back of their mind like, “I need to improve this. I wish I could address this one issue.” And that is what makes this a journey rather than just an end goal. The journey is always sort of, “Alright, how can I get to the next level? How can I maximize my experience on this earth given my set of genes? How can I get the most fun, enjoyment, contentment, satisfaction out of my time here?” And so, again, that comes back to the essence of the Primal Blueprint is how do we get the most out of life?
Chris Martenson: And the expert certification program sounds like a way to really burrow in deep for those who are interested in that and for people who are interested in the lighter approach. You have a 21-day program people can just download and start, can’t they?
Mark Sisson: Yeah, so we have a 21-day total body transformation. The 21 days is contemplated to be just enough time to take on these new lifestyles and ingrain them as habits. And literally, for the gene reprogramming to take place it takes about 21 days. So once you have gone through this really step-by-step hand-holding process that we have outlined: "Here is what you do day one. Here is what you do day two. And so on." At the end of 21 days, you are fully Primal. And now you decide, “Wow, if I feel this good, am I in a position to do this for the rest of my life?” And the answer is almost invariably absolutely.
Chris Martenson: Absolutely. Well, I can certainly attest in my own life it has made a big difference in what I have eaten. And getting this additional data was really helpful to me because I was close. But, again, I needed some personal tweaking. And I think there is further to go. My first step is fixing a leaky gut. And then after that, I am going to reassess and will get some more data and I will go for the next thing. Because I do feel like it is a journey. But without the data I would not know where to begin. It is just... in particular with my type of leaky gut, I might eat something on Tuesday and I might not suffer the effects till Friday. And it is too far of a gap for me to figure that out.
Mark Sisson: No, that is exactly right. And we are lucky that we live in an age where we can quantify a lot of these things. And as much of the Primal Blueprint and the Paleo movement is about kind of going back and looking at a simple life, at eliminating a lot of the trappings of society and technology, the fact that we can use these to our advantage is also really important. To use the data, to collect the data scientifically. And then to go, “Okay, I see exactly what is happening now.” And 50 years ago, 10 years ago, I could not have identified this based on—I would still be sort of guessing at what I am doing.
Chris Martenson: Well, fantastic. Mark, I really am very much looking forward to checking out this Primal Blueprint Expert Certification Program. I want to see what it looks like and how you did it. And I am sure it is just going to be a fantastic offering. So with that, your website is Marksdailyapple.com, no apostrophe in the "Mark’s," but people can get there easily enough. And is there any other place or events that you are running?
Mark Sisson: Yes, if you want to check out the certification, it is at primalblueprint.com, which is our store.
Chris Martenson: Excellent, primalblueprint.com. Check that out there. And anything else? Do you have any events going on or other things you would like to—
Mark Sisson: We have always got stuff going on. We have got a big event in Oxnard called Primal Con coming up the end of September. And we have more of those coming up next year in 2015. You can read about all of that on PrimalBlueprint.com.
Chris Martenson: Fantastic. Mark, thank you so much for your time, and thank you for the work you are doing.
Mark Sisson: I appreciate it. Thanks for having me, Chris.