We live in a world of ‘quick-starts’, ‘how-to-guides’, ‘career hacks’. This article is none of those. It’s a different kind of success story. And a powerful lesson on how to get ahead in health, fitness, and wellness, or any other field.

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Success secrets.

Productivity hacks.

Tips, tricks, and quick formulas.

I’m often asked to share these as advice; the requests come when I’m being interviewed on podcasts, speaking at conferences, talking to journalists.

People who want to get ahead in health and fitness—or just about any other field—want to know:

How did you go from starting a health and fitness website with your buddy…

… to running a 200-million dollar company with about 100 team members and over 100,000 clients across 120 countries.

… to advising companies like Apple, Equinox, Nike, and Titleist.

… to being selected as one of the smartest/most influential people in the field?

And they really want to know:

What tip, method, shortcut do you recommend to help others do the same?

As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of these kinds of questions.

Can’t blame people for asking, though.

After all, I also want to learn from the people who’ve gone before me, the people who’ve succeeded in the way I hope to succeed.

But here’s the problem:

I could rhyme off a bunch of tips about my morning routine that allow me to run a business while being a father of four. But I don’t think they’ll matter much unless you’re also a father of four and already running a successful business.

Likewise, I don’t believe it was magical morning routines, or growth hacks, or tricks and tips that put me on the road to success in the first place.

In fact, I think it was something completely different.

Something that isn’t often talked about.

I call it “going down the rabbit hole”.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a fresh Autumn day.

I was 21 years old, it was my first semester away at University, and I had an appointment with my first-ever guidance counselor.

I was ambitious, I had big goals, and I was excited to get some advice on how to plan my future.

I assumed the meeting would go something like this: He’d listen to me talk about my passions, about my goals, and he’d help me create an academic plan. Maybe even make suggestions for volunteer or internship opportunities.

As I gushed about my love for all things exercise and nutrition, about how it was my goal to have a successful career working with pro sports teams, athletes, and exercisers looking to eat, move, and live better©, his face was stolid.

I was completely unprepared for what he said next:

“That’s nice… but there’s not much of a career in that for you. We have to be realistic here. There are too few jobs and the chances you’ll get one of them is almost zero. You’re a smart guy. Why don’t we sign you up for Pre-Med? Med school will be a great path for you.”

I walked out, head down, backpack dragging the ground behind me.

Days went by and, yes, the fog eventually lifted.

I figured… maybe he was wrong. Maybe I needed a second opinion. So, over the next few weeks, I asked around. Looking for a glimmer of hope.

Almost everyone gave the same advice.

Be sensible. Become a doctor. Forget this weird exercise obsession.

I was a 21-year-old from a blue-collar immigrant family. Who was I to not take advice from all these educated people? So I did the responsible, sensible thing. I signed up for Pre-Med, and I plotted my course to medical school.

At the same time, a part of me was mad. Really mad.

Who were they to tell me what my potential was? To squash my dream?

So, partly out of spite, but mostly out of this magnetic draw I felt towards health and fitness, sport and performance, I began living a double life.

I scraped together every dollar I had. During evenings and weekends I attended seminars covering fitness, nutrition, and sport related topics. I read everything. I wrote articles for free; I volunteered with gyms and sports teams.

Throughout, I still fully expected to attend med school.

But, eventually, some strange and interesting paths opened up.

I found a peer group that was passionate about the things I was interested in. (Surprise: I didn’t find them in my 4th year Chemistry and Physics classes.) And I stumbled upon formal and informal mentors.

Almost magically, more opportunities appeared, including offers to attend grad school in Exercise Science and Nutritional Biochemistry. Invitations to coach high-level athletes. Contracts to write for influential publications.

Still, after graduating with my Pre-Med degree (and minors in Philosophy and Psychology), it was no small feat to turn down the Med School offers. The voices were still in my head. But I did.

And instead of going to Med School…

I fell down the health, fitness, and nutrition rabbit hole.

Here’s what I’ve come to realize:

Before Doctor Berardi, before Precision Nutrition, before I could have ever seen where it all would take me, I did something that many people felt unwise: I followed my passion.

Not because it was part of some master plan. But because everything I learned about health, fitness and nutrition made me want to learn more.

So, although I didn’t quit my day job, I didn’t quit dreaming either.

Instead of fighting my own intrinsic motivation, I went with it.

Instead of paddling upstream, I went with the current.

I rode the horses in the direction they were going.

I went down the rabbit hole.

And here I am today.

The hidden costs of having “A Master Plan”.

When it comes to our careers, our relationships, even our health and fitness, we’re often taught to plot very strategically.

Whether it’s from guidance counselors, business advisors, teachers, courses, e-books, blogs, podcasts, well-intentioned parents, or (seemingly) the whole Internet, we’re taught that we need to plan our path down to every step.

(“Life hackers” and proponents of “accelerated learning” teach us that we can even leapfrog a few of these steps. Bonus!)

So, that’s what we do.

We make checklists, knock off each item, rush to completion, and pray that our calculated maneuvering will lead to success or accomplishment or connection (or whatever we think we’ll need to feel happy).

Unfortunately, this particular approach may have a cost.

It might prevent us from experiencing some of the best, brightest, and most unexpectedly rewarding moments in life.

Even worse, it might prevent us from deep learning and mastery, which has been proven to give us satisfaction, meaning, and, if you’re a competitive person, a “leg up on the competition”.

Here’s an approach I like much better.

I’ve found that there’s tremendous joy—and surprising, unexpected rewards—that come from “going down the rabbit hole”.

From looking deeply, intensely at something you’re really passionate about.

From learning everything you can about it.

And from going “all in”.

If there is a formula for the kind of success most people want, even if they don’t know what that looks like yet, it might be something like this:

Strong personal mission
          +
High competency
          +
System for execution
          =
Personal and career satisfaction

Have a look around.

You’ll find there’s almost nothing more powerful than someone with a deeply held motivation to do their work plus high level of skill plus a blueprint or system for executing every day.

Most people (in any field) have only one or two of those.

In some cases, that might be enough.

However, if you have all three, you’ll be amazed at what happens.

It doesn’t even matter where you’re starting from, or in what career you begin.

It’s interesting to note that most of the people on the Precision Nutrition team started in totally different fields:

  • Precision Nutrition co-founder Phil Caravaggio:
    Started as a software engineer.
  • Curriculum developer Krista Scott-Dixon:
    Started as a college professor in a different field.
  • Coach and exercise director Craig Weller:
    Started in the Navy special operations forces.
  • Coach and client care specialist Krista Schaus:
    Started as a police officer.
  • Coach Brian St. Pierre:
    Started at his dad’s paint store.
  • Client care specialist Sarah Masi:
    Started in a house cleaning business.

Then there are the thousands of Precision Nutrition Certification graduates.

In the last 6 months I’ve met:

  • mothers coaching online while on maternity leave,
  • graduates fresh out of school ready to do something meaningful,
  • boomers coming out of retirement to give something back,
  • surgeons dropping their scalpels and turning to preventative care,
  • investment bankers leaving the financial world, and helping others lead healthier lives.

None of these folks would have guessed their future would include working in health and fitness, coaching clients, and changing lives.

But here they are today.

And let’s not forget the reason they’re here…

Each did something that most people don’t.

They went “all in” on learning about their passion.

Even before they quit their day jobs.

Even before deciding:

“Yes, this is going to be my next career!”

They learned everything there is to know for the sheer joy of it. They talked to the best experts. They did courses and certifications.

They went down the rabbit hole.

And they had a blast doing it.

Then came the unintended, unexpected rewards.

The inevitable paths and opportunities that seem to magically appear; the stuff you can’t possibly know about when you’re just starting out.

Stuff like:

  • The satisfaction of learning everything there is to know about something meaningful to you.
  • The deep personal pride that comes from putting in countless hours and finally mastering that thing.
  • The surprising career paths that spring up, almost magically, opportunities you never knew existed or never considered right for you, and
  • The unexpected joy you never thought you could get from work.

However, that’s all stuff for later.

For now, you just have to start, from wherever you are.

Take whatever your passion is, whatever you’re excited about, whatever you’re hesitating on, whatever your inner voice tells you to explore and…

…go explore THAT thing.

Go down the rabbit hole.

You won’t be worse off.

Chances are, it’ll change your life.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

1. ‘Fess up to yourself.

You probably already know what that ‘thing’ is; the one that lights you up and makes you tick.

It’s the thing you can’t stop reading about and researching, just for fun, even when it’s late at night and you know it’s really time to go to bed.

It’s the thing you can’t stop talking about… maybe the thing you’re driving your family members nuts about because you just can’t shut up about it.

It’s the thing you’re totally hooked on. You can’t get enough. You might even say you’re a little bit obsessed.

That thing? Embrace it.

You don’t necessarily have to plan a career change or do anything drastic. Just give yourself permission to ‘go down the rabbit hole’ of learning, exploration and experimentation.

2. Look for role models.

Who’s already doing what you would like to be doing? Who is inspiring or fascinating to you?

Watch for the people who are involved in the field or a subject that interests you.

Is there a way to learn from them, watch them, talk with them, or ask questions?

Don’t just expect them to give you the magic formula. But take advantage of every opportunity to observe and learn.

And don’t discount people who aren’t on Instagram or getting all the attention, either. Ask yourself: Who else is working in this industry? Who else can I learn from?

Cast a wide net. Aim to observe and learn all you can.

3. Put your hand up.

Look for opportunities to ask questions, get feedback, and learn all you can.

Attend a lecture and participate in the Q&A.

Write letters to your role models.

Volunteer.

Do stuff: Write articles, join projects, conduct experiments. Do it for free, in your spare time. Do it in the name of learning, and for the joy of it.

Don’t worry too much about the payoff now. Just plant the seeds.

4. Continue your education.

Education doesn’t just have to come from traditional schooling (not that there’s anything wrong with that). These days, plenty of options are available, for just about any industry.

If you ask me, there’s never been a better time to learn anything. Courses, books, certifications, master classes… the world is your educational oyster.

The trick: choose educational opportunities from places that are proven, who you trust and respect. Take your time and do your research.

And then, after you’ve signed up, make sure to show up.

And go all in.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

The post Level 1: Forget “career hacks”… Here’s the real key to career success that almost no one is talking about. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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pandemic's toll on mental health relationshipsWhen Mark asked me to write a post about the toll the pandemic is taking on mental health and relationships, I didn’t want simply to detail the ways it’s hard to live through a pandemic. Nor did I want to throw a bunch of statistics at you about how many people are having a difficult time. You know that it’s like living in the world’s least entertaining Groundhog-Day-meets-dystopian-thriller film.

If you’re like me, you’re sick of kvetching about 2020. The fact is, though, that I don’t know anyone, myself included, who isn’t struggling in one way or another right now.

After a lot of reflection, I’ve concluded that a big reason why 2020 is so draining is that our usual coping strategies don’t work like we want or expect. Most are aimed at reducing the source of our distress or dealing with the emotional aftermath. This pandemic is ongoing. We’re stuck in the middle of it, with no end in sight, and no way to speed the process along.

That doesn’t mean we’re helpless, though. Personally, I’m a huge believer in practicing self-compassion as a means of coping, almost no matter the situation. I’m talking a formal practice of self-compassion, as outlined by Dr. Kristin Neff and others.https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2770146‘>2 https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/‘>4 https://richarddehoop.nl/upload/file/self-determination.pdf‘>6

It seems to me that most common coping strategies address competence (developing mastery) or relatedness (connecting to others). However, loss of autonomy—the freedom to control our own actions—is undoubtedly a primary reason we’re struggling.

The problem is, there’s not much we can do about that. The best option is to focus on controlling the things we can control and accepting those we can’t (major serenity prayer vibes, here). I’m not suggesting that we should be reasserting our autonomy by flouting the rules and doing whatever we want, virus be damned. No, the point is to understand why things still feel hard even when we’re trying our best to practice self-care so that we might give ourselves grace.

Questions I’m asking myself:

  • Am I meeting myself where I’m at, or am I using generic coping strategies that, while well-meaning, aren’t really what I need?
  • Am I blaming myself or feeling guilty for struggling, instead of accepting that the pandemic is hard in ways that are hard to cope with directly?

What Can We Learn from People Who are Doing Well?

I’m fascinated by people who are actually doing better now than before. Some kids are thriving at home, free from the social and academic pressures of traditional schooling. Lots of adults are realizing that they are happier and more productive working from home.

Getting back to the topic of this post, when I started to dig into the data on how the pandemic is affecting relationships, I expected to find dire news. I didn’t. While it’s logistically harder to see friends or travel to visit distant relatives, many people have seen their close relationships improve.

FThe Behavioural Science and Health Research Department at University College London is conducting weekly surveys looking at the psychological response to the pandemic, along with other socioemotional and behavioral variables. More than 90,000 people have responded. As of writing, data are available for the first 23 weeks here.

In July, week 16, the researchers asked about relationships. The majority of respondents said the pandemic had not changed their relationships with spouses, friends, family members, or coworkers. More people felt that their friendships had suffered since the beginning of the pandemic, compared to the number whose friendships improved—22 versus 15 percent of respondents, respectively. The data were similar for coworkers. However, relationships with some family members and neighbors were more likely to have improved:

  • 27 percent said their romantic relationship got better, while 18 percent felt it was worse
  • 35 percent reported their relationship with children living at home had improved, versus 17 percent who said it had suffered
  • 26 percent had better relationships with neighbors, versus 8 percent worse

I really wish there was more attention to being paid to those people. Why are they doing better? What’s their secret? It must have something to do with the time we have to invest differently in relationships now, but is there more to it than that? Academics are going to be writing about this for decades, I’m sure.

Shaping a “New Normal”

Since we have no choice about living through a pandemic, I hope we can at least learn from it.

When we go back to “normal,” it won’t be—and shouldn’t be—the normal we knew before. The ways people are suffering and thriving both offer important lessons about human nature, our ability to cope, and the ways we do and do not support one another effectively. That some people are doing better during an arguably terrible time is telling. It says a lot about the challenges and shortcomings of our pre-pandemic way of life.

The question is, will we heed the lessons?

What about you—how are you doing, really? Will you go back to “business as usual,” or have you gained any insights from the past six months that will change how you approach things in the future?

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The post The Pandemic’s Toll on Mental Health and Relationships: What Can We Learn? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Try this routine to kick butt during that time of the month.

Shark week. Surfing the crimson wave. A visit from Aunt Flo. Riding the cotton pony.

No matter how many cute euphemisms we assign to our menstrual cycle, it doesn’t take away the bloating, cramps, fatigue or heightened emotions.

Learn how to combat period symptoms with exercise and nutrition.

Some use these discomforts as a reason to binge on unhealthy comfort foods or hit the snooze button and skip morning workouts. But why raise a white flag when you have a sack full of unused weapons to combat these symptoms

Consider taking advantage of the arsenal below, so that next month, you can go into battle fully prepared!

Fight Fatigue

No matter how much I sleep, day two of my cycle always leaves me more fatigued than usual, and all I want is to binge an entire season of Lucifer. Exercising used to seem so counterintuitive when in this state of mind. Why would I want to expend precious energy when I had a job to do and a family to tend to? Well, because even low-intensity exercise reduces fatigue symptoms by 65 percent!

While it’s tempting to be more lax during this time, it’s actually crucial to keep a fitness routine, even if you do fewer reps, opt for modifications, or choose a different physical activity entirely like yoga or bike riding.

Those ice cream binges don’t help, either. Sugar spikes our blood glucose level, causing our pancreas to create more insulin, which causes our blood sugar to drop, making us feel tired and foggy.

Don’t think I’m going to ask you to ditch the sweets, though. Instead of reaching for the processed stuff, turn to fruit. Fruit sugar processes much slower in the body because the fiber is kept intact, which allows time for proper digestion.

Regulate Your Emotions

If Elle Woods taught us anything (aside from how to be a kick-butt lady boss), it’s that the endorphins from exercise make us happy. As someone who used fitness as one of my core tools for overcoming clinical depression, I can attest, but you don’t have to trust us dynamic blond babes. Studies consistently show that moderate exercise reduces anxiety, depression and negative mood and improves our self-esteem and cognitive function.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll do just about anything that time of the month to feel less like a crazy, water-retaining sea cow and more like myself.

You might be laughing, but I had a breakdown once in my mid-20s on the second day of my period about a chicken from my childhood. The emotional struggle is real, and I’m pretty sure that anyone within a 20-foot radius of me during “lady time” is grateful that I take the time to manage the barrage of complicated emotions. This makes me a lot less likely to yell at them for not understanding why I’m bawling over a Subaru commercial.

Emotions are also exacerbated by processed foods thanks to the gut-brain connection of our vagus nerve. These foods cause inflammation along our vagal pathways, which sends electric impulses to the brain, alerting it that something is wrong. This can heighten feelings of anxiety, stress and depression.

One of the best things you can reach for is kale, which is packed with phytonutrients (which help our brains), folate and omega-3 fatty acids (which can help manage depression) and a variety of B vitamins (which promote optimal cognitive function). Plus, kale is 89 percent water, so it helps keep potassium levels balanced and reduces water retention (aka, bloating.)

BBC (Back Pain, Bloating and Cramps)

As if the wonky emotions and exhaustion aren’t enough, nature has also thrown in a whole host of other lovely nuisances to keep us squirming and reaching for medicine bottles. Fortunately, exercise also can alleviate these.

Think about it: When you get a leg cramp, what is the first thing you do? You stretch or massage it. Yet with abdominal cramps, we immediately recluse to the nearest heating pad and cling to our ibuprofen. A muscle cramp is an involuntary contraction of a muscle. Stretching lengthens the muscle and stops the contraction.

Back pain is typically connected to these cramps. An excess of prostaglandins, hormones released during our cycle, can cause heavy uterine contractions. High levels of prostaglandins can cause more intense cramps, which can radiate to the lower back.

To tackle these common PMS ailments, stay hydrated and follow a nutrition regime low in sugar and sodium and eat foods rich in B vitamins, potassium and plant protein.

Crimson Wave Circuit

Though any low- to moderate-impactexercise will be beneficial during this time, I created a signature circuit that specifically targets the discomforts we just discussed. Do it twice through not only to alleviate period pains but also to give your core and glutes a workout!

Bridge pulse

Bridge Pulse (lower-back pain)

Lie on your back. Bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Rest your arms alongside you, palms down. Your fingertips should brush against your heels. Press your hips up, squeezing your glutes, engaging your core and drawing your bellybutton toward your spine. Drop your hips a few inches, then press them back up, really squeezing at the top. Repeat for 30 seconds. To come down, lower one vertebra at a time until your back is flat on the ground.

Reverse crunch

Reverse Crunch (bloating)

Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and palms facing down. Bend your knees 90 degrees and lift your feet so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Pressing into your palms and engaging your core, lift your hips as you bring your knees toward your chest. Hold for a breath, then lower your hips with control, keeping your back pressed into the floor. Repeat as many times as you can in 30 seconds without compromising your form.

Modified toe tap

Modified Toe Tap (cramps)

From a seated position, recline back onto your forearms. Your palms should be by your hips. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Lift one leg at a time so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Make sure that your spine remains straight. Begin by lowering your right foot and tapping just your toes on the floor while your left leg remains in the tabletop position. Return your right leg to tabletop and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternatingfor 30 seconds.

Bicycle legs

Bicycle Legs (fatigue)

From the same seated position on your forearms, ensure that your spine is straight. Bring your knees toward your chest. Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle from the ground. Only go as low as you can without rounding your spine. Inhale, returning that leg to center and switching sides. Go as fast as you can while maintaining the integrity of the position, boosting your heart rate and breaking a sweat. Continue for one minute.

Shark Week Smoothie

This is my favorite treat when I have my period. It’s packed with potassium, omega-3, protein, B vitamins, iron and a small dose of caffeine, which will have you feeling like a boss babe again in no time.

  • 2 cups fresh kale
  • ¾ cup vegan milk (I prefer flax for the omega 3’s.)
  • ½ banana
  • ½ oz dark chocolate bar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  1. Blend kale and vegan milk in a blender or bullet until well-mixed.
  2. Add other ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Add water by the tablespoon if too thick until you reach desired consistency.
  4. Enjoy!

As women, we expect ourselves to run at full capacity every single day. If we aren’t endlessly productive and brimming with energy, we burn out, feel overwhelmed and wind up spiraling into a state of self-judgment and self-sabotage.

You deserve this time every month to self-reflect, take it down a notch and indulge in that Netflix show, but it doesn’t have to involve throwing your goals and health to the wind and wallowing in self-pity while eating a week’s worth of calories.

Combat the symptoms so you can enjoy slowing down a bit. Stick with your goals so you can dismount the cotton pony each month still feeling powerful and confident like the warrior you are.

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organ meats offalToday we welcome a post by guest author Ashleigh VanHouten, health and nutrition journalist, public speaker, certified health coach, and host of the Muscle Maven Radio podcast. Here, she explains why we’re missing out if we’re only eating boring boneless cuts of meat from the grocery store, and makes the case for eating nose-to-tail, for both our health and for our enjoyment. Her new cookbook, It Takes Guts, is available for preorder and hits the shelves in late October.

“It’s good for you and for the planet – and it’s easier and tastier than you think!” – Ashleigh VanHouten

Modified excerpt from It Takes Guts, shared with publisher permission.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, “I just can’t get my head around eating [insert type of organ meat here] because I didn’t grow up eating it,” I could retire now and live out the rest of my days eating animal hearts on a beach somewhere — but I have a secret for you. I didn’t grow up eating organ meat, either; I grew up eating cereal and bread and chicken breast, and while I always gravitated toward animal products, I certainly wasn’t eating liver or sweetbreads.

But as someone who has dedicated their career to researching, studying, and experimenting with nutrition, I believe strongly that one bite of something new won’t hurt you, and it just might open up a whole new world of pleasure and health. It’s a fact that organs are generally the most nutrient-dense parts of an animal, so if we can find fun and creative and even subtle ways to enjoy them, we’re winning. And by eating the whole animal, we’re also honoring and respecting the beings who sacrificed for our dinner plates by ensuring none of it is wasted.

I wrote my nose-to-tail cookbook It Takes Guts because I am passionate about honoring the animals we’re eating, and enjoying the full bounty of delicious and healthy options available to us. As the saying goes, the way you do anything is the way you do everything, and I believe we should all be approaching our plates, and our lives, with a sense of adventure and enthusiasm.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the reasons why eating organ meats is a good idea:

It’s Sustainable

It would be wasteful to buy a huge house and use only one or two rooms, right? Adopting a whole-animal approach reduces waste, and buying from local farms and butchers helps decrease the carbon footprint created when meat is brought to you from far-flung places. In the process of breaking down an animal, less than half of it will usually end up as boneless cuts,
or the type of meat you normally pick up at a grocery store. Much of the rest is bone, hide, blood, and organs – the latter being the most nutrient-dense part of the animal, which we are essentially giving away to then eat the less nutrient-dense muscle meat!

If you’re reading this, you probably eat animals, and if you’ve accepted that eating animals is a natural part of living, the best way forward is to ensure that the animals you’re eating lived a healthy, natural life and were slaughtered humanely, and that we honor the animal’s sacrifice by not wasting any of it over arbitrary (and misguided) beliefs that some part of the animal are acceptable to eat and others aren’t.

It’s Healthy

It’s a fact: organ meats like liver, heart, and kidney are nutritional powerhouses, not just for their individual nutrients but for the synergistic effect of consuming these nutrients together. Nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, and magnesium work together with other food-based compounds. That’s why taking many of these nutrients on their own (in pill form, for example) doesn’t have as much of a positive effect on your body.

And to debunk a big myth about these cuts, it is untrue that organ meats like liver and kidney store and contain toxins. Organs like the liver filter toxins, usually moving them to the kidneys, from which they are eventually expelled through the urine. Toxins are removed from a healthy, well-functioning animal’s body via these miraculous organs just like they are in ours; eating fresh, healthy organs is the same as eating fresh, healthy muscle meat. If toxins do linger in the body, they are generally stored in fat cells (this goes for us too), which is why it’s crucial to source high-quality animal protein that is raised without pesticides or antibiotics, because that’s where they’ll end up: in your delicious, fatty rib-eye.

Organ meats are so nutrient-dense that you can eat very small amounts and get more benefit than you would from nearly any other food on the planet. A few ounces of beef liver contains your daily needs for many nutrients, including iron, copper, zinc, folate, choline, and vitamins A and B12. So even if I can’t convince you to love the taste of organ meats, I hope I can help you understand that these are superfoods that can dramatically improve your health.

It Saves You Money

Often, organ meats are less expensive than muscle meats simply because they aren’t in high demand. Imagine the nutrient-dense parts being sold for scraps while the basic protein is sold at a premium! Unlike prime cuts of grass-fed beef, grass-fed beef liver and heart are pretty cheap. A beef tongue can feed a party of six for about ten bucks; chicken hearts are often sold for a few bucks a pound; and you can buy a bag of tasty, protein packed chicken gizzards that will serve a whole family for less than you’d pay for a fancy salad at your local fast-casual restaurant.

If you want to get the best nutritional bang for your buck with protein, your best bet is to throw some offal in there. Make friends with your local butcher, too, so you learn about and source the best stuff!

It’s Fun (and Ancestral!)

If you can reframe your perceptions of organ meat being “gross” or extreme and see it for what it really is—just a different part of the animal you’re already eating, and a much more nutritious part at that—you can start having fun with different recipes and preparations.

Nose-to-tail eating is also a celebration of culture and history, honoring the traditional foods off different countries; a time when people were less swayed by grocery store marketing and more driven by instinct; when we gave more respect to the time, skill, and labor of providing meals for our families, and when nourishment mattered more than hyperpalatability.

It’s Tasty (Really!)

Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it—that’s what I’m always telling my skeptics. While certain organ meats have stronger flavors and unique textures and may never appeal to some people, the same can be said for less controversial foods (don’t even get me started on broccoli—now that’s an acquired taste!) I know I’ll never win everyone over, but if you’re willing to at least try,

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how delicious, delicate, and decadent offal can be. If you’d like to learn more about the health, history, and deliciousness of organ meats, including my personal journey and more than 75 offal-based recipes created by myself and a range of other fantastic chefs, you can pre-order my book, It Takes Guts, now!

Ashleigh VanHouten is a health and nutrition journalist, public speaker, certified health coach, and self-proclaimed muscle nerd. She has written for Paleo Magazine for more than eight years, along with a number of other health publications. She hosts the Muscle Maven Radio podcast, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, where she’s interviewed some of the biggest names in health and wellness, including Mark Sisson, Dave Asprey, and Steph Gaudreau. She’s also worked with other top-rated health-related podcasts, such as Barbell Shrugged, Muscle Intelligence, and Paleo Magazine Radio. Combining her formal education and professional experience in marketing and communications with her passion for healthy eating, exercise, and learning, Ashleigh works in a consulting role for a number of professionals in the health and wellness world, working alongside individuals like Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, Ben Pakulski, and Elle Russ. Find out more at ashleighvanhouten.com.

 

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The post Why We Should All Be Eating Organ Meats appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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When you think of a Cubano, or Cuban Sandwich, you probably think of some combination of flavorful pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on bread, grilled until the layers meld into a salty, tangy, warm pork and cool pickle flavor bomb. This Keto Cubano Sliders Recipe gives you the Cuban Sandwich experience you crave without messing up your carb count.

Cuban Sandwich Sliders are versatile, and if you make the pork and bread ahead, you can throw them together for any occasion. Virtual learning with the kiddos? Throw them together for a lunch that makes everyone happy. Having your quarantine pod squad over for a late summer get-together before the fall chill sets in? Cubano Sliders will be a hit with everyone. Weeknight dinner? Serve sliders along with your big-ass salad and call it good.

A few tips:

  • The sandwich bread linked in the recipe browns very nicely in a pan or on a griddle. When pressing the sandwich, use a heavy pot or pan and maintain pressure until it’s time to flip the sandwich over.
  • You can use pork tenderloin instead of the pork butt (shoulder) if you’d like, but will need to adjust cooking time since the cut is thinner and leaner than the shoulder.

Ready to get started?

Keto Cubano (Cuban Sandwich) Sliders Recipe (Gluten Free)

Serves: 8

Time in the kitchen: 2 hrs 2o min, including 2 hrs hands-off roasting time

Ingredients

For the Pork:

  • 2 lbs. boneless pork butt (shoulder roast)
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Juice from 1/2 orange
  • Zest from 1/2 lime and orange
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth

For the Sandwich:

Directions

In a bowl, combine half of the oil, lime juice, orange juice, lime and orange zest, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, garlic powder and black pepper.

Pour it all over the pork butt and place it in the fridge for 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat with the remaining oil. Once hot, add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Remove the pork from the marinade and place it in the pot. Allow the meat to sear for about 2 minutes on both sides. Pour the marinade into the pot as well as the chicken broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cover the pot and place it in the oven for about 2 hours. At this point, flip the meat over and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until you can shred the pork. Shred the meat and place the pot back into the oven uncovered and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Allow the pork to roast for about 30 minutes, or until some of the liquid has evaporated and the meat is tender. Set the meat aside.

Prepare your Keto Bread in a loaf pan and bake according to the instructions. Slice your Keto sandwich bread into 16 slices (or for a thicker bread, cut into 12 slices). Take two slices for your first sandwich. Spread a little Primal Kitchen Dijon or Spicy Mustard on one side, and then top with the pickles, ham, and a little of the shredded cuban pork. Place the Swiss cheese on top of the pork and then top with the second slice of bread.

Heat a small amount of butter in a small skillet. Swirl it around and once hot, carefully place the sandwich in the pan. Use another skillet or a pot to carefully press down on the sandwich. Maintain the pressure on the sandwich until the cheese melts slightly and the bread begins to brown slightly. Turn the sandwich over and repeat on the other side until both sides are golden. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. Slice your sandwiches in half and enjoy!

Nutrition Info (makes 8 sandwiches):

Calories: 710
Total Fat: 59g
Total Carbs: 10g
Net Carbs: 7g
Protein: 38g

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The post Keto Cubano (Cuban Sandwich) Sliders Recipe (Gluten Free) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Research of the Week

People with amnesia often gain weight because they forget they’ve already eaten.

Caffeine makes alcohol more rewarding.

Taller people have stronger testosterone responses to exercise.

Despite widespread dairy consumption, Bronze Age Europeans had relatively low frequency of lactase persistence.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 444: Ashleigh VanHouten: Host Elle Russ welcomes Ashleigh VanHouten back to the podcast.

Episode 445: Dude Spellings: Host Brad Kearns welcomes Dude Spellings back to talk about micro-workouts, calorie compensation, blue light and melatonin.

Primal Health Coach Radio Episode 75: Laura and Erin chat with Stacey Claxton about learning from your body.

Media, Schmedia

Female python lays 7 eggs despite no male contact for twenty years.

Could face masks be a quick-and-dirty COVID vaccine?

Interesting Blog Posts

Have we unwittingly discovered the biggest productivity hack of the century?

Is motivation the answer?

Social Notes

VR pasture for Moscow cows.

Everything Else

More people are grinding their teeth.

A nice treatise on walking.

Post-hurricane mosquito clouds are killing livestock.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Podcast I loved doing: Health Theory with Tom Bilyeu. We talked about living awesome.

Interesting article: We know how to prevent massive wildfires.

Imagine that: Indigenous cattle are a viable path to economic and nutritional self-sufficiency in South Africa.

What to say when someone proposes that kids and adults avoid animal foods to stave off chronic disease: NO.

Another senseless tragedy: Vegan parents starve baby with homemade formula.

Question I’m Asking

Should veganism be illegal for children?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Sep 5 – Sep 11)

Comment of the Week

“The only free lunch is the cheese in the trap.”

-Good one, Fritz.

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The post Weekly Link Love — Edition 98 appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Follow these simple safety guidelines to reap the benefits of exercising while pregnant.

Becoming a mom was the best thing that ever happened to me, but it didn’t come without a cost. My body changed. My hormones went crazy. And some of the changes were permanent.

Lisa Maximus while pregnant.

The entire time I was pregnant, women would tell me horror stories about pregnancies and birth traumas. My biggest fear was staying fit while pregnant and how quickly I would be able to bounce back after my child was born. I was determined to make sure that any “damage” done from the pregnancy was minimal and that I had the best chance to get my body back as quickly as possible.

How did I do that? Through the power of fitness.

The more fit you are and the more you exercise through pregnancy, the less damage you’ll do to your body and the quicker you will return to pre-pregnancy form. Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t exercise during pregnancy, but that’s not true. If you are having a healthy pregnancy (no complications), exercise is essential.

Here are six simple tips to follow for safe, effective exercise during pregnancy. 

  1. Do not overheat during the first trimester. Limit activities that raise your core temperature above 102 degrees because more than 10 minutes of elevated heat can cause problems with the fetus, according to KidsHealth.org. Overheating could be caused by running outside in hot weather or training in a gym without air conditioning. If mom is getting nauseated from the heat, she needs to cool it down.
  2. Don’t lie on your back during the second trimester. After about 20 weeks, when a pregnant woman lies on her back, the uterus is large enough that it lies on top of the inferior vena cava, explains Cleveland Clinic OBGYN Salena Zanotti, M.D. Pressure on this blood vessel can lead to less blood flow to yourself and the baby. Instead of lying horizontally, you can do some incline bench press and incline push-ups, but be mindful of how much time you’re spending in these positions.
  3. If it hurts, don’t do it. If anything hurts — such as your hips, knees or back — stay away from working these bodyparts in the gym. Being pregnant isn’t a time to “tough it out” or try to push your limits — all you’ll do is worsen the pain.
  4. If it feels good, do it. If you don’t have a problem with pull-ups or if lunges feel good for you, go after it. Just watch your form, be aware of your body and don’t overdo it.
  5. Bring water and snacks. After 45 minutes, pregnant women can get hypoglycemic, so keeping water and a snack around is a must. If you don’t have a snack on hand, limit workouts to stay within that 45-minute period.
  6. Stick with what you know. It’s not a good idea to try a new training technique or piece of advanced equipment for the first time while pregnant. It just isn’t worth the risk.

That’s it — nothing too complicated. Do your best, using the tips above combined with common sense. And remember, the greater your level of fitness, the better the pregnancy experience.

Lisa Maximus exercising while pregnant.

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Nourish your body, aid your digestion and increase your energy with these comforting and nutrient-dense soup recipes.

Chicken soup can be a panacea for both colds and fevers. It’s warm and hydrating and appears to prompt anti-inflammatory activity to help you rebound more quickly. Warm up to these delicious chicken soup recipes this fall.

Veggie-licious Chicken Soup

Makes: 10 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ cup shelled edamame
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans
  • ½ cup corn (frozen, fresh or canned)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 (15-oz) cans low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp seafood seasoning
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

DIRECTIONS

Slow Cooker

  1. Place all ingredients except chicken in a slow cooker, stirring to blend. Lay chicken on top and push down slightly to cover with soup. Cook 5 hours on low heat.
  2. Remove chicken from soup. Let chicken cool slightly, then shred. Stir back into soup and continue to cook 1 hour.

Stove-Top

  1. Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except chicken and simmer until veggies are tender.
  2. Add cooked, diced chicken to soup and simmer until chicken is heated through.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 160, protein 17 g, carbs 19 g, fat 2 g, fiber 5 g, sodium 200 mg

Quinoa Chicken Soup

Quinoa Chicken Soup

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Creole or Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 carton (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup roughly chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and ½ teaspoon salt; heat 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, Creole or Cajun seasoning, and thyme; heat 30 seconds. Place broth and quinoa in a pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered until quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in chicken and warm through.
  2. Place soup in serving bowls and garnish with parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 315, protein 29 g, carbs 29 g, fat 9 g, fiber 5 g, sodium 283

Chicken and Parsnip Soup

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
  • ¾ shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 (4-oz) package gourmet mushroom blend, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2½ cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp hot sauce
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add olive oil to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high.
  2. Add parsnips, shallots, mushrooms and garlic and saute 3 minutes.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except parsley and bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, or until parsnips are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 204, protein 17 g, carbs 25 g, fat 4 g, fiber 5 g, sodium 607 mg

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Pairing your workout with the right music means results.

Music can make or break a workout — in more ways than one. “The judicious use of music can bring about measurable and meaningful benefits to human performance, particularly when the beat is synced with work rate,” says Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., professor at Brunel University London. In his book Applying Music in Exercise and Sport (Human Kinetics, August 2016), Karageorghis offers specific songs for various types of goals and workouts. Use this sampling of tracks to create your own playlists.

Stretching

A solid stretching playlist should serve to help you focus. “This music is not intended to have an ergogenic, or work-enhancing, effect during warm-up and flexibility routines,” Karageorghis says. “Rather, its purpose is to help exercisers prepare physically and mentally for the more vigorous forms of activity that typically follow.”

Active/dynamic stretching

Static/passive stretching

Core Training

Core training is generally not done at a fast pace, so use music that has a moderate tempo around 105 to 125 beats per minute. “The tempo should match the expected heart rate when working out asynchronously — i.e., when the music is in the background,” Karageorghis says.

StepMill Training

“It is slightly easier to use music in the synchronous mode on the StepMill than it is on the treadmill, particularly if you know the speed at which you are going to be stepping, and can thus select music with the appropriate beats per minute,” Karageorghis says.

Stationary Bike

“Evidence suggests that the optimal tempo range [for stationary cycling] is between 115 to 145 bpm, depending on intensity,” Karageorghis says. 

  • Billie Jean, by Michael Jackson (117 bpm; easy pace)
  • Wake Me Up, by Avicii (125 bpm; moderate pace)
  • Boom Boom Pow, by The Black Eyed Peas (130 bpm; moderately intense pace)
  • The Rockafeller Skank, by Fatboy Slim (145 bpm; intense pace)

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