World-renowned functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman, M.D., explains why and how you should shift the plant-to-animal ratio on your plate.
A big juicy steak, a small baked potato and a serving of overcooked green beans. If this sounds like the dinners you’re used to, you’ve got the ratio of animals to vegetables all wrong.
“When it comes to your plate, 75 percent by volume should be veggies,” says Mark Hyman, M.D., director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder and director of The UltraWellness Center, and 10-time New York Times best-selling author of books such as Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? (Little, Brown and Co., 2018) and Eat Fat, Get Thin (Little, Brown and Co., 2018). “Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate more than 800 varieties of plants. Because they foraged far and wide, they typically ate a range of wild plants of all different colors. In other words, they ate the rainbow and you should, too.”
A Garden of Benefits
Hyman explains that Americans don’t eat nearly enough nutrient-rich veggies, instead favoring conventionally raised meat. Though veggies cannot deliver pristine health all on their own, he shares three compelling reasons to make them the bulk of your diet:
- The vast, colorful spectrum of vegetables represents more than 25,000 beneficial chemicals. Research shows that the synergistic balance of these chemicals provides countless health benefits.
- Plants are your only source of fiber, which is fertilizer for the good bacteria that make up the internal garden in your gut. Fiber keeps digested food moving smoothly through your system, prevents cancer and heart disease, and helps you lose weight.
- Vegetables are your only source of phytonutrients (phyto meaning plants), a group of chemicals essential to vibrant health that protect us from cancer, inflammation, infection, heart disease, autoimmune disease and a long list of other chronic ailments.
6 Tips for Reconfiguring Your Plate
You can’t go wrong heeding the age-old advice, “Eat your vegetables.” But according to Hyman, this doesn’t go far enough. So how can you rearrange your dinner plate when you’re not used to eating this way? Hyman suggests the following:
“Our ancestors didn’t have drugs or pills. They ate their medicine in the form of plants,” Hyman says. “All my patients eat a phytonutrient-rich diet. That’s the first step they take and the most important step, too. Eat the food that God made, and leave the food that man made. Eating real, whole food becomes simple when you follow this principle.”
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The good folks at Pique Tea have stopped in this week to serve up two awesome keto recipes to our Primal crowd. Enjoy these rich and chocolatey Keto Earl Gray Collagen Fat Bombs today, and be sure to check back Wednesday morning for a tasty collagen latte. Good stuff. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.
While a good Primal diet offers much in the way of healthy, varied fats, with keto it’s helpful to have extra strategies for incorporating additional good fats. That’s where these two dairy-free keto recipes make the perfect on-the-go breakfast, snack, meal replacement, you-name-it, throughout the day. They keep you fuller, for longer, while letting you experience the many benefits from tea polyphenols. Tea is full of a type of antioxidants called catechins that suppress appetite and stimulate metabolism. Tea caffeine also increases your metabolic rate so your body burns off excess calories and body fat to boost ketone levels faster.
And here’s what makes these Keto Earl Grey Collagen recipes so special. Not only do you gain all the major benefits of collagen and a healthy dose of nutrient-dense fat from coconut oil, you’ll also get the nutritional benefits of tea polyphenols. One of the original superfoods, tea polyphenols have long been used in traditional medicine for both its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Tea is also a natural prebiotic that feeds your gut with healthy bacteria, balancing the bio flora in your gut. A healthy balance of gut bacteria will provide you with more energy, improved digestion, reduced stress, stronger immunity, to even glowing skin.
So, you can be sure these easy keto Earl Grey recipes offer more than their share of both delicious flavor and essential nutrients. Today, we used Pique Tea Crystals for an Earl Grey kick in our fat bombs. It is an easy way to get the most pure, potent tea antioxidants alongside the collagen benefits in these Collagen Fuel packets. Each Pique Tea sachet contains up to 12x the antioxidants (third-party verified) than regular teas and is the first of its kind to triple screen for mycotoxins, mold and heavy metals.
Servings: 10 (approximately)
Time in the Kitchen: 10 minutes (plus 1 hour for chill time)
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Butter
- 1 Cup Coconut Oil
- 1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 packets PRIMAL KITCHEN® Vanilla Coconut Collagen Fuel
- 2 sachets Pique Tea Earl Grey Tea Crystals
- 3 Tbsp. Raw Cocoa Powder
- 2 Tbsp. Hemp Hearts
In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil and coconut butter over low heat until melted.
Pour the mixture in a silicone mold of your choice.
Freeze for 20 minutes until the fat bombs harden.
Add rose petals to garnish. Store in the freezer or the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Pique Tea is the world’s first Cold Brew Tea Crystals. Pique delivers up to 12x the polyphenols of other teas on the market and is most effective for unlocking benefits like improved gut health, sustained energy, and stress reduction. Pique is also the only tea that Triple Screens for heavy metals, pesticides and toxic mold commonly found in tea. Best of all, Pique is cold or hot water soluble and delivers a world championship brew (3 Gold Medals at 2018 Global Tea Championships). Potency, Purity, and Ease-of-Use is the holy trinity for unlocking the benefits of tea and Pique is the tea for health benefits.
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Proper form is a must when it comes to the indoor rowing machine, but once you’ve got it down, you’re in for some calorie-torching cardio sessions. Try the workouts below to switch up your routine and get your heart pumping.
- Sprint on the erg for 500 meters
- Pike on the erg for 10 reps
- Sprint on the erg for 250 meters
- Knee Tuck on the erg for 10 reps
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The seven-time Mr. Olympia, 70, was undergoing a catheter valve replacement—a “somewhat experimental” surgery—when he developed complications. Doctors were on standby in case the valve replacement failed, and quickly determined a second procedure was necessary. They rushed Schwarzenegger into an emergency operation that lasted several hours, according to TMZ‘s report.
The former California governor and Hollywood veteran underwent an elective heart surgery back in 1997 to correct a congenitally defective valve, and still lives a healthy lifestyle—lifting and cycling.
Schwarzenegger is reportedly in stable condition, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
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I Went From Having an Invisible Illness, Being Overweight, Depressed and Tired To Enjoying Robust Health!
It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!
Looking back, I have always had thyroid issues though I had no idea what that meant in my teens and twenties. It apparently runs in my family, though with rural Alaska medical care in the 70s, you were lucky to have a doctor available, let alone a dentist. Even as I grew older and moved to the city and then to college in Arizona and life in many other places, I was always just not well. Though I managed to live and work and play fairly normally, I would occasionally have days that I could not get out bed, so I attributed it to depression or other more readily identifiable causes like depression.
I eventually married and went through two pregnancies in my early 30s,
fairly normal and with healthy babies. After my second child, my mental and physical health really started going downhill, though it wasn’t really visible other than weight gain and some fairly severe post-partum depression. With the benefit of hindsight and research, what was probably mild Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in my youth turned into full-blown Hashimoto’s after the stress of pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and raising two small children.
I was officially diagnosed in 2006 with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis after a therapist I was seeing for depression thought to order some tests. My levels weren’t that high, and I don’t even remember what the endocrinologist said to do about it, just that I had it and it had to do with my thyroid, and that someday my thyroid would fail and I’d be put on medication. He advised eating better and exercising, but with no specific plan. Ok. I just went about my life in the usual way, raising two small kids and easing my way back into the working world while doing all of the usual life things of home maintenance, the kids’ sports and school schedules, marriage, work and other family obligations. The Internet wasn’t that prevalent then, and I just accepted my diagnosis and prognosis and went about my life the best I could.
The years went by and I gained more and more weight. I would “diet” occasionally, have a little bit of success, then fall right off the wagon. I’d tried all of the fad diets, Weight Watchers, etc., and even went sugar-free and even gluten-free a few times in the past with great results, but again, fell off the diet wagon every time. I had been active most of my life with running, college intramural sports, tennis, hiking, long-distance biking, canoeing, camping—nothing ever really stopped me from being active, even being overweight or tired through most of it. I even put myself through almost three P-90X workouts in a row (shoutout to Mark Sisson for his episode – little did I know he’d be so instrumental to my life later….). My weight didn’t budge, though I got some nice muscle under my chub. I thought I was eating fairly well at that time, too, low fat, whole grains—the usual “good diet.” At the beginning of the third cycle of hard-core exercise, plus moving some furniture, I herniated a disc in my back and that put an end to P90X and extreme exercise.
In the meantime, I was getting sicker and I didn’t understand why. I was 50 pounds heavier than my normal pre-pregnancy weight. I was depressed, moody, lethargic, overweight, exhausted, and I always felt like I should just try harder to find the right medication to take care of it, or cut out the fats, or just exercise more. It seemed like each day was a monumental effort to get through, and I know I missed out on a lot of activities with my kids when they were little.
By 2013 my diagnoses were:
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This is an auto-immune disorder where your
immune system attacks the thyroid, which untreated can lead to multiple issues and eventual thyroid gland failure.
- Bipolar disorder and depression/anxiety. The manic-depression was
actually the hypothyroidism/hyperthyroidism that characterizes
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, but I didn’t know that at the time so I went
on multiple and many medications over the years, thinking that nothing
was working for me and this is how it was and would be for me forever.
- Migraines and headaches. This entailed emergency room visits and even a brain MRI. I went to a neurologist and was put on a migraine medication that ultimately gave me kidney stones, two of which had to be surgically removed. The medication didn’t help at all so I eventually gave up on it and since then, no more kidney stones! An expensive experiment. Now, if I have a gluten exposure—instant migraine and the root cause of them.
- GERD, bile disorder and esophagitis. I was put on a medication and at my first out-of-pocket charge of $400 for the med, I decided I’d go with the heartburn instead. I’d had bloating and discomfort for years, and did the usual OTC meds for that. An EGD thankfully showed no celiac disease but did show chronic inflammation.
- Asthma and chronic bronchitis requiring an inhaler
- Chronic fatigue
- Restless leg syndrome
- Osteoarthritis, joint pain and stiffness
- Chronic tendinitis in wrists
- Adult acne
- Early menopause at age 40
- Brain fog
Around this time I had also lost half of my hair—thankfully I have thick hair so it still looked ok even though it was falling out in clumps.
For seven long years I went to the endocrinologist, got my thyroid (TSH) level tested and was always told it was “normal.”
In August 2013, after my last visit to the endocrinologist who had “managed” my Hashimoto’s for seven years, I finally hit the wall with my frustration over not being able to control my own body. I had had my first full-blown panic attack around this time as well. My medical record states the doctor actually thought it “was unlikely patient has significant thyroid disorder.” My TPOAb (Hashimoto’s marker) was 629.5 IU/ml (normal is to just eat right and exercise more and wait until my thyroid failed and then be put on medication. I even begged to be put on Armour NDT or something to just try it, even though my TSH was normal. He refused. I fired him and, at the end of my rope, finally got on the internet where I found the book I felt saved my life, “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the The Root Cause” by Dr. Izabella Wentz, which had just been published. Finally, someone who had suffered like me!
I jumped right in to the Hashimoto’s protocol—which is basically Primal, and though it was a super hard transition off the SAD and meds, I lost 20 pounds in the first 21 days and over the next three months, lost 25 more, and never looked back. I gave up gluten, grains, started eating way more fat and vegetables, minimal fruits, got off all of my medications and resolved almost all of my health problems, in particular the depression—it’s amazing to live without it! Without reading The Primal Blueprint (until a bit later), my diet and lifestyle had evolved to fit the model of ancestral health naturally.
During the initial transition, I had gathered all of my medical records, made a summary of them chronologically, made a spreadsheet of my labs and discovered by myself that while I have always had “normal” TSH levels, I don’t convert T4 into the more usable T3, and my symptoms fit that profile. I found a holistic leaning CNP that agreed with my diagnosis and was willing to prescribe the proper NDT medication to address this and literally 20 minutes after taking the first dose, my anxiety, which had reached panic attack levels, disappeared. I now know that when my anxiety creeps up, it’s time for a thyroid medication adjustment.
I eventually read Elle Russ’ Paleo Thyroid Solution, which is a great resource for thyroid sufferers and explained a lot of what I was going through. I do still have the occasional Hashimoto’s flare days, when I simply cannot get out of bed, but it’s down to 1-2 times a year—and usually after I’ve let non-Primal foods into my diet. A far cry from being how I lived my life on a daily basis. It took ten years from diagnosis and many endocrinologists, naturopaths, nurses and internists later, but I finally have found an integrative medical doctor who helps me with the right medical care for Hashimoto’s. I was gratified at our first intake appointment that she did not change one thing about my diet which was already Primal! She commented on my robust health and I was never more proud of myself for getting myself from my sickest days to the point of actual robust health!
Today, after my all time high of 213 lbs, I keep my body at a comfortable 165 lbs (I’m 5’5” and age 49). My Hashimoto’s is stable and after initially cutting my levels in half by eating primally, I go a bit up and down and now rely on my physical and mental states to determine how well I’m controlling it through my food plan. I don’t have a CrossFit-type body, but I do have a body that takes me through my days without pain or suffering, as long as I stick to the Primal way. I no longer have depression, anxiety, GERD, acne, my hair grew back, I sleep like a champ and my brain fog is better but not all gone—hey, I’ll be 50 this year, what can I say! My weight, despite four back surgeries for disc herniations, a labral tear repair in my hip, a broken ankle and a shoulder surgery (the osteoarthritis still rears its ugly head), has remained stable at 165 lbs since 2013. Even when I am unable to exercise, I maintain my weight, mood and general good health simply by eating and living Primally. Today, I enjoy riding my bike, walking my dogs, working out at my property mowing grass, hauling logs and brush and doing simple Primal workouts in my basement. I have a goal of someday being super muscle-y but since I feel so much better than I did before, I’m ok with my body now. My clothes always fit and I can live and do what I want to physically, and that’s more than enough for me.
My children are now 19 and 16, growing up and moving on with their lives, and with extra time on my hands I started looking into being a health coach. I’d followed many “diets” related to primally eating—mostly the Hashimoto’s Protocol, the Bulletproof Diet, the Whole30 plan, the Auto Immune Protocol plan and Paleo among others—but truly, the lifestyle I developed and live dovetails totally with the Primal Blueprint—I was living it before I really even knew about it! My heritage is Inuit/Alaskan Eskimo so it makes complete sense now that I live best on fats, meats and vegetables and berries! I know this lifestyle works for me and am excited to share it with others like me, who have suffered needlessly with auto-immune disorders that aren’t treated properly. I know you can take your health into your own hands and live the way nature intended – PRIMALLY! I recently became certified as Primal Health Coach and am living proof that good health can be had with minimal effort and suffering and I’m excited to begin my journey of helping others to robust health!
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Recipe excerpted from the editors of America’s Test Kitchen.
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Your relationship with your back can be a complicated one. Sometimes it does exactly what you want, whether that’s supporting you through a heavy lift or helping you carry groceries in from the car. Then again, your back can be a royal pain, acting up just when you need it most. Unfortunately, most of us have experienced some form of back pain, whether it’s a passing ache or a long-term problem. We’ll help you conquer chronic back pain so you and your back can be happy together at last.
What’s the Trouble?
Your back is separated into three sections: the cervical spine (neck), the thoracic spine (upper back), and the lumbar spine (lower back). The spine is an intricate structure, made up of a variety of joints, ligaments, and nerves, all of which work together to support, strengthen, and move the rest of your body. Because there are so many moving parts, the lower back has a high risk of injury. More than 31 million Americans experience lower-back pain at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association.
And while working out keeps you healthy in general, it can put your back at risk for injury if you’re not careful. Failing to warm up properly, subjecting your spine to repetitive high-impact activities, or simply using poor form can all lead to back trouble. “Muscles can’t function at their fullest capacity if they’re not stretched or warmed up. And impact activities like running put force on the spine and joints,” explains Jeffrey A. Goldstein, M.D., an orthopedic spine surgeon at NYU Langone Health in New York
Lifting heavy weights or doing symmetrical exercises like deadlifts and squats can lead to injury if your form is off. “These activities can potentially cause compression on the spine, so it’s crucial to have ideal mechanics while doing them,” says Erica Meloe, a physical therapist in private practice in New York. Past injuries can also haunt your back by throwing off your form. “I’ve seen many patients with old ankle sprains or a history of an ankle fracture—when they squat they’ll shift their weight to one side and wind up hurting their backs in the process,” adds Meloe.
And a lack of flexibility and mobility can create additional problems. “Most people are very tight and weak in their ankles, hips, upper back, and shoulders,” says Ashleigh Gass, C.S.N., C.S.C.S., who is based in Clearwater, FL. “If you only focus on traditional strength training and ignore joint mobility, flexibility, and core training, your chances of injury will increase.”
How can you tell whether your back pain is just the aftereffect of a heavy training day or something more serious? Pain that lasts longer than two days or feels dull or sharp and starts in the center or sides of the lower back and moves into your glutes is often an indicator of a potentially bigger injury.
“Be aware of any numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in the legs or of bowel or bladder problems, since these can be signs of neurologic injuries requiring urgent attention,” warns Goldstein.
The first steps for treating back pain are rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. But don’t rest too long, cautions Meloe. “It’s fine to take a day to rest from an acute injury, but be sure to move around soon after that to avoid getting too stiff,” says Meloe. When you’re ready, try foam-rolling or hanging from a bar to help loosen up your back and decompress your spine.
Pain from an acute injury should resolve in a few days or weeks. But lingering discomfort after a couple of months means it may be time to seek medical advice. Left untreated, you will start to compensate in other areas of your body, cautions Meloe. “With each recurrence, recovery time becomes longer, and rate of reinjury will rise,” she says.
While back injuries remain prevalent, that doesn’t mean you have to be the one at risk. To make sure you stay healthy, incorporate the following recommendations into your routine.
1. Vary your positions.
Avoid using the same muscles in the same way, says Meloe. That extends beyond the gym. “If you sit all day, make sure your cardio or warmup consists of standing exercises, like the elliptical or running; if you stand all day, try the bike.” The same advice applies to the workplace, especially if you have a desk job. Try using standing desks that allow you to change positions during the day, she notes, and keep your monitor at a good level so your neck isn’t in a strained position for extended periods of time.
2. Address discrepancies.
“Imbalances that often lead to back pain include weak or tight hamstrings and hips and poor spine mobility,” says Gass. “Incorporate strength moves like back extensions, Gymnastics Bodies Jefferson Curls [holding a light barbell, legs straight, roll down through spine’s full range of motion; roll up to start], and planks to strengthen the core,” she says. Also, do stretches that help decompress the spine and increase flexibility; several yoga poses are especially helpful. (Check out some stretches here.)
3. Start slow.
If you’re just starting out with a fitness plan or returning after a long layoff, ramp up gradually. “Doing CrossFit, where you’re swinging heavy kettlebells, or taking boot camp classes without a foundation in strength can potentiate back injury,” adds Meloe, so “see a physical therapist for a baseline evaluation beforehand.”
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