A special thanks to Aimee McNew at Paleohacks.com for today’s keto recipe roundup.

Trying a Whole30® can be a great way to refresh your diet or routine. If you’re already busy or overloaded with life, you might wonder how you have enough time to do even more prepping or cooking.

The Whole30 diet means doing 30 days (or longer) of a restricted version of Paleo. Any added sweeteners, even those that are Paleo, are not allowed, and neither are Paleo baked goods or alcohol. Foods like soy, dairy, grains, and other non-Paleo foods are definitely off the table. While it can feel restrictive, it’s only for a month—and it’s a great way to give yourself a dietary reset.

Going Whole30 recipes don’t have to be time-intensive or complicated. These 15 recipes are the perfect way to maximize your time in the kitchen. Even if you hate cooking, these easy Whole30 recipes are so delicious, you’ll keep eating them long after your 30 days are up.

1. Silky Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

You don’t need sugar to enjoy a Whole30 dessert. These deliciously dark chocolate truffles are a bite of silky perfection.

Silky Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles | PaleoHacks

2. Whole30 Easy Steak Fajitas

Dinner is a snap with this satisfying meat and veggies plate that’s ready in a half an hour!

Whole30 Easy Steak Fajitas | The Movement Menu

3. Bone Broth

Simmer your own gut-healing bone broth packed with collagen to help heal the gut. It’s perfect as a warming beverage in the morning or evening.

Bone Broth | PaleoHacks

4. Easy Whole30 Compliant Egg Cups

You’ll get all the protein you need in these little cups. Batch cook them for easy on-the-go snacks and meals.

Easy Whole30 Compliant Egg Cups | Sunny Sweet Days

5. Chili Lime Steak Bites with Grilled Avocado

Elevate dinner with these hassle-free zesty steak and avocado bites. With a total prep and cook time of less than 25 minutes, it’ll be the least stressful part of your day.

Chili Lime Steak Bites with Grilled Avocado | PaleoHacks

6. Whole30 Easy Ramen

This Paleo, grain-free ramen is the perfect cup of comfort after a chaotic day. With just the perfect amount of heat, this will satisfy any takeout craving.

Whole30 Easy Ramen | The Defined Dish

7. Whole30 Chicken Tenders

Kid or adult, you won’t be able to resist these crispy chicken tenders. Pair with your favorite veggie or side salad and voilà, dinner is served.

Whole30 Chicken Tenders | Little Bits of Real Food & Real Talk

8. Easy Turkey Meatballs

Serve these light-yet-filling turkey meatballs alongside your favorite cauliflower side for a yummy, low-carb meal.

Easy Turkey Meatballs | Fashionable Foods

9. Bacon and Broccoli Cauliflower Fried Rice

Skip the takeout junk and enjoy a delicious, almost-feels-like-cheating homemade fried rice instead. It’s made with cauliflower and bacon for a hearty, simple dish.

Bacon and Broccoli Cauliflower Fried Rice | PaleoHacks

10. Easy Paleo Salmon Salad Bowls

Boost your omega-3s and fight inflammation with this easy salmon salad. Pack it for a lunch your coworkers will envy!

Easy Paleo Salmon Salad Bowls | Real Simple Good

11. Whole30 Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is the best because you can prep a big batch and eat it all week for lunch. Pair it with lettuce wraps or your favorite Whole30 crackers for an effortless meal.

Whole30 Chicken Salad | 24 Carrot Kitchen

12. Easy Whole30 Skillet Steak Fajitas

Make taco night even better with these juicy steak fajitas made in a single cast-iron skillet.

Easy Whole30 Skillet Steak Fajitas | Do You Even Paleo

13. Whole30 Sweet Potato Hash

Who doesn’t love a hash for breakfast? You can enjoy any leftovers for dinner—if it lasts that long.

Whole30 Sweet Potato Hash | The Movement Menu

14. Easy Whole30 Chili Recipe

Prep this beefy Paleo chili ahead of time so you come home to a warm, comforting dinner.

Easy Whole30 Chili Recipe | Wicked Spatula

15. Easy Grain Free Cinnamon Date Granola

Enjoy this warming cinnamon granola for dessert, or add a drizzle of almond or cashew milk for a satisfying grain-free breakfast.

Easy Grain Free Cinnamon Date Granola | Paleo Gluten Free

16. Light Pasta Primavera with Veggie Noodles

Pasta night doesn’t have to be off the table on Whole30 thanks to this wonderful veggie noodle dish. Plus, you’re getting most of your day’s worth of veggies packed with a ton of flavor.

Light Pasta Primavera with Veggie Noodles | PaleoHacks

17. Easy Mashed Cauliflower

Whip up this easy side dish to hit that comfort food spot without sacrificing your Whole30 goals.

Easy Mashed Cauliflower | Real Food with Jessica

Thanks again to Aimee McNew from Paleohacks.com. Interested in seeing a certain recipe or roundup of a certain category—Whole30, Primal or Primal-keto? Let us know below!

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The post 17 Easy Whole30® Recipes appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few questions. First came in from an email and regards a new study showing a link between chicken eating and several types of cancers (melanoma, prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) among British adults. What do I think of the study? Second, did I really tell people not to neuter or spay their dogs? Third, can dogs take collagen powder, and if not, are there any alternatives? And last, I address a comment about early time restricted feeding.

Let’s go:

Hey Mark,

What are your thoughts on this study that showed a link between chicken consumption and cancer?

https://www.9news.com.au/national/eating-chicken-cancer-link-oxford-university-uk-study-health-news-australia-world/6944a0bd-20dc-44b9-9063-16db54cd2f7c

Okay, let’s do this.

First of all, the link wasn’t between chicken and cancer, it was between chicken and specific cancers. The specificity suggests that there may be something going on here.

Look, I love a good roasted chicken. There’s almost nothing quite like crispy chicken skin.

But today’s birds are exceedingly high in omega-6 fatty acids. Your standard battery-fed bird—which is what most people in these studies are eating—eats a diet of soybean oil, corn byproducts, and other junk high in omega-6 fats. Those dietary fats are incorporated into the animal’s tissues, which get incorporated into your dinner, which get incorporated into your body.

Most of the cancers in question have been previously and mechanistically linked to elevated omega-6 levels and/or reduced omega-3 levels.

Melanoma and other skin cancers?

One study out of Australia—land of skin cancer—found that adults with the highest serum concentrations of DHA and EPA had the least “cutaneous p53 expression.” When your skin is in danger of damage from the sun, p53 expression is upregulated to protect it. The fact that p53 expression was low suggests that the skin wasn’t in danger; the omega-3s were protecting the skin and reducing the “perceived” (and real) danger. Acute intakes of EPA reduce the inflammatory skin response to UV radiation.

One problem of excess omega-6 fats is that they crowd out DHA and EPA from the serum and cellular membranes. The more omega-6 in your diet, the less DHA and EPA you’ll have laying around to protect you from the sun.

Prostate cancer?

Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (found in seafood and fish oil) are generally linked to lower rates of prostatic inflammation and a less carcinogenic environment; omega-6 fatty acids can trigger disease progression. A 2001 study of over 6,000 Swedish men found that the folks eating the most fish had drastically lower rates of prostate cancer than those eating the least. Another study from New Zealand found that men with the highest DHA (an omega-3 found in fish) markers slashed their prostate cancer risk by 38% compared to the men with the lowest DHA levels.

I didn’t see any solid evidence one way or the other with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but omega-3 intake is linked to a lower risk. If that’s a causative connection, and excessive omega-6 is competing with your omega-3s for physiological supremacy in the body, that could increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But again, this isn’t a sure thing.

I couldn’t find the study mentioned in the article, but according to the article the scientists focused only on “meat consumption patterns.” They weren’t looking at other foods or nutrients—just what kind of meat they ate. If that’s the case, they wouldn’t have controlled for the intakes of fries and mayo and other junk foods often consumed alongside chicken.

British are eating more chicken than ever before, and they’re moving increasingly away from big family chicken meals—roasts and such—toward individual chicken meals for one—pasta and stir fries.

The fastest growing fast food in Britain is fried chicken. That’s chicken that’s been breaded in flour and fried in reused, rancid vegetable oil, then served alongside french fries and smothered in mayonnaise.

Now, I’m not going to say you should eat chicken for every meal. Red meat, fish, and eggs offer far more nutrients than chicken, and they’re much lower in omega-6 fatty acids. But I’m not going to shy away from a good roast chicken, or even a chicken chili, especially if I’m using well-raised, preferably pasture-raised chickens.

I’m sorry, are you recommending people DON”T spay/neuter their pets?!? Am I reading an article in The Onion? Is it April 1st? What the hell is going on??? Dear Bob Barker is rolling in his grave and thousands of dogs and cats will be unnecessarily euthanized today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next….) because there are just too many of them.

Nope, I’m just recommending that people read the literature and understand that spaying/neutering can have unwanted health effects, especially if you do it too early.

Most experts agree that fixing the dog after they’ve stopped growing is pretty safe and reduces the risk of later health issues. That to me is a good compromise.

And I’m not speaking to the masses. I’m speaking to the people reading this who are in general a reliable, conscientious bunch.

Also, a vasectomy is a good option that few people consider but more vets are offering.

Mark, would there be any harm or benefit in throwing in a scoop of collagen on top of my dog’s raw meat&veggie patty?

You could definitely do it. Just be aware that I’ve found some dogs have bad digestive responses to protein powders of any kind. A raw chicken foot will do the trick, if you’re up to trying it. I’ve also seen freeze-dried tendons in pet stores.

After a few years of IDF that had me mostly eating between noon and 8, I recently tried early time-restricted feeding (eTRF) and man it seems to work well for me. I did it under the influence of this guy’s posts: https://www.patreon.com/CaloriesProper/posts

And I learned about him from an MDA post…

Awesome.

Two things.

Yes, some people for whom intermittent fasting doesn’t seem to be working may want to switch to an early feeding system. The vast majority of people who skip meals every day are skipping breakfast. It’s easier that way, you can just have some coffee and keep trucking. But not everyone benefits from it. If that’s you, try eating breakfast (and lunch) and skipping dinner.

And yes, Bill Lagakos is a great resource. Always love his stuff, even or especially if it conflicts with something I held to be true.

Thanks for reading, everyone. If you have any more questions, drop them down below!

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The post Dear Mark: Does Chicken Cause Cancer, Should You Neuter, Dog Collagen, and Skipping Dinner appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For the vast majority of human history (and prehistory), men, women, and children had near-constant contact with the natural world around them. They were walking on the ground. They were playing in the dirt. They were digging for roots and grubs. They were eating with their hands. They were field dressing animals and wiping their hands on the grass. Nothing was sterilized; the tools to sterilize the environment didn’t exist. You could boil water, but that was about it. Bacteria were everywhere, and humans were constantly ingesting it. Even as babies, preindustrial infants nursed for almost four years, so they were getting a steady source of breastmilk-based probiotic bacteria for a good portion of their early lives.

The Agricultural Age: Farms and Fermented Foods

After agriculture and animal husbandry hit the scene, human diets changed, but their environmental exposures didn’t so much. Every day they interacted closely with the soil and/or animals (and their respective bacteria). And they also continued ingesting probiotic bacteria on a regular basis through the use of fermented food—for at least the last 10,000 years. Honey into mead, grains into beer, fruit into wine, alcohol into vinegar.

We know that fermented dairy has been an integral part of any traditional dairy-eating culture because fermentation is the natural result of having milk around without refrigeration. You take raw milk and leave it out for a couple days at room temperature, and it will begin to separate and ferment. Introduce an animal stomach and you can make cheese. Introduce specific strains of bacteria, and you can make yogurt or kefir. But the point is that dairy fermentation—and, thus, the consumption of dairy-based probiotics—was unavoidable in pre-industrial dairy-eating societies.

In areas without (and some with) dairy consumption, they fermented plants. Kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, chutneys, soy sauce, miso, and natto are just several examples among hundreds.

Modern Diets, Modern Environments

Here’s my point to all this: probiotics in one form or another have been a constant input in the human experience… until today.

Today? We live sterilized lives.

  • We wipe everything down with anti-microbial agents.
  • We wash all our plates and eating utensils with ultra-hot water and powerful soaps.
  • We wear shoes.
  • We don’t touch (or see) dirt for days, weeks at a time.
  • We stay indoors most of the day.
  • We pasteurize our dairy. We render shelf-stable (and thus inert) our sauerkraut and pickles.
  • We sterilize our water.
  • We take antibiotics.
  • We eat processed, refined food that’s been treated with preservatives and anti-microbial additives designed to remove all traces of bacteria.
  • We employ tens of thousands of scientists, bureaucrats, and agents whose primary role is to ensure our food supply is as sterile as possible.

I get all that. There are good reasons for doing all these things, and on the balance I’d of course rather have clean water, clean food, and antibiotics than not, but there are also drawbacks and unintended consequences. We live in a sterile world, and our guts weren’t built for a sterile world. They’re meant to house a diverse array of bacteria.

What Are the Consequences Of Living a Sterile Life?

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said that “all diseases originate in the gut.” The most obvious example, digestive issues, are some of the most common in the post-industrial world. Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and general digestive distress affect tens of millions. Food intolerances and allergies, which also have a link to gut health, are rising.

Even conditions that aren’t intuitively linked to gut health, like autism or hay fever or even heart disease, may actually have a connection with the state of our guts or digestion.

At least since Biblical times (and probably earlier), humans have identified a connection between the gut and our emotions. “I’ve got a gut feeling…” or “I feel it in my gut.” Though it’s usually portrayed as “merely metaphor,” this connection isn’t spurious and can feel quite real. Remember when you held hands with that pretty girl or handsome guy for the first time? You felt those butterflies in your gut. Or how you had to rush to the bathroom before giving that big talk in front of your college class? You felt the nervousness and anxiety in your gut.

Evidence is accumulating that our gut bacteria can manufacture and synthesize neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, and even sex hormones like testosterone. We’ve even identified a legitimate physiological pathway running from the gut to the brain and back again. Couple that with the fact that gut health seems to play a role in depression, anxiety, and other related conditions, and it starts looking like our lack of exposure to probiotic bacteria could be triggering (or at least exacerbating) the rise in mental health issues.

Supporting Our Guts In the Age of Sterility

The foundation of gut health has to be diet: 1) Eating fermented foods to provide probiotic bacteria and 2) eating plant and animal foods that provide prebiotic substrate to feed and nourish those bacteria. That’s been the way of humans for tens of thousands of years—from ingesting soil-based and animal-based bacteria on the food we ate as foragers to directly producing and consuming fermented food—and it should remain the primary mode of probiotic procurement.

But there’s also a place for probiotic supplementation. Food alone probably can’t atone for the sterile existence we’ve built for ourselves. Food alone can’t counteract the several years of breastfeeding you didn’t get, the dirt you didn’t play with, the antelope colons you didn’t handle with bare hands, the untreated water you didn’t drink. You may get it now, but what about ten years ago? What about when you were a kid?

Evolutionarily novel circumstances often require evolutionarily novel responses to restore balance.

And probiotics aren’t even that “novel.” We’re clearly designed to consume probiotics in the food we eat, and probiotic supplements utilize the same ingestion pathway, especially if you consume them with food. The dosages may sound high. Primal Probiotics, the one I make (and take), contains 5 billion colony forming units (cfu, a measure of bacteria that are able to survive digestion and establish colonies in the gut) of good bacteria per dose—but that’s right in line with (or even well under) the dose of probiotics found in common fermented foods.

A single milliliter of kefir can have up to 10 billion cfu.

A cup of yogurt can contain up to 500 billion cfu.

A tablespoon of sauerkraut juice can contain 1.5 trillion cfu. Kimchi is probably quite similar.

A single gram of soil can contain almost 10 trillion cfu. A gram of soil is easy to consume if you’re eating foods (and drink water) directly from the earth.

Now, Primal Probiotics isn’t the only option. It may not even be the best option if you have specific conditions that other strains are particularly adept at addressing. (I’ll cover this in a future post.) But the way I designed Primal Probiotics was to be a good general, all-purpose probiotic with particular applications for Primal, keto, and other ancestrally-minded people living their modern lives.

For instance, one of my favorite strains I’ve included is Bacillus subtilis, the very same bacterial strain that’s found in natto, the traditional Japanese fermented soybean. B. subtilis addresses many of the issues we face in the modern world. It helps break down phytase in the gut and turn it into inositol, an important nutrient for brain and mood and stress. It helps convert vitamin K1 (from plants) into vitamin K2 (the more potent animal form of the vitamin). It can even hydrolyze wheat and dairy proteins to make them less allergenic.

There’s also Bacillus clausii, an integral modulator of the innate immune system (PDF)—the part of the immune system that fights off pathogens, toxins, and other invading offenders. Innate immunity is ancient immunity; it’s the same system employed by lower organisms like animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria. It’s the foundation of what we know as the immune response. What’s funny is that B. clausii has such a powerful effect on our innate immunity that one could argue B. clausii is an innate aspect of our gut community.

I’ve also included a small amount of prebiotic substrates in the latest iteration. I use raw potato starch (for resistant starch) and a blend of fructooligosaccharides and galactooligosaccharides. The prebiotic doses are low enough that they shouldn’t exacerbate any gut problems or FODMAPs intolerances and high enough to provide enough food for the probiotics to flourish.

Again, you don’t have to take Primal Probiotics. It’s my opinion that they provide the perfect combination of strains for most people’s needs, especially when combined with regular intakes of fermented veggies like sauerkraut and fermented dairy like yogurt, cheese, and kefir, but the actual strains themselves aren’t proprietary. You can find them elsewhere if you want to get individual probiotics. Hell, you may not even need a probiotic supplement. Depending on your personal health background, the level of sterility in your life history and current life (if you grew up on a farm drinking raw milk, for example), and the amount of fermented foods you currently consume, you may not need supplemental assistance.

But it’s sure nice to have around.

Anyway, that’s it for today.

How do you get your probiotics? Do you find them necessary for optimum health? What kind of benefits have you experienced from taking probiotics, either via food or supplementation?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.

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The post Life In the Sanitized Bubble (Or Why Probiotics Are So Important) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from last week’s Weekly Link Love comment section. They’re all about dogs. First, are their negative health effects of neutering or spaying? Second, do grain-free dog diets give dogs dilated cardiomyopathy, a kind of heart disease? What’s the alternative? And third, what is in my opinion the ideal dog diet—and should everyone be feeding it to their dogs?

Let’s go:

Mark, wouldn’t neutering dogs cause some long term negative health effects in them, as I assume it would in humans?

As you might expect, removing a dog’s testicles or ovaries—major reproductive and endocrine organs—can have negative effects. That’s just common sense, and we have observational studies paired with physiological mechanisms to make the case. The best-studied complications are cancer and joint disorders.

Among German shepherds, 7% of intact males were diagnosed with a joint disorder. 21% of males who’d been neutered before age 1 had a joint disorder. 5% of intact females were diagnosed; 16% of spayed females were diagnosed.

Among a group of 700+ golden retrievers, 5% of intact males had hip dysplasia, while 10% of early neutered males had it. No intact dogs had ever had any cranial cruciate ligament (an important ligament in the dog knee) tears, while 5% of early neutered males and 8% of early spayed females had torn one. 10% of early neutered males had a diagnosis of lymphoma, three times the rate of intact males. In females, late spaying (after 1 year of age) seems to have increased the rate of certain cancers, including hemangiosarcoma (a blood vessel cancer) and mast cell (breast) tumors.

Similar results with regards to joint disorders have also been found in labrador retrievers.

Both spaying females and neutering males appears to increase the risk of heart cancer, a fairly common cancer in dogs. Spayed females have the greatest risk of all.

Early spayed or neutered Rottweilers have an increased risk of bone cancer, another common disease to the breed.

Neutered/spayed dogs have a higher risk of hypothyroidism.

Intact dogs have higher metabolisms and lower appetites. The opposite is true for neutered dogs, which could explain the rise in pet obesity.

If you’re going to neuter a dog, I’d recommend waiting as long as you can. At the least 1 year, and ideally longer until sexual development completes. That allows the dog’s joints, muscles, and skeletal tissue to reach its full potential.

Also realize that the sex hormones aren’t only about sex or physical/structural development. They also help determine mental and psychological development.

Interesting SwS post about dogs. I would caution people to make assumptions canines need the same diet as people. Recently, many folks are discovering that dogs on a grain free diet seem to have a higher likelihood of developing hart issues. My house is kind of an n=14 experiment and I would guess that our dogs get on the active side in terms of exercise. We also have three dozen sheep, two dozen ducks, and a bunch of chickens. My wife is a dog trainer so in addition to our dogs she works with a bunch more. Too much info to post here but look up diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy and some of the recent studies. The research is not yet to the stage where they know what causes DCM but it appears that dogs that are on “boutique exotic grain free (BEG) diets seem to be much more likely to develop DCM.

The way this research is presented in the media, most people assume that the problem with grain-free diets are that they’re too high in meat. That dogs need “heart healthy whole grains,” just like people supposedly do.

The reason “grain-free” dog diets are linked to dilated cardiomyopathy is not that these animals are eating too much beef, lamb, chicken, and fish protein. It’s that they’re replacing the grains with potatoes and peas, lentils, and other legumes and inducing taurine deficiency. Taurine deficiency-induced cardiomyopathy is well-established in cats, who cannot synthesize taurine on their own and must consume it directly in the diet. Dogs can synthesize taurine themselves, but they’re also adapted to a diet rich in taurine-rich meat, so it’s smart and evolutionarily congruent for them to also eat high-taurine diets—which must contain meat.

Say what you will about grains. I’m no fan of them for dogs (or humans, for that matter), but they do possess the amino acid precursors for taurine synthesis.

A response from a veterinary nutrition researcher at Tufts University claims that taurine probably isn’t the cause, instead suggesting that the “exotic meats” found in grain-free diets are likely candidates. She goes on to warn against raw-fed diets as well, since they “increase your dog’s risk of many other health problems.” She fails to specify which health problems raw meat and bone diets increase, but since she has some acronyms after her name we can trust her.

It’s odd, because I’m aware of some actual benefits to feeding dogs raw meat and bone diets:

Improved immune gene expression, indicating lower inflammatory status compared to kibble-fed dogs.

Improved gut biome compared to kibble-fed dogs.

Purina funded the Tufts University veterinary nutritional center where the writer of the article resides, which may or may not have affected her opinions.

In your opinion what should we feed our dogs?

Ideally, we should feed our dogs a well-formulated, nutrient-dense diet based on raw animal foods: muscle meat, bones, organs, seafood, eggs, quality dairy, and select supplemental foods. In other words, the ideal dog diet would look a lot like a really good carnivorous human diet.

The problem is that you have to do it right. It’s easy to do it wrong. One thing the dog food companies are pretty good at is avoiding gross deficiencies. The calcium:phosophorus ratio will be right. Most of the nutrients may be synthetic additions to refined junk food, but the basics will be there. This doesn’t always hold (see the dilated cardiomyopathy scandal mentioned above), of course, and it tends to cause chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes from mismatched macronutrients, but at least a kibble fed dog probably won’t develop osteoporosis.

Certain fish are dangerous when fed raw without adequate preparation. Pacific-caught salmon off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington can carry parasites that kill dogs (and other canids like wolves and coyotes). Freezing long enough at a low-enough temperature will kill the parasite, but you really have to be careful.

Dogs need to eat bones for the calcium and to keep their teeth clean, but they can break teeth on the wrong kind of bone. Load-bearing ruminant bones are good for gnawing, but not for eating. Do you know the difference?

Dogs need connective tissue, just like people. People can just throw some collagen powder in their coffee. Dogs really can’t. Are you going to seek out chicken feet, pork skin, beef tendons, green tripe for your raw-fed dog?

Dogs need organs, and not just liver. They need heart and kidney. Can you source it? You willing to handle it?

Dogs who spend all their lives on kibble only to be given a plate of turkey necks, beef liver, and lamb trim might not know what to do with themselves. Just like people who’ve spent their lives in restrictive high-heeled shoes can get into trouble when they try running a marathon in bare feet, dogs who are used to hoovering up kibble can get into trouble when they try to eat a neck for the first time.

None of this stuff is a deal-breaker. It can be done. Ideally, it should be done. But it does take time and energy to do things right. It’s harder—and better, don’t get me wrong—than just dumping some kibble in a bowl.

I’ll write more on this in the future. For now, check out this older post on raw-feeding dogs I did (and this one for cats).

Take care, everyone. Thanks for reading and if you have any follow up questions, let them loose down below.

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The post Dear Mark: Health Effects of Neutering, Grain-Free Dog Diets, Ideal Dog Diet appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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A special thanks to Courtney Hamilton at Paleohacks.com for today’s keto recipe roundup.

Cook up keto-friendly meat, veggies, chips, and fries in a snap with the air fryer!

The air fryer works similar to a convection oven, and it’s becoming every bit as ubiquitous as the crock pot. It’s a must-have kitchen appliance for when you want to save time while making healthier meals—which you’ll definitely want when you’re on the keto diet.

One of the best parts of using an air fryer is the ability to make deliciously crispy recipes like onion rings or fish sticks—but without any grease.

If you’re new to keto or the air fryer (or both), these 22 recipes for appetizers, sides, healthy snacks, and mains are a great way to get started! Serve it alongside a slice of keto bread, and you’ve got yourself a great fat-burning meal!

1. Air Fryer Keto Onion Rings

These perfectly crispy fried onion rings taste like they came from your favorite restaurant, but without the gluten and grease. Serve it with Paleo mayo for a winning app.

Air Fryer Keto Onion Rings | Wholesome Yum

 

2. Crispy Air Fryer Fish Sticks

Whether you’re cooking for kids or yourself, these golden crispy fish sticks will satisfy every time.

Crispy Air Fryer Fish Sticks | All Day I Dream About Food

3. Keto Air Fryer Meatloaf Sliders

Jazz up Grandma’s meatloaf recipe by making them into sliders. Comfort food meets convenience in this main dish meal that will become a regular in your weekly rotation.

Keto Air Fryer Meatloaf Sliders | A Girl Worth Saving

4. Air Fryer Green Beans with Bacon

Bacon adds a delectable salty and savory flavor to the green beans. It’ll convert even the harshest vegetable hater!

Air Fryer Green Beans with Bacon | Two Sleevers

5. Air Fryer Keto Low-Carb Fried Chicken

Low-carb and grain-free fried chicken? Yes, it’s possible! Serve it with your favorite keto side dish and you’re good to go.

Air Fryer Keto Low-Carb Fried Chicken | Wholesome Yum

6. Air Fryer Salmon Patties

“Fry” up these golden patties and serve them with your favorite veggie chips and avocado for a yummy keto lunch.

Air Fryer Salmon Patties | Berry & Maple

7. Air Fryer Keto Popcorn Chicken

Kids and adults alike will love snacking on these grain-free, crispy bites.

Air Fryer Keto Popcorn Chicken | What Great Grandma Ate

8. Easy Baked Zucchini Chips

Kale chips get lots of attention, but you won’t look back when you try these crispy keto zucchini chips.

Easy Baked Zucchini Chips | Sweet C’s

9. Air Fryer Chicken Breast

You don’t have to worry about dried-out chicken here. This crispy, juicy bird rivals even the Instant Pot® cook quality.

Air Fryer Chicken Breast | Love Food Not Cooking

10. Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts

You don’t need any cooking skills to get these Brussels sprouts perfectly crisp. They’re a great veggie for when you’re craving a hearty dose of nutrients.

Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts | Sustainable Cooks

11. Easy Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli

Speaking of perfectly cooked veggies, this air fryer broccoli is a delicious way to up your veggie intake on a keto diet. You’ll like them even if you aren’t watching your carbs!

Easy Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli | Stay Snatched

12. Crispy Avocado Fries

There’s more to the avocado than guacamole, as proven by these tasty avocado fries. Serve as an appetizer, a snack, or a side dish!

Crispy Avocado Fries | Broke Foodies

13. Keto Air Fryer Shrimp Scampi

You don’t have to hit up a seafood restaurant to get perfectly cooked shrimp scampi. These golden brown shrimp pair nicely with keto onion rings or avocado fries!

Keto Air Fryer Shrimp Scampi | Two Sleevers

14. Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

The classic Paleo and keto dish gets an air fryer makeover. You can prep them in just five minutes, and they’re on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Asparagus | Monday Is Meatloaf

15. Easy Keto Low-Carb Vegetarian Air Fryer Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

You won’t have trouble boosting your veggie intake with these spicy cauliflower Buffalo bites.

Easy Keto Low-Carb Vegetarian Air Fryer Cauliflower Buffalo Wings | Stay Snatched

16. Air Fryer Steak Bites and Mushrooms

Bust out the air fryer for your next steak night! This recipe cooks juicy mushrooms together with steak bites for an easy meal you’ll come back to time and again.

Air Fryer Steak Bites and Mushrooms | Best Recipe Box

17. Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Whether you want to serve them as a snack, appetizer, or main dish, these chicken wings are crispy, juicy, and finger-licking good.

Air Fryer Chicken Wings | Keto Adapted

18. Air Fryer Garlic Lime Shrimp Kebabs

You don’t need a grill to make kebabs! Coat shrimp with fresh lime for a zesty, savory dish that will definitely wow dinner guests.

Air Fryer Garlic Lime Shrimp Kebabs | Berry & Maple

19. Air Fryer Salmon and Asparagus

Yes, you can make a lighter meal in the air fryer! You’ll save time and dishes when you whip up this easy keto meal that preps and cooks in under 15 minutes.

Air Fryer Salmon and Asparagus | Eat the Gains

20. Air Fryer Kale Chips

Cook a big batch of these keto kale chips and munch on them all week!

Air Fryer Kale Chips | Berry & Maple

21. The Best Air Fryer Whole Chicken

Better than rotisserie and easier than the oven, this whole chicken is great for special occasions. Try small turkeys, too!

The Best Air Fryer Whole Chicken | Recipe Diaries

22. Air Fryer Roasted Asparagus

Season your asparagus however you like, then cook it to perfection in the air fryer.

Air Fryer Roasted Asparagus | Berry & Maple

Thanks again to Courtney Hamilton from Paleohacks.com. Interested in seeing a certain recipe or roundup of a certain category—Primal or Primal-keto? Let us know below!

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The post 22 Keto Air Fryer Recipes appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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With the last few weeks’ definitive guide and follow-up on fish, a reader asked me about trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO. What is it?

TMAO is the latest justification given for why eating meat just has to be bad for you. Saturated fat didn’t take. Animal protein didn’t work. Iron was a dud. IGF-1 hasn’t panned out. Methionine isn’t enough. So now they’re using TMAO to convince you not to eat that steak.

How’s it supposed to work?

How TMAO Happens

When certain gut bacteria encounter choline (found in eggs and liver) or carnitine (found in meat, especially red meat), some of it is converted to trimethylamine, or TMA. TMA is the compound that gives fish its “fishy odor.” Fish is actually extremely high in TMA, which I’ll discuss later on. Then, the liver converts a portion of the TMA to TMAO. Studies have shown that elevated serum levels of TMAO are linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and even all-cause mortality. There’s definitely some heterogeneity among the studies, but enough have found a strong connection between TMAO and all manner of poor health conditions that researchers have focused on this compound.

Okay, so anything that contains choline or carnitine will increase TMAO, which should in theory increase your risk of heart disease. Right? Let’s go down the list.

Dietary TMAO Precursors and Their Effects On Health

Eggs. The best source of TMAO-precursor choline in our diet—eggs—should absolutely skyrocket TMAO levels. Except it doesn’t happen.

Three eggs a day has no effect on TMAO levels, even as it increases choline levels and HDL cholesterol.

Okay, so maybe the choline slipped past the TMA-producing gut bacteria in that study, but what about if you quickly switch people from eating oatmeal for breakfast to eating eggs. Surely bad things will happen, right?

No. Eating eggs instead of oatmeal has no effect on TMAO levels. It increases carotenoid and choline levels, though.

Liver. Okay, liver has to do the trick. It has high levels of both carnitine and choline. But no: feeding liver (among other foods) to men fails to increase TMAO levels above control.

Carnitine. Forget meat. What if you go straight to the offensive precursor itself and give actual human women a big daily dose of carnitine for, I don’t know, 24 weeks? Surely it will do something bad.

Nope. TMAO skyrockets, an indication that these ladies’ gut bacteria are converting carnitine to TMA and TMAO, but serum C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, L-selectin, P-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and lipid profile markers are completely unaffected. If gut bacterial conversion of carnitine to TMAO is the preeminent risk factor for heart disease, you’d think some of these ladies’ cardiovascular risk factors would have responded. They had half a year to respond. They did not.

Okay, but maybe there’s lag time between TMAO increases and deleterious changes to health. Nope. They followed those same ladies after cessation of carnitine supplementation. Their TMAO levels dropped, but their health markers stayed the same. No change.

And here’s a study where they used carnitine to increase TMAO levels in patients on dialysis. Not only did nothing bad happen, but the carnitine even reduced markers of vascular injuries. Higher TMAO, better health.

Seafood. As I mentioned earlier, fish and shellfish come pre-contaminated with the TMAO precursor TMA. It’s what gives the characteristic fishy odor, and it definitely gets converted to TMAO. In fact, a human study from a few years ago found that feeding people fish spiked TMAO levels by 60 times. A more recent study even concluded that elevated TMAO levels are a reliable marker for cod intake. The more fish you eat, the more TMAO your body will process.

If you’re going to claim that TMAO is dangerous and causes heart disease, you’ll have to make the case that fish is dangerous and causes heart disease. All the evidence we have points in the opposite direction—that fish and shellfish are protective against heart disease.

So, Why Is TMAO Linked To Poor Health Then?

How do we explain the connection between increased TMAO and poor heart health?

Here it is linked to atrial fibrillation.

Here it is linked to stroke.

Here it is predicting heart events.

The connection is there. And in animal models, TMAO even appears to mechanistically increase atherosclerosis. The mice they dosed with TMAO to increase atherosclerosis were genetically engineered to be ApoE knockouts, a strain of lab mouse that gets heart disease from almost everything, but still.

The connection isn’t causal. It’s an observation. There are no controlled studies giving people foods (or even supplements) that raise TMAO and increase disease or death. There aren’t even prospective observational studies where they track a group’s food intake, TMAO levels, and death/disease over time.

You know what I think (and have always thought)?

High TMAO can be a marker for metabolic disease. It could indicate inhibited kidney function, as the kidneys are response for disposing of excess TMAO. It could indicate poor health in general.

The latest evidence is confirming what I’ve long suspected: the reason high TMAO levels are linked to cardiovascular disease and overall mortality is that both type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease cause elevated TMAO levels. The causality is reversed.

What’s one of the kidney’s primary jobs? Excreting waste materials and toxins. What’s going to happen if the kidney begins to fail or lose its functioning? The stuff that used to be excreted starts backing up. TMAO is supposed to be excreted in the urine via the kidneys. If the kidneys aren’t working, TMAO levels skyrocket.

But even then, high TMAO isn’t even necessarily a bad thing. Check out that study I linked to earlier where women were given carnitine every day. Their TMAO levels skyrocketed but nothing bad happened. No health markers worsened. In one study, they even improved.

The Takeaways…

That’s the thing with biology. There are dozens of reasons TMAO could be elevated, some of them bad, some of them harmless, some of them good.

There simply exists no credible evidence that increased TMAO because you’re eating fish, or eggs, or liver, or meat, does anything untoward to your health. I’m not ruling it out. But the evidence just isn’t there. There’s far more evidence that eating fish, eggs, liver, and meat improve your health.

That’s it for today, folks. If you have any further questions about TMAO, leave them down below. Until then, enjoy your choline and carnitine!

Thanks for reading.

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References: 

Schiattarella GG, Sannino A, Toscano E, et al. Gut microbe-generated metabolite trimethylamine-N-oxide as cardiovascular risk biomarker: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. Eur Heart J. 2017;38(39):2948-2956.

Dimarco DM, Missimer A, Murillo AG, et al. Intake of up to 3 Eggs/Day Increases HDL Cholesterol and Plasma Choline While Plasma Trimethylamine-N-oxide is Unchanged in a Healthy Population. Lipids. 2017;52(3):255-263.

Missimer A, Fernandez ML, Dimarco DM, et al. Compared to an Oatmeal Breakfast, Two Eggs/Day Increased Plasma Carotenoids and Choline without Increasing Trimethyl Amine N-Oxide Concentrations. J Am Coll Nutr. 2018;37(2):140-148.

Zhang AQ, Mitchell SC, Smith RL. Dietary precursors of trimethylamine in man: a pilot study. Food Chem Toxicol. 1999;37(5):515-20.

Samulak JJ, Sawicka AK, Hartmane D, et al. L-Carnitine Supplementation Increases Trimethylamine-N-Oxide but not Markers of Atherosclerosis in Healthy Aged Women. Ann Nutr Metab. 2019;74(1):11-17.

Samulak JJ, Sawicka AK, Samborowska E, Olek RA. Plasma Trimethylamine-N-oxide following Cessation of L-carnitine Supplementation in Healthy Aged Women. Nutrients. 2019;11(6)

Fukami K, Yamagishi S, Sakai K, et al. Oral L-carnitine supplementation increases trimethylamine-N-oxide but reduces markers of vascular injury in hemodialysis patients. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2015;65(3):289-95.

Svingen GFT, Zuo H, Ueland PM, et al. Increased plasma trimethylamine-N-oxide is associated with incident atrial fibrillation. Int J Cardiol. 2018;267:100-106.

Liang Z, Dong Z, Guo M, et al. Trimethylamine N-oxide as a risk marker for ischemic stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2019;33(2):e22246.

Haghikia A, Li XS, Liman TG, et al. Gut Microbiota-Dependent Trimethylamine N-Oxide Predicts Risk of Cardiovascular Events in Patients With Stroke and Is Related to Proinflammatory Monocytes. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2018;38(9):2225-2235.

Jia J, Dou P, Gao M, et al. Assessment of Causal Direction Between Gut Microbiota-Dependent Metabolites and Cardiometabolic Health: A Bidirectional Mendelian Randomization Analysis. Diabetes. 2019;68(9):1747-1755.

The post What’s TMAO, and What Does It Have to Do With My Health? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering several questions you guys asked in response to the fish post from last week. First, is being a pescatarian enough? Can you get what you need from seafood without eating meat, dairy, or eggs? Next, how important is fish for a carnivore? Third, how’s that Whole Foods farmed salmon? Healthy or not? Then I write a bit about canned cod liver, the underrated seafood, followed by a short blurb about whether we should worry about wild salmon sustainability as well as a question about taking chlorella to reduce heavy metal absorption from fish.

Let’s go:

Adore this Mark! Thank you!

As a basically pescatarian this has been a wonderful insight. I find it too difficult or just a bit heavy digesting meat often, but I live for seafood!

Quick follow up question- anything I could be missing not eating meat, dairy or eggs and just seafood? If so how best can I combat those issues?

I’m struggling to come up with any major deficiencies you’ll incur eating only seafood for your animal products.

However, simply eating fish probably isn’t good enough. You need to also eat shellfish, particularly the bivalves oysters and mussels.

Most people get their zinc—important for hormone optimization and thus everything—from red meat, but the best source in the entire world is the humble oyster. Just one oyster gives you nearly 100% of your daily zinc, selenium, and copper. But don’t just eat one. Eat multiple oysters often.

An affordable way to obtain oysters is to buy canned or buy the pre-shucked ones. If you get the shucked oysters, make sure they’re fresh as can be. Pick jars with “use by” dates as far off in the future as you can. Sauté these in butter or avocado oil until a crust develops on both sides, or just simmer them in some hot bone broth.

I’d also recommend getting some salmon roe, aka ikura. They usually come salt cured, little globules of DHA, vitamin D, and astaxanthin-rich phospholipids that pop in your mouth. They are far more potent a source of nutrients than salmon flesh (which is already one of the best). You can get them at Japanese markets and sushi restaurants, or order them online in bulk.

I’d eat a variety of fish. If you had to just pick one, wild salmon would be great, but you’ll be better served eating many kinds. Halibut gives great magnesium. Salmon gives great selenium, vitamin D, and omega-3s. Cod is a nice way to pack in the protein. Smaller fish provide calcium, omega-3s, and iron.

Oh, and throw in some shrimp or crabs if only for the cholesterol. I’m of the opinion that dietary cholesterol can be very helpful.

Is it okay for carnivores to skip fish?

No, it’s not. I’ll get flack for this, which I actually welcome, because the truth simply is that carnivores should be eating seafood.

For one, fish is meat. Fish are animals. Carnivores eat animals. Carnivores should eat fish.

For two, every human group who’s ever lived on the coast or within sniffing distance of it has eaten fish, shellfish, and other seafood. Hell, one of the traditional peoples that carnivores like to cite as justification for their diet are the Inuit, who ate an enormous amount of seafood—at least the coastal-living ones.

Three—and this is the most important—fish and other seafood offer nutrients that are often missing from land-based animals. Traditional soil-based foods are less nutrient dense than ever before. Feed for most livestock is more subpar than ever.

Seawater also has a different nutrient profile than soil. Sea animals are rich in iodine, copper, selenium, and manganese. I’m not saying you can’t get selenium, iodine, copper, and manganese from land foods, but it’s much harder and less reliable than eating seafood. And manganese in particular is very hard to get from land-based animals. If you’re not eating sweet potatoes or wheat germ or brown rice, you should eat some mussels—the richest source of manganese on the planet.

Also, opinion on Whole Foods farmed salmon? They convinced me it’s good, and it sure is delicious, but I’m still skeptical.

Whole Foods farmed Atlantic salmon is better than most farmed salmons.

They teamed up with a company that makes a specialized salmon feed containing fish trimmings and microalgae, which increases the omega-3 content of the salmon who eat it. They monitor and remove the PCBs (a common sea-borne toxin) from the feed before the salmon get it.

They use no antibiotics, hormones, or artificial colorants. So, while the farmed salmon at Whole Foods isn’t as brilliantly red as wild salmon, the light pink color it has comes from actual feed, not artificial dyes.

Often overlooked is canned cod liver in its own juices. It delicious and nutritious by itself. And you eat eggs, you can mash it with a few boiled eggs. Also, stay clear of seafoods that comes from the Far East.

Yes, canned cod livers are quite mild and tasty. They’re canned in their own cod liver oil and make a great source of vitamin D, vitamin A, and long chain omega-3s.

Find them in European markets or online.

If you’re not getting enough vitamin D or retinol (animal form of vitamin A, far more bioavailable) from your diet and lifestyle, cod liver oil can help. A big spoonful of cod liver oil used to be standard protocol for kids growing up for good reason—it’s great for immune function.

I believe we can leave the salmon a bit out (besides worries about contamination) – what about the other animals in the planet besides the humans that also deserve to consume these species?

Salmon is the oldest word in the Indo-European family of languages. Humans have been eating them for tens of thousands of years. They’re that important to us.

The more well-caught wild salmon we all fork out our money to buy, the more sustainable the salmon industry gets. Money talks. You won’t save the salmon by not eating them. That’s not how this works. Even the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, the global leader in analysis of sustainable seafood, calls wild-caught salmon a “best” choice.

Mark,
Great article. I usually take some chlorella when I eat high mercury fish. Will that provide adequate protection fro the heavy metals?

Chlorella can definitely remove heavy metals from humans. In one study, 90 days of chlorella supplementation lowered mercury levels in people with dental implants. In rats given cadmium, taking chlorella increases urinary excretion of cadmium and decreases its absorption.

That’s promising. However, I’m not sure if taking a single dose of chlorella as needed will inhibit acute absorption of mercury. It might need to be an ongoing process.

Thanks for stopping in today, everybody. Have a question for me on these or other Primal related topics? Let me know down below.

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In nutrition, there are very few universal consensuses. Conventional wisdom says that fat makes you fat and whole grains are essential, and millions of people agree, but the ancestral health and keto communities (and reality) disagree. Primal and keto folks don’t worry much about saturated fat and limit polyunsaturated fat; conventional health advocates do the opposite. The opinion on meat intake varies wildly, with some people suggesting we eat nothing but red meat, others recommending “palm-sized” pieces of strictly white meat, and still others cautioning against any meat at all. Pick a food and you can find a sizable group that hates it and a sizable one that loves it. You can find researchers who spend their lives making the case against it and researchers who spend their lives making the case for it.

But not fish. Fish is about as close to a universal as any food. Barring the vegans and vegetarians (some of whom, however, are sneaking wild salmon when their followers aren’t watching), everyone appreciates and extols the virtues of eating seafood. Including me.

Sea Food = Sea Change: The Evolutionary Story

Remember: I always view things through an evolutionary prism. It’s where I begin. If something doesn’t make sense in the light of evolution, it probably doesn’t make sense at all. And seafood has been one of the most important dietary factors in human brain development. Without the selenium, iodine, zinc, iron, copper, and DHA found abundantly in fish and shellfish, human brain encephalization—the massive increase in relative size and complexity of the brain representing a shift toward higher order thought—wouldn’t have been easy to pull off. Maybe impossible.

If the human brain came to rely on the nutrients found in seafood for its evolution, it stands to reason that they remain important. The studies bear this out. Fish offers unique and important benefits to humans living today.

Not to mention the imbalanced, inflammatory omega-3:omega-6 ratios most of us have, or had. Even if you’ve been Primal for ten years, you spent a good portion of your life eating the standard Western diet full of industrial seed oils high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s from seafood help correct that balance.

The Modern Picture: Calm the Alarm

But there’s a problem, isn’t there? If you listen to the alarmists, our seas are overfished and full of toxins, and the fish that remain are dripping with mercury, cadmium, and other heavy metals. Farmed fish are even worse, some say; they swim in tepid baths of antibiotics, soybean oil, and glyphosate. Besides, oceanic acidification is killing all the delicious fish and shellfish and crustaceans. Pretty soon the only thing served at Red Lobster will be fried jellyfish.

Though there are glimmers of truth to all those claims, they’re certainly exaggerated:

  • There are still plenty of excellent and sustainable seafood choices to make, according to Seafood Watch, which takes environmental impacts, overfishing, and other ecological and safety concerns into account.
  • While some species are indeed overburdened with heavy metal contamination, plenty aren’t. Eat salmon, sardines, mackerel, younger, smaller tuna. Besides, most seafood—in one study, this included shrimp, crabs, squid, and tropical fish in the Atlantic Ocean—is high enough in selenium that it binds to and prevents absorption of mercury.
  • Jellies may be taking over, or they may be following the natural 20-year boom and bust cycle observed throughout history.
  • Even farmed salmon isn’t as bad as we might assume. And farmed mollusks—oysters, clams, mussels—are as good as wild, since they live no differently from their wild cousins.

Even if all those claims were totally on the level, we’re faced with a grand overarching truth: You have to eat something. What, are you gonna eat vegan meat patties instead of cod, salmon, sardines, and oysters? Drink Soylent? Go vegan? Go Breatharian?

Of course not. You need to eat seafood. You know you should.

But isn’t it too expensive?

For one thing, I already mentioned that safe farmed fish exists. Farmed salmon probably isn’t as bad as we’ve been led to believe (or assume), as long as you watch out for the egregious ones. U.S.-farmed trout, barramundi, and catfish show up with very low toxin levels and good nutrient profiles. And farmed bivalves like oysters, clams, and mussels are raised like they’re wild. There’s basically no difference between a farmed oyster and a wild oyster. They both live out in the ocean attached to rocks, munching on what the sea provides.

Two, wild seafood isn’t always expensive.

Restaurant supply shops, Walmart, and other large stores often have frozen wild salmon, cod, and other wild fish for cheap, about $5-6 per pound.

At Costco, you can get wild caught salmon (at least on the West coast) in season for $5-6 pound. You might have to buy it whole, though (recipe down below). They also have other types of wild fish for good prices.

Canned seafood is a viable option.

Fish and Seafood: How To Optimize the Benefits

Why We Need Seafood

First, evolutionary precedent, which I already discussed. It’s folly to ignore the long history of humans eating seafood. It’s higher folly to ignore the importance of seafood in human brain evolution. Wherever they have access, people eat seafood.

Second, the benefits are well-established. Even if the links to better health are purely correlational (and they’re not, since we have controlled trials listed above), seafood looks great on paper: bioavailable protein, high levels of essential nutrients, the best source of long chained omega-3 fatty acids.

Third, seafood is a reliable source of important micronutrients that may be lacking on a terrestrial Primal, keto, or carnivore diet. Selenium, magnesium, folate, astaxanthin, and vitamin E can be tough to get if you’re just eating steaks and ground beef.

A recent study on the ketogenic Mediterranean diet had great results feeding its participants over two pounds of fish per day. Two. Pounds. Mostly salmon, sardines, and mackerel, which are fatty omega-3 rich fish very low in contaminants.

But what about those who say they’re meat eaters, turf people who claim grass-fed beef and pastured pork is enough for them? Fish is meat. Fish are animals. You’re seriously limiting your options—and selling your ancestors short—by willfully avoiding seafood. And you’re probably missing out on some important nutrients. Like iodine, for example, which doesn’t show up in the standard nutritional databases but is incredibly important for brain and thyroid health and almost certainly appears most abundantly in seafood.

What Exactly Should I Eat?

Okay,  so should I just throw in some salmon and be on my way?

Salmon is a great start, but there’s way more fish (and bivalves, crustaceans, and cephalopods) in the sea.

Can’t I just take fish oil? As a fish oil purveyor, I wish I could say that fish oil is enough. It offers incredible benefits not to be dismissed, but it’s not equivalent to food either. The fact is, I do both. Seafood contains a ton more than just the omega-3s. Just check it out….

  • Salmon: Vitamin D3, B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, selenium.
  • Cod: B-vitamins, magnesium, selenium, potassium
  • Halibut: B-vitamins, vitamin D3, magnesium, selenium, potassium
  • Sardines (canned): B-vitamins, vitamin D3, selenium, calcium (if bone-in), iron, copper
  • Scallops: Vitamin B12, magnesium, folate, selenium, zinc.
  • Oysters: B-vitamins, magnesium, selenium, zinc, copper, iron, omega-3s, manganese
  • Mussels: B-vitamins, selenium, zinc, manganese, folate, omega-3s
  • Clams: Vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, vitamin A
  • Shrimp: B-vitamins, magnesium, selenium, zinc, astaxanthin (a potent carotenoid, great for ocular and mental health)
  • Crab: B-vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, folate, selenium, zinc, copper
  • Lobster: B-vitamins, vitamin E, selenium
  • Squid: B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium, vitamin E
  • Octopus: B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium

Although I didn’t mention it, every single sea creature you can eat is a very good source of highly bioavailable protein and, usually, creatine.

And some studies even suggest that fish proteins themselves offer unique benefits.

Most of the research is in animals, but it’s compelling and another good—if speculative—reason to include fish in your diet.

I’m Sold. How Much Should I Eat?

Keeping in mind the contamination in certain varieties, eat much as you can afford/tolerate. It’s hard to eat too much seafood. In my experience, there seems to be a built-in regulatory mechanism that reduces the palatability of seafood at a certain level of consumption. A big slab of wild sockeye salmon is fantastic, but I can’t eat pounds of it like I can with a grass-fed ribeye.

You can also use omega-3:omega-6 ratio as an indicator. Run the numbers on the seafood you’re eating and aim for a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio and you should be golden.

In my opinion, leaner fish has no upper limit. Eat as you desire.

Keep in mind that the keto Mediterranean diet study I recently discussed gave over 2 pounds of fish to participants every day, and they had great results. Two. Pounds. Mostly salmon, sardines, and mackerel, which are fatty omega-3 rich fish very low in contaminants. After 12 weeks of that:

  • They lost 30+ pounds.
  • Their BMIs dropped from almost 37 to 31.5, from the middle of class 2 obesity to the bottom of class 1 obesity.
  • They lost 16 centimeters, or 6 inches, from their waist.
  • Fasting blood sugar dropped from 118 (pre-diabetic) to 91 (ideal).
  • Triglycerides dropped from 224 to 109.
  • HDL increased from 44 to 58.
  • They went from prehypertensive to normotensive.
  • Their liver enzymes and liver fat reduced and in some cases completely resolved.
  • All 22 subjects started the study with metabolic syndrome and ended it without metabolic syndrome.

As always, pay attention to how you feel. Eat and observe. Make it an official N=1 experiment and look for the feedback it provides.

How I Do Seafood

Okay, but how do you eat it? How do you prepare it?

Admittedly, there’s a lot less room for error with seafood.  It goes bad more quickly, cooks faster, and simply isn’t as forgiving. We’ve all had the experience of buying some salmon fresh from the butcher, keeping it in your fridge a half day too long because we weren’t sure how to prepare it, and having to throw it out. That’s the worst.

I’m not a big “recipe” guy (I have people who help me parse out my creations into legible formats for blog posts and cookbooks). I like to improvise. A dish here, a dash there. So, I’m just going to give a freeform account of how I eat fish, shellfish, and other seafood. If you need clarification on something, feel free to ask in the comment board.

I like doing a kind of pseudo-ceviche using any high quality lean fish—halibut’s great—marinated in Primal Kitchen® Greek Dressing & Marinade with a few splashes of tamari or soy sauce and some diced fresno chile. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then plow into it. Really good, even though if you tried to serve this in Peru they’d probably arrest you.

I always have canned sardines from Wild Planet in my pantry. A favorite quick (and keto-friendly) meal is to do a can or two of sardines mashed up with an avocado and a tablespoon or two of Greek Goddess dressing.

If I’m doing salmon, I’ll sometimes marinate the fish in the Primal Kitchen No-Soy Teriyaki.

Another great way to cook fish is in a curry. Sear the fish, making sure to get crispy skin if it’s on. Set aside. In the same pan without washing or draining, heat up some garlic, ginger, chili peppers (if you like it hot), and onions (or shallots), adding more fat if you need it. Salt. When they’ve softened, add the curry powder or paste. Cook for a minute or so. Then add some bone broth and coconut milk. Reduce until you’ve reached the texture you desire. I’ll keep gelatin powder on hand to whisk in if it doesn’t have enough body. At the last moment, add the fish back in and toss to coat.

Scallops? Either raw at a good sushi joint, preferably separated by thinly sliced lemon, or seared in butter followed by a pan reduction with white wine and butter. By the way, for those who are interested, Butcher Box has some killer scallops now (it’s literally the last day to grab the deal—apologies to anyone reading this tomorrow.) And full disclosure—I’ve always been a proud affiliate. They do things right there.

Clam chowder is still the best way to eat clams, roasted on an open fire on the beach with a little sand still in there. Maybe it’s just the New England in me.

Anytime I’m out at a decent restaurant I trust with oysters on the menu, I order them. At least a half dozen, raw. I also like the canned smoked oysters from Crown Prince.

Mussels I like the classic way: cooked in butter, white wine, and garlic. Only modification I make is after the mussels have cooked, I remove them from the pan, sprinkle in some gelatin powder, and reduce down to make a viscous sauce.

Cod or other similar lean white fishes are best in lots of butter and garlic, followed by a squeeze of lemon.

Whole salmon? Clean, gut, and scale. If you can, keep the liver. It’s delicious. Salt and pepper the interior and exterior of the salmon. Cut some deep vertical slashes in the outside, on both sides. Stuff shallots, garlic, and lemon slices into the interior and inside the slashes. Coat with avocado oil, then grill over indirect heat with the cover on until skin is crispy and flesh is lightly pink and flaky, or bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.

If I’m ever cooking a cephalopod, it’s all about the Instant Pot. Throw some bone broth, lemon juice, and olive oil in the pot with the squid or octopus and cook on manual for 15-20 minutes. If you like, you can take it out, allow it to cool, then grill it over coals or open flame. Save the broth.

Whenever I cook fish, I use either monounsaturated fats (as found in avocado oil and olive oil) or saturated fats (as found in butter and coconut oil). Both types of fats enhance absorption of omega-3 fatty acids, whereas omega-6 fats inhibit it. Both omega-3 and omega-6 compete for the same absorption pathway.

When applicable (as in curry), I also use turmeric to cook my fish. Turmeric and its curcumin enhances absorption of omega-3s, specifically increasing DHA levels in the brain.

I know seafood is intimidating for some people. They don’t like the “fishiness.” They don’t know how to cook it. It’s “too expensive.” It goes bad too quickly. Hopefully, after today you feel a bit better about cooking and eating seafood. Hopefully, you feel equipped and empowered to incorporate some salmon, cod, trout, oysters, and other marine animals into your diet.

Take care, everyone, and please leave your favorite ways to eat seafood down below. How much seafood do you eat? What’s your go-to recipe? What underrated sea animal do you covet but others do not?

Thanks for reading!

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The post The Definitive Guide To Fish: Why and How To Eat It appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions from last week’s olive oil post. First, is there a way to identify real olive oil and distinguish it from fraudulent olive oil? Second, should EVOO be used when grilling food? Third, how can we know if our canned seafood is packed in real, actual olive oil and not some industrial seed swill? Fourth, is algae oil worth eating? And fifth, what about just eating whole olives? Finally, why not just eat beef fat, which is also relatively high in MUFA?

Let’s go:

I’ve read that some “olive oil” has canola or other oils mixed in, fraudulently. Is that still an issue, and is there any way to be sure (reliable brands or sources) that what you are buying is pure and authentic?

It’s still an issue.

It all started after a raid by Italian police discovered that many olive oil producers were adding chlorophyll to sunflower and soybean oil and passing it off as EVOO. Later, UC Davis conducted a study on popular brands of imported EVOO, finding that about 70% were adulterated with seed oils. Other studies have found similar results.

Find a brand you trust. Research a maker, whether it’s a local market or a specialty brand you find at the store.

There’s this master list of olive oils certified by the North American Olive Oil Association for quality and authenticity. Many are commonly available in grocery stores.

I like it drizzled over cottage cheese for lunch or brunch, topped with cracked pepper, yum!

Finally someone agrees! This is indeed the best way to consume cottage cheese, for those who don’t know. Use at least a teaspoon of pepper, as much as you can handle.

I typically use an EVOO spray on meats before searing on the grill. Could this be harmful with the flame on high?

I wouldn’t recommend EVOO for high heat or direct flame. Personally, I use an oil made for high heat cooking in that kind of situation.

Mark,
How can one be assured that they’re packed in genuine EVOO? Is there some source/website that lists those that have been tested and verified? Call me a skeptic. If I’m Crown Prince, King Oscar, Starkist, or whoever, I’m buying massive quantities of olive oil for my fish packing operation. And the cheaper price gets my business. I’m not sending samples off to a lab to test if it’s authentic EVOO.

Good question. I can’t attest to any particular brand. It’s possible some adulterated oil could slip in, and I was unable to find any mention of it in the online literature.

If you’re concerned, drain the oil. Even if a half gram of omega-6 PUFA were to slip by, the actual fish in the can is rich enough in omega-3s that I wouldn’t worry.

For what it’s worth, I doubt something like Wild Planet sardines (what I generally buy) uses fake olive oil. Unless I’m including it specifically for a recipe, I usually pour the oil into a bowl for my dog to eat, since it’s good for her, too. (You can imagine how much she enjoys it….)  Her fur shows the benefit as well.

Terrific info, thank you!
Can you do the same breakdown and analysis of algae oil? Please. I’m using ‘thrive’ brand. Thanks!

Algae oil is a good source of long chain omega-3s and has been shown to improve omega-3:omega-6 ratio in people and animals, a strong indication it “works.” Algae represents the “source” of DHA for most of the seafood we eat, in fact. Great way for vegans and vegetarians to get them.

Don’t use it for cooking. Omega-3 fats are very fragile in the presence of heat, unless protected by the

To what extent do you get the same benefits from just eating olives? I’m usually more inclined to do that… wondering if there’s any research on the health benefits?

Yep, olives are great. Love them. There isn’t really any research into olive consumption, and you’d have to get about two dozen olives to get a tablespoon worth of EVOO, but they’re bound to be good for you. Just account for the sodium intake.

Every time I see these claims about EVVO, I think:
1. EVOO is rich in MUFAs; so is BEEF FAT.
2. BEEF FAT is rich in SFAs; so is EVOO.
3. EVOO is rich in polyphenols. Does polyphenols show some improvement in healthspan and longevity in humans in a prospective study?
4. EVOO is a liquid fat. There are some studies showing that liquid fats increases intestinal permeability.
OBS.: yes, I´m doing carnivore.

1. Agreed. Beef fat is rich in MUFAs, just like EVOO.

2. Beef fat is rich in SFA, but it’s a particular type of SFA (stearic acid) that turns into MUFA in the body. EVOO isn’t really rich in SFA, though it’s rich in the MUFA that stearic acid becomes.

3. Plant phytonutrients actually do have consistent inverse associations with mortality in humans. More phytonutrients, longer lifespan. However, this isn’t measuring cause and effect. It’s very possible that people who eat more polyphenols also do other types of healthy behaviors, like exercise regularly and avoid smoking, that definitely improve longevity.

4. If anything, MUFAs (the primary fat in liquid EVOO) along with omega-3s are protective against intestinal permeability. And let’s not forget that less intestinal permeability isn’t necessarily a good thing. Increased intestinal permeability can be physiological, or it can be pathogenic.

I get the carnivore thing. I’m not against it. Beef fat is great, too. But the evidence in favor of EVOO is quite robust. Definitely robust enough for my taste.

Thanks for reading, writing, and asking, everyone. Take care and be sure to comment down below if you have any more questions!

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References:

Kim Y, Je Y. Flavonoid intake and mortality from cardiovascular disease and all causes: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2017;20:68-77.

Cândido FG, Valente FX, Grze?kowiak ?M, Moreira APB, Rocha DMUP, Alfenas RCG. Impact of dietary fat on gut microbiota and low-grade systemic inflammation: mechanisms and clinical implications on obesity. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2018;69(2):125-143.

The post Dear Mark: Olive Oil Followup appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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On mornings when a bowl of oatmeal is what your body craves, this hearty and comforting Primal breakfast cereal is exactly what you need. Coconut flakes, almonds, pecans, and the milk of your choice are blended into a creamy, oatmeal-like cereal and topped with fresh berries.

Make Primal oatmeal in the morning or the night before. Serve it hot or cold. Personalize your bowl by using different types of nuts and non-dairy milks, sweetening with pure maple syrup or yacon syrup instead of a Medjool date, and adding more flavor and nutrients with add-ins like butter, cinnamon or chia seeds. However you do it, “oatmeal” doesn’t get any tastier than this.

Serving: 1 larger serving 

Time in the Kitchen: 5 minutes (plus, time to soak the nuts, if desired)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (16 g)
  • ¼ cup raw almonds, preferably soaked (1.25 oz/37 g)
  • ¼ cup raw pecans, preferably soaked (1 oz/25 g)
  • ½ cup coconut milk or whipping cream/full-fat milk/half and half (120 ml)
  • 1 pitted medjool date, soaked for 20 minutes in hot water (Can omit or substitute stevia, Swerve or yacon syrup.)
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Coconut Primal Fuel
  • Pinch of salt

Optional Add-ins:

  • Fresh berries
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds*

Instructions:

In a high-powered blender, chop the coconut flakes and nuts until finely ground.

Add the milk, date (if desired) and a pinch of salt. Blend until thick and smooth.

Pour into serving bowls. Add more of your favorite milk, if desired, plus additional add-ins. Serve hot or cold.

Nutritional Information (with date, without toppings):

  • Calories: 680
  • Total Carbs: 27 grams
  • Net Carbs: 17.3 grams
  • Fat: 60 grams
  • Protein: 19 grams

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The post Primal + Keto Cooking Made Easy: Primal Oatmeal appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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