Dr. Steven Bratman coined the term orthorexia (“right appetite”) more than two decades ago to describe what happens when health-conscious diets go too far.

Although it still hasn’t been accepted as an official medical diagnosis, orthorexia nervosa is a proposed eating disorder that involves an extreme obsession with eating a “correct” diet. People with orthorexia nervosa strive to eat only foods they consider healthy and strictly avoid foods they deem to be unhealthy or impure. Their obsession with eating a healthy diet takes over their lives, eventually impairing their mental, social, and even physical well-being.

The topic of orthorexia is controversial within health circles. On the surface, it can be hard to distinguish between folks who are simply health-conscious and those who have crossed the line into disordered eating. Any diet—even relatively mainstream ones like Mediterranean or paleo—could veer into orthorexia depending on the individual.

People who raise concerns about orthorexia often get accused of “fit-shaming.” Then the straw man arguments begin: “Oh, so I guess it’s healthier just to eat Twinkies and Big Macs, then?” No, obviously not. Orthorexia starts with food rules or following diets, but it’s much more than that.

To be clear: Wanting to be healthy is not orthorexic. Neither is believing that some foods are healthier or more nutritious than others. Cutting out certain foods, tracking macronutrients, or following a specific diet is not inherently problematic.

However, those behaviors can be stepping stones to orthorexia, so this is a conversation we need to be willing to have.

What is Orthorexia Nervosa?

Orthorexia nervosa is a preoccupation with healthy eating that ultimately interferes with health and well-being.

The first stage involves setting rules and restrictions around what foods you will and will not eat. Specific rules vary from person to person. An individual might avoid gluten, food additives, GMOs, dairy, animal products, nightshades, sugar, artificial sweeteners, grains, or whatever they deem to be unhealthy.

Before you get defensive, understand that food rules are only step one. They are necessary but not sufficient for developing orthorexia nervosa. Many people follow set diets or restrict certain food groups without developing orthorexia. Diet behaviors don’t cross the line into orthorexia nervosa until they start to interfere with quality of life.

Definition of Orthorexia Nervosa

Eating disorders and other mental health disorders each have a set of diagnostic criteria. These are like checklists that help doctors and therapists decide when a particular diagnosis is warranted. Currently, orthorexia nervosa is not recognized as an eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). That means there are no agreed-upon diagnostic criteria.

Nevertheless, researchers and practitioners need to be able to differentiate an ardent healthy-eating enthusiast from someone who has crossed the line into disordered eating. Experts have proposed various ways of defining orthorexia nervosa.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4340368/‘>2 Perfectionism and narcissism may also contribute to orthorexic tendencies.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27756637/‘>4 More research is needed in each of these areas.

It’s not clear whether orthorexia nervosa is related to gender, age, or BMI.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26724459/‘>6 We’d expect these folks to prioritize healthy eating, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their beliefs or behaviors are problematic.

Healthy Orthorexia Versus Orthorexia Nervosa

Although the concept of orthorexia is more than two decades old at this point, researchers and clinicians are still trying to draw a clear line between healthy and unhealthy concerns about food. In 2018, researchers from two Spanish universities proposed a new tool called the Teruel Orthorexia Scale to separately measure “healthy orthorexia” and orthorexia nervosa.https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0219609‘>8 Because this is a new measure, we’ll have to wait for more studies to provide insight into this vital distinction.

Conclusion

At its core, orthorexia is “clean eating” taken too far.

Hopefully it’s clear that orthorexia is about much more than simply being health-conscious. As Dr. Bratman explains:

“Adopting a theory of healthy eating is NOT orthorexia. A theory may be conventional or unconventional, extreme or lax, sensible or totally wacky, but, regardless of the details, followers of the theory do not necessarily have orthorexia. …Enthusiasm for healthy eating doesn’t become ‘orthorexia’ until a tipping point is reached and enthusiasm transforms into obsession [sic].”

You can believe that diet profoundly impacts health, avoid specific foods, weigh and track all your food, and still go about your merry way without developing orthorexia nervosa.

But, if you feel your diet taking over your life, or if the thought of eating something off-plan makes you break into a cold sweat, it’s a good idea to seek help. Even though it’s not an officially recognized mental health disorder, many eating disorder specialists focus on treating individuals with orthorexia nervosa. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) hotline is a good place to start.

Orthorexia Nervosa FAQs

Is orthorexia an obsession with healthy eating?

“Orthorexia” means wanting to eat “correctly.” The term may be used to describe disordered eating, as in orthorexia nervosa. That is an obsession or preoccupation with eating only specific foods that you consider healthy and avoiding foods you think are unhealthy.

What are the main warning signs or symptoms of orthorexia nervosa?

The defining characteristics are: (1) having strict food rules about what you will and will not eat based on your definition of “healthy,” and (2) those rules negatively impact your psychological, social, and/or physical well-being. Truly healthy diets should enhance, not detract from, your quality of life.

How common is orthorexia nervosa?

No one really knows because of problems with how orthorexia nervosa has been measured in the past. Estimates range from as few as 3 percent of people in the general population to more than 80 percent in health-focused communities, but those numbers may not be reliable.https://etd.ohiolink.edu/apexprod/rws_olink/r/1501/10?clear=10&p10_accession_num=kent1585488932218267‘>10

Is fasting or eating only one meal a day the same as orthorexia?

Orthorexia nervosa has to do with beliefs about food quality and eating only “healthy” foods. People may also use fasting to try to achieve health, but that isn’t the same as orthorexia. The same goes for excessive exercise. Both can co-occur with orthorexia, but they aren’t themselves orthorexic.

Is my ______ diet orthorexic?

No diet is inherently orthorexic, no matter how restrictive it is. Context always matters. You can’t decide if someone’s diet is orthorexic without knowing why they are following it and how it is impacting their emotional health, physical health, social relationships, occupation, and overall quality of life.

Primal Kitchen Buffalo


The post Orthorexia: Where to Draw the Line Between Healthy Eating and Obsession? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

Powered by WPeMatico

 

Sometimes, trending recipes aren’t what you were expecting. Other times, they’re a hit with your whole family. This is one of those times. This TikTok tortilla hack turns a plain old tortilla into a hearty meal or treat in just a few minutes, and the possibilities for fillings are endless. We’re offering up a few recipes to get you started, but soon you’ll find yourself adding a little of this or that to put your own creative spin on the popular folded tortilla wrap.

Have the Kids Make Their Own Folded Tortilla

Kids are more likely to eat foods that they prepared themselves. Give them a sense of control by letting them choose what goes in each quadrant. Folding tortillas this way solves a challenging part of eating wraps when your hands are little – it turns the tortilla into a cup that holds all the goodies inside!

Other Ideas for Tortilla Fillings

Savory

  • Sauteed peppers and onions
  • Sliced sausage
  • Sauteed kale
  • Feta or goat cheese
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Ranch dressing
  • Pesto mayo

Sweet

  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Homemade nutella
  • Homemade marshmallows

Here’s how to make a bacon avocado breakfast folded tortilla, and a chocolate strawberry bacon breakfast tortilla.

Avocado Bacon Breakfast Tortilla Wrap

Ingredients

Almond flour tortilla (Siete or Whole Foods brand)
1 fried egg
2 slices cooked bacon, broken into a few pieces
1/4 sliced avocado
1/2 oz. cheese of choice
Primal Kitchen® Avocado Oil Spray or Avocado Oil
Salsa for dipping

Directions

Preheat a seasoned cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Once hot, add a little avocado oil or use avocado oil spray. Place the tortilla in the pan and let it heat up for 15 seconds on each side. You want the tortilla to be pliable and soft, but not to the point where it gets too toasted and gets tough.

Quickly cut a slit halfway through the center of the tortilla. Orient the tortilla so the cut side of the tortilla is facing you.

Arrange the fillings in each quadrant of the tortilla.

Fold the bottom left flap of the tortilla up to meet the top left. Flip that section to the right to cover the top right quadrant. Then flip one more time to cover the bottom right quadrant.

Add a little more avocado spray to the pan. Once the oil is hot, place the folded tortilla in it. If needed, you can gently press the tortilla down with a small skillet or bottom of a heavy jar.

Flip the folded tortilla over with a spatula until both sides are nice and browned.

Repeat with additional tortillas and fillings.

Eat your tortillas as is, or dip the savory breakfast tortillas in salsa!

 

Print

Tortilla Hack: Avocado Bacon Breakfast folded Tortilla



  • Author:
    Mark’s Daily Apple

  • Prep Time:
    5

  • Cook Time:
    2

  • Total Time:
    7

  • Yield:
    1 serving

  • Diet:
    Gluten Free

Description

That tortilla hack you saw on TikTok? We made it Primal using an almond flour tortilla. Here’s a savory avocado bacon breakfast tortilla wrap that takes just minutes to make.

 


Ingredients

Almond flour tortilla (Siete or Whole Foods brand)
1 fried egg
2 slices cooked bacon, broken into a few pieces
1/4 sliced avocado
1/2 oz. cheese of choice
Primal Kitchen® Avocado Oil Spray or Avocado Oil
Salsa for dipping


Instructions

Preheat a seasoned cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Once hot, add a little avocado oil or use avocado oil spray. Place the tortilla in the pan and let it heat up for 15 seconds on each side. You want the tortilla to be pliable and soft, but not to the point where it gets too toasted and gets tough.

Quickly cut a slit halfway through the center of the tortilla. Orient the tortilla so the cut side of the tortilla is facing you.

Arrange the fillings in each quadrant of the tortilla.

Fold the bottom left flap of the tortilla up to meet the top left. Flip that section to the right to cover the top right quadrant. Then flip one more time to cover the bottom right quadrant.

Add a little more avocado spray to the pan. Once the oil is hot, place the folded tortilla in it. If needed, you can gently press the tortilla down with a small skillet or bottom of a heavy jar.

Flip the folded tortilla over with a spatula until both sides are nice and browned.

Repeat with additional tortillas and fillings.

Eat your tortillas as is, or dip into your favorite salsa!

Notes

If your eggs are large, you might need to cut the fried egg in half before placing on the tortilla. You could also try using small or medium eggs instead. I simply fried them in a cast iron pan until the yolks were soft, but feel free to prepare them however you like!

The tortillas I used were Whole Foods Brand grain-free almond flour tortillas – Siete brand tortillas work too. They are about 7 inches wide. If you use a larger tortilla, you may want to add more of each filling.

In lieu of heating the tortilla in a skillet, you can also wrap it in a damp paper towel and place in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, but I found the skillet to be easier and faster.

After some testing, the arrangement of the fillings in each of their quadrants in the images seems to be the best way to get the tortilla to stick together, but of course feel free to put the ingredients wherever you’d like!

  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 wrap
  • Calories: 423.9
  • Sugar: .7g
  • Sodium: 620.3mg
  • Fat: 34.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5.3g
  • Trans Fat: .2g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.1 g
  • Fiber: 4.3 g
  • Protein: 16.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 229 mg

Keywords: tiktok tortilla, tortilla hack, tiktok tortilla wrap, breakfast tortilla, breakfast burrito, avocado egg and bacon breakfast burrito

Bacon Chocolate Strawberry Folded Tortilla Wrap

Ingredients

Almond flour tortilla (Siete or Whole Foods brand)
1-2 slices cooked bacon, broken into a few pieces
1-2 thinly sliced strawberries
1/2 tbsp. melted dark chocolate (we used 95%)
1/2 tbsp. nut butter of choice
Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Spray or Avocado Oil
Dark chocolate for dipping

Directions

Preheat a seasoned cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Once hot, add a little avocado oil or use avocado oil spray. Place the tortilla in the pan and let it heat up for 15 seconds on each side. You want the tortilla to be pliable and soft, but not to the point where it gets too toasted and gets tough.

Quickly cut a slit halfway through the center of the tortilla. Orient the tortilla so the cut side of the tortilla is facing you.

Arrange the fillings in each quadrant of the tortilla.

Fold the bottom left flap of the tortilla up to meet the top left. Flip that section to the right to cover the top right quadrant. Then flip one more time to cover the bottom right quadrant.

Add a little more avocado spray to the pan. Once the oil is hot, place the folded tortilla in it. If needed, you can gently press the tortilla down with a small skillet or bottom of a heavy jar.

Flip the folded tortilla over with a spatula until both sides are nice and browned.

Repeat with additional tortillas and fillings.

Eat your tortillas as is, or dip the sweet tortillas in melted chocolate!

 

Print

Tortilla Hack: Chocolate Strawberry Bacon Wrap



  • Author:
    Mark’s Daily Apple

  • Prep Time:
    5 min

  • Cook Time:
    2 min

  • Total Time:
    7 min

  • Yield:
    1 wrap

  • Diet:
    Gluten Free

Description

Everyone’s favorite combination: salty and sweet. This chocolate strawberry bacon wrap uses an almond flour tortilla to keep it gluten-free and grain-free.

 

 


Ingredients

Almond flour tortilla (Siete or Whole Foods brand)
12 slices cooked bacon, broken into a few pieces
12 thinly sliced strawberries
1/2 tbsp. melted dark chocolate (we used 95%)
1/2 tbsp. nut butter of choice
Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Spray or Avocado Oil
Dark chocolate for dipping


Instructions

Preheat a seasoned cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Once hot, add a little avocado oil or use avocado oil spray. Place the tortilla in the pan and let it heat up for 15 seconds on each side. You want the tortilla to be pliable and soft, but not to the point where it gets too toasted and gets tough.

Quickly cut a slit halfway through the center of the tortilla. Orient the tortilla so the cut side of the tortilla is facing you.

Arrange the fillings in each quadrant of the tortilla.

Fold the bottom left flap of the tortilla up to meet the top left. Flip that section to the right to cover the top right quadrant. Then flip one more time to cover the bottom right quadrant.

Add a little more avocado spray to the pan. Once the oil is hot, place the folded tortilla in it. If needed, you can gently press the tortilla down with a small skillet or bottom of a heavy jar.

Flip the folded tortilla over with a spatula until both sides are nice and browned.

Repeat with additional tortillas and fillings.

Eat your tortillas as is, or dip the sweet tortillas in melted chocolate!

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 wrap
  • Calories: 323.73
  • Sugar: 2.2 g
  • Sodium: 281 mg
  • Fat: 25.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.8 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3.6 g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 11.13 g
  • Fiber: 5.7 g
  • Protein: 8.76 g
  • Cholesterol: 15 mg

Tips

  • If your eggs are large, you might need to cut the fried egg in half before placing on the tortilla. You could also try using small or medium eggs instead. I simply fried them in a cast iron pan until the yolks were soft, but feel free to prepare them however you like!
  • The tortillas I used were Whole Foods Brand grain-free almond flour tortillas – Siete brand tortillas work too. They are about 7 inches wide. If you use a larger tortilla, you may want to add more of each filling.
  • In lieu of heating the tortilla in a skillet, you can also wrap it in a damp paper towel and place in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, but I found the skillet to be easier and faster.
  • After some testing, the arrangement of the fillings in each of their quadrants in the images seems to be the best way to get the tortilla to stick together, but of course feel free to put the ingredients wherever you’d like!

Primal-Kitchen-Buffalo-Sauce


The post That Tortilla Hack You Saw on TikTok (Savory and Sweet Options!) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

Powered by WPeMatico

woman buying meat at the grocery store

Dear Mark,
A friend of mine just found out that I’ve been eating a keto diet for the past few months, and they told me I should stop right away and get my selenium levels checked. They said I could be at risk of a heart attack because of keto. Now I’m freaking out a bit. Help?

Don’t freak out. Let’s look at the evidence.

First Off, What is Selenium, and Why Do We Need It?

Selenium is an essential trace element that we get from our diets. Enzymes called selenoproteins play a variety of important roles throughout the body. Notably, selenoproteins in the thyroid gland facilitate the conversion of T4 to T3.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11848134/‘>2 This is the case with Keshan disease, a potentially fatal cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle). Keshan is a region in China where the soil is depleted of selenium. As a result, residents were suffering high rates of heart disease before a supplementation program was introduced. Selenium deficiencies can also lead to male infertility because a selenoprotein known as GPx4 protects spermatozoa from oxidative stress.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1829306‘>4 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20031863/‘>6 Selenium supplementation doesn’t appear to prevent heart disease, but clinical trials have mostly been carried out in adult males who already get enough selenium from their diets.https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/‘>8 So already, your friend’s basic premise seems shaky, but let’s do our due diligence here and ask whether following a keto diet puts you at greater risk.

Is There Any Evidence that Keto Causes Selenium Deficiency?

Yes, specifically among children who were prescribed a therapeutic ketogenic diet to treat intractable epilepsy.

As of 2020, there were at least 66 documented cases of selenium deficiency among children on a therapeutic ketogenic diet.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12681013‘>10 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10881264/‘>12 so selenium might not have been the culprit here.

It’s unclear exactly how prevalent selenium deficiency is among pediatric epilepsy patients on keto. One study of 110 kids found that nearly half of them had low selenium. None of them showed evidence of cardiomyopathies as a result.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21615805/‘>14 Selenium levels decreased over time, with some kids falling under the recommended range by the end.

So it’s clear that selenium deficiency is a risk for these kids. However, the current medical opinion is that nutrient deficiencies can be managed with proper monitoring and supplementation and, moreover, the risk of serious adverse events is small.

What about in Healthy Adults?

I haven’t seen any evidence that selenium deficiency is a concern among healthy adults following ketogenic diets, much less heart problems as a result.

Here’s the deal: it’s incredibly easy to get selenium in your diet, keto or otherwise. The RDA for selenium is 55 µg per day. Here is just a sampling of the selenium content of common foods:

  • One 5-ounce can of tuna: 103 µg
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) of coho salmon: 43 µg
  • 4 ounces of skinless chicken breast: 31 µg
  • 4 ounces of 80% lean ground beef: 23 µg
  • 2 ounces of beef liver: 20 µg
  • 1 large egg: 15.4 µg

You can see that most keto dieters will exceed the RDA without even trying. If you’re concerned, eat a Brazil nut. Yep, just one. A single Brazil nut packs 90.6 µg of selenium.

So Why Are Kids with Epilepsy at Risk?

It boils down to the specific type of keto diet they are prescribed. All the kids in the aforementioned studies were following a therapeutic ketogenic diet designed for intractable epilepsy. This diet is wildly different from a Primal keto diet, and this is the crux of the matter.

Therapeutic keto diets usually follow a 4:1 ratio, meaning that for every four grams of fat, the child gets 1 gram of carbohydrate and protein combined. In other words, they have to restrict carbs and protein enough so that together they only comprise 20 percent of their food intake. In fact, the goal is to eat the bare minimum of protein necessary, in order to drive ketone levels as high as possible. As you can imagine, this makes the diet difficult to follow. It also increases the risk of nutrient deficiencies and associated health problems. (Hence the increasing interest in “modified Atkins” diets, which might be just as effective using 2:1 or even 1:1 ratio that allows for more protein.)

The keto diet an average person follows for health, weight-loss, or longevity purposes is probably nowhere near as strict a therapeutic 4:1 diet, nor should it be. The version of keto I recommend in The Keto Reset Diet and Keto for Life contains plenty of protein and embraces a colorful variety of plant foods to cover your nutritional bases.

All in all, this isn’t something I’m worried about. Any version of a Primal keto diet that includes meat will contain plenty of selenium. To ease your mind, you can always ask your doc for a selenium test, but that seems like overkill in my book.

One last note: as with any vitamin or mineral, it’s possible to get too much selenium. Don’t go eating a cup of Brazil nuts per day because your friend has you worried. Just eat your regular, balanced diet, and you should be good to go.

The post Dear Mark: Keto and Selenium Deficiencies – Something to Fear? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

Powered by WPeMatico

romantic couple watching television at homeYou know that black hole of time between work and bed? There’s nowhere to go, nothing new to watch, and a bottle of wine (or bag of chips) calling your name from the other room. Call it the pandemic happy hour or straight-up boredom, but if you’re using your after hours time in a less-than-ideal way, check out this week’s post from PHCI Coaching Director, Erin Power. And keep your questions coming in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group or below in the comments.

Ann Marie asked:

I don’t have a problem eating healthy during the day, but I can’t seem to control myself after dinner. I just feel ravenous, even when we’ve made a healthy meal. I try to hold out but once my husband goes into the kitchen for a snack, I’m right there with him. And once I start, I can’t stop eating!! How do I tame my late-night cravings?

I think it’s safe to say that your eating cycle is off, Ann Marie. What do I mean by eating cycle? It has to do with your circadian rhythm.https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/415/eaal2774‘>2

This study looked at the behaviours of night-shift workers and found that they have a 43% higher risk of obesity than their 1st shift counterparts. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413118302535‘>4 The group whose window ended at 3pm had dramatically lower insulin levels, reduced blood pressure, and a significantly decreased appetite. More information on Intermittent Fasting here. 

  • Stop grazing throughout the day. I’m a huge advocate of always answering hunger with a meal versus grabby something snacky. Make it a habit to sit down (and slow down) for your meals, ensuring you’re in a parasympathetic state so you can properly digest your food.
  • Michael asked:

    My glass-of-wine-a-night habit is getting a little out of hand. I used to have a glass here and there, but lately I’ve found myself pouring multiple glasses every night. Think I need to go cold turkey? Or do you recommend a healthier substitute?

    I can’t tell you how often I’ve gotten questions like this – especially over the past 9 months. While in the past, you might have had a commute or trip to the gym to decompress from your day, now there’s no real distinction between work and leisure. There’s no change of scenery and no change of people to interact with. Enter wine (or whatever your escape of choice happens to be).

    I don’t necessarily think you have to go cold turkey, unless you’ve noticed that alcohol in general is a problem for you.https://www.uchealth.org/today/five-reasons-water-is-so-important-to-your-health/‘>6 But if you enjoy having your nightly glass of wine, I’ve got a few strategies to help you reel it back in.

    1. Support your body with nourishing food. Preparing and enjoying a satiating meal can help you tap the breaks on filling up on less-than-nourishing choices. Alcohol turns to sugar in the body, so loading up on protein and healthy fats can keep those cravings at bay.
    2. Drink a non-alcoholic beverage first. Got a favorite alcohol-free drink? Pour a glass of bubbly water or kombucha before diving into the adult version. You might find that you don’t even want your drink of choice afterward. But if you do, go for it! Heck, you can even use a wine glass if you feel like being fancy.
    3. Distract yourself. Seems simple enough, but if you’re bored or stressed or not sure how to spend your downtime, finding a way to change your situation can keep you from polishing off a bottle of cab. Even though you’re probably home all day, I’m sure there are areas of your house that could use some attention. So, start a load of laundry. Iron that pile of clean clothes you’ve been staring at all month. Or clean the clutter off your desk.

    Between the pandemic and the holidays, the kind of stress we’re under is unprecedented, so it’s natural that alcohol plays a role here, but it doesn’t have to derail your entire evening.

    Peter asked:

    Even though I’m working from home, my days are packed and the only time I have to work out is after dinner. Problem is, I’m so exhausted by then that all I want to do is lay on the couch. I’m not overweight and my fitness level is pretty good. I’m wondering, how bad is it to take a break from exercising for a while?

    If your fitness level is generally good, taking a few days or weeks off isn’t going to impact your muscle-to-fat ratio that much. That said, there are tons of studies like this one that prove daily exercise can improve your immune function, which is especially important right now.https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2020/01/02/new-years-resolutions-2020-health-finance‘>1 But I get it. Any routine that’s different from your normal one can be a challenge to start, let alone stick with.

    The good news is, this is kinda my specialty. I love teaching my clients to nurture their own personal accountability. When you’re responsible for your own actions — and the outcomes of those actions, it puts you in the driver’s seat. You’re in control when it comes to what you’re doing and not doing. It also sends a positive message to yourself that you’re worth it and that this change is important enough for you to make it a priority.

    On the flip side, when you just toss a plan out there, cross your fingers, and hope for the best with a lukewarm attitude (and zero consequences), you’re pretty much setting yourself up to fail.

    The first rule of accountability? Getting clear on your goals and the reasons why you want to achieve those goals. For your situation, I’d start by asking:

    • What time am I waking up?
    • What kind of exercise will I be doing?
    • What type of equipment or gear will I need?
    • Where will I be doing it?
    • How long will I be exercising?
    • Why does this matter to me?
    • What will happen if I don’t break my snooze button habit?

    Why is all of this important? Because there’s a big difference between people who set goals and those who actually succeed at them.

    There’s a great piece of research that shows that having a concrete plan makes you three times more likely to achieve your goals.2 In the study, 248 participants who wanted to build better exercise habits were divided into three groups. One group was asked to track their workouts, one group received motivational information about exercising, and the third group was asked to formulate a plan for when and where they would work out.

    More specifically, they were asked to complete the following sentence: During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on (day) at (time) in (place). For you, that might look like:

    I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on weekdays at 5:15am in my bedroom. Or dial it in even more by saying: I will partake in 20 minutes of weightlifting on weekdays at 5:15am in my bedroom.

    Another way to increase your odds of getting yourself up on time? Make it easier to do — or harder to not do. James Clear, the quintessential expert on habits says, “the environment that you live in makes it easier to practice unhealthy habits and more difficult to practice healthy habits (…even if you really want to make a change).”

    So, if you want to make it easier to work out in the morning, place your clothes, shoes, and weights in a place where you can visibly see them. If you want to avoid smashing the snooze button, consider putting it somewhere out of reach, like the bathroom or a room down the hall. You’d literally have to get out of bed to turn it off.

    Practice these techniques and accountability tactics and see what happens. My guess is you’ll have a routine in place before most people are drafting up their New Year’s resolutions.

    Tom asked:

    “I find that I toss and turn most nights, or I wake up around 3:30 in the morning and have trouble going back to sleep. It’s definitely annoying, but it’s it normal?”

    Common, yes. Normal, maybe. Ideal, absolutely not. A lot of my clients struggle to stay asleep, and it’s seemingly more of an issue than actually falling asleep. So, in short, you’re in good company. That said, it’s definitely something you’re going to want to address pronto. Here’s why.

    In my opinion, a good night’s sleep is non-negotiable. Sleep is downright essential for performing basic physiological functions, from balancing your hormones and your mood to keeping your immune system strong, which is especially important right now.3

    Walking up in the middle of the night could be because of something you ate or drank during the day. Some studies have linked sleep quality to macronutrient intake – meaning you might need more or less carbs to achieve a solid 8 hours of shut eye. And if you’re a coffee drinker, even low levels of caffeine can have consequences. Try keeping a food log for 3-5 days and see if you notice any patterns between what you’re consuming and how you’re sleeping.

    You’ll also want to take a look at your pre bedtime rituals.https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037‘>5

    So, in a nutshell, the way you’re thinking about your food intake actually has more of an impact than the food itself.https://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-to-metabolic-flexibility/‘>7 You can burn fat for fuel. You can burn carbs for fuel. You can go back and forth between metabolizing them with relative ease. So, cut yourself some slack, and appreciate the fact that your body knows what to do.

    Now it’s your turn! Drop me a few questions in the comments below.

    Primal-Kitchen-frozen-coming-soon


    The post Ask a Health Coach: Sleep, Stress, and the Snooze Button appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

    Powered by WPeMatico

    man teaching kids cooking skillsIt’s easy to ignore your lack of rudimentary cooking skills when you order pizza or get takeout every night. When people switch to Primal or keto diets, they usually find themselves spending considerably more time in the kitchen. On the plus side, they’re better able to control ingredient quality and the macronutrient breakdown of their meals. For better or worse, this also forces them to confront their lack of culinary prowess.

    Preparing two or three homemade meals per day can be daunting if you’re accustomed to mostly grabbing prepackaged or restaurant fare. As with any other skill, though, you learn by starting with the basics, practicing often, and building proficiency as you go. Your meals don’t have to be elaborate, your technique perfect, or your dishes artistic. They just have to taste good.

    Today I’m going to nominate some skills and dishes that I think every beginner should learn. Chime in in the comments and let me know what else you would put on the list.

    Where to Start

    First, some basics:

    Start by following other people’s recipes. Don’t try to wing it if you don’t know what you’re doing. Find one or two cookbooks or blogs you like, and work your way through them. To learn your way around a kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen books are tried and true. My favorite book for artful yet practical kitchen inspo is Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.

    Get good knives and keep them sharp. Watch some YouTube videos to learn basic knife skills. Everyone should know how to chop an onion. Start there.

    Season your food, for goodness sake. I have a theory that most people who think they are bad cooks are mostly just boring cooks. (That, and they overcook their meat, but we’ll get to that.) Salt is your friend. You should have a decently stocked spice rack. Tell me in the comments what spices you use most. Mine are cumin and turmeric.

    Just go for it! As with anything else, you get better by doing it. Stick to simple recipes at first, then get more adventurous as you become more confident.

    Chicken

    I firmly believe that everyone should know how to roast a whole chicken. A fragrant, golden chicken feels like true kitchen mastery, yet it’s so simple. Ina Garten taught me (not personally, but you get it), or start with this Perfect Roasted Chicken recipe.

    When you roast a whole chicken, you end up with a carcass. This is great news because you should also know how to make your own bone broth. It doesn’t matter whether you use the stovetop, slow cooker, or pressure cooker method. Either way, it couldn’t be easier to stock your freezer (no pun intended) with jars of homemade bone broth. Then you always have some on hand to make soups, stew, chili, or just to drink.

    When it comes to making chicken breasts or thighs, I usually opt for thighs because they are more forgiving. Breasts have a tendency to become dry and disappointing. The secret is to brine your chicken breasts, especially if you’re baking them or throwing them on the grill. (You can also brine thighs or whole chickens, or indeed any poultry or lean meat, but it’s particularly life-changing with chicken breasts, in my opinion.) Here’s how I do it:

    Step-by-step brining

    • Boil two cups of water.
    • Remove it from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of sea salt until dissolved.
    • Transfer the salty water to a large glass bowl. Top it off with ice water to cool the solution so you don’t poach the chicken. Give it a stir. If you have any fresh herbs and garlic cloves on hand, you can throw them in now, but it’s not required.
    • Add the chicken, making sure it’s covered by water. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes on the counter (yes, it’s fine), or stick it in the fridge for up to an hour.
    • Remove the chicken and cook according to your recipe, but don’t add more salt!

    Chicken recipes to try:

    Devyn’s Grilled Marinated Chicken (MDA)

    Cracklin’ Chicken (Nom Nom Paleo)

    Mayo Roasted Chicken (Primal Kitchen)

    Vegetables

    Please, I’m begging you: unless you are making soup, don’t boil your vegetables. Steaming is acceptable, but for truly delicious cooked vegetables, sauté or roast them.

    With both sautéing and roasting, avoid these three rookie mistakes:

    1. Not using enough fat or oil. Vegetables need lubrication to avoid sticking to the pan, and oil allows your roasted vegetables to develop those scrumptious crunchy bits. When sautéing, add enough oil/fat to just cover the bottom of the pan. For roasting, use enough to coat the vegetables when you toss them, but not so much that they end up floating in a pool of oil.
    2. Overcrowding the pan. Give the veggies room to breathe. Use multiple roasting pans or sauté in batches rather than allowing them to overlap, unless you’re stir-frying.
    3. Playing it too cool. Hot = browning, browning = flavor. When it comes to roasting, 375°F (190°C) is as low as I’ll go, but really, I rarely roast below 425°F (220°). If you’re roasting multiple types of vegetables at one time, it’s best to keep them separated in case they get done at different rates.

    For masterful sautéing, preheat your pan over medium-high heat without any fat or oil. When it’s nice and evenly hot, add the fat, then add the vegetables. Sauté over medium to medium-high heat.

    In general, I favor sautéing for softer vegetables and that cook more quickly—think mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash, fresh green beans, bell peppers—and roasting for harder vegetables like winter squash and the cruciferous Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, or romanesco. These aren’t hard-and-fast rules. You can certainly roast zucchini or peppers and onions, for example.

    Two more tips:

    • Take the time to cut your vegetables into approximately uniform pieces so they cook at the same rate.
    • Don’t be too stir-happy when sautéing. If you want your vegetables to brown nicely, let them sit undisturbed for a few minutes before stirring and repeating.

    Vegetable recipes to try:

    Easy Roasted Winter Vegetables Recipe (MDA)

    Grilled Greek Summer Veggies Recipe (MDA)

    Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts (MDA)

    Also check out Mark’s 8 Tips for Cooking Vegetables

    Steak

    Steak lovers have strong feelings about how to cook the perfect steak. You’ll have to experiment with different methods and cuts to find what you prefer. I personally like to cook NY Strips on very hot cast iron, season my steak before cooking with only coarse salt, and flip it frequently. Other people swear by reverse searing, which is also fantastic. Still others will only cook steak on a grill, as in Mark’s Grilled Steak.

    I’m not going to tell you how to cook your steak, but I will suggest that if you prefer your steak well done, you shouldn’t admit that aloud unless you want some serious ribbing. Just saying. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the steaks and take them off the heat when they are 5 to 10 degrees below your target temp:

    Rare: 120-125°F (45-50°C)
    Medium-rare: 130-135°F (55-60°C)
    Medium: 140-145°F (60-65°C)
    Medium-well: 150-155°F (65-70°C)
    Well: >160°F (>70°C)

    Keep in mind, no matter what cut and method you use, you should let your steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into them. During that time, the internal temperature of the steak will rise 5°F or so.

    Eggs

    Omelets are always on lists of kitchen skills everyone should have, but I disagree. Omelets are fussy. Scrambles are much easier and just as delicious. In any case, though, I do think that Primal + keto eaters should have some egg skills in their repertoires. I’d start with the following:

    Scrambled eggs. Here’s how to make the most amazing scrambled eggs:

    • Heat a skillet over medium-low heat.
    • Melt some butter in the skillet and crack the eggs into the skillet without stirring. (You can also separate the whites and yolks here, but it’s a more advanced maneuver.)
    • When the whites are about halfway cooked, start pushing them around with a spatula, avoiding the yolks.
    • When the whites are nearly done, take the pan off the heat, break the yolks, and fold the yolks and whites together. Keep stirring gently until the eggs are cooked to your liking. They should be creamy, but if you just can’t handle soft eggs, put the pan back on low heat and finish to your liking.

    Hard-boiled eggs. The truth is, I never boil eggs anymore. For hard-cooked eggs, I either use the Instant Pot (easiest!) or steam them. You won’t lose eggs to cracking this way.

    The Instant Pot 5-5-5 method is foolproof: Cook eggs for 5 minutes using the Egg or Manual function, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the remaining pressure and move the eggs to an ice bath for 5 minutes. Voila.

    Or, boil a couple of inches of water in a pan and place a steamer basket inside. Steam the eggs for 7 to 10 minutes depending on how you like the yolk, then transfer them to an ice bath to cool.

    Egg muffins. Like this recipe.

    Egg recipes to try:

     

    This should be a good start for any new cook. What else would you add? Which books are must-reads for kitchen beginners? Skills or dishes that everyone should have in their arsenal?

    paleobootcampcourse_640x80


    The post Basic Cooking Skills for Rookies appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

    Powered by WPeMatico

    I think everyone can agree that things look a lot different this year. We’re planning smaller holiday gatherings with just our immediate families.https://psychologyofeating.com/mind-over-food/‘>2 It all starts in your hypothalamus, which processes senses, emotions, and biological functions like hunger. When you feel guilty about what you’re eating, the hypothalamus transmits signals that slow your digestion and cause your body to store more calories as fat versus burning them for energy. In theory, saying to yourself “this will make me fat” becomes kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    On the flip side, when you enjoy food as you’re eating it, the hypothalamus releases pleasure signals that stimulate digestion so that you thoroughly break down food and more effortlessly burn off the calories.

    So, it’s not just what you’re eating, it’s what you’re thinking about what you’re eating.

    Not only that, negative thoughts can lead to other compensatory behaviours. In this study, researchers analyzed data from 3,177 people, examining the differences between those who experienced food guilt and those who didn’t.https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201305/avoidance-coping‘>4

    You Can’t Just Let Go of Food Guilt, Can You?

    If you’re wired to see foods as good or bad, it’s going to take some unraveling, but it’s completely possible. It’s also completely worth it so you’re not white knuckling it through the holidays. Or worse, yet, beating yourself up about it for days. And as you let go of good guilt, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself eating more intuitively. Here’s how to get started:

    Step 1: Challenge your food rules.

    We all have them. It’s that little voice inside that says, “you shouldn’t have that” or “stop grazing” or “that’s going to go right to your thighs.” This is all based on your stories or beliefs you created through your experiences growing up. Once you’ve acknowledged one of your rules, confront it. You always have a choice to decide if it’s valid or just reflecting old, outdated programming and no longer serves you.

    Step 2: Be curious vs judgmental.

    How often are you judging yourself? And not just when it comes to what you eat? You might be so used to being in judgment mode that you don’t even realize when you’re doing it to yourself – or someone else. Try, instead, to be curious. Ask yourself why you think a certain food is bad or where these judgements are coming from. You might find that the beliefs you have aren’t even your own. Also, learn to approach these situations from a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. You can read more about how to do that here.

    Step 3: Have a plan.

    Nine times out of ten, if you walk into a holiday feast hungry, you’re going to choose foods you might not choose otherwise. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan in advance. My go-to strategies for avoiding impulse binging are to: prioritize protein and fat, make breakfast your most calorically dense meal of the day, and always answer hunger with a meal. You might still indulge, but you’ll feel better about your decision if your body and brain are satiated.

    Step 4: Know your triggers.

    If you know you can’t pass up a bowl of candy when you’re hungry, don’t put out a bowl of candy (or don’t show up hungry). If you cope with stress by eating or drinking, find healthier ways to decompress. Getting clear on what triggers you is a game-changer in situations like this. And it can save you hours — or even days of grief afterwards.

    Step 5: Practice self-compassion.

    Being kind to yourself is a skill not everyone has. That’s why it’s so important to practice it on a regular basis. Self-compassion requires empathy and the ability to be fully present with yourself and whatever feelings you’re experiencing — without running away, hiding, or diving headfirst into a bag of M&Ms. You never need to be punished for your actions, so resist the urge to “diet harder” by eating bland chicken breast for three days straight or committing to a steady stream of chronic cardio for the next week. You deserve better.

    How to Have a Guilt-Free Feast

    It doesn’t matter if you’re paleo, keto, vegan, whatever. Letting go of food guilt is the healthiest move you can make. Use these steps to get to the bottom of your food fixation and get ready to enjoy your holiday feast guilt-free.

    • Challenge your food rules
    • Be curious vs judgmental
    • Have a plan
    • Know your triggers
    • Practice self-compassion

    Do you experience food guilt? What strategies work for you?

    Primal_Essentials_640x80


    The post How to Enjoy Your Holiday Feast, Guilt-Free appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

    Powered by WPeMatico

    how to explain food choicesHoliday get-togethers can be dicey, even uncomfortable, for those of us who eat a “weird” diet. Everyone has an opinion or a biting remark. As tempting as might be, you can’t just holler, “I’m not weird, YOU’RE weird. I’M eating a SPECIES-APPROPRIATE DIET!” in Aunt Martha’s face when she tries once again to put a biscuit on your plate.

    You have to say something though, right? Or do you? When do you have to explain your food choices?

    I’m tempted to say: Never. End of post.

    By and large, your diet is nobody else’s business. But communication is vital in relationships, and here’s where it gets tricky. On the one hand, you don’t owe anyone an explanation, and it’s disrespectful on their part if they expect you to justify or defend your choices. Often, though, people are just concerned, confused, or simply curious. You don’t owe these folks an explanation, but in the spirit of open communication, you might choose to offer them one.

    General tips for keeping the peace:

    Keep it personal. You won’t get as much pushback if you focus on how your diet makes you feel. Don’t launch into a lecture about phytates or how soda is ruining our country’s health. Nobody’s looking for a lesson on leaky gut and inflammation during dinner.

    Don’t overexplain yourself or get defensive. Keep it short and sweet, then move on.

    Don’t try to convert them. If you start to proselytize, you’re doing the same thing to them that they’re doing to you. Your simple explanations will plant the seeds for anyone who’s interested in learning more later.

    Don’t get sucked into an argument. State firmly that you’d rather not discuss your diet. If the other person continues to challenge you, walk away (or, in 2020, leave the Zoom).

    Beyond that, the best strategy for dealing with diet queries depends on who’s asking and why:

    Mild Incomprehension

    This is the “I don’t get it…” and “Wait, so you’re not going eat stuffing?” crowd. There’s no malice. They just can’t grasp why someone would give up bread and pasta.

    Strategy: Deflect

    • “Haha, I know, I thought it was crazy when I started, too, but I can’t believe how much better I feel. Plus I get to eat all the turkey. Ooh, will you pass me a leg? Hey, how’s work going?”
    • “No stuffing for me, thanks. I’m trying this experiment for a while longer. Did I see on Facebook that you’re writing a book?”
    • “It’s true, I’m eating Primal/paleo/keto/carnivore now, but you don’t want to hear me ramble on about my diet. Let’s go see if Mom needs help setting the table.”

    Sincere Curiosity

    You can tell these folks from their tone of voice. They are genuinely interested in hearing what you’re doing (and maybe even trying it for themselves).

    Strategy: Lightly educate

    It’s up to you how deep you want to go here. My advice is to stick to basics and offer to talk more later. Avoid launching into a diatribe about why they should cut out grains and sugar while they have a bite of pie halfway to their lips.

    • “I kept hearing people say how much better they felt after cutting out gluten and dairy, so I decided to try it for myself. They were right. It helped so much with some health issues I was having. It was hard at first, but every time I eat bread now, I remember how much worse I used to feel. I’m much happier eating this way.”
    • “Really, it just means that I’m eating tons of plants, meat, eggs, and stuff like nuts and cheese, and dark chocolate. Easy. The big thing I’ve noticed is how much more energy I have. My skin cleared up, too. If you’re ever interested in trying, I can tell you more.”
    • “Some of my friends wanted to try keto, so we all read this book called The Keto Reset Diet for our book club. It’s been five months, and I’m still going strong. The book made it easy if you ever want to borrow it.”

    Mockery

    Good-natured teasing is one thing, but ridicule is another. Keep your cool and get out of these conversations as quickly as possible. There is nothing to be gained from engaging. Depending on your relationship with the person, you might use humor or directness, but either way, shut it down.

    Strategy: Escape

    • “Good one, Uncle Greg. Hey, I’m going to get some egg nog.”
    • “Isn’t it great how we don’t all have to eat the same diet, yet we can still be friends! I’m going to go check the score of the football game.”
    • “I’d rather not get into an argument about this, so let’s change the subject.”

    Criticism

    This one’s a little more complicated because criticism can come from very different places. Some people are just mean-spirited grinches who like to find fault in others. With them, use the escape strategy above. Don’t let them bring you down to their level.

    Often, though, when people criticize your diet, it comes from a place of fear or insecurity, not hostility. Fear because what you’re doing goes against everything they believe to be true about health. All they may know about your keto diet, for example, is that a fitness celebrity told them it is dangerous. Or, they may feel threatened by the uncomfortable realization that they could be doing more to be healthy themselves.

    Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand where they’re coming from. You’re not going to unpack all the layers of flawed conventional wisdom, self-esteem issues, and complicated family dynamics in this one conversation, but at least you can respond with compassion and grace.

    Strategy: Acknowledge, reassure (for fear-based criticism), change the subject

    • “Thank you so much for caring about my health. My doctor knows how I eat, and my labs are great. Let’s go see what the kids are up to.”
    • “People do say this is a fad, but honestly, it’s how everyone used to eat in previous generations. It’s nothing new, and I’ve never felt better than I do eating this way. But anyway, I heard you guys are adopting a puppy!”
    • “Yes, I know they say that whole grains are important for health. I’m always open to changing my diet up again, but I’m going to try this way of eating for a little while. Do you think anyone would like to go for a walk before dinner?”
    • “Yes, that ‘documentary’ caused quite a stir, didn’t it. To be honest, there were a lot of problems with the science. I don’t want to bore you with all the details, but I can send you a blog post. It outlines all the flaws and provides a bunch of journal citations if you’re interested. Just email me to remind me. Do these green beans have bacon in them? So good!”

    The Guilt Trip

    These people act as if your diet is a personal affront to them. “You’re not going to have any of the pie I worked so hard on?” “What’s Christmas without cookies?” “But you always loved my cornbread stuffing!”

    You don’t need them to understand or approve. They just need to respect your choices or at least be quiet about them.

    Strategy: Flip it back on them

    • “Oh Aunt Mildred, I do love your pie! At times like these, I wish I hadn’t discovered how sick gluten makes me. I know you’d hate for me to spend the rest of the evening in the bathroom!”
    • “Cookies are great, but the only thing I really want is to spend time with you. Family is so important to me, and we don’t see each other enough.“
    • “You’re right, but I’ve learned that I feel so much better when I eat this way. It’s hard to say no, but I’m sure you’ll support me like you always have. Thank you so much for understanding!”

    The Exceptions to the Rule

    I said you never have to explain your food choices, but it’s just common courtesy to let your hosts know ahead of time. Explain your situation, and make it clear that you are not expecting them to change their menu to accommodate you. Offer to bring a side dish or dessert.

    If you are hosting, and you plan to make only options that suit your diet, you aren’t required to give your guests notice. However, if that means you’re not making traditional dishes that your guests will expect, you might give them a heads up. Let them have the option of bringing their own Hawaiian rolls.

    Lastly, remember that while you don’t owe it to anyone, it might be ok to chill on some of your diet rules for one night. A few bites of pie could be a small concession to keep the peace (as long as it won’t make you sick). Of course, if your family or friends are going to make it that unpleasant, you’re also free to decline the invitation.

    Have you had to deal with less-than-supportive friends or family since you changed your diet? How did you handle it?

    Golden_Collagen_640x80


    The post Holiday Meal Script: When and How to Explain Your Food Choices appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

    Powered by WPeMatico

    how to eat meat again - starting with steak

    I get a fair amount of emails from vegetarian readers asking how to start eating meat again after a period of vegetarianism or veganism. Although they see the health benefits of reclaiming omnivorism, they’re hesitant about the transition itself. As you all know, I have a number of vegetarians in my life, and there are many present and active in our MDA community. I empathize with the thinking that goes into their commitment, but I choose to eat meat and obviously encourage others to do the same for the sake of optimum health.

    I’ve found their concerns generally fall into four areas that I’ll label taste, digestion, morality, and psychology. For all the vegetarians out there interested in rejoining the omnivorous side, let me take up your concerns and offer some Primal-minded suggestions.

    Taste and Texture

    Some vegetarians after many years are still nostalgic for certain meats (bacon seems to be the most common), while others have entirely lost any semblance of craving. Maybe they’ve managed to satisfy their taste for umami so well, they learned to live happily without any meat source. Alternatively, they may have vehemently talked themselves out of the taste long ago.

    Faced with the interest in reclaiming meats’ nutritional benefit, they wonder how to rebuild a positive relationship with their estranged fare. We are, all of us, creatures of habit, and we tend to lean toward the familiar. As hard as it may be for meat lovers to understand, giving up a food group for years (and in some cases decades) means wholly disengaging from it. One’s associations with meat may become apathetic at best and full-on revulsion at worst. One reader worried because he’d come to hate the smell of grilled meat that wafted through his neighborhood from the corner restaurant. “If I can’t even take the smell,” he said, “I wonder how I’m ever going to stand the taste again.”

    Readers will undoubtedly have good advice on the subject, but let me offer a few suggestions to ease the taste transition. It goes without saying (except I’m saying it) to take it slowly. Use small bits of meat (shredded or ground) as filler in what are already favorite dishes. Add a bit of shredded lamb to a ratatouille. Include small bites of chicken or shrimp in a Greek salad. Throw a little ground beef in a veggie stew.

    Alternatively, let someone else do the cooking for a while. Make your first forays in a restaurant. Look around the room and see what other people are eating. Go with a visually appealing dish or something that just sounds good on the menu. Bring an experimental mindset. If the restaurant thing doesn’t do it for you, ask some meat-eating friends to share a couple of their best dishes. Host a potluck. Aim to try as many things as you can. Who knows, you might like it.

    Digestion

    Many vegetarian readers share a trickier concern. They worry – either because they’ve heard they should or (in some cases) they’ve experienced trouble in the past – that their bodies can’t digest meat anymore. Let me say there’s a lot of falsehood thrown around on this issue.

    Do I suggest a 10-year vegetarian reignite his meat-eating lifestyle with a large t-bone steak or a blood sausage? No. But I think there’s a way for just about anybody to integrate meat again if they take it slowly enough.

    Most of the clamor revolves around stomach enzymes. People declare their stomachs simply don’t produce meat digesting enzymes anymore, and they’re forever confined to a plant-based diet. Most of the time I hear this claim coming from people who’ve been vegetarians for five years or less.

    This is one of the those times when I wish I could point to a group of studies and say, “See, there’s really no need to worry that a few years has selectively demolished your digestive profile.” Unfortunately, I have yet to come across any particular study with this focus. (If you know of one, please send it my way.) Nonetheless, reason and experience can often tell us what scientific research can’t. While long-term, strict vegetarianism or veganism can possibly lower the production of certain protein-directed enzymes, it shouldn’t be enough to halt it, let alone undo the genetic potential one has to produce them.

    That said, I can see why people don’t want to jump in the deep end of the pool right away. Some people, particularly if they’ve been vegans or vegetarians for many years, do experience digestive upset during the first few days or weeks of including meat again. (Similar in some way to a sugar-burner turning fat-burner during the low carb flu period.) Rest assured it doesn’t mean you’ll always be plagued with nausea. In my experience, most people who take it slowly say they have little to no digestive issues during the transition.

    Nonetheless, here’s a modest proposal for easing back into efficient meat digestion.

    Moral Hangups About Meat

    I’ll admit there’s no sugar coating the basics. Yes, it was an animal and – unless you forage for roadkill – it died to become food. As bad as a person may feel about this act, it’s the way of life of course. Nature isn’t a gentle, magnanimous force. We evolved to eat both meat and plants, regardless of what some people say. Meat eating (particularly after cooking was added to the mix) was a significant boon to our species. Yes, we can live without it, but we live better with it.

    All that said, I can understand many people’s discomfort with the modern meat industry. In a fitting correlation, the livestock practices that produce the healthiest meat also tend to be more humane and less environmentally destructive overall. It’s not a perfect scenario, but it’s a better one.

    These days it’s possible for most people to find more humanely raised, pastured meat either within driving distance, through local co-ops and buying clubs, or by direct mail. If local stores don’t offer what you’re looking for, research the area farms and natural buying clubs available to you, and check out direct farm to consumer mail order options. You should be able to find out how the animals are raised, what their diet is, and even what facility handles the slaughter and processing. Consider the facts, weigh the financials, and choose the best you can.

    Then there’s always the do-it-yourself approach. As unappealing as killing an animal must sound, the option provides the best chance to ensure an animal has had as natural a life (and humane a death) as possible. Some people fish for their dinners or raise their own chickens for this exact reason. Raising a small herd of cattle or sheep is obviously more complicated, but I’ve known a few folks who do it. People also hunt, of course, for this among many other reasons. I’ll admit that I’ve done a mental 180 in recent years around the hunting issue. There are of course hunters who are cruel and irresponsible, but friends and MDA readers (among others) have helped me see how hunting – when done with respect and skill – offers a humane and even reverent way to relate to the animals we eat.

    Psychology

    Oftentimes, people’s emotional reservations are caught up primarily in the previous factor. Sometimes, however, there’s another level to the aversion – a heebie-jeebies kind of feeling. It’s more common in people who have been vegetarians or vegans for many years or who focused on the “repulsive” fleshly aspect of carne to maintain their commitment.

    Some vegetarian readers have told me they try to ignore the meat in the dish. They tell themselves – in vain – that it’s just another ingredient. Their efforts to disconnect thought from sensory experience ends up making the situation worse. The flesh is all they can think about.

    Although I can see why they would want to put it out of their minds and just do the deed with as little thought as possible, maybe the opposite approach is in order. Fire up the grill or, better yet, campfire. Give the occasion its primal due. Make a ceremony out of it. Think about that animal and all it offers to you now. Think about your ancestors and what they sacrificed through the ages to achieve basic survival. Toast them all. Celebrate the choice you have to indulge today. Eat with your hands. Feel the meat’s life-giving energy, and relish its connection to what’s essential and wild. After all, we’re all animals at the end of the day.

    How to Start Eating Meat Again After Being Vegetarian or Vegan

    • Start with good gut bacteria. Incorporate fermented foods, and go with a probiotic supplement for at least a few weeks before and after starting meat again. A healthy gut environment sets the stage for optimum digestion (among other benefits of course).
    • If you’ve had digestive issues with meat before, try broth, particularly bone broth, for the first week. It’s good nutrition, and it might be easier to handle. Continue broth until you’re ready to move on to solid meat.
    • Eat meat or fish alone, and don’t eat again for a few hours. (Be sure to eat it earlier in the day rather than at night.) Allow plenty of time for digestion and stomach emptying if you want to gauge how it will make you feel.
    • Use a marinade that contains an acid like vinegar or a natural meat tenderizer like the bromelain in pineapple.
    • If you experience ongoing problems, try a short-term course of HCL or enzyme supplement.

    Thanks for reading today, everyone. Have you made the meat-eating transition? Know someone who has? What’s helped (or not)? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    paleobootcampcourse_640x80

    The post How to Start Eating Meat Again: Transitioning Away from Vegetarianism appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

    Powered by WPeMatico