It’s the understatement of the year to say that emotions are running high right now. For all of us. In a whole lot of ways. Workouts have always helped us with our mental health — but that seems to be the case now more than ever. And, as we’ve been getting our home workouts and socially distanced runs in, we’ve been using a few different ways to make them even better for our mental and emotional state. We’re not talking about anything that’s too hard to do; just little tweaks here and there that you can try. These little tricks…
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Bernadette Pleasant is an energetic firebrand who is a speaker, healer, dancer, entrepreneur, and creator of the mind-body wellness program Femme! In this emotional ep, Bernadette talks about how she began her career, “emotional spanks,” and more. She cannot help but speak her truth, and gosh, does it ever resonate. Bernadette believes that movement is an important aspect of learning, which is why her Femme! experiences are body inclusive, providing a safe space for people of all ages, backgrounds and body types to find peace and empowerment while moving with the music to tap into their emotions. She encourages participants to…
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We all know how powerful stories are — both the stories that we’ve been told and the stories we tell ourselves. Beth Carvin — CEO and co-founder of JamBios, an online memoir website — knows this better than anyone. She’s had the opportunity to read life stories from thousands of different users and has learned a lot in the process. Here are her top takeaways when it comes to learning from — and healing from — the hardest things in your past. 5 Ways to Heal From Your Past, by Beth Carvin In the mid 1900s, plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz…
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Feeling anxious isn’t fun. But what if, instead of wishing you didn’t have anxiety, you could see it differently and actually use it as one of your greatest strengths and sources of energy? That’s the whole premise of Notable Life founder Julian Brass‘ book Own Your Anxiety: 99 Simple Ways to Channel Your Secret Edge — and it’s damn inspiring. As one of the 45 million people in the United States and Canada who live with anxiety, Julian decided to embrace these challenges that come with anxiety, and view it as not an epidemic or weakness, but rather of his…
The post How to Make Anxiety One of Your Greatest Strengths appeared first on Fit Bottomed Girls.
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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a bunch of questions from readers. The first one concerns another inflammatory marker, homocysteine. How could CRP be low but homocysteine be high? What could cause that? Next, I answer a barrage of kefir questions, including ones on kefir carb counts, pasteurized kefir, and water and coconut kefir. Finally, I address the elephant in the room: stressing out about your diet.
How do Homocysteine levels figure in this equation? I have C-reactive protein under 1, but Homocysteine levels of 15, slightly high. Seems odd one so low and one a bit high.
Both indicate elevated inflammation, but they can have different causes. There are many nutrient deficiencies and interactions that go into elevated homocysteine levels—that’s why they indicate inflammation. What are they?
It all comes down to methionine. That’s the essential amino acid most abundant in muscle meats, the one most of you are getting a ton of if you’re eating a standard Primal, keto, or carnivore diet. We use it to perform cellular communication, regulate gene expression, repair cells, and build new tissue. It does some really important stuff, but it needs several different co-factors to work properly.
B12 and Folate—Vitamin B12 is a major one. So is folate. In fact, I lumped them together in one section because they are co-dependents. Vitamin B12 requires folate to do its job. Folate requires vitamin B12 to do its job. Both vitamins are necessary co-factors for methionine to do its important cellular work. Without either one, methionine builds up and contributes to homocysteine.
They even tested this in a controlled human trial. Giving a big dose of methionine without increasing B12 or folate increased homocysteine levels. Supplementing with B12 and folate protected against the methionine-induced increase in homocysteine.
Glycine—After teaming up with the B-vitamins to do the gene expression and cellular repair/buildup, any excess methionine combines with glycine to form glutathione. That’s the body’s main antioxidant, and it’s very helpful to have. If you have low glycine levels/intake, then any leftover methionine goes into the homocysteine cycle.
B6—Vitamin B6 is also used to mop up and convert into glutathione any excess methionine after methylation.
Betaine—Similar to glycine, betaine acts as a buffer for excess methionine. In fact, high intakes of methionine deplete the body of betaine, while supplementing with betaine reduces homocysteine levels.
Choline—Choline is another methionine buffer. High methionine increases the need for choline, while adequate choline or supplementation reduces homocysteine.
If you’re missing those co-factors, methionine fails to assist with cellular communication, gene expression, cellular repair, or new tissue formation. Instead, it generates homocysteine.
To get enough betaine, include some beets and/or spinach in your diet. Wheat germ is the best source, but most of you aren’t eating wheat germ (nor would I recommend you start).
To get choline, eat egg yolks. That’s the single best source. If you’re not going to eat betaine-rich foods (beets, spinach, wheat), eat extra choline; you can make betaine from choline.
Isn’t there a relatively large amount of carbs in kefir, when consumed in quantity?
The fermentation process digests most of the lactose present in milk. The sourer the product, the lower the residual lactose. The sweeter the product (or even just less sour), the higher the residual lactose. At any rate, I wouldn’t worry too much about the carb content of kefir. It’s assuredly lower than advertised, and probably low enough for even keto eaters to incorporate at least a little.
There are even lactose-free kefirs that will be definitely near-zero in carbs. If that’s the case, it will be prominently displayed on the label.
Mark, don’t they at least partially”clean up” kefir? Does it really contain all that good stuff, or is pasteurized?
Commercial kefir uses pasteurized dairy, but the fermentation takes places after pasteurization. This means the finished product is fermented with living bacteria (and yeast, in the case of kefir).
Kefir – I just did a test of dairy and it definitely gives me a reaction. I’d love to read your take on water kefir though I’m not pleased that the recipes use sugar. What about coconut milk kefir?
Don’t worry about water kefir that uses sugar. All the sugar gets consumed by the kefir grains, leaving little to no residual sugar for you. You can tell by the taste (and I admit I’m no fan/expert of water kefir, only because I can tolerate dairy kefir). If it’s sweet, it contains sugar. If not, it doesn’t. Even if it has some sugar left, it’ll be far less than indicated on the label.
Coconut milk kefir is a good option too. Again, I prefer the dairy kefir, but I see nothing wrong with coconut milk kefir. I even put up a coconut milk kefir recipe some time ago.
Funny you mentioned to drink bone broth (for the glycine) to help with sleep. I have been keto-carnivore for 9 months and recently realized that the high level of histamines in bone broth was giving me insomnia. I can eat most foods that contain a moderate level of histamines, but canned fish and long-cooked bone broth have derailed my sleep on carnivore.
If that’s the case, straight glycine can work. That’s what several studies actually used to improve sleep in humans—isolated glycine.
Collagen may also work for you.
Could all this be too much worry from being obsessed with checking if they are doing the keto diet “right” ?
Ha! Yeah. That’s the issue with a certain subset of the Primal/keto crowd. Worrying about every little thing until it becomes a stressor. Ketone numbers running through the head as you lie awake. Waking up at 2 AM to test your urine. “Did I remember to Amazon Prime the MCT oil?” Wondering “Is the olive oil in my canned sardines truly the highest quality olive oil?”
Then there’s the true classic: stressing out about the stress you’re inducing from worrying about your diet. Educate yourself, but don’t forget to enjoy life. There’s only so much diligence we can orchestrate without losing the forest through the trees.
That’s it for today, everyone. Take care and be well, and make sure to leave any comments or questions down below.
The post Dear Mark: Homocysteine, Some Kefir Questions, and the Stress of Worrying appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.
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Ever heard of muscle memory? Or the concept that emotions are stored in your muscles? In this guest post, Sukie Baxter — a posture and movement specialist and the author of Perfect Posture for Life who helps people change their lives by changing the way they move (you might remember this post she did for us here, too!) — breaks down what it is and how to release those painful emotions that may be trapped. Download Sukie’s free guide to easing aches and pains here. Muscle Memory: Why Your Body Stores Painful Emotions and How to Release Them By Sukie…
The post Why Your Body Stores Painful Emotions and How to Release Them appeared first on Fit Bottomed Girls.
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Certain emotions always feel good. Like, who doesn’t want more joy and happiness in their life? But others — like guilt — well, I bet most of us would opt to not have to feel those again if we had the option. But, what if there was actually an upside from negative emotions? One that could actually act as fuel to help you to create a life that you love? That’s pretty much the premise of Randy Taran’s book called Emotional Advantage: Embracing All Your Feelings to Create a Life You Love. Randy is the founder and CEO of Project…
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We had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Bradley Nelson for the podcast months ago, and — I’ll own up to it — I TOTALLY geeked out. (Listen to the episode here.) His work in understanding how trapped emotions can actually be stored in the body and impact your health and happiness blew my mind when I first learned about it. And using his techniques to find them and release them? Well, it definitely changed my life. Dr. Nelson just released a revised and expanded edition of his bestselling book, The Emotion Code: How to Release Your Trapped Emotions for…
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It’s easy to forget how weird we all are.
You spend your days reading this and other health blogs, communing with Primal and keto folks on social media, staying abreast of the nutrition literature, arguing about arcane metabolic minutiae on forums, counting your linoleic acid intake, and you forget that most people don’t know 2% of what you know about diet.
So, when you hear people criticize keto, don’t get exasperated (even if the criticisms are silly). Be ready to respond. And hey, not all criticisms are unfounded. In many cases, wrangling with them will only make you more honest and informed about your diet. Let’s look at some of the more astute keto critiques….
1) Your Brain Needs Glucose, How Do You Even Think?
This isn’t so much wrong as incomplete. Yes, the brain famously needs glucose—but not as much as we’re lead to believe. Once you’re keto-adapted, ketones can provide most of the brain’s energy needs. At max ketone production and adaptation, you’ll still need about 30 grams of glucose for your brain.
Your liver can make about 150 grams of carbohydrates a day from gluconeogenesis, so even if you don’t eat any carbs at all (and you can definitely eat carbs on keto) you’ll still be able to manufacture the requisite 30 grams of glucose.
2) Don’t You Need Carbs for Energy?
The beauty of keto (and low-carb eating in general) is that it leads to low insulin—both fasting and post-prandial (after meals). When your insulin is low, you’re able to access your stored body fat and liberate it to be burned for energy. Since even the leanest among us carry pounds of body fat, that means you have tens of thousands of calories of clean-burning energy available for liberation at any time.
Once you’re keto-adapted, you’ll most likely find that you have steadier energy than before.
3) How Do You Get Fiber?
Actually, there are plenty of ways to obtain fiber on a ketogenic diet. Many of the best sources of prebiotic fiber—the kind that feed and nourish the good gut bacteria living in your digestive tract—are fairly low in digestible carbohydrates and mesh well with keto. For example:
- Dandelion greens
- Green bananas (Yes, a green banana is mostly resistant starch, which your body cannot digest.)
- Dark chocolate
- Almonds and pistachios
Plenty of fiber in those.
4) How Do You Exercise Without Carbs?
There are two primary energy systems used during exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic energy relies on fat; anaerobic relies on glucose. The better you are at burning fat, the more work you can do while remaining aerobic. This preserves stored glucose (glycogen) for more intense efforts, increasing your overall energy efficiency. Particularly for endurance training, being keto-adapted allows you to utilize greater amounts of stored body fat for energy and reserve glycogen for when you really need it.
And besides, if you do engage in glycolytic, glucose-intensive training, you can always cycle carbs in and around your workout sessions. Your insulin-sensitive muscles will suck up any glucose you consume as glycogen without affecting your insulin levels or your ability to generate ketones and burn fat.
5) Doesn’t All That Fat Give You Heart Disease?
The vast majority of studies placing people on low-carb, high-fat or ketogenic diets find that markers of heart health improve rather than decline.
In obese adults with type 2 diabetes, a ketogenic diet improved blood lipids and boosted fat loss compared to a low-calorie diet.
In lean, healthy adults without any weight to lose (and who didn’t lose any weight during the course of the diet), total cholesterol went up from 159 to 208 mg/dL and triglycerides fell from 107 to 79 mg/dL. A lipophobic doc might freak out at the rise in TC, but given that the triglycerides dropped, I bet the change reflects a rise in HDL and an overall positive, at worst-neutral effect.
Now, do some people see classically-deleterious changes to their blood lipids? Sure. Anything can happen. We’re all different. I talk more about keto and cholesterol effects here. But the weight of evidence shows that becoming fat-adapted through a keto diet is better for your heart health than not.
6) You’re Just Losing Water Weight, Not Fat
Here’s the truth:
Yes, when you go keto and start shedding glycogen from your liver and your muscles, you lose a lot of water. That’s because every gram of glycogen is stored with 3-4 grams of water. Burn the glycogen and you lose the water along with it.
But this glycogen-and-water loss is a prerequisite for losing “real” weight. It’s a harbinger for fat loss. Once the glycogen runs low, that’s when you start getting into deep ketosis and developing the ability to burn massive amounts of body fat for energy.
7) I Heard the Keto Diet Kills Your Gut Bacteria
Ah, yes, I remember that study. They either fed people a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and other foods—or a diet of lunch meat and cheese. Turns out the lunch meat and cheese “keto diet” was bad for the gut biome, increasing gut bacteria linked to obesity and metabolic problems and decreasing gut bacteria linked to health. Of course it was.
A keto diet doesn’t have to consist of bologna and American cheese slices. In fact, it shouldn’t. As I explained in the fiber section, a well-formulated ketogenic diet is full of prebiotic fiber, non-starchy vegetables, and even low-sugar fruit that provide plenty of nourishment for your healthy gut bacteria. What these studies and media stories attack is a caricature of keto, a diet full of processed meat and low quality cheese. They aren’t relevant for someone following a Primal keto diet.
8) Keto Isn’t Sustainable
Well, what do you mean by sustainable?
If you’re talking about the “restrictiveness” of the diet at a personal level, that depends. Sure, you can’t go keto and continue eating Pop Tarts and donuts for breakfast, heaping bowls of pasta for lunch, and fast food burgers (with the bun, at least) and fries with a shake for dinner. But you can eat eggs, bacon, and blackberries for breakfast. You can eat a Big Ass Salad full of a dozen different species of vegetables for lunch. And you can have a ribeye with buttered broccoli for dinner with a glass of wine. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty damn sustainable way to eat in my book.
If you’re talking about the environment, and worrying about farting cows or whatever, the evidence is quickly accumulating that properly-raised and managed grazing livestock can sequester more carbon than they emit, revitalize (and even de-desertify) grasslands, and produce more calories-per-unit-of-input than conventional pasture-raising. A large portion of the world’s surface isn’t even suitable for growing crops and is better used for grazing animals. The environmental sustainability of meat-eating is still an open question, but the popular conception of “meat bad, grains good” is completely incorrect and incomplete.
What other keto criticisms have you encountered in the wild? Leave them down below, and thanks for stopping in today, everyone.
Hussain TA, Mathew TC, Dashti AA, Asfar S, Al-zaid N, Dashti HM. Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes. Nutrition. 2012;28(10):1016-21.
Phinney SD, Bistrian BR, Wolfe RR, Blackburn GL. The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: physical and biochemical adaptation. Metab Clin Exp. 1983;32(8):757-68.
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