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So, you overdid it…or just ate something that doesn’t work with your body. Maybe you didn’t binge per se but you abandoned the original plan and now you’re feeling the pain. You ate, maybe more than you intended, maybe differently than you intended.
Non-Primal foods were consumed – perhaps many of them or just a few in larger than planned quantities. Non-Primal and sub-Primal drinks were imbibed beyond the point of intention. And now the consequences are playing out. You’re stuck in a bloated, sloth-like, catatonic state. You’re nursing a major headache with every shade shut and the covers over your head wishing in a rather non-seasonal mindset that your children would take the noise to some distant corner of the neighborhood. Maybe you’ve taken up residence in the bathroom.
In a less dramatic scenario, perhaps you’re just pushing yourself through the day because you notice your energy is off, your digestion not up to full speed, your mood not quite as equanimous as usual. Whether you feel it was worth it or not, who wouldn’t want to reverse the course of misery itself after the fact?
Think of it this way: with health comes sensitivity to what’s unhealthy.
I’ll admit I don’t really get into cleanses or detoxes. That said, I do think we can help our bodies in their own miraculous processes get back on track – or at least get out of their way while they undo the damage. With a little time and care, we can recover and move on not too much worse for the wear. The healthier we eat and live on a daily basis, the better condition we’re in to weather these upsets. Unfortunately, however, the cleaner we eat the other 364 days of the year, the more we might feel a significant detour in our diet. That heaping plate of mashed potatoes with processed gravy product might have barely registered pre-Primal. Today it can leave you with indigestion and noxious gas for a good 36 hours.
If you’re looking to feel better after a big day (or season) of non-Primal eating, consider these modest proposals for what ails you.
Commit to a morning fast.
Conventional wisdom says eat normally after a holiday binge, but the body says differently. (Guess which one I’m inclined to heed.) Maybe the digestive fallout makes fasting a given, but even if you’re able to eat, give your body a break until early or even mid-afternoon. CW thinks if you go for a few hours without eating you’re sure to throw yourself head on into a major binge. That’s not the case for most Primal folks. Give your body the time it needs to take care of the residuals from the day before.
Drink some tea.
Lay off the food for a while, but go ahead and hydrate. Resist, however, Grandma’s suggestion to down a shot of hard booze. (Hands for how many times folks have heard this from family or friends?) Research has shown alcohol actually slows gastric emptying.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21156747‘>2 Although the tea in the study was simple black tea, consider something without caffeine. (Your body has enough to contend with at the moment.) Chamomile can relax your nerves and your digestive tract, while peppermint can soothe an upset stomach. Opt for something other than mint, however, if heartburn is an issue. Keep in mind you shouldn’t down massive quantities of water (another common recommendation you’ll hear from conventional sources). You don’t want to drink so much that you end up diluting the gastric juices that are trying to do their job.
There’s not much in terms of research (to be found in English anyway), but this is one age-old home remedy that will likely help. The folk wisdom that recommends schnapps, for example, is generally based on herb/bitter based schnapps formulations. The remedy is in the herb – not the alcohol.
Avoid antacids and acid reducing medication.
Your gastric juices are there to digest your food. If your food is slow to digest and feels like a rock in your stomach, does countering or reducing the natural acids that will break things down and move them along make any logical sense? Steer clear of these “remedies” and let your body do its thing.
Take a good helping of probiotic.
Whatever you ate likely did a number on your bacterial profile. A recent study, in fact, shows it only takes a few days to effect substantial change (about the same duration as most holiday visits to non-Primal relatives).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18392240‘>4 Those residuals of your holiday meal will move along more quickly if you get it in gear. There’s motivation to get up!
Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air and sun.
Especially if you’re feeling nauseated, fresh air can pull you out of your misery. Add sun, and you might just have a new lease on life. Sure, you may feel just as crappy an hour after you go back inside, but stay outside as long as you can to give yourself some relief.
Eat a small Primal meal at the end of the day.
Avoid sending your insulin spiking multiple times that day by grazing. Fast as long as it’s productive and comfortable, and then enjoy a modest Primal meal. When you do, choose something that will keep you satisfied for the rest of the night without taking up too much space/energy in an already sensitive stomach. Some vegetable-based fiber and protein should do the trick.
Go to bed early.
You’ve been through the wringer. However lethargic you’ve felt, certain body processes have been on overdrive or have been working harder to compensate for the food related stresses. Give into your body’s intuitive demands, and hit the sack early. Tomorrow is another Primal day.
Have you had any post-indulgence days that left you seeking relief? What’s works for you? Let me know your thoughts, and thanks for reading, everyone.
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By far the most exciting health trend to hit the scene in the last few years is the Carnivore Diet. Tens of thousands of people are adopting it. Passionate online communities devoted to discussing and extolling the virtues of exclusive meat-eating have sprung up. And while in raw numbers it isn’t as big as keto, “carnivore diet” is running neck and neck with “vegan diet” on Google Trends for the past year. It’s one I’ve been watching for a long time.
Over ten years ago, I addressed the idea of a zero-carb carnivorous diet right here on this blog.
A few years ago, I went over the advantages and shortcomings of the carnivore diet and even gave my suggestions for making it work better.
Earlier this year, I explored the notion of a seafood-based carnivorous diet.
Today, I’m going to pull it all together and give an overview—a definitive guide, if you will.
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Okay, so what is the Carnivore Diet?
It’s quite simple (which is part of the appeal and effectiveness). You eat meat and don’t eat plants.
If it explored three-dimensional space by hoof, claw, wing, or tail, had live kin or laid eggs, and defended itself with direct action, non-violent resistance, or by fleeing, you can eat it (and its products). If it rooted itself to the ground, reproduced by bee, consumed sunlight and water, and defended itself with chemical compounds, you cannot eat it (or its products).
If it sounds extreme, you’re right. The carnivore diet is unlike anything most people have ever considered.
But adoption rates aren’t exploding because everyone’s deluding themselves: People are reporting real benefits.
Clearer thinking: If a carnivore diet induces a state of ketosis, it will also increase mitochondrial biogenesis in the brain and reduce brain fog. This allows your brain to generate more energy and clears out excess ammonia which slows down the thinking process.
Improved gut health: A carnivore diet is an extreme elimination diet. It eliminates all the most common triggers of gut inflammation, including fiber, lectins, grains, legumes, sugar, seed oils, and in some cases dairy. If any of those foods are the cause of your gut inflammation, removing them from your diet will improve your gut health and even allow it to heal.
Weight loss: Weight loss gets a whole lot easier when you’re not starving. Most people who go carnivore find they’re unable to eat enough to gain body fat; the diet that is most satiating while still being nutritious will almost always come out ahead without even trying.
What Do You Eat On a Carnivore Diet?
At the heart of it, the carnivore diet is very simple: eat only animal foods and do not eat plant foods.
Meat: beef, lamb, bison, pork, chicken, turkey, venison
Seafood: fish, shellfish, shrimp, crab, lobster
Animal foods: eggs, bone broth, animal fat, bone marrow, organs
Eating food from all three categories on a consistent basis is important for obtaining all the nutrients you need.
The following foods are contentious and not all carnivores eat or accept them.
Dairy: milk, cheese, cream, butter; some carnivores avoid lactose and only eat low-lactose dairy like hard cheeses and butter and cream.
Honey: since honey comes from bees, which are animals, honey is technically a carnivore-friendly source of carbohydrates.
Most carnivores allow salt and pepper. Some use herbs and spices and even things like garlic. Some carnivore dieters avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol because they’re made from plants. Others permit them.
Carnivore vs. Keto
If carnivore sounds a lot like keto, you’re right. There are many similarities between carnivore and keto.
They’re both lower-carb and higher-fat than other diets.
They may both help you reach ketosis.
They both involve eating a lot of animal products.
The main difference is that keto contains plants and carnivore isn’t necessarily low-carb.
You could be keto and eat entire salad bowls full of leafy greens.
You could be carnivore and eat 100 grams worth of carbohydrates from milk.
You could be carnivore and eat more protein and more moderate amounts of fat, while keto is by definition a high-fat diet.
But, as commonly practiced, the two can be very similar. Most carnivore dieters eat close to zero carbs, a good amount of fat, and are in ketosis much of the time. Most keto dieters eat more animal products than the average person. It’s very easy to combine the two. In fact, there’s a clinic in Hungary called Paleomedicina that does exactly this, using a high-fat “paleolithic ketogenic” carnivore diet (2:1-3:1 fat:protein ratio) to treat patients with otherwise intractable chronic autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s, and rheumatoid arthritis. Not only are they getting great clinical results, they’re getting great results and closely tracking relevant biomarkers.
Which leads me to the next section…
Who Should Try Carnivore?
Anyone can try it. Populations for whom carnivore seems to work best are people with autoimmune or immune ystem diseases like eczema or rheumatoid arthritis, and people with gut disorders like IBS or Crohn’s.
People with autoimmune and gut disorders almost always have dysfunctional and dysregulated gut biomes, and carnivore represents a hard “reset” for the gut. You pull out all the fermentable fibers and sugars and carbohydrates and gut-disrupting antinutrients found in plant foods and go back to square one.
Carnivore Diet Pros
Animal nutrients are more bioavailable.
Plant nutrients usually undergo a conversion process before humans can utilize them, and not every human has the same conversion capacity. Meanwhile, animals and their constituent parts contain nutrients in the perfect form for other animals to absorb. Retinol is the “animal form” of vitamin A, and it’s far more effective than beta-carotene, the plant form. Long-chained omega-3s found in seafood are far more effective than shorter-chained omega-3s found in plants, which must be converted to the longer “animal form.” Name a nutrient, and it’s probably more bioavailable in animal form.
Animal foods contain unique nutrients you can’t get in plants.
Some of those essential and/or helpful nutrients only occur in meat, like creatine, carnosine, taurine, or vitamin B12. If you don’t eat meat, there’s literally no realistic way to obtain these essential (or conditionally essential) nutrients without relying on supplementation, which didn’t exist until the last hundred years.
Animal foods have no toxins.
Because animals can run and bite and claw and fly to get away from predators, they don’t need to employ kind of passive chemical warfare that many plants use to dissuade predation. Plants cannot run. They cannot move, and so they must manufacture chemicals that irritate guts or outright poison the animals who seek to eat them. There are no phytates, lectins, gluten, oxalates, or other problematic compounds in a ribeye. Except for blatant allergies and intolerances to red meat, like the ones that arise with a Lone Star tick bite, meat is safe from a toxin standpoint.
Eating meat made us human.
When hominids ate very little meat, maybe grabbing a leg bone here, a lizard here or a mouse there, our brains were much smaller and less impressive. As hominids progressed and grew more intelligent, their diets changed to include more and more animal food. They started out as scavengers, cracking bones and skulls left behind by more obligate predators. They developed thrusting weapons. They became incredible throwers and developed lethal projectiles. They developed language and tactics to coordinate assaults and lay traps. And as the meat poured in, the brains grew. Humans as we are them today emerged stepwise with meat.
My take is that it was a combination of a few things:
- Animal meat, fat, and animal-based nutrients. The human expanded as we ate more and more meat, although the causality isn’t clear . It could be the nutrients, protein, and calories found in animal foods provided a stimulus for brain expansion. It could be that our desire for meat necessitated an expanding brain to enhance our intelligence, cunning, tool-making, and hunting ability—that those humans whose brains expanded were better adapted to hunting. It could be all of that at once (my guess).
- Fire. With fire, we could extract more calories from both plant and animal foods—cooked tubers are more digestible than raw and fire allowed us to access the residual calories bound up in bones and connective tissue. Paleo-anthropologists call this “grease processing”: boiling pulverized animal bones in animal skins to extract every last drop of fat, gelatin, and protein.
Seafood. Early humans were coastal dwellers. Researcher Stephen Cunanne has been beating this drum for over a decade, showing through anthropological and neurological evidence that the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA was necessary for human evolution and brain development.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22074361‘>2
Two, it’s unclear whether fiber is necessary. Clearly, it’s not essential in the sense that you will die without it. And there’s evidence that “more fiber” is necessarily helpful in digestive disorders, and may even be harmful. But there is good evidence that prebiotic fiber offers beneficial metabolic and gut health effects in the average person eating an average omnivorous diet. And no, it’s not just about fecal hypertrophy. There is real evidence that feeding your gut bacteria soluble and prebiotic fiber can enhance health and produce beneficial metabolites.
Where the question remains is whether those benefits occur in carnivorous dieters, or whether carnivorous dieters need fiber. Is fiber necessary only on omnivorous diets? Perhaps. I suspect we’ll learn more as time goes on.
While meat is a great way to get bioavailable sources of most B vitamins and many other unique nutrients, plants are the primary sources of folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C in the diet.
If you’re not careful, a low-carb diet can lead to low levels of folate.https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf040401o‘>4 Used in marinades and sauces, plants and herbs can reduce the formation of carcinogens during the cooking process. And every traditional culture we’ve ever seen—even the Inuit and Masaai—consumed plant foods on a regular basis and considered them important and even essential.
If you are someone who reacts poorly to the plant compounds found in vegetables, you may be better off not eating any. Vegetables aren’t required for survival like meat and animal fat are required. But if you can tolerate vegetables, it’s a good idea to eat them. To me, the benefits are great enough that I recommend most people (even carnivores) sample vegetables until they find some they can tolerate. Remember: there’s a difference between eating vegetables for calories and eating vegetables for medicinal purposes.
There are also acute issues that sometimes arise with carnivore diets.
What happens if you’re not pooping like you should?
Confirm you’re actually constipated. Carnivore is a low-residue diet. There’s not much left over after you absorb everything. You’re not eating loads of fiber and most of the nutrients you’re taking in are highly bioavailable. No matter what happens, you won’t be practicing fecal hypertrophy like you were on an omnivorous diet containing fiber. Your “lack” of pooping may be totally normal.
Get more electrolytes. Salt, magnesium, and potassium all impact your digestion. Potassium and magnesium in particular are required for optimal muscle contractions, including the muscle contractions that move food along the digestive tract. Salt provides the chloride we need to produce hydrochloric acid, aka stomach acid.
Check your fat intake. A mistake some people make when starting a carnivore diet is eating too much lean meat. Adding in fattier cuts of meat can speed things up.
Give it time. Your gut biome is adjusting to the new environment. Things may take awhile to normalize. Resistant starch can help here.
Back when Joe Rogan went carnivore for a spell, he had incredible energy and body composition shifts but first had to get past the “explosive diarrhea.” Reports from others around the Internet suggest that this isn’t rare for people just starting out. What to do?
Too much fat, too fast. Increase fat intake more gradually.
Rapid shifts in the gut biome. Suddenly removing all the substrate your gut bacteria were eating can throw things off. Give it some time.
Resistant starch if it persists. If the diarrhea lasts longer than a couple days, try a little raw potato starch (for resistant starch) to improve consistency.
If you noticed, the reasons for diarrhea track closely with the reasons for constipation. Changes to the gut biome can manifest differently along the same diarrhea/constipation spectrum and often have the same solution.
Carnivore Diet Supplements
If you do it perfectly, a carnivore diet should contain all or most of the nutrients you need to thrive. But supplements can make it easier, and they may optimize your experience. A few to consider:
- Mineral water
- Freeze-dried organs
- Fish oil
- Broad-spectrum polyphenol blend
Magnesium: Important electrolyte, vital participant in over 300 physiological functions, and rather hard to get on a pure carnivorous diet. Almost everyone should be supplementing with magnesium.
Mineral water: A good mineral-dense sparkling water like Gerolsteiner is a nice way to obtain hard-to-get minerals like magnesium and calcium.
Freeze-dried organs: The ideal is to eat liver, heart, kidney, and/or spleen on a regular basis. They’re more nutrient-dense and contain wide ranges of nutrients you won’t find elsewhere in the animal. If you can’t or won’t eat fresh organs, you can get freeze-dried capsules.
Fish oil: If you’re not eating seafood, you need a source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil is the most straightforward way to get them.
Collagen: Collagen is necessary to balance out your intake of muscle meat—which will be elevated on a carnivore diet. In the absence of a steady intake of gelatinous bone broth or direct consumption of connective tissue, collagen peptides become essential.
Broad-spectrum polyphenol blend: The carnivore people go back and forth on polyphenols. Are they plant poisons? Plant pesticides? The point remains that the evidence in favor of polyphenol intake is quite robust. And yes, polyphenols are stressors. They act as plant toxins that our bodies interpret as hormetic stressors and trigger a beneficial response. I wouldn’t take something like this every day (nor do I), but I would take it intermittently as a stand-in for intermittent plant consumption.
Electrolytes: Electrolytes are essential, especially on any carb-restricted diet (keto, low-carb, carnivore, etc). There’s this dedicated electrolyte supplement that Robb Wolf helped design, or there’s my own Collagen Quench mix that also contains collagen, vitamin C, and polyphenols (from fruit powder) in addition to the potassium and sodium.
So, Does Carnivore Work?
Carnivore appears to work.
A big part of staying healthy in the modern environment is the erection of artificial boundaries and the self-administration of artificial hardships. We could eat 10000 calories of junk food a day if we wanted. We could sit on the couch and be entertained and have all our food delivered to us if we wanted. Most of us never have to do an iota of actual physical labor if we don’t want to. But because doing that would make us sick and fat, we limit ourselves to moderate amounts of healthy real food, we go the gym, and we make it a point to take walks. These are artificial interventions we enact to emulate the ancestral environment to which we are adapted. These are boundaries.
There isn’t a simpler boundary to set than “eat animals, don’t eat plants.” And therein lies the power.
Now, I’m not going carnivore anytime soon. Although I have shifted my eating in that direction, I’ll always die on the “Big Ass Salads are great” hill (even if I’m loading them up with extra meat and cheese). Carnivore is exciting because it reveals that there’s room for extremes:
It shows that eating only meat won’t kill you—and it may make you stronger. It won’t give you diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, or make you obese. A diet based on animal foods is safe and, for many people, optimal.
Gut health is paramount. Health starts in the gut, as Hippocrates said, and extends to every manifestation of your wellness. Carnivore might not be the only way to fix a leaky, dysfunctional gut, but the fact that it’s so good at improving gut health-related conditions should give you pause.
Plant foods are not benign. The popular conception of a “healthy diet” is one awash in leafy greens, broccoli, whole grains, and other plant foods. Mountains of produce, a “baby’s fist-sized piece of lean meat.” Even those of us who’ve been weird enough to eat low-carb diets rich in animal fat for years often have a tough time washing that stereotype from our consciousness.
Carnivore repudiates what all the health authorities tell us to do. It’s the exact opposite of what our moral and scientific “betters” have been preaching for decades. And because I’ve always been an iconoclast, someone who bristles at the thought of being told what to do, this appeals to me. I’ve never been convinced by the shoddy evidence that meat is bad for us. That entire legions of people are eating nothing but meat and failing to come down with the colon cancer and heart disease they’re “supposed to” is endlessly satisfying.
Once more, I don’t think carnivore is necessarily sustainable for a lifetime, especially if you don’t take special care to eat nose-to-tail-to-tendon-to-tripe-to-skin. But I do think it’s worth a hard look for people with autoimmune diseases, gut disorders, or those people for whom no other diet has worked. I think carnivore-adjacent eating will become a thing. I think carnivore cycling paired with cycles of omnivory will prove useful for a great many people.
What about you, everyone? Have you tried the carnivore diet? Would you?
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“You should take probiotics.”
“I heard probiotics are good for you.”
“Oh, probiotics are so, so important.”
Yes, yes. These are all true statements. But they are broad. Which probiotics? Which strains for what purpose? Simply saying “probiotics” tells us very little about what we’re supposed to be taking. It’s like saying “You should eat food.” Technically accurate yet operationally useless.
Today I’m going to rectify that. I’m going to describe the best probiotic strains for each desired purpose, because there is no single strain to rule them all. The probiotic strain that’s best for anxiety may not be the best probiotic strain for allergies, and so on.
Of course, these aren’t the final word. What follows is the best available evidence as it exists today. That may change tomorrow. And it will certainly change based on your individual makeup.
With all that in mind, let’s get right down to it.
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Best Probiotic for Anxiety
The existence of the gut-brain axis — that mysterious thoroughfare running from the gut to the brain and back again — and the presence and even production of neurotransmitters along the gut suggests that “gut feelings” describe real phenomena. Mental and gut health are strongly linked, and it’s most likely a bi-directional relationship where each affect the other. You know this already, though, don’t you?
We’ve all felt fear or discomfort in our guts.
We’ve all had instinctual responses to certain people that seemed to manifest in our stomachs (and later be proven).
These are real. They aren’t figments of our imagination.
For instance, we know that some strains of gut bacteria can produce GABA, the “chill-out” neurotransmitter responsible for sleep and relaxation. We know that feeding prebiotics (bacteria food) to people can lower their cortisol and induce them to focus on positive stimuli instead of negative stimuli. We know that the greater the intake of fermented food like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, or sauerkraut, the lower the incidence of social anxiety.
The best candidate for anxiety is Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Although no human anxiety studies for this strain exist (yet), there are plenty of animal studies that support it. One notable paper found that dosing mice with L. rhamnosus increased cortical expression of GABA genes and reduced cortisol and anxiety-like behaviors.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29508268/‘>2
(Side note: since gastro-esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, usually presents with SIBO, there’s a good chance that this lineup of strains could also help there)
Another paper, a meta-analysis from 2019, sought to determine which strains were best for IBS patients. While they didn’t come up with one prevailing strain, they did find that multi-strain probiotics generally worked better than single-strain probiotics, and that Lactobacillus acidophilus appeared in all the successful multi-strain studies.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15520759‘>4 L. rhamnosus also helps restore the gut barrier in kids with acute gastroenteritis.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18427990‘>6 We aren’t rats, but yogurt is a safe bet (as is the Lactobacillus acidophilus that appears in most yogurts).
Best Probiotic for Diarrhea
Diarrhea after a round of antibiotics is a common side effect, especially in kids. A 2016 analysis of 23 studies of almost 4000 total pediatric subjects concluded that probiotics are effective at reducing the risk of antibiotic-related diarrhea, with L. rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii as the safest bets.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6609938/‘>8
Best Probiotic for Constipation
Among young college-aged women with constipation, a combo of Bifidobacterium lactis BL 04, Bifidobacterium bifidum Bb-06, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Lactococcus lactis improved symptoms and quality of life.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22284965/‘>10
Other than that, the rest of the constipation/probiotic literature is pretty inconclusive and meager. What does seem to help is combining probiotics with prebiotics—ie, food for the gut bugs.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22225544/‘>12
Best Probiotic for Allergies
Probably the best anti-allergy probiotic strain is Lactobacillus paracasei.
L. paracasei has been shown to improve symptoms in subjects with hay fever across a number of studies. In adults with grass pollen hay fever, a fermented milk made using L. paracasei reduced nasal itching and congestion.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24269033‘>14
L. paracasei also reduces eczema, probably by strengthening the skin barrier and improving water retention.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24322880‘>16
Best Probiotic for Immunity
The gut is in many ways the first line of our immune system. Some of the infectious diseases you don’t typically think of as gut-related can gain entry and spread via the gut. COVID-19, for example, often presents with gastrointestinal symptoms and researchers are examining whether probiotic supplementation can help reduce your risk of developing severe COVID.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6888046/‘>18
Overall, these strains from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera are the best-studied for most applications. They’re often what appear in human guts and the fermented foods we’ve eaten for many thousands of years. It’s safe to assume that we’re well-adapted hosts to them.
There are so many more exotic strains out there. There are soil-based bacteria. There are strains unique to the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania. There are probably some interesting strains living in other traditional peoples in other regions. And I imagine many of them have potential to do us all a lot of good. But they may also have unwanted, unexpected effects.
The thing about probiotics is that you never really know which one will work best until you try. It’s a very personal thing. Each strain is going to react different to your unique intestinal ecosystem and genome. What we can say with fairly strong confidence is that probiotics are generally very safe. Not every strain recommended here will work for everyone, but luckily there’s not much harm in trying.
Which strains are your favorites? What have you tried? What hasn’t worked?
Let me know down below. Thanks for reading!
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Although fermented cabbage has been around in some form or another since ancient times – Roman author Pliny the Elder wrote of the stuff in the first century A.D. – modern methods for making sauerkraut were developed sometime between the 16th and 18th centuries. It’s primarily known as a German staple, but most other European countries use it in their traditional dishes. It’s pretty easy to understand why it was so popular: it keeps for a long time without refrigeration. Dutch, German, and English sailors found that the vitamin C-rich kraut prevented scurvy on the open seas, and the fact that it was salted and fermented made it ideal for long voyages without other preservation methods.
As the name would suggest, sauerkraut is quite literally sour cabbage. The sour flavor comes from the process of lacto-fermentation, similar to the pickling of cucumbers. But instead of soaking the cabbage in a vinegary brine solution, sauerkraut preparation requires only salt and the lactic acid bacteria already present on raw cabbage.
Is sauerkraut good for you?
You may have heard before that sauerkraut, or fermented foods in general, have a number of health benefits and you should eat more of them. Here’s what we know.
Health Benefits of Sauerkraut
More than just a delicious, tangy flavor, the beauty of sauerkraut also lies in its considerable health benefits:
- Rich in vitamin C
- Contains lactobacilli, a class of friendly bacteria that may aid digestion and immunity
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If you’re on a high-fat ketogenic diet and running on a fat-based metabolism, you need access to fat. Some of it comes from your own body, but not all. A good portion of your body’s fuel will come from dietary fat, or the fat you eat. Especially if you are eating more fat than you’re accustomed to, you need to be able to absorb and then digest the fat you eat and turn it into useable energy. If you aren’t digesting fats, you may be in for some discomfort.
What are the signs and symptoms of poor fat digestion?
Signs You Aren’t Digesting Fats: What Does Fat Malabsorption Look Like?
Running a fat-based metabolism just doesn’t work if you can’t digest fats. Here’s what it looks and feels like:
Abdominal Pain and Discomfort After Fat-rich Meals
What happens to fat—or anything, really—that goes down the “wrong pipe”? When you consume fat but aren’t able to effectively digest it, that fat has to go somewhere. That fat goes where it isn’t supposed to be, and sometimes that causes pain and pressure.
Some misbegotten fat loss plans involve the active inhibition of fat digestion, either by consuming artificial fat-like substances that feel and taste like fat without providing any calories or taking lipase inhibitors which deactivate the intestinal enzymes that digest and absorb dietary fat. In both cases, the fat or “fat” is excreted when you go to the bathroom. Yeah. That’s not a good look, but it is a sure sign that you aren’t digesting fats.
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Fat is buoyant. If your poop is festooned with the fat you ate but didn’t digest, it will float more readily.
Passive leakage into your underwear is another common sign you aren’t digesting your fat. One of the most infamous processed “food” disasters was a line of “WOW” branded snacks that contained an indigestible fat substitute, which caused people to leak stool without warning. Same mechanism.
Apologies for the visual, but there’s no easy way to say it. People with poor fat digestion will often produce tangible, lasting results when they fart.
Unexpected Weight Loss
Not absorbing or digesting dietary fat will reduce your calorie absorption, and it may very well cause weight loss. But if you don’t have weight to lose, or if the weight loss comes with unwanted side effects (one study found that Orlistat users indeed lost weight, but they also lost more lean mass), you may want to pay attention.
Low Energy Levels
Trying to run on fat without actually being able to access dietary fat is a miserable exercise in futility. The boundless energy, the steady even keel, the ability to go for hours without eating or crashing—all the promises of fat-adaptation will elude you if you can’t digest the fat you eat.
Orlistat users are at an increased risk of oxalate-induced kidney damage.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10757623‘>2
But it’s a real issue. You absorb fat-soluble vitamins alongside the dietary fat you eat. If you’re not absorbing the fat, you’re missing out on the nutrients. All those studies which find that eating fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin K2 alongside dietary fat improves nutrient bioavailability assumes that you’re able to digest the fat. If you can’t digest the fat very well, you’re missing out on the rest of the stuff you eat.
Not all of these are individual markers of poor fat digestion. It’s normal to have some floaty stool now and again. You aren’t always going to digest every bit of fat you consume. Everyone can name a time they felt bloated and had a stomach ache after eating. There are many other reasons why you could be losing weight without trying. But if they are co-incident, you might be dealing with poor fat digestion.
And you should probably do something about it.
How to Improve Your Fat Digestion
Okay, so any, some, or all of those symptoms are signs of poor fat absorption and digestion. It’s always a good idea to rule out larger health problems with your doctor. Until then, what can you do about it?
Chew your Food Thoroughly
Most fat digestion occurs in the GI tract, but it starts in the mouth with something called lingual lipase, the oral form of the major fat-digesting enzyme. To produce lingual lipase, however, you have to chew. The simple presence of fat in the mouth isn’t enough—you have to get those teeth and that tongue going. In one study, eating almonds and coconut triggered the release of lingual lipase, while eating almond butter (the same amount of fat) did not.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446506/’>4 It doesn’t have to be some arcane bitter herb mix; even an espresso after a meal—that classic Italian custom—can improve fat digestion by increasing gastric acid production.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31468384‘>6 Luckily, it’s an easy fix. Take a taurine supplement or eat more meat, especially hearts. Chicken, beef, lamb, turkey hearts are all great sources of taurine.
There you have it, folks. 9 signs and symptoms of poor fat digestion and 9 potential solutions to address the issue.
Do you have any problems digesting fat? Have you tried any of these recommendations? Do you have any recommendations of your own that weren’t listed here?
The post 9 Signs You Aren’t Digesting Fats and What To Do About It appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.
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