Research of the Week

Fatigue makes time fly.

Researchers are exploring the “entities” people meet on DMT.

Hominids were cooking food in hydrothermal vents millions of years ago.

Plastic-degrading bacteria are rapidly evolving in the ocean.

Probiotics help obese children lose weight.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 446: Brad Kearns: Host Elle Russ welcomes Brad Kearns to the podcast.

Episode 447: Dr. Robert Silverman: Host Brad Kearns welcomes Dr. Robert Silverman to discuss COVID-19 and gut health.

Primal Health Coach Radio Episode 76: Laura and Erin chat with Tim Davis about breaking stigmas and beating addiction for good.

Media, Schmedia

Great layman’s overview of how sustainable ranching can work, be profitable, and produce tons of meat.

How livestock can prevent wildfires.

Interesting Blog Posts

Casus belli.

Social Notes

There’s no free lunch.

Everything Else

Migratory bird massacres.

Vitamin D is going mainstream. Love to see it.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Incredible study: Just one dose of wild blueberries improves cognitive performance in middle aged adults.

More evidence of our reawakening drive to roam and be nomadic: Hyundai gets into the RV game.

Imagine that: Class is more effective when it’s outdoors in a green space.

Important avenue of research: Potential ethnic differences in susceptibility to COVID-19.

Nice concept everyone can get behind: Megafauna nationalism.

Question I’m Asking

How’s school going for your kids?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Sep 12 – Sep 18)

Comment of the Week

“This is in response to Mark’s ‘Sunday with Sisson’ email about the beach.

I live in the Malibu area, and hiked the 75+ mile Backbone Trail with Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council. During the week-long hike, members of the organization gives talks about the local history and geography. This might also be mentioned in MDA blog, but I learned that there is a ‘kelp highway’ and humans may have followed it from Russia over the Bering Strait and down the Pacific Coast. The idea is that the kelp creates a steady environment for fish, so it’s an easy trail for people to follow.

I recall Mark has discussed how we process fish very well, and that a steady supply would create the conditions necessary to support the development of our big brains. I suspect that we are built to feel ‘at home’ and thus at peace in our niche near bodies of water.”

-Fascinating thought, Monica.


The post Weekly Link Love — Edition 99 appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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motivation“I should work out today.”

“I should eat better.”

“I should stop shoving food in my face.”

How many times a day do you find yourself using the word should? Most of my clients know what they should be doing to improve their health, but can’t seem to motivate themselves to actually do it. That’s why they come to me. Here’s the thing though. I can’t give you motivation, I can only give you the tools to motivate yourself.

So, if you’ve been feeling like you should be working out more or eating better or refraining from cutting yourself another sliver of pie, keep reading. I’ll be unpacking what motivation is, the reasons you get stuck, and how to finally get off your butt and take action.

What is Motivation, Anyway?

In its simplest terms, motivation is used to describe why you do what you do.That why is the driving force behind your actions, whether it’s taking a swig from your water bottle because you feel thirsty, going for a run because you paid money to hire a trainer, or smashing the alarm clock because you stayed up too late binge-watching Netflix. Your why will likely be influenced by a variety of intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) motivators.

Examples of intrinsic motivators:

  • Running because it’s a stress reliever or feels fun
  • Eating a protein-forward breakfast because it keeps you satiated all morning
  • Doing yoga because it helps you clear your head
  • Filling your fridge with healthy foods because it saves you time and money
  • Organizing your space because it helps you feel calm

Examples of extrinsic motivators:

  • Losing weight to win a fitness challenge at work
  • Cleaning the house so your spouse doesn’t get irritated with your mess
  • Avoiding processed foods because your doctor or health coach told you to
  • Sprinting because that’s what the people in your FB feed are doing
  • Eating organic because you want others to perceive you as healthy

Let me make it really clear though that your motivation (and your why) are entirely internal processes, meaning it’s your own perception of a situation that makes you more or less motivated to do something. That’s why it’s important to discover your own deep-down reason for staying committed to the path you’re on — or choosing an entirely different path.

The Reasons You Get Stuck

Clearly, motivation involves more than just wanting something or doing it because you should. That said, even with the best laid plans and a handful of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, why is it still so damn hard to actually do it?

In my private practice and with my students and graduates in the Primal Health Coach Institute, I talk a lot about Toward Motivation and Away from Motivation. While the former is designed to ignite a positive, transformative emotion, pulling you closer to the things you want (having more energy, feeling great in your clothes, boosting your confidence), the latter usually more negative, acting as a reminder of all the things you don’t want in life.

If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re sick of feeling fat, foggy, and fatigued, guess what your brain is hearing? It hears that you’re fat, foggy, and fatigued — which often brings on feelings of fear, self-doubt, or self-pity. Trust me, that’s not the best talk track. And it’s the quickest way to sabotage yourself before you even start.

When you operate out of Away from Motivation, you’re more likely to use negativity to (try and) get motivated. But studies actually show that self-compassion and self-acceptance are better tactics — especially after you’ve had a setback. Researchers at the University of California found that after failing a test, participants who spoke kindly to themselves ended up spending more time studying before taking a re-test than participants who were angry or disappointed by their score.‘>1 They were getting “more” out of their food simply by chewing it up more.

Heed your salivary amylase levels: How much salivary amylase you produce is determined by your genetics, with historically agricultural (and thus starch-consuming) populations tending to possess more copies of the salivary amylase gene than other populations. There’s no good way to test salivary amylase gene status because the commercial genetic analysis sites don’t cover it. You’d need a more specific (and expensive) test for that. Ancestry can be a rough proxy; try to match your carb intake with the carb intake (and thus amylase copies) of your recent ancestors. But whatever number of amylase copies you (might) carry, chewing more times per bite will increase the efficacy of the salivary amylase you do produce.

As for meat and other animal foods which salivary amylase doesn’t affect, chewing is still important because it breaks apart the fibers and makes the nutrients contained therein more accessible to protein-digesting enzymes (proteases) in the stomach.

Mechanical Digestion, in the Stomach

Leaving the mouth, the food travels down the esophagus on into the stomach, where hydrochloric acid and a protein-degrading enzyme called pepsin break the food down into a big semifluid mass of partially-digested food components, water, enzymes, and acid known as chyme. The stomach walls undulate (move up and down) and mix the chyme,

How to Optimize Stomach Digestion?

Get your thiamine. Thiamine is a B-vitamin involved in hydrochloric acid production. If you want optimal stomach acidity—and you definitely do want it—you need to be replete in thiamine. The best source of thiamine is pork.

Watch the antacids. While heartburn meds can make a person feel better in an acute case of heartburn, they do so by inhibiting production of hydrochloric acid, which makes the stomach more alkaline and worsens your digestion in the long run. Pepsin cannot work without adequate acidity.

Try bitters. Post-meal bitters stimulate production of hydrochloric acid and assist many of the digestive organs, making the whole operation run more smoothly. But they must be bitter. Covering up the bitter flavor with something sweet mitigates the beneficial effect on digestion.

Get enough sodium. Low sodium levels reduce hydrochloric acid production. Make sure you’re salting your food to taste, as our moment-to-moment desire for salt is a good marker for sodium requirements. As long as you’re not eating packaged junk food, you won’t crave too much salt.

Try supplemental hydrochloric acid. A little betaine HCl, especially with protein meals, can really help if your acid production is too low. If you take betaine HCl and you feel a burn, you probably don’t need it.

Duodenum Digestion

Since the stomach is too acidic for amylase to work, the chyme migrates down to the duodenum, the first section of the small intestine immediately after the stomach where the pH is more alkaline. The pancreas produces protein-digesting enzymes as well as amylase and delivers them to the duodenum, where the full range of digestive enzymes can get to work liberating nutrients for absorption down the line. This is also where bile is introduced to assist in fat digestion.

Eat meals rather than graze. The human digestive system operates best when it encounters whole meals with plenty of time between subsequent meals, rather than a steady stream of incoming food. It even tries to enforce this; when a bolus of chyme enters the duodenum, the opening leading from the stomach to the duodenum tightens up to prevent more food from coming in. Overriding this with constant snacking will only impair your digestion and back things up.

Go for a walk. A short walk after eating speeds up the transition of food from the stomach through the duodenum into the small intestine. It “gets things moving,” in a good, beneficial way.

Small Intestine Digestion

After softening up in the duodenum, the chyme passes on into the small intestine where the bulk of nutrient absorption occurs. All along the intestinal walls lie villi — microscopic finger-like projections that increase the surface area of the intestinal lining and pluck nutrients from the passing slurry to be absorbed and assimilated. (You may have heard of villi in the context of gluten. Gluten can wipe out the villi in some people, leading to nutritional malabsorption.)

Optimize your serotonin. 95% of the serotonin in our body occurs in the gut; it’s one of the primary regulators of intestinal peristalsis — the muscular contractions that move and mix food through the digestive tract.‘>3‘>5‘>7 I created Primal Probiotics with precisely these probiotics to tip the balance in your favor.

Get Primal Probiotics here

Digestion must be approached as a single unit. You don’t just pick one of these tips to try. You do them all, together, if they apply to you.


The post Does Your Digestion Need a Tune-up? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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pandemic's toll on mental health relationshipsWhen Mark asked me to write a post about the toll the pandemic is taking on mental health and relationships, I didn’t want simply to detail the ways it’s hard to live through a pandemic. Nor did I want to throw a bunch of statistics at you about how many people are having a difficult time. You know that it’s like living in the world’s least entertaining Groundhog-Day-meets-dystopian-thriller film.

If you’re like me, you’re sick of kvetching about 2020. The fact is, though, that I don’t know anyone, myself included, who isn’t struggling in one way or another right now.

After a lot of reflection, I’ve concluded that a big reason why 2020 is so draining is that our usual coping strategies don’t work like we want or expect. Most are aimed at reducing the source of our distress or dealing with the emotional aftermath. This pandemic is ongoing. We’re stuck in the middle of it, with no end in sight, and no way to speed the process along.

That doesn’t mean we’re helpless, though. Personally, I’m a huge believer in practicing self-compassion as a means of coping, almost no matter the situation. I’m talking a formal practice of self-compassion, as outlined by Dr. Kristin Neff and others.‘>2‘>4‘>6

It seems to me that most common coping strategies address competence (developing mastery) or relatedness (connecting to others). However, loss of autonomy—the freedom to control our own actions—is undoubtedly a primary reason we’re struggling.

The problem is, there’s not much we can do about that. The best option is to focus on controlling the things we can control and accepting those we can’t (major serenity prayer vibes, here). I’m not suggesting that we should be reasserting our autonomy by flouting the rules and doing whatever we want, virus be damned. No, the point is to understand why things still feel hard even when we’re trying our best to practice self-care so that we might give ourselves grace.

Questions I’m asking myself:

  • Am I meeting myself where I’m at, or am I using generic coping strategies that, while well-meaning, aren’t really what I need?
  • Am I blaming myself or feeling guilty for struggling, instead of accepting that the pandemic is hard in ways that are hard to cope with directly?

What Can We Learn from People Who are Doing Well?

I’m fascinated by people who are actually doing better now than before. Some kids are thriving at home, free from the social and academic pressures of traditional schooling. Lots of adults are realizing that they are happier and more productive working from home.

Getting back to the topic of this post, when I started to dig into the data on how the pandemic is affecting relationships, I expected to find dire news. I didn’t. While it’s logistically harder to see friends or travel to visit distant relatives, many people have seen their close relationships improve.

FThe Behavioural Science and Health Research Department at University College London is conducting weekly surveys looking at the psychological response to the pandemic, along with other socioemotional and behavioral variables. More than 90,000 people have responded. As of writing, data are available for the first 23 weeks here.

In July, week 16, the researchers asked about relationships. The majority of respondents said the pandemic had not changed their relationships with spouses, friends, family members, or coworkers. More people felt that their friendships had suffered since the beginning of the pandemic, compared to the number whose friendships improved—22 versus 15 percent of respondents, respectively. The data were similar for coworkers. However, relationships with some family members and neighbors were more likely to have improved:

  • 27 percent said their romantic relationship got better, while 18 percent felt it was worse
  • 35 percent reported their relationship with children living at home had improved, versus 17 percent who said it had suffered
  • 26 percent had better relationships with neighbors, versus 8 percent worse

I really wish there was more attention to being paid to those people. Why are they doing better? What’s their secret? It must have something to do with the time we have to invest differently in relationships now, but is there more to it than that? Academics are going to be writing about this for decades, I’m sure.

Shaping a “New Normal”

Since we have no choice about living through a pandemic, I hope we can at least learn from it.

When we go back to “normal,” it won’t be—and shouldn’t be—the normal we knew before. The ways people are suffering and thriving both offer important lessons about human nature, our ability to cope, and the ways we do and do not support one another effectively. That some people are doing better during an arguably terrible time is telling. It says a lot about the challenges and shortcomings of our pre-pandemic way of life.

The question is, will we heed the lessons?

What about you—how are you doing, really? Will you go back to “business as usual,” or have you gained any insights from the past six months that will change how you approach things in the future?


The post The Pandemic’s Toll on Mental Health and Relationships: What Can We Learn? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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organ meats offalToday we welcome a post by guest author Ashleigh VanHouten, health and nutrition journalist, public speaker, certified health coach, and host of the Muscle Maven Radio podcast. Here, she explains why we’re missing out if we’re only eating boring boneless cuts of meat from the grocery store, and makes the case for eating nose-to-tail, for both our health and for our enjoyment. Her new cookbook, It Takes Guts, is available for preorder and hits the shelves in late October.

“It’s good for you and for the planet – and it’s easier and tastier than you think!” – Ashleigh VanHouten

Modified excerpt from It Takes Guts, shared with publisher permission.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, “I just can’t get my head around eating [insert type of organ meat here] because I didn’t grow up eating it,” I could retire now and live out the rest of my days eating animal hearts on a beach somewhere — but I have a secret for you. I didn’t grow up eating organ meat, either; I grew up eating cereal and bread and chicken breast, and while I always gravitated toward animal products, I certainly wasn’t eating liver or sweetbreads.

But as someone who has dedicated their career to researching, studying, and experimenting with nutrition, I believe strongly that one bite of something new won’t hurt you, and it just might open up a whole new world of pleasure and health. It’s a fact that organs are generally the most nutrient-dense parts of an animal, so if we can find fun and creative and even subtle ways to enjoy them, we’re winning. And by eating the whole animal, we’re also honoring and respecting the beings who sacrificed for our dinner plates by ensuring none of it is wasted.

I wrote my nose-to-tail cookbook It Takes Guts because I am passionate about honoring the animals we’re eating, and enjoying the full bounty of delicious and healthy options available to us. As the saying goes, the way you do anything is the way you do everything, and I believe we should all be approaching our plates, and our lives, with a sense of adventure and enthusiasm.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the reasons why eating organ meats is a good idea:

It’s Sustainable

It would be wasteful to buy a huge house and use only one or two rooms, right? Adopting a whole-animal approach reduces waste, and buying from local farms and butchers helps decrease the carbon footprint created when meat is brought to you from far-flung places. In the process of breaking down an animal, less than half of it will usually end up as boneless cuts,
or the type of meat you normally pick up at a grocery store. Much of the rest is bone, hide, blood, and organs – the latter being the most nutrient-dense part of the animal, which we are essentially giving away to then eat the less nutrient-dense muscle meat!

If you’re reading this, you probably eat animals, and if you’ve accepted that eating animals is a natural part of living, the best way forward is to ensure that the animals you’re eating lived a healthy, natural life and were slaughtered humanely, and that we honor the animal’s sacrifice by not wasting any of it over arbitrary (and misguided) beliefs that some part of the animal are acceptable to eat and others aren’t.

It’s Healthy

It’s a fact: organ meats like liver, heart, and kidney are nutritional powerhouses, not just for their individual nutrients but for the synergistic effect of consuming these nutrients together. Nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, and magnesium work together with other food-based compounds. That’s why taking many of these nutrients on their own (in pill form, for example) doesn’t have as much of a positive effect on your body.

And to debunk a big myth about these cuts, it is untrue that organ meats like liver and kidney store and contain toxins. Organs like the liver filter toxins, usually moving them to the kidneys, from which they are eventually expelled through the urine. Toxins are removed from a healthy, well-functioning animal’s body via these miraculous organs just like they are in ours; eating fresh, healthy organs is the same as eating fresh, healthy muscle meat. If toxins do linger in the body, they are generally stored in fat cells (this goes for us too), which is why it’s crucial to source high-quality animal protein that is raised without pesticides or antibiotics, because that’s where they’ll end up: in your delicious, fatty rib-eye.

Organ meats are so nutrient-dense that you can eat very small amounts and get more benefit than you would from nearly any other food on the planet. A few ounces of beef liver contains your daily needs for many nutrients, including iron, copper, zinc, folate, choline, and vitamins A and B12. So even if I can’t convince you to love the taste of organ meats, I hope I can help you understand that these are superfoods that can dramatically improve your health.

It Saves You Money

Often, organ meats are less expensive than muscle meats simply because they aren’t in high demand. Imagine the nutrient-dense parts being sold for scraps while the basic protein is sold at a premium! Unlike prime cuts of grass-fed beef, grass-fed beef liver and heart are pretty cheap. A beef tongue can feed a party of six for about ten bucks; chicken hearts are often sold for a few bucks a pound; and you can buy a bag of tasty, protein packed chicken gizzards that will serve a whole family for less than you’d pay for a fancy salad at your local fast-casual restaurant.

If you want to get the best nutritional bang for your buck with protein, your best bet is to throw some offal in there. Make friends with your local butcher, too, so you learn about and source the best stuff!

It’s Fun (and Ancestral!)

If you can reframe your perceptions of organ meat being “gross” or extreme and see it for what it really is—just a different part of the animal you’re already eating, and a much more nutritious part at that—you can start having fun with different recipes and preparations.

Nose-to-tail eating is also a celebration of culture and history, honoring the traditional foods off different countries; a time when people were less swayed by grocery store marketing and more driven by instinct; when we gave more respect to the time, skill, and labor of providing meals for our families, and when nourishment mattered more than hyperpalatability.

It’s Tasty (Really!)

Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it—that’s what I’m always telling my skeptics. While certain organ meats have stronger flavors and unique textures and may never appeal to some people, the same can be said for less controversial foods (don’t even get me started on broccoli—now that’s an acquired taste!) I know I’ll never win everyone over, but if you’re willing to at least try,

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how delicious, delicate, and decadent offal can be. If you’d like to learn more about the health, history, and deliciousness of organ meats, including my personal journey and more than 75 offal-based recipes created by myself and a range of other fantastic chefs, you can pre-order my book, It Takes Guts, now!

Ashleigh VanHouten is a health and nutrition journalist, public speaker, certified health coach, and self-proclaimed muscle nerd. She has written for Paleo Magazine for more than eight years, along with a number of other health publications. She hosts the Muscle Maven Radio podcast, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, where she’s interviewed some of the biggest names in health and wellness, including Mark Sisson, Dave Asprey, and Steph Gaudreau. She’s also worked with other top-rated health-related podcasts, such as Barbell Shrugged, Muscle Intelligence, and Paleo Magazine Radio. Combining her formal education and professional experience in marketing and communications with her passion for healthy eating, exercise, and learning, Ashleigh works in a consulting role for a number of professionals in the health and wellness world, working alongside individuals like Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, Ben Pakulski, and Elle Russ. Find out more at



The post Why We Should All Be Eating Organ Meats appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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When you think of a Cubano, or Cuban Sandwich, you probably think of some combination of flavorful pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on bread, grilled until the layers meld into a salty, tangy, warm pork and cool pickle flavor bomb. This Keto Cubano Sliders Recipe gives you the Cuban Sandwich experience you crave without messing up your carb count.

Cuban Sandwich Sliders are versatile, and if you make the pork and bread ahead, you can throw them together for any occasion. Virtual learning with the kiddos? Throw them together for a lunch that makes everyone happy. Having your quarantine pod squad over for a late summer get-together before the fall chill sets in? Cubano Sliders will be a hit with everyone. Weeknight dinner? Serve sliders along with your big-ass salad and call it good.

A few tips:

  • The sandwich bread linked in the recipe browns very nicely in a pan or on a griddle. When pressing the sandwich, use a heavy pot or pan and maintain pressure until it’s time to flip the sandwich over.
  • You can use pork tenderloin instead of the pork butt (shoulder) if you’d like, but will need to adjust cooking time since the cut is thinner and leaner than the shoulder.

Ready to get started?

Keto Cubano (Cuban Sandwich) Sliders Recipe (Gluten Free)

Serves: 8

Time in the kitchen: 2 hrs 2o min, including 2 hrs hands-off roasting time


For the Pork:

  • 2 lbs. boneless pork butt (shoulder roast)
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Juice from 1/2 orange
  • Zest from 1/2 lime and orange
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth

For the Sandwich:


In a bowl, combine half of the oil, lime juice, orange juice, lime and orange zest, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, garlic powder and black pepper.

Pour it all over the pork butt and place it in the fridge for 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat with the remaining oil. Once hot, add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Remove the pork from the marinade and place it in the pot. Allow the meat to sear for about 2 minutes on both sides. Pour the marinade into the pot as well as the chicken broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cover the pot and place it in the oven for about 2 hours. At this point, flip the meat over and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until you can shred the pork. Shred the meat and place the pot back into the oven uncovered and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Allow the pork to roast for about 30 minutes, or until some of the liquid has evaporated and the meat is tender. Set the meat aside.

Prepare your Keto Bread in a loaf pan and bake according to the instructions. Slice your Keto sandwich bread into 16 slices (or for a thicker bread, cut into 12 slices). Take two slices for your first sandwich. Spread a little Primal Kitchen Dijon or Spicy Mustard on one side, and then top with the pickles, ham, and a little of the shredded cuban pork. Place the Swiss cheese on top of the pork and then top with the second slice of bread.

Heat a small amount of butter in a small skillet. Swirl it around and once hot, carefully place the sandwich in the pan. Use another skillet or a pot to carefully press down on the sandwich. Maintain the pressure on the sandwich until the cheese melts slightly and the bread begins to brown slightly. Turn the sandwich over and repeat on the other side until both sides are golden. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. Slice your sandwiches in half and enjoy!

Nutrition Info (makes 8 sandwiches):

Calories: 710
Total Fat: 59g
Total Carbs: 10g
Net Carbs: 7g
Protein: 38g


The post Keto Cubano (Cuban Sandwich) Sliders Recipe (Gluten Free) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Research of the Week

People with amnesia often gain weight because they forget they’ve already eaten.

Caffeine makes alcohol more rewarding.

Taller people have stronger testosterone responses to exercise.

Despite widespread dairy consumption, Bronze Age Europeans had relatively low frequency of lactase persistence.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 444: Ashleigh VanHouten: Host Elle Russ welcomes Ashleigh VanHouten back to the podcast.

Episode 445: Dude Spellings: Host Brad Kearns welcomes Dude Spellings back to talk about micro-workouts, calorie compensation, blue light and melatonin.

Primal Health Coach Radio Episode 75: Laura and Erin chat with Stacey Claxton about learning from your body.

Media, Schmedia

Female python lays 7 eggs despite no male contact for twenty years.

Could face masks be a quick-and-dirty COVID vaccine?

Interesting Blog Posts

Have we unwittingly discovered the biggest productivity hack of the century?

Is motivation the answer?

Social Notes

VR pasture for Moscow cows.

Everything Else

More people are grinding their teeth.

A nice treatise on walking.

Post-hurricane mosquito clouds are killing livestock.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Podcast I loved doing: Health Theory with Tom Bilyeu. We talked about living awesome.

Interesting article: We know how to prevent massive wildfires.

Imagine that: Indigenous cattle are a viable path to economic and nutritional self-sufficiency in South Africa.

What to say when someone proposes that kids and adults avoid animal foods to stave off chronic disease: NO.

Another senseless tragedy: Vegan parents starve baby with homemade formula.

Question I’m Asking

Should veganism be illegal for children?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Sep 5 – Sep 11)

Comment of the Week

“The only free lunch is the cheese in the trap.”

-Good one, Fritz.


The post Weekly Link Love — Edition 98 appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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eating healthyHey, folks. If you’ve ever wondered if watching what you eat is really worth it, you’ll want to check out today’s post. PHCI Coaching Director, Erin Power is here answering your questions about managing macros, weighing the pros and cons of meal prep, and the value of paying more for your food. We love getting your questions, so keep them coming in the comments below or head over to our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group.

Debbie asked:

“I don’t know what to eat anymore. I was following a strict macro split of 56% fat, 28% protein, and 16% carbs, but I’m worried that my protein is too high. My goals are to maintain my weight, build muscle, and control my blood sugar since I am pre-diabetic. I know higher protein isn’t good for diabetes as it converts to glucose and then you get an insulin dump and gain weight. Can you point me in the right direction?”

Feels stressful doesn’t it? All the measuring, weighting, counting, and adding — just to get your macros to line up and reach some magical equation that you’ve decided will make everything work out perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, I love that you’re committed to doing what you can to prevent diabetes and reverse your current diagnosis (I wish more people followed your lead here), but I have a hunch it’s sort of ruling your life right now. And it doesn’t have to.

There’s so much great information out there. Unfortunately, that makes it easy to get overwhelmed. Personally, I’ve always hated the fussy factor. That’s why my philosophy is “keep it simple.”

My advice is to ditch the food scale (as well as grains, sugars, and industrialized oils) and focus on eating real foods in the form of vegetables, low sugar fruits, animal proteins, and healthy fats. Start with a protein-forward breakfast like eggs and bacon and eat when you’re hungry, not when your macro-tracking app says you need to squeeze in ten more grams of protein.

Stay on track no matter where you are! Instantly download your Primal and Keto Guide to Eating Out

Sure, some people thrive on adding up their macros. They get a sense of control out of knowing exactly how much protein, fat, and carbohydrates they’re consuming. But if it’s causing you more stress, you’re actually working against your goals of inhibiting an insulin response.

Both physical and emotional stress‘>2 with meat prices jumping as high as 20%, eggs increasing 10%, and fresh veggies going up 4%.Buy the organic, grass-fed, and pasture-raised versions and those costs will be even higher.

So, is it worth it? I’ll break it down for you.

I have clients that only buy organic. I also have clients that, for financial reasons, have to go the conventional route. The thing is, in general, when you buy organic (or grass-fed beef in this case), you’re limiting your exposure to synthetic additives. Other than that, there’s no conclusive evidence that eating this way is better or healthier for you.

But we’re not really talking about nutrition here. We’re talking about produce covered in pesticides and fertilizers. Factory-farmed animals housed in poor conditions and fed grains pumped full of antibiotics. The main issue here is the impact these foods have on your overall health – not to mention the health of our planet.‘>1

The bottom line: your liver prefers smart fats like avocado oil, butter, lard, fatty fish, and olive oil over industrial seed oils.

Reduce Refined Carb Intake

The real danger of refined carbs is that they tend to be nutrient-poor. They’re basically just pure starch (or sugar). All the energy, none of the micronutrients required to metabolize that energy.

Your liver works hard to convert carbs into glucose that your body can use. When you don’t use the glucose in your blood, it gets stored in the liver and skeletal muscle as glycogen, and if you have excess after that, it gets stored as body fat. With refined carbs, it’s easy to get there.

Studies show that carb overfeeding, especially with fructose, can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,‘>3

Here’s where dosage matters. The more you drink in a given allotment of time, the higher the liver burden. Your liver doesn’t metabolize ethanol all at once. It’s an ongoing physical process. It takes time, and glutathione. Glutathione is also a physical material. You need more substrate, like glycine and cysteine, to produce it. Without enough glutathione (and there’s never enough if you drink too much), your liver will incur damage and develop fat.

If you’re going to drink, do so sparingly, choose healthier drinks, and practice good hangover prevention hygiene. High linoleic acid intake, for example, mixes terribly with alcohol; a much better choice is something saturated like beef fat or cocoa butter.

Stop Overeating, and Lose Weight

The number one risk factor for getting a fatty liver with impaired function is gaining excess body fat. Don’t get fat. If you are fat, lose it. Losing weight is the number one risk factor for losing a fatty liver.

Figure out what type of diet helps you eat normal amounts, and then go follow that diet. For most of my readers, it’s a low-carb Primal or keto approach. For others, it’s full-on carnivore. And yes, there are some for whom a moderate or even high carb diet works best. Whatever satiates you is the one that will improve your liver function.

Overeating fat especially can be bad, because the extra fat doesn’t need to waste any extra steps becoming available to your liver.

Practice Time-restricted Eating

In mice fed a typical soybean oil-fructose-based lab diet, the “high-fat” kind that reliably plumps up their livers, switching to a shortened eating window eliminates the metabolic fallout. They don’t get fat, they don’t get insulin resistant, and, most importantly, they don’t get fatty or dysfunctional liver.‘>5 Amazing how that works.

Fish oil isn’t the only option. In fact, eating actual seafood is ideal because in addition to the omega-3s it also provides micronutrients and macronutrients that enhance liver function. If you’re not a fish eater, supplements can fill in the gaps.

Eat Yolks and Other Choline Sources

Choline protects against fatty liver by providing the backbone for VLDL—the particle the liver uses to transport fat out  into the body. Without adequate choline, you can’t make enough VLDL for transport and the fat tends to accumulate in the liver.

Egg yolks are the best source of choline.

Take NAC

In patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, taking NAC every day for three months improved liver enzyme levels and overall liver function.‘>7

Whey boosts glutathione levels and provides methionine, which the body can convert to choline when deficient.

Try Vanilla Coconut Primal Fuel, made with whey protein

Regularly Deplete Your Liver Glycogen

De novo lipogenesis, or the creation of fat from carbohydrate, is a hallmark of fatty liver disease.‘>9 A few of my favorite ways to deplete glycogen:

  • Train hard. I like HIIT, higher volume lifting, and sprints. Or my personal favorite: Ultimate Frisbee. Not all at once.
  • Fast. Fasting is a reliable way to burn through available liver glycogen.
  • Reduce carbs. Going low-carb or keto is a reliable, if slightly slower way to burn through your liver glycogen.

Get Good, Regular Sleep

Certain molecules responsible for clearing liver fat operate according to a circadian schedule.‘>1)

A single sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, during which you move from light sleep, through stage 2, into deep SWS, and back up to REM. Then down you go again, then back up, ideally at least four of five times per night.

Your sleep is also roughly broken into two phases over the course of a whole night. In the first half, you spend relatively more time in SWS. The second half is characterized by a higher proportion of REM sleep.

What does this have to do with nighttime waking?

One possible explanation is that as you transition into lighter sleep either within a single sleep cycle, or as you move from the first to the second phaseaches, pains, and small annoyances are more likely to wake you up. These can include medical issues like chronic pain, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or GERD. Soreness from the day’s hard workout, noise or light from your environment, hunger, thirst, or being too hot or cold might rouse you from your slumber.

If you’re waking up multiple times at night, chances are that you’re experiencing physical discomfort that you’re not able to sleep through. Sometimes it’s obvious, but not always.

Was It Something You Ate Or Drank?

While individual studies have linked sleep quality to diet and macronutrient intake (high versus low carb, for example), they are mostly small and the results inconclusive.‘>3

  • Try eating your last meal earlier if you’re waking up with indigestion, or later if you’re waking up hungry.
  • Try a teaspoon of raw honey before bed

    One hypothesis is that you’re waking up in the middle of the night because your brain gets hungry for glucose eight hours after your last meal. The honey provides some carbs to get you through.

    There’s no concrete evidence for honey as a sleep aid, but plenty of people swear by this remedy. I’m not sure it’s likely to be more effective than eating a serving of complex carbs at dinner. That said, even for low-carbers, I don’t think there’s any harm in trying.

    I’ll note, though, that fasting studies don’t show a link to sleep disturbances.‘>5

    Anthropological evidence confirms that some modern-day hunter-gatherers around the world likewise engage in biphasic sleeping.‘>7

    Scholars argue that biphasic sleep confers an evolutionary advantage.

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