Dear Readers: What Do You Want from Mark’s Daily Apple in 2017?

Inline_Ideas_WantedNo doubt, 2016 will go down in the books as one mammoth year for Mark’s Daily Apple. We went through an entire site redesign, a.k.a. MDA 3.0.-informed by your ideas last winter-and loaded it with a host of new resources.

As we close out this year, I’ll have plenty of announcements for what’s coming down the pipeline in 2017. I’ll also take a look back at the best of 2016-as I see it. What have we learned, what have we accomplished, and how has the health and wellness world changed in the span of twelve months?

For now, as I sit down to my New Year’s planning, I want to bring your thoughts to bear-your wish list for article topics, site resources, and all things Primal. And, let’s just throw in a contest for good measure….

This blog from the very start has been a community effort, and I can’t imagine it any other way. Reader feedback throughout the years has propelled everything from what I write about and how the site functions to what products I create and what Primal events we’ve put together. Now’s your chance to make your mark on what’s to come for Mark’s Daily Apple in 2017!

One note before we get going… I know folks have experienced continuing issues with the forum since the site upgrade, and I appreciate the feedback that’s come in. It’s been a frustrating knot to untangle the last several weeks, but I want you to know I consider the forum a centerpiece of Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint community. Getting the forum back to full capacity is a top priority for me and my staff. We’re working on it as I speak. Thanks for your patience on this, gang, and hang tight!

So, all this said, let’s get cracking on taking Mark’s Daily Apple to a new level in the New Year! Without further ado…

The Contest

“What do you want me to write about?” I take ideas and inspiration from you, MDA readers, every week. Today I’m handing you the mike and asking what you’d like to see me research and write about in 2017.

In the comments section below, tell me one topic you’d like to see covered, or one question you’d like to see answered, the title of one blog post that just has to be written this year, or one resource you’d like to see added to our site or weekly newsletter.

No idea is too small or big.

A winner will be chosen at random. Supporting others’ ideas (+1) is allowed (and encouraged), but only the idea comments will be counted for drawing purposes.

The Prizes

The Deadline

Midnight (PST), Friday 12/9/16!

Who is Eligible

Everyone. I’ll ship these items anywhere in the world.

Thanks in advance to everyone who offers an idea. I’ll see what I can do to give you what you want in 2017! In the meantime, Grok on!

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 428

weekend_linklove in-lineResearch of the Week

Compared to Bronze Age Europeans and contemporary Northern Europeans, Southern Europeans tend to be better at converting short chain PUFAs (linoleic acid and ALA) into long chain PUFAs (arachidonic acid, EPA, DHA).

The results of many clinical trials are never published. Why’s that?

Teens are better at math in the mornings (PDF).

Vitamin D protects worms against aging and Alzheimer’s.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

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Episode 144: Matt and Keris Whitmore: Host Brad Kearns chats with UK-based Matt and Keris about the link between your skin and your overall health, how training in hot weather affects your gut, what keto means for your training, the release of their new book Paleo Primer: A Second Helping, and much more.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Interesting Blog Posts

As with seemingly everything, autophagy has a dark side.

On work.

Media, Schmedia

Millennials are spending so much time sitting in front of screens that they’re getting varicose veins, hemorrhoids, bad backs, and bum knees. Next up: AARP memberships.

Meanwhile, dementia rates are dropping even as the population ages.

Everything Else

When it comes to studying the relationship between saturated fats (or any single nutrient) and heart disease, context matters.

You know our soda intake is excessive when you use “bathtubs” as a unit of measurement.

Rwandan gorillas are conducting uncharacteristic acts of mob violence.

Every Thanksgiving, backyard football injuries skyrocket.

Where’s a hyphen when you need one?

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Editorial every MD should read: “More clarity needed on the true benefits and risks of statins.”

Product that keeps ending up in my mouth: Our new Primal Kitchen Chocolate Hazelnut Bar, which is like a better, chewier version of Nutella that doesn’t leave you weeping with regret at 3 AM in a pile of empty jars.

Articles I’m flabbergasted had to be written: “Let’s face it, keeping children sedentary for most of their waking hours is causing harm.”

News I enjoyed: People are Googling the hell out of turmeric, kefir, and other functional foods.

News I did not enjoy: 85% of food in the U.S. contains pesticide residues (PDF).

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Nov 27 – Dec 3)

Comment of the Week

“The technical revolution of food is so 1850.”

Joselyn Hoffman Schutz – in response to the “Can Techies Improve Food?” Facebook posting

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What We Do With All the Kid Art

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I shared how we wrangle the household paper trail a few weeks back, and it spurred a tangent question: What do you do with all the kid art? I thought it might be helpful to share some ways we save and display the kids’ creations while still keeping our home mostly clutter-free. This is just what we do and what works for us. It’s not meant to be a strict ruleset. In fact, it’s a pretty loose system. But if you come across something you can implement in your home, great!

For starters, all three of my kids are creative in their own ways. Layne makes the most intricate Lego and origami creations. Everett LOVES to draw and work with clay. Give him a pencil and a blank piece of paper and he’s a happy camper. (He’s exceptionally good at capturing facial expressions.) Mabrey is really into painting with watercolors, coloring, writing her name (sometimes on her bed, ugh), copying text and taking pretend food orders. (Sorry, I don’t have any burgers. Would you like some fish and a lemon? Her restaurant never has what I ask for and she always suggests “unique” alternatives. Cracks me up every time.) She’ll also sit beside Everett while he’s drawing and try to reinterpret his pictures in her own way. It’s pretty cute. We rarely buy cards. The kids almost always make the cards we give for all sorts of occasions.

Layne and Everett are in grade school (6th and 3rd grade, respectively) and they occasionally bring home art-related stuff from school, but I remember the preschool years when it felt like every day was a damn art show! Haha. That’s where we are with Mabrey now. For the most part though, the majority of kid art is made at home. Art supplies are of one of the few things (books are another) that I tend to let pile up because they really do hold my kids’ attention in constructive ways. (Toys and clothes, not so much.) Art supplies are stored in the base cabinets in the desk area of the kitchen, and art is usually made at the kitchen island.

As for what we do with the masterpieces once they’re made…it really depends. Coloring book pages and preschool art are usually displayed on the fridge or fridge side panel temporarily. Mabrey has been known to tack her paintings on the wall near her play kitchen with washi tape, too. I usually give them a week or two, then they’re recycled to make room for inevitable new art.

Everett often gifts his drawings to friends, neighbors and family members. (You can spy one of his creations in Mabrey’s room.) He absolutely loves sending snail mail. He also likes to display recent drawings on the book ledge in his bunk.

Custom Lego airplanes and RV’s make their way on to the living room shelves and usually stay there until the pieces are needed for the next big thing. I’ve found origami sculptures in the laundry nook (and even the car!) when Layne is on one of his origami folding sprees, but we try to keep them contained to the top of his dresser and woven floor baskets in his room. He’s also been known to take requests from friends and teachers, so those pieces follow him to school.

Some art ends up in Steve’s cubicle at work. (Mabrey has the funniest exchange going on with one of Steve’s co-workers. Each week they trade handmade pictures or cards via Steve. It’s hilarious and super sweet.)

When projects are sent home at the end of the school year, I take a picture from above of them all laid out on the floor. We hang on to them for a week or so then pick our favorites to store in a tote up in the attic. If we both like the same one best, we keep one. If we like two different ones, we keep two. (Seasonal pieces like handmade ornaments are handled a little differently and stored with similar decorations to be displayed each year during the appropriate holiday.)

As you can see, kid art is in a continuous state of flux in our home. We hold on to absolute favorites and display others temporarily or gift them to others. I can’t imagine my kids wanting more than two dozen pieces of their own kid art once they’re grown and out of the house. And I can’t help but feel the more I save, the less special it is because it isn’t all that rare. But maybe that’s just me? Luckily, my kids seem more interested in the process of creating and trying new techniques to achieve a certain result than in coveting their actual creations. Still, I’ve been wanting to try to incorporate some kid art in our home in a more permanent way than just a tote in the attic.

A few months ago, I climbed into the attic and brought down an abstract that Everett made in kindergarten. For years, I had been envisioning it framed via a float mount to show off the stray paint droplets, chalk smears and crinkled edges…all visual evidence linking it to its handmade origins and its journey from school to home in a stuffed backpack. I had such a great experience using Framebridge earlier this year when I had two pieces of vintage Kuba cloth framed that I decided to go that route again. I created my custom framing order online and selected the float mount, Marin frame and mail-in option. A few days later, a pre-paid package arrived so I could send Everett’s abstract to the Framebridge studio to be framed. In a matter of weeks, it was shipped back.

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It’s perfect! I wanted to hang it in the hallway, but Everett told me he’d rather have it in his room so I hung it on just about the only wall space left in the boys’ room below a pair of open shelves.

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(Those floor baskets are chock full of origami!) Now I have every inclination to grab a few more favorites from the attic and have them custom framed as well to create a mini gallery of sorts in the hallway. I know Mabrey has a few ethereal watercolors up there, and wouldn’t a framed origami collection be so cool?!

Anyway, hopefully that gives you a peek at how we deal with the onslaught of kid art – which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. As I type, a handmade clay heart sculpture brought home from school is hanging from a hook near the front door. Bricks that the kids found in a nearby creek bed and painted at home are sitting on the countertop next to my laptop. They might not be here a month from now, but we’re enjoying them at the moment.

I’d love to hear your ideas for saving and displaying kid art at home. What works? What doesn’t? We tried a bulletin board a few years back and it just didn’t work for us. It was difficult to see any one thing well. Even though several pieces were on display, they mostly felt lost and jumbled. Maybe if we had more room it could work better?

If you’d like to give Framebridge a try, use the promo code HOUSETWEAKING15 to receive 15% off your first purchase now through January 31st, 2017. Framed art makes a great gift! December 4th, 2016, is the cutoff date for mail-in items. December 18th, 2016, is the cutoff date for print and frame items.

Bring on the kid art!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Introducing The New Primal Blueprint!

InLine_The-New-PB-3DGreetings, readers. It’s time to announce the publication of another book-called The New Primal Blueprint. Recognize the title? Yes, this is a comprehensive expansion, revision and update of the original 2009 bestseller, and the official name is indeed The New Primal Blueprint! And no, it’s not a mere reprint with me wearing a newer shirt and older smile on the cover. This publication is the culmination of a massive six-year R&D project involving several staff members (especially Brad Kearns, Managing Editor and Primal Blueprint Publishing sidekick), a team of researchers, several of the world’s leading Primal/paleo authors and experts, and you-yes, processing feedback from the collective experiences of Primal enthusiasts over the past seven years.

When I started this update/revision project over two years ago, my intention was to update the message, clean up some misunderstood topics, and cover some new ground on breaking subjects like gut health.

Alas, like many things we take on here in Primal-land, it ended up going big-time. And so I present to you a 584-page beast, full-color with extensive photographs, illustrations, cartoons, and graphs to deliver a most engaging and comprehensive read.

I can legitimately call this book my magnum opus, and I have no problem stating that this volume can stand as the ultimate comprehensive guide to living the Primal Blueprint lifestyle and gaining a total understanding what the Primal/paleo/ancestral health movement is all about. Even if you’ve read the original Primal Blueprint, I think you will get a kick out of this book and allow it to take the place of the original in your resource library.

As any devoted MDA reader knows, lots has changed in the last decade since the early days of the Primal/paleo movement. My team and I take pride in being open-minded, flexible, and adaptable to revising our positions and message in light of breaking science, as well as feedback from real live Primal enthusiasts. My favorite thing to do is dig into the research, engage with other thought leaders, evaluate feedback from Primal Blueprint enthusiasts and MDA readers, and carefully consider my stances to continually improve and chart an appealing course to health and happiness.

Thanks to events like PrimalCon, Paleo F(x) and the easy exchange of information over the Internet, I’m only a click or call away from the world’s leading experts on assorted subjects, and-believe me-I take advantage of my rolodex with unabashed questioning and debating when I’m compelled.

For example, Katy Bowman convinced me that increasing and varying everyday movement is just as important as a formal cardio regimen. Dr. Phil Maffetone convinced me that his “180-age” formula for aerobic maximum heart rate is the end-all calculation to develop a fat-burning beast and avoid the perils of chronic cardio. Kelly Starrett convinced me that devoting time to flexibility/mobility is just as important to fitness as hitting the gym and the sprints regularly. Finally, Dr. Cate Shanahan helped me become a little more flexible in my promotion of the values on the Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve to allow for individual variation and optimization of carb intake-especially for females wishing to avoid thyroid and hormonal problems relating to sudden and extreme carb restriction after decades of high-carb eating.

In this post, I’ll provide details and rationale for the recent revisions to the Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid and Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid, as well as discuss some key areas of the new book that have been expanded or revised from the original hardcover Primal Blueprint in 2009 and the paperback update in 2012.

See what you think, and feel free to comment-I read and consider them all!

2016 Food Pyramid

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The new bullet points attempt to provide an at-a-glance education about the benefits of Primal eating. We’ve done a bit of tidying up of the descriptions and benefits in the food categories but no major policy shifts or big surprises. On account of de-emphasizing the O6:O3 ratio concerns relating to healthy foods like nuts (more shortly), I emphasize the Primal Blueprint’s acceptance of all nuts and seeds, toning down the previous distinction of macadamia nuts as superior because they are higher in monounsaturated fat (and lower in omega-6 fats) than other nuts and seeds. Supplemental carbs for athletes is renamed to “high nutrient value carbs”-an acceptable choice for anyone who feels the need for these foods and additional dietary carbs in general.

2016 Fitness Pyramid

PB-Fitness-Pyramid-2016update-7.20

The main revision here was to rename Primal Blueprint Law #3 to “Move Frequently” instead of the previous “Move Frequently at a Slow Pace.” Previously, my Law #3 message emphasized doing aerobic workouts at the proper heart rate, with only a casual mention of the importance of moving around more in daily life. The new pyramid makes an effort to broaden the concept of Move Frequently to emphasize not only structured cardio workouts, but general everyday movement and the assorted physical endeavors categorized as Flexibility/mobility.

In today’s sedentary world, moving more is everything. The active couch potato syndrome is the real deal, and it ain’t pretty. In short, even if you are devoted to fitness with a faithful daily slog on the road or trip to the gym, you aren’t immune to the negative effects of lengthy stretches of inactivity-commutes, desk jobs and digital entertainment leisure time. The new Flexibility/mobility section is where those complementary fitness activities enter the picture: Pilates, yoga, tai chi, gymnastics, dancing, self myofascial release with rollers and balls, general stretching, and customized mobility/physical therapy exercises to address your particular prevention or healing concerns.

Regarding the optimal heart rate for aerobic activities, we’ve decided to depart from calculations based on maximum heart rate (Previously, the Primal Blueprint specified 55-75% of max heart rate as the aerobic exercise zone) and instead promote Dr. Phil Maffetone’s 180-age = maximum aerobic heart rate formula. Dr. Maffetone is the undisputed leader in this realm, and his formula is easier and more effective than calculating exercise intensity off of maximum heart rate. There is too much potential for error going off max heart rate, especially overestimating your aerobic limit.

Primal Endurance goes into great detail on this concept, because it’s so important for everyone who does cardio to essentially slow down and ensure they are burning fat, instead of allowing heart rate to creep up, introduce more glucose burning and stress hormone production into supposedly comfortable workouts and-over time-drift into a destructive chronic exercise pattern.

It’s pretty simple: subtract your age from 180, get your magic number, and honor that limit during your cardio sessions. (There are some adjustment factors for certain individuals, detailed in Primal Endurance or in Dr. Maffetone’s work.) You will likely have to slow way down from the typical indiscriminate pace of most joggers, cyclists and gym equipment users. By doing so, you will experience what it’s really like to become an efficient fat burner instead of being overstressed and carbohydrate dependent.

“Lift heavy things” and “sprint once in a while” stand strong as the preferred exercises to build or preserve lean muscle mass, optimize fat metabolism and hormonal function, promote organ reserve, and support bone density.

Various types of strength training-from the simple Primal Essential Movements to Jacques Devore’s cutting-edge Maximum Sustained Power training-work for Lift Heavy Things, but you have to put your body under load regularly to stay strong.

Similarly, sprinting once in a while stimulates that desirable brief fight-or-flight response, the spike of adaptive hormones like growth hormone and testosterone coursing through your bloodstream, and helps you blast through body composition plateaus like no other exercise. When you sprint, even just once in a while, you become stronger and more resilient in mind and body-not only for sprinting, but also for all types of exercise at lower intensities.

The New Primal Blueprint: Other Updates and Revisions

Here are several other topics from the book that are additions or revisions from the original publication.

Chapter 1 – Shout out to the hatahs: I spent a little time clarifying my position against detractors who have misinterpreted the Primal Blueprint as me manipulating evolutionary science into a regimented program. I totally appreciate experts with carefully considered opinions and health approaches that differ from mine. Heck, my old buddy from the professional triathlon scene, Rip Esselstyn, is killing it with his Engine 2 Diet and line of food products seen at Whole Foods. We differ on material matters like the role that whole grains and saturated fat play in healthy eating, but by and large this guy is motivating and inspiring people to be “plant strong,” so all the power to him.

However, when the book Paleofantasy attacks the paleo diet as a farce because our ancestors ate all kinds of different diets, or when the book Cult Diets asserts that because no single diet is a perfect fit for everyone that Primal/paleo is ill-advised, I say: “Wait a sec, man!” These are exactly the arguments I make as to why regimented diets are illogical-and why I insist that we must discover our own optimal eating habits within the framework of evolutionary health principles.

Chapter 1 – Genetics: I have provided further clarification for the rationale that we should model our lifestyle behaviors after our hunter-gatherer ancestors for purposes relating to health and directing optimal gene expression because we are genetically identical to them. This assertion is often misinterpreted, and examples that “humans are still evolving” are bantered about.

Really, we are getting into a semantic argument when we consider the effects of genetic drift and global population expansion on the human genome. I discuss the interesting examples of rapid genetic changes like lactase persistence among those of herding ancestry, the lightening of skin pigment for those migrating further from the equator (believed to have happened between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago-after a couple million years of humans being black), and the varied ability to digest starch based on prevalence of the AMY1 gene (a salivary enzyme). Gene expression is still strongly influenced by the environment, and there is no selection pressure to stimulate true DNA change in the manner of Darwinian evolution (I explain this further in case it’s been a while since middle school science class).

Another addition addresses the idea bantered about that humans might be devolving from adverse modern lifestyle practices. Again, we are not technically de-evolving, but a growing body of research suggests that genetic changes caused by environment can be passed to offspring through epigenetic transgenerational inheritance. Yep, binging on ice cream during your pregnancy can promote insulin resistance in your little one. Scary stuff, but again a confirmation that we are in control of our gene expression by making the right diet, exercise and lifestyle choices.

Chapter 1 – Primal/paleo rationale: A commonly cited paleo litmus test is if a food didn’t exist 10,000 years ago, you shouldn’t eat it-the rationale being that we have not had sufficient time to adapt genetically to “modern” foods. This assertion usually makes sense, but it is not stand-alone valid.

The reason we should not eat certain modern foods like grains, sugars and refined high polyunsaturated vegetable oils is because they are unhealthy, not necessarily because we haven’t genetically adapted to them. Hence, I had to do a bit of cleanup on my breezy language from years ago to highlight this distinction. Recall, however, that I have from the start taken a more relaxed approach than traditional paleo dogma, arguing that certain modern foods are acceptable to consume because they offer nutritional benefits and no health objections-like high-fat dairy products and dark chocolate.

Furthermore, throughout evolution, humans have encountered brand new foods that we have not genetically adapted to, but that are healthy, and we have thrived consuming them. Thanks, Matt LaLonde, for pressing this point very well in recent years.

Another message cleanup (thanks, Tracy Kearns, for the challenge) came during the frequent mention of the evolutionary model as inspiration for peak performance and longevity today. This is a bit of a stretch, or literal disconnect, because the ultimate goal of evolution is simply to survive long enough to reproduce. Since any video-gaming, candy-chomping teenager can reproduce just as successfully as an Olympic sprinter or PhD mathematician, surviving to reproductive age is not a lofty accomplishment today.

Instead, we must appreciate the nuance of applying the evolutionary model to make lifestyle decisions that honor our genes, but taking the spirit of the Primal Blueprint many steps further in order to promote longevity, happiness and management of the unrelenting stress of modern life.

Cases in point: the orthorexia phenomenon warns us that it’s not good enough to eat foods off the “yes” list and avoid foods on the “no” list; you have an obligation to yourself and your loved ones to enjoy the process of healthy eating and experience the joy and complete satisfaction provided by nutritious foods and celebratory meals (shouldn’t every meal be a celebration? It was for our ancestors). Similarly, over-exercising (even if it’s moving frequently, lifting heavy things, and sprinting once in a while) might generate a sequence of short-term positive gene expression events, but will lead you right to burnout instead of happiness and longevity.

Bottom line: I encourage you to live according to the Primal Blueprint principles, but I insist that you enjoy yourself along the way!

Chapter 3 – Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio: The dietary omega-6:omega-3 ratio has long been a hot topic in Primal/paleo circles. The basic notion is that we consume vastly excessive amounts of omega-6 in relation to omega-3. This imbalance promotes inflammation in the body because omega-6s deliver a pro-inflammatory effect and omega-3s are the anti-inflammatory powerhouses. Unfortunately, the concept has been oversimplified to the extent that omega-6s are seen as “bad.”

The true concern is that many unhealthy foods are high in omega-6, such as refined high polyunsaturated vegetable oils and packaged grain-based snacks and prepared meals. The problem is not the consumption of omega-6 per se, but the consumption of those unhealthy, pro-inflammatory foods that are high in omega-6. Furthermore, pro-inflammatory mechanisms in the body are critical to health; the key is to keep inflammation in balance, not to suppress inflammation in general. While it’s a good idea to obtain ample amounts of dietary omega-3 (the main dietary source is oily, coldwater fish), there is no reason to eschew healthy sources of omega-6 (nuts, seeds, nut butters) in the quest to improve your ratio.

Chapter 4 – Optimal protein consumption: The long-standing consensus recommendation for average daily protein intake (supported by both The Primal Blueprint and mainstream dietary resources) is now being called into question by respected primal/paleo types as it might be an overestimation, and detrimental to our health. It’s obvious that we must meet our minimum needs to ensure the health of our tissues and organs. Otherwise we enter a catabolic state, break down lean muscle mass and compromise immune function. That minimum need to support basic metabolism is agreed to be around .5 grams per pound (1.1 grams per kilogram) of lean mass.

From there, most resources promote the idea that your protein requirements escalate according to your activity level. So calculating off the basic requirement of .5 grams, a moderately active person might want .7 grams per pound (1.5 grams per kilo), while a highly active person is recommended to reach one gram per pound (2.2 grams per kilo) to ensure adequate health and recovery from exercise.

Dr. Ron Rosedale, a leading voice in the concerns about excess protein, suggests that .5 grams of protein per pound of lean mass is plenty for everyone. He believes that even high protein demand people (the highly active, growing teens and pregnant women) need only add 5-10 grams per day to that calculation to ensure optimal protein intake. When you slam your body with excess protein-more than it needs to fulfill the growth and repair functions that are the primary uses for protein-it works hard to either excrete it or convert it into carbohydrates via gluconeogenesis, which are then used for energy (or, if you’re in a calorie surplus, stored as fat).

The conversion of excess protein into glucose will compromise your fat-loss goals, and essentially turn anything considered a high-protein diet into a high-carbohydrate diet in reality (due to gluconeogenesis). What’s more, excess protein consumption continually primes you for accelerated cellular division and growth, instead of the more natural pattern of varying between anabolic (repair, rejuvenation, growth), catabolic (breakdown from exercise and life stressors) and metabolic (normal chemical reactions producing energy).

Chapter 4 – Carbohydrate intake: There’s been some pushback against adhering to a strict low-carb paleo eating pattern as many enthusiasts, especially females, have reported adverse effects from cutting carbs. A sudden and/or significant reduction in carbohydrate intake has been blamed for thyroid problems, fatigue, and even disturbances in gut health. While there is never any rationale to consuming refined, nutrient-devoid carbs like grains, sugars and sweetened beverages, the inclusion of high nutrient value carbohydrates into the diet is certainly acceptable by the Primal Blueprint.

Align Carb Intake

The level of your intake is probably best determined by personal preference. That said, the widely adopted Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve will still accurately predict your success or failure with reaching and maintaining your ideal body composition. If you are interested in losing excess body fat, the surest path to get there is to reduce total carbohydrate intake, which reduces insulin production and enables you to access and burn stored body fat. The upper limit of the maintenance range is 150 grams per day, which allows for an abundant intake of vegetables, sensible intake of seasonal fruit, and an ample amount of incidental carbs from primal-approved foods like nuts, seeds and dark chocolate.

What I used to call “Supplemental carbs for athletes” is now called “High nutrient value carbs.” This category includes sweet potatoes, squash and other starchy tuber vegetables, wild rice and quinoa. My effort here was to reposition the big picture on carb intake to be less strict and more left to personal preference.

If you are trying to lose excess body fat, the most direct path is to moderate carb intake. There is no call for anyone to consume grains, sugars, sweetened beverages or other highly processed, high-carb fare, ever.

Chapter 4 – Ketones: With ketogenic eating and endurance training being such a hot topic today, the discussion has been greatly expanded. In particular, I emphasize how glucose burns “dirty” in your body, creating considerable metabolic waste products, inflammation and oxidative damage; while fat and ketones burn “clean.” Glucose is metabolized quickly and easily for energy, but mitochondria and oxygen are not required for glucose burning. Hence, you can lose out on the free-radical protection that mitochondria provide during calorie burning.

When you are locked in a carbohydrate dependency diet, your mitochondria can actually atrophy. This atrophy increases your susceptibility to all forms of oxidative stress, not just from diet but also from chronic exercise, pollution and the stress of hectic modern life. Note: glucose can also be burned with oxygen and mitochondria, but even then more free radicals are generated in comparison to burning fat and ketones.

The best way to optimize mitochondrial function and protect yourself against general free radical damage is to become fat- and keto-adapted. Utilizing lots of oxygen and mitochondria to metabolize calories, requiring fewer calories to survive (because insulin and hunger hormones are moderated when you are fat adapted), engaging in Intermittent Fasting, and dipping into that rarified state of ketone burning-even if it’s just occasionally-all support mitochondrial biogenesis. Mitochondrial biogenesis is the manufacture of additional mitochondria (and optimizing the functioning of existing mitochondria) to better diffuse the oxidative stress of burning calories and simply being a living, breathing human.

Ketone burning has been shown by science to facilitate rapid fat reduction, improve the function and development of mitochondria (the energy centers of our cells), exert a potent anti-inflammatory effect, improve immune function, boost cellular repair, control epilepsy, deliver assorted benefits to cognitive function (especially for those with dementia, autism and ADHD), and even fight cancer (by starving cancer cells of their main fuel, glucose.)

Check out The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Dr. Steven Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek for a comprehensive education with scientific detail about the wonders of ketones for the aforementioned conditions, and watch Dr. Dom D’Agostino’s TEDx Talk “Starving Cancer” for details on that subject. Interestingly, the therapeutic benefits of ketone burning have prompted the manufacture of consumable sources of ketones, allowing one to override the delicate macronutrient restrictions and achieve elevated blood ketone levels.

Chapter 5 – Prebiotics and probiotics: This all-new section details the burgeoning health concept that connects the state of the bacteria in your intestinal tract to various diseases, and how many doctors now consider microbial diversity (how many different types of gut microbes you have-more is better) to be an important health marker. The immune system in particular depends upon a healthy balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, a state characterized by a predominance of “friendly” bacteria over the “bad” bacteria that can cause illness.

Contrary to the oversimplified layman’s view of germs and bacteria as universally bad and dangerous, our bodies are constantly covered and populated by all manner of germs and bacteria, both good and bad-no matter how hard we try to scrub and cleanse everything we eat and touch.

Beneficial bacteria are the most important line of defense for your immune system. They help quell inflammation, neutralize toxic substances, turn fiber into special health-promoting fatty acids, and even produce important nutrients like B vitamins and vitamin K. Interestingly, 90 percent of the production of your body’s critical “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin happens in the gut, regulated by intestinal enterochromaffin (EC) cells and other forms of intestinal bacteria. Gut microbes also produce other adaptive hormones like dopamine and noradrenaline.

In this lengthy section, I talk thru the particulars of probiotics (fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, fermented soy products like miso and tempeh), kombucha drinks and even dark chocolate) and also explain how prebiotics (aka resistant starch such as potato starch, cooked and cooled rice or potatoes, or green bananas) are metabolized by bifidobacteria in the colon into a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate-the prime energy source for your colonic cells. Butyrate communicates with your immune system, helping to regulate inflammatory processes. Resistant starch consumption has also been shown to boost insulin sensitivity, improve the integrity of your gut lining (combating the aforementioned leaky gut), reduce fasting blood sugar levels, and lessen the glucose and insulin responses to high-carb meals.

Chapter 6 – Hydration: The original Primal Blueprint position was to simply obey your thirst. Indeed, your body’s thirst mechanism does an excellent job dictating when and how much to drink, and your kidneys do an excellent job regulating fluid balance in your body even when fluid intake is not ideal.

It’s difficult to become dehydrated, because your thirst mechanism kicks in big time long before you reach a level of dehydration where your health is at risk. There is a much greater risk of hyponatremia these days-an overconsumption of fluid such that your sodium levels are dangerously diluted. There have been several reported cases of inexperienced marathon runners hydrating obsessively to the extent that they became comatose or died from hyponatremia.

Here’s the thing: it’s difficult to become dehydrated, but for ambitious fitness enthusiasts or those performing work in hot climates, it’s possible to mute the ideal function of your thirst mechanism and get into a pattern of insufficient fluid intake and some minor, perhaps chronic, level of dehydration.

The work of Dr. Stacy Sims at Stanford and the aggressive promotion of hydration as a more nuanced concept by Dr. Kelly Starrett, author of Becoming a Supple Leopard and Deskbound and purveyor of MobilityWOD.com, have been instrumental as I’ve refined my position to offer some strong caveats and elaboration from the oversimplified, “obey your thirst, like Grok” initial position.

Optimal hydration is about being sensible and strategic in addition to being highly aware and responsive to your thirst mechanism. Furthermore, it’s critical to pay attention to your sodium balance to the extent that optimal hydration entails not just slamming water, but including a bit of salt with each serving. It’s been found that adding a bit of carbohydrate to your fluid can enhance absorption. That said, there is no call to go purchase popular energy or sports drinks that are typically grossly excessive in carbohydrate intake. You can simply prepare a pitcher or bottle of water and add a pinch of salt and perhaps a few drops of honey or other sweetener and do just fine. Anything beyond a bit of carbohydrate will actually slow absorption in the intestines.

Folks, there are plenty more improvements you will appreciate as an original Primal Blueprint reader, so much so that I really encourage you to update your library with this new volume and give it a read.

I have a collection of my favorite go-to books that I read over and over (perhaps I’ll do a post on this someday, hmmm…) as I believe we retain less information than we realize, and that repetition of the really important stuff is the best way to master material. Besides, with the colorful photos, drawings, charts and graphs, it’s fun to just sit down and skim through pages and let the Primal Blueprint wash all over you. Check out the special offer below and consider “upgrading” your library, or going all-in for the first time, with The New Primal Blueprint.

Enjoy an excerpt here.

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/331095588/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-qVYta4SwkYkpGRCgqup8&show_recommendations=true

Per Mark’s Daily Apple tradition, I’ve put together an exciting limited-time offer for my new book release.

Order one or more copies of The New Primal Blueprint from Amazon.com in either Kindle or hardcover format by Nov. 23, then fill out this form, and you’ll get the following bonus items for FREE:

Feature_645x445

A coupon for a free bottle of PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Ranch dressing at PrimalBlueprint.com: Use this coupon to pick up a FREE bottle of our newest PRIMAL KITCHEN™ creation and the holy grail of dressings: ranch! This dairy-free ranch is an uncompromisingly delicious, rich, full-flavored, and oh, so healthy dressing. Using 100% pure avocado oil as a base, our ranch includes only the finest health-enhancing, all-natural ingredients, including organic garlic, onion, dill, cage-free organic eggs, black pepper and chives. And that means no dairy, no buttermilk, gluten, soy, canola or sugar in sight. So go ahead and finally enjoy your childhood favorite again! No guilt here.

A digital download of The Primal Slow Cooker Cookbook: I know you folks are busy with the kids and work and workouts, so I’ve put together this collection of broths and slow-cooked, nutritious and delicious meals that will be ready for eating when you walk through the door. Enjoy creations like Chicken Adobe with Coconut Aminos, and Tender Braised Brisket with Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes.

How’s that for a bonus bundle?

Just click here to grab your copy of The New Primal Blueprint on Amazon and fill out this form here to get your free bonuses.

FINE PRINT

  • This special bonus offer ends at 11:59 pm, Nov. 23, 2016 (PST).
  • All receipts must be received by 11:59 pm, Nov. 24, 2016 (PST). The forms will stop working on Nov. 25, so be sure to fill out the form and submit your pre-Nov. 23 receipt(s) by then.
  • On an iPhone? You won’t be able to upload your receipt from it, unfortunately. You’ll have to use a computer.
  • You will receive access to The Primal Slow Cooker Cookbook and your PrimalBlueprint.com gift certificate via email within 24 hours.
  • Pre-orders will be honored for all bonus offers.
  • Both orders placed online (from any source) and in brick and mortar retail locations will be honored.
  • Both domestic (U.S.) and international orders are eligible for the bonuses.

    All book formats are eligible, including physical books and digital versions (e.g. Kindle).

  • The PrimalBlueprint.com gift certificate expires on December 23, 2016, and is valid for a single use on one bottle of PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Ranch dressing, you just pay S&H.

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The post Introducing The New Primal Blueprint! appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

I’ve Never Felt Better in My Life!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in line

Dear Mark, This letter has been a long time coming. Like many of your readers, I had followed the standard American diet rather thoughtlessly, though I did experiment some with vegetarianism. I loved baking my own bread and even bought and ground my own flour. But though I was rather a skinny teen, I gradually ballooned up. And I do mean balloon.

I was so uncomfortable, nothing fit, and all my weight was around my stomach and my face. I knew I couldn’t go on like that. When I turned 40, we decided to get serious about our health and eating. My wife had also gained a lot of weight. We discovered Atkins, lost some and then fell off the wagon and added more back on. We tried again. This time my wife lost a ton, and so did I. I dropped back to about 155 or so.

Again, like so many, the weight began to creep back, even when I got stricter with my carbs. It was so frustrating! I never went back to the SAD diet that had gotten me in such sorry shape, but we were eating a ton of substitutionary foods packed with things like Splenda. Well, you get the idea.

Before_Success_Story_11.11.16

Enough is enough, I thought. I can do this. I know I can. So I set my mind to be strict with my Atkins and up the exercise. My goal: to be fabulously fit by fifty. And I did a not bad job! I had the flexibility with my work to get in long gym hours and by dent of effort (in other words, chronic cardio), I gradually shaped up quite a bit. My cardio workouts were so insane on the step machine that I found out they called me the crazy man at the desk. One year in, I was very pleased with the efforts:

But, of course, there was no way I could keep up that insane workout schedule, and I had grown to hate the stepper and even resented the gym visits all the time. I certainly achieved my personal goal of fabulously fit by fifty, but my knees were killing me. I had taken up running, but found that I couldn’t keep on doing it. I felt like I had a pebble in my knee.

My wife and I were always learning, studying, trying to master this. We’d seen such progress, but… Then we read Wheatbelly and were blown away, and somehow that also led us to your website. It was November 2011. Before long things really did begin to change for us.

Another_After_Success_Story_11.11.16

I gave the Vibrams and toe-strike running a try. Knee pain? Gone! I even ran the length of half marathon one year on a cruise ship in the Pacific as Baja floated past. It was insanely fun. Just did it because I could. I tried different workouts, but had difficulty sticking to anything for long. I was glad, though, that I had everything we needed at home. No more gyms sucking up my cash!

My wife and I began regular walks and have continued it to this day. We kept learning about eating. Tried some Whole 30’s and some other variations, but we’ve always returned to Primal. It’s just doable for us. We love it. I enjoy my square of chocolate and the occasional glass of red wine (Botabox cab is my favorite).

Exercise has become steady: I’ve settled into a routine these days of walking outside at least 10k steps Monday through Saturday, and taking it a bit easier on Sunday, but trying to get 5k. As I walk, I do 200 push-ups on Monday through Saturday (eight sets of 25 each). Additionally, at least two days a week I sprint. I tried sprinting on the bike and just dreaded it. Lately I’ve been sprinting outside and it has been great. I found that the key for me taking off is lifting high those knees. It picks up a little bit of speed at first and then it just takes off. I love it! Thanks to Mr. Money Mustache, my wife and I now ride our bikes up to church and for errands around town. Lots of fun.

After_Success_Story_11.11.16

Anywho, it’s been a trip and a half, and we are grateful to you and your generous spirit and the wonderful information you have provided us through all these years. When I noticed the Friday without a story, I thought: I need to write. I’ve scrounged info from your site for years and have not given back. So here’s my meagre attempt.

Tomorrow I will turn 56. I am 5 foot, 10 inches tall, and I weigh about 146 at present. Body fat hangs at about 12% and I’ve never felt better in my life. For the last two days, in fact, my wife and I tackled a tree that needed to come down in our yard. Pay someone to cut it? No way. We cut the sucker down with a handsaw and a pruning hook. Talk about feeling great. Anyway, my last pic is basically where I am now. This was a couple months ago on Father’s Day. Thank you, Mark. My wife and I are among the many thousands who are so thankful for what you do.

– William

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The post I’ve Never Felt Better in My Life! appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

Dear Mark: How Often Should I Supplement with Turmeric?

Dear Mark Turmeric Consumption Frequency in lineFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m talking about turmeric. Last week, I made an off-handed recommendation that people not eat high doses of turmeric, prompting a great question in the comments. Are there actual dangers to turmeric consumption? Is there something you folks should know? Does something perilous lurk within that yellow powder in your cupboard?

Not exactly, but I did make that recommendation for a reason. Let’s find out why:

This is the first I’ve heard that turmeric should not be taken regularly for the same reasons as liver and brazil nuts. I was already aware of the potential toxicity of overdoing liver or brazil nuts, but what are the dangers of turmeric for a normal healthy person? I understand the blood thinning aspects of it could be potentially harmful for someone already on blood thinners or is pregnant, but what about someone without any underlying issues?

My dog and I have turmeric and black pepper almost every day in our food or supplement form. Should I be scaling that back to 1 or 2 times a week like liver or just use it in low daily dosages like brazil nuts?

Paul

Ah yes, I did say that.

It’s not so much that turmeric is bad. There are real considerations, like the blood thinning issue (turmeric can inhibit clotting, so anyone already taking blood thinners like coumadin should ask their doctor before using turmeric) or the iron absorption issue (turmeric inhibits iron absorption, which is great for people with iron overload or hereditary hemachromatosis, but an unwanted side effect for people who need to absorb their iron). But I’m not really talking about those.

Consider the widely touted fact about turmeric absorption: Without black pepper providing piperine in the same meal, we’re just not very good at absorbing curcumin, the primary constituent of turmeric that everyone’s gaga over. It simply isn’t very bioavailable without the addition of black pepper.

Why don’t we absorb curcumin very well on its own? Could there be a reason for that?

Maybe, maybe not.

I hedge my bets. Obviously, curcumin and turmeric have proven health benefits. Studies-controlled ones, even-show that taking curcumin can do many incredible things for us:

  • Curcumin supplementation has shown promise in treating and preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It recently compared favorably to a standard antidepressant in people with clinical major depression. It could also make antidepressant therapy more effective.
  • It improves lipid profile and reduces uric acid levels in patients with fatty liver.
  • It reduces overall oxidative stress in osteoarthritis patients.

I’ve written about turmeric many times before, so I won’t belabor the benefits.

However, is more always better? Should we eat as much turmeric as humanly possible?

Probably not.

Remember that polyphenols and other antioxidant compounds largely exert their beneficial effects via hormesis: by provoking a stress response that triggers secretion of our own antioxidants. With hormetic stressors, some is better than both none and too much. Curcumin is no different.

And we know that turmeric works really well in smaller doses, sometimes better than larger ones.

For instance, smaller doses of curcumin are better at reducing amyloid plaque in Alzheimer’s models than larger doses, and seniors who take low doses of curcumin enjoy a diverse range of metabolic and overall health benefits.

In populations where regular turmeric consumption is associated with health benefits, like India, they’re not treating the spice like a supplement. They’re cooking with it. They’re adding it to milk and ghee. For them, turmeric is one of many spices, not a wonder supplement they megadose. If the association is causal, small incidental food-borne doses are enough.

That’s why I use turmeric as a spice, as an ingredient. I mix it with pepper and add to my eggs. I make curry. I throw it in beef stews. And for very explicit, acute reasons, I might take a megadose now and then.

If I have an inflammatory issue, or maybe my old arthritis is acting up, I’ll have some turmeric tea with a hefty spoonful. A big dose of turmeric, black pepper, and the murkiest extra virgin olive oil you can find is fantastic before a night of drinking. If I had depression, I’d probably try curcumin. If I had cancer, I’d dig into the curcumin/cancer literature. If I was a lot unhealthier than I am now, I’d probably increase my intake. Studies show that in unhealthy populations or those with existing inflammatory issues like osteoarthritis, higher doses of curcumin work well.

But what about overall healthy people?

I don’t know about high doses. It’s probably fine, but what if it isn’t? Trust the body. Don’t override its natural regulation of bioavailability unless you know what you’re doing.

If you’re feeling fine, stick with your current intake and err on the side of lower intakes. If you’re treating a known condition, go higher. Great job giving it to your dog, by the way. I’ve been known to throw a few dashes of turmeric in my dogs‘ bowls and have heard good things from other dog owners.

I was just cautioning against people who saw turmeric on my “top supplemental foods” list and assumed they should make it 2% of their diet.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I’d love to hear your take on turmeric dosage.

Do you use it? How? As spice or supplement?

Take care.

phc1_640x80

The post Dear Mark: How Often Should I Supplement with Turmeric? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

Dear Mark: How Often Should I Supplement with Turmeric?

Dear Mark Turmeric Consumption Frequency in lineFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m talking about turmeric. Last week, I made an off-handed recommendation that people not eat high doses of turmeric, prompting a great question in the comments. Are there actual dangers to turmeric consumption? Is there something you folks should know? Does something perilous lurk within that yellow powder in your cupboard?

Not exactly, but I did make that recommendation for a reason. Let’s find out why:

This is the first I’ve heard that turmeric should not be taken regularly for the same reasons as liver and brazil nuts. I was already aware of the potential toxicity of overdoing liver or brazil nuts, but what are the dangers of turmeric for a normal healthy person? I understand the blood thinning aspects of it could be potentially harmful for someone already on blood thinners or is pregnant, but what about someone without any underlying issues?

My dog and I have turmeric and black pepper almost every day in our food or supplement form. Should I be scaling that back to 1 or 2 times a week like liver or just use it in low daily dosages like brazil nuts?

Paul

Ah yes, I did say that.

It’s not so much that turmeric is bad. There are real considerations, like the blood thinning issue (turmeric can inhibit clotting, so anyone already taking blood thinners like coumadin should ask their doctor before using turmeric) or the iron absorption issue (turmeric inhibits iron absorption, which is great for people with iron overload or hereditary hemachromatosis, but an unwanted side effect for people who need to absorb their iron). But I’m not really talking about those.

Consider the widely touted fact about turmeric absorption: Without black pepper providing piperine in the same meal, we’re just not very good at absorbing curcumin, the primary constituent of turmeric that everyone’s gaga over. It simply isn’t very bioavailable without the addition of black pepper.

Why don’t we absorb curcumin very well on its own? Could there be a reason for that?

Maybe, maybe not.

I hedge my bets. Obviously, curcumin and turmeric have proven health benefits. Studies-controlled ones, even-show that taking curcumin can do many incredible things for us:

  • Curcumin supplementation has shown promise in treating and preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It recently compared favorably to a standard antidepressant in people with clinical major depression. It could also make antidepressant therapy more effective.
  • It improves lipid profile and reduces uric acid levels in patients with fatty liver.
  • It reduces overall oxidative stress in osteoarthritis patients.

I’ve written about turmeric many times before, so I won’t belabor the benefits.

However, is more always better? Should we eat as much turmeric as humanly possible?

Probably not.

Remember that polyphenols and other antioxidant compounds largely exert their beneficial effects via hormesis: by provoking a stress response that triggers secretion of our own antioxidants. With hormetic stressors, some is better than both none and too much. Curcumin is no different.

And we know that turmeric works really well in smaller doses, sometimes better than larger ones.

For instance, smaller doses of curcumin are better at reducing amyloid plaque in Alzheimer’s models than larger doses, and seniors who take low doses of curcumin enjoy a diverse range of metabolic and overall health benefits.

In populations where regular turmeric consumption is associated with health benefits, like India, they’re not treating the spice like a supplement. They’re cooking with it. They’re adding it to milk and ghee. For them, turmeric is one of many spices, not a wonder supplement they megadose. If the association is causal, small incidental food-borne doses are enough.

That’s why I use turmeric as a spice, as an ingredient. I mix it with pepper and add to my eggs. I make curry. I throw it in beef stews. And for very explicit, acute reasons, I might take a megadose now and then.

If I have an inflammatory issue, or maybe my old arthritis is acting up, I’ll have some turmeric tea with a hefty spoonful. A big dose of turmeric, black pepper, and the murkiest extra virgin olive oil you can find is fantastic before a night of drinking. If I had depression, I’d probably try curcumin. If I had cancer, I’d dig into the curcumin/cancer literature. If I was a lot unhealthier than I am now, I’d probably increase my intake. Studies show that in unhealthy populations or those with existing inflammatory issues like osteoarthritis, higher doses of curcumin work well.

But what about overall healthy people?

I don’t know about high doses. It’s probably fine, but what if it isn’t? Trust the body. Don’t override its natural regulation of bioavailability unless you know what you’re doing.

If you’re feeling fine, stick with your current intake and err on the side of lower intakes. If you’re treating a known condition, go higher. Great job giving it to your dog, by the way. I’ve been known to throw a few dashes of turmeric in my dogs‘ bowls and have heard good things from other dog owners.

I was just cautioning against people who saw turmeric on my “top supplemental foods” list and assumed they should make it 2% of their diet.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I’d love to hear your take on turmeric dosage.

Do you use it? How? As spice or supplement?

Take care.

phc1_640x80

The post Dear Mark: How Often Should I Supplement with Turmeric? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.