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What is Chrononutrition?

Chrononutrition is a relatively new specialty in the fields of nutrition and biology that tries to understand how the timing of food ingestion affects health. The central idea here is that metabolic health, cardiovascular health, and body composition come down not just to what and how much we eat but also when we eat. 

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What to Eat Before a Workout

Pre-workout nutrition is one of those areas where people love to lose themselves in the minutiae. They obsess over what to eat, when to eat it, and how much of it to eat. Instead of just getting into the gym or out into the world and getting active and lifting something heavy, they read blogs and watch videos for weeks, searching for the one pre-workout meal to rule them all. They end up avoiding the gym altogether because they can’t figure out the “perfect” pre-workout meal, or whether they should eat something at all.

Even when you figure out what to eat before a workout, you can go too far. You know the type of guy. This is the guy who travels with a suitcase full of powders, pills, and packaged foods. He’s so wedded to the pre-workout ritual that he can’t skip a day—even on vacation. If he doesn’t get his 40.5 grams of waxy maize, 30.2 grams of whey isolate, and preworkout blend of superfoods he can’t operate in the gym. He crumbles without the perfect, most optimal pre-workout nutrition.

Don’t be like this. Let me tell you what to do so you can stop stressing about what to eat before a workout. Let’s simplify things.

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 201

Research of the Week

Time-restricted eating combined with low-carb dieting is more potent than either alone for reducing visceral fat and metabolic syndrome.

Creatine monohydrate is still the best form of creatine.

Worse air pollution, worse COVID.

How stress increases junk food consumption in the brain.

Athletes may sleep (and perform) better with nighttime protein and carbs.

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My Early Morning Routine

Morning is a sacred time for me. When our kids were still living with us, morning was the only time I had totally to myself. It allowed me to get the day started on my terms, set the tempo for the rest of the day. The kids are out on their own now, it’s just me and my wife, but the morning remains crucial to the rest of the day. Every morning is a blank slate. Every morning you get to start over, the promise and potential of the near future filled to bursting. And so my early morning routine is the foundation of my day. Without it, the day just doesn’t “take.” If you want to be “agile” and “intuitive” in your life, a morning routine helps. You need the foundation from which to leverage your talents and express your intuition and dynamic capacity. If your mornings are slapdash and all over the place, you’ll have trouble venturing out into the world and conquering your goals. A child needs security to grow. You need a morning routine to excel. Here’s my early morning routine. Go to bed between 10 and 11. A morning routine starts with your nighttime routine. As I’ve said many times before, getting to bed at a good time—around 10, but no later than 11—while maintaining proper sleep hygiene practices so that you get enough sleep and wake up with energy and vitality is essential for a good morning. So your morning routine begins the night before. You have to get a good night’s sleep if your early morning routine is going to help you. Wake up at around 7. I wake up around the same time every day—mostly because I’m so religious about getting to bed at a good time. Seven o’clock is my typical wake up time. This allows me to get to bed between 10 and 11 and still get all the sleep I need. I’m in bed by 10, and usually earlier, but I’ll read in bed. Sometimes I go out fast, other times I stay up and keep reading. A 7 AM wakeup gives me breathing room at night. Waking up at the same time every day is essential. For one, you don’t need an alarm. You just wake up because your body knows, and it’s much easier this way. Two, waking up is the start of your routine. Everything hinges on wakeup occurring at the same time. If you wake up at 5 one day and 8:30 another, it’s difficult to plan any kind of consistent morning routine. Get sun in my eyes. Sun exposure early in the morning—sunrise, ideally—helps your circadian rhythm hew to the rhythm of the day. It “tells” your internal clocks that it’s morning, that it’s time to get moving, that it’s time to build and go. I’ve always made it a point in my adult life to live in places that get ample sunlight year round. Earlier in my health journey, this wasn’t a conscious decision. I … Continue reading “My Early Morning Routine”

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Peppermint Essential Oil: Uses and Benefits

Ah, peppermint. It’s a classic scent and flavor that just about everyone enjoys. What are your positive associations with peppermint? Candies snuck to you by your grandmother, minty fresh breath, peppermint hot chocolate or lattes on a cold winter morning? And it’s not just for culinary treats and oral care. Oil distilled from the peppermint plant—scientific name Mentha x piperita—is broadly useful for medicinal and aromatic purposes. Peppermint oil contains beneficial compounds, notably high levels of menthol, which give it antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. I’m not really an essential oils guy, but lavender oil and peppermint oil are two we usually have on hand because they are so multifunctional. Here are some research-backed benefits of peppermint.  6 Reasons to Use Peppermint Oil Peppermint Oil Helps with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) I know from personal experience how IBS symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and cramping affect day-to-day quality of life. For me, removing grains and adopting a Primal lifestyle have made all the difference, but if you’re still dealing with IBS symptoms, peppermint oil might help.  Two recent meta-analyses concluded that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are significantly better than placebo at relieving pain and global IBS symptoms. It’s also effective for kids. Possibly it works by decreasing muscle spasms, killing pathogens, relieving pain directly, and/or reducing inflammation. Peppermint Oil for Headaches This might be one of the oldest traditional uses for peppermint. Contemporary studies confirm that peppermint oil applied topically or intranasally can provide headache relief on par with traditional pain relievers or lidocaine.  Mix a drop or two of peppermint essential oil in a carrier oil like jojoba. Use your fingertips to massage the oil into your temples, being careful not to get too close to your eyes. (Trust me, peppermint plus eyeballs is not a good combo.) Or add 5 to 10 drops of peppermint oil to a diffuser and practice some resonance breathing. This is especially great if you have a tension headache.  Prevent Nausea and Vomiting A buddy of mine had surgery a while back. As part of the post-op care, the hospital offered him the option of aromatherapy—choosing between a few different scents, including peppermint, which he could sniff to control post-surgical nausea and vomiting. And it worked, which he thought was pretty cool. I’ve since heard of other hospitals starting to use this approach. In a couple studies I looked at, not only does peppermint oil mitigate nausea and vomiting, patients preferred it to antiemetic drugs. Peppermint oil aromatherapy has proven effective postoperatively, as my friend can attest, during pregnancy, and while undergoing chemotherapy. Products containing peppermint oil can also help with motion sickness. Possibly Relieve Itching Chronic itching, called pruritus, can drive you up a wall. Two small studies suggest peppermint oil might help. In one, participants applied either peppermint oil or petroleum jelly over areas of chronic itch twice daily for two weeks. In the other, pregnant women took either a placebo or peppermint oil diluted in sesame oil twice a day orally … Continue reading “Peppermint Essential Oil: Uses and Benefits”

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 200

Research of the Week

Non-nutritive components of ultra processed foods are likely causes of widespread gut issues.

Omega-6/Omega-3 balance of red blood cells improves atherogenic risk factors.

“Impairing” carbohydrate absorption extends lifespan in mice.

Carnitine intake protects brain development in preterm infants.

Machine learning tries to map individual amino acid intakes to health.

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