Before the complex tools, before the projectile weapons and the wheels and the civilization, hominids stood upright and walked—and it made all the difference. Bipedalism freed up their hands to carry objects and manipulate the world around them and see for miles and miles across the horizon. They did all this atop bare feet that closely resembled our own; millions-year old hominid footprints from East Africa look almost identical to ones you’d see today at the beach. Not much has changed down there.
That’s the entire basis for the barefoot running movement. We were born barefoot, we spent the vast majority of our prehistory barefoot and history wearing the scantest of minimalist footwear. It’s only in the last hundred years or so that we began entombing our feet in restrictive leather and rubber carapaces that deform our foot structure and alter our gait and tissue loading. Running in bare feet or in shoes that mimic the barefoot experience can help us move and land the way nature intended, thereby increasing running efficiency and reducing injury risk. The science is sound.
Following up on last week’s big carnivore post, today I want to look at some of the main reasons people choose a carnivore diet in the first place. There are those who just like meat a whole heckuva lot and don’t want to be bothered with vegetables, but I don’t think they represent the majority of the carnivore crowd. From what I can tell, most people come to the carnivore diet because they’re dealing with persistent health issues that aren’t being adequately resolved through conventional means. Maybe they’ve been trying something like Primal, paleo, or keto for a while, but there’s still room for improvement. Others are doing well but wish to see if they could achieve another level of awesomeness by doing something different or, dare I say, more extreme. In these cases, carnivore is a sensible experiment for a number of reasons: Carnivore diets combine the advantages of ketogenic and elimination diets, both of which are already popular for dealing with intractable health problems. A nose-to-tail carnivorous diet is highly nutritious, providing bioavailable vitamins and minerals, plus plenty of protein, that the body needs. If carnivore puts you in ketosis—and it almost certainly will—you get the anti-inflammatory benefits of ketones, plus mitochondrial biogenesis, increased fat-burning, appetite suppression, and more. By removing potentially problematic plant foods, carnivore diets contain little or no: FODMAPs Oxalates Lectins Phytates Glycoalkaloids Salicylates Carnivore lends itself to intermittent fasting and caloric restriction, both of which have noted health benefits. You know I’m a fan of self-experimentation. Like any good scientist, you should start by educating yourself. In that spirit, today’s post is a roundup of available research. Use it as a jumping-off point for your own investigations if you are considering going carnivore. As always, I am not providing medical advice here. Please consult your doctors before using carnivore, or any diet, therapeutically. What Does the Research Say? Unfortunately, I can’t find any randomized controlled trials looking at carnivore for any health issue. There are a small number of published case studies, and Shawn Baker is currently trying to crowdfund some research. Otherwise, we have to rely on anecdotes and inferences from studies on other related diets (low-carb, high-protein, keto, low-FODMAP, and so on). Anecdotes are important, but they’ll never replace well-designed empirical studies. You can find confirmatory anecdotes supporting any of your beliefs if you find the right subreddit. I pulled together the best of what I could find for today, but as you’ll see, we still have a lot to learn. The medical conditions included here are ones I’ve been asked about personally or that seem to be popular in carnivore forums. If you’d like me to address another in the future, drop me a comment below. Carnivore Diets and Autoimmune Conditions The carnivore diet has been launched into the public consciousness in large part thanks to people like Mikhaila Peterson, who credit carnivore with saving them from debilitating autoimmune illnesses. Using dietary interventions in this context is nothing new. There are … Continue reading “Carnivore Diet: What the Research Says”
Starting your day with a deliberate movement routine that you repeat every single day can be life changing, because it creates the leverage and the power to become a more focused and disciplined person in all other areas of daily life. Contrast this with the disturbing stat from IDC Research that 80 percent of Americans reach for their phones as the first act upon awakening. Numerous studies confirm that once you activate the shallow, reactionary brain function in the frontal cortex with a smartphone engagement—especially first thing in the morning when you are locking habit patterns into place—it’s difficult to transition into high-level strategic problem solving mode. Julie Morgenstern, renowned productivity consultant and author of Never Check Email In The Morning, explains that when you reach for your phone first thing, “You’ll never recover. Those requests and those interruptions and those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless… there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes.” The Dope On Dopamine The reason you’ll never recover is because your morning foray into hyperconnectivity is creating a dopamine addiction. When work gets either challenging or boring over the course of the day, you are hard-wiring a reliable method of escape into the realm of instant gratification and instant relief from cognitive peak performance. As detailed in the excellent book by anti-sugar crusader Dr. Robert Lustig called, The Hacking Of The American Mind, we are chasing the dopamine high today like never before. We are doing this in assorted ways that are strongly driven by marketing forces behind Internet fodder (social media, pornography, click bait, and even email and text messaging), prescription drugs, street drugs, alcohol, processed sugar products, overly stressful exercise patterns,consumerism, and other sources of escape and instant gratification. As a healthy living enthusiast reading this blog, you can acknowledge the great sense of self-satisfaction and peace of mind that comes from implementing self-discipline and persevering through challenges and setbacks to achieve meaningful goals. These behaviors stimulate the serotonin and oxytocin pathways in the brain, triggering feelings of contentment, connection and love. Bestselling author Mark Manson asserts that self-discipline is a key to a happy, fulfilling life. Alas, when you hijack the dopamine pathways too often with the aforementioned folly, you down-regulate the serotonin pathways in your brain so you become wired for quick-hit pleasure at the expense of long-term happiness. The Magic Of Morning Movement Extricating from this mess starts first thing in the morning! Since most of us have tons of sedentary influences during the day (commute, office work, evening screen entertainment), I’m going to suggest a mindful routine of exercises, poses, and dynamic stretches that build flexibility, mobility, core and muscle strength. Your morning routine will help you naturally awaken and energize (especially if you can do it outdoors), improve the fitness base from which you launch formal workouts, help prevent injuries, and boost your daily movement quota especially if things get hectic and you don’t have time for formal workout. I’m … Continue reading “Developing our Empowering, Energizing Morning Routine”
Backyard gardens are putting forth the last of their bounty, and late summer vegetables are at their peak of freshness. To squeeze every last drop out of your harvest, give fermentation a try. Fermented vegetables date back hundreds of years. Back before we had freezers, people had to preserve food somehow. Somewhere along the line, someone figured out that salting food and letting it sit for a week creates a crunchy, tangy pickled vegetable that tastes better than what you started with. A lot of people find home fermentation to be intimidating. And it can be, at first. As long as you sanitize your cutting boards, jars, and tools with boiling water before you start, there’s a great chance you’ll end up with a beautiful pickle at the end. Here’s how to do it. Home Fermented Vegetables: Pickled Giardiniera Recipe Serves: 10-20, depending on serving size Time in the kitchen: 15 minutes, plus 5 days hands-off fermentation time Ingredients 1-2 heads cauliflower, cut into small florets 6-7 carrots 5-6 stalks celery 1 red bell pepper 1 large leek 1 lb. green beans 1 tsp. black peppercorns 3/4 tsp. mustard seeds 4 bay leaves 4 cloves garlic, smashed 1 small bunch oregano 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (or 1-2 sliced jalapenos) Water Salt Directions Using boiling water, sanitize whatever vessel you plan to use for your fermenting. Use care not to burn yourself! Wash all of your veggies and chop them. Double wash your leeks as they’re notorious for being very sandy. We recommend a 3.5% salt solution for your fermenting. To figure out how much salt you need, weigh your crock or jar on a small kitchen scale. Tare the scale while the empty jar is on it so the weight reads as 0g. Fill the jar with water until it’s a few inches from the lip of the jar. Record the mass of the water and then multiply the amount by 3.5% to find out how much salt you need. Pour the water out and add the appropriate amount of salt to the jar. Then, subtract the amount of salt you added from the total mass of the water that fits in the jar. This will give you the mass of water you need to add to the jar. At this point, pour the salt solution you created out into another jar, you’ll need it in a minute. Layer your crock or jar with all of the chopped veggies, the peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaves, oregano and red pepper flakes. Pour enough of your salt water solution into the jar so the vegetables are fully submerged. Alternatively, you can keep the salt water solution. Add a few crock fermentation weights to the top which will keep all of the vegetables submerged. Cover your jar with the appropriate lid. We used an airlock lid kit, which has a small hole in the lid that the airlock attaches to. Fill the airlock with the appropriate amount of water based on your … Continue reading “Pickled Vegetables, Two Ways: Home Fermented and Quick Pickles”
Research of the Week
How did the lockdowns work?
Scientists discover a new gland.
Hominids in a region of Kenya used the same basic stone-age axes and other tools without changing them for around 700,000 years.
Beet juice improves exercise tolerance.
Beet juice improves hemoglobin concentration.
Hi folks, today we’re back for another edition of Ask a Health Coach! Erin is here sharing her strategies for making good health a priority during the pandemic, plus what to do when you feel like you’re putting in a lot of effort without a lot of reward and what she eats in a typical day. Got more questions? Keep them coming in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group or in the comments below. Annie asked: “I love the way I feel when I eat clean, but meal prepping always takes a backseat to all the other things I need to do, especially now that I’m working, parenting, and homeschooling. How do I carve out time to eat healthier?” You’re not alone in feeling the pressure of doing it all. With all of our waking hours being consumed by work and family responsibilities, making time for the non-essentials like exercise and eating well (which I would argue are essential), seems nearly impossible. At first glance, the issue is pretty straightforward, right? There’s not enough time. There are only 24 hours in a day anyway. But here’s the deal, people who feel like they have the least amount of free time, the ones who feel the most overworked, are actually doing it to themselves. In this study, researchers had 7,000 participants estimate how much time was needed to accommodate their basic needs compared to how much free time they had in their schedules. It turns out that their time constraints were an illusion. The pressure of what we have time for and what we don’t has more to do with the things we assign value to rather than how many hours there are in a day. That being said, everything we do in life is a choice – what we eat, say, and do, where we spend our energy and our money – they’re all choices. And, as you might guess, there are consequences of those choices. There’s no doubt that your life is busier than ever right now. You’ve probably never worn more hats in your life, but instead of looking at food as an afterthought, or telling yourself you “don’t have the time,” I suggest you try giving it a little more attention. Here’s why. If you choose not to make meal prepping a priority (or at least keeping healthy food on hand), the consequences might be that you find yourself grabbing snacks throughout the day, ordering less-than-healthy takeout, or not eating enough quality food, which can bring on an afterhours binge. And the consequences of those actions might mean you’re feeling foggy and fatigued day after day, making it even more difficult to do all the things you need to do. Keep in mind, these are just consequences of your choices. Also, you mention that you love the way you feel when you eat clean, so, you already know it’s worth it to take good care of yourself. You know how it feels when you can’t stop snacking … Continue reading “Ask A Health Coach: How’s Your Relationship with Food?”