After cutting back on sugar and carbs for a while, you understandably start to miss sweets. A common misconception is that you have to skip sweets to meet your goals, which isn’t the case at all. There are plenty of sugar alternatives that fit within the Primal and keto lifestyles, and stevia is one of them.
Stevia is widely used in the low carb community to satisfy sugar cravings or simply add a touch of sweetness to a hot beverage or dessert, but should it be? What is stevia? Is it safe? What is its effect on insulin, if any, and does it have a place in a Primal Blueprint eating strategy? Let’s investigate.
What Is Stevia?
A lot of people categorize stevia as an artificial sweetener, but it’s important to note that stevia is not an artificial sweetener at all – it’s a plant-derived natural alternative to sugar.
Stevia is an herbaceous family of plants, 240 species strong, that grows in sub-tropical and tropical America (mostly South and Central, but some North). Stevia the sweetener refers to stevia rebaudiana, the plant and its leaves, which you can grow and use as or with tea (it was traditionally paired with yerba mate in South America) or, dried and powdered, as a sugar substitute that you sprinkle on. It’s apparently quite easy to grow, according to the stevia seller who tries to get me to buy a plant or two whenever I’m at the Santa Monica farmers’ market, and the raw leaf is very sweet.
Things are going great. You’re eating well, moving your body regularly, lifting heavy things, getting good sleep. Then wham! Something happens, and all your best laid plans are out the window. Maybe it’s a crisis at work, the loss of a loved one, a vacation, or, I don’t know, a global pandemic that changes everything. Sometimes it’s nothing memorable, you just sort of… stop trying. What do you do when you realize you’ve fallen off the wagon? It’s simple. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and climb back on. Were You Really “Off the Wagon?” Before talking about how to get back on the wagon, it’s worth asking yourself if you were really off in the first place. It’s one thing to lose your way for a while and make choices that erode the health gains you’d made. It’s another to allow yourself to enjoy a decadent dessert at a fancy restaurant, or to have one stressful week at work that leaves you with no time to meal prep or go to the gym. There’s no set timeline where you can say, “Now I’m officially off the wagon.” There’s no set number of lenient meals, sweet treats, or sedentary days in a row that determine that you’re not “in” a healthy lifestyle anymore. It’s subjective. There’s no membership card. The point of this exercise is to avoid the temptation to make a big deal over minor blips. Diet culture is all about “cheating” and “failing” and “starting over.” That’s not the spirit of living Primally. We strive to make day-to-day choices that support health while also allowing for life to happen. It’s the 80/20 principle, remember? Self-flagellation or shame spirals aren’t part of the plan. Sometimes dessert is just dessert. That said, there are times when you’ve well and truly fallen off the metaphorical wagon, and you’re ready to get back on track. Let’s break this down into three parts: what you need to do immediately, in the short term, and making plans for the long term. Stay on track no matter where you are. Instantly download your Primal and Keto Guide to Eating Out What to Do Today to Get Back on the Wagon Just start. Make your next meal a healthy and satisfying one. Pick one of the Primal Essential Movements and do one set. Set a bedtime alarm on your phone and actually hit the sheets when it goes off. Whatever success looks like to you, take one concrete step. That’s it. Fasting to Get Back on the Wagon “Start by fasting for a day”—it’s common advice. I’m of a couple minds here. On the one hand, fasting offers a quick jumpstart. A 24-hour fast (eating dinner one night and then not eating again until dinner the following day, for example) burns through glycogen, accelerating fat burning and putting you on the road to ketosis if that’s your plan. It’s also symbolic, marking your commitment to making today a changing point. On the other hand, this … Continue reading “Getting Back on the Wagon”
Male menopause is a real thing, and the medical term for it is andropause. According to the Mayo Clinic, the term “Male Menopause” has been used to describe decreasing testosterone levels related to aging. See this article from Mark back in 2018.
One of the symptoms of male menopause can be erectile dysfunction (ED). Although for younger men, you can have ED without male menopause. ED can destroy a man’s confidence not just in the bedroom but in the larger picture of his life by causing depression, stress, moodiness and anger all things that peak performers do not want to associate with. But for men aged 35-64 these things can sneak up on us, fast.
We are all so busy “performing.” Being a Dad, a good husband, business owner, a hard worker, friend, trying to get your workouts squeezed into an already hectic week. In many cases, this usually leads to a pattern of not not getting enough sleep because of late night emails for work after having put the kids to bed, up early the next day to get right back at your hard charging life, with too little exercise and not enough Primal Nutrition. Which leaves you with high stress. Stress leads to high cortisol (more about cortisol below).
Maybe you had a little too much wine at dinner … it happens. Your wife or lover wants to “play” and so do you, but no response. Once, certainly is nothing to worry about but the definition of ED is “is the recurrent or persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection in order for satisfactory sexual performance.” So, what to do?
First, let’s look closer at the leading causes.
We can generally get our hands on a watermelon any time of year, but these are the months when they actually taste sweet and juicy. As soon as watermelons come into season, my Summer Watermelon Salad comes out of hiding. It’s a late summer treat that reminds us that even though we’re hearing the first whispers of school starting and pumpkin spice, it’s still summertime.
This watermelon salad is a sweet, crunchy, tangy accompaniment to any summer meal.
Tip: feel free to leave the feta cheese out if you are dairy-free, or replace it with goat cheese or fresh mozzarella.
Summer Watermelon Salad Recipe
Time in the kitchen: 5 minutes
4 cups cubed watermelon
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup basil
1 large tomato sliced into wedges
1 chopped cucumber
5 chopped radishes
1/3 cup sliced red onion
3 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen® Lemon Turmeric Dressing
salt and pepper
Chop the watermelon into ¾”-1” cubes. Slice the tomato into wedges and chop the cucumber and radishes.
Thinly slice the red onion and the basil.
Combine the watermelon, chopped basil, tomato, cucumber, radishes and red onion in a bowl. Pour in the Primal Kitchen Lemon Turmeric Dressing and fold it into the salad along with the feta.
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with more basil leaves.
Nutrition Information (¼ of recipe):
Total Carbohydrates: 19g
Net Carbohydrates: 17g
Research of the Week
More evidence of admixture with ancient hominids.
Vegan and vegetarian weaning of infants is a real bad idea with potentially lasting effects.
In middle aged people, taking 5 grams of collagen every day improved language function and appeared to alter brain structure.
Using a very-low-carb ketogenic diet to reverse super high triglycerides.
Yogic pranayama breathing exercises have remarkable effects on anxiety and negative effect.
One of the biggest challenges of going Primal (or Keto or anything that goes against the norm of the Standard American Diet) is dealing with people who have no clue why you’d ever do such a thing. Even though there have been tons of studies on the risks of eating processed foods, grains, and industrialized oils, there are just as many folks panicking when you pass on the rolls. It’s even harder when those folks are your spouse or significant other. If you’ve ever heard your partner say… “I’d die if I couldn’t have bread.” “One cookie isn’t going to wreck your diet.” “Your body needs sugar!” “You’re having bacon again?!” …then you know what I’m talking about. As a health coach, I see this more often than I don’t. One half of a couple decides they’re done feeling foggy and carrying around extra fat, while the other feels “fine” and finds no reason to change how they’re eating — even though they’re pre-diabetic and their blood pressure numbers are sky high. Signs You’ve Got a Difficult Partner As you take steps toward improving your health and growing as a person, you might find that, instead of support, you’re suddenly on the receiving end of someone who’s sabotaging you, acting irritated and jealous, or just not willing to grow with you. Your partner may come home with armloads of chips and cookies and refuse to eat anything that resembles a vegetable. Or make you feel bad when you ask for your burger lettuce wrapped. Or look at you like you’ve got two heads when you grab the full-fat yogurt off the grocery store shelf. Sound familiar? These are all signs that you’re dealing with a difficult partner. Here are some other indicators: They’re quick to blame you for their actions They seem to try to sabotage you They’re controlling They avoid or resist conversations with you They minimize your wins or your progress They judge you based on their beliefs They use guilt as a way to control the situation Here’s the thing though. You can’t change other people. I don’t care how right you are, how much progress you’ve made in your own health journey, or how much time you spend cooking epic protein-forward meals. People only change when they want to change. That said, you don’t have to let someone else’s resistance derail your own goals. How Difficult Partners Affect Your Health Aside from it being downright frustrating to live with someone who refuses to take responsibility for their own health, it can increase your risk of certain health conditions. One study from Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre evaluated the environmental factors, social habits, and eating and exercising patterns of couples and found that participants had a 26% higher chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes when their partner had the disease. The good news is, it works the other way too. In a trial funded by the National Institute of Health, researchers looked at the ripple effect of … Continue reading “8 Ways to Deal with a Difficult Partner (Who Doesn’t Eat Like You Do)”