Today’s edition of Dear Mark is a bit of a grab-bag. First, I give advice on how to loosen up after strength training. Being able to deadlift however many pounds is nice and all, but what if you’re too stiff on your days off to do anything with the strength? Next, I briefly discuss the effect of heat on protein powder and raw cocoa powder. Raw fans will try to scare you away from anything heated, but are they exaggerating (or outright getting it wrong)? Find out below. After that, I sort of try to convince a reader not to embark on his planned week-long fast. Or, at the very least, to reconsider the week duration and try something a little shorter first. And finally, I discuss whether or not dietary oxalates are a toxic substance that should be avoided at all costs.
A couple weeks ago, I gave you a list of the top 10 foods you should strive to buy organic. Some of you found the list useful, while others felt a bit overwhelmed and disheartened by the information, saying that it felt like they couldn’t eat anything that wasn’t organic. Today, I’ll try to make things a little better by giving you a list of the foods which are perfectly fine in their conventional form. However, even if the following conventional foods are relatively safe for your health, some would argue that you should still buy organic in order to support the workers and protect the environments exposed to agricultural chemicals. That’s totally valid, and it’s part of the reason why I try to buy organic, but it’s not what I’m discussing here. It’s a topic for another time. Today is about maximizing the health of you and your family while cutting costs when and where you can.
So, what common, Primal staples can you buy conventional?
First of all, I think we can all agree that Primal food is a solid foundation of taste, nutrition, satiety, density, and volume. When you put a piece of well-cooked grass-fed steak, free of sugary salty soybean oil-infused sauces and unnecessary breading in your mouth, you appreciate that this is how meat was meant to be. When you use fresh vegetables, kale that bites back and asparagus that snaps in your mouth and cooked carrots that manage to be both tender and crispy at once, you know the goodness of produce. And these fill you up, they nourish, they enrich your life. Still, though, we humans possess the ability to perceive and appreciate a nearly infinite range of flavors and textures. Hundreds (if not thousands) of cuisines and flavors beckon, and we should probably entertain their advances. If we don’t, if we eat the same things all the time, we may run into food fatigue.
I’m probably a bad example of this, because I’m the type of guy who’d be pretty happy with just ten or so foods for the rest of my life. Still, even I like to change things up now and again. And it seems I’m not alone. This edition of Dear Mark is geared directly to you. Let’s go:
It never ends, does it? Right when you feel like you can settle down into your way of eating, right when you’re about to draw the blanket made of plants, animals, and maybe a little dark chocolate up around your shoulders and drift off to a restful sleep in your pitch black room untainted by artificial lighting, a niggling doubt of a question worms its way into your head: is [insert food or drink that you've loved since childhood/wondered about since going Primal/been asked about from curious friends] Primal? And so you toss off the blanket, leap out of bed, throw open your laptop and fire away an email to me asking about the food’s place in the lifestyle. I don’t blame you, because I’m constantly doing the same kind of thing with my own question mark foods.
Yes, it’s that time again, boys and girls: another edition of “Is it Primal?” This should be a fun one with wide appeal, because today we’re dealing with a variety of foods from around the world. Chai, the famous Indian tea, gets top billing, followed by rice noodles and Choffy. Then, I finish off with my take on “gluten-free” real sourdough bread and Marmite.
In this edition of Dear Mark, I provide rapid fire answers to five of your questions. First, I discuss another situation where the deload week(s) make(s) sense and may even have to be extended: when exercise starts taking away from the quality of your life. Next I explain why for some people raw milk is a highly-coveted food, and then whether or not a banana should be breakfast. After that, I discuss the potential impact of ketosis on breastfeeding. Finally, I discuss the benefits and potential downsides of Bikram yoga.
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