Today I’d like to talk about supplementation. No, not vitamins. While I obviously believe supplements of the pill, tablet and powder form variety can play a role in a healthy, modern Primal lifestyle, that’s not what I have in mind today. Instead, I’d like to take a look at supplemental foods – multivitamins provided in whole food form by mother nature (often aided and abetted by cooks, cheesemakers, farmers, ranchers, shepherds, and the like). In my estimation, there are a few absolutely essential supplemental foods that we should be eating.
Most of you are probably eating a few of these foods regularly, and some may be eating most of them, but I’d wager that none of you are eating all of them on a regular basis. Check the list, see what you’re missing, and adjust accordingly.
In today’s edition of Dear Mark, I cover six reader questions, starting with one on superfoods. Next is branched chain amino acid supplementation before a “fasted” workout, and whether taking them negates the benefits. Then I discuss whether hot sauce is healthy and Primal, assuming it’s otherwise free of sugary ingredients. Lactase supplementation for lactose-intolerants is next, followed by my advice for someone with a pretty bad leg injury who wants to stay fit while staying off their feet. And finally, I explore the myth of animal protein dissolving your skeletal system as you eat it.
Let’s get to it:
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:
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