Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
16 Dec

Dear Mark: Peppermint Tea, Heirloom Wheat, Dips, Waking Up When It’s Dark, and Feeding an Adopted Infant

mintteaFor today’s Dear Mark, we’ve got four questions. Actually, there are five because one of the questions has two parts. First, I discuss the anti-androgenic effects of peppermint tea. Beneficial for PCOS, a mixed bag for males? Next is a two-parter about heirloom wheat (is it Primal?) and failure stories (do I get email from people who haven’t had resounding success with the Primal lifestyle?). Then, I explain what your dip technique (tricep exercise, not chip consumption method) should look like in order to minimize the risk to your shoulder health. Finally, I help a reader out with a conundrum: being unable to get going in the morning because it’s so dark outside upon waking. My wife Carrie takes over from there, giving her take on a few approaches to feeding an adopted infant.

Let’s go:

Hi Mark,

I noticed while reading Tara Grant’s The Hidden Plague, that drinking spearmint tea can lower androgens and can help with PCOS in women.

I don’t have HS or PCOS, but have always enjoyed throwing a bag of peppermint tea into my green tea a couple times a day.

I’ve never had a particularly strong libido, so should I stop with the peppermint tea?

On the opposite end, I have some thinning hair at the temples, so lowering DHT might help.

What do you think?

Regards,

Joe

You might be looking at the potential double-edged sword of pharmacological intervention, Joe.

Sure enough, mint tea can reduce androgens. In rats, peppermint tea lowers testosterone and increases follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone levels. The reduction in testosterone could very well lower libido. A close relative of peppermint – spearmint – has also been used to lower hirsutism in women by way of lower free testosterone and greater luteinizing hormone levels. That may sound like a bad thing for hair loss – less hirsutism means less hair, right? Not exactly. The same mechanisms that induce hirsutism in women tend to induce hair loss in men. That’s why hair loss drugs like finasteride (also known as Propecia) are used to treat hirsutism in women. Of course, a well-known side effect of finasteride is the destruction of libido. Again, double-edged sword.

I’d suggest giving a peppermint-less green tea a shot for a couple weeks to see if anything changes. There’s no right answer here. There’s only experimentation, and a weighing of costs and benefits. What’s more important to you? Libido or hair around the temples? It might not even come down to that, of course. You could drop the tea, see a boost to libido, and suffer no further hair loss. Or vice versa. Good luck.

Dear Mark,

1. Are Emmer and Einkorn wheat primal, or a treat in the 20%? Grok didn’t grow grains, but he must have encountered and harvested limited amounts in season.

2. Every Friday you post a Success Story. Do people send you failure stories where Primal didn’t work for them (assuming they truly followed it). And is there anything to learn from failure stories?

April

1. Heirloom or “ancient” wheat varietals are definitely not Primal, but they’re probably “better” than modern wheat varieties. Einkorn, for example, has been shown to cause less intestinal toxicity in patients with celiac. Emmer has more antioxidants than regular durum wheat, but less than quinoa. Plus, the very fact that they aren’t dwarf wheat, which comes with its own set of problems – including enhanced gluten reactivity and poorer mineral density – is a big plus.

But it’s still wheat, and it’s still got many of the same anti-nutrients as regular old wheat. There’s gluten, of course, but there are also amylase inhibitors. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what constitutes an acceptable 20%. I personally avoid grains, particularly the gluten-containing kind, because I can feel the effects immediately upon eating a decent amount. A bite of really good, really crusty bread with butter at a restaurant? It’s been known to find its way into my mouth without much ill effect. You won’t see me eating pizza, muffins, or pasta, though. That’s my choice. Yours is entirely up to you.

2. I don’t get failure stories, per se, though I do get plenty of emails from people who are still having issues despite having gone Primal. That’s actually my intent. It’s why I bill our Friday stories as “Primal Blueprint Real Life Stories,” not just “Success Stories.” Real life isn’t composed entirely of pristine, perfect lifestyles and triumphant, resounding victories over everything that ever ails you. Real life is real people with real problems – problems that don’t always go away in an instant. There are successes and failures and slip-ups, and repeats of each in turn.

I learn a ton from the struggles! Whether it’s because they write back after having figured out the issue on their own, or because I decide to research and write an answer to their question (either through Dear Mark questions or an entirely new post), I’m often forced to challenge my beliefs and reevaluate previously-held opinions. It’s really not an option. I can either face (new) facts or become irrelevant. And that goes for everyone – the struggle is how we grow and evolve.

Hey, Mark! I love to do dips along with the 4 basic movements (pushup, pullup, squat, plank) for my workouts, but are dips good for us in the long term? It seems to me like they might cause shoulder problems after years of doing them.

Nathanael

Dips are great, until they’re not. I used to be a dipping machine until I hurt my shoulder, probably going too low and ignoring the warning signs my body was giving off among other things. If you’re going to do dips, be very aware of your technique. Some tips:

  • Stay as upright as possible. Avoid leaning too far forward.
  • Chest up, shoulders back. “Pack” your shoulders back and down so that they are aligned with your ears; this will protect them by helping you engage the lats and abs to stabilize the body. It’s pretty common to see people doing dips with “hunched” shoulders, which is why dips are so commonly associated with pain and injury.
  • Only go below parallel if your mobility is up to par. If you feel like your anterior shoulder/pec is stretching excessively, you’re probably sacrificing technique for depth. Stop when you feel the stretch.
  • Aim to keep your forearms perpendicular (or close to it) to the bars.
  • If you have existing shoulder issues, be very careful. Use assistance as needed. I’d already tweaked my shoulder going for a 1 RM on bench, so this could have made things worse for me.
  • Consider using gymnastics rings. They’re far more difficult, but when done correctly they allow your shoulders more freedom. You’re not locked into a specific grip width as with parallel bars. If you’ve never done ring work, you’ll probably have to work up to a full rep by using support (one foot on a box or chair).
  • Balance them out with external rotation exercises: Cuban pressesface pulls, and shoulder prehab routines. Make sure you’re doing plenty of pulling, too: pullups and rows.
  • Listen to your body! If you’re experiencing pain, stop. If your shoulder is popping and clicking – even without pain – stop and reevaluate your form. If a rep feels “weird,” just stop for the day. It’s not worth it. The shoulder is a fragile thing (that’s partially why it’s been so important to human evolution!).

You can think of dips as upper body squats. Very powerful and effective, but dangerous if you’re not using proper form. If you’re smart about it, I don’t see why you couldn’t do them for the foreseeable future.

Today, I read this article in the New Yorker, which not only explains why hitting the snooze button is probably counterproductive, but also how many of us are shortchanging our sleep due to “social jetlag.” I was particularly struck by this sentence: “It’s bad to sleep too little; it’s also bad, and maybe even worse, to wake up when it’s dark.”

But what do you do in the winter at a northern latitude? I live in Berlin, Germany, which has a latitude of something like 52.5 N. In North America, this would be the equivalent of living in Newfoundland. Right now, it’s still dark at 8 am, and it’s dark again by 3:30 pm.

Stephanie

Yeah, that’s a rough one. It used to be that cities set their own time zones, at least in the United States, according to the availability of light. Noon was whenever the sun was highest in the sky. This made time zones more “natural.”

Unfortunately, we are now privy to the constraints of schedules set to arbitrary times established without regard to natural light cycles. To beat it, we’ll have to continue the trend and impose artifice to “beat” nature. The easiest and most effective way is probably to expose yourself to massive amounts of bright light immediately upon waking. And not just regular old house lighting, but rather ultra-bright lighting designed to combat seasonal affective disorder by mimicking natural light. Something in the range of 10,000 lux should do, like this. Plan for at least 10 minutes, preferably 20, of direct light exposure. Put it in the bathroom as you get ready. It works well with few side effects and may even reduce your sweet cravings.

Consider getting a wake up light, too, instead of a regular alarm clock (or use your alarm clock as a backup). The folks at Philips, makers of the morning wake up light I’ve linked to in the past, actually ran a study (no doubt biased of course, but that doesn’t necessarily negate the results; see the PDF here and decide for yourself) on the effects of switching from a standard alarm clock to their wake up light. People in the experimental group using the wake up light reported feeling more alert, more awake, and that it was easier to get up in the morning. They were also more likely to report having become morning people.

And now, let’s hear from Carrie:

So I am still a few years away from this, but I have been thinking of this question for awhile now. When I am ready to have children, I want to adopt. I just read that you breastfed your children for at least 1 year, and that children under 6 months should really just be breastfed, however that is something I will not be able to do since I will be adopting. I will be adopting a new born, and I am not sure what I should feed my future child before I can feed them solid food. What would you suggest?

Julie

Well, if you’re lucky and the anecdotes are to be believed, some adoptive parents can actually begin lactating. A case study from the Journal of Human Lactation points to an adoptive mother who used a combination of therapies and pharmaceuticals (bilateral pumping, metoclopramide, and syntocinon) to induce lactation. It took four months for milk to actually appear, but by the fifth month of the child’s life he was exclusively breastfed and gaining weight on schedule. I’ve also heard from friends and lactation consultants that adoptive mothers can sometimes even spontaneously lactate just from the surge of motherhood hormones. According to Kelly Mom, most adoptive mothers who induce lactation are able to supply between 25% and 75% of the child’s needs through breast milk. That means you may want to have supplementary food on hand just to be safe. Also, note that even if you can’t feed your baby entirely from the breast, you’re still improving your bond with your new child by breastfeeding some of the time and that’s arguably just as important as the nutrition.

If you end up trying to start lactation via pharmaceuticals, you’ll want to discuss that with your OB/GYN. Otherwise, breastfeeding as an adoptive mother involves trying the same things a birth mother might try to increase supply, only more so!

  • Explore galactogogues like fenugreek, blessed thistle, and fennel which have been shown to increase supply.
  • Feed as often as possible, about every 2 to 3 hours. Feeding increases demand and therefore supply.
  • Use your breast as comfort, even if the baby isn’t really hungry. Fussy baby? Offer the breast.
  • Pump and/or hand express. It’s not as effective as nursing at increasing supply, but it definitely helps, especially on top of regular feeding.
  • Read more tips from Kelly Mom, pretty much the premier site for breastfeeding advice.

If breastfeeding isn’t an option, the next best step is using donor milk. A Facebook group called Human Milk 4 Human Babies can help you get set up with a local donor. There’s also a great website called MilkShare with lots of resources for finding a mother-to-mother milk donor.

Some will try to scare you away from unregulated donor milk, saying it can contain live viruses like HIV. And while that’s technically true, it’s extremely rare and really shouldn’t be an issue if you use milk from someone you know and trust. Ultimately the choice is yours.

There are also donor milk banks, but the problem with those is the milk is pasteurized, thus negating many of the immune benefits and altering the composition of the proteins. It’s definitely better than not using breast milk, though.

Homemade formula is a thing, too! And it’s actually pretty good! The Weston A. Price Foundation has a few recipes for making formula using either raw cow milk, raw goat milk, or liver as the base. If you can get your hands on raw milk, that’s probably the best alternative for you and your baby. Even if you can’t, vat-pasteurized, non-homogenized milk can work, too (after all, standard formula uses high heat-treated milk). See if there’s any raw milk near you.

I found that during breastfeeding eye contact happened naturally and it was a meaningful bonding experience. While bottle feeding I had to make a conscious effort to maintain the same level of eye contact and connection, so make sure to emphasize that!

Another way I bonded with my babies was through infant massage. Today I would use coconut oil for this and if you’d like to learn more you can go to the International Infant Massage Website. I started massaging them as infants and even today Kyle at 19 years old asks for a back massage if he is sore from his workouts. It is a sweet way to stay connected to your own grown son.

Good luck! Whatever happens, as long as you love your new baby, everything will work out great!

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading and be sure to send in your questions!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I was just talking about waking up when it’s dark with another friend in the fitness field. I’m an early bird by nature, but my body works the best when I wake up *with* the sun – not before it, and not after it.
    I also try to walk outside (unless it’s freezing here in CO) right in the morning, as I remember reading something about that here…

    Paige wrote on December 16th, 2013
  2. “The folks at Philips, makers of the morning wake up light I’ve linked to in the past, actually ran a study (no doubt biased of course, but that doesn’t necessarily negate the results; see the PDF here and decide for yourself)…”

    Wait, do you mean to tell me that it’s possible for someone to make money AND have integrity?!?! Besides virtually every technological advancement in the history of Western Civilization, where is your evidence for this claim? You’re challenging the rationale for our entire regulatory structure! How dare you! There will be massive unemployment in Washington, D.C.!

    Tommy wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • Tommy, you’re nuts! It’s just preposterous to think that someone might figure out that the best (honest) way to make a lot of profit is to offer something that people will like and buy again at a price that they will pay. No no no, companies only make crap products and force people to buy it at whatever price they want.

      Joshua wrote on December 16th, 2013
  3. “A bite of really good, really crusty bread with butter at a restaurant? It’s been known to find its way into my mouth without much ill effect.”

    It is amazing to me that you write this and still so many people gloss over it. You are human just like the rest of us. This weekend in a forum someone said that you’ll never find Mark Sisson or Robb Wolf letting down their guard. And they proceeded to condemn others for making less than ideal but the best choice they could at a holiday party. (Of course that person happened to be me and I was pretty upset by it.) It ended badly and several people left the forum over this post.

    People forget that this IS personal to each of us. And this isn’t about a book, it is about our lives. I make the best choices I can and try not to put myself in situations that have no choices, but unfortunately you can’t control everything 100% of the time.

    I now relax when I’m faced with bad choices and I choose the one that I won’t get sick from. This doesn’t make me less Primal. I wish people would spend less time tearing each other down and more time encouraging others to join us!

    Tamara (New Orleans) wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • Paleo/Primal followers can be some of the most sanctimonious people on the planet. Which is strange given that their leaders (Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, etc) are not self-righteous people. Live and let live.

      SeattleSlim wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • I think it’s great that Mark doesn’t get ridiculously obsessed by one little piece of bread ever now and then, and not getting obsessed is nearly as important as the Primal lifestyle itself. People who act like two gluten molecules will make their head fall off are annoying. Relationships, not stressing over tiny things, and enjoying yourself are important factors to life, a handful of grains one or twice a year won’t make any difference (unless you’re allergic of course).

      Mick wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • Hear, hear!

      Colleen wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • Cheers to that! I understand that sometimes judging someone else can be a form of self-motivation, but it’s really not a good way to live a life. It doesn’t do any good to attain all your physical and health-related goals if it turns you into someone nobody likes.

      I admit that I’ve looked scornfully at someone loading up their grocery cart with foods I consider “bad,” but then I have to remember to reserve some of that scorn for myself because my choices never perfect. And then I realize that scorn and judgment, even when self-directed, are not going to get me any closer to my goals.

      Mantonat wrote on December 16th, 2013
  4. For more great lactating info for adoptive mamas and all mamas, check out the forums on mothering.com

    Great job Carrie on starting out by showing adoptive moms can lactate – I know a few personally! And to point out human milk sharing – I have also donated my milk.

    Diane wrote on December 16th, 2013
  5. Mark, I disagree with one of your cues for proper dips. Chest should lean forward! Think of the movement like getting up and out of a swimming pool or doing a bar muscle up. This puts less strain on the anterior capsule of the shoulder and keeps the biceps tendon happy!

    Tony wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • Mark, I agree with Tony. If you’re referring to a dip on a parallel bar, your chest should dip forward during the movement. Trying to stay upright will put extreme stress on the shoulder. Were you referring to a bench dip when you said to keep the torso upright?

      Kris wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • Tony, I do see where you are coming from. My physical therapist suggested I was “cheating” to get the extra reps in by leaning too far forward and rolling the shoulders. The cure for me was a bit more strict form: chest upright and shoulders neutral or back. (and slowing the movement down). To the extent that one can lean forward and still maintain those parameters, I suppose a forward lean is just fine. And, of course, your own biomechanics will help determine the best and safest ways to do the most effective dips. Some good added stuff over at stronglifts http://stronglifts.com/how-to-perform-dips-with-proper-technique/

      Mark Sisson wrote on December 17th, 2013
      • Mark,

        I definitely (but respectfully) disagree with you on the best form for dips (especially if you have a tender shoulder. Ideally, your body should be in a slight ‘V’, with chest leaning forward and toes forward. If this is too difficult (because of the abdominal control necessary to maintain this position), try bringing knees up toward the chest, combined with a slight forward tilt, or lean. Much, much easier on the shoulders, and seems to hit the chest more fully.

        Will wrote on December 17th, 2013
    • Agree. See the dip section in “Becoming a Supple Leopard.” No shrugging at the top, torso as bent forward (with a neutral back) as needed to keep forearms as vertical as possible. Legs straight and to the front, toes pointed, glutes engaged. Shoulder blades moving together in downward phase. Crossing the legs/staying upright encourages back extension.

      Dips are awesome.

      Graham wrote on December 18th, 2013
  6. OR….. You could just adopt an older child. There are many older children in need of adoption who are just stuck in the system, going from one foster home to the next, because everyone wants to adopt a new born/baby.

    Keith wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • I’m sure the woman who wrote in has considered all of the possible options and decided what works for her. This is such an incredibly personal decision, and there is no need to guilt-trip her.

      (Sorry, this is a personal pet peeve of mine. Unless you also say this to every person that decides to conceive a biological child, it’s an unfair double standard to say this to people that are going to adopt. It’s just not any of anyone else’s business.)

      Marisheba wrote on December 16th, 2013
      • +1!!

        SeattleSlim wrote on December 16th, 2013
      • +1!

        Christina wrote on December 17th, 2013
  7. After I read that Peppermint tea (whilst caffeine-free) could act as a natural stimulant, I replaced my evening herbal cup with Red-bush (Rooibos) – still like peppermint tea for all of its other linked benefits e.g. digestive aid

    Luke M-Davies wrote on December 16th, 2013
  8. You don’t have to buy a fancy light-producing alarm clock to wake up “naturally” … just put your bedside lamp on a timer. (The timer I bought cost about $5.) I’ve been doing this for a month now and have, against all odds, become a morning person. The light pops on and stays on for half an hour. I gradually wake up in about the first 10 minutes the light is on. Then I lie in bed and stretch and yawn and slowly get alert. When the light turns off, it’s time to get up.

    SeattleSlim wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • I did that with a 2.5 watt light. It seemed VERY bright but it did work. Good idea to share.

      2Rae wrote on December 16th, 2013
  9. Very well said Tamara

    Tracy Ellis wrote on December 16th, 2013
  10. In Stockholm the sun doesn’t come up until after 8am during winter and I need to get up at 6.30. I’ve been using a wake-up light for 7 years and love it! In fact, the one I bought in 2006 just recently stopped working and it’s been so much more difficult to get up In the morning since then. I feel tired and cranky throughout the day. Need to get a new one asap! Easily worth the money for anyone living in the north parts of the world.

    Karl Nilsson wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • Oh yes, 57 north here and we LOVE our wake up lamp – the best money we ever spent. The room is beautifully daylit (full spectrum light) by the time we wake up; pitch black outside. We then move to a room with a 10,000 lux standard lamp which remains on all day till early evening so we encounter it intermittently all day. It’s dark here before 3:30 at the moment and sunrise is only just before 9 am, Solstice on Saturday though :-)

      We have coped so much better this winter than before, it’s made a huge difference and I’ve just bought one for my son and daughter for their Solstice presents!

      Kelda wrote on December 16th, 2013
      • I’ve had a wake-up light for about a year now, and it’s definitely easier with it than without it, but with the sun not rising until at least 1 1/2 hours after I get up in the morning, I still feel like a complete zombie for a couple hours. Now I’m thinking it might be worth getting one of those 10,000 lux light therapy lights. Doesn’t keeping it on all day completely explode your electricity bill though?

        Stephanie wrote on December 16th, 2013
        • It doesn’t appear to, I think they are pretty efficient and once on probably more efficient that keep switching on and off.

          Kelda wrote on December 17th, 2013
        • I have a ” wake up light” which is just a dull yellow light bulb on a wall timer. I love it.
          The 10,000 lux light therapy is used for 20 or 30 minutes a day. You simply sit in front of the light. You can read the paper, a book, work on the computer, do your morning makeup but you must be close to the light with your eyes not staring down. You do not have to look directly at the light. I get up, make coffee and sit at the computer with the light on first thing in the morning. Then I turn all the lights on in the house to make the house well lit with “bright white daylight florescent bulbs” which you can get at almost any store and they are very cost efficient ( I could never deal with the yellowish, dingy, dull light bulbs.) I hope this is helpful.

          AG wrote on December 17th, 2013
  11. Hi! I was a 43-year-old (at the time) adoptive Mom who did, in fact, induce lactation, and with a combination of my own and donated breast milk from a friend, breast-fed my now 9-year-old daughter for a year! She was latched on within the first hour after birth and we never looked back… the most rewarding experience of my life!

    Thanks for bringing the question and information forward, Mark!

    Ramona wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • Great job! I have a friend who did the same.

      Alison Golden wrote on December 16th, 2013
  12. This morning, I had an 8 am law school exam, and trust me – I have NOT been on a sleep schedule to be alert for an 8 am exam. But using my sun alarm (I have the Phillips brand), I woke up naturally at 6:45 and felt great. It’s an amazing device.

    Molly wrote on December 16th, 2013
  13. +1 to all the folks using the light up alarm. It’s made my mornings so much more pleasant. Even the alarm sounds are soothing. I like to wake up to birdsong and about 10 minutes of growing light. It makes winter wakings a LOT easier.

    Rhonda the Red wrote on December 16th, 2013
  14. I contemplated getting a sun alarm but after seeing the prices I couldn’t justify buying one, yet. I opted for an app on my iPhone (Sleep Cycle) that tracks your sleeping through the night and wakes you up when you are not in a REM cycle. So you choose a 30 minute window in which you want to wake up, and the alarm goes off when your phone detects you moving (your phone stays on the corner of your bed through the night). I don’t know how it works but it’s been helping me a LOT, since I’m waking up at a more natural point in my sleep cycle instead of being jolted awake when I might be in REM.

    Granted, it’s still tough getting out of bed when it’s pitch black outside (I’m in Anchorage, 10 am sunrise and 3.30 pm sunset right now) but the Winter Solstice is in 5 days and then we slowly but surely starting gaining daylight!

    Stacie wrote on December 16th, 2013
  15. I live in Tasmania, way down in the Southern Ocean. Summers are great, long days where there’s light at 4am and doesn’t get dark until after 9pm. It’s the reverse in winter, dark until 8am, dark again by 4:30pm, and if you work in an office then you don’t get to see the sun except for a little bit on weekends when it’s cold and wet anyway. Will have to defiantly some morning intense blue light next winter to fight off the dark Tassie blues.

    Mick wrote on December 16th, 2013
  16. I’ve been reading through the reviews on the Ion Therapy Lamp you recommended, and there seems to be quite a controversy about whether or not there are adverse health effects from the ions. (Everyone seems to agree that the light is great; it’s only the ions they’re disagreeing about.)

    Mark: What’s your opinion on the ions?

    dragonmamma wrote on December 16th, 2013
  17. I was just wondering, how much exactly do calories count? I understand that they do count, but to what extent? I downloaded a calorie/nutrition tracker app and when I put in my weight goal it says that in order to lose a pound a week, I need to eat a maximum of 1200 calories a day! (I’m a 35 year old woman, 5’6). Do I need to count my carbs, fat & protein and still stay under that amount of calories?

    P.S. I would love a nutrition app from you! It seems like the ones out there are very calorie/traditional diet focused.

    Alicia wrote on December 16th, 2013
    • 1200 calories is the default minimum for any calorie tracking formula. There is no computer program out there that doesn’t default to this number. In other words, you likely have to consume less than 1200 calories but the program can’t go below 1200 so it defaults to 1200. This is why adding strength training and intervals (see the Primal Fitness program for details) is so important. You want to be able to eat enough food to get the nutrients to be healthy.

      Diane wrote on December 17th, 2013
    • One of the benefits of the Primal Blueprint is little to no need to count calories or carbs/fat/protein. If you’re eating according to the blueprint (lots of veg, quality protein, quality fats, some fruit and nuts and seeds, full-fat dairy if you can tolerate it), then you should see improvements in health ranging from fat loss, increased lean muscle, sleeping better at night, and increased energy.

      As Mark and Robb Wolfe and many others have proved, not all calories are created equally. You could eat 1200 calories a day and perhaps experience weight loss, but not all that weight lost will be fat (some will be muscle) and you might also be tired all the time and hungry all the time. That’s why most “diets” fail while the PB proves successful for many.

      Stacie wrote on December 17th, 2013
  18. Well… on the waking up part… BEing a Norwegean, most of our country is dead dark most of the winter half… I live in the southern part, and we’re the lucky bastards that might see some sun during winter. That said, I actually prefer waking up whenn it’s dark, and I also think better, and function more efficiantly when the darkness falls over me… I do howerer know that there are loads of Norwegeans that really struggle with their mood, psycie, and body during the winter times. But I beat the alarmclock.

    Karl Reinert Rasmussen wrote on December 16th, 2013
  19. WTG writing about adoptive breastfeeding and donor milk! Carrie, you are bringing a valuable aspect to the Dear Mark column!

    Penny wrote on December 17th, 2013
    • Mark and Carrie, I love this blog and the fact that you actually have answers to breastfeeding questions! Another great source of information on any breastfeeding issue is La Leche League; an international organization that offers mother to mother support and has been doing it since the 1950s!

      Nancy wrote on December 17th, 2013
  20. Wheat Montana has a organic, non-GMO wheat, think amber waves of grain.. Its like the wheat they had in the 50s. I’ve been using it for over a year before going primal. However I have pains in my right leg that come on after 6 to 7 hours of sleep and are caused I believe from inflamation. I don’t get the pains when I’m off of all wheat. I do get them from the 50s wheat, which was a disappointment, as I do like to bake bread maybe once a month or so, but I can see it just isn’t good for me…may work for someone else…they sell it a Walmart which was a surprise.

    I was surprised about the breast feeding…I always thought you had to be pregnant to bring on lacation… a very nice thing for adoptive mothers.

    Joan wrote on December 17th, 2013
  21. As a pediatrian I just wanted to introduce a note of caution about feeding infants raw cow or goats milk based formulas. I believe that it is possible they may provide better nutrition for infants than pasteurized formulas, but they also carry greater risk. Milk can become contaminated by pathogenic the bacteria, most notably Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter jejuni, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella. Newborns who’s immune systems are still immature are relatively poorly equipped to fight off these infections and they can in some cases result in death. In fact, I have seen E. coli kill children while I can’t say the same for pasteurized formula. So, I think parents should carefully and seriously weigh whether the potential benefits of raw animal milk formula is worth the risk, as the risk, though perhaps small, includes death. We modern Americans have become accustom to our babies living into adulthood. Our ancestors and people’s on other parts of this planet are not so fortunate. We shouldn’t cavalierly dismiss measures such as pasteurization that have made this possible.

    I’ll just also add that I have had a few patients who’s adoptive mothers have been able to successfully breastfeed them. I nursed both of my children for 3 years each and it was a great experience. But, have known allot of mothers who couldn’t or wouldn’t breastfeed who were also able to bond very successfully and their infants thrived on commercial formula. It may not be quite as beneficial as breast feeding, but it is pretty darn close, it is safe and has come a long way to mimicking human milk. I don’t think any mother should feel bad if circumstances are such that this is the nutrition she feeds her child.

    Kristina wrote on December 18th, 2013
  22. Thank you SO much for pointing to donor milk and homemade formulas before recommending commercial formulas with appalling ingredients. I was blessed with oversupply after the birth of my daughter, and I have donated over 600oz of breast milk through Human Milk 4 Human Babies. I wish this were more accepted. If with future children I have trouble providing enough breast milk, I will do everything I can to increase supply, obtain donor milk, or even make homemade formula from raw cow’s or goat’s milk before I would ever feed my infant formula.

    Katie wrote on December 18th, 2013
  23. Good Lord, do NOT make your own infant formula!

    Shona wrote on December 19th, 2013
  24. Regarding light therapy (assuming it works), would it be valuable to use LED daylight bulbs around the home? I move around the house quite a bit in the mornings, cleaning and cooking–never more than a few minutes in one place–so one light in one place would probably not be very useful.

    And no, I’m not going to wear a visor. It would frighten the dogs. :)

    LREKing wrote on December 20th, 2013

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