Month: July 2008

How to Make Your Own Jerky

In the modern world it’s hard to get more “primal” than dried meat. Consider it one of Grok’s many talents and culinary achievements. Jerky is essentially strips of lean meat that have marinated and dried. The result? Tasty, rich, salty and pumped with about twice the protein gram per gram of regular “hydrated” meat. To boot, you’ve got a snack that travels well under circumstances as varied as weekend camping trips to NASA missions. Awesome, huh?

But when we say jerky we mean something so much better and healthier than the processed strips and sticks (e.g. “Slim Jims”) you find at the gas station checkout. The best jerky is made from whole-muscle meat, homemade or in small batch varieties. We’ll agree that there’s some great small label jerky out there. Meat shares from small farms often include it. To try out a few varieties, farmers’ markets are a great place to pick up some of the real deal especially if you’re new to the world of genuine jerky.

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The Definitive Guide to the Primal Eating Plan

In my recent Context of Calories post, I explained how the different macronutrients we eat at each meal (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) have different effects in the body. I suggested that, despite their raw calorie values, it’s far more important to get a lasting intuitive sense of how much of each macronutrient you need and when you need it (or not).

But how do you do that? How do you figure out the proper number of calories—and breakdown of fats, protein and carbs—to accomplish your fitness and health goals? To lose weight? Lose fat? Gain muscle? Maintain status quo? Run marathons?

In fact, most popular daily diets look at overall calories as the main factor in weight loss and weight gain. The age-old conservation of energy Conventional Wisdom says that “a calorie is a calorie.” From there, most diet gurus generally prescribe some formulaic one-size-fits-all breakdown of fats, protein and carbs. A classically trained Registered Dietitian will tell you that protein should be around 10-15% of calories, carbs should be 60% (and mostly from whole grains) and fat under 30%. This macronutrient breakdown stays the same regardless of how much weight you need to lose or what other goals you might have. Barry Sears has his 40/30/30 “Zone” diet. The USDA bases everything on a choice of between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day. But, as I said earlier, it’s not that simple. Calories do have context.

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10 Classic DIY Salad Creations

To honor National Salad Week (seriously… ) we’ve devised a list of our top 10 all-time favorite – and Mark’s Daily Apple-approved – salad recipes…

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Should We Allow Drugs in Sports?

Dear Mark,

I know you used to be involved in triathlon sports administration. I see so much written about “banned substances” and “cheating” going on in the world of professional sports these days, especially with the Olympics looming. What do you make of all this?

Ray

Ray, my position hasn’t changed on this issue in a long while. Here is a piece I wrote for another website two years ago – before Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone in the Tour de France.

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National Salad Week

National Salad Week officially began yesterday. If you are a regular reader here you know that salads are at the core of the Primal Blueprint diet. So to celebrate this momentous occasion we encourage you to whip up some fancy salad creations today, this week and the rest of your life for health and well-being!

Here is a round-up of some of our reader-favorite salad-related posts. Enjoy!

10 Delicious DIY Salad Dressings

2 Minute Salad

Choose Your Own Salad Adventure

Fennel and Avocado: A Match Made in Heaven

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Smart Fuel: Sweet Peppers

Sweet peppers aren’t just useful for adding a little pizzazz to your salad, eggs, soups or casseroles (is there no end to their talent?) they’re also a serious smart fuel.

To start, sweet peppers are an excellent source of both vitamin C and vitamin A, providing more than 200% and 100%, respectively, of recommended daily allowance per 1 cup serving. These vitamins contain antioxidative properties which effectively neutralize free radicals, a type of cell-damaging molecule whose rap sheet includes promoting atherosclerosis and heart disease and activating symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory conditions. In addition, sweet peppers contain vitamin B6 and folic acid, which are important for regulating homocysteine levels and thus, blood vessel integrity, as well as fiber for digestive health. Red peppers, in particular, are also an excellent source of lycopene, which is thought to offer a protective benefit against cancers of the cervix, prostate, bladder and pancreas, and beta-cryptoxanthin, which is thought to protect against lung cancer.

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