Month: November 2012

I Will Never Go Back to the Broken Conventional Wisdom of My Past

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Dear Mark,

I first heard about the Primal Blueprint from Slick Rick, the long haired, five fingered shoe wearing odd ball my cousin married. He had ditched grains four years before and never looked back, and was always dropping jokes about how he loved bacon. I thought he was crazy with his caveman talk and dismissed his low carb philosophy as one that didn’t fit into my modern diet.

You see, I took carb-a-holic to an extreme, consuming well past the 600 carb a day average of most Americans. I maintained a medium body size until I hit college, when I gradually began to pack on the pounds. By the time I was married at 28, I was overweight headed to obese, suffering from gastric reflux, fatigued, and unmotivated. The big blow came when my general practitioner diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) after several unsuccessful months of trying to get pregnant with an irregular cycle. I assumed this was some genetic curse (after all, that’s what every doctor I talked to told me) and started down the path of Metformin and fertility drugs. I felt miserable, the meds made me crazy, and I got fatter on my SAD. After two years of failure, we took a break. I hated the way I looked and felt now 60+ pounds overweight and still without a baby. I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer determined to at least feel good about my body. Following six months of cardio four days a week, light weight training, and a restricted diet of healthy whole grains and low fat tasteless foods, I had a pathetic 15 pound weight loss, raging appetite, and shin splints to show for it. By this time my husband and I had decided to adopt, and brought home our little boy in October of 2009. I had a renewed “healthy” outlook and was determined to feed our growing family the best balanced nutrition I knew. We had the food pyramid down pat. Our diet was filled with whole grains, lean meats, and processed carbs and over the next two years I continued to gradually gain another 20 pounds.

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Do We Need Rites of Passage?

The young native American teen sent off into the darkness with nothing but a bow and arrow and expected to return with a wolf pelt or two or three. The Masaai warrior tasked with stalking and killing a lion in single combat. The donning of a glove lined with stinging bullet ants to commemorate becoming a man. Ritualistic tattooing, branding, or mutilation upon reaching a certain age or completing a certain task. The bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah, celebrations of a Jewish boy’s and girl’s respective entrances into adulthood. The Latin American quinceañera. Rites of passage are nearly universal throughout human cultures, both ancient and modern. Universally-preserved behaviors, whether physiological traits, or cultural artifacts, are usually there for very good, or at least very important reasons. So let’s take a closer look. Why do we have rites of passage? Are they still a significant part of growing up in the modern world? If not, should they be?

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7 Ways You Might Be Inadvertently Sabotaging a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is the cousin of death, wise men have said. Strange thought it may seem, though, avoiding this sometimes annoyingly-insistent-that-you-hang-out cousin will actually bring you closer to an early death. It’s not a pleasant thing to consider, but it’s the truth; bad sleep is associated strongly with early mortality, being overweight, having metabolic syndrome, and getting cancer. I’ve said it, your doctor says it, and anyone who’s ever had a bad night’s sleep and felt like death the next day will say it: sleep is absolutely essential to happiness, health, and longevity. On the positive side, there’s nothing quite so pleasurable as a good night’s sleep, from the initial application of one’s head to the pillow, to the insanely vivid dream-visions that descend upon you in the midst of it, to the peerless happiness and boundless energy you feel upon waking. Sleep’s the best, so you want to get it, and get it good.

You know it, of course. I harp on it enough. And chances are, you’re doing your part to get good sleep. But what if you can’t? What if sleep is bad, or inadequate, or unfulfilling? What might be causing it? Let’s find out.

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Is It Primal? – Non-Alcoholic Beer, Non-Alcoholic Wine, Gluten-Free Beer, and Other Foods Scrutinized

I suppose you could call today’s “Is it Primal?” the alcohol edition, because we’re dealing with three alcohol-related inquiries. Actually, two of the inquiries relate to non-alcoholic beverages, one to an alcoholic beverage, one to a substance that can potentially facilitate alcohol-induced activities, and one to a substance that can help relieve sunburns that you get after passing out in the sun from too many alcoholic beverages. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but I think you get the point. I dig into the suitability and Primality of non-alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic wine (the horror!), gluten-free beer, the Andean aphrodisiac known as maca root, and the humble but ubiquitous aloe vera.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

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Dear Mark: Vegetable Juicing, G_BOMBS, Blood Sugar, and Hot Workouts

Today is going to be a bit of a long Dear Mark blog post. I got some great questions from you guys. First, I cover three questions regarding the insulin spike and carb load from vegetable juicing. Next, I discuss the place of G_BOMBS, or the “perfect nutritional combination” of greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds, in a Primal eating plan. The blood sugar response to meat is next, along with a followup question about how dietary fat affects the glycemic response to eating carbohydrates. Finally, I field a question regarding the utility of artificially increasing one’s propensity to sweat during workouts by turning the air conditioner off. Does it hurt? Does it help? Find out below.

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 215

Research of the Week
“Absent the requirement to spend most available hours of the day feeding, the combination of newly freed time and a large number of brain neurons affordable on a cooked diet may thus have been a major positive driving force to the rapid increase in brain size in human evolution.” A new study shows how cooked food allowed human brains to become, well, human.

How play and games can transform the work place (PDF).
Interesting Blog Posts
Although I’m absolutely sure this will be of zero interest to all or most of my readers, I thought I’d mention Paul Jaminet’s latest post on the optimal dosage of chocolate.

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