Job stress, social conflict, illness (sometimes serious illness), financial hardship, our children’s struggles, a move across country, a divorce, a death of a loved one…they’re all events that can test our mental fortitude or—in more extreme cases—leave us emotionally adrift. Some people turn into a puddle during a critical emergency, while others jump in the middle of it to save the day. Yet, watch those same people face a protracted struggle like the death of a spouse or a child, and the one who managed the momentary crisis may have a much harder time. Adversity varies and challenges us in different ways. But our ability to endure and bounce back from stress, struggle, and loss is what emotional resilience is all about. What can our ancestors’ examples teach us about psychological hardiness and mental fortitude?
As I mentioned earlier this year, our personal ancestry can help determine how we respond to certain dietary, behavior, exercise, and lifestyle patterns. The big question remaining is this: does going Primal mesh with some of the more common polymorphisms? Yes. The Primal Blueprint is a living document. Its foundation rests on pre-agricultural human evolution, but by remaining flexible and offering ample room for personalization, it acknowledges the fact that evolution has continued to occur.
Let’s take a look at five genetic mutations and how the Primal way of eating, living, and moving can help mitigate their downsides.
Strip away the skin, fascia, muscles, organs, blood vessels of a human and you’re left with the bones: the foundation providing passive structural support. Many people accept that we can affect and even control the health of the rest of our tissues. Muscles? Just lift. Cardiovascular system? Do some cardio and lose weight. Teeth? Stop sugar. But bones just wear down the older you get. Everyone knows it. And sometimes bones just break. There’s nothing you can to prevent it and nothing you can do to improve your healing except wait and hope. If you want stronger bones, you’ll need some pharmacological assistance provided by a white coat-clad adult wielding a prescription pad.
But bones aren’t inert. They are living metabolic tissue. And though we can’t tell them what to do directly, they grow—or diminish—in response to the signals we send. What kind of signals should we be sending?
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three reader questions. First, do anaerobic workouts—sprints, lifting, etc.—interfere with your ability to become a fat-burning, aerobic beast, or can you integrate them? Next, in last week’s post I talked a lot about glycogen depletion in the context of the “sleep-low” carb partitioning. How can we actually achieve this without doing the intense intervals the elite triathletes were doing in the study? And finally, does carb-fasting after strength training also work?
PaleoDork is giving away a $100 gift certificate to the Primal Blueprint store. Enter to win here. Ends tomorrow at 11:45 PM, EST.
Romy Dolle, author of Fruit Belly, is putting on a small PaleoFX-esque convention in Spreitenbach, Switzerland next month on April 9. Get your tickets to Pure Food Fitness now!
Research of the Week
Sunbathing is good for you.
Lateral squats improve sprint performance.
People with intermittent explosive disorder (more common than bipolar and schizophrenia combined) are more likely to carry a toxoplasmosis infection.
The more readily available a food, the more you’re driven to consume it.
Sardine Butter. Does the combination of these two words have you salivating or grimacing? Canned sardines are a delicious, nutritious fish, but they aren’t everyone’s favorite. The flavor can be a little, well, fishy. But there are a lot of omega-3s and other nutrients packed into those small, oily little fish, so finding a way to love ‘em is a worthwhile endeavor.
Butter, on the other hand…who doesn’t love butter? Mashing butter and canned sardines together with lemon and cayenne makes a simple but stunning spread. Sardine butter has a more assertive, less delicate flavor than anchovy butter. But sardine butter is much less “fishy” than sardines straight out of the can (if that’s a plus for your taste buds).
In recipes like this, with so few ingredients, quality matters. Use your favorite salted butter, hopefully one that’s pastured or cultured. Grab a few cans of sardines from the grocery store, taste-testing to find you favorite. Boneless sardines give the butter a smoother texture, but if you don’t mind a little crunchiness (and want the calcium) then go ahead and use bone-in. Whether they’re smoked or un-smoked, packed in water or olive oil, is your choice.