Research of the Week
COVID has improved the sleep of teens.
Wearing blue light-blocking glasses at night improves next-day productivity.
Psychedelics may improve color vision.
Pregnant mothers with higher vitamin D levels give birth to kids with higher intelligence at age 4-6.
Type 2 diabetics who use metformin have lower rates of dementia and slower cognitive decline.
Hey folks! Erin Power is back for another round of Ask a Health Coach. This week she’ll be answering questions about beating the 3pm slump, what to eat when you’re hungry all the time, and strategies for speeding up a slow metabolism. Comment below with more questions or head over to the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group. Pete asked: “I get so sleepy in the afternoons. In fact, sometimes, I actually have to take a nap. What can I snack on to beat my daily 3pm slump?” Feeling a dip in energy mid-afternoon is so common, a lot of offices actually have a nap room. They also have boatloads of processed snacks, sugary coffee drinks, and vending machines to help you perk back up after your carb-laden lunch. But just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s normal. Sure, you could be having a reaction to what you ate for lunch. Some food choices trigger a blood sugar spike and crash (think pasta, pizza, giant subs, a handful of candy). If this is the case with you, I have a better solution than doling out energy-boosting snack ideas…or napping. The lowest hanging fruit here is to manage your post-lunch sleepiness by swapping refined carbs for satiating and blood sugar stabilizing protein and fat. Maybe a Big Ass Salad or some leftover roasted chicken and veggies with butter. Even a handful of mixed nuts is better than a sandwich. It’s not always food related though. You have a natural drop in energy as part of human circadian biology. And it comes, you guessed it, about mid-afternoon. Knowing that your body has a built-in lull that happens around 3pm, the best thing you can do is anticipate it and plan accordingly. That means don’t schedule any overly draining tasks during that time. Instead, practice a little self-care and schedule in 15 minutes of stretching, walking outside, or listening to energizing music. Another possibility for your slump is mental drain. Even if your workday isn’t overly stressful, everything else in the world is right now, so again, cut yourself some slack and pay attention to how drained you feel on a daily basis. It could just be that by 3pm your brain (and your central nervous system) are so tapped that it signals a reset (i.e. you to take a nap). To avoid burnout, I like productivity apps like Focus Keeper. This one’s based on the Pomodoro Technique and breaks your day into 25-minute focus sessions, followed by 5-minute breaks. Of course, there’s always the possibility that you’re not breathing. And by “not breathing” I mean, you’re taking small shallow breaths that rob your brain of oxygen. Chances are you spend most of your day hunched over your computer, which compromises your breathing and your energy flow. Next time you feel that midday lull, think about the last time you took a good, deep breath, then sit up straight and take six slow deep breaths. Test out any of these tips and my guess … Continue reading “Ask a Health Coach: Is Snacking Okay?”
Before I had kids, I thought I’d be that mom who cooks and bakes endlessly with her kids. After all, I enjoy being in the kitchen, so why wouldn’t I want my sweet offspring by my side as I lovingly prepare meals for the family. Ah, to be that young and idealistic again. Every year we get busier and more pressed for time, and—in my experience, at least—cooking with your kids makes everything take three to eleven times longer. Gone are my ideas of being Betty-Crocker-meets-Mary-Poppins in the kitchen. I have new priorities now: I need to be time-efficient. I want to feed myself and my kids nutritious foods. I refuse to prepare separate meals or snacks for kids and adults. My kids should learn their way around the kitchen, which means giving them age-appropriate tasks. Most days we manage dinner together, but the rest of the day is a whirlwind. Snacking is something of a contentious topic in the ancestral community. Sincere kudos if your family can stick to set meal times with perhaps one planned snack interlude. Realistically, though, snacking happens here. Rather than fight it, I try to have quick, healthy options that check my four boxes above. These are some of my top picks. Add yours in the comments section. Instantly download your free Guide to Cooking Fats and Oils Dips & Spreads Veggies with ranch dressing. Use raw vegetables like celery, carrots, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, and mini sweet bell peppers, or leftover roasted asparagus or Brussels sprouts. To make a thicker dip, mix the ranch with sour cream to get the consistency you want. Frozen chicken skewers (I get mine at Costco) dipped in barbecue sauce or a quick peanut sauce. This one uses tahini, or you can use almond butter instead. Guacamole with raw vegetables or pork rinds. To uplevel the experience, try this recipe for Bacon Guacamole with Cheddar Chips. Apples, pears, or celery with nut butter. Hummus with veggies. Classic hummus is easy to make or buy pre-made if you eat chickpeas, but you can also make delicious legume-free versions like this Roasted Cauliflower & Macadamia Nut Hummus. How kids can help: Wash and cut raw vegetables and fruit with supervision and depending on age. Pour dipping sauces into ramekins. Smash avocados for guacamole. Run the food processor for hummus. Arrange the food on plates. Stuff You Can Eat with Toothpicks Cubed melon wrapped in prosciutto. Caprese skewers: cherry tomato + pearl mozzarella + basil leaf. Optional Italian or balsamic dressing to dip. Meatballs, like these kid-approved Teriyaki Meatballs. Steak “salad” bites. Leftover cubed steak topped with a few leaves of baby spinach and cheddar or blue cheese. Dip in BBQ sauce or dressing of choice. For the grown-ups, add Quick Pickled Onions. How kids can help: Cube melon or steak. Wrap prosciutto around melon. Assist with cooking meatballs. The steps are easy enough for even young kids, supervised. Assemble the skewers. Pour dipping sauces into ramekins. Charcuterie Plates Charcuterie plates … Continue reading “Keto and Primal Snacks for Busy Mom Life”
Dr. DeVany’s title quote has haunted me for years; I typically ponder the significance of this deadpan assertion during my morning jog. “Come on, this can’t be dangerous, can it?” I assert that my morning jog helps me enjoy nature, clear my mind for the impending busy day in front of a screen or microphone, and seemingly contributes to both my fitness base and my health. But only if I go slow! That is the revelation I have come to appreciate over decades of devoted endurance training. Walking is perhaps most health and longevity promoting activity of them all, the ultimate human experience of life and planet that our genes require daily for healthy functioning. This is especially true as you age. A UCLA study of the elderly revealed that walking more than 4,000 steps a day makes for a thicker hippocampus, faster information processing, and improved executive function. Sedentary folks were found to have thinner brains, lower overall cognitive function and increased disease risk. From a base of frequent daily walking (and other forms of low level movement like yoga), if you are fit enough to jog at a heart rate below “180 minus age” in beats per minute, there is pretty strong evidence that you are boosting health. If your “jogging” routinely drifts above that important MAF cutoff (surely the context for DeVany’s warning), you are likely actualizing the quote and endangering your health. This article details how I destroyed my health during a six-month binge of high volume aerobic exercise (playing Speedgolf, where you run around five miles while playing 18 holes as fast as possible) after a long layoff from real training. I overestimated my aerobic maximum heart rate by 12 beats (and exceeded that beeper limit on the golf course frequently as well!) and experienced that familiar steady spiral into declining energy and burnout. First, I delivered a free testosterone reading that was clinically low—as in, a candidate for hormone replacement. Next, on the heels of a two strenuous workouts in 100-degree temperatures over four days, I found myself in the hospital with extreme dehydration, a ruptured appendix and emergency surgery. Months of complications and follow up surgeries ensued. Doctors might assert that an appendix will blow out randomly, but I’m certain that my problems were driven by the six-month chronic cardio binge. In Case You Missed It: Don’t Jog, It’s Too Dangerous (Part 1) With five months of enforced rest and trading my slightly too difficult cardio for easy jogging and walking (after surgeries), I doubled my testosterone levels—going from clinically low to exceeding the 95th percentile for my age. In the aftermath of the ordeal, which coincided with me hitting the big Hawaii 5-0, I turned my attention to fitness goals better suited for longevity: building power, speed, explosiveness, flexibility, balance, and mobility. I increased my devotion to sprinting and strength training, and integrated the wonderful drills and skills highlighted in the basic running drills and advanced running drills videos and morning … Continue reading “Don’t Jog, It’s Too Dangerous: Part 2”