New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 183

Research of the Week

Microdosing may improve mental health.

Maize consumption and cannibalism.

After a concussion, it’s probably smart to limit screen time.

How’s your “Darwinian fitness indicator,” men?

Complex dietary shifts in ancient Serbia triggered by the Neolithic.

High-fat Med diet beats low-fat diet. Every time.

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Ask a Health Coach: Primal Dating

Hey folks, Board-Certified Health Coach Erin Power is here to answer your questions about Primal dating. If you’re wondering when and how to “break the news,” we’ve got strategies, tips, and backup! Have a question you’d like to ask our health coaches? Leave it below in the comments or over in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group. Cara asked: “I’ve been Primal for a year and honestly never felt better! It was hard at first but now comes naturally and makes me feel so much lighter. I also lost 10 pounds, which doesn’t hurt! The problem: I’m newly single and on dating apps. I don’t want to turn guys off by being high maintenance. Do I mention I’m Primal in my profile? Or wait until the first date? Or wait to see how things go? Help!” First, congrats on your year of Primal eating and living, Cara! How wonderful that you feel lighter and better. Huge recognition as well for exploring this question and considering how eating and lifestyle plays a role in dating and relationships. Feeling healthy and more confident and comfortable in one’s body can be so attractive. It creates the sort of compelling radiance that goes beyond “objective” indicators like body weight or beauty. Not only that, but a little boost of confidence goes a long way as you enter the dating pool. Anyway, onto the matter at hand: how to navigate declaring your Primal status to would-be suitors. Ask and Tell. Or… Don’t. These days, it’s far more common for people to ask about and mention their “eating identities” or preferences when sharing a meal with someone for the first time. While we’re focused on dating here, this applies to new friends, acquaintances, and colleagues too. The point is, choosing to eat a particular way is hardly unusual these days. That said, I totally get how navigating conversations around food and lifestyle can be tricky in any relationship—perhaps all the more so when newly dating. The good news is, you’re arriving with a blank slate and fresh start. As a Primal Health Coach, I work with many clients who are making changes and struggle to explain their new Primal ways to partners, friends, and family members. If it’s important to you, you’ll want to share this aspect of yourself with acquaintances, new and old. But there’s another option here: Just don’t say anything at all. At least, not right away. It may not be necessary. The person you’re out on a date with probably won’t notice anything is amiss with your eating habits. If you order a big ass salad, a delicious steak, or a low-sugar cocktail at a restaurant, it’s not going to raise any red flags. Decide to forgo the bread basket? No problem: avoiding or limiting bread is becoming increasingly common in non-Primal circles too. Priorities and Values Beyond that, you likely want to be with someone whose priorities and values are similar to your own. This doesn’t mean that they have to … Continue reading “Ask a Health Coach: Primal Dating”

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Best Tools for Self Myofascial Release

Massages are expensive. And your favorite place is always booked. But there’s a reason why many top athletes get massages every single day: they improve recovery, assist in healing, and increase mobilization of your joints and muscles. While most of us can’t get massages as often as we’d like, we can obtain some of the benefits by performing self myofascial release on ourselves.
What is Self Myofascial Release?

Self myofascial release, or SMR is a type of self-massage that focuses on adhesions, knots, or tender spots in the muscle—and the fascia that surrounds and envelopes it—often using tools or implements to effect real change. The popular conception is that SMR is “breaking up” muscle knots in a real physical sense, but this probably isn’t the case. What you’re doing is triggering a neuromuscular response that reduces the tenderness and allows better, more fluid movement through the affected tissues.

You’re “teaching” your nervous system not to tense up and tighten when the tissue is poked and prodded or movement is initiated. You’re blunting the pain and wiping the movement pattern slate clean so that you can then go in and establish a new, better pattern.

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Seasonal Eating: Summer Fruits and Vegetables

Sunshine, beach days, camping, cookouts—there’s a lot to love about summer. My favorite part of summer is when the seasonal summer vegetables hit my community farmer’s market. Strolling past table after table laden with freshly picked berries, heirloom tomatoes, and green vegetables galore makes me happy deep in my soul. 

Summer’s also ripe (no pun intended) for getting out and digging in the dirt in your own backyard or patio planter boxes. Even if you don’t have a lot of space or a green thumb, you can get started with a little herb garden or a single tomato plant.

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 182

Research of the Week

Jordanians had domesticated olives at least 7000 years ago.

Lager may promote healthier gut biomes.

What do we know about the risks of zoonotic diseases and different livestock husbandry systems? Not enough, not yet.

If you want kids to get enough iodine—and you do want that, trust me—their intake of fish, meat, eggs, and dairy are the most crucial to get right.

Neanderthal genes concerning metabolism and immune function persist in some humans.

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How to Evolve Your Fitness Goals Over Time

Today my pal Brad from bradkearns.com will discuss how you can evolve your fitness goals to age gracefully, preserve health, and pursue peak performance with passion throughout life.  An Athlete Through the Years It feels as though I’ve had two distinct and disparate athletic careers in my lifetime. Many years ago I was an endurance athlete. It started with distance running in high school (mile and 2-mile in track and 3-mile cross country course) and progressed into a nine-year career as a professional triathlete. I competed primarily at the standard Olympic Games distance of 1.5-kilometer (0.9-mile) swim, 40-kilometer (24.8-mile) bike, and 10-kilometer (6.2-mile run). This event takes under two hours. I particularly enjoyed the occasional “sprint” event around half the aforementioned distances. I also competed at long and ultra-distance. I was 5th in the World Long Distance Championships in France in ’88 (~6 hour race) and I still hold the USA age 24&under record at Hawaii Ironman (~9 hour race) from ’89. Inside the triathlon bubble, we’d distinguish between a short course specialist with more “speed” and a long course specialist with more endurance. Technically, any triathlon, even a so-called sprint race, is an extreme endurance event from a physiological perspective. Endurance training guru Dr. Phil Maffetone cites exercise physiology research that 98% of the energy for two-hour competition comes from the aerobic system. Amazingly, even the mile run is predominantly aerobic, and the cutoff point for an all-out performance that’s half aerobic and half anaerobic is an effort of just one-minute, fifteen seconds! Long retired from the professional circuit (27 years!), I’ve become more focused on a broader approach to fitness and pursuing competitive goals that are brief and explosive in nature. In 2018 at age 53, I broke the Guinness World Record in Speedgolf for the fastest single hole of golf ever played (must be minimum length of 500 yards), an all-out sprint (while golfing!) that took 1 minute, 38 seconds. After many years of recreational high jumping, I finally got on the board in 2020 with an official jump that was #1 ranked in the USA Masters Track&Field age 55-59 division. I’m recently over 5’1” (1.54m) at age 57 and will continue to raise the bar in my best attempt to age gracefully. My obsession with high jumping is strange in that the sport’s objective takes around four seconds—a three second approach and one second from takeoff to landing (okay, Barshim might be in the air a bit longer than that.) That’s a pretty dramatic difference from racing triathlon for hours! I’m clearly less genetically adapted for high jumping than I was for endurance, but the important thing is I have a tremendous passion for the event and for personal improvement regardless of my genetic predispositions. When I achieve a good clearance over the bar in an empty high school stadium, I scream with delight like it’s the Olympic finals. In the most every important way, my satisfaction of success from this later-in-life folly is just as … Continue reading “How to Evolve Your Fitness Goals Over Time”

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