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6 Food Additives That Might Be Giving You Trouble

What’s a person to do when they’ve eliminated all the big allergens—gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts—and they’re still having mysterious symptoms that seem to be aggravated by their diet? Maybe you’re that person. You’ve tried Primal, AIP, and low-FODMAP diets, but you still have recurring issues with your gut, skin, or energy levels. Or, you frequently experience nausea or GI distress after meals even after eliminating the most obvious potential triggers. When it’s not one of the big players giving you grief, think smaller. Sometimes those items farther down the ingredient list are the real culprits. I’m talking about the things that food manufacturers add to their products to improve texture, appearance, and shelf stability. They’re considered safe for consumption (in the U.S., though not necessarily in other countries, as you’ll see), but these sneaky little buggers might be making you unwell nonetheless. Here are some things to look out for if you’re having persistent health issues that you suspect are tied to something you’re eating. Red Dye and Other Artificial Food Coloring Granted, Primal eaters probably aren’t consuming large quantities of foods loaded with artificial coloring agents. Still, they are pervasive in the American food supply. You’ll also find them in medications and supplements, sometimes at alarmingly high levels. Even at high-end grocers and health food stores, they’re hard to avoid. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently allows Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 3, Red 40, Citrus Red 2, and Orange B in foods at approved levels. However, scientists and public health officials have known for decades that each of these carries potential health risks, especially the red and yellow dyes. The FDA banned Red 3 (aka erythrosine or E127) in cosmetics and other topical applications in 1990 based on studies showing increased thyroid cancer risk, but it is still approved as a food colorant. Yellow 6 (aka tartrazine or E110) and Red 40 (aka Allura Red AC or E129) require warning labels or are banned altogether in several countries due to concerns about their possible carcinogenic effects and their effects on children. They also happen to be the most prevalent artificial food colorings in the U.S. The first time I heard about food dyes affecting kids was years ago when a friend told me she couldn’t give her daughter any food or juice that had red dye in it. As she described it, just a few pieces of candy or a piece of sheet cake with brightly colored frosting at a birthday party, and her normally sweet kid would be bouncing off the walls. It turns out that’s not so uncommon. Multiple studies have concluded that food dyes may contribute to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems, especially in kids with preexisting ADHD symptoms. The FDA reviewed the clinical evidence ten years ago and decided it wasn’t conclusive enough to act on. A 2018 review published in Pediatrics, the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics, renewed the call for more … Continue reading “6 Food Additives That Might Be Giving You Trouble”

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Primal, Keto, Grain-free and Paleo Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets Recipe

Chicken nuggets aren’t just kid food. With a Primal spin, they’re great for game day, after school, or a midweek lunch!

Typically, chicken nuggets are breaded, and if you’re leaning more toward a Primal, paleo, or keto way of eating, that doesn’t jibe with your program. Still, nuggets are the ultimate comfort food, and there’s no reason you can’t have them. With a simple ingredient swap, you’ll have crunchy grain-free chicken nuggets that the whole family can’t get enough of.

Here’s how to make them.


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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 147

Research of the Week

Swearing makes you stronger.

The aging (and young, for that matter) brain needs social interactions.

Full-fat dairy wins again.

There is very little evidence in favor of “as low as possible” salt intakes, and yet that’s what most health authorities recommend.

Too many omega-6 fats, increased risk of peripheral nerve pain.

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5 Tips for Setting Better Boundaries (and Why You Want to)

The past 19+ months have provided us with more than a few challenges, but they’ve also allowed us to reflect on what’s working in our lives and what could use a major overhaul.

An unexpected benefit of all the cancelled happy hours, closed gyms, and remote offices is that it automatically created boundaries for our personal and professional lives. Too exhausted to go out on Friday night? No problem, the bar isn’t open. Don’t feel like going to spin class? Yoga at home sounds better anyway. Have trouble telling co-workers “No” in person? Being off site makes it easier to say you “Have a conflict.”

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Why Do I Get a Gluten Reaction from American Wheat but not Overseas?

Seems like every international traveler who normally follows a Primal way of eating has had the experience of splurging on pasta in Italy or baguettes in France or pita in Greece without any of the negative effects they normally experience back home. There are even people with confirmed gluten sensitivities who can get away with eating wheat overseas. Whenever I’m in Europe, I enjoy the local cuisine without worrying too much, even though I definitely get a reaction back in the US. I may not be eating entire baguettes or plates of pasta, but I don’t shy away from smearing raw brie over crusty bread—and yet back home, I avoid wheat as a general rule.

What’s going on here? Why do some people get gluten reactions from American wheat but not European wheat?

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How to Cope with Feeling Overwhelmed

“Some days you will feel like the ocean. Some days you will feel like you are drowning in it.”

—Lora Mathis

Ain’t that the truth. Life comes at you fast. You get laid off and don’t have enough money in savings, a family member gets sick, your car gets totaled. All of a sudden, you’re totally underwater.

Often, though, it’s not one catastrophic event that gets you; it’s the sum total of all the small-to-medium-sized stressors in your life. Death by papercuts, if you will. Overwhelm results from having too much or not enough — too much to do, too many responsibilities, not enough money or time.

Overwhelm quickly becomes a vicious cycle, as it requires energy and resources (neither of which you have in abundance) to dig yourself out. A classic sign of overwhelm is feeling like you’ve lost control over your circumstances, like things are happening to you instead of for you or because you chose them.

You can’t govern all the sources of stress in your life, but you may have more control than you realize. At the very least, there are probably ways to manipulate your schedule and environment so your stress triggers aren’t so triggering.

Start by asking yourself, “What would need to change in order for me to feel less overwhelmed?” If just that step feels overwhelming, don’t worry. You’re about to start taking action, and action is empowering.

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