Hi folks, we’re excited to have Primal Health Coach Institute’s Coaching Director Erin Power back to answer your questions. Got a question for our health coaches? Head over to our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group or ask it in the comments below.
Tim asked: “Lately, I’ve been seeing Instagram posts saying don’t be scammed by ‘health foods’ like the Impossible Burger, celery juice, almond milk, and protein bars. I understand some of these (like fake meat!). Others have me confused. What’s wrong with celery juice? Is almond milk bad now too?!”
I know, right? There’s so much information out there, and everyone on social media has an opinion about the latest health trends.
As a health coach, I can help you break down that list of “scammy” suspects. Even more important, I can share some guidelines to help you figure out whether trending foods are healthy or a scam.
First and foremost, remember that eating real, whole food never has to be complicated. When working with coaching clients and in my own life, the core of my philosophy is to keep things simple.
I realize that social media hype and “food fights” can make food seem incredibly complex. In moments of doubt or overwhelm, come back to that key principle. It’s really what makes Primal living and eating so effortless: the simplicity just makes sense.
While it’s easy enough to pop down to the grocery store and buy butter, yogurt, or kefir, it can be very rewarding—and easier than you think—to make your own products at home. Making staple dairy foods at home allows you to control what goes into them, control the process, and reconnect to the traditional way of doing things.
Yogurt and kefir are also fermented foods that deliver those oh-so-important probiotics to feed the beneficial microbes in your gut. Rather than rely on store-bought products, which often contain sugar and other additives you wish to avoid, why not make your own at home? Being able to make your own butter, yogurt, and kefir gives you flexibility. It gives you power. Most importantly, it gives you agency: the ability to control what you feed yourself or your family.
For today’s Dear Mark, I’m answering a reader question about whether colostrum supplements are worth trying. Let’s get right into it.
A buddy of mine has been taking colostrum powder for a few months now. He swears it’s helping him bulk up in the gym. I’m training for a century ride this summer and he says I should start using colostrum for leg strength. Ever since he mentioned it I feel like I’m seeing more fitness types talking about it on social media too. I’d love to get your take before shelling out the money. Thanks Mark!
Ah yes, your phone heard you talking about colostrum. Now your social media feed is full of colostrum posts, and you want to know if it’s legit or just another empty promise.
Colostrum, as you might know, is the “first milk” that mammals produce in the two to three days after giving birth. Compared to regular milk, colostrum is particularly rich in antibodies, enzymes, growth factors, and other nutrients all designed to protect the newborn and kickstart their immune system and digestion. If you were breastfed at birth, you received colostrum from your mother. Colostrum that you buy as a supplement is almost always bovine (cow) colostrum, usually in powder or capsule form.
The relationship between dairy consumption, insulin, and our health can be confusing. It’s easy to see why: The most common types of dairy undeniably spike our insulin levels, and elevated insulin has been linked to dozens of diseases—most diseases, in fact. When insulin is high, your body holds onto body fat. And insulin resistance, which is when your body doesn’t respond to insulin and must release large amounts of the hormone, makes it harder to lose body fat and is the precipitating factor in a host of degenerative diseases.
So, dairy is bad, right? No. The opposite, in fact.
Insulin is an old, old hormone. Evolution has preserved its structure across hundreds of millions of years and hundreds of thousands of species. Fish, insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals all secrete insulin with fairly similar amino acid arrangements (insulin from certain species of fish has even been clinically effective in humans), so, clearly, it is a vital hormone required by life to flourish and prosper.
You may think of protein supplements as a concern for muscle heads, but they’re for everyone – provided that you choose the right one for you. You need dietary protein for your body’s day-to-day upkeep and to age well. Up to a third of older adults don’t get enough protein for various reasons, like reduced appetite and changing tastes. There are lots of ways to get protein, and here, I’ll go through one of the most convenient and beneficial forms: whey protein.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey is a protein-packed byproduct of cheese production. It’s that pseudo-clear liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. Cheese makers used to toss it aside as waste material, until food scientists started to understand its value.
Today, we know that whey protein isn’t just a single protein. Instead, it houses an impressive array of proteins: beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and serum albumin. These are complete proteins, comprised of the essential amino acids central to protein synthesis and increased muscular hypertrophy (muscle growth).
Our bodies can produce non-essential amino acids from lesser amino acids, but we cannot produce the essentials ourselves; we must eat quality protein sources. Whey is a naturally occurring, essential protein that satisfies the body’s protein requirements – hence its popularity.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a bunch of questions from readers. The first one concerns another inflammatory marker, homocysteine. How could CRP be low but homocysteine be high? What could cause that? Next, I answer a barrage of kefir questions, including ones on kefir carb counts, pasteurized kefir, and water and coconut kefir. Finally, I address the elephant in the room: stressing out about your diet.