Mark's Daily Apple https://www.marksdailyapple.com/ Mon, 30 Nov -001 00:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0.2 115533949 New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 196 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/new-and-noteworthy-edition-196/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/new-and-noteworthy-edition-196/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2022 20:44:28 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129927 Research of the Week

Getting fat precedes increased calorie intake, in one recent study.

Using a multivitamin for 3 years improves cognitive aging in older adults.

Night shift workers who fast at night have improved mood and better circadian alignment. 

Selection pressures in ancient Eurasia formed modern European populations.

Open office architecture promotes less face-to-face communication, more digital communication.

New Primal Kitchen Podcasts
Primal Kitchen Podcast: The Link Between Dairy Intolerance and Dairy Genes with Alexandre Family Farm Founders Blake and Stephanie

Primal Health Coach Radio: Declare Your Expertise, Then Embody It with Marcy Morrison
Media, Schmedia
The best stone skipper on Earth.

Adderall shortage.
Interesting Blog Posts
Hitler (vegetarian, btw) had terrible teeth when he died.

Can we breed happier chickens?
Social Notes
Science vs Science.
Everything Else
In NY public hospitals, vegan food is now the default.

An Alzheimer's drug that might work?

Swedish prison: good for your health.
Things I’m Up to and Interested In
Interesting research: Reclining on your right side raises HRV.

This is ill-advised: "Let's eliminate sex segregation in sports."

Interesting research: Sugar-sweetened beverages linked to higher cancer mortality, partially mediated through obesity.

Bad sign: Adult Happy Meals are coming.

Be careful: Long term SSRI use linked to heart disease.
Question I'm Asking
Should all sports be co-ed?
Recipe Corner

Oxtail stew (no need for cornstarch).
It's hard to beat slow cooker Korean short ribs.

Time Capsule
One year ago (Sep 25 – Sep 31)

6 Food Additives That Might Be Giving You Trouble—What are they?
Ask a Health Coach: ls This Good For Me or Not?—Well, is it?

Comment of the Week
"'Light pollution is preventable and reversible. I am an advocate with the International Dark Sky Association, headquartered in Tucson, AZ. We work to restore the night sky for the health of humans and wildlife, energy savings, improved public safety with effective lighting, and the heritage of dark night skies. 80% of the world lives where the Milky Way is no longer visible. Find information at dark sky.org and join us. State chapters in the US and many international chapters as well. #idadarksky"

-Keep up the great work, Linda.

The post New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 196 appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Research of the Week

Getting fat precedes increased calorie intake, in one recent study.

Using a multivitamin for 3 years improves cognitive aging in older adults.

Night shift workers who fast at night have improved mood and better circadian alignment. 

Selection pressures in ancient Eurasia formed modern European populations.

Open office architecture promotes less face-to-face communication, more digital communication.

New Primal Kitchen Podcasts

Primal Kitchen Podcast: The Link Between Dairy Intolerance and Dairy Genes with Alexandre Family Farm Founders Blake and Stephanie

Primal Health Coach Radio: Declare Your Expertise, Then Embody It with Marcy Morrison

Media, Schmedia

The best stone skipper on Earth.

Adderall shortage.

Interesting Blog Posts

Hitler (vegetarian, btw) had terrible teeth when he died.

Can we breed happier chickens?

Social Notes

Science vs Science.

Everything Else

In NY public hospitals, vegan food is now the default.

An Alzheimer’s drug that might work?

Swedish prison: good for your health.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Interesting research: Reclining on your right side raises HRV.

This is ill-advised: “Let’s eliminate sex segregation in sports.”

Interesting research: Sugar-sweetened beverages linked to higher cancer mortality, partially mediated through obesity.

Bad sign: Adult Happy Meals are coming.

Be careful: Long term SSRI use linked to heart disease.

Question I’m Asking

Should all sports be co-ed?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Sep 25 – Sep 31)

Comment of the Week

“‘Light pollution is preventable and reversible. I am an advocate with the International Dark Sky Association, headquartered in Tucson, AZ. We work to restore the night sky for the health of humans and wildlife, energy savings, improved public safety with effective lighting, and the heritage of dark night skies. 80% of the world lives where the Milky Way is no longer visible. Find information at dark sky.org and join us. State chapters in the US and many international chapters as well. #idadarksky”

-Keep up the great work, Linda.

The post New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 196 appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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How to Manage Shift Work https://www.marksdailyapple.com/managing-shift-work/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/managing-shift-work/#comments Wed, 28 Sep 2022 15:00:44 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129837 Most people’s sleep issues can be solved by simply prioritizing sleep and making a few changes. Turn off the phone at night, pick a bedtime and stick to it, get more light during the day, eat dinner early (or not at all), stay physically active, don’t let the day’s anxieties and tasks build up and accumulate and weigh on your mind. Basic stuff. Not easy for everyone to follow, but it’s a standard roadmap you know will work if you follow it.  What if your sleep issues are out of your control? What if you’re a night shift worker who has to stay awake when you’re supposed to sleep and sleep when you’re supposed to be awake? You can't just switch jobs—you and your family need food, shelter, and money. There’s no easy way to say it: night shift work has no easy solution.  We evolved with a circadian rhythm that hews to the day-night cycle, and staying up at night and maintaining cognitive alertness when we’re supposed to be sleeping has longterm ramifications to our health and happiness. That’s just a fact. Night shift work has been linked to a number of health issues: Heart disease Diabetes Asthma Breast cancer Obesity It's a tough situation, balancing the physiological demands of a diurnal mammal (you) with the demands of a job in direct opposition to the former. What can a shift worker do, save finding a new career path? Embrace Your Situation For all intents and purposes, this is your life. It may change down the road, but you are a shift worker for now. Accept it. It's not ideal, but it will be a lot worse if you go about your days (er, nights) lamenting your situation. Even just looking in the mirror every day and verbally reminding yourself that "I am a shift worker and I'm going to get through this" will help. Fighting or avoiding the reality of a situation, instead of accepting and working with it, will only heap more stress and cortisol on your shoulders (and more fat on your belly). Much of the link between shift work and obesity can be explained by stress. One study found that among Brazilian shift workers, work-related stress was responsible for the majority of shift work-related obesity. Minimize stressing out about your predicament and you'll mitigate the issue. Be Strict About Your Diet Hew as closely as you can to the Primal eating plan. Don't give in to vending machine wares and stale day-old donuts lurking in greasy pink boxes leftover from the dayshift. Get even more serious about putting quality fuel in your body than ever before. If that means cooking your own food exclusively to avoid gluten and seed oils, so be it. In your circadian misaligned state, your sensitivity to bad food will be heightened. Adhere to a Healthy Lifestyle Eating right and exercising regularly become absolute non-negotiable when you're doing shift work. Studies show that many of the health conditions linked to night shift … Continue reading "How to Manage Shift Work"

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Medical professional working late

Most people’s sleep issues can be solved by simply prioritizing sleep and making a few changes. Turn off the phone at night, pick a bedtime and stick to it, get more light during the day, eat dinner early (or not at all), stay physically active, don’t let the day’s anxieties and tasks build up and accumulate and weigh on your mind. Basic stuff. Not easy for everyone to follow, but it’s a standard roadmap you know will work if you follow it. 

What if your sleep issues are out of your control? What if you’re a night shift worker who has to stay awake when you’re supposed to sleep and sleep when you’re supposed to be awake? You can’t just switch jobs—you and your family need food, shelter, and money. There’s no easy way to say it: night shift work has no easy solution. 

We evolved with a circadian rhythm that hews to the day-night cycle, and staying up at night and maintaining cognitive alertness when we’re supposed to be sleeping has longterm ramifications to our health and happiness. That’s just a fact.

Night shift work has been linked to a number of health issues:

  • Heart disease1
  • Diabetes2
  • Asthma3
  • Breast cancer4
  • Obesity5

It’s a tough situation, balancing the physiological demands of a diurnal mammal (you) with the demands of a job in direct opposition to the former. What can a shift worker do, save finding a new career path?

Embrace Your Situation

For all intents and purposes, this is your life. It may change down the road, but you are a shift worker for now. Accept it. It’s not ideal, but it will be a lot worse if you go about your days (er, nights) lamenting your situation. Even just looking in the mirror every day and verbally reminding yourself that “I am a shift worker and I’m going to get through this” will help. Fighting or avoiding the reality of a situation, instead of accepting and working with it, will only heap more stress and cortisol on your shoulders (and more fat on your belly).

Much of the link between shift work and obesity can be explained by stress. One study found that among Brazilian shift workers, work-related stress was responsible for the majority of shift work-related obesity.6 Minimize stressing out about your predicament and you’ll mitigate the issue.

Be Strict About Your Diet

Hew as closely as you can to the Primal eating plan. Don’t give in to vending machine wares and stale day-old donuts lurking in greasy pink boxes leftover from the dayshift. Get even more serious about putting quality fuel in your body than ever before. If that means cooking your own food exclusively to avoid gluten and seed oils, so be it. In your circadian misaligned state, your sensitivity to bad food will be heightened.

Adhere to a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating right and exercising regularly become absolute non-negotiable when you’re doing shift work. Studies show that many of the health conditions linked to night shift work can actually be minimized if you adhere to a healthy lifestyle.7 The problem is that most night shift workers do not adhere to a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, the circadian misalignment makes unhealthy food harder to resist and daily exercise harder to stick with. You have to rise above your lot in life and be better. Luckily, you are better. Right?

Train Wisely

You are starting from behind. Lifestyle stressors beset you on all sides. Your body’s abilities to recover and perform are dampened, and the last thing you want to do is add another couple heaping tablespoons of stress to the mix. As such, you must choose your workouts wisely. If it were me working night shifts for an extended period of time I’d mostly skip metabolic conditioning. No long CrossFit WODs, no extended Tabata sessions, no half marathons, nothing that spikes cortisol and leaves you breathless and on the verge of puking.

Once-a-week sprints with full recovery? Sure. Long walks? Great. Heavy lifting? Go for it, but keep it heavy and intense and keep the volume low. If you’re doing PBF style bodyweight exercises, consider adding resistance and keeping the reps low.

Two days a week of lifting is perfect; three may be too much. Keep an eye on how you feel. If you stall on the same weight twice, drop the weight or the volume. If you can’t recover in between sprints, make them shorter by ten yards until you can.

As for timing, it’s probably a good idea to train before your shift starts. Train, eat a big meal to recover, and then start your shift. Or, train after you wake up in the “morning.”

Trick Your Body

This is probably the most important strategy. Your body expects light when awake and darkness when asleep. You can’t totally replace sunlight and nighttime, but you can get pretty close.

When you’re at work, keep the lights on. If you work outdoors at night—say, as a cop, a security guard, or in the military—consider light therapy.

Two hours before your shift is up, put on some blue blocking orange goggles to make your body think it’s “night” and prepare for bed. Keep them on when you venture out into the light and don’t remove them until you’re ready for bed.

Keep your bedroom shades drawn, block out any light sources, and keep your bedroom as dark as possible. The idea is to mimic daytime light conditions during your waking hours and nighttime light conditions during your “evening” and sleeping hours to the best of your ability.

Fast During Your Shift

Here’s how the typical shift worker handles food: They snack constantly. They eat junk. Donuts in the break room, vending machine chips. Big massive meals just to keep the boredom at bay and reduce the stress they’re feeling from being up in the middle of the night.

Here’s what happened in a recent study of shift workers:8

One group ate normally. They ate their regular food during their shift as they always do. As expected, their glucose tolerance suffered and they had very high blood glucose responses when they ate a meal after their shift. They also suffered a circadian misalignment between their central and peripheral body clocks.

Another group fasted during their shift. They ate no food at all while on night shift. Their glucose tolerance was better and they had normal blood glucose responses when they ate a meal after their shift. There was no circadian misalignment between their central and peripheral body clocks.

As you can see, fasting during the night shift didn’t just improve glucose tolerance. It also improved circadian alignment, which may have a beneficial or protective effect on many of the physiological systems night shift normally disrupts.

Go Low-Carb During Your Shift

If you have to eat during your shift, go low-carb or keto. Your glucose tolerance is going to be poor no matter what you do—you can’t get around the circadian disruption of glucose tolerance—so you’d better just reduce the amount of exogenous glucose in your diet. Think of yourself like a type 2 diabetic who can’t handle glucose during your shift, and eat accordingly.

Use Melatonin

Melatonin has been shown to improve shift workers’ sleep and wakefulness patterns.

In one study, compared to placebo and no treatment at all, 5 mg melatonin taken at “desired bedtime” improved the sleep and alertness of cops working a night shift.9 They got better sleep when they wanted it and felt more alert at night while on the beat.

A later study had similar findings. Increasing dosages of melatonin (up to 3 mg) in patients undergoing simulated late shift work was actually able to shift their circadian phases (as evidenced by changes in body temperature and melatonin secretion). Sleep and alertness (at the right times) also improved. They took fewer naps.

If I were taking melatonin to deal with a night shift, I would take it as soon as I got off work to help me prepare for sleep at home. The quicker you can take it after your shift and get to sleep, the more aligned you’ll be.

Take at least 3 mg melatonin at your desired bedtime, and be consistent with it.

Don’t Go Crazy on Coffee and Embrace Black Tea

Don’t rely on coffee, especially if you display the hallmarks of cortisol problems: belly fat accumulation and poor performance in the gym. Or, at least cut way back. Consider going for black tea instead, which has been shown to normalize cortisol.10 If you keep drinking coffee (let’s face it, it’s delicious), try not to rely on it. Have a cup at the start of your shift – since it’s “morning” for you – but no more.

Ultimately, what the human animal does best is adapt, often to some pretty horrible conditions. Consider how many people go about their days without apparent problems and live long lives eating the modern processed diet. Consider the amount of unimaginable cruelty, war, genocide, and famine occurring today and throughout all history, and still people live on. So you can handle shift work. Maybe not for the rest of your life, maybe not for ten years without serious ramifications to your health and quality of life, but you can handle shift work now and in the near future. Just don’t get complacent. Start, today, working toward the goal of getting off shift work, because no amount of supplementation, smart training, diet perfection, and artificial light trickery will make up for a lifestyle that contradicts your basic physiology.

Any shift workers in here? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Let us know in the comment section!

https://www.marksdailyapple.com/cortisol/

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How to Work Out with a BOSU Exercise Ball https://www.marksdailyapple.com/bosu-ball-exercises/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/bosu-ball-exercises/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2022 15:00:31 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129684 You’ve probably seen a BOSU exercise ball at the gym. It’s that piece of equipment hanging out by the free weights that looks like half of an inflated beach ball about two feet in diameter attached to a flat disc. You know the one. But do you know what to do with it? Have you ever incorporated a BOSU ball into your workout? The BOSU ball is actually one of the more versatile items in the gym. This one apparatus can train the upper body, lower body, core, balance and stability, and it even provides a great cardio option if you know how to use it to get your heart rate up. When you’re traveling, if all the meager hotel gym has is a BOSU ball and a mat, it’s easy to devise a total body workout that will have you sweating. Get started with this list of 12 simple exercises you can do with just a BOSU ball and your body weight, plus variations to make them easier or more challenging according to your fitness level. As always, check with your physician if you have concerns about starting a new exercise program. Folks who struggle with their balance may want to ask a trainer or coach to help get them started. 12 BOSU Ball Exercises These are roughly broken down into core exercises, upper body exercises, lower body exercises, and “cardio.” The beauty of the BOSU ball, though, is that every exercise is really a full-body exercise. The BOSU's instability (I believe "wobbliness" is the technical term) means that muscles throughout your body are called upon to stabilize and help you hold each position. Make sure to keep your core contracted throughout each of these exercises. Each exercise has a suggested time or rep range that constitutes one set. Adjust these to your capabilities. Options for using these exercises to create a whole body workout are in the next section. Note: “Platform side down” means the flat side of the BOSU is on the ground, dome (ball) facing up. “Platform side up” means the dome side is down, flat side facing up. The BOSU is obviously more stable when the platform is on the ground, making exercises easier. Be advised that the BOSU ball has a weight limit of 300 to 350 pounds (136 to 159 kg), depending on the model. Core exercises BOSU BALL PLANK Place the BOSU platform side down. Put your elbows on top of the ball at approximately shoulder width. Keep your shoulders directly over elbows as you walk your feet back until you are in a plank position with core contracted. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Variations: If this is too difficult, place your knees on the ground. Place your hands on the ball instead of elbows. To make it harder, alternate lifting one foot at a time off the ground. For an advanced version, turn the BOSU over so its platform side up. (See push-up section below for position.) BOSU BALL SIDE … Continue reading "How to Work Out with a BOSU Exercise Ball"

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Man doing a side plank on a BOSU ball.You’ve probably seen a BOSU exercise ball at the gym. It’s that piece of equipment hanging out by the free weights that looks like half of an inflated beach ball about two feet in diameter attached to a flat disc. You know the one. But do you know what to do with it? Have you ever incorporated a BOSU ball into your workout?

The BOSU ball is actually one of the more versatile items in the gym. This one apparatus can train the upper body, lower body, core, balance and stability, and it even provides a great cardio option if you know how to use it to get your heart rate up. When you’re traveling, if all the meager hotel gym has is a BOSU ball and a mat, it’s easy to devise a total body workout that will have you sweating.

Get started with this list of 12 simple exercises you can do with just a BOSU ball and your body weight, plus variations to make them easier or more challenging according to your fitness level. As always, check with your physician if you have concerns about starting a new exercise program. Folks who struggle with their balance may want to ask a trainer or coach to help get them started.

12 BOSU Ball Exercises

These are roughly broken down into core exercises, upper body exercises, lower body exercises, and “cardio.” The beauty of the BOSU ball, though, is that every exercise is really a full-body exercise. The BOSU’s instability (I believe “wobbliness” is the technical term) means that muscles throughout your body are called upon to stabilize and help you hold each position. Make sure to keep your core contracted throughout each of these exercises.

Each exercise has a suggested time or rep range that constitutes one set. Adjust these to your capabilities. Options for using these exercises to create a whole body workout are in the next section.

Note: “Platform side down” means the flat side of the BOSU is on the ground, dome (ball) facing up. “Platform side up” means the dome side is down, flat side facing up. The BOSU is obviously more stable when the platform is on the ground, making exercises easier. Be advised that the BOSU ball has a weight limit of 300 to 350 pounds (136 to 159 kg), depending on the model.

Core exercises

BOSU BALL PLANK

Man doing a plank on a BOSU ball

Place the BOSU platform side down. Put your elbows on top of the ball at approximately shoulder width. Keep your shoulders directly over elbows as you walk your feet back until you are in a plank position with core contracted. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Variations: If this is too difficult, place your knees on the ground. Place your hands on the ball instead of elbows. To make it harder, alternate lifting one foot at a time off the ground. For an advanced version, turn the BOSU over so its platform side up. (See push-up section below for position.)

BOSU BALL SIDE PLANK

Man doing a side plank on a BOSU ball.

Place the BOSU platform side down. Place your right elbow on the ball and walk your feet out so you are in a side plank position with left foot stacked on top of right. Left hand can be on your hip or extended towards the ceiling. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Variations: Dip your bottom hip toward the ground and return to plank position. Keep doing this for the duration of the set. To make this easier, bend your bottom leg and rest your bottom knee on the ground.

BOSU BALL V-SITS

Man demonstrates BOSU V-sits

Place the BOSU platform side down. Sit on top of the ball with your hands slightly behind your hips. Bring your knees to your chest. Keep your feet together as you extend your legs out in front of you, then bring your knees back into your chest. Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.

Variation: Really challenge your balance and core by reaching your arms straight out in front of you instead of using them for support.

Upper body exercises

BOSU BALL PUSH-UP

Man demonstrates BOSU Pushup

The push-up is one of the Primal Essential Movements, along with the plank. Place the BOSU platform side up. Start in a plank position with hands flat or gripping the edges of the platform. Lower your chest toward the platform using control to try to keep the BOSU from wobbling too much (it will wobble a little no matter what you do). Aim for 8 to 20 reps.

Variations: For an easier version, place your knees on the ground. To make it harder, alternate lifting one foot at a time off the ground. Place your toes on the BOSU and your hands on the ground instead.

BOSU BALL STAGGERED PUSH-UP

Man demonstrates BOSU Staggered Pushup with one hand on the ball and the other on the ground.

Place the BOSU platform side down. Place one hand in the middle of the ball and the other hand on the ground so they are slightly wider than shoulder width. Assume the plank position and lower your body towards the ground as in a traditional push-up. Aim for 8 to 20 reps.

Variations: Drop your knees to the ground to make it easier. This is already a very challenging exercise, but you can dial it up even more by alternating hands every time. Start with your right hand on the ball and left hand on the ground. Do one push-up. Then bring your left hand onto the ball and walk your right hand down to the ground. Adjust your feet as necessary, then do another push-up. Continue to walk your hands back and forth over the ball, alternating push-ups on each side.

BOSU BALL QUADRUPED HOVER

Man demonstrates BOSU Quadruped Hover in all fours position on hands and toes.

Place the BOSU platform side up. Kneel in front of the BOSU with your feet flexed so you are resting on your toes instead of the tops of your feet. Grasp the edges of the platform with your hands so you are in something like an all-fours position. Lift your knees off the ground, making sure to keep shoulders over wrists. Hover for 30 to 60 seconds.

Variation: Lift one foot at a time an inch or two off the ground and hold it for a few seconds before switching sides.

Lower body exercises

BOSU BALL SPLIT-LEG LUNGE

Man demonstrates BOSU Split-Leg Lunge

Place the BOSU platform side down. Stand about 12 inches in front of the BOSU. Reach back with your left foot and place the toes in the middle of the BOSU ball. Keep most of the weight in your front (right) foot. Adjust your stance so you are in a comfortable position to lunge, then bend your knees and lower down until your right thigh is parallel to the ground, keeping your right knee tracking over your toes. Stand back up. Do 15 to 20 lunges on the right leg, then switch sides and repeat.

Variation: Stand facing toward the BOSU. Place your front foot in the center of the BOSU ball and keep your back foot on the ground instead. Lower and stand slowly and with control because this version is considerably less stable.

BOSU BALL SIDE LUNGE

Man demonstrates BOSU Side Squat

Place the BOSU platform side down. Stand about 18 inches to the side of the BOSU. Step on the ball with the foot closest to the BOSU, landing your foot in the center of the ball. Keep your standing leg mostly straight and lunge toward the foot that is on the BOSU ball, tracking your knees over toes. Push up to return to standing. Do 15 to 20 squats on one side, then switch sides and repeat.

Variation: Lunge toward the foot that is standing on the ground instead. Turn this into a squat by bending both legs and sitting down toward the ground instead of lunging to the side.

BOSU BALL GLUTE BRIDGE

Mand demonstrating BOSU glute bridge.

Place the BOSU platform side down. Lay on your back with knees bent, feet resting in the center of the ball, and hips close to the BOSU. Press into your heels to lift your hips until your torso and thighs form a straight line. Lower your hips back down to the ground with control. Do 15 to 20 reps.

Variations: To make this easier, lie with your upper back on the BOSU ball and your feet flat on the ground with knees bent. To make this harder, try single-leg bridges. Lift one foot off the ball and straighten that leg. Do 15 to 20 reps on the first side, then switch feet and repeat. Expect to feel it in your hamstrings the next day! Keep your arms straight by your sides, hands palm down for stability as shown. Or, for more of a challenge, raise your arms straight toward the ceiling.

Cardio exercises

BOSU BALL MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

Man demonstrates BOSU Mountain Climbers

Place the BOSU platform side up. Hold on to the edges of the platform and assume a plank position as if doing a push-up. Bring one knee toward your chest, then return it to starting position. Do the same with the other knee. Go back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds. Speed it up to increase the intensity.

Variation: Instead of driving your knees straight forward towards your chest, bring them across your body towards the opposite shoulder. This will target the obliques more.

BOSU BALL SIDE-TO-SIDE HOP OVER

Man demonstrates BOSU Side Hop-over

Place the BOSU platform side down. Stand about 12 inches to the side of the BOSU with your right foot in the middle of the ball, knees slightly bent. Push into the right foot to travel, or “hop,” over the ball. You will end up standing on the opposite side of the BOSU with your left foot on top. Alternate back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds. Go slower or faster to vary the intensity.

Variation: For an easier version of this exercise, stand with the BOSU in front of you and alternate tapping your right foot then your left foot on the BOSU.

BOSU BALL BURPEE

Man demonstrates BOSU Burpees

Everyone’s favorite exercise! Place the BOSU platform side up. Start in the push-up position holding on to the sides of the platform. Step or jump your feet close to your hands. Stand up and do a shoulder press to lift the BOSU over your head. Reverse the motion and step or hop your feet back to plank position. That’s one rep. Keep going for 30 to 60 seconds.

Variation: Take out the shoulder press and just do a traditional burpee where you let go of the BOSU as you stand up and jump straight up in the air. Bend forward, grab the edges of the platform, and step or hop your feet back to plank position.

BOSU Ball Workouts

Always start with a warmup of at least five to ten minutes of easy movement—walking briskly or using a stationary bike, elliptical, or stair climber, for example—to elevate your body temperature and wake up the muscles and joints, so to speak. Follow this with some dynamic stretching movements such as hip circles, arm circles, easy lunges, and pulling your knees toward your chest.

Once you’re warmed up and ready to go, there are numerous ways you could formulate a workout out of the 12 exercises above. Here are three ideas:

Full-body BOSU workout:

  • Pick one core, one upper body, one lower body, and one cardio exercise from the lists above.
  • Do one set of each exercise, doing the four exercises back to back. That’s one circuit.
  • Rest for a minute or two, then repeat.
  • Do a fixed number of circuits (four to six is a good target), or do as many circuits as you can in 20 or 30 minutes.

Full-body BOSU ladder:

Pick one core, one upper body, one lower body, and one cardio exercise from the lists above. Do each of the four exercises back to back for 60 seconds each. Then do them again in the same order for 50 seconds each, then 40 seconds each, 30 seconds, 20 seconds, and 10 seconds.

That’s your descending ladder. This is higher-intensity than the full-body workout above because you are going non-stop for about 15 minutes, but you can also rest for 30 seconds to a minute between circuits (or “rungs”) if you need.

If you want even more work, do ascending and descending ladders. Start by doing each exercise back to back for 10 seconds each, then 20 seconds, then 30 seconds, and so on up to 60 seconds, then work your way back down.

Tabata-style workout:

Choose any of the exercise above. Do the movement for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this pattern—20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest—eight times for a total of four minutes. That’s it!

What do you think, folks? Do you use a BOSU ball in your workouts already? What’s your favorite way to use it?

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Keto Beef Stew https://www.marksdailyapple.com/keto-beef-stew/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/keto-beef-stew/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2022 22:03:59 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129753 Looking for a warm and cozy meal? Our beef stew is the perfect meal to cook for a dinner spent inside. Filled with plenty of vegetables, such as radishes and carrots this stew can be cooked on the stovetop or in the oven for ease. Not only is this Keto Beef Stew great on its own, you can easily top it on cauliflower rice or mash.
How to make keto beef stew
In a bowl, toss the stew meat with garlic, black pepper and salt. In a dutch oven or heavy oven-safe pot, heat a tablespoon of oil on your stovetop over medium-high heat. Once hot, add some of the stew meat to the pot in a single layer - don’t overcrowd the pan! Sear the meat on each side for 4-5 minutes, then remove the meat with tongs and set them aside. Add half of a tablespoon of oil and let it heat up, then repeat with the remaining stew meat until all of it is seared and browned on the outside. Set the meat aside but leave any oil or juices in the pot.

Place the pot back over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and radish to the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies just start to soften. Add the meat back to the pot along with the broth and fresh herbs and stir to combine.

Cooking keto beef stew on stovetop
To cook on the stovetop, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Check after an hour and give the stew a stir, then replace the lid and cook for an additional 1.5-2 hours, or until the meat is tender. You may need to add a little more broth when cooking on the stovetop.
Cooking keto beef stew in the oven
To cook in the oven, place a lid on the pot and place it in the oven for 350 degrees for about 3 hours, giving a stir at about the 1.5-2 hour mark. Continue baking in the oven until the meat is tender.

Uncover the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more fresh herbs if you’d like. Top with fresh parsley and serve over cauliflower rice or mash or on its own.

 

The post Keto Beef Stew appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Looking for a warm and cozy meal? Our beef stew is the perfect meal to cook for a dinner spent inside. Filled with plenty of vegetables, such as radishes and carrots this stew can be cooked on the stovetop or in the oven for ease. Not only is this Keto Beef Stew great on its own, you can easily top it on cauliflower rice or mash.

How to make keto beef stew

In a bowl, toss the stew meat with garlic, black pepper and salt. In a dutch oven or heavy oven-safe pot, heat a tablespoon of oil on your stovetop over medium-high heat. Once hot, add some of the stew meat to the pot in a single layer – don’t overcrowd the pan! Sear the meat on each side for 4-5 minutes, then remove the meat with tongs and set them aside. Add half of a tablespoon of oil and let it heat up, then repeat with the remaining stew meat until all of it is seared and browned on the outside. Set the meat aside but leave any oil or juices in the pot.

beef cooking in a dutch oven

Place the pot back over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and radish to the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies just start to soften. Add the meat back to the pot along with the broth and fresh herbs and stir to combine.

vegetables cooking in dutch oven

Cooking keto beef stew on stovetop

To cook on the stovetop, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Check after an hour and give the stew a stir, then replace the lid and cook for an additional 1.5-2 hours, or until the meat is tender. You may need to add a little more broth when cooking on the stovetop.

Cooking keto beef stew in the oven

To cook in the oven, place a lid on the pot and place it in the oven for 350 degrees for about 3 hours, giving a stir at about the 1.5-2 hour mark. Continue baking in the oven until the meat is tender.

Uncover the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more fresh herbs if you’d like. Top with fresh parsley and serve over cauliflower rice or mash or on its own.

keto beef stew on cauliflower rice

 

Print
keto beef stew with fork and spoon

Keto Beef Stew


Description

Looking for a warm and cozy meal? Our beef stew is the perfect meal to cook for a dinner spent inside. Filled with plenty of vegetables, such as radishes and carrots this stew can be cooked on the stovetop or the oven for ease.


Ingredients

2 Tbsp Primal Kitchen Avocado or Olive Oil

2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into ~1.5 inch pieces (we used chuck roast)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp black pepper

3/4 tsp salt

2 cups chopped celery (about 34 stalks)

1.5 cups chopped radishes

¾ cup chopped red onion

¾ cup chopped carrot

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp minced fresh rosemary

1.5 cups beef broth (we used low sodium)

Chopped parsley


Instructions

  1. In a bowl, toss the stew meat with garlic, black pepper and salt.
  2. In a dutch oven or heavy oven-safe pot, heat a tablespoon of oil on your stovetop over medium-high heat. Once hot, add some of the stew meat to the pot in a single layer – don’t overcrowd the pan! Sear the meat on each side for 4-5 minutes, then remove the meat with tongs and set them aside. Add half of a tablespoon of oil and let it heat up, then repeat with the remaining stew meat until all of it is seared and browned on the outside. Set the meat aside but leave any oil  or juices in the pot.
  3. Place the pot back over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and radish to the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies just start to soften. Add the meat back to the pot along with the broth and fresh herbs and stir to combine. 
  4. Continue cooking on the stovetop by bringing the mixture to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Check after an hour and give the stew a stir, then replace the lid and cook for an additional 1.5-2 hours, or until the meat is tender. You may need to add a little more broth when cooking on the stovetop.
  5. Uncover the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more fresh herbs if you’d like. Top with fresh parsley and serve over cauliflower rice or mash or on its own.

Notes

After Step 3 you can also cook this stew in the oven. Simply place a lid on the pot and place it in the oven for 350 degrees for about 3 hours, giving a stir at about the 1.5-2 hour mark. Continue baking in the oven until the meat is tender. 

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: ~3.5 hours

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6 of stew
  • Calories: 453.2
  • Sugar: 3.3g
  • Sodium: 376.3mg
  • Fat: 27.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.1g
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.67g
  • Fiber: 2.37g
  • Protein: 42g
  • Cholesterol: 119.4mg
  • Net Carbs: 5.4g

Keywords: Keto Beef Stew

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 195 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/new-and-noteworthy-edition-195/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/new-and-noteworthy-edition-195/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2022 17:23:42 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129663 Research of the Week

Babies in the womb "smile" when the mother eats carrots and "frown" when the mother eats kale.

ApoB might not be the predictive biomarker we thought.

Burpee training improves endurance and short term memory in teens.

Kidney recipients actually need more protein than you think.

Wolves can attach to humans.

New Primal Kitchen Podcasts
Primal Kitchen Podcast: The Link Between Dairy Intolerance and Dairy Genes with Alexandre Family Farm Founders Blake and Stephanie

Primal Health Coach Radio: Declare Your Expertise, Then Embody It with Marcy Morrison
Media, Schmedia
"Why this RD isn't worth listening to."

How many ants on Earth?
Interesting Blog Posts
Why our ancestors' skin held up to the sun.

The benefits of wood in school.
Social Notes
Americans mostly eat a plant-based diet.

Get outside.
Everything Else
On Stable Diffusion, the newest "AI tool."

On saturated fat.
Things I’m Up to and Interested In
Interesting, oddly specific research: Living near a fast-casual Mexican restaurant reduced maternal weight gain among US-born mothers living in Miami.

Overwhelming endorsement: Replacing bacon with larvae "not as terrible as they thought."

Great research: Autophagy-inducing supplements spontaneously increase walking speed.

Important: How caffeine improves endurance.

Interesting paper: More DHA and tuna intake, longer telomeres (in males).
Question I'm Asking
How do you celebrate Fall?
Recipe Corner

Gyudon, Japanese beef bowl.
Japanese style iced coffee.

Time Capsule
One year ago (Sep 18 – Sep 24)

Why Do I Get a Gluten Reaction from American Wheat but Not Overseas?—Well, why?
Are Nightshades Bad For You?—Well, are they?

Comment of the Week
"'How do you handle a night of bad sleep?'

on the following day: stay active with low-risk activities (hiking, walking…) outdoors.
Power-nap (20 min max) around noon, go to bed early, no alcohol, no carb-excesses (seems to massively impair REM sleep for me).

best regards
Martin"

-Spot on, Martin.

The post New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 195 appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Research of the Week

Babies in the womb “smile” when the mother eats carrots and “frown” when the mother eats kale.

ApoB might not be the predictive biomarker we thought.

Burpee training improves endurance and short term memory in teens.

Kidney recipients actually need more protein than you think.

Wolves can attach to humans.

New Primal Kitchen Podcasts

Primal Kitchen Podcast: The Link Between Dairy Intolerance and Dairy Genes with Alexandre Family Farm Founders Blake and Stephanie

Primal Health Coach Radio: Declare Your Expertise, Then Embody It with Marcy Morrison

Media, Schmedia

Why this RD isn’t worth listening to.”

How many ants on Earth?

Interesting Blog Posts

Why our ancestors’ skin held up to the sun.

The benefits of wood in school.

Social Notes

Americans mostly eat a plant-based diet.

Get outside.

Everything Else

On Stable Diffusion, the newest “AI tool.”

On saturated fat.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Interesting, oddly specific research: Living near a fast-casual Mexican restaurant reduced maternal weight gain among US-born mothers living in Miami.

Overwhelming endorsement: Replacing bacon with larvae “not as terrible as they thought.”

Great research: Autophagy-inducing supplements spontaneously increase walking speed.

Important: How caffeine improves endurance.

Interesting paper: More DHA and tuna intake, longer telomeres (in males).

Question I’m Asking

How do you celebrate Fall?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Sep 18 – Sep 24)

Comment of the Week

“‘How do you handle a night of bad sleep?’

on the following day: stay active with low-risk activities (hiking, walking…) outdoors.
Power-nap (20 min max) around noon, go to bed early, no alcohol, no carb-excesses (seems to massively impair REM sleep for me).

best regards
Martin”

-Spot on, Martin.

The post New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 195 appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Ask a Health Coach: Social Media Triggers https://www.marksdailyapple.com/ask-a-health-coach-social-media-triggers/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/ask-a-health-coach-social-media-triggers/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2022 15:00:50 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129623 Hey folks, Board-Certified Health Coach Erin Power is here to talk about social media triggers and tidying up your feed. If you find social media hurting your well-being, 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. Annie asked: “I switched to Primal a few months ago, and it’s going pretty well. Before that, I had a long history of on-and-off-again dieting and calorie counting. FINALLY, I’m starting to feel like I can just eat real food and let the weight watching go (without gaining weight in the process). The problem: Part of what helped me go Primal was following hashtags on Instagram like #paleo #primal #keto, etc. This actually helped me stick with it and feel part of a community of people eating this way and loving life. BUT lately I’ve noticed myself getting super triggered by certain posts. Usually these are women who are super thin (maybe anorexic) using paleo and keto hashtags. While I’ve come a long way, I don’t look anything like that. It triggers old habits around food and body image. How do I deal with this but keep the good parts of social media inspiration? Sorry for the long question lol.” First, welcome to the Primal eating crew, and congratulations on your conscious efforts to surround yourself with supportive messaging and community. Creating a supportive environment is HUGE when it comes to implementing and sticking with habit shifts and healthy change efforts. I'd like to acknowledge you, as well, for noticing what’s NOT working when it comes to social media and your well-being. That awareness is an overlooked first step of self-care. In the end, we are our number 1 caretakers. By recognizing what is helpful and what is not, you can take steps to choose what truly nourishes you. Tidy your feed, tidy your mind. As you mentioned, social media can be a tremendous support for Primal eating and living. In a world where so much messaging (online and IRL) is NOT health conscious, it’s nice knowing you can go online and see or even connect with the many people embracing healthy lifestyles and having fun along the way. Good for you for seeking out community as you make supportive shifts. That said, social media is a mixed blessing. You never know who or what might enter your feed. This is the case whether you follow certain hashtags or if the platform feeds you “recommended” or “suggested” posts and ads based on your previous activity. As a Primal Health Coach, I work with many clients who have a history of eating disorders or other unhelpful patterns related to food, eating, and weight loss culture. One of the first things I do is recommend that they take a close look at what content and messaging they’re consuming on a daily basis—including on social media. Is it helpful? Or not so much? I … Continue reading "Ask a Health Coach: Social Media Triggers"

The post Ask a Health Coach: Social Media Triggers appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Hey folks, Board-Certified Health Coach Erin Power is here to talk about social media triggers and tidying up your feed. If you find social media hurting your well-being, 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.

Annie asked:
“I switched to Primal a few months ago, and it’s going pretty well. Before that, I had a long history of on-and-off-again dieting and calorie counting. FINALLY, I’m starting to feel like I can just eat real food and let the weight watching go (without gaining weight in the process). The problem: Part of what helped me go Primal was following hashtags on Instagram like #paleo #primal #keto, etc. This actually helped me stick with it and feel part of a community of people eating this way and loving life. BUT lately I’ve noticed myself getting super triggered by certain posts. Usually these are women who are super thin (maybe anorexic) using paleo and keto hashtags. While I’ve come a long way, I don’t look anything like that. It triggers old habits around food and body image. How do I deal with this but keep the good parts of social media inspiration? Sorry for the long question lol.”

Person checking social media on their phone and laptopFirst, welcome to the Primal eating crew, and congratulations on your conscious efforts to surround yourself with supportive messaging and community. Creating a supportive environment is HUGE when it comes to implementing and sticking with habit shifts and healthy change efforts.

I’d like to acknowledge you, as well, for noticing what’s NOT working when it comes to social media and your well-being. That awareness is an overlooked first step of self-care. In the end, we are our number 1 caretakers. By recognizing what is helpful and what is not, you can take steps to choose what truly nourishes you.

Tidy your feed, tidy your mind.

As you mentioned, social media can be a tremendous support for Primal eating and living. In a world where so much messaging (online and IRL) is NOT health conscious, it’s nice knowing you can go online and see or even connect with the many people embracing healthy lifestyles and having fun along the way. Good for you for seeking out community as you make supportive shifts.

That said, social media is a mixed blessing. You never know who or what might enter your feed. This is the case whether you follow certain hashtags or if the platform feeds you “recommended” or “suggested” posts and ads based on your previous activity.

As a Primal Health Coach, I work with many clients who have a history of eating disorders or other unhelpful patterns related to food, eating, and weight loss culture. One of the first things I do is recommend that they take a close look at what content and messaging they’re consuming on a daily basis—including on social media. Is it helpful? Or not so much?

I notice this myself on Instagram from time to time and take immediate, proactive steps to edit out what’s triggering or not serving my best interest. I even have a saying: Tidy up your Instagram feed. Tidy up your mind.

If Instagram is recommending posts that you find triggering and unhelpful, make sure to flag them as “Not Interested.” You do this on the post itself, by clicking the three dots in the upper-right corner to see your options. Of course, if you follow the triggering account, unfollow! You can do so on the person’s profile page or by simply clicking those dots up top for the “Unfollow” option. If a particular hashtag seems to bring lots of triggering posts your way, unfollow that too. If the post is “sponsored,” you’ll see an option to stop seeing the ad.

Put simply: Anytime anything or anyone makes you feel badly about yourself or is derailing your healthy change efforts, take the power back and simply make it disappear. We’re focusing on Instagram, but this applies to all social media as well as other content you’re consuming online or in person. Unfortunately, you will have to do it again and again because this stuff always seems to creep back in. But there is something intentional and empowering about this exercise! If you do this often enough your feed DOES change.

Say no thanks, with care.

Current beauty ideals have come far but still have a long way to go. A lot of social media content tries to convince us to be as lean and light as possible (whether through overt messaging or through what’s implied in images and captions).

Since you’re already embracing a Primal lifestyle, you know that achieving a particular size or shape is not what we’re about. Yes, many folks reach their ideal body composition by eating a nutrient-dense diet comprised of real, whole, minimally processed foods; high-quality protein; healthy fats; fruits and veggies; and high-fat dairy. But the bigger picture is enhanced health, longevity, and vitality inside, regardless of how we look on the outside.

This is true, AND, so long as there are not underlying health conditions and so long as the 10 Primal Blueprint Rules are generally applied with at least 80% consistency, desired changes in body composition tend to happen naturally—without calorie counting or struggle.

As a Primal Health Coach, I see this as the norm with my clients, rather than the exception. I also see it as something that helps many step out of old, unhelpful patterns around food: At long last, they can eat delicious, healthy food in abundance and not worry about unwanted weight gain or trying to fight their body and biology. For most, this is the definition of food freedom.

I want to mention this, in part, because we can never know what people posting on social media are actually going through. I suspect many who post “triggering” content around weight and dieting are actually caught in their own places of suffering and struggle. They have not found the sort of “accidental food freedom” that comes along with the Primal approach to eating, moving, and living.

Rather than blame or shame them (or leave unkind comments), I try to send compassionate thoughts, remove them from my feed, and move on. I’m NOT saying this is easy or that I don’t stay triggered or even angry at times. Truthfully, it can be so, so hard to let a triggering image, caption, or comment go.

But the more we manage to remember that these are humans too, with their own vulnerabilities and places of struggle reinforced by widespread diet and beauty ideals, the more we are actively contributing to changing the current culture.

But back to you, Annie: You’re your number 1 caretaker and need to first and foremost take care of you. I just find considering the wider context helpful in softening the power of triggers, taking empowered action, and moving on.

Social Media Strategy & Support

To sum up:

  • DO follow accounts and hashtags that are supportive of your health, lifestyle, and food choices. They are a great source of inspiration, motivation, and community!
  • Consider following trusted sources. Mark’s Daily Apple, for instance; or the Primal Health Coach Institute!
  • DON’T follow accounts or hashtags that make you feel bad about yourself or otherwise undermine the empowering, healthy changes you’re making.
  • Edit your social media feeds regularly, keeping what’s helpful and removing the rest.
  • Remember our shared humanness and proceed from a place of compassion and kindness whenever possible. We have no idea what others are going through behind the filtered lens of Instagram and other social media channels.

For anyone needing extra backup amidst the diet culture and unhelpful messaging, consider working with a health coach one-on-one. Imagine if you could take all the tips in a post like this and allllll the information that you’ve been gathering over the decades…and reliably and consistently implement them. That’s where coaches help!

External accountability truly is a game changer, and we can help you stay the course with your goals and navigate tricky social situations online and off. Visit myprimalcoach.com to learn more and get started!

Do you find social media helpful or harmful in your wellness journey? Have any tips to share? Let us know and drop your favorite, most supportive Instagram accounts in the comments!

myPrimalCoach

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Primal Skincare: Best Practices for Healthy Skin https://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-skincare/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-skincare/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2022 15:00:59 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129548 The average person spends thousands of dollars a year on skincare products—lotions, creams, serums, tonics, and ointments designed to moisturize, heal, and fend off the outward signs of aging. For most people, the foremost consideration when choosing skincare products is, “Does it work?” However, the growing popularity of so-called clean beauty products indicates that more people are also caring about the quality of the ingredients they slather so liberally over their faces and bodies. Why does it matter? Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is also permeable. Anything we put on our skin makes its way inside, so we certainly don’t want to be applying harmful substances to our skin. We also rely on our skin to provide a barrier with the outside world, keeping harmful organisms where they belong. When it's healthy, skin plays an important role in the immune system. In part, it does this by housing its own microbiome. The skin microbiome is distinct from the one you might be more familiar with in the gut, but just like the gut, the skin microbiome can be disrupted. When that happens, a host of health issues can follow Thus, we want to protect the skin microbiome, and one way we do that is by not applying harsh, even toxic, substances. And of course, we want our skin to feel good. Dry, itchy, painful skin will make a person miserable. Even when it doesn’t cause physical discomfort, skin conditions can cause embarrassment. After all, it’s the outer shell that we present to people. Granted, other people don’t judge us as much as we think they do (they’re too busy worrying about how other people are judging them), but it’s natural to want to put your best foot—or best face—forward. All this is to say, we want safe, effective, and affordable ways to care for our skin. Here’s where I’d start. Choosing the Best Skincare Products If you walk into your local drugstore and pick up any skincare product or cosmetic off the shelf, you’ll see a mile-long list of unpronounceable ingredients. Unpronounceable doesn’t automatically mean bad or harmful, but it can be hard to distinguish between ones you feel good about putting on your body and those you’d be better off avoiding. More and more companies are making an effort to produce safer skincare products to meet consumers’ increasing demands. Labels proudly display buzzwords like natural, green, clean, non-toxic, and earth-friendly. The problem is, none of these terms are regulated by the FDA, so ultimately, they could mean anything... or nothing. The FDA does have a short list of banned or regulated ingredients, and “it’s against the law to use any ingredient that makes a cosmetic harmful when used as intended.” Beyond that, each manufacturer or retailer gets to decide for themselves what constitutes "clean" skincare. Therefore, it’s up to the consumer to find trustworthy brands and to scope out the ingredients in the products they buy. You can really go down a rabbit hole here; … Continue reading "Primal Skincare: Best Practices for Healthy Skin"

The post Primal Skincare: Best Practices for Healthy Skin appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Closeup of woman's eye with lotion dotted underneath.The average person spends thousands of dollars a year on skincare products—lotions, creams, serums, tonics, and ointments designed to moisturize, heal, and fend off the outward signs of aging. For most people, the foremost consideration when choosing skincare products is, “Does it work?” However, the growing popularity of so-called clean beauty products indicates that more people are also caring about the quality of the ingredients they slather so liberally over their faces and bodies.

Why does it matter? Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is also permeable. Anything we put on our skin makes its way inside, so we certainly don’t want to be applying harmful substances to our skin. We also rely on our skin to provide a barrier with the outside world, keeping harmful organisms where they belong. When it’s healthy, skin plays an important role in the immune system. In part, it does this by housing its own microbiome. The skin microbiome is distinct from the one you might be more familiar with in the gut, but just like the gut, the skin microbiome can be disrupted. When that happens, a host of health issues can follow 11 Thus, we want to protect the skin microbiome, and one way we do that is by not applying harsh, even toxic, substances.

And of course, we want our skin to feel good. Dry, itchy, painful skin will make a person miserable. Even when it doesn’t cause physical discomfort, skin conditions can cause embarrassment. After all, it’s the outer shell that we present to people. Granted, other people don’t judge us as much as we think they do (they’re too busy worrying about how other people are judging them), but it’s natural to want to put your best foot—or best face—forward.

All this is to say, we want safe, effective, and affordable ways to care for our skin. Here’s where I’d start.

Choosing the Best Skincare Products

If you walk into your local drugstore and pick up any skincare product or cosmetic off the shelf, you’ll see a mile-long list of unpronounceable ingredients. Unpronounceable doesn’t automatically mean bad or harmful, but it can be hard to distinguish between ones you feel good about putting on your body and those you’d be better off avoiding.

More and more companies are making an effort to produce safer skincare products to meet consumers’ increasing demands. Labels proudly display buzzwords like natural, green, clean, non-toxic, and earth-friendly. The problem is, none of these terms are regulated by the FDA, so ultimately, they could mean anything… or nothing. The FDA does have a short list of banned or regulated ingredients, and “it’s against the law to use any ingredient that makes a cosmetic harmful when used as intended.”12 Beyond that, each manufacturer or retailer gets to decide for themselves what constitutes “clean” skincare.

Therefore, it’s up to the consumer to find trustworthy brands and to scope out the ingredients in the products they buy. You can really go down a rabbit hole here; some skincare companies list literally thousands of suspect ingredients they’ve banned. If that’s too overwhelming—and I wouldn’t blame you if it is—here are the top four I’d recommend avoiding.

Common skincare ingredients to avoid:

1. Parabens

Parabens are ubiquitous in personal care products including shampoos, conditioners, makeup, toothpaste, lubricant, shaving gel, moisturizers, and sunscreens. They are controversial due to their potential estrogenic effects13 and the possibility that they could be linked to various health problems. Although the evidence for their harm is inconclusive, public anti-paraben sentiment is strong enough that many companies have removed parabens from their products.

What to look for: Any word with “paraben” as the suffix in the ingredient list. Look for “paraben-free” on labels.

2. Phthalates

Being plasticizers, phthalates are abundant in plastics, but they also show up in most cosmetics, especially nail polish (to keep the polish from becoming brittle on the nail) and synthetic fragrance (as a preservative). Like most other plastic compounds, phthalates are endocrine disruptors. In humans, epidemiological studies have linked phthalate exposure to an alarming array of issues including insulin resistance and diabetes, obesity, allergies, asthma, and poor sperm function.14 15 Kids and adults are both at risk.

Now, correlation does not necessarily imply causation, but the observational studies coupled with potential physiological mechanisms (endocrine disruption) make me pretty suspicious of phthalates. Of course, much of our exposure comes from plastics and the ambient environment, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t limit exposure through cosmetics, too.

What to look for: Fragrance almost always contains phthalates. Sometimes, ingredient names will have the suffix “phthalate,” but you can’t always rely on that. You know what? Just be wary of that “phth” (how the heck do you even pronounce that?) because it shows up in the middle of words, too. As with parabens, many manufacturers are now letting you know when phthalates are absent in their products.

3. Fragrances

Fragrances are exactly what they sound like: synthetic compounds added to products to make them “smell good” (subjectively—I often despise them). And they’re everywhere.

The real problem with fragrance is that fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets. Companies don’t have to disclose the chemicals contained in a particular fragrance. Unfortunately, most synthetic fragrances contain phthalates, which I’ve already covered, and synthetic musks, which have been shown to impair endogenous cellular defense mechanisms.16 Basically, synthetic musks may hamper our cells’ ability to detoxify. Many fragrance ingredients are also allergens.

What to look for: Fragrance, parfum, aroma.

4. UV-filtering chemicals

Many sunscreens use UV filters like benzophenone and oxybenzone for their UV-blocking properties, but they also come with a cost: endocrine disruption. Certain forms of benzophenone, for example, inhibit the action of thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme necessary for the production of thyroid hormone.17 Chemical sunscreens frequently contain parabens and other problematic ingredients, as well.

If you’re looking for safer sun protection, opt for a hat and a lightweight cover-up, or go for a mineral sunscreen instead.

What to look for: Benzophenone, oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), octyl-methoxycinnamate, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), 3-benzylidene camphor (3-BC), 3-(4-methyl-benzylidene) camphor (4-MBC), 2-ethylhexyl 4-methoxycinnamate (OMC), homosalate (HMS), 2-ethylhexyl 4-dimethylaminobenzoate (OD-PABA). These are different chemicals with similar effects.

How to Promote Healthy Skin

Healthy skin is more than what you rub on it. Your lifestyle is reflected in your healthy glow—or lack thereof.

Sleep

When you don’t sleep enough, your skin suffers. Insufficient sleep leads to impaired skin barrier function and accelerated skin aging.18 19 Sleep deprivation has a direct impact on the integrity of the skin, including the production of collagen.20 The result is saggier, more wrinkle-prone skin, a sallow complex, and under-eye circles to boot.

Want healthy, good-looking skin? Get plenty of high-quality sleep.

Hydrate

If you’re dehydrated, so is your skin. To maintain skin elasticity, make sure you’re drinking enough water.

And avoid drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol abuse has long been associated with various conditions of the skin, including jaundice, hyperpigmentation, flushing, and psoriasis.21 While I doubt most readers take their alcohol consumption to abusive proportions, these extreme cases indicate that alcohol isn’t particularly skin-enhancing.

Build a Healthy Gut

The state of your gut biome is central to basically every aspect of your health, so why not your skin? Scientists acknowledge that the state of your gut affects you skin via the “gut-skin axis.” Rosacea, for example, can be a sign of underlying H. pylori infection.22 Gut dysbiosis—too many undesirable microbes and/or too few of the good guys—leads to leaky gut and systemic inflammation that in turn contributes to skin afflictions like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and alopecia.23 Folks with these skin conditions also tend to have higher rates of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel disease. It’s all connected.

Therefore, it behooves all of us to take steps to shore up gut health:

DIY Primal-friendly Skincare

If the idea of researching and choosing safe skincare products has your head spinning, here are some ways you can use simple items you probably already have in your home to nourish your epidermis.

Scrub with sugar or sea salt: Finally, a good use for sugar. Be careful using abrasives on the face, but these are great for the neck down.

Moisturize with avocado oil: Avocado oil is packed with good-for-your-skin nutrients, like carotenoids, healthy fat, and vitamins A, D and E. Together, they can boost collagen production, fade age spots, calm inflammation, and treat sunburns. Pour a few drops in your hand and work it into clean, damp or dry skin.

Remove makeup with jojoba oil: Try the oil cleansing method if you haven’t yet.

Dab on apple cider vinegar: The acidity of apple cider vinegar can potentially help with acne, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Just make sure you dilute it first.

Moisturize with shea butter: Shea butter—packed with stearic, palmitic, linoleic, and oleic acids, as well as vitamins E and A—smooths dry skin like no other. It’s best when used in its purest, rawest form, so seek out unrefined shea butter.

Make your own deodorant spray: I’ve had many readers tell me they no longer need deodorant after going Primal, but if you want something for your pits, mix equal parts vodka and distilled water in a small spray bottle. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender and tea tree are nice), and voila.

To Shower or Not to Shower?

Water, the most basic element of hygiene. How could we possibly go wrong there? Grok, for his part, had access to mineral-rich, relatively pristine lakes, rivers, and springs. To really emulate Grok, we’d have to wash ourselves with pure, unchlorinated water (sorry to all those readers who have city water) and abandon all soaps, shampoos, toners, cleansers, and lotions.

Now I know some hardcore individuals who have given up showering and all personal care products. I’m not saying you have to, I’m saying it’s possible. But I also don’t blame you if that’s a bridge too far. That said, if your water is chlorinated to the point where you can smell it, or if you have chronic skin conditions of any kind, consider fitting a water filter to your shower head. And ease up on the soap lathering. Your skin was designed to produce its own oils to provide natural protection against the elements, and a good lather is going to reverse all that hard work. Wash off the dirt, sure. Subject your skin microbiome to an aggressive sand-blasting, no.

Thanks for stopping by, folks. What changes have you seen to your skin since going Primal? What kinds of practices and products do you use for good skin health? Also, what have you stopped doing or buying that made a positive difference?

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Sweet and Savory Keto Trail Mix https://www.marksdailyapple.com/keto-trail-mix/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/keto-trail-mix/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2022 23:40:21 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129524 The great thing about making your own snack food at home is that you control what goes into it. This Sweet and Savory Keto Trail Mix combination is no exception. You can have a little sweet and a little salty together without any fear of sending your healthy diet into a nosedive. When you make this recipe in your own kitchen, tailor it to your own preference. Add a little more or less everything but the bagel seasoning. Cut back on the chocolate if you like, or, for that matter don’t add any – the coconut flakes will add plenty of sweetness for some. However you make it, this trail mix is still a fresher, healthier option than most store-bought versions.

The combination of nuts and seeds brings plenty of healthy protein and fat to this snack mix. You can make these separately or toss them together to enjoy a combination of sweet and savory. This is a perfect non-perishable snack to take hiking or camping (it is, after all, trail mix) or, keep an airtight container in your car or at work for snacking during the day.
How to make savory keto trail mix
Briefly baking this combination of nuts and seeds gives it a rich, toasted flavor and slight crunch that’s hard to beat.  First preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Lay them out on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake the mix for 7-10 minutes, tossing them once while cooking. Keep an eye on them to ensure nothing burns while cooking. Give the trail mix another toss and allow it to cool before eating.

How to make sweet keto trail mix
For this recipe combine all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy! For another variation, you can melt the chocolate with a small dollop of coconut oil and toss the nuts in this mixture, then lay the trail mix out on a pan in a single layer and refrigerate until a hard bark forms.

 

The post Sweet and Savory Keto Trail Mix appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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sweet and savory keto trail mix in small white bowlsThe great thing about making your own snack food at home is that you control what goes into it. This Sweet and Savory Keto Trail Mix combination is no exception. You can have a little sweet and a little salty together without any fear of sending your healthy diet into a nosedive. When you make this recipe in your own kitchen, tailor it to your own preference. Add a little more or less everything but the bagel seasoning. Cut back on the chocolate if you like, or, for that matter don’t add any – the coconut flakes will add plenty of sweetness for some. However you make it, this trail mix is still a fresher, healthier option than most store-bought versions.

The combination of nuts and seeds brings plenty of healthy protein and fat to this snack mix. You can make these separately or toss them together to enjoy a combination of sweet and savory. This is a perfect non-perishable snack to take hiking or camping (it is, after all, trail mix) or, keep an airtight container in your car or at work for snacking during the day.

How to make savory keto trail mix

Briefly baking this combination of nuts and seeds gives it a rich, toasted flavor and slight crunch that’s hard to beat.  First preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Lay them out on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake the mix for 7-10 minutes, tossing them once while cooking. Keep an eye on them to ensure nothing burns while cooking. Give the trail mix another toss and allow it to cool before eating.

savory keto trail mix on a baking sheet

How to make sweet keto trail mix

For this recipe combine all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy! For another variation, you can melt the chocolate with a small dollop of coconut oil and toss the nuts in this mixture, then lay the trail mix out on a pan in a single layer and refrigerate until a hard bark forms.

sweet keto trail mix in a white bowl

Print
trail mix in a glass jar

Sweet and Savory Keto Trail Mix


Description

This Sweet and Savory Keto Trail Mix lets you have a little sweet and a little salty together without any fear of sending your healthy diet into a nosedive. The combination of nuts and seeds brings plenty of healthy protein and fat to this snack mix.


Ingredients

Savory Trail Mix

2/3 cup almonds

2/3 cup walnuts

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1/3 cup coconut flakes

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

1 Tbsp Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil

2+ tsp everything bagel seasoning

Sweet Trail Mix:

1/3 cup coconut flakes

1/3 cup freeze dried raspberries

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup macadamia nuts

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup dark or sugar free chocolate chunks or chips


Instructions

Savory Trail Mix:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Lay them out on a sheet pan in a single layer.
  3. Bake the mix for 7-10 minutes, tossing them once while cooking. Keep an eye on them to ensure nothing burns while cooking. Give the trail mix another toss and allow it to cool before eating.

Sweet Trail Mix:

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!

Notes

For another variation of the Sweet Trail Mix, you can melt the chocolate with a small dollop of coconut oil and toss the nuts in this mixture, then lay the trail mix out on a pan in a single layer and refrigerate until a hard bark forms.

  • Prep Time: 0 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of savory trail mix
  • Calories: 233.5
  • Sugar: 1.2g
  • Sodium: 74.2mg
  • Fat: 21.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.9g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Protein: 5.3g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Net Carbs: 4.24g

Keywords: keto trail mix

 

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 194 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/new-and-noteworthy-edition-194/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/new-and-noteworthy-edition-194/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2022 15:19:52 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129500 Research of the Week

Turns out that "depression as realism" is a complete myth.

Both step counts and step intensity affect mortality risk.

Time-restricted eating improves glucose homeostasis without affecting insulin sensitivity.

Sex differences in brain tumor treatment.

Diluting old plasma with younger plasma improves aging, possibly mediated by changes to the gut biome.

New Primal Kitchen Podcasts
Primal Kitchen Podcast: The Link Between Dairy Intolerance and Dairy Genes with Alexandre Family Farm Founders Blake and Stephanie

Primal Health Coach Radio: There is More to Fitness Than Cardio with Ashleigh VanHouten
Media, Schmedia
Authors of a bad red meat study are getting pressured to revisit their methods.

Ultraprocessed foods are still bad for you even when you control for nutrient content.
Interesting Blog Posts
Should boys be redshirted?

Beta-hydroxybutyrate and cardiovascular health.
Social Notes
Short sighted.

Sound on.
Everything Else
That red meat study is looking worse and worse.

COVID was here much earlier than 2020.

Low-level aerobic activity can counter some of the negative effects of bad sleep.
Things I’m Up to and Interested In
Interesting research: Did Neanderthals obtain significant amounts of carbohydrates from their animal foods?

Huge: The Cleveland Clinic now lists keto and IF as good options for reversing pre-diabetes.

Important new article: Is saturated fat just a bogeyman?

Simple but overlooked: CoQ10 fights fatigue.

Interesting paper: UFOs over Ukraine.
Question I'm Asking
How do you handle a night of bad sleep?
Recipe Corner

Moo shu chicken.
A fantastic Filipino grilled chicken dish.

Time Capsule
One year ago (Sep 11 – Sep 17)

The Benefits of Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds—Why you should eat them.
Yerba Mate: Miracle Tea or Just Another Caffeine Kick?—All about Yerba mate.

Comment of the Week
"Eat enough of that Nigerian stock and you probably won’t have to worry about Original Antigenic Sin (though I’d skip the new bivalent boosters anyway)."

-Maybe, Jesse, maybe.

The post New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 194 appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Research of the Week

Turns out that “depression as realism” is a complete myth.

Both step counts and step intensity affect mortality risk.

Time-restricted eating improves glucose homeostasis without affecting insulin sensitivity.

Sex differences in brain tumor treatment.

Diluting old plasma with younger plasma improves aging, possibly mediated by changes to the gut biome.

New Primal Kitchen Podcasts

Primal Kitchen Podcast: The Link Between Dairy Intolerance and Dairy Genes with Alexandre Family Farm Founders Blake and Stephanie

Primal Health Coach Radio: There is More to Fitness Than Cardio with Ashleigh VanHouten

Media, Schmedia

Authors of a bad red meat study are getting pressured to revisit their methods.

Ultraprocessed foods are still bad for you even when you control for nutrient content.

Interesting Blog Posts

Should boys be redshirted?

Beta-hydroxybutyrate and cardiovascular health.

Social Notes

Short sighted.

Sound on.

Everything Else

That red meat study is looking worse and worse.

COVID was here much earlier than 2020.

Low-level aerobic activity can counter some of the negative effects of bad sleep.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Interesting research: Did Neanderthals obtain significant amounts of carbohydrates from their animal foods?

Huge: The Cleveland Clinic now lists keto and IF as good options for reversing pre-diabetes.

Important new article: Is saturated fat just a bogeyman?

Simple but overlooked: CoQ10 fights fatigue.

Interesting paper: UFOs over Ukraine.

Question I’m Asking

How do you handle a night of bad sleep?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Sep 11 – Sep 17)

Comment of the Week

“Eat enough of that Nigerian stock and you probably won’t have to worry about Original Antigenic Sin (though I’d skip the new bivalent boosters anyway).”

-Maybe, Jesse, maybe.

The post New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 194 appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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A Guide to Choosing Sustainable Fabrics https://www.marksdailyapple.com/choosing-sustainable-fabrics/ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/choosing-sustainable-fabrics/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2022 23:24:52 +0000 https://www.marksdailyapple.com/?p=129425 Are you wearing sustainable fabric? It matters. The provenance of your shirt, pants, and underwear isn’t just aesthetic or ornamental. It’s serious stuff. Consider food, which isn’t that different from clothing. Textile production is an industrial process, with all the economies of scale and chemical adulteration that entails. Just as processed food bears increasingly little resemblance to whole food, clothes are not “whole textiles.” They are processed junk fabric enhanced with plastic fibers and many of the same chemicals we try to limit in our foods.  But there’s better clothing out there, just as there’s better food. There’s clothing made of sustainable fabric—fabrics that sustain life, rather than detract from it.  When I say “sustainable,” I’m not thinking about the planet as much as I’m thinking about the health of my own body and my family’s. For if something is going to be sustainable on a global level, it must first be a sustainable fabric for the individual. It has to support the life of the organism that populates the planet and is indeed part of the planet. Again, let’s refer back to food. If a diet isn’t compatible with good health in the population, how can it be good for the planet? Is there any situation where a diet heals the planet and its biological systems while leaving the individual animals who eat it sickly, diseased, weak, and infertile? Of course not. For clothing to be made with truly sustainable fabric, it must be good for individual health and the environment. No other definition of “sustainable” is acceptable. And so when determining the sustainability of a given fabric, we have to consider the health impacts. The Best Sustainable Fabrics Organic Cotton Cotton is the most common and widely available natural fiber, but it’s also very popular with the bugs. Cotton plants produce nutritious and energy-dense fruits throughout the growing cycle, making it irresistible and leading to heavy pesticide usage. Conventional cotton is the most heavily treated crop in the world, responsible for a lion’s share of total global pesticide applications—despite covering just a fraction of the world’s cropland.  GMO cotton engineered to repel the most common cotton pests with an in-house toxin worked briefly but ultimately led to resistance to the engineered toxin, necessitating more pesticide usage and triggering a chemical arms race between farmers and pests that continues to this day. In fact, Indian cotton farmers use more pesticides now than they did before the introduction of GMO cotton. I was unable to find any evidence of the pesticides used in cotton production residing in the finished fabric and then leaching into human skin, but skin is permeable. These things happen. Washing reduces any surface-level chemicals added to the cotton, but those bound to the fibers itself may remain. Again, there's not a lot of research on this topic, perhaps because it's one they'd rather not broach. Linen Linen is an ancient sustainable fabric with prehistoric roots—as far back as 30,000 years in present-day Georgia and 10,000 years … Continue reading "A Guide to Choosing Sustainable Fabrics"

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Neatly folded clothes and pyjamas in the metal mesh organizer basket on white marble table

Are you wearing sustainable fabric? It matters.

The provenance of your shirt, pants, and underwear isn’t just aesthetic or ornamental. It’s serious stuff. Consider food, which isn’t that different from clothing. Textile production is an industrial process, with all the economies of scale and chemical adulteration that entails. Just as processed food bears increasingly little resemblance to whole food, clothes are not “whole textiles.” They are processed junk fabric enhanced with plastic fibers and many of the same chemicals we try to limit in our foods. 

But there’s better clothing out there, just as there’s better food. There’s clothing made of sustainable fabric—fabrics that sustain life, rather than detract from it. 

When I say “sustainable,” I’m not thinking about the planet as much as I’m thinking about the health of my own body and my family’s. For if something is going to be sustainable on a global level, it must first be a sustainable fabric for the individual. It has to support the life of the organism that populates the planet and is indeed part of the planet. Again, let’s refer back to food. If a diet isn’t compatible with good health in the population, how can it be good for the planet? Is there any situation where a diet heals the planet and its biological systems while leaving the individual animals who eat it sickly, diseased, weak, and infertile? Of course not.

For clothing to be made with truly sustainable fabric, it must be good for individual health and the environment. No other definition of “sustainable” is acceptable. And so when determining the sustainability of a given fabric, we have to consider the health impacts.

The Best Sustainable Fabrics

Organic Cotton

Cotton is the most common and widely available natural fiber, but it’s also very popular with the bugs. Cotton plants produce nutritious and energy-dense fruits throughout the growing cycle, making it irresistible and leading to heavy pesticide usage. Conventional cotton is the most heavily treated crop in the world, responsible for a lion’s share of total global pesticide applications—despite covering just a fraction of the world’s cropland. 

GMO cotton engineered to repel the most common cotton pests with an in-house toxin worked briefly but ultimately led to resistance to the engineered toxin, necessitating more pesticide usage and triggering a chemical arms race between farmers and pests that continues to this day.24 In fact, Indian cotton farmers use more pesticides now than they did before the introduction of GMO cotton.25

I was unable to find any evidence of the pesticides used in cotton production residing in the finished fabric and then leaching into human skin, but skin is permeable. These things happen. Washing reduces any surface-level chemicals added to the cotton, but those bound to the fibers itself may remain. Again, there’s not a lot of research on this topic, perhaps because it’s one they’d rather not broach.

Linen

Linen is an ancient sustainable fabric with prehistoric roots—as far back as 30,000 years in present-day Georgia and 10,000 years ago in Switzerland, humans were extracting and dyeing wild linen fibers.2627 Throughout Medieval Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia, linen was a common fabric used for undergarments, tunics, dresses, and anything that lay close to the skin.

Linen is perhaps my favorite fabric at the moment. It’s almost required to live in Miami during the hottest months. You can almost feel cooler wearing a linen shirt and shorts in the humid heat than you do wearing nothing at all. Linen isn’t just less bad than cotton or synthetics in the heat. It’s actively cooler. It breathes and wicks moisture from your body. It improves in the heat and humidity. The more you wear it and wash it, the softer it gets.

Linen is naturally anti-bacterial, making it the best and most hygienic choice even today for hospital bedding (why they call them “linens”). This quality also means linen doesn’t hold odor as much as other fabrics. It’s such a sustainable fabric that you can hang a linen shirt up to air out after wearing it and there’s a good chance it’ll be good for another day or two.

Wool

Wool is another ancient fabric. If linen is great for hot muggy weather, wool is downright designed by the hand of evolution to provide insulation against the cold. You can stay active in it because it repels bacteria, doesn’t get very smelly, breathes and wicks moisture. It’s even a little resistant to water if the natural lanolin—a fatty substance present in “raw” wool that keeps sheep from getting totally soaked—remains or is added back into the fabric.

Wool can be scratchy, but merino wool is a softer, silkier variety that feels much smoother and “cotton-like.” Merino wool is more expensive than normal wool.

Tencel

Tencel is a sustainable fabric, very similar to rayon, that uses wood pulp with a non-toxic solvent to help it become fabric. Tests show that any residuals of the solvent are eliminated in the finished product, and clothes made with tencel fabric are biodegradable.

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Sustainable Fabrics

Trust but verify.

Some otherwise sustainable fabrics, like wool in one notable case, can be treated with BPA and other plasticizers to increase thermal stability and overall resilience, with one study even finding that wool had more BPA than polyester blends.28 If you buy wool, cotton, linen, or hemp clothing, be sure to research the manufacturer and confirm that they do not add plasticizers to their fabric. But for the most part, any sustainable fabric is going to be a better, safer choice than any polyester or polyester-blend.

Avoid stain-resistant and water-repellant clothing.

PFAS, the “forever chemicals” linked to fertility issues, hormonal changes, and chronic health conditions that end up in our food, water, and salt, are also used to make fabrics stain-resistant and water-repellant. They can be added to any fabric, but aren’t usually incorporated into the sustainable fabrics listed above.

Obviously, water repellant gear can really come in handy when you need it. Backpacking through the Pacific Northwest or along Kauai’s Na Pali coast? Wear the rain gear. Especially since that kind of rain outwear doesn’t ‘really touch your body as much. But don’t make it a habit to wear “water repellant” and “stain resistant” clothing on an everyday basis.

Avoid wrinkle-free fabric.

Wrinkle-free usually means “dosed with formaldehyde.”

Limit polyester.

A pair of interesting dog studies showed the harmful anti-fertility effects of wearing polyester. One study in intact male dogs had them wear either polyester or cotton underwear for a few weeks. The underwear was loose enough not to affect scrotal temperatures, and yet the polyester fabric impaired sperm quality, motility, and overall fertility. The sustainable fabric—cotton—had no effect on fertility measures.

Another study placed garments made from different fabrics on pregnant dogs. One group wore wool, one wore cotton, one wore a cotton-polyester 50/50 blend, and the final group wore 100% polyester. All dogs wore their garments for the duration of the pregnancy. The wool, cotton, and cotton/poly blend dogs all had normal pregnancies with normal hormone levels throughout, while the polyester dogs were more likely to have issues.29

Finally, a pair of followup studies in human men explored the polyester issue further. One study split men up into three groups. One group wore cotton underwear, one group wore a cotton/polyester 50/50 blend, and the final group wore underwear made out of pure polyester. While the cotton underwear produced no electrostatic charge across the scrotal sac, both the blend and the polyester did, with the polyester underwear creating the strongest (and most detrimental) charge.30

Another study split men into 5 groups: a control group wearing their regular clothing, a group wearing only cotton underwear, one wearing only wool, another wearing a cotton/poly blend, and a final group wearing just polyester. They established a baseline and then tracked how their sexual activity (or “potency”) changed over 12 months. The cotton and wool groups were most unchanged. The cotton/poly blend and polyester groups saw their sexual potency diminish significantly, with the pure polyester group having the worst results.31

Watch the leggings and yoga pants.

A recent study found that many popular legging brands, like Lululemon and Old Navy, may also contain the forever chemicals PFAS. Not all of the samples did, mind you, but a good enough portion to be careful or even consider other brands.

Wear plain shirts.

Printed graphics on fabrics are the primary source of dermal exposure to caustic chemicals like benzothiazole. Studies of human skin show that simulated “wearing” of clothing with residual benzothiazole and other related compounds leads to dermal absorption.32 The risk is higher in infants wearing socks with benzothiazole, as the increased skin temperature facilitates absorption. Up to 86% of baby clothing (socks, body suits, shirts, etc) samples in one study had measurable residues.33

Mind your genitals.

Ever since modern humans arrived, we’ve been covering our genitals with fabric. That means just about every hour of the day, you’ll have to wrap your genitals in some kind of fabric. You can be shirtless at the beach but you’ll still cover your genitals. You can be walking out in your boxers to get the paper but you’ll still be covering your genitals in fabric. My point and reason for writing the word “genitals” so much is that they’re a special part of the body that’s uniquely vulnerable to poor clothing choices. If you have to wear something down there, use sustainable fabric.

The human genitals are an incredible sensitive zone covered in permeable skin, making them a prime entry point for topical medicine and uniquely vulnerable to the absorption of unwanted, harmful chemicals. The problem is that a lot of underwear is absolutely riddled with anti-fertility or estrogenic chemicals. 

How to Make Good Choices about Sustainable Fabrics

Make good choices when and where you can.

  • Don’t wear snug fitting plastic (polyester) underwear. Maybe don’t wear underwear at all.
  • Limit or eliminate print tees.
  • Limit water-resistant or stain-resistant clothing.
  • Limit wrinkle-free clothing.
  • Buy your leggings and yoga pants carefully.
  • Focus on quality over quantity. Be willing to spend a little more for better feeling, “healthier” more sustainable fabrics that last longer.
  • If you’re dressing your baby or child, spend the money on quality stuff. At the very least, minimize child clothing with prints and graphics and aim for natural fabrics.
  • Buy natural sustainable fabric like organic cotton, linen, and wool whenever possible and realistic.
  • Visit thrift stores for well-worn natural sustainable fabric clothing that’s had plenty of time to leach out most of its chemical load.
  • Blends are better than nothing. Remember that most of the studies discussed above found that cotton-polyester blends were less harmful (and in some cases totally harmless) than pure polyester clothing.

Sustainable Fabric Brands

What are some good brands to get you started on your sustainable fabric journey?

KindHumans: Organic cotton clothing

Icebreaker: Merino wool and wool blends, sometimes with a bit of elastane for stretch

Alex Crane: Great linen clothing

Livegiving Linen: Organic linen

Crann Organic: Organic clothing for kids

Everlane: Nice clothing whose site can be filtered by fabric. Here’s linen, here’s organic cotton. And so on.

Amazon: You can find some great deals on sustainable fabric clothing on Amazon. Just type in “organic cotton shirt” or “linen dress” or whatever. Make sure you vet the vendors, as Amazon listings aren’t always the most reliable.

Etsy: You can also find some great stuff on Etsy, a marketplace for small makers. Here’s “organic merino wool shirt,” for example.

Outdoor gear: This is a good guide to finding PFAS-free outdoor gear. Not all of the fabric is sustainable or natural, however.

Moving Forward

You know when you touch linen or wool. Your brain understands the difference between silk and linen, cotton and wool, synthetics and naturals on a somatosensory level, simply by touch.34 The differences are real, and the studies probably aren’t capturing everything that distinguishes them.

I’d love to see studies into the effects of different fabrics on heart rate variability for example. I’d bet there are real differences in people wearing linen or wool versus polyester. When I wear linen, I know the difference. You just feel better, more at ease, more at home.

Despite all the somewhat troubling research discussed today, don’t lose sleep over your clothing. You’re already eating well, sleeping well, getting sun, getting out into nature, exercising on a regular basis, and all the other good things we emphasize around here. Freaking out about some chemicals on your T-shirt is only worthwhile—and even then, arguably so—if you’ve already taken care of the low hanging fruit and want something else to occupy your time.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. I own some synthetic exercise stuff myself, and it’s hard to beat for performance. That said, I’m not wearing it all the time and I’m not wearing pure polyester gear. I’m using it for specific instances: hikes, running, paddling, Ultimate Frisbee, workouts. I’d love to train hard in linen shorts or something like that, but it just doesn’t flex like synthetic active wear.

If you find yourself avoiding workouts because you haven’t found the perfect pair of totally toxin-free shorts, you’re missing the forest for the trees.

What’s your favorite sustainable fabric to wear? Got any goods brands you’d like to share?

Take care, everyone.

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