Dear Mark: HIIT, Omega-3s and Cooking, and Gluten-Free Baked Goods

Sprint!It’s time, yet again, for another edition of Dear Mark. As per usual, I’m doing a roundup of reader questions. First, I cover high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. It’s the subject of an ongoing study that’s been getting a lot of play in the media, and, while we don’t have access to the as-yet-unpublished research, we do know a little something about HIIT from numerous other studies. Next, a reader asks about the effect of cooking on the omega-3 content and stability of salmon. I provide a bit of research and attempt to assuage his despondency about what he sees as a lack of reliable seafood. Finally, I give my take on the gluten-free baked goods phenomenon. Sure, it’s gluten-free, but does it belong in a Primal eating plan? Read on to see what I think.

Let’s get to it:

Hi Mark,

I just watched a PBS special called The Truth About Exercise. Much of it was centered around a study being conducted in the UK concerning how long we really need to exercise during the week to obtain the necessary health benefits.

Currently the findings indicate that 3, 30 second bursts of exercise (bike, sprinting, rowing machine, etc.) followed by a rest period three times per week could be enough.

I’m assuming you’ve heard of this and are probably getting other emails. Just wondering what your thoughts are? Is it really enough and how do we define “enough”, i.e. is it enough to keep us fit, but perhaps not enough to get that toned/ripped look many are after? I’ve included a link to an article about the study. Thanks.

Is three minutes a week of exercise all you need to get fit?


There’s not much available on this study, as it’s still ongoing, but I can give my thoughts on high intensity interval training (HIIT) in general.

In one studytwo weeks of sprint interval training, for a total of six sessions, were enough to increase muscle oxidative potential (resting muscle glycogen content) and aerobic endurance capacity in trainees. Subjects performed four to seven 30 second “all out” cycling reps, each separated by four minutes of recovery time. VO2 max was not increased, but this strangely didn’t impact or impair their aerobic capacity, which “increased by 100%.” A mere fifteen minutes of actual sprint training was enough to double endurance capacity within two weeks’ time. Increasing your muscle glycogen content at rest also means a greater capacity for storing carbs as muscle energy, rather than having to convert them into body fat, which is nice and will help protect you from obesity.

In a 2007 study, researchers discovered that the metabolic adaptations produced by low-volume sprint training are remarkably similar to those produced by traditional endurance training. Two groups of “active but untrained” men and women – people who work out but aren’t athletes – were given six weeks of either sprint training or endurance training. Sprint training consisted of three weekly four to six rep sessions of 30 second sprints with 4.5 minute rests, while endurance training consisted of 45-60 minute continuous cycling sessions, done five times a week. The sprinters spent about one and a half hours each week (with most of that time spent resting, rather than actively sprinting) on the bikes, while the endurance subjects gave up four and a half hours each week (with most of that time spent pedaling). Despite the huge discrepancy in time commitments, there was no discernible difference in metabolic outcomes, causing the authors to conclude that sprint interval training is the more “time-efficient strategy” to obtain the benefits of endurance training.

Although long distance Chronic Cardio has always been touted as the best way to improve heart health, another HIIT study showed that sprint interval training is just as effective at improving arterial stiffness and flow-mediated dilation, two markers of endothelial function and helpful ways to predict heart health.

And how about actual performance outcomes? Another study found that low volume sprint interval training conferred rapid adaptations in skeletal muscle and exercise capacity – similar to those obtained via high volume endurance training.

Even if separate those 30 second sprint intervals with 20 second breaks, you still get an anabolic effect.

HIIT was recently shown to reduce ventricular scar tissue in a 50 year old heart attack patient. It took sixty weeks, but still – that’s pretty impressive.

And finally, a recent review of the evidence concluded that HIIT is “associated with increased patient compliance and improved cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes and is suitable for implementation in both healthy and ‘at risk’ populations.” In other words, high intensity interval training is well suited both for people who like to exercise and people who hate to exercise – and it’s extremely effective.

Yes, HIIT is a “shortcut” in that it allows you to gain many of the benefits of aerobic exercise without spending all the time we usually associate with “cardio,” but they are far from “easy.” One thing you should probably know about true intervals: they’re actually really, really hard! Like, puke-bucket-strategically-placed-near-the-stationary-cycle hard. You’re essentially cramming a couple hours’ worth of training into a few 30 second chunks. That’s one reason most HIIT studies use stationary bikes – they’re a bit safer for the average person to go all out on than running. If you’re trying to test the effects of HIIT in population of seniors, the last thing you want them to do is go out to the track and run sprints. Hamstrings will be flying all over the place like broken rubber bands. But, if you stick them on a stationary bike, even the most athletically-average person can get going at a very high clip without risking injury.

If you’re going to get the most out of HIIT, you really do have to push yourself. For an out of shape fifty year old, pushing oneself will look very different from a twenty year old athlete pushing herself. It’s all relative, and if you can’t run, you can swim, cycle, row, use the elliptical, or just about anything.

However, to answer your ultimate question: is it all we need? For me, no. I enjoy movement too much. Of course, I like to stay active by playing Ultimate and paddleboarding and snowboarding and hiking and playing with my family, with a bit of strength training and sprinting thrown in for good measure. Fun stuff, you know?

If you view exercise only as a means to an end? I’m still going with “no.” I happen to feel that lifting some heavy things and lots of slow moving are also crucial and even necessary for true fitness and health. I’m particularly skeptical about the the “active couch potato,” where you work out hard a few time a week but stay relatively sedentary the rest of the time, which this approach to HIIT as the exercise panacea seems like it might promote. But you could do a lot worse than focusing on HIIT, I suppose.

Hey Mark,

Really enjoy your articles, keep up the good work. Anyway, I was just wondering something since I couldn’t find an article on the matter.

According to your research does heating omega 3 fats above a certain temperature damage the fatty acids beyond repair? Because I didn’t feel I was getting any benefit from cooked salmon but when I eat gravlax I feel I’m getting much more benefit (general wellbeing, inflammation digestion and for candida/sibo).

However, getting safe raw seafood is pretty hard these days where I live. Shellfish has generally been preboiled before selling, raw fish has risk of parasites, caviar has been pasteurized, the gravlax is always farmed etc. It’s got to the point where I wonder if I would be better of just supplementing with cod liver oil or something.

Any thoughts on this?



Cooking salmon has been shown to increase the number of oxidative cholesterol products, but as long as you’re reasonable about it (don’t pan fry a salmon filet for 30 minutes or steam it until it’s mush or anything), the omega-3s should be well-preserved. A 2010 study on New Zealand king salmon found that raw, poached, steamed, microwaved, pan fried, baked, and even deep fried fish all showed “good preservation” of omega-3 fats. Deep frying caused the most damage, but it was relatively minor.

Refined, isolated omega-3 oils are much more susceptible to oxidation than whole foods containing them. Just 30 minutes of 150 ºF exposure was enough to degrade most of the EPA and DHA in fish oil, according to one study. However, adding the antioxidant-rich herbs rosemary and oregano to the oils prevented most of the degradation. Use a nice herby marinade next time you prepare salmon (and avoid deep frying it) and you’ll have double the protection for your omega-3s.

I would stick with food over supplements, whenever possible. Your seafood choices actually aren’t that bad. Boiled shellfish? Not the worst thing. You might assume I’m shucking raw oysters and steaming fresh mussels all the time, but I’m a big fan of canned smoked oysters and those frozen bags of (quick-steamed) mussels you get at Asian markets. Plus, boiling is one of the gentler cooking techniques, so there’s little danger of degradation. Just don’t subject the already-boiled shellfish to an inordinate amount of additional cooking and you’ll be fine. Parasites? Freeze your fish for a few days to take care of them. It’s what sushi restaurants do. Pasteurized caviar should be fine, too. It’d be great to get raw fish eggs, but it’s not the end of the world. While not ideal, farmed gravlax remains a good source of omega-3s. It’s certainly better than no fish at all.

All that said, raw is probably “better,” all else being equal, especially if you’re experiencing tangible benefits from it. You might try cooking your salmon faster or at lower temperatures, as well as using antioxidant-rich marinades to protect the fats, to see if that makes a difference in how you feel after eating it.

It seems like every grocery store now has a whole aisle full of ‘gluten-free’ foods – pastas, breads, cookies, etc. What are your thoughts in general on gluten-free baked goods and the like? Craving a grilled cheese sandwich, I recently picked up a loaf of gluten-free white sandwich bread that seemed to be made mostly of rice flour and tapioca, with other ingredients that didn’t seem too threatening. Where do you see foods like that, on a ‘frankenfood/ick’ to ‘meh/innocuous’ scale? Thanks!


They’re okay, and certainly better than the alternative. Just don’t go wild on them. Most gluten-free foods are devoid of nutrition, while the foods they’re trying to replace at least attempt to provide some nutrition (whole grains, whose nutrients may be highly bio-unavailable and accompanied by antinutrients like gluten, do contain nutrients on paper).

Here’s how I handle stuff like this: don’t “waste” your gluten-free treat excursions on empty calories. Make an awesome tomato meat sauce with bits of liver, extra virgin olive oil, and pecorino romano to get with your gluten-free pasta. Make a really good grilled cheese sandwich with aged gouda, some grass-fed butter for grilling, half an avocado, and maybe a few slices of bacon with your gluten-free bread. Get a gluten-free pizza crust and smother it in fresh pesto sauce, jumbo shrimp, and fresh mozzarella. Don’t just mindlessly eat gluten-free crackers, or snack on an entire loaf of plain gluten-free bread. Make it count, if you’re going to eat it. Make your gluten-free treat a vehicle for nutrient-dense food.

That’s all for today, folks. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think in the comment board.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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80 thoughts on “Dear Mark: HIIT, Omega-3s and Cooking, and Gluten-Free Baked Goods”

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  1. Don’t waste your calories on gluten free ‘treats’ unless you actually need to be gluten free because of celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or another condition. If you’re going to splurge and eat pasta or bread 3 times a year, just eat the pasta or bread. The gluten free substitutes are very expensive, and a lot of them are not good – either in taste or nutrition. While I don’t think bread and pasta are the healthiest things to eat, unless you NEED to be gluten free, a little bit every once in awhile isn’t going to hurt you.

  2. I’ve found that even with gluten-free bread made with almond or coconut flour, my body receives no signals telling me that I’ve eaten food. I stopped making/buying/eating those products when I ate half a 9*9 loaf of homemade bread (that’s a LOT of almonds) in one sitting and felt no different than I had before eating it.

    To complement for a a special occasion (birthday, dinner with family I haven’t seen in a while)? Sure, but as a general rule they’re just not a good idea – at least for me.

    1. I had a frightening experience with roasted almonds once. I realized I’d eaten an immense amount of them and had no satiety whatsoever. It was frightening because I worried I’d rupture my stomach. OK, maybe that was overblown, but it doesn’t have to be rational to be a fear.

      So, it’s possible that for you and me, almonds just don’t satiate.

  3. Gluten free is just the next Conventional Wisdom bullpuckey…these folks will try anything to get us!

    1. But that grilled cheese Mark mentions sounds so darned good, LOL!

      1. Gluten free is not bullpuckery for people like me who are allergic to wheat, rye, barley, oats and the works. It merely provides an “oh thank you God” for that pizza craving, or someone such as myself who lavishes in the art of red sauce for pastas.

        I do however agree that it is a CV fad, and it’s starting to seriously annoy me: I used to never find the one gluten-free pizza in the frozen aisle that I could actually eat, completely out of stock. All these non-celiacs, non-allergics are taking my food!

        1. me too! i have celiacs and it is so wonderful that the occasional gluten free treat is more available now. dominos has an awesome gf crust! but that’s all it is for me- an occasional treat. it’s still junk food. it is nice to be able to bring a gf cupcake with me to birthday parties though….

        2. I don’t get that. You can make a cauliflower pizza crust and use spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for pasta. I can’t eat wheat either and I don’t have any need whatsoever for gluten-free products. I don’t know, I just don’t see why treats have to be so important to be worth sacrificing good health over. Gluten free stuff just spikes my blood sugar and makes me feel horrible.

        3. Re. g-f bread; here in Melbourne there’s a g-f baker who makes a nice soft loaf. I ate it a few weeks into the first trimester with butter and cheese and pickles, and also as toast with lashings of butter and strawberry jam. That first slice of toast was amazing, standing in the morning sun and fresh air, consumed and was happy. Three pieces later and I couldn’t stand the thought/smell/sight of it. It really messed up my mental state too- anxiety slowly crept up behind me for a couple of days while it found its way through my especially well-treated gut. Those pregnancy hormones sure do a number on a primal girl… Made my own croissants in the end for total quality control- two days of effort and >>totally<< worth it… *salivation*

        4. Madama Butterfry, sounds like you made the real croissants with puff pastry, multiple butter folds & all? The GF flours I’ve tried don’t seem to have enough stretch to keep the delicate layers intact. Would you be willing to divulge your flour choice or formula?

  4. I tend to agree with you that lots of walking is important. These studies are obviously impressive, but it is important to bare in mind that research suggests we evolved to run, and run long distances. Here is a link to a Nature paper that provides a number of reasons why running long distances helped us evolve into humans:

    We have a number of adaptations such as sweat glands, no hair on our bodies, been able to incrementally increase or decrease our speed. Most animals either have gallop mode, or trot mode and can’t adjust speed. We are one of the most, if not the most, efficient animal at long distance running and chasing down prey to exhaustion. Furthermore, this is considered as one of the earliest forms of hunting before we developed sophisticated tools. Here is another link to a BBC dcoumentary showing this in action:.

    So this does nothing to take away the obvious advantages HIIT has, but it does show that we are born to run, and so if you follow an approach whereby we should do what we evolved to do, then long distance walking or running might be a good idea?

    Also, does anyone know what the defintion for HIIT is. I mean how intense does it have to be? It would be great if this could be given to me in terms of heart rate, but whatever the actual definition is I am interested.

    1. As for your last question Dan, when you feel like you are about to throw-up, that is the intensity you go for on HIITS!

    2. I think the fact we are the only creature on earth catalogued to run continuously 200KM or more says it all.

      If that does not scream evolutionary advantage what does. Horses will fall over dead before the 100KM mark.

      So I agree with you. And likely you are a fellow Noakes fan.


        100 miles, if you don’t want to do the math, is 160 km.

        I’m not saying you don’t have a valid point, you do. But you’re overstating it quite a lot. They (whoever “they” are) have had a bunch of horse vs human races, and typically the human wins. But that doesn’t mean horses drop dead at 100 km, and keep in mind that the horses are required to stop for rests and veterinarian inspections, whereas the humans are allowed to keep on truckin.

    3. The Darwin fish with the feet says lots of walking is important. That’s gene expression advice right from the source. You can’t argue with that.

    4. Low level intensity is like 55-75% heart rate, higher level is more on the 80-100% range, where 90-100% is probably in the sprint range (80-90 would be going for a drawn-out interval, like running your fastest 2mile probably).

      On the evolutionary basis of long-distance running, Mark commented on it here:

      I think it’s great we have these adaptations that seem to help with endurance exercise, but whether the adaptations are a result of running or sprinting/walking is still up for debate. As for “persistence hunting”, it’s an interesting tribal case study but unlikely to be the main method for obtaining meat – scavenging leftovers from lion/predator kills is more likely.

  5. Where can one find canned smoked oysters packed in something other than cottonseed oil? Maybe I’ve seen them in soy oil once, but it’s almost always cottonseed, way high in omega-6 fatty acids. Or should I figure that a bit more of those won’t kill me?

      1. Only a 200 mile drive for me… I like various things sold by TJ’s and maybe I should make a road trip.

    1. Crown Prince brand is available at TJs and the Calton’s of rich food poor food website has a link to obtain a 1 dollar off coupon 😉

      1. Amazon sells a 9 pack of the Crown Prince brand of smoked oysters in olive oil. Good for me, as I live on the east coast and we’ve yet to get a TJ’s.

    2. Avoid both cottonseed and soy oils, as, unless otherwise indicated (i.e., “organic”, “non-GMO”), they are genetically modified and laden with pesticides.

      1. I worry more about omega-6 fatty acids than traces of such things. I don’t know if they get the natural toxins like gossypol out of cottonseed oil entirely, but I do know that the oil is way high in omega-6.

    3. Bumblebee makes oysters in water. Small round can, not flat like sardines.

  6. The problem with ‘gluten-free’ is the carbs. Cutting out grains isn’t only about the gluten and other anti-nutrients it’s surely also about the carb count?

    1. Only if you have issues with carbs. I think it’s more about anti-nutrients and other irritants than carbs; that’s where the idea of ‘safe starches’ comes in.

      Mark, I love your take on the gluten free items and I especially agree about using them for a ‘good cause.’ I can’t seem to down liver on its own, but I can eat liver pate on gluten free pretzels. Maybe not ideal, but at least I’m eating liver!

    2. IMO, carb count is a problem with gluten-free and “safe starches” as well.

      Ultimately, potatoes,”safe starches”, gluten free etc are calorie dense without being particularly nutrient dense. It’s easy to overeat and if you have an efficient metabolism, it will be far easier to gain body fat on those types of foods.

      1. I’m glad I’m not the only one Amy! I think just about every human unless they are highly active needs a very great deal less carbs than they think. Their metabolisms might be working OK now but hit 40 plus and it might be another story.

        The other big issue is the ‘addictive’ nature of carb hits in some genotypes; eating grain based foods (gluten-free or not) definitely fires my sugar-hunting even though they may be savoury on the tongue.

        1. +1 to both Amy and following commenter!!!…Carbs seem to “fuel” sugar cravings and “fast” starch searching…savory or sweet…At 52…this needs to be monitored!

  7. HIIT is a great tool, one of many, it’s up to the individual to use and manipulate these tools to thier individual needs and goals. I think people sometimes forget this when they begin reading studies and researching etc.

    1. Absolutely. HIIT should be geared to one’s ability level. That doesn’t mean pushing it until you pass out or throw up.

  8. Good points regarding the gluten-free substitutes and look-alikes. A better idea would be to stay away from the gluten-free aisle and retrain your brain to increase veggie consumption instead instead of looking for bread replacements. As others have pointed out, gluten-free baked goods are often dry, tasteless, and composed of empty calories, to say nothing of being overpriced.

    I do make spaghetti every now and then, mainly for my non-primal family members. They don’t even realize the pasta is gluten-free. Tinkyata is a good brand of rice pasta.

  9. Another problem with GF products, along with carbs is THE PRICE! And don’t go thinking that making them yourself at home is any cheaper–most recipes want you to use small measures of many kinds of flours that are expensive by the pound, and grinding your own grains can be another expensive trip through Amazon just to find a grain grinder!

    Believe me–even with the tax deduction for food allergies, and all the hoops THAT entails, it’s saner, cheaper, and actually more convenient just to forgo the grains entirely. There’s even a whole plethora of microwavable mug recipes out in cyberspace for you to enjoy a “guilty pleasure” cake, brownie, or cookie without grains (and even some without egg)!

    Grains–who needs them, especially when their price is heavily dependent on the weather? Even GF grains have their toxin problems too.

  10. Really glad for the info re gluten-free goods. I have no less than 3 gluten-free bakeries near me, and let me tell you, they make truly fine chocolate and carrot cakes. Apparently it is not only possible but preferable to make delicious baked goods from rice, potatoes, sorghum, and tapioca. I don’t want to think about the glycemic index of these goodies, but as a once in a blue moon treat they are pretty much unbeatable. I’m a celiac, so the cost is painful but necessary. And yeah, I have the same experience as Castle – I can eat a whole baguette of gluten-free bread and not even feel like I’ve eaten.

    1. You’re very trusting. If I had celiac disease, I don’t think I would eat anything I didn’t make from scratch myself.

      1. Unfortunately, I tend to agree. Way too tempting to add flour. 🙁

        1. Whoa, so y’all are saying you would never eat ANYTHING outside your own home? Goodbye social life! I have CD & I’m very cautious but not a complete hermit!

  11. I just wash the cotton seed oil off gently with lukewarm water until all the shininess is gone. Btw, are oysters one of those sea creatures that don’t matter if farmed?

    1. Right. Farming oysters is generally considered safe to eat and actually beneficial to the environment. They are cultivated as seed oysters in tanks but then are placed on racks in open water, where they eat the same thing as wild oysters.

  12. I have been a competitive cyclist for quite a few years and have used high intensity training extensively. combined with longer less intensive runs has given me the fitness and endurance to win a few races. I would recommend this training but if you have laid off for any time, check with your doctor before starting.

  13. There is a pizza place down the street from my house that makes a gluten free variety. They use rice flour for the crust. It’s not quite as tasty as regular pizza, but I don’t feel too bad about getting it once in a while as part of my 80/20 rule.

    1. I’m with a gluten free pizza is I e of the few things that’s pretty close in my opinion to the real thing. Mos other stuff is just so so, making it pretty easy to just do without all together.

    2. True gluten free places do not “cross pollinate”, so to speak. If a place does both, do they have separate ovens, prep areas, and separate workers? Caveat emptor.

  14. “Hamstrings will be flying all over the place like broken rubber bands.” What a visual! I’m trying so hard not to laugh that my office mates are looking at me funny.

  15. I’m sure, anyone who attempts and sticks with HIIT will naturally and without thought, participate in other “get off your ass and move around” type activities. the mental health improvements alone won’t allow you to remain sessile. That is, unless you blow a hip and an ACL in the first week.

  16. Good info on the GF Baked Goods. I have stayed away from them as many still contain sugar, vegetable oil, and ingredients that are not completely primal. It is a shame because it is these products the news outlets report on when it comes to gluten-free living; not paleo or primal living.

  17. The Primal Fitness program recommends sprints once a week or every 10 days but these studies seem to show that it’s better twice or three times a week? I have found that if I can’t do sprints once a week then I get incredibly sore. I mean so sore I can barely lower myself to the toilet. It’s like starting over from zero every time I take a small layoff. Also, doing them every 7 – 10 days doesn’t seem to keep me fit enough for fast hiking up steep mountains. Sprinting on a track seems to work best for me because other things I have tried give me horrible exertion headaches. I don’t want to do a bike because I sit too much (shortening my hamstrings) already. I’m nearly 50 but I’m not snapping hamstrings just yet.

    1. It doesn’t appear that the studies looked at any other frequency than the one in their particular study, As with everything else here, differences between individuals means that what may work for one person, or even most people, may not work for you. If sprinting once a week, or less, does not work for you, then by all means, do it a bit more often. And if sprinting on a track does not give you a headache and sprinting anywhere else seems to, then by all means, hit that track! I’m a big believer in doing what works (unless of course, it’s illegal, or violates your personal ethics or morals).

  18. Personally, I make my own gluten-free treats so I know how much sugar is going into them. Because a lot of gluten free treats have TONS of sugar. I wonder if I should make a gluten free pizza? I really miss pizza. Strangely, I don’t miss pasta and bread at all..

    1. Have you tried making a meatza? It’s completely grain free and delicious. Basically you make the crust out of ground beef/turkey/whatever and add your topping on top of it. There’s lots of recipes online to explain how to make it. First time I made it I was hooked. Don’t miss the dough crust at all!

      1. I’ve made meatza, & it’s great– the whole family enjoys it, even the gluten- eaters– but I still sometimes long for that delectable crustiness. Used to live in New Haven– the pizza there was so flippin’ good it still haunts me!

        When I first was diagnosed with Celiac Disease I baked gluten-free goodies like mad, & it helped me adjust psychologically to the diet. But over the years I’ve mostly phased them out in favor of naturally GF foods.

    2. My family is GF and we do pizza a couple of times a month for Family Fun Friday (as much as my kids love pizza, I think they like our other Friday dinner better – they start shouting “I love chicken skin!” when they know I’m roasting a chicken!) – anyway, I find the carbs in GF pizza to be too much for me. So I make a pizza with a roasted portobello mushroom as the crust for myself. I top the portobello with mild pork sausage cooked with mushrooms, onion, and green pepper and mix it up with some pizza sauce and parmesan cheese. Heavenly! I don’t even miss pizza if I can have that! The recipe for it is linked below, and there is also a recipe on the site for a GF pizza crust made with a GF flour blend.

      1. What a fab idea. That I want to try the portobello pizza for sure.

        Reading the various takes on gluten free products, it seems to me people should do what they feel O.K. with.

        I feel so fortunate that I’ve completely lost the desire to eat anything bread or pasta like, with or without gluten. I just don’t want it, so there are no issues of when or in what form.

        What I truly love at this point is a bowl of steamed shredded green cabbage with asparagus cut up small, drizzled with super high quality olive oil (Frantoia is my fave) – with some kind of yummy protein scattered about. Sliced sea scallops are divine. Turkey is nice too (I roast a whole breast every week for this purpose).

        All of this said, this portobello pizza sounds divine (hold the parmesan – I lost my taste for cheese too). I’m going to try it with an eye toward adding it to my repertoire. Thanks for sharing!

  19. It makes sense that HIIT would keep you in good shape without a lot of other abnormal activity. Look at other animals: they use fight or flight when in some perceived danger, then go back to their normal and generally low level activities. It’s highly likely that this sort of thing happens a few times a week and possibly a few times in a row depending on situation.

  20. I have an hamstring injury for a year now due to HIIT sprint-training on an empty stomach. Very easy to become convinced of something and then acting enthusiastically on the newly acquired information with too much too soon.

  21. For HIIT I get best results running in place. No safety issues, and instant 100% effort compared to exercycles which take a few seconds to accelerate.

    1. I was told that running in place is particularly bad for the knees– have you noticed any issues? Used to adore jumping rope, & if it weren’t for the knee question I bet it would be fantastic for HIIT. And fun!

  22. I love HIIT. I went from running 45 minutes straight a couple times a week to doing 12 minutes of HIIT (not counting warm up and stretching) a couple times a week and not only did it free up a lot of time, but I lost a bit fat that wouldn’t seem to budge before.

    1. HIITS the **IT. Best overall workout for the amount of time and you burn fat for 36 hours after. Love it!

  23. What about squats for HIIT? I did 20 squats with 95lbs today. I felt much like I do when I sprint afterwards for several hours. Which is to say, kind of energized, kind of raw in my lungs and really hungry. Perhaps 6 rounds of squats (maybe with a little less weight) would work as sprinting. What do you think?

  24. I started doing HIIT sessions twice a week (30 second sprint, followed by 90 second rest x 20) just over a month ago in preparation for a body sculpting competition in mid May as a way to drop body fat percentage in addition to my usual strength and Crossfit workouts. I have found in five weeks I have managed to drop from 23% to 19% which I believe is attributed in considerable part to HIIT (as well as eating clean of course). Really happy with the results so far and interested to see the results come mid May!

    1. X 20? Man, that’s a lot of reps. I feel finished after about 8.

  25. What fantastic, well-balanced advice about gluten-free treats. Another good idea is to seek out the gluten-free treat foods that are made of whole grains & nut/bean flours, for more, as you say, “on-paper” nutrients. (I admit, I’m a vegetarian impostor here, not paleo at all except in small things, like my aspiration to sleep and wake with the dark and light, but I find your viewpoints really well thought out and always appreciate the solid writing in your posts.)

  26. Broadcaster Andrew Marr (BBC) a very fit man, long distance runner, etc, tried HIT and had a stroke. He attributes the stroke to HIT.

    1. Not enough facts on your story to make any judgements.

      1) What was his diet like?
      2) Did he do anything besides long distance regularly?
      3) Did he ease into HIIT training or just go full-bore his first time?
      4) Define “very fit”.

      Details details details.

      1. Looked it up & he was doing HIIT, but he also blamed his stroke on a year of overwork as well as the triggering exercise event. It is a really a cautionary tale that there’s more to fitness & health than how much/how intensely we exercise, & that sometimes what we really need most is rest & recovery.

        1. I figured that there was more to the story than the guy did HIIT and had a stroke because of it.

  27. My 5 year old son loves his pancakes and glutenous treats so it has been tough getting him away from all the crap. My younger one at 18 mos is a paleo eater in the making (I was also transiting to a more paleo friendly diet while I was pregnant with him). Loves his meat and vegetables. I started out buying gluten free treats and hitting the gluten free isle for alternatives for my older son, I was using gluten free flours to make pancakes for them (very expensive), but now I use eggs, generous amounts of vanilla, a little walnut oil or coconut oil and to thicken I add a root vegetable like sweet potatoes, butternut squash or pureed pumpkin and then some almond flour. You can make gluten free treats that are nutrient dense and lower on the carb scale, it just takes a little creativity and some trial and error. Once you get the hang of it you can avoid that gluten free isle and still make paleo friendly treats. I’ve never been diagnosed with celiac, but I have found since cutting out gluten, many of the stomach issues I was having before have improved significantly. Food I thought at one point I had trouble digesting are no problem for me now. In some ways I am thankful for the gf diet craze because that helped open my eyes to how many problems I was having with eating gluten and how crappy I felt.

  28. Regarding the “gravlax”, I assume it’s the Swedish “Gravad lax” that you’re talking about. In that case, you can easily make it at home, and then use wild salmon from the start.

    We buy frozen wild caught salmon, and then it’s mostly a whole fish which is a bit much to finish off for the two of us. But making gravlax of one side is always an option …

    It’s only sugar, salt and dill (and in our recipe some nice brandy (!)) that goes in, and then you let it rest in the fridge for two days before eating it. We tried with a bit of honey instead of sugar last time and when tasting it yesterday it was just lovely. Didn’t miss the sugar at all 😉

    I think it’s only to google to find ideas of quantities for a recipe. Give it a try!!

  29. The best way to preserve omega-3s and keep down your total fat intake is to broil,bake,steam,or grilling salmon,or other fish,just to the point of doneness that you deem appropriate.

  30. I just had a client ask me about gluten-free bread and similar things. I said something similar to Mark in response, this makes me feel like I almost know what I’m on about 😛

    But still, gluten free junk is just as bad from a nutrient density perspective, has to be combined with a larger quantity of something dense in nutrients and worth eating! Probably good to have it post workout if you want to really go to town on it.

  31. I prefer to bake my own things as well, just because packaged items always have some type of chemicals/additives to increase shelf life. I’m trying to have more control over what goes into my body.

  32. T is EXACTLY how I consume my gluten free products: as a delivery method for highly nutritious food. Pâté and sardines on gluten free crackers or bread, grass fed burgers on gluten free buns on the rare occasion I want the bun. They aren’t staples of my diet, but it’s nice to have around.

    I also treat beans this way. I soak them per WAPF recommendations, then slow cook them with a local ham hock with marrow and homemade bone broth. I rarely eat beans these days, but this recipe of mine has survived the “primalization” of my lifestyle. 🙂

  33. Thanks for the tip on salmon as I usually fry the life out of it. With me there is anxiety with undercooked fish.

    Today I’m going to try tried poached salmon with my own home made chilli oil dressing.