May 09 2016

Dear Mark: Lead in Bone Broth, Cooked and Cooled Potatoes, and Stress Strategies

By Mark Sisson
51 Comments

DM-Lead in Bone BrothFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First one concerns the lead content in bone broth. A 2013 study reported elevated levels of lead in chicken bone broth. And not the canned or boxed stuff, but the real thing: broth made from actual chicken bits. Should you worry? Second, do cooked and cooled potatoes really make the carbs less problematic for people who typically try to avoid them? How and why should people who otherwise avoid potatoes consider eating cooked and cooled ones? And finally, do I have any good, simple strategies for dealing with stress? Why yes, yes I do.

Let’s go:

Is anyone concerned about the amount of lead in bone broth? I love bone broth, but now wondering…

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23375414

I’m not too worried.

That study had some limitations, which the Weston A Price Foundation covered pretty well. Ignore the meandering quasi-conspiratorial tangents and focus on the relevant points.

It tested broth from just one group of chickens. There was no real control group. They tested broth made from bones, broth made from meat, broth made from skin and cartilage, and plain tap water, but everything came from the same farm using the same chickens raised under the same. Since lead comes from the environment, the feed, the water. We already know that lead accumulates in the bones. What matters is how much lead the animals you’re using to make broth are exposed to throughout their lives. I’d like to see a comparison between chicken broths made from animals from different farms and environments.

Most of the lead was in the skin of the chickens. Why? Even though lead accumulates primarily in the bones, not the skin and cartilage, the skin and cartilage broth had the most lead. This indicates something weird was going on with these chickens. Cartilage receives very little to no blood flow, so it probably didn’t contribute much if any lead. That leaves the skin. How would so much lead get into the skin when we know that most consumed/absorbed lead ends up in the bones? Well, chickens are suckers for a good dirt bath. If they have access to it, they’re constantly scrounging, rolling, and “dusting” around in the dirt. Dirt readily accumulates lead from car exhaust and lead-based paint. If a chicken’s rolling around in lead-contaminated soil, they’re getting lead all over their skin and that lead will end up in your broth.

The animals’ environments and upbringing are everything. The WAPF describes a follow-up study into two broths made from grass-fed beef bones and pasture-raised chicken bones that was unable to detect any lead in either. This despite the chickens having plenty of access to dirt and all the same dirt-dusting proclivities their kind is known for.

I wouldn’t worry too much, but I would be serious about where I get my bones and/or broth.

Dear mark,
I can’t find the answer to this question anywhere on your site, although I’ve tried for countless hours.  How much cooked and cooled potatoes can I safely eat and still stay within the weight loss/maintenance part of your carb curve?  In other words, how much RS potato salad CAN I have without a glucose spike?
Thanks for your help,
Jen

Cooking and cooling a potato doesn’t erase its digestible carb content, nor does it eliminate the glucose spike you get from eating it. It just makes it a little less glycemic and feeds your gut bugs. It’s a “lower” carb way to eat potatoes. You can get away with more of them.

A new study examined the effects of cooking and cooling a dozen or so varieties of potato.

Estimated glycemic response was reduced by 10-15% across the board after cooling the cooked potatoes. I say “estimated” because they didn’t actually feed the potatoes to anyone. They dissected and tested samples from each potato for resistant starch, fiber, and digestible starch after different cooking methods and found the more RS and fiber, the lower the estimated glucose response.

But I think actual cooled potatoes will help even more than the estimates in actual humans. For one, you’ve got the lower glycemic response due to reduced digestible carbohydrate. Fewer carbs to digest, less glucose to reach the blood.

Two, you’ve got the insulin-sensitizing effect of consuming resistant starch. RS improves insulin sensitivity, even in people with metabolic syndrome, and makes glucose less of a problem.

Three, resistant starch seems to induce satiety, thereby leading to less hunger and calorie intake. In a recent human study, a large dose of resistant starch increased satiety and decreased subsequent food intake. You eat less food, you’ll have a better glucose response.

Four, resistant starch even improves fasting blood glucose, an indication of extended—not just short term—benefits to glucose tolerance and control.

I don’t have any hard numbers for you because every potato is different. But it appears you can count on at the very least a 10-15% reduction in postprandial glucose (and likely more).

I have such a hard time managing my anxiety/stress. I am in counseling now, but I was wondering if anyone could share any personal techniques that they find soothing or calming. Really, anything you do that helps you de-stress would be great to hear! Thanks all. Stay well!

I’ve been in the same boat for most of my life. Handling stress just doesn’t come naturally to me. I have some more involved methods for dealing with stress, like paddle boarding or dropping everything for a day to just take a break, but physical movement is the simplest, easiest tool I have.

Movement is my go-to. It’s healthy—you’re not stuffing your face with something sweet and regretting it a minute later or lighting a cigarette or taking a shot of whiskey. It’s productive—you’re getting an essential aspect of a healthy day out of the way. It’s engaging—you can’t help but focus on how your body’s navigating through space.

If I’m stuck on a post or paragraph and I can’t quite seem to get over writer’s block, I’ll hop on the slackline out back and go for a few minutes. This demands my close attention to the moment, so I can’t think about the work I’m not doing. Then I head back in and suddenly words flow. With writer’s block, my main problem is that I’m thinking too much about the writing. I actually need to take a break and think about something else. You can’t brute force your way past.

For general stress, I’ll just go for a walk. Even if there’s resistance, I push through it. If I can make it through the first three minutes, everything falls into place and the stress melts away. I’ll even sometimes take those stressful business calls on a walk with me. Just say “hold on a sec,” head out the door, and continue the phone conversation as I walk.

One of my secret visions/hopes for the near future is the ability to write and edit content while walking, probably through some neural/eyewear/augmented reality interface. Like having a document projected into the world that you can edit with your mind. One day.

Okay, that’s it for today.

How do you guys deal with stress in the moment?

Do cooked and cooled potatoes feature in your diet?

What do you think about lead in broth?

Thanks for reading!

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51 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Lead in Bone Broth, Cooked and Cooled Potatoes, and Stress Strategies”

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  1. When I’m 14 or more hours into a fast, which I do pretty much every day, I feel calm and relaxed and free of mind and basically like I’m on some kind of anti-anxiety medication (which I used to have to take years ago). Try intermittent fasting.

    1. Agreed. When I switched over to a compressed eating window, it helped lower my stress levels. If IF doesn’t make you overly hungry, it is great.

      1. I suffer from elevated fasting glucose in the a.m. I notice on those days when it’s especially elevated, I have often woken up at 4 a.m. with what seemed like a panic attack — pounding heart, anxiety, etc. I also have very high levels of cortisol, particularly in the a.m., according to my naturopath, which she is trying to treat. She believes the cortisol is elevating my blood sugar. But I also think that excessive carbs in the p.m. can trigger these bouts of anxiety, which are really elevated blood sugar in disguise. Regardless, I do much better overall by avoiding after 6 p.m. simple carbs, excessive carbs, or anything else that I’ve found through experience creates inflammation and insulin resistance (dairy).

    2. I’ve been doing that without realizing it for the last two weeks – skipping breakfast because I’m not hungry enough- and I’ve realized my stress levels have definitely decreased. I think in large part because my energy levels and concentration are much improved and I can approach all my tasks with a deeper well of resources.

  2. I’ve been dealing with stress most of my adult life and definitely agree with Mark; go for a walk. I walk most days, sometimes up to 4-5 miles with my son, and it’s the best coping mechanism I have for my anxiety (aside from counseling I’m in!)

  3. Try to develop a philosophical attitude toward life’s problems by learning to see matters from an outside perspective. This means learning to set the ego aside in order to see the bigger picture. There’s a great little saying that usually puts an adverse situation into perspective for me: “If it won’t matter a year from now (or 5 years, or a hundred years–take your pick), then it doesn’t matter now either.”

  4. Stress: Walk and/or simply play with the dog.

    Cooked and cooled potatoes: I make probiotic potato salads. Very satiating

    Lead in Broth: Lead in chicken from chickens exposed to lead

  5. I find deep “belly” breathing for a few minutes helps my mood. That can be achieved by biking, singing, laughing or just laying on my back on the floor.

    My new doctor suggested vitamin B12 in a larger dose than my multivitamin and it helped quite alot in many ways.

    1. Yes, deep belly breathing is awesome! Took me awhile to get the hang of it but I do it for a little bit every morning. For me, doing it on a daily basis is way better than waiting until I’m stressed out!

  6. Any lead leached from chicken or beef bones during broth-making is probably minuscule and not really a concern in most cases. But it stands to reason that the amount could be maximized by cooking the bones until they break down and fall apart. It makes more sense to derive gelatin by adding chicken feet versus simmering bones for days on end. As for lead in any appreciable amount in the skin of your average chicken, I’m skeptical.

  7. I just finished one of my most stressful – for me – activities of the month – figuring invoices. Relaxing music helps me a lot.

  8. Thinking my way through the tough times or a vigorous workout are my top choices. It always helps to remember that most things are temporary and that we often do have some control we can exercise.

    I also like the herbal adaptogens which regulate cortisol – Rhodiola and Astragalus are good occasionally (I do Ashwaghanda daily but reserve it for bedtime as a sleep aid).

    Sometimes things just suck even after you’ve done all you can and, as Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, keep going!”.

  9. I have a great deal of anxiety about most everything and don’t deal with stress well. Eating well and moving really help, but if you need more, you might try lavender capsules. I think Mark talked about them in an earlier post. They help me so much, just knocking down my over-reaction to everyday events to a manageable level, without the drugged out effect of medication.

  10. Not at all concerned about lead in my bone broth. More concerned about remembering to make the broth from the bones that I accumulate in the freezer! As far as anxiety, mine decreased quite a bit as I added more high quality animal fat to my diet. Like Mark, walking really helps me, and the fact that my dog needs exercise forces me to get out. Sometimes I listen to podcasts but many times I’m just alone with my thoughts. It’s when I do my most creative thinking and come up with ideas for my blog, and then I come back inspired to write. Also, having a daily early morning quiet time is non-negotiable for me. I cram a lot into that time (breathing, prayer, affirmations, visualization, reading and journaling) but it can be very simple. For me, it really needs to be first thing in the morning, otherwise I develop even more anxiety trying to fit it in:)

    1. Regarding high-quality animal fat, have you tried Finlandia butter? Costco is currently carrying it, although probably only temporarily. It’s imported from Finland (of course). It contains no GMOs or hormones, and it is delish. I like it even better than Kerrygold, which is also very good. No, I don’t work for either company. I just love the flavor of really exceptional butter. Unfortunately, most grocery store butter in the US is mediocre at best.

  11. The answer to the second question is “check your glucometer”.

      1. That was an interesting article. My question would be to find out how the food was reheated after cooling. Was it in the, ever nutrient killing, microwave? Or was it reheated on the stove? I wonder, if it was heated in the microwave, would the lower level of RS be because somehow the microwave was changing the food’s components?

        1. oops… that last question should read “would the *higher* level of RS be because somehow the microwave was changing the food’s components?”

  12. I am usually able to handle stress pretty well.

    For me, listening to some calm, soothing music. Usually something with slow guitar and real instruments. One of my personal favorite albums is The Endless River by Pink Floyd, while doing this I usually like to do some sort of deep breathing exercise and focus on my breath only. Basically meditation.

    Another thing I like to do is take a simple walk in the park, or a ride on my longboard. For me just seeing nature around me seems to make me very calm and relaxed.

    Lastly, any form of exercise/sports also helps tremendously for me. I like to shoot my bow regularly… For me its a form of meditation and can indicate if I have to much going on in my mind. It helps me clear everything and focus on that arrow, at that moment. Another thing I just got back into (Last night actually) was playing soccer again. I have played my whole life, but just started again after a couple months off, and wow it really gave me a great feeling, especially after we won.

  13. Just to point out… There’s stress, and then there’s severe or long-term stress/anxiety that’s more along the lines of PTSD–and no, you don’t necessarily need to be a combat veteran to develop PTSD. While these are all good ideas here for dealing with garden-variety stress, if it’s clearly a horse of another color, then a visit to a mental health professional might be in order.

  14. I struggled with stress through most of my early adult life. I had a very bad habit of internalizing it to the point where I got very sick (I had shingles at the age of 20 to give you an idea of the extent).
    I have a couple coping mechanisms now, one is daily exercise, I do a lot of walking. I have found the more regularily i walk the beter able i am to deal with the everyday stressors, especially combined with good sleep patterns.
    When it comes to the large unxpected stressors I have a couple thought processes i go through. One is to extapolate to the worse possible scenerio, usually this helps put things in perspective. The other is to examine what i am feeling and allow myself to feel it, part of my issue with internalizing is not allowing myself to feel anger, frustration, etc. and then to see why. i.e. Am i tired and not able to control my emotional response?

  15. My favorite ways to reduce stress: getting a massage or going to the local indoor gun range for target practice. I stay far more focused and “present” when I’m shooting than in any type of meditation thing I’ve tried. I know it sounds a bit weird, but even my friends who have been newly introduced to the sport say the same thing. I think it’s because it combines several elements of meditation: breath control, tuning out distractions, and focusing on aim, form, etc. in a safe manner.

  16. As for stress or things I worry about I try to split it into three parts.
    1. What’s the worst that can possibly happen – then try to see if I can figure out how I would deal with it.
    2. what’s is most likely going to happen then approach it as above
    3. finally what’s the least bad that can happen.

    So for example, let’s say I’m worried about losing my job because I heard rumours or something. So I try to think how I would deal with it. so will it kill me immediately? No. Am I able to find a new job? If no, do I have a way of survive etc.
    This usually leads to towards realising that even if the worst happens, I will not die, I will get through it and so on.
    Most of my worries about stuff end up either 2 or 3 and if there is a possibility of 1, at least I I’ve thought it through and somehow it calms me down.
    I used this method when my dad got cancer. unfortunately it was a 1 but I had thought about it and knew I was powerless so made the best of it by planning work and time off work to be able to see him as much as possible, unlike for example my brother who refused to talk or think he’d die and was totally paralysed when it happened.
    Besides the psychophysical way of coping I must agree with everyone else that exercising beats most every day low-level anxiety. just an hour or two focusing moving, lifting, counting reps and so on. it’s as if the intelligent part of the brain just switches off because it’s so busy keeping from dropping a barbell on my head.

    1. Jacob this very much like techniques I learned in workshops I attended and from therapists … if you came up with this on your own kudos to you and you saved a lot of money LOL. 🙂

      1. Really? I figured this out when I was 15. I remember calling it “compartments”. I had to somehow separate the improbable from possible from likely . It doesn’t always work for me . Depends on how much time I have to think about it 🙂

  17. Stress?? Try meditation. The Headspace app is a great one, give it a week or two– it’ll really help with sleep as well.

  18. Multiply anxiety by 100 and you have panic disorder, something I would not wish on anyone. No matter how many times you have an attack it mimics the sensation of dying, hard to intellectually convince yourself is not happening and apparently I’m not alone as it is the classic symptom you read on every blog dedicated to this affliction. IMHO the inability for neurotransmitters to efficiently cross the blood / brain barrier is a key factor, although some of the suggestion per Mark do help. Many believe cognitive behavioral therapy alone can eliminate panic attacks, although that did not work for me. I might write a post on an MDA forum one of these days about my (ongoing) journey trying to have a normal life and seek some feedback from others.

    Don’t mean to be a buzz kill … it is something that can be mitigated for sure, thanks for another great article Mark and everyone have a wonderful day!

    1. It’s called Agoraphobia. My mother had it. Ruined her life.

    2. Hi All,

      I suffered from panic disorder starting Jan 2015. It struck me out of the blue. I had had mild panic attacks before but they were limited to very specific situations, closed spaces (claustrophobia).

      I know what it feels like to have incessant, panic attacks for days on end and trying to talk yourself out of every thought that causes that attack. My panic attacks were so bad, I couldn’t fall asleep at night for a few days … I kept waking up every few minutes with panic, and it really felt like I was dying.

      That’s when I sought professional help. I was prescribed Xanax for starters.

      (To worsen things, my anxiety disorder morphed into depersonalization disorder.)

      I refused medication and did all forms of alternative healing. No, CBT didn’t help at all… It has been the most exhausting year of my life.

      BUT, 1 year on and I am totally FINE and NORMAL again, as I have always been!!! Though to be frank, my panic attacks decreased considerably within 6 months, and in 10 months they were limited to certain times of the day.

      This is what I did in short, every single day:

      Meditation, Yogic breathing (pranayama), Yoga, Constant Affirmations, Visualization, Calming music.

      Nutrition:

      Started eating a lot more healthy fats: Ghee, Butter, Avocados, Extra virgin olive oil, Almond milk.

      Ate bananas, yoghurt, eggs, a lot of vegetables.

      B-complex supplements, Calcium supplements, Mg supplements, Vit-D & C supplements.

      Got in a lot of sunshine.

      Slept as much as I felt like. (I felt so sleep-deprived and tired once I was able to fall asleep).

      Socialized more. Focused on my work.

      Hope this helps somebody out there!

      1. The eating healthy fats doesn’t surprise me that it helped – I have observed this in Vegan’s as they go steadily more and more phsycotic as the toll of fat restriction kicks in.

        It could be to do with not enough healthy fats in the diet, ie, not enough cholesterol also, leading to a brain breakdown,and lack of hormal production capacity due to a restricted diet.

  19. I’m not going to worry too much about that Chicken Broth study. Depending on where their tap water came from that could be a large part of any detectable lead in the broth. Flint, MI is the current focus, but many municipalities have a lead problem with their drinking water.
    As for stress/anxiety help… I was diagnosed with PTSD (16 years ago) and depression (25 years ago). Counseling and medication initially helped, but the only thing that has helped long-term is physical exertion (for me primarily yoga, dancing, walking, and strength training), and getting proper nutrition and sleep. It’s a constantly evolving balancing act of how to get all of that into my day in the right amounts, but it’s worth it. Meds just made me numb, and counseling is great but it can be difficult to find the right therapist. If I eat right, move enough, and get enough sleep I can usually nip any serious spirals of a relapse in the bud.

  20. Stress is a real physical response therefore, it creates a physical response. Increased heart rate, respiration even blood sugar. Stress make the body “gird its loins” to get ready for battle! I found that decreasing stress inducing foods/chemicals helped me. Caffeine was my stimulus. Decreasing not eliminating it helped me. Hey n=1.

  21. I also use the Headspace app; the anxiety, stress and sleep packs are really excellent. I do this early morning to clear my head and focus for the day. I walk most days, do either some resistance exercises or yoga, these all help to keep me on an equilibrium. I also agree with good sleep and eating well. I’m thinking of restarting dancing too for aerobic exercise to engage mind and body. It’s fun and I’ve just realised how much I miss it.

  22. Deep breaths. When tensed and stressed I’ve noticed my abs are tense with shallow breaths. I switch to long deep breathes at a rate of 8 per minute

  23. Stress is a deep thing. Why certain things affect us sub-optimally, why we continue to allow things to affect us even after we’ve become aware that it doesn’t serve us.

    When I am feeling stress, it’s usually from either a past situation my emotions are still stuck to, or self-created expectations about a coming situation. My mind is not present when I’m stressed. It’s stuck in the past or the future. Sometimes that alone can jolt me out of it. I might say to myself “why am I thinking about this like I know how it’s gonna turn out? Just allow the universe to work through me and be alert and aware as much as possible to honor whatever hand I’m dealt.” Other times I’ll become aware of my stressed mind and allow it to make a fool of itself–without judgement–by tracing its logic to the worst possible outcome of whatever I’m thinking about. When I see the worst case scenario unfolding in my mind’s eye, I then imagine myself dealing with it, with nobility, compassion, and acceptance. This sounds like a long process but it only takes a few seconds.

    Another way to look at anything stressful is to simply ask yourself “how is this situation serving me?” Perhaps we can step outside of the seriousness of it all for a moment and look at our context as a parable in which there is something for us to learn about ourselves. Usually the lesson lies in how we are handling the stress towards others and ourselves. There’s usually something positive to glean from an initially “negative” feeling.

    Sometimes stress is telling me to take a break, which is a great mechanism. I bless the stress because it may be telling you what you need. Interpreting the signals can be difficult but it is its own practice.

    Also, dont let the words “parable” and “blessing” scare you away. While I do approach this kind of thing from a spiritual point of view, it can be scrutinized psychologically or neuroscientifically to achieve the same results and benefits.

  24. Hi Mark, I started reading this blog about a month ago, really great work. Thanks for your efforts. Dealing with stress? 20 minutes of vipassana meditation every morning soon after I wake up has an amazing effect on mental calm/acuity with its effects lasting throughout the day.

  25. In the midst of grad school for psychology, I would conservatively say that 100% of us were struggling with anxiety, which happens when you have to fit 100 or so hours of work into a typical week. There was a point in which I felt that my brain was a worry vortex and would pull in whatever anxious thoughts (real or imagined) it could find. I remember quite vividly the feeling one night of watching something distracting on TV and not being able to be distracted by it. I knew I needed to change something. The major change I made was avoiding avoidance. Daily I would receive a slew of emails that made demands that were almost impossible to meet, so I avoided them. Avoidance is a terrible strategy for managing stress. I recall telling myself that day that I had survived up to that point (6 years into the program) and there was no reason to think that I would be stopped now. Whenever I saw an email from a supervisor I would have previously avoided, I would now click on it and consider how this would be solved. I still reach for this one when I’m with a family who’s struggling with something scary – telling myself I can handle what’s in front of me. I’m naturally pretty calm, so it’s a powerful tool for me.

    1. 100% of the psychology students were experiencing anxiety … ironic in a sense. 🙂

      1. Honestly, Hombre, the way grad school in general is structured, I think most grad students experience rather significant anxiety. But yes, psychologists are often pretty stinking weird.

  26. Mark,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question in your blog,
    I really appreciate it.
    Jen

  27. Hi! I love the primal lifestyle, but not everything, personally I dislike the removal of the grains, too much emphasis on low-carb, not enough emphasis on cardio like jogging – I stopped doing it when I went primal, now I’m back at it and really enjoy it – I wouldn’t recommend marksdailyapple to a friend straightaway, I’d say ‘be careful with this, there is incredible content but it can also drive you insane’
    What I’d like to see is more content for readers in Europe (I’m French) because sometimes the articles and references are too US-centric for me – which is fine! Anyone knows what is bone broth in France? I know we have a special dish for this but I can’t remember what it’s called
    Anyway thank you so much for this lifestyle, it’s just amazing (despite some flaws that should be fixed I think)

    1. Yes, I tend to take the “low carb obsession” with a grain of salt (pun intended) – but then Mark never really said to be obsessed, as per his 80-20 rule, ie, try and stick to the diet 80% of the time. Some people who “do low carb” are obsessed and freak any time thye go off it, and aim for 100%, this is just over the top,and quite unessessary.

      He also says 80-20 for exercise, so yes, do the odd cardio, just bear in mind that if you go into the “chronic cardio” zone it will probably have a back lash on your health (I have personally observed the effects). Mark certainy does beleive in “cardio” – try doing the 10-15 sprint session he advocates – surely that’s what some would call “cardio”, but a 40 minute spin class – maybe not.

      1. yes but there are some 20 years old guys out there who take the website literaly, they stop eating pasta, they eat tons of animal protein, they stop running and eventually they lose balance and end up more unhealthy than if they had just followed some common sense (hint: this has been my experience 😉 I’m 26 now)

        by cardio I mean just plain footing, putting your sneakers on and running slowly-moderate for 20 minutes, so no sprint or tabata or HIIT or anything :p just going for an easy run makes me feel so great – this idea of ‘chronic cardio danger’ is misleading for ordinary people I think and it makes them quitting running altogether unfortunately! ‘chronic cardio’ concept must be understood in the context of Mark being a former endurance athlete, so not the guy who goes for a run once in a while!

  28. Anxiety and stress: I sometimes use EFT, a tapping technique on acupressure points. One place it is described is on Dr. Mercola’s site.

  29. In my forties I have discovered my love of physical labor. Digging holes, weeding, lifting heavy chicken coops and bringing them to new places.
    That doesn’t mean that I don’t love getting my hands on a barbell every once in a while.
    But there is something to be said for repetitive physical tasks (for a limited time).

  30. Triggering an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) can help with stress, there should be a link explaining what this is in my name below. Works for me and a lot of people I know.