For today’s Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First up, I discuss the latest study claiming that red meat will kill us all. Or maybe it’ll be killing roughly half of us all, seeing as how this paper concerns red meat and women’s breast cancer risk. Next, I give my position on the “net carbs” issue. Do we subtract fiber, leave it as is, or do something else entirely? And finally, I talk a lot about the importance of getting enough sunlight. But what happens when getting enough sun isn’t the problem? What can an outdoor worker do about too much sun?
We don’t take credit for everything, of course, but the fact remains that the Primal/ancestral health community has been championing principles that directly oppose the conventional wisdom for nearly a decade. And while serious researchers have been paying attention to and studying these issues individually for years, no one had really synthesized them under the evolutionary umbrella. Now that our movement is becoming more popular and the scientific case for its principles more solid than ever, denying that a bit of sun might be good for you or that sitting is killing you slowly or that eggs aren’t deadly after all is no longer tenable.
Yes, Primal health principles and positions are getting mainstream recognition. Let’s take a look at some of the major ones.
How does sun exposure relate to skin cancer risk?
The simplistic, popular story is that sunlight exposure has a linear relationship with cancer, similar to how we view smoking. None is safest and each additional minute in the sun will increase our chance of getting cancer. Many people (maybe most) therefore live in a world with danger lurking beyond every shadow, umbrella, overhang, and roof. You let your kid go outside without a layer of sunblock so thick he looks like he’s been smashed in the face with a whip cream pie, and you’re a terrible mother. And don’t even think about the beach unless you’re wearing a burqa. It’s even got a scary name: ultraviolet radiation. Radiation! Isn’t that the stuff inside nucular bombs?
Last week, I walked you through the typical day of someone pulling out all the stops in the pursuit of a perfect night’s sleep. Today, I’m going to show you how to optimize the pursuit of another vital factor in our health: sun exposure. Unlike sleep, too much sunlight can hurt you if given enough time and the improper context. As much as we like to chuckle at the people scurrying for the shadows at the first hint of UV, and those that slather on 100 SPF sunblock at 5 PM, taking certain precautions and getting correct dosage is crucial. This is something I have to be particularly mindful of here in sunny southern California.
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another edition of Dear Mark. This time, I’m covering three topics. First up is optimal protein intake for breastfeeding and pregnant women. I’m not sure how I forgot to include those groups in last week’s protein post, but I did, and you guys called me out on it. Then, I discuss several different topical supplements you can try for reducing UV-induced skin damage. There may be damage that simply can’t be reversed, but I suspect you can improve the situation to some extent. And finally, I field a question from a reader who’s worried about eggs being inflammatory. It seems he’s just read a book whose author classifies over 2,000 foods by their “inflammation factor,” and eggs scored really, really low (i.e. bad).
Let’s get to it:
Today’s edition of “Dear Mark” runs the gamut. The topics will be somewhat familiar, since I tackle wheat, minimalist shoes, high-fat diets in the news, and vitamin D, but with interesting spins on each. First, I discuss the link between wheat and asthma. Next, I do a somewhat exhaustive search of the available winter minimalist shoe options, a topic that I’ve never had cause to explore for myself. Since I do this for you guys, though, I tried to help out. After that, it’s my quick but (in my mind) pretty conclusive take on the latest article to pin cognitive decline on a high-fat diet for a reader who’s dealing with a similar condition herself (or himself; the gender of the name “Jo” is somewhat ambiguous). And finally, I discuss whether or not there’s a best time of day to obtain vitamin D from the sun.
Let’s get going: