Category: Recent Articles

Weekly Link Love — Edition 116

Research of the Week
More wine and cheese, less cognitive decline.

Kids born large for gestational age are at a higher risk for type 1 diabetes.

More climatic variation in the ancient world, higher-trust societies today.

In heart disease patients, LDL isn’t linked to cardiovascular or total mortality.

Drinking tea and coffee are protective.

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The Art of Boredom: How to Do it Right

“I’m boooored.”

We’ve all uttered it. If you’re a parent, you’ve heard it a thousand times. And even now, as an adult, you’ve felt it—even if you didn’t say it like a whiny seven year old.

What I’m realizing is that we got boredom totally wrong. Boredom is actually a gift.

I look back on those long summers in the 60s and they’re some of the greatest of my life, even though I was “bored” for much of the time. Days that stretched forever. “Nothing to do.” Minutes moving like glaciers. But those were the days where I was forged, where who I am today began asserting itself.

When I was bored, I learned to navigate the rugged coasts of the tiny Maine fishing village I called home. When I was bored, I figured out how to make money mowing lawns and painting houses. When I was bored, I discovered my athletic potential and set the stage for my eventual career in health and fitness. I didn’t have any choice—there weren’t any video games, iPads, or streaming media networks to distract me.

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How to Quit Sweets, for Real This Time

By far, the number one complaint I hear from people who are trying to upgrade their diets is that they can’t seem to ditch sweets. Even once they’re comfortable eating a Primal or keto diet, sweet cravings still hang around like a devil on their shoulder, whispering that they should go ahead and “cheat.” I’m using the term “sweets” here to encompass the wide world of candy, baked desserts (cookies, cakes, cupcakes), ice cream, donuts—that sort of thing. Let’s throw soda and sugary breakfast cereals on the pile, too. You know what I’m talking about: the sweet-tasting, uber-palatable foods we categorize as treats in the modern diet. Note that I’m specifically not using the term “carbs” here—as in, “I need to quit eating carbs”—for several reasons. One, “carbs” is not really a type of food, it’s a macronutrient. Second, the way most people use the term, they also mean savory grain-based foods like bread and pasta. Certainly, lots of people crave those foods, and most of what I say here will apply to grains, too, but the focus is on sweets because that’s where most people have a harder time. Third, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and even things like mollusks contain carbohydrates. People aren’t grappling with those. But lots of people struggle to stop eating sweets. It’s why there are so many books and influencers promoting sugar detoxes, promising to help you break free of sugar cravings forever in three days, five days, a week. Of course, if it was simple, quick, and unambiguously rewarding to cut sweets from your diet, we wouldn’t need so many programs. No, You’re Not Just Weak Before getting into it, I want to validate that eliminating sweets from your diet can be very difficult. This might seem like a no duh, but I see so many people spiral into shame, guilt, and self-recrimination when they struggle. They believe it “should” be easy, if only they were stronger or more determined. “If I were just ‘better,’” they think, “I wouldn’t experience such strong cravings, and I definitely wouldn’t give in to them.” They reproach themselves as if we aren’t hard-wired as humans to seek out quick and easy energy. As if we aren’t all surrounded by messaging and advertising that encourages us to indulge in foods that have been manufactured to be hyperpalatable. As if most of us haven’t learned through a lifetime of associations to use these foods for comfort and pleasure. I’m not saying your efforts to quit sweets are doomed to failure, nor that you shouldn’t take responsibility for health. You can and should do hard things that help you achieve your goals. However, I firmly believe that unrealistic expectations cause a ton of angst and are a major reason people give up. When they inevitably struggle and stumble, people shame-spiral and quit instead of dusting themselves off and taking another step forward. In the spirit of having realistic expectations, I’ll tell you up up front that I don’t have the one … Continue reading “How to Quit Sweets, for Real This Time”

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Your 80-Year-Old Self as Your Life Coach

Four years ago, I had a memorable interview with retired Olympic triathlon gold (’00) and silver (’08) medalist Simon Whitfield. As we sat on the rocks overlooking the bay in his hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, Simon offered deep insights about an evolved approach to endurance training, and life. I asked him about the often-difficult transition from being wholly focused on Olympic gold for nearly 20 years to pursuing recreational fitness goals. Simon mentioned his passion for extreme standup paddling, where he solos for hours way out into the ocean, careful to avoid the shipping lanes where giant container ships which could easily suck him and his board into the abyss. Simon is one of the most reflective athletes you’ll ever see, and he emphasized the need for balance and sensibility at length during the interview. This exclusive footage is available as part of the Primal Endurance Mastery Course, but we excerpted one of the great sound bites of all time on this YouTube clip: “Today, I’m coached by my eighty-year-old self.” Striving for Olympic gold entails obsessing about making incremental gains that have nothing to do with health, and would surely make anyone’s 80-year-old self cringe. On the outside, 45-year-old Simon looks like he could still line up at the Olympic triathlon start line, paddling, yoga, and sensible fitness endeavors have taken the place of the extreme stuff. With his 80-year-old self calling the shots, Simon is now honoring his ideals to, “…be aware of self regulation, including moderation,” and knowing when to, “…turn the dial back a little bit to give my mental well being a chance to recover.” Along these lines, I enjoyed listening to Dr. Peter Attia on a School of Greatness podcast episode describe how his training decisions today are informed by his goal of participating in his personal “Centenarian Olympics.” These are physical feats he wants to be able to complete when he turns 100. Attia mentioned hoisting himself out of a swimming pool, hopping over a three-foot fence, squatting with a kettlebell of similar weight to a grandchild, and so forth (he promised to convey all 18 in his long awaited book about health and longevity.) Honoring your 80-year-old self and setting distinct performance goals along the way is a beautiful way to inform your day-to-day workout decisions, not to mention all other life decisions. I’m reflecting on the concept more than ever as I battle a minor knee injury that’s been messing with beloved sprinting and jumping workouts for several months. After participating in a real track meet for the first time in years in early 2020, I became enamored (okay obsessed!) with the high jump. I ramped up my workouts ambitiously and made great progress for six months. Whenever I show up at the track for a full-scale workout of jumping drills, short all-out sprints, and high jump technique practice, I am super-excited and able to deliver a peak performance. One time my college athlete son joined me for my … Continue reading “Your 80-Year-Old Self as Your Life Coach”

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Gluten Free Lasagna with Celery Root (Celeriac) Noodles

We all have foods we miss when we ditch wheat, and lasagna tops the list for a lot of us. Think about it – it’s the ultimate comfort food: gooey cheese, zingy sauce, meat if you like, sometimes your favorite vegetables, all layered between stacks of tender noodles. Well, pull out that lasagna pan because this recipe is going feel completely indulgent. This celery root lasagna is the real deal, without the brain fog and digestive discomfort you get from grains. Even the most carb-addicted, pasta-loving person you know ask for seconds. In place of noodles, we’ll use thin sheets of celery root, a vegetable with a mild flavor and tender texture that does a fine job of impersonating a lasagna noodle. Never had celery root before? Let’s get to know celery root, or celeriac, a little better. What is celery root? Celery root, or celeriac, is a bulbous root vegetable with a bumpy skin and flesh like a firm potato. Their neutral flavor makes them versatile – you can roast them, mash them, they hold up to stews and slow-cooking, and when sliced, they make a great replacement for lasagna noodles. What does celery root taste like? Celery root has a texture similar to a parsnip and a neutral flavor that resembles a potato with a subtle celery qualtiy. Its subtle flavor makes it play well in a wide variety of dishes, and it holds up well as a pasta replacement. Is celery root keto? How many carbs are in celery root, or celeriac? Celery root contains 3 net carbs per 1/2 cup, which makes it a great addition to a keto lifestyle. People use it as a replacement for noodles, potatoes, and other higher carb root vegetables because of it’s neutral flavor and versatility. Do you have to peel celery root? The skin is fibrous and earthy, so it’s best to peel celery root and cook with the tender flesh. Time to give it a try in your new favorite lasagna recipe. Gluten Free Lasagna with Celery Root (Celeriac) Noodles Recipe Ingredients 1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil, divided 4-6 assorted tomatoes, cut into wedges 1/2 cup chopped red onion 3 cloves minced garlic 3 cloves garlic, smashed 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. black pepper 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano 2 tbsp. tomato paste 2-3 tbsp. broth 2 tbsp. fresh basil 3 large or 4 medium celery roots 2 tbsp. Butter 1.5 cups garlic marinara sauce 1/2 lb. shredded mozzarella 3 tbsp. parmigiano-reggiano cheese Directions Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss your smashed garlic and sliced tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lay on a parchment covered sheet pan. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until they are soft and a bit caramelized. While the tomatoes are roasting, fill a pot with water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Wash your celery roots well and peel them. Slice them into very thin squares that are at … Continue reading “Gluten Free Lasagna with Celery Root (Celeriac) Noodles”

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Weekly Link Love — Edition 115

Research of the Week
People are getting work done to make them look better on Zoom calls.

Less cortisol, more insulin sensitivity.

Humans drank milk before they could digest it.

Are phytosterols behind a lot of heart disease?

In Israel, CoQ10 is the supplement most strongly linked to less COVID severity.

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