Category: Recent Articles
Research of the Week
The genetic basis for rhythm.
Tennis is linked to longevity. Playing, not watching.
Neanderthal and Denisovan blood groups.
A 5 day water-only fast improved metabolic biomarkers in adults.
There is such a thing as too much free time.
Feeling tired all the time? You’re not alone. Turns out 60% of folks say they’re more exhausted now than they were in their pre-pandemic days. And sleep is only part of the equation. We live in a high-achieving, chronically fatigued culture. One of the reasons being that we’re constantly bombarded by the message that productivity is the ultimate goal in life. We’re socially rewarded for crushing it whenever and wherever possible: More reps at the gym… More calories torched… More emails sent… More to-dos to do… You get the picture. The Downside of Keeping Up Even if you love what you do, the pressures to keep up with the modern world can leave you feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically drained. As a health coach, I see this all the time. My clients come to me foggy and fatigued, falling asleep in front of the TV, snapping at their kids, and chronically over caffeinating. And the conventional recommendation to “get more sleep” just hasn’t cut it. Signs you might be running on empty: Lack of concentration Being easily agitated Confusion Cravings Coping with food or alcohol Anxiety or depression Overwhelm According to physician, researcher, and author, Saundra Dalton-Smith, there’s a big difference between sleep and rest. She says, “If you’re waking up and still exhausted, the issue probably isn’t sleep.” And there are seven areas of rest we’re collectively not getting enough of: Physical rest. This isn’t about getting to bed earlier; it’s about resting your body in a way that’s rejuvenating. Think yoga, stretching, deep breathing exercises, even napping. Mental rest. Your mind needs a break too, especially if you tend to chew on past conversations, plan for future what-ifs, or have trouble turning your brain off at night. Sensory rest. Computers, phones, group texts, notifications, notifications, alarms. It’s no surprise our senses (and our central nervous systems) are overtaxed. Creative rest. If you struggle during brainstorm sessions or couldn’t come up with a new idea to save your life, you’re probably overdue for a creative time out. Emotional rest. Keeping things bottled up, people-pleasing, or not being real about how you’re feeling can lead to emotional overload. Social rest. Some friends lift you up and some drag you down. Be aware of which relationships are fulfilling and which are exhausting. Spiritual rest. Feeling disconnected, lonely, or lacking purpose? Spiritual rest or connection might be what you’re lacking. The True Power of Rest As a society, we have a real problem with not being in “go mode” all the time. And I don’t just mean taking more days off work, although studies show that Americans have an average of nine unused vacation days per year. And on the days they do take off, workers admit to obsessively checking and responding to emails. As a high achiever myself, I know how hard it is to shut things down . I am physically uncomfortable in the presence of low productivity or what I perceived in myself as laziness. But researchers agree … Continue reading “Overworked and Under Rested: The Real Reason You’re So Tired”
Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around my neighbor’s trampoline. It was an unsafe, wide open, enormous monstrosity of a trampoline. There was no net (this was the 60s after all), the springs were exposed and really good at snagging errant body parts, and it was conveniently located right next to a 5 foot wall that we’d jump from. I mean, how could you not? It was right there.
You’d bounce for hours, you’d bounce till your calves were on fire. You’d spend hours trying to perfect the front flip, and then the back flip. You’d have death matches where you and another guy would fly at each other from opposite ends of the trampoline, colliding in mid air and trying to knock the other on his back. We called it jousting.
Thankfully, there were no catastrophic injuries. No concussions, no hyperextended knees, no torn ligaments. I can’t even recall a broken bone.
I was researching natural remedies for some dental problems I’ve been experiencing, and I came across the idea of chewing mastic gum. The more I looked into it, the more supposed benefits I discovered. I’m intrigued! Before I try it for myself, have you looked into mastic gum at all? What’s your take?
— Bill W.
Thanks for the question. Yes, I have looked into mastic gum, and there’s something to it. Looking back, I’m surprised I haven’t written about it already. A bunch of research suggests that mastic gum might help not only with oral health but also with a variety of other issues, including:
Mastic gum came back on my radar recently with the renewed interest in proper breathing, spurred by Wim Hof and the publication of books like James Nestor’s Breath. To make a long story short, modern humans’ facial anatomy has changed significantly since the advent of farming and grain-based diets. As food got mushier, jaws became weaker, faces narrower, and airways more constricted. The end result is that although humans evolved to breathe almost exclusively through their noses, many people chronically mouth breathe now, potentially contributing to a host of modern health problems.
Now that the world is opening back up (well… in some places), we’re eating out more, going to more parties, and returning to a “new” new normal that sometimes leaves us (or our partners) struggling to find balance. In this week’s Ask a Health Coach, Erin is here to answer your questions about all this, plus much more. Got something to ask? Post your question in the comments or in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group.
You care about what goes in your body, right? Read food labels? Avoid questionable ingredients? Invest in the best quality animal products and produce you can? Well then, it only makes sense to care about what goes on your body as well. It’s easy to treat skin health like it’s somehow separate from overall health—as if the important stuff happens inside your body, and the skin just holds it all together. You may take steps to keep it looking youthful and prevent burning, but do you consider skin care part of your wellness routine? Perhaps not, unless skin conditions force you to think about it. Yet, skin is your largest organ. It’s a major gatekeeper of what does and does not enter your body. We know now that the skin hosts a living microbiome that not only protects skin health but also plays a role in systemic immunity and inflammation. Mark has touched on safer skincare in the past, but today I’m offering up something a little different. What if I told you that you can use one product to clean and moisturize your skin and fry your eggs in the morning? It’s true. Oil cleansing is nothing new in the natural beauty space. Heck, people were using oil to wash their faces and bodies thousands of years ago. More people have become interested in it in recent years because it is a staple of Korean skincare routines, which have exploded in popularity worldwide. (Maybe you’ve noticed how you can find sheet masks in practically every store now? Thank the influence of Korean skincare, or “K-beauty,” for that too.) While oil cleansing can be as simple as washing your face with whatever cooking oil you have in the kitchen, there’s a little more to it than that. Here’s what you need to know to get started. Oil Cleansing: What is It, and Why Should You Try It? Very simply, oil cleansing takes advantage of the “like attracts like” principle of chemistry. When you wash your face, the goal is not only to remove dirt but also excess sebum and oil-based makeup, sunscreen, and environmental pollutants. Sebum is an oily or waxy substance secreted by sebaceous glands in your skin, especially on the face and scalp. It’s part of your skin’s natural defense system, but it can also build up on the skin, become trapped in follicles, and contribute to acne. We all know oil and water repel each other, which means water is not the most effective way to remove oily substances from the skin. To combat this, the soap and cleansers you’ll find in the skincare aisle of the drugstore use surfactants and other ingredients that can irritate and dry out the skin. Oil cleansing works because the oil binds with the grime on your skin so you can wipe it away more easily. For those with sensitive skin, the biggest benefit may be what oil doesn’t contain: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, dyes, fragrances, and other suspect ingredients. This … Continue reading “Oil Cleansing: The Best Natural Skincare Technique You Haven’t Tried Yet”