Category: Recent Articles

How to Read Food Labels

Grocery shopping can be a tad overwhelming, especially when you’re trying a new way of eating. Primal, paleo, keto, Whole30, vegetarian, vegan—they all have their own set of guidelines about what foods are “allowed” and which you should limit or avoid.

Front-of-package food labels allow you to scan the shelves at your supermarket and quickly gather information about products. Depending on which diet or food plan you’re following, you might decide whether or not to grab an item based on:

Food type or ingredients: whether it contains grains, animal products, nightshades, added sugar, etc.
Macronutrient profile: low-carb, low-fat, keto
How ingredients were grown or harvested: organic versus conventional, wild versus farmed, and so on

Decoding food labels can be tricky, though. Some claims are subject to strict labeling standards, but others are buzzwords meant to draw your attention and make you think that a product is healthy. “Natural” is a good example of the latter. It sounds like something you’d want, but the term isn’t regulated, so ultimately it doesn’t signify anything specific.

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Warm Spinach Salad Recipe

“Warm” and “salad” might not be two words you’d normally associate, but we promise you that this warm spinach salad recipe has the goods!

This high-protein salad boasts colorful, nutrient-dense veggies and healthy fats. Roughly chopping the greens ensures that you get bite-sized greens in every delicious bite, and the crispy bacon, crunchy apples, and perfectly roasted butternut squash are downright delightful together.

It’s is also very versatile and customizable. Spinach salad is a classic, but any greens—baby kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, or a combination—will work here. Instead of butternut squash, substitute delicata squash or kabocha. Swap out the walnuts for pecans or pine nuts and the goat cheese for feta. Try it with ranch dressing instead of honey mustard. You can’t go wrong. Once you get the warm spinach salad experience, you’ll want to try loads of different variations.

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 170

Research of the Week

Artificial sweeteners have faint links to increased cancer risks.

COVID seems to increase the risk of diabetes.

Africans were eating olives 100,000 years ago (at least).

In middle adulthood, raising HDL and lowering blood sugar seems to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Now, how does one do that?

Minerals are important but balance is vital.

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Primal Guide to Bulking

So you want to gain some weight, some mass. You want more muscle. You want to bulk up. And you want to do it in a healthy way within the context of the Primal Blueprint, but aren’t sure where to start. Most popular bulking advice consists of eating everything in sight—dirty bulking with fast food, TV dinners, PB&J, peanut butter on the spoon, whatever you have on hand. That’s not the way, folks.

As I’ve made pretty clear, our ultimate goal is to achieve positive gene expression, functional strength, optimum health, and extended longevity. In other words: To make the most out of the particular gene set you inherited.

These are my end goals, and I’ve modeled the Primal Blueprint Laws with them in mind. But that doesn’t mean packing on extra muscle can’t happen with additional input. After I retired from a life of chronic cardio and started living Primally, I added 15 pounds of muscle, while keeping low body fat levels without really trying, so it’s absolutely possible for a hardgainer to gain some. The question is how much and at what expense?

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Dear Mark: Colostrum

For today’s Dear Mark, I’m answering a reader question about whether colostrum supplements are worth trying. Let’s get right into it.

Dear Mark,

A buddy of mine has been taking colostrum powder for a few months now. He swears it’s helping him bulk up in the gym. I’m training for a century ride this summer and he says I should start using colostrum for leg strength. Ever since he mentioned it I feel like I’m seeing more fitness types talking about it on social media too. I’d love to get your take before shelling out the money. Thanks Mark!
Ah yes, your phone heard you talking about colostrum. Now your social media feed is full of colostrum posts, and you want to know if it’s legit or just another empty promise.

Colostrum, as you might know, is the “first milk” that mammals produce in the two to three days after giving birth. Compared to regular milk, colostrum is particularly rich in antibodies, enzymes, growth factors, and other nutrients all designed to protect the newborn and kickstart their immune system and digestion. If you were breastfed at birth, you received colostrum from your mother. Colostrum that you buy as a supplement is almost always bovine (cow) colostrum, usually in powder or capsule form.

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Philly Cheesesteak (with Optional Primal Cheddar Cheese Sauce)

Savory, smokey, and dripping with creamy cheese, the Philly cheesesteak is an iconic loaded sandwich made traditionally with beefsteak, a hoagie roll, and oodles of melted cheese. We skipped the roll and redid the cheese sauce recipe for a Primal take on this Pennsylvania local favorite! Not totally authentic, granted, but delicious nonetheless.

You really can’t go wrong with thinly sliced steak topped with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, and peppers. Sear the thinly sliced steak for only a minute, sauté the mushrooms and peppers until tender, and cook the onions until brown and sweet.

Pile it all high on plate—Philly cheesesteak isn’t about dainty serving sizes—and enjoy!

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