Category: Recent Articles

What We Can Learn from World’s Longest Living Populations

Why do some people live well into their nineties with zero health problems, while others get sidelined by diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune conditions? Sure, your genes play a role, but it’s your lifestyle that pulls the biggest lever. If you’ve followed the Primal Blueprint for more than a minute, you know it’s possible to reprogram your genes, regardless of what health struggles your parents or their parents faced. As a health coach, and someone who fully intends to become a centenarian one day, I’m fascinated by cultures who have their diet and lifestyle totally dialed in. Take the Blue Zones, for instance. These regions are spread throughout the world — but it’s not where they’re located that’s so important, it’s more about what the locals do on the daily that makes the biggest impact on their health. What’s Up with Blue Zones? Named by Dan Buettner, the National Geographic journalist who studied them, Blue Zones are five regions where people are known to live healthier and longer than anywhere else in the world, reaching the age of 100 at a significantly greater rate than most folks living in North America. Despite being scattered throughout the globe (the zones are in Greece, Italy, Japan, Costa Rica, and southern California), they share nine key lifestyle habits, including: Move naturally Have a clear sense of purpose Manage stress Eat ‘til you’re 80% full Consume a plant-based diet (stay with me here…) Drink in moderation Be part of a community Put family first Maintain a fulfilling social life I’m not saying you should drop your carnivore diet for one rich in grains and legumes, but you can’t argue with the fact that certain behavioural, societal, and environmental factors play a huge role in health and lifespan.   Is It Genetics or Lifestyle? The study that fueled Buettner’s research was this one published in 1996, which evaluated 2872 pairs of Danish twins over a thirty-year period. Researchers looked at a variety of genetic and lifestyle influences and determined that only about 20% of how long you live is dictated by your genes, where the other 80% is all about lifestyle. Since then, more and more studies continue to roll out confirming his findings. Like this one that analyzed the DNA methylation levels of 318 men and women, ages 65-105, revealing that epigenetic control in aging had less to do with the participants’ chronological age and more to do with how they lived their life. Not only that, recent studies exposed the grim consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing how factors including stress, isolation, and lacking purpose had a direct correlation to a decline in mental and physical health. According to research, loneliness shaves fifteen years off your life expectancy – roughly the same impact as being obese or smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Since Buettner’s research has been out, several cities have adopted the Blue Zone principals and seen dramatic results. They’ve implemented these nine secrets of longevity to make it easier … Continue reading “What We Can Learn from World’s Longest Living Populations”

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Try It or Toss It: Mythbusters for 4 Wellness Trends

The ability of the human population to produce unending reams of utterly nonsensical health and wellness trends is unparalleled. Never content to rest on our laurels, humankind feels compelled to come up with some wellness trend or another. Some of the motivation is financial—it’s hard to sell the old tried-and-true methods that really do work. Some of the motivation is curiosity—people love trying new things, no matter how silly they sound. And most of the motivation is probably sheer frustration—most people get health and wellness wrong, and very little of it actually works, so there’s always plenty of consumers ready to consume wellness content.

But still, you can’t write it off. You have to bust the wellness myths, and not just to steer people away from the stuff that doesn’t work, but also to sift through the garbage to find the nuggets of truth that occasionally emerge.

So today I’m going to cover a few of them. If it works out, if you people like it, I’ll do some more in the future.

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School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters, Prolific Primal Eaters, and All Kids in Between

The back-to-school season is always bittersweet. Emotionally, it’s a tug-of-war between relief that the kids are returning to school, anguish that the summer is already over, and dread at the thought of having to get the kids out of the house on time every morning.

Primal parents often feel torn on the issue of school lunches. On the one hand, we generally like to control what our kids eat. On the other hand, packing lunch every morning is a grind. By my count, I’ve packed somewhere north of 2,500 lunches since my eldest started school, and I only have two kids who aren’t even in high school yet. (I just calculated this for the first time. That number makes me want to go take a nap!)

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Gluten-free Lemon Caper Chicken Recipe

The star of this lemon caper chicken recipe is a simple sauce with bold, memorable flavor. Three easy ingredients – capers, parsley, and butter, plus one secret ingredient (the brine from the caper jar) come together into a rich and piquant sauce that will have you licking the plate.

The versatile sauce pairs well with chicken breast, but if you have a little more time on your hands the sauce can certainly be served with thicker skin-on chicken breasts or thighs, a pork chop or tenderloin, a pan-seared fillet of fish or roasted vegetables.

Here’s how to make it.

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week — Edition 141

Research of the Week

More flavonoids, less cognitive decline (not the first time research has found such a connection).

Natural COVID infection seems to be pretty protective against future COVID infection.

Anemia on the rise in America.

Speaking of flavonoids, fisetin (a flavonoid found in apples, cucumbers, and strawberries) reduced COVID mortality in mice.

Using math to predict divorce.

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Ask a Health Coach: Common Nutrition Myths Debunked

Hey folks! This week Erin is shedding light on the truth behind common nutrition myths – everything from the “8 glasses of water per day” rule to the benefits of longer fasts and the best forms of exercise. Got more questions? We love getting them, so post yours below in the comments section or over in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group.   Jaime asked: “I always hear that I should be drinking eight glasses of water a day, but it takes a lot of unnatural effort to get close to that. Is it just me? What’s your take on the water rule?” The body has a miraculous system for preventing dehydration. It’s called thirst. So, that 8-glasses-of-water rule you’ve been trying to follow? It’s fine if you like doing it, but probably not essential. Drinking 8 glasses of water – or half your bodyweight in ounces of water – is one of the most common nutrition myths out there. It’s based on outdated guidelines from the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board that said people should consume roughly 2.5 liters of water a day (and here’s the part most people missed), the majority of it coming from food. That being said, it might be easier to eat your way to better hydration rather than guzzle it from your water bottle. Here are a few of my favorite hydrating foods if you choose to go that route: Cucumber Celery Tomatoes Lettuce Zucchini Watermelon Berries With everyone toting around their high-tech water bottles, chugging gallons of water at the gym, and gushing over their favorite filtration systems, it seems the hydration mandate has been burned into our subconscious. Conventional wisdom has us believing that if we’re not drinking non-stop, we’ll be subject to constipation, kidney stones, UTIs, and unneeded hunger (spoiler alert: if you feel hungry, you just might actually be hungry, not thirsty, like you might have heard). Instead of force-drinking your daily H2O, try tapping into these things first. Notice when your lips get dry. Or when your throat gets a little scratchy. That’s your body giving you not-so-subtle signals that you’re thirsty. Respond accordingly. Drink some water or have a piece of fruit. Heck, you could even have a cup of coffee or tea since caffeine causing dehydration is another nutrition myth. Pay attention to your conditions. Did you just come back from a long run? Do you live in a hot or humid location or at a higher altitude? There’s a good chance you need to hydrate. Use sea salt or electrolytes. Especially if you follow a keto or low-carb diet. This article has tons of great info on why it’s important. Long story short: a hydration plan is not just about drinking water.   Martine asked: “I’ve been doing keto for a while and still can’t seem to go more than 12 hours before I get hungry. Might be all the walking I do, but it sure would be nice to fast longer. Any advice?” I love … Continue reading “Ask a Health Coach: Common Nutrition Myths Debunked”

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