Hypertension is a problem. It raises the risk of heart disease; it’s one of the most consisten...
It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.
Lucky me. I’ve been fit and happy my whole life; always followed what I believed were healthful ways-of-eating along with workout plans that made me feel great and kept my body trim. And, for a long time I was really in shape. But, little by little I was amping up my cardio as well as my carbs, and I would reason this madness by thinking I had earned more carbs through working out so hard. At one point I was doing five Spin classes a week, along with an hour plus of weights 4 times a week, plus running, and whatever else I could throw in the mix.
I was sailing along pretty great until I turned 50. Then my Father called to tell me he had 4th Stage Bladder Cancer, and a couple of months later, he passed away. We were very close so I was immediately plunged into instant adrenal fatigue. It was so bad at one point that I registered zero adrenaline, even when confronted with a terrifying situation. I was gaining weight in spite of all my workouts, not to mention that I wasn’t eating much. Huh? One day, I was driving my car on the freeway when another car blew one of its front tires and came careening toward me and a friend. I had no reaction, just turned the wheel to avoid the accident while my friend was screaming his head off. That was my turning point. I knew I had to address my adrenal fatigue and change how I ate and worked out.Read More
Although mainstream sources still mistake “the brain needs glucose” for “the brain can only run on glucose,” regular MDA readers know the truth: given sufficient adaptation, the brain can derive up to 75% of its fuel from ketone bodies, which the liver constructs using fatty acids. If we could only use glucose, we wouldn’t make it longer than a few days without food. If our brains couldn’t utilize fat-derived ketones, we’d drop dead as soon as our liver had exhausted its capacity to churn out glucose. We’d waste away, our lean tissue dissolving into amino acids for hepatic conversion into glucose to feed our rapacious brains. You’d end up a skeletal wraith with little else but your brain and a hypertrophied liver remaining until, eventually, the latter cannibalized itself in a last ditch search for glucose precursors for the tyrant upstairs. It would get ugly.Read More
A frittata is the perfect meal any time of day, cold or hot, eaten with a knife and fork or with your hands. It’s the type of dish a person is tempted to use as a receptacle for leftovers, throwing in bits of meat and cooked vegetables, wilted herbs and an old knob of cheese. It’s hard to go wrong with a frittata, but if you want to go really, really right, this is the recipe.
The sweet and earthy flavors of winter squash, leeks and Swiss chard swirl together here in a frittata with a creamy, custard-like texture. The secret to the heavenly texture is full-fat dairy; without it, frittatas often have the texture of a kitchen sponge. Dairy isn’t for everyone, but if you tolerate dairy well, then there’s no reason to abstain. Full-fat dairy has more than just rich, delicious flavor to offer.
In this frittata recipe, crème fraiche adds amazing flavor and texture, although the same amount of yogurt, cream, or grated cheese can be substituted. And if this frittata has too many veggies for you and not enough meat, then go ahead and add some prosciutto or cooked bacon. You won’t be sorry.Read More
There’s a good reason so many people (mostly the sugar-burners, whose disparate group includes fruitarians, veg*ans, HEDers, body-builders, most MDs, the USDA and virtually every RD program in the country) can’t seem to grasp why a lower carb, Primal approach to eating is a better choice for health and fitness: their fundamental paradigm – the core theory that underpins everything else in that belief system – is flawed. They remain slaves to the antiquated notion that glucose is the king of fuels, so they live their lives in a fear of running low. The truth is, fat is the preferred fuel of human metabolism and has been for most of human evolution. Under normal human circumstances, we actually require only minimal amounts of glucose, most or all of which can be supplied by the liver as needed on a daily basis. The simple SAD fact that carbs/glucose are so readily available and cheap today doesn’t mean that we should depend on them as a primary source of fuel or revere them so highly. In fact, it is this blind allegiance to the “Carb Paradigm” that has driven so many of us to experience the vast array of metabolic problems that threaten to overwhelm our health care system.Read More
Overburdened doctors sure do love tangible targets, like lipid numbers. They’re easy to hit with drugs. There’s no guesswork – statins and the like actually do lower cholesterol (whether that’s helpful or harmful is the question) – and that makes a physician’s life simpler. Oh, sure, lifestyle changes work, but most patients won’t bother trying them (especially when the changes you prescribe are founded in faulty science and no fun following). Doctors can usually get patients to take a pill.
There’s yet another cholesterol-busting wonder drug on the coming horizon called anacetrapib. A recent eighteen-month trial found that it boosted HDL (from 40 to 101) 138% greater than placebo and slashed LDL (from 81 to 45) 40% better than placebo in patients already taking statins by hampering the effects of the CETP enzyme. Another potent CETP-inhibitor – torcetrapib – made similar headlines in 2006 when it boosted HDL and reduced LDL like nothing else before it, but those headlines were overshadowed when 60% excess mortality occurred in people taking the drug versus those on placebo. So far, anacetrapib seems safe enough, but I’m not holding my breath. I tend to get a little uneasy when we change a single variable and mess with enzymatic pathways in a very complex closed system, with a single goal (raise that HDL, drop that LDL!) in mind. Focusing on numbers that are largely an indication of your lifestyle without doing anything about the lifestyle itself is like pissing into the wind: quite often, it’ll splash all over you, and you’re lucky if it’s just the shoes.Read More
Zero carb is getting (relatively) popular. A handful of valued MDA forum members eat little-to-no-carb, and several others probably imagine it’s ideal even if they don’t personally follow it. I wanted to address this because there seems to be some confusion as to how a zero carb eating plan relates to the Primal Blueprint eating plan. To begin with: I think zero carb can be a viable option for some, but highly impractical for most. If one had access to and ate different animals, all range fed and without pollutants, and if one ate all offal (and stomach contents) it’s possible to approach zero carb… but again highly impractical. If you really, really love meat and fat and offal, and get genuine enjoyment from eating nothing but meat and fat and offal, have at it. On the other hand, if you are looking for a wider variety – and gustatory enjoyment – of the foods you eat, zero carb may be unenjoyable, impractical, unnecessary, and at worst (if not done just right) downright dangerous.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the reasons why vegetables are a part of The Primal Blueprint:Read More
I’m trying to understand how glucose that’s created by proteins and fats is used and stored. Is that ~200g of glycogen stored in the muscles to be used for exercise, or is it stored in the liver and used to fuel the brain and “day-to-day” functions? Also, if muscle glycogen is depleted, will ingested carbohydrates be used first to replenish muscle glycogen and then to fuel other daily functions, or are they used the other way around? I’d like to be able to use ketones to fuel my daily activity, but still have enough muscle glycogen stores to fuel intense exercise.Read More
What are ketones? How does ketosis play into the Primal Blueprint? Did our bodies evolve to run on ketones? If not, why do they exist?
Ketones, to put it briefly, are compounds created by the body when it burns fat stores for energy. When you consume a diet very low in carbohydrates, the body responds to the significantly lowered levels of blood sugar by flipping the switch to another power source. The body converts fatty acids in the liver to ketones. Ketones, then, become the main energy source as long as blood sugar levels remain low.Read More