Earlier in the challenge, I asked people to pose like Grok for a chance to win a pretty epic prize. The rules were simple, but the ingenuity and thought put into every submission were far from it. So after much posing, primping, and staging, we chose two finalists that channel the spirit of Grok himself!
Picking a short list of favorites was challenging, so the Worker Bees and I threw our favorites into a pot and chose the first two.
Everyone reading this knows about the macronutrients. You’re all eating enough protein, fat, carbs, and the various sub-categories, like fiber, omega-3s, MUFAs, SFAs, linoleic acid, and so on. You know the major micronutrients, like magnesium, calcium, vitamin B12, and most of the minor (but still vital) ones, like plant polyphenols, iodine, and vitamin K2. Today I’ll be talking about the truly obscure nutrients. The ones health food hipsters were super into like, five years ago (“I’m taking beta-1,3-glucan, you probably haven’t heard of it, there’s only one group at Hokkaido University doing any research, you can only get it off the DarkNet using bitcoins”). The ones Grok was super into like, 50,000 years ago.
What are they, what do they do for us, and, if they’re so great, how did Grok obtain them?
Diet & Nutrition, Fats, Gut Health, Supplements
The Primal Blueprint is more than just a health and nutrition blog. You can find thousands of health and nutrition tips online, many of them quite sound. You can read well-researched and cited articles telling you what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise, how not to exercise—and following their advice will give you good results. The Primal Blueprint does not enjoy a monopoly on results.
A big reason why the Primal Blueprint resonates with so many people is that it’s not only couched in hard science and useful information. It tells a story to which all of us can relate on a deep and meaningful level.
For years, we’ve thought that hunter-gatherers slept like babies: long and hard. They’d drift off as the sun dropped, lingering around the ubiquitous campfire only for a short time, sleep a good 8-10 hours, and waking up at first light bright eyed for the next day. For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m examining a study that calls these assumptions into question. What if hunter-gatherers don’t actually sleep any more than us? What if the absence of artificial light doesn’t lead to a ten hour session of blissful repose under the stars?
Primal Lifestyle, Sleep
Modern elite athletes have different goals than our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Their training loads are higher and their physical activity is contrived and somewhat artificial. But for the most part, elite athletes are working with the same metabolic and neuromuscular machinery as Grok. The activities and movement patterns that benefited and shaped the evolution and performance of our hunter-gatherer ancestors should thus prove useful for contemporary humans seeking optimal physical performance. According to a recent paper (PDF), many top athletes have settled upon the hunter-gatherer fitness modality as optimal for performance. Even highly specialized athletes without much room in their routine for generalizing – like marathon runners who have to be able to log insane mileage at high intensities above all else – are incorporating aspects of paleolithic fitness to improve their training. These athletes and their coaches aren’t combing the anthropological records to devise their programs; they’re inadvertently arriving at similar conclusions because that’s where the latest exercise science points.
What movement and training patterns am I talking about, exactly?
Fitness, Lift Heavy Things, Low Level Aerobic Activity
There’s that infamous question interviewers often ask job candidates to try to catch them off guard: “Name one of your negative qualities and talk about how it’s played out in the workplace.” Some people end up stunned by the question and stammer their way through some off-the-cuff remark they hope isn’t too fatal. Others, however, heard about some version of this question on LinkedIn or from their best friend’s girlfriend’s cousin down at 31 Flavors and spent days strategizing an answer: “Crap – what could I say that might satisfy the committee but not make me look bad?” I’d venture to say a sizable percentage of these folks settle on “confessing” their overcommitment to their jobs and a minor penchant to overwork. After all, what could be more endearing, right? What could make us look better in an interview or even a social venue than to come across as being diligent, virtuous and important enough to work as much as possible? (So says the dominant culture anyway.) We pay a price for this virtue, however. A recent survey suggests that more than half of us are stressed out over our work situations. Research demonstrates that Americans are working more hours than they have in decades since national statistics were regularly gathered. Likewise, we’re apparently working more than our counterparts in the rest of the industrialized world. (There’s a bummer of a fact for you.) If Grok were a fly on the wall…
Personal Improvement, Primal Lifestyle, Stress Management
A few weeks ago, I made the point that even though we may not have access to our paleolithic ancestors’ (yes, all of them) food journals, and even though there were many different paleolithic diets depending on climate, latitude, topography and other environmental contexts, the ancestral eating paradigm remains viable, helpful, and relevant to contemporary interests. That almost goes without saying, right? It’s kind of why we’re all here, reading this and other blogs, and asking the butcher for lamb tongues and goat spleens with straight faces. This stuff works.
But make no mistake: we may not know the day-to-day eating habits of our ancestors, but we know some things. And we can use what we know, drawing on several lines of evidence, to make some educated estimates.
Carbs, Diet & Nutrition, Fats, Fitness, Protein
Hey folks, it’s time for another edition of Dear Mark. This time around we’ve got a four-parter. First up, I discuss why Grok probably didn’t need to foam roll with boulders or consult with a proto-Kstarr sporting a prominent brow ridge. Next, walking. It’s good, it’s vital, it’s low-stress, but is it possible to walk too much? Yes (but read on). After that, I delve into the extensive fertile egg literature. Er, maybe “extensive” isn’t quite accurate. Let’s go with “nearly non-existent.” And finally, I give the Primal pick for the best shoes for kids.
Barefooting, Fitness, Low Level Aerobic Activity, Primal Lifestyle
I’ve always said that carbs aren’t bad in and of themselves. They’re better in certain contexts and worse in others.
Are you CrossFitting five days a week? Training for the Olympics? Breastfeeding? These are contexts in which carbs are warranted, helpful, and even healthy.
Are you insulin-resistant and hyperinsulinemic? Are you a moderately active person with a few extra pounds? Are you diabetic, or nearly so? These are contexts in which a low carb intake would be warranted, helpful, and even healthy.
Diet & Nutrition, Gut Health, Resistant Starch
When was the last time you made a great meal? From-scratch prep, serious gratification result. This morning? Last week? Last month? Although I imagine Primal folks cook much more often than most non-Primal types, we all get caught up in the busyness of life. Eating – even healthy eating – often gets boiled down to convenience and strategy. I get it. Few of us have the luxury of basking in culinary ventures at every meal (myself included), but I do find real cooking to be an underappreciated indulgence – and there’s the rub.
Diet & Nutrition, Personal Improvement, Primal Lifestyle