It’s impossible to talk about using food as a drug without looking at the genuine neurological and hormonal impacts it has on the body. The fact is, certain foods affect us more like drugs than others.
With actual drug use, we’re not operating with innate satiation signaling. But with food, our bodies have a built-in system for telling us when to eat, how much to eat and when to stop.
In our paleolithic ancestors’ time, it worked great. Today, we’ve become our own saboteurs. We’ve known for years that sugary and processed foods (those that strategically combine sugar, salt and certain fats into a triple crown disaster) are intentionally designed to override our inherent satiation signals and hyper-trip our reward systems.
Carbs, Diet & Nutrition, Sugar
“I became aware of the power of positive thinking after solving my first bout of hypothyroidism. So when a Reverse T3 problem showed up, I actively filled my life with audiobooks, podcast interviews, and films related to spiritual healing, the power of positive thinking, and the power of the subconscious mind.
Make a vision board to hang in your house, or make a smaller version that you can keep private if you don’t want others in the household to see it. Devote the entire vision board to health and healing; it can be a continual source of inspiration and hope while also imprinting your subconscious mind with positive health affirmations every time you see it.
If you are experiencing hypothyroidism for the first time, just know that it is fixable. You have the highest chance of success if you dedicate yourself to learning all that you can about hypothyroidism while adopting a paleo/primal eating and lifestyle strategy to support your goals.
— Excerpts from The Paleo Thyroid Solution by Elle Russ
Last year I was talking with Brad Kearns and Dave Dolle when Dave said something really interesting: he was using neurotransmitter analysis to build personalized training programs for his athletes. By giving a short written T/F test called the Braverman test, he could determine whether a client was dominant in dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, or serotonin—and then use the results to determine their ideal training regimen. It was one of those instances where you hear something you know you’ll be chewing on for the next few months.
Last year, I wrote about 10 of the most interesting predictors of longevity. Many of them were subjective, but, as we all know, the objective physiological processes that occur in the human body also predict how long we live. Luckily, we can measure most of them. Some are standard at doctor’s checkups. Some require more involved (and expensive) testing. Some you can complete yourself at home with simple household objects.
But if you care at all about how well you’re doing in the longevity game, it’s worth paying attention to some of them.
Diet & Nutrition
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions from last week’s hormone normalization post. First I discuss a lack of purpose in the mornings affecting sleep and what to do about it. Next, I explore the prospect of sun and fasting as hormone modulators. After that, I explain the meaning of max aerobic heart rate and correct a mistake I made. And finally, I suggest to one reader that she may need to eat more calories to normalize her sleep and thus her hormones.
Dear Mark, Fitness, Habits, Primal Lifestyle, Sleep, Sun Exposure
There are straightforward, pharmaceutical methods for altering specific hormones, and, as I showed in last week’s testosterone replacement therapy post, they can really help. But a safer intervention for your overall endocrine environment is a systemic one. Some might call it scattershot approach in that one input affects multiple endocrine targets. I’d say, “That’s the whole point.”
Today, I’m going to give you some tried and true methods for helping to normalize your endocrine health. These are things that apply to everyone, as far as I can tell. They won’t fix every problem, but they’re good places to start. Whether you’re a post-menopausal woman, a 21-year-old bodybuilder worried about overtraining, or a thyroid patient, these interventions can’t hurt and will probably help.
Diet & Nutrition, Fitness, Personal Improvement, Primal Lifestyle
Last week’s post on testosterone replacement therapy generated a lot of comments and questions, so for today’s edition of Dear Mark I’ll be answering some of them.
From the prostate and heart disease issues to the high T/low free T phenomenon to the question of women and TRT to keto’s effect on testosterone to chronic cardio’s, you folks came up with some good ones.
Dear Mark, Primal Lifestyle
After I turned 60, a routine checkup showed that I had lower-than-normal free testosterone levels. I hadn’t noticed anything that would have alerted me. No symptoms. No indication. Everything worked well. But it nagged at me. I knew testosterone did much more for a man’s health than just “build muscle”—which I had no real interest in at this point—so I decided to explore TRT, or testosterone replacement therapy.
I did a careful survey of the literature, coming away pleasantly surprised. The evidence was almost uniformly in favor, with the well-constructed studies showing major benefits for TRT. This is TRT, mind you. Not “juicing,” not steroid abuse. Restoration of biologically-appropriate levels of testosterone. Thus began my experiment….
Primal Lifestyle, Self-Experimentation
Keto is fantastic, everyone says. It’s a great way to lose weight, improve cognition, and stave off degenerative disease. It may help your performance in the gym and on the track. It could even give Grandpa some respite from Alzheimer’s.
But it’s hell on your thyroid. Right?
Keto detractors and proponents alike often warn that remaining in ketosis will tank your thyroid. The thyroid’s an important gland, exerting major influence over essential systems like fertility, energy, metabolism, body temperature regulation, blood lipids, and general wellness. It controls the metabolic rate of every organ in the body. We want it working well, so this is a major blow to keto—if the criticism holds true. Fortunately, there’s much more to this story.
Carbs, Diet & Nutrition, Fats, Keto
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering just one question. But it’s a good (well, maybe not good, but certainly important) one: Why is male fertility on the rise and testosterone on the wane? The popular notion is that women flushing birth control pills and peeing estrogen-rich urine into the public water supply are the primary reasons for the sex hormone issues facing men, but I’m not so sure. Let’s explore what else might be causing the problem.
Dear Mark, Diet & Nutrition, Sun Exposure