Today is Monday, which heralds another edition of Dear Mark. This week, I’m giving my two cents on what could be causing the widespread incidence of lowered alcohol tolerance in Primal eaters. It’s nice to be a cheap date, but sometimes we want to keep up with everyone else, right? I give a few ideas on exercises for pregnant women who want to remain active without any complications arising, and I discuss whether the amount of sun our ancestral homelands saw play a role in how much sun we should get. Finally, I discuss whether a knee should be mobile or stable, along with a few strategies to have and maintain healthy knees.
It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for another series of Dear Mark questions and answers. I think you’ll find today’s choices pretty interesting. First, I field a question from an apparently healthy reader who’s doing everything right, losing weight, and controlling the quality of his fat intake – but he can’t seem to avoid a 20:1 omega-6:omega-3 ratio. Next, I answer a question about green drinks, those vegan canisters of powdered, dehydrated, raw leafy vegetables that one mixes into juice or water for an instant daily dose of greens. They sounded silly, and I’ve dismissed them in the past, but as I did a bit more research my thinking began to change. Ideal? No. A fair compromise for some people? Maybe. Finally, I cover shin splints for a reader suffering from them, and I offer a bit of advice on how to avoid and treat the nasty things.
Let’s get it going.
People who like to say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure are smug jerks, especially when it comes to sunburns. While they were eating spoonfuls of tomato paste, canned flamingo, and fish oil, nibbling on grape seeds, using portable vitamin D test kits, and smearing green tea all over their bodies, sure, they didn’t get burned, but were they really living? Because you sure were. You were out there in the sun, just basking in it, arms outstretched to accept its vibrant rays like it was a commercial for a venereal disease medication. You may have gotten a little baked, a little too much color, but it was well worth it… right?
Well, now you’ve gotta deal with this sunburn business. It’s red, it hurts, it’s veritably unhealthy, and you’re about to start peeling. What do you do? How can you soothe the flaming epidermis? How can you halt, or perhaps even reverse the damage before it gets out of hand?
As summer descends upon the world, a young Primal eater’s fancy turns to playful frolicking in the sunshine. And when you’re frolicking, the last thing you want to do is slather a bunch of horrible-smelling, greasy, overpriced sunblock all over your body. It makes you slippery and imbues your countenance with a deathly pallor that is very unbecoming. If you could, you’d love to avoid the nasty practice altogether. You’d love to use more alternative methods. Methods that may not have the support of the medical community, but for which supportive research does exist. Seeing as how a common refrain throughout the newly Primal is that sunburns seem fewer and further between than ever before, I’m guessing that there’s something to it. Dietary? Supplementary?
It’s another round of rapid-fire Q&A with reader questions this week. Ever wonder about olive oil in a spray can, or which meat to choose when dining out? Do you have joint issues, or questions about workout nutrition? These readers do.
Read on to learn my answers to these and other questions. And if you have your own pressing nutrition and fitness quandaries shoot me a line and I’ll try to answer them in a future “Dear Mark” post.
What do you know about Glutathione and what is your opinion of it?
One of the great things about our growing community is how people like Denise Minger have emerged from near obscurity to become recognized leaders in certain areas. When it comes to parsing the scientific studies, very few people have the combination of skills, understanding of the scientific method and probability, AND the willingness to dig deep into the minutiae to get to the essence of a study. Denise is one of those rare people. If you haven’t read Denise’s take-down of the China Study, you owe it to yourself to do so.
Lucky for us, Denise has taken the time to dig into the latest research on diet and breast cancer in today’s guest post. (Thank you!) Without further ado, Denise…
If you’ve been scanning the health news lately (or live within earshot of some gloating low-fat adherents), you might’ve noticed a flurry of recent headlines linking fat and cholesterol to breast cancer. In case you haven’t, this should get you up to speed:
Elevated fat and cholesterol levels linked to higher risk of breast cancer
Cholesterol and fat in American diet fuels breast cancer
High intake of cholesterol may lead to greater risk of breast cancer
Catch the drift?
Diabetes is that rare brand of nasty disease that fails to strike real, visceral fear. It doesn’t carry the weight of a cancer or an AIDS or a heart disease. It’s something you get, like a gut, a long list of prescriptions, and a walker, as you grow older. People just live with it – millions upon millions across the world – and are rarely shocked or surprised to hear that others have it. Their ranks are ever growing, with, if a recent study on the effects of gestational diabetes on the fetus has anything to say about it, much of the conscription taking place in the womb. It’s called intergenerational diabetes, and it means that pregnant women with diabetes or even just poor maternal glucose tolerance could be turning their little ones into future type 2 diabetics. This is fetal diabetes without a genetic component; this is epigenetic owing to environmental (womb) input. The authors speculate that pregnant mothers with type 2 diabetes (diet and lifestyle induced, remember) could engender irreversible alterations to both the unborn kid’s hypothalamic neural network (where leptin, the satiety hormone, does its thing), pancreatic function, and muscle and liver insulin signaling. The idea is that they pop out with type 2 diabetes right off the bat. It’s diet-induced, sure, but not how we normally think of it. No baby bottle full of Coke required here. Of course, I still see this sort of condition as being reversible with diet and exercise…it’s just that it will require a LOT more adherence and starting at an earlier age. Moving on…
Just a light and playful topic for your Tuesday morning…. What can I say? Since my posts on human longevity, I’ve had germs on the mind. Aaron Blaisdell’s response to Part 2, however, truly inspired today’s topic:
Excellent post! I wonder how much infection afflicted human populations prior to the adoption of animal domestication. Jared Diamond has discussed how animal domestication led to an increased transfer of viral infections (e.g., colds, flu, small pox, TB, etc.) from farm critter to human. Prior to the domestication of animals such viral transfers were probably rare. Death from viral infection may have been much lower in pre-pastoral times.
So, what kind of infectious landscape did our paleo hunter-gatherer ancestors inhabit? Did their living conditions do more to imperil or spare them? And how did their chances change once they acquired agriculture and animal husbandry? How does it compare to the picture in our modern age?
This post is the first in what may become a new series here on MDA. Most of my articles are full-length feature articles. While I love and will continue to do them I think there’s room for a post each week that’s a little less formal; something shorter than my usual fare that’s published each Monday (along with the WOW) that allows me to spout off on any number of things on my mind. I’ll likely be reviewing the latest medical research and ranting on hot topics in the news. What do you think? Would you like a hodgepodge collection of my thoughts on the world of health and fitness? I hope so, because I’ve got a lot to say! Let me know what you think in the comment board. And now… the inaugural Monday Musing…
Marathon running is supposed to be good for you, which is why so many people (intend to) do it. The overweight and the untrained often use the successful completion of one as a landmark on their weight loss journey, sometimes the goal itself. Others think, erroneously, that it’s part of an anti-aging strategy. If you can run a marathon, you are fit, or so the story goes.
Our concept of health only exists in opposition to its absence. Healthy is the default position. We’re not “supposed” to get strokes, coronary heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. Sure, a few people, here and there, are far more likely to suffer the ravages of the degenerative diseases of civilization, but the real numbers are inflated. For most of the population, we can avoid the worst of it, and if you spend a bit of time on MDA or any other ancestral online communities, you’ll see example after example of people taking charge of their health and experiencing newfound vibrancy. We’ve all gotta die someday, but we most assuredly do not have to die at 56 from a clogged artery.
But I cover longevity plenty. As you know, I’m also interested in increasing one’s enjoyment of life; I’m a big quality over quantity guy (both are good as long as the former is satisfied). And for my money, I can’t think of anything so central to our enjoyment of life as the ability move around pain free.