For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a couple questions from readers. The first one concerns cupping, the controversial therapy used by dozens of Olympians, including most notably Michael Phelps. What does it do, if anything? How does it work, if it even works? And then I discuss the need for increased protein intake in the context of losing lean mass. We want to lose fat, not lean, remember, and there’s evidence that increasing your protein intake can preserve lean muscle. Especially when you’re exercising a ton and eating low-carb.
Today’s guest post is written by Elle Russ, author of Primal Blueprint Publishing’s newest upcoming title, The Paleo Thyroid Solution, which is available on Amazon.com. To learn more about Elle, you can visit her website, ElleRuss.com. Elle is not a medical doctor. Her story and advice below are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure thyroid issues, but instead to serve as a point of discussion between you and your doctor.
Chances are, you or someone you know has suffered from some kind of thyroid dysfunction.
There is a big discrepancy among experts’ estimates of how many thyroid patients exist in the United States. But the common assessment seems to be about 20 million Americans, while some groups estimate 27 million—with 13 million of them undiagnosed. Roughly 200 million people worldwide have some form of thyroid disease, and 60% of those with thyroid disease are undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.
Coffee is serious business. We Americans drink about 400 million cups of it per day and spend several billion dollars on it each year. It’s the most popular drug on earth, and certainly the most socially acceptable. In many ways, coffee’s the closest thing we’ve got to a universal, daily ritual, as just about every morning, billions of people across the planet prostrate themselves before the holy, energy-giving legume. It also hails from the same place the earliest members of our species do: East Africa (Ethiopia, to be exact). That the most industrious animal ever to walk the planet and the psychoactive legume that fuels said industry both hail from the same place on earth is pure poetry.
Coffee’s also delicious. I’d say you’d have to pry my coffee from my cold, dead fingers, only the ensuing struggle would slosh it all onto the floor, and that would be such a waste.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and business and training partner Brad Kearns for the upcoming Primal Endurance Online digital course (more about that later). It was more of a discussion, really, and we kept coming back to the same three elements for constructing any successful training program. I’m going to present them as they came to me—as bullet points, as tangentially related thoughts. Then I’ll expand on them from there.
Without further ado…
One major downside to having these big prominent heads stuffed with consciousness-spawning brain matter is that they sometimes ache. Nobody likes a headache. You can find fetishists who enjoy pinching, slapping, biting, burning and any matter of objectively painful stimuli. But there aren’t “headache fetishists.” No one’s chugging a 32 ounce Slurpee in search of brain freeze, or getting drunk for the hangover.
The difficult thing about headaches is figuring out why they’re occurring. Pain in other areas is different. You can look at your hand if it’s hurting and figure out why. You can see the cut on your knee and know what’s going on. But you are your head, and the headache is inside. Your consciousness sits behind your eyes observing reality and directing your role in it. It’s all a big mystery. Or so it feels.
Do you look Primal?
I don’t refer to chiseled abs, prominent shoulder striations, and bulging calves that draw queries from failed actors. I’m not talking about loincloths, or fur togas, or wild unkempt hair and scraggly beards, or any of the other aesthetic choices paleo-reenactors make. In fact, this isn’t about your appearance at all; it’s about how you’re using your eyes to look at the world.
I mean: are you using your eyes in an evolutionarily-congruent fashion? Do you look Primal?
This year it was all over the headlines that what we typically call “burnout” just might be depression. Beyond the vagueness such wording introduced (another way to push anti-depressants?), the actual research further affirms burnout as a genuine psychological and physical experience. The study confirmed that those who suffer from job “burnout” also experience the onset of key depression symptoms, something of little surprise to anyone who’s ever been through it. Yet, as an earlier study suggests, burnout is its own animal. Symptoms are largely linked to “atypical” depression, which behaves differently and can more readily suggest situational origins. It’s something I’ve been saying for years—certain elements of the modern (unmitigated) experience promotes neurosis more than we’d like to admit. Burnout is one common example.
Today’s article is a guest post by Dr. Mark Burhenne, the #1 bestselling author of The 8-Hour Sleep Paradox. As an authority on dental health, he is also on a mission to help shift the conversation about sleep from quantity to quality as the foundation for primal living. As a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Burhenne blogs about the mouth-body connection on his website, AsktheDentist.com. Today, he addresses some of the most pressings topics surrounding oral health from an ancestral health perspective, which , if you think about it, can be summed up with the following question: If Grok didn’t floss his teeth, why should I, especially when I’m living a primal lifestyle?
Here we go:
If it were up to me, I’d have a steady supply of perfect, ripe avocados on hand. They’d have no blemishes, no bruising, no weird soft spots, no stringy veins running through. Every avocado would be ripe and somehow manage to stand up to rough handling. They wouldn’t be watery or mushy—just creamy. Life would be good, and I’d probably retire and begin an all-avocado diet. But that’s not reality. Avocados are a crap shoot. They take forever to ripen. There’s usually something wrong. Half the time I have to cut out half the flesh just to approach edibility. And I say this living in the home state of the best avocados in the world.
Enter avocado oil. No, it’s not quite the same as a plump avocado. No, you can’t make guacamole out of it, although some disgusting heathen has probably tried using gums and thickeners. For that it falls short of a plump avocado. But because first-press avocado oil—the kind I make—retains most of the fat-soluble nutrients, antioxidants, carotenoids, and chlorophylls found in the fruit, just like extra virgin olive oil retains olive nutrients, first-press avocado oil provides the power of the avocado in a compact, reliable, convenient, pourable package.
For years, the bodybuilding, protein-gorging community has maligned collagen for its inessentiality and lack of input into the muscle-protein synthesis process. From their perspective, it sort of makes sense. Why bother with “low quality” protein like gelatin/collagen when you can pound the whey, eat the meat, and focus on other sources of the essential amino acids directly involved in building muscle?
Except the research is showing that these “nonessential” proteins are actually pretty darn useful.