Dear Mark: Workout Break, Raw Milk, Banana Breakfast, Ketosis in Breastfeeding, and Bikram Yoga

In this edition of Dear Mark, I provide rapid fire answers to five of your questions. First, I discuss another situation where the deload week(s) make(s) sense and may even have to be extended: when exercise starts taking away from the quality of your life. Next I explain why for some people raw milk is a highly-coveted food, and then whether or not a banana should be breakfast. After that, I discuss the potential impact of ketosis on breastfeeding. Finally, I discuss the benefits and potential downsides of Bikram yoga.

Let’s go:

Dear Mark,

I am a 32 year old female with 2 kids and have been an avid exerciser for years. I am in great physical shape and mix up my exercise routine often – sometimes doing short, intense workouts, sometimes doing longer 45 minute, steady cardio workouts. I lift heavy weights 3 times per week. My question: I find that I am more irritable/short fused and grumpy later in the day. I always workout in the mornings, and even on days that I do a “light” workout, I find myself fatigued and short-tempered.

Do you think that after exercising for so many years, that my body needs a long break? If so, should I consider taking an entire week or an entire month off? On the days that I do take “off” I find myself even-keeled, pleasant, not irritated by things. I feel as if my exercise gives me stress instead of relieving stress. Any insight you may have would be greatly appreciated.



Yes, yes, yes. Take a couple weeks off. Take a month off. You absolutely need a break.

I wrote about the importance of a deload week a couple months back, primarily as a way to improve recovery and subsequent performance. You heard about people taking a week off and coming back to the weights stronger than before, all because they let their bodies rest, their joints catch up to their muscles, and their central nervous systems recharge. It’s definitely a good reason to take a week off, but it’s not the only reason – not by far.

Sometimes you need a break because your body is breaking down. It’s pretty simple. You say that your workouts are giving you stress instead of relieving it, and that’s exactly right. Exercise is ultimately a hormetic stressor; it seems you’ve exceeded the hormetic dosage and veered into straight up stress territory. Since taking an actual day off results in happy feelings, you even have informal evidence that the exercise is what’s causing you problems. It doesn’t get much simpler than this: take at least a week off. When you do it, take note of a few parameters to see how they’re affected.

Check your sleep. Are you sleeping better, longer, with less awakenings?

Check your temper and stress management. Are the urges to honk at the car that cut you off, speed around the oldster moseying on down the street in the oversized Buick, and run down the crosswalker lessened?

Check your mood. Are you generally happier?

I strongly suspect you’ll love your week, or weeks, off. Continue to take leisurely walks and maybe do some stretching. Try meditation, perhaps. If you’re like the gym junkies I know, you’ll go crazy without some activity. Good luck.

I read “The Definitive Guide to Dairy,” but I want more information on Raw Milk from the Primal community. Why is Raw Milk such a coveted food? It’s only available at farmers markets and limited grocery stores. Are there nutrients in Raw Milk that we cannot get from other foods? My biggest concern is the carbohydrate and sugar content, which skews our Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve out of Ketosis and The Primal Sweet Spot.


Raw milk is only coveted when compared to pasteurized milk. It’s not that it’s so much better than other foods (although it is better than many of them), it’s that it’s usually so much better than pasteurized milk.

Honestly, although I don’t drink much milk, the most important thing to consider with dairy is what the animal was fed. If it spent all its time on the pasture, grazing on spring grasses and various other green things, the milk is going to contain more fat-soluble vitamins (like A, E, and K2), more carotenoids (from the green things), more conjugated linoleic acid, and more omega-3s – whether it’s raw or pasteurized. Even if it just spent most of its time on pasture with some additional feed (which is normal for dairy animals), its milk (and meat) is going to be more nutritious.

In my experience, raw and grass-fed (or at least pastured, as it’s tough to find milk from solely grass-fed animals) often coincide. Look for one and you’ll probably get the other, or close to it. So in that sense, yes, raw milk is healthier than pasteurized milk.

As for the concrete benefits? I’d direct you to Chris Kresser’s nice post on the subject, the nutritive benefits explained in which I’ll briefly summarize:

  • Pasteurization depletes mineral content, including iron, copper, and manganese, along with vitamin C. It also impairs B6 bioavailability, and it may lower the absorption of vitamin A by destroying a heat-sensitive dairy protein which promotes intestinal absorption of vitamin A.
  • Raw milk seems to be better tolerated by people who cannot tolerate pasteurized dairy.
  • Raw milk consumption during childhood is strongly associated with resistance against asthma and allergies later in life.

There’s also the fact that undenatured whey proteins (which, since pasteurization denatured proteins, only comes from raw milk) are able to boost glutathione, the human body’s premier endogenous/homegrown antioxidant. Glutathione combats oxidative stress, improves immunity, and prevents alcohol-related toxicity, to name just a few of its roles. Pasteurized whey proteins have a reduced effect on glutathione.


I’ve searched MDA and other primal web resources and seem to find nothing but conflicting opinions on bananas.

Here’s my dilemma: I like a light breakfast (I love a good omelette for dinner, just not at 8a). Is a “banana a day” for breakfast a primal solution? I know many modern Groks love a big breakfast but my rhythm likes a big lunch and dinner and light breakfast.

Hope you can resolve some of the confusion for me here.

Thank you!


Bananas are food, they’re actually quite low in fructose and richer in glucose, and they taste good. Sure, they’re high in carbs, but that just means you probably don’t want to create a diet entirely made of bananas. However many carbs you’re eating, you can probably sneak in a banana without going over. And if you’re reasonably glucose-tolerant, a banana will elicit a normal glucose response.

I’ve never gotten the impression that most Primal eaters tend toward a big breakfast. Some do, some don’t, some skip it altogether. If you enjoy the light breakfast, particularly one consisting of a single banana, and you make up for the “lost” food at lunch and dinner, stick with it. You only “need” to experiment with different modalities when the one you’re currently doing stops working, at least in my opinion. To be perfectly clear, I’m not suggesting most people should be eating bananas for breakfast. I think there are better, healthier options available for most people. But if it’s working for you personally, keep at it.

Do you think it is safe to switch to primal eating habits while exclusively breast feeding. My concern is with releasing toxins into my milk if/when I enter ketosis. Can I remain out of ketosis by eating plenty of primal carbs like fruits and sweet potatoes? I’m not looking for weight loss, just healthy living. Thank you!


As I’ve written before, you can definitely go Primal while exclusively breastfeeding, but I would advise against being in ketosis. Not because of “releasing toxins,” though. Where’d you get that info?

Stay out of ketosis to reduce the chance of inadequate calorie and nutrient intake. Ketosis can be a helpful tool for weight loss, but, as you say, you don’t need to be losing weight right now. Besides, eating fewer calories means fewer chances to obtain the nutrients you and your baby need. I’ve also heard rumblings that a very low carb ketogenic diet can reduce prolactin. Prolactin is the “milk hormone”; it regulates your milk supply. For men trying to avoid gynecomastia (man boobs)? Sure, they’ll want to reduce prolactin, but in breastfeeding mothers, prolactin is normally quite high and it should stay that way. If you hope to grow a small human from infancy, you need to produce ample amounts of milk. It isn’t guaranteed that going into ketosis will depress your milk production, but it’s not worth the risk.

Just eat your Primal carbs to stay out of ketosis. Though there are health benefits to ketosis in specific conditions (epilepsy, certain cancers, neurological disorders, obesity), I wouldn’t include “breastfeeding motherhood” among them. If you’re interested in the health benefits of ketosis, realize that simply breastfeeding – especially for longer than six months – is strongly associated with a bevy of health benefits for the mother, including weight loss, protection from breast cancer, protection from ovarian cancer, and lowered heart disease risk. So, providing ample milk to enable long duration breastfeeding is your safest bet.

Hi Mark,

I’m interested to understand where Bikram Yoga fits into a primal lifestyle if at all. I have searched your blog and I haven’t really seen anything conclusive about how the heat may potentially stress the body and if this is a good or bad thing.

I practice 3 times per week and find it fits into my routine with heavy lifting really well as it stretches out my muscles better than any other method and tends to prevent injuries. However it is pretty intense and can knock me around on some days and really leave me without anything much in the tank.

I’m really interested to know your take on hot yoga as I can’t imagine this was something Grok would have done.



Bikram yoga is “hot yoga,” where participants practice in a room set to 104 degrees F. The elevated temperature is supposed to warm your body up, which makes stretching easier. If you like it and it seems to be treating your body well, I’d stick with it. I see no reason to change what’s actively helping you.

There have been a scant few studies done specifically on Bikram yoga, but the few that exist show evidence of significant benefits. The most recent one, from earlier this year, found that 24 sessions of Bikram yoga in eight weeks (which is three per week, exactly how you’re doing it) increased deadlift strength, shoulder flexibility, and hamstring flexibility while lowering body fat in healthy adults. The no-yoga control group evinced no such improvements. That sounds right in line with your experience, no? Bikram yoga as a helpful adjunct to strength training.

Bikram yoga has also proven useful in the development of balance. Specifically, three sessions per week (identical to your schedule once again) seemed to help the most unsteady subjects improve their balance. Those subjects who were already pretty stable in unstable situations didn’t see as much of a benefit.

In another study, Bikram yoga reduced the time it took subjects to fall back asleep after awakening in the night. On “yoga days,” subjects were quicker to fall back asleep than on “non-yoga days.”

However, there is a case study in which a guy suffered a psychotic episode that was attributed to Bikram yoga. Scary stuff, but if you’ve already been doing it on a regular basis without experiencing any breakdowns, I think you’re safe. This particular subject had a history of mental problems, though he had been in remission.

My takeaway? Bikram yoga can be a bit more stressful and intense than other forms of yoga, meaning it can offer big benefits to healthy people (who rebound from the experience and become stronger), but it can also be a bit too stressful for vulnerable or otherwise compromised individuals. That said, “regular” yoga has been shown to be extremely beneficial in a number of studies, so don’t think you have to do Bikram to get any benefits. In fact, other forms of yoga have considerably more research behind them.

TAGS:  dear mark, Keto, yoga

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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97 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Workout Break, Raw Milk, Banana Breakfast, Ketosis in Breastfeeding, and Bikram Yoga”

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  1. I definitely need a deload week right now. I have been thinking about taking a week or so break from lifting since you did that post about it a few weeks ago but never felt like it was time. Well a few days ago I mildly sprained my wrist, so I need to take a break to let that heal and can also let my central nervous system take a break as well. I can’t wait to see how strong I am when I come back because I have been setting a lot of personal records lately.

  2. I love how MDA is so much about “listen to your body” and do what’s right for us – not just follow some rules. I tried working out regulary but found that my best balance is maximum 1-2 days a week and I often skip it. As long as I’m feeling great and my “pants are getting bigger” I’m fine with that. Same with eating. Some days I eat loads of nuts and fruits – but I don’t feel bad about it anymore. I’m listening to my body and eating pretty much what I feel like these days – and it’s all within the Paleo plan so that’s good enough for me 🙂

    1. [quote] my “pants are getting bigger”[/quote]

      Love that! (Mine are too!)

  3. Justin–

    I know one of the early Robb Wolf podcasts (like first 15 episodes or so) talked about fruit v. tubers for post-workout meals. They concluded that the fructose in the fruit restored liver glycogen instead of muscle glycogen, and thus tubers were a better source of carbs post-workout. (I’m paraphrasing, please go listen to the podcast to get all the info!)

    But, since you’ve fasted overnight, it seems appropriate to refill your liver glycogen! (Fasting depletes liver glycogen, which is the idea behind LeanGains from what I understand.)

  4. I tried the banana pancakes for breakfast the other day and they gave me what I can only assume was a sugar rush followed by a headache. A friend suggested the greener the banana the less the headache (presumably due to slower release?) but I’ve not yet tried that.

    Mind you, to be prefectly honest, I’m not the world’s biggest banana fan – doh! It’s just I can’t always have either coconut muffins or bacon omelettes!

    1. some diet experts recon you should have green bananas as you dont really digest it… great if you’re trying to fill your stomach without some of the benefits/ issues of food

      1. Other diet experts (GAPS, SCD) recommend only eating well-ripened bananas, because the unripened ones contain more starches that can be hard on the intestinal bacterial balance.
        And children of workers on banana plantations recommend that you find organic, if possible, so they do not get showered with pesticides as they play outside under the trees.

    2. Please please tell me how you make coconut muffins… I haven’t eaten a muffin in years and the idea of a primal coconut muffin…has had me leaping off my seat. I LOVE LOVE LOVE coconut …thanks xxx

      1. just google “paleo coconut flour muffins” you will find pages of recipes.. some use only coconut flour, others combine coconut and almond flours (for texture). Coconut flour tends to absorb much more liquid than almond flour.

      2. The coconut muffins I make are the ones in the free coconut recipes download you get when you sign up for the MDA newsletter. They are great – although I don’t put in quite so many nuts as the recipe says. But recipes are only the starting point aren’t they – experimentation is the fun part!

    3. I avoid carby foods in the morning. Usually I IF but if I have something, it is eggs or other protein.

      I do probably average one banana per day, not green but just barely yellow. And whenever possible, I have plantains instead of bananas.

    4. When fruit ripen the sugars get broken down, so they’re easier to digest. GAPS recommends ripe fruit because of that. So there is a difference, which one is best for you I don’t know.

    5. My understanding is that before a banana develops brown spots it has more fructose, which involves more processing through your liver. When it has the brown spots then the bananas sugars are more glucose, less liver processing. As a type 1 diabetic if i have a hypo (extreme low blood sugar) then if there’s nothing else about i’d eat a brown spotted banana as it wouldnt raise my blood sugar within 10 – 15 mins. I wouldnt even bother with green one to raise my blood sugar in a short period of time. You’re likely to still get the same amount of sugar it’s just the brown spotted has more glucose available which will be absorbed more efficiently by your muscles.

      1. edit:
        As a type 1 diabetic if i have a hypo (extreme low blood sugar) then if there’s nothing else about i’d eat a brown spotted banana as it DOES* raise my blood sugar within 10 – 15 mins

  5. I’d love to know more about how Hot Yoga fits in to a Primal Lifestyle–or more particularly the benefit or lack there of, of sweating due to hot yoga/ a sauna etc. I couldn’t seem to find an existing article on the topic.

  6. So happy to hear that workout breaks are allowed. Sometimes I just decided to take a week or two off when I get so that I am dreading my fitness routine. I don’t feel guilty about it, and I often strighten up my diet during that time as well. It often serves as a great restart button. Is it wrong to take an entire winter off, though? I just want to stay next to the fire to keep warm lol.

    1. Ha ha! I am the same…come winter I just want to hibernate :))

  7. Two sessions of Bikram yoga were enough to convince me that exercising in a stuffy, way-overheated room is just plain nuts. The first session left me nauseated and ready to pass out. Thinking this was a fluke, I was dumb enough to try it a second time. Same thing, even though I was well hydrated and hadn’t eaten anything beforehand. For some people it might be marginally beneficial; for others it’s tantamount to heat stroke.

    1. “The first session left me nauseated and ready to pass out. Thinking this was a fluke, I was dumb enough to try it a second time. Same thing, even though I was well hydrated and hadn’t eaten anything beforehand.”

      A sedentary person could say the same thing about: running, lifting weights, regular yoga, backpacking, rock climbing, going low-carb, going paleo, etc.

      Everyone’s different, with different tolerances and different goals.

      1. There are definitely better forms of yoga than Bikram. Disciplines where teachers study for years and not weeks. Where there is not a script for teaching, and where teachers actually work on your form and correct mistakes.
        Its best to make your own internal heat when doing yoga. Too many people feel terrible after Bikram, where you should actually feel rested, calm and revitalised if yoga is taught “right”.

        1. I totally agree with michael. Hot yoga isn’t for everyone just like running or swimming isn’t for everyone. I practice Moksha which is just another form of hot yoga and it has benefited my life in countless ways not just “marginally beneficial”. Hot yoga gave me the courage to find primal and change other parts of my life. I practice over 10 times a week sometimes 3 times a day and often in a fasted state with no difficulty. Yoga has improved my overall strength especially in my quads, back and upper body. Hot yoga for some people is absolutely essential for maintaining a calm, focused life…and I am one of them.

        2. Corey, I know what you mean. Perhaps it was just the Bikram place I went to but the teachers there were very fast-paced, even harsh, and they barked out instructions without doing any of the poses themselves. Very scripted. And then a man told me afterwards that I had been doing one of the poses horribly wrong (a neck pose, no less) and the instructor hadn’t corrected me.

        3. Like everything else, you have good Bikram teachers and bad. I’ve just recently started going to Bikram again after several years away (I wanted to lift more.) The owner of the studio I go to is very quick to point out that Bikram doesn’t have to be so intense and she always corrects people’s posture if she sees them doing something wrong. When I mentioned to her that my primary goal was not to be good at Bikram for the sake of being good but to have a yoga practice that helped me lift more and recover better, she completely supported it and told me if I needed any extra help/advise to let her know.

      2. I don’t think the exercise/no exercise that’s quite the same parallel as choosing to workout in a hot room. I get “cooked” in hot tubs quite quickly. I’ve also done similar workouts in cool rooms and hot. A hot room workout is a slog and it’s much easier for me to hit “puke” stage. In one sense, I guess, “hot” workout creates a higher level fitness because it’s extra stress. On another, it begs to make working out completely unappealing and possibly routinely counterproductive to people like me. 🙁

        The hot

    2. Some places offer warm yoga, which is just yoga done in a warmer room not anywhere as hot as Bikram. I don’t take the heat well and get sick doing hot yoga, too. Doesn’t matter what I do to prepare (and I’ve been doing yoga for 14 years, so it isn’t an issue of being a beginner). But, I’ve always gotten sick in the heat so I wasn’t surprised. Warm yoga, however, gave me all the benefits I expected out of hot yoga and I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the heat.

      1. I agree Casey, I personally prefer warm yoga because I get the sweaty flexible feeling like Bikram, but without the heatstroke feeling.

  8. How interesting … bananas and raw milk in the same post. I’ve been having a breakfast shake of whole raw milk, a raw egg (both from pasture raised animals), and a banana (with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla added) pretty much every day for 4 years. It is filling, satisfying, quick and easy, and “lasts” much longer than even bacon and eggs. It is a bit heavy on the carbs so sometimes I’ll just do a half a banana, but I have found no other breakfast serves me as well as this one does and I just minimize carb consumption the rest of the day. I also found that my allergies, a pretty significant part of my life, virtually disappeared when I started drinking raw milk regularly. Best breakfast on the planet.

    1. I love doing this too!! I can never have just bacon and eggs for breakfast, I get way hungry like 2 hours later.

      1. One banana would leave me starving and crazy after an hour but so would ‘just’ bacon and eggs. BUT bacon eggs and greens, like seven or 8 leaves of chard cooked along with the bacon for example, has me cranking all day. It’s 5pm here and we ate at 7am. I’ve also had two coconut flour pikelets with butter since then but that’s it. Greens make a massive contribution to this kids daily power and satiety. Just thinking about dinner now. Ciao!

        1. Same here. During the week, I do a breakfast smoothie (whole milk, yogurt, vanilla, honey half a banana and some frozen fruit) on my way to work, but that is generally not enough to last me to lunch, so about 2-3 hours later I have a couple of boiled eggs (or something). Otherwise, I’m starving by time lunch rolls around, and my huge salad is not enough to satisfy me. Now, on weekends, I have bacon and eggs. Mind you, my eggs are what amounts to a scrambled omelet – basil, marjoram, thyme, red pepper, minced onions, spinach, bell peppers and mozzarella, topped with lime and garlic salsa. I rarely eat lunch on weekends.

    2. My breakfast smoothie is a cup of kefir made with raw milk, a whole small banana or half a large one, two eggs (raw yolks, cooked whites), a tablespoon each of coconut and MCT oil, a tablespoon of wild blueberry juice concentrate, and a leaf or two of kale. Holds me all morning.

    3. i have a similar shake every morning before work. i was hoping to see some comments on the raw milk because i dont think that it was talked about enough. or maybe the pasteurized/homogenized milk wasnt bashed enough. the more humans mess w/ food (grass fed healthy cow milk) the worse it gets. i do like shredded coconut in mine though!

  9. One banana is about 100 cal. That’s about a quarter of my carbs for the day. So one banana does it.

  10. Mark – the toxins related to breasfeeding are not due to being in ketosis, but rather due to rapid fat loss, which can release lipophilic toxins stored in the body fat.

    From ‘Can I diet while breastfeeding’ on Kelly mom:

    “?According to Breastfeeding and Human Lactation (3rd Edition, Riordan, pp 440), it is noted that fad or rapid weight loss programs should be avoided because fat-soluble environmental contaminants and toxins stored in body fat are released into the milk when caloric intake is severely restricted. I was unable to find a definition of “severely restricted” but I expect that it is significantly under 1500 calories per day (which they called a “modest intake”). I’ve included information on a study on this subject below. See also the info at this website regarding environmental contaminants and breastfeeding. ”

    I imagine this is where the concern comes from.

    1. When I was breastfeeding my son (who is now 5) by doctor advised me against going below 1600 calories a day. I was a low-carb competitive runner and she told me to increase my fruit consumption because I breastfed him exclusively. She said it had to do with rapid fat loss, because your body uses up a lot of calories producing milk (on top of what I was burning during training).

    2. I’m exclusively breasting feeding now. Lowering my carb intake to nearing nothing does generally seem to reduce milk supply. The baby seems happiest when I’m keeping up on my fruit and occasional tuber consumption.

      However, unlike the first 2 times when I nursed (SAD and vegetarian), the body fat has totally come off without me trying. It’s been amazing to watch my body work the way it’s supposed to.

  11. I took two weeks off from lifting and cardio. During that time I was active for many hours a day dancing and training, with a little bike riding, but I wasn’t doing the hardcore sprints or lifts that my body is used to. The dancing was gentle and there was a lot of therapeutic self-care involved. I came home 5lbs lighter and could do more pullups than previous. A week or two off is definitely worth it! Then reward yourself with a few weeks of heavy lifting and then enjoy another week off!

  12. Just starting my Primal movement but want to make a comment on Bikram… although it kicked my butt… (do not partake @ this time) I have found NOTHING, no where; no how; that completely “reboots my brain” like this form of Yoga; when I leave that class my brain is a clean slate, not a thought or a care in the world; IN THE WORLD! This may very well be because I went into “survival mode” to get through the class LOL… but never the less its benefits for me were as much mental as physical…

    1. Franko,

      I have had that same brain re-boot feeling from intense (not hot) yoga. The gentler yoga classes I’ve taken do not get me to that fantastic and blissful brain state you are talking about.


      1. I used to feel like that after an hour 10 in the fast lane at the pool. Then I had a baby and now I have no idea where I live or what my name is.

        1. This almost made me spit my coffee! Thanks for the laugh! I felt just like this when my bean was a baby. I wish I had known about primal then, maybe I would have been more coherent.

  13. Why are people still worried about natural carbohydrates?

    Your biggest concern about milk should be the sugars and your lactose/casein tolerance. Whole, high-fat milk will help with both of those. Just like fruit, which has sugar, in moderation and low doses those sugars are no problem but milk/fruit are less nutritious than other foods and should not compose a large part of your diet for that reason alone.

    People who are very overweight may be helped more by reducing carbs simply because their insulin regulation is impaired. But a person can have a few extra pounds and not be very insulin resistant or have signs of metabolic disorder – in that case, carbohydrates would be well tolerated and 200g of sweet potatoes would not affect your “fat-burning” capacity despite being out of the primal sweet spot.. In otherwise healthy people, insulin spikes are not an issue – whether your energy comes from fat or carbs is irrelevant if the quality of each is high and you know you can tolerate carbohydrates.

    And Justin, about the bananas, try intermittent fasting if all you’ll eat is a banana anyways and you can snag some more AMPK-driven health benefits until lunch. Just my 2 cents

  14. From my reading, e.g. from Chris Masterjohn (an advocate of raw milk), there is a big difference between minimally and ultra-pasteurized milk. (The national organic brands are ultra-pasteurized.)

    Minimal pasteurization destroys some nutrients. Ultra-pasteurizing destroys far more.

    I have read the information about raw milk. Yeah, intellectually I understand that it is usually safe. Emotionally, I am not comfortable with it, so it isn’t happening, especially since I can get local, organic, pastured, minimally pasteurized that has nearly the same nutrients as raw.

    By the way, saying that pasteurization destroys vitamin C is silly. Dairy is not a significant source of that vitamin.

    I like milk. I drink about one glass per day. Often with a banana.

    1. I believe vit c has to do with the kind of animal producing the milk.If I remember correctly sheep’s milk contains vit c instead of vit d that’s contained in cow’s and goat’s milk .

      1. Your comment got me curious, so I did a little looking. Based on what I could find on-line, with a couple of minutes of searching, cow, goat, and sheep milk all contain small amounts of vitamins C and D. A couple of sites said sheep’s milk is higher in those vitamins, but I did not dig too deep into the issue.

  15. A couple of weeks off is just what the Groktor ordered!

    Pavel Tsatsouline (you know…the Russian kettlebell guy) recommends periodizing workouts, i.e. working up to your max over the course of a few weeks, then starting the cycle over at a slightly higher beginning weight. I think combining that with intuitive rest periods gives you the best of both worlds — increased performance plus the slew of primal benefits.

  16. We have a banana, egg yolk, raw milk shake every day either breakfast, lunch, or afternoon break—-so delicious and primal

  17. I love a smoothie with raw milk or raw kefir, raw egg yolks, a bit of fruit, leafy greens like kale, and some mineral water – and sometimes some whey protein powder. I use the milk or kefir sparingly, and if I do banana I only use one of those “baby” bananas when I can find them or half a larger banana. But I prefer berries and keep bags of frozen berries in the freezer for this purpose.

    1. I have not ventured into raw milk or kefir yet. Nor have I tried leafy greens in my smoothie. I had not even considered adding greens. When my bananas get over-ripe, beyond where I’m willing to eat them, I peel them, break them in half and put them in a bag in the freezer. (Do NOT freeze them with the peels on, they are dang near impossible to peel frozen.) I also get some frozen mixed berries and Dole mixed frozen fruit (strawberry, mango, pineapple and peaches). Those all go in my smoothies. I put everything in a large measuring cup at night, but do not blend it, and put it in the refrigerator. By morning, everything has thawed just enough to use my hand blender on it.

  18. As a microbiologist who has worked food microbiology, I feel that I should offer cautionary statements on raw milk. If a healthy adult wants to consume it with full understanding of the risks, then so be it. However, please, please, please don’t give it to children, the sick, or the elderly. The effects of _E. coli_ 0157:H7 are just too horrible to take that chance. You may think that it has some magical properties in regards to asthma or allergies until your child is on dialysis because the bacteria have caused Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). I know that a lot of parents have given kids raw milk with the best of intentions, but there are other ways to keep your child healthy than giving them something potentially deadly. We are so far removed from the diseases of the pre-pasteurization age that we don’t understand the dangers any longer. But, not ALL progress is bad.

    1. Maybe it’s about striking a balance between fear and respecting the known science germ theory. I lived in a dairy state and the children of dairy farmers often consumed raw milk. They suffered no ill effects.

      BUT…the raw milk was extremely fresh (within hours or immediately, like breastmilk) and the parents were in charge of general cleanness. There were no indifferent middle men handling aged milk.

      From what I’ve read, the need for pasteurization came with farmers trying to sell cow’s milk in the cities to the masses around the 1900’s or so. (Before then milk was too expensive and spoiled too quickly. Dairy was sent to the cities in the form of cheese and butter, both of which are far more shelf stable.)

      Raw milk can be safe, but it has to be handled in a far more careful manner than pasteurized. Pasteurization means it becomes much easier for milk to be handled by many people and greatly extends it’s shelf life.

      Personally, I’ve had a milk allergy all my life and my husband has a lactose intolerance. Neither raw nor pasteurized milk is worth the trouble, especially when so much of the same nutrients can be found in the cheese.

      1. Yes, see Melanie DuPuis, _Nature’s Perfect Food_. Excellent history of dairy.

    2. Maybe we should be pasteurizing our peanut butter, salad greens, and spinach by this logic as well!

      1. Louise, it may come to that…..and I’m not kidding. _E. coli_ 0157:H7 is a relatively new strain of _E. coli_ that emerged when we started to feed livestock an unnatural diet that altered the pH of their digestive system. Now, it’s beginning to pop up everywhere….even the salad greens. However, the biggest danger is from raw dairy since this product obviously comes directly from the animals themselves. Amy made a great point above with regards to handling, shipping, time from harvest to sale. I live in one of the few states that allows raw milk sales on store shelves and it has resulted in too many sick kids. I’ve investigated far too many samples that were discovered to be contaminated when a child ended up critically ill in the hospital. Like I said, I have no problem with adults consuming it. Make your own decisions, but take the risks into consideration with children. Most people can handle mild cases of food poisoning, but the big ones like _E. coli O157:H7_, Campylobactor sp., and Listeria are not to be shrugged off. It’s a reality of our modern food system. We are all here because we want to be healthy and we want our families to be healthy. Part of that goal is recognizing dangers inherent in our food system and dealing with them logically.

        1. If the new E-coli has evolved because cows were fed an unnatural diet, would getting raw milk from grass-fed cows mitigate the risk?

        2. Mandy – Yep, grocery shelf stores with raw milk is a problem. I don’t see how raw milk is done safely unless people are willing to either take deliveries from or drive to the source. The supply chain has to be much shorter and closely monitored. The point of pasteurization was to make city shopping safe.

          Also, on a side note about vegetable pasteurization – apparently, the reason why the English in particular boiled their vegetables to do death was the tendency to use all types of raw manure (including human) on the fields. To prevent the spread of disease, everything (including lettuce) had to be boiled. There was a sound reason to boil everything to mush and it sounds like it maybe coming back again.

  19. “realize that simply breastfeeding – especially for longer than six months – is strongly associated with a bevy of health benefits for the mother, including weight loss, protection from breast cancer, protection from ovarian cancer, and lowered heart disease risk. So, providing ample milk to enable long duration breastfeeding is your safest bet.”

    I really hate to ask this question as in theory I would personally benefit =). But..

    Is this really a direct cause and effect or do all those lovely health benefits tend to accumulate because a woman who breastfeeds 6 months or longer tends to also look after her own health? I don’t get why there would be any direct biochemical connection between nursing and lower risk of heart disease 2 decades later.

    1. You’re probably right that women who breastfeed for six months or more are likely to take better care of themselves in general. However, I think that the hormonal shifts that extended breastfeeding requires may be the primary mechanism that confers these benefits.

    2. There is a cause and effect…see here for numerous examples:

      But tbh it’s not the way it should be described. Breastfeeding has no ‘benefits’. It’s NOT breastfeeding that carries risks. This article explains it rather well:

      The human body has evolved to expect breastmilk for the first few years of it’s life. Substituting other things to replace breastmilk and introducing solid foods too early, before the digestive system can cope with them INCREASES the risks of the diseases quoted. IME this has a good parallel with primal eating. Basically if you eat something your body isn’t designed to eat you increase your chances of getting ill either now or later in life.

  20. why the positive fuss over raw milk and angst of pasteurized? We cook our steaks! we cook our poultry, we cook our eggs…why not cook (pasteurize) our milk for safety sakes? Do all these other protein foods lose nutritional content as well after cooking?

    1. Milk is a different type of food and meant to be consumed raw/fresh. I’ll grant you that it’s meant for baby cows, but it’s pretty well known that cooking human breastmilk breaks down many of the nutrients. (Parents are told not to microwave the human milk to warm it up from frozen and not to boil it.)

      Still, we side step the whole issue by consuming cheese and butter for most of our dairy. Raw or pasturized, cow’s milk still is for baby cows. My kids never have had milk around and they are threatening to outgrow me.

    2. Denaturing your proteins and oxidizing fats isn’t good no matter the food. Eggs over easy and rare to medium-rare steaks are a good start.

      Non-kosher meats are not safe to eat raw unless you know it was getting some anti-parasitic while being raised.

  21. I just wanted to point out that the Bikram yoga study that was done earlier this year seems to be more of a yoga study than a Bikram study in particular. Of course the yoga group will have more shoulder flexibility than the no-yoga control group in much the same way that vegetarian diets regularly score better in studies than SAD diets. Hot yoga is better than no yoga at all, but this study sheds no light on the relative benefit (or harm) of combining yoga with high heat.

  22. When I heat the raw milk for my hot chocolate, do I then still get the positive health benefits from raw milk?

  23. Thank you Sofie. I just heat it in a little saucepan until the milk rises (I don’t know the english expression, but I hope you understand).

  24. I go to the source for my Raw Milk : a prize-winning Jersey herd, the milk is taken from the cows, bottled and sold right there on the farm.

  25. Just as a breastfeeding data point–I’ve been mostly in ketosis while breastfeeding my baby, who is now 11 months old, and only now starting to eat some solids. I focus on meat, low carb veggies, and coconut (oil, flour, cream).

    My motivation is that I’m mildly diabetic, so I feel better on a low-carb diet, with steadier energy and better moods, and able to cope with less sleep. It doesn’t take much carb intake for me to be on a blood sugar roller coaster. My baby is my 3rd one, so I know what breastfeeding is supposed to be like, and can tell if the baby is getting ample milk. She’s thriving, growing, moving, and sleeping well!

    1. Jenny – Woo hoo! Nice to meet you. My third baby is also 11 months old. 🙂 We’re doing the same thing – just dabbling in solid food still.

      At rate, it makes perfect sense that breastmilk should be at least steady in ketosis as long as there are ample calories. Fruit and tubers aren’t always in season.

      1. I love meeting other breastfeeding paleo moms! My daughter is 17 months, and we did the same thing with VERY gradual solid food introduction. She still gets the majority of her calories from breastmilk and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon (I hope). I’m 11 weeks pregnant now, so am hoping that I can keep my supply up. And I agree about the ketosis–I’m sure periods of ketosis were quite common in “paleolithic” times, and of course the women continued to breastfeed. What I’ve read is that, unless you’re absolutely starving yourself, diet really doesn’t effect your breastmilk composition or supply that much. However, eating coconut products can increase the amount of lauric acid in your breastmilk, which is very beneficial to your baby’s immune system. So way to go, Jenny, with the coconut!

        1. Yipee, babies!! I was able to nurse through most of pregnancy #2 as I recall. I think I just got tired of breastfeeding baby #1 towards the end. (He was over 2) 🙂

          “What I’ve read is that, unless you’re absolutely starving yourself, diet really doesn’t effect your breastmilk composition or supply that much.”

          Just a quibble – I’m not so sure about this statement. It makes sense that what you eat works it’s way into the breastmilk. I do know of mothers who cut out dairy in their diets so that their babies would stop spitting up with some success. I also read about a heartbreaker of a story (maybe here) where a vegan exclusively breastfed and her baby died at 11 months of malnutrition (in New Zealand??). I’m not so sure of the truth of the last story as I didn’t have a verified source. At any rate, it does also make sense to me that what you aren’t eating doesn’t make it’s way into the milk.

  26. I’m breastfeeding my third baby as well and am in better shape now than I was for babies #1 and #2 (8 and 6 years ago). I’ve been focusing on recently on losing about 15 lbs to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and at 5 months post-partum I’m nearly there.

    I’ve read a lot about breastfeeding while losing weight, and I found that the recommended calorie allowance for an exclusively breastfeeding woman should be about 1500 – 1800. This is proving to work well for me. I haven’t had any issues with supply, my boy is GIANT and gaining well. I will say though have noticed I make MORE milk on higher calorie days (i.e., he had his own Thanksgiving feast on Friday morning…)

    I realize this has nothing to do with ketosis, but I wanted to share this study I found though, which says:

    “Maternal plasma prolactin concentration generally increases under conditions of negative energy balance, which may serve to protect lactation.”

    I thought this was fascinating, it makes me swoon with love and gratitude at what a miracle our bodies are and what happens during “famine”, we keep on cranking out milk for our wee babes! (For a while anyway…)

    1. It’s way cool how our bodies work. Eating primally lets you see it too. I gained some fat when pregnant but it’s all come off and then some in the 11 months after. My baby girl is big, too in every good sense. She’s topping out in the 85th to 95th percentiles all around.

  27. I love Bikram yoga. The hot room feels great to me. But most of the time I can’t make it to a hot yoga studio, so I just get my room warm and do it at room temperature. It has helped me a great deal. I believe it is actually less dangerous than other forms of yoga, because there are no inversions (head stands, etc). It also seems more authentic and closer to the original yoga than many of the Americanized versions of yoga. There is no downward dog for instance, a pose that I hate and that I can’t do b/c of a wrist sprain.

  28. Mark, I’m confused as to why you’d write this:

    “…but I would advise against being in ketosis. Not because of ‘releasing toxins,’ though. Where’d you get that info?”

    Because, in the article you link to about eating primally while breastfeeding, you wrote this:

    “Nursing is a time to go a little slower on weight loss, especially because rapid loss can potentially release built up environmental toxins from fat stores.”

    Did you forget what you’d written before?

    That said, I’m really glad you wrote about this and linked to the other article. I’m nursing my 11-month-old and was finally able to conquer the sugar monster and lose about 14 lbs in 7 weeks of eating 100% primally. (I used the Whole30 plan and found your site through them.) I saw a small drop in milk production (based on what I pumped at work), but I was able to fix that by adding coconut butter to my diet. Yum!

  29. I love Bikram yoga. I’ve heard the excessive sweating flushes out your minerals and gradually stopped practicing. I’d love to get back into it. Any ideas about this?

  30. I think I need to START working out. I’m naturally lean, and primal has made me leaner, and I just am not motivated to do much working out, just walking and pullups. I feel like such a slouch around you guys! BTW, I eat a banana most every morning with my 3 eggs and bacon.

  31. Just a little note: “Bikram Yoga” and “hot yoga” are not synonymous. Bikram was the first person to bring yoga in a heated room to Western culture, but Bikram Yoga specifically refers to his particular series of 26 poses, not the heat. You can do hot yoga in any style (and most yoga studios nowadays offer a hot room for a variety of styles). Canadians will know of Moksha, Americans will know of Baptiste, and there’s a whole bunch of other styles commonly done in a heated room.

    I don’t prefer Bikram Yoga because I think a few of the poses present a high risk of injury, and the instructors are specifically not allowed to stray off-script to correct for these risks in beginners or low-aptitude students. I love Moksha, which is more therapeutic, and my current preference is Vinyasa in a hot room. I LOVE the hot room and seek one out at any yoga studio I visit.

  32. As a former Bikram addict, I wanted to comment on the psychotic episode the man mentioned had, as a result of the practice. Aside from the fact he had a history of mental illness, Bikram yoga touts that regular practice can release deep emotional baggage and has the potential to heal on may levels. Maybe this had something to do with his episode…

  33. The Bikram poses are yoga poses. The method of doing the poses quickly and with a lack of mindfulness and no attention to the breath directed by a person using a microphone is not yoga.

    It’s an exercise class with differences. This doesn’t mean it isn’t useful or happy-making, just that it’s not yoga, which is about unifying the mind and body more than shows of strength or flexibility.

    The best hot yoga I’ve done was in a studio where we spent over 2 hours doing the series of poses, giving us time to climb into them and explore them. The room was heated up, but only to the high 90’s and it was enough.

    I urge those who like Bikram to find a place like that or go on your porch in the summer and do the series in a mindful way, noting the breath as you go. I agree with the experience level of Bikram trainers noted in another post, similar to my experiences. And some of the poses being unsuitable for beginners.

    I downloaded a pose chart from a local studio to use at home. This is helpful to laminate and pin up somewhere when starting out.

  34. The last time I did hot yoga was in my pre-primal days. I’ve been primal for about 2 years ago and joined my newly opened local hot yoga studio about a month ago.

    Goodness me what a difference! Even though I’m probably much less fit and flexible now, I’m way better able to deal with the heat and the challenge of it than I ever was in my pre-primal ‘fit’ days. I seem to have much more strength, I cool quickly afterwards and I’m not wiped out for the rest of the day. This is proof to me of how primal has improved my fitness.

    I’m wondering about doing hot yoga first thing in the morning in a fasted state. Has anyone experienced it? I feel like I need to arrive at my class well fed and watered. Will I fall over if I don’t have breakfast??

  35. Calorie Value of Banana: Banana has around 90 to 93 calories per 100 g. By recognising which element you belong to, you can halt imbalances in your body and mind that can prompt sickness and ultimately weight gain.

  36. I’m a true believer that you should eat what your body tells you to eat (obviously, i’m not suggesting fast food or beer even if you are thinking about it right now), but bananas are quite good to start your day with!