Friday, February 22, 2019

Weekly Link Love—Edition 17

Research of the Week

Self-expanding activities increase sexual desire in long-term couples.

Why you’re so naked and sweaty.

New isotope analysis reveals that Neanderthals were mostly carnivorous.

Alzheimer’s can’t touch musical memories.

We have a 7th sense—the link between the brain and the immune system.

Why the zebra got his stripes.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 313: Carrie Forrest: Host Elle Russ chats with Carrie Forrest, a thyroid cancer survivor and host of the Clean Eating for Women podcast.

Episode 314: Keto: Choosing Carbs Wisely (Especially for Kombucha and Chocolate): Host Brad Kearns gives his take on the best carb sources to spend your glucose on.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Media, Schmedia

Don’t do this.

Remember the CRISPR babies from last year? Turns out that obscure gene the scientist deleted—CCR5, most notably involved in resistance to AIDS—also happens to affect cognitive function.

Interesting Blog Posts

Here’s what exactly a health coach can do for you. Double that if it’s a Primal Health Coach.

The utility of genetic tests for people with autism.

Social Notes

I appeared on the Onnit Podcast with Kyle Kingsbury to talk about my mission.

Everything Else

Belarusian man beats muscle-up world record with 26 in a row.

American man unofficially beats a world record by running 10 marathons in 10 days, averaging under 3 hours for each.

Another American man trounces them all, finishing the 2,181 mile-long Appalachian Trail in 45.5 days while carrying a 25 pound pack and completely supporting himself (no team following along with food and shelter). For a great film about the previous record holder, watch this.

I wonder if they still say “namaste.”

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Good advice for those who need it: How Jocko Willink recommends you get yourself to get out of bed when you don’t feel like it.

Finding I found interesting: Psychology’s research replication crisis just got worse.

I’m totally unsurprised: High-fat diet (that’s actually also high-carb and also the fat comes from soybean oil) destroys microbial diversity in the gut. “Move away from high-fat diets,” indeed.

A film project I’m supporting because it’s that important: Diana Rodger’s Sacred Cowa film (actually, now a docuseries) about meat and environmental sustainability that promises to counter the overwhelming barrage of vegan anti-meat propaganda. We need this.

This is jarring: Gymnastics in the 1950s alongside gymnastics in 2016. Bonus: Banned skills in gymnastics.

Question I’m Asking

What’s your mission?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Feb 17 – Feb 23)

Comment of the Week

“Increase ferritin with an iron man and an iron pan. That’s Mark’s iron plan.”

– Pretty catchy, Clank.

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Snow Day, Spring Day

We woke up on Wednesday morning to a lovely blanket of snow. Unfortunately it was the worst kind of snow day because shortly after sunrise the precipitation switched to a mix of rain, sleet and freezing rain, so it was too gross out to do any fun sledding. I’m hoping this was our last snow day of the year because yesterday was 60 degrees and spring like outside, but we will probably get 2 feet in March. That’s how this season goes.

They actually called off school the night before, so I found it funny when Mazen bounded into my room at 6:30 on Wednesday morning asking if he had school. I had forgotten to tell him the night before (although I turned off his alarm clock!) I said in a mean voice: “You’re late for the school bus!” and then told him I was joking. He cheered.

And lucky for us, Thomas was downstairs making Great Harvest pancakes! (He did not have a snow day but shared Mazen’s excitement for a lazy morning.)

We made fluffy slime (with shaving cream) for an activity using glow-in-the-dark glue. If you saw my story on Instagram, it was really cool!

Mazey helped me put Birch down for a nap. We left him in the crib but he started to cry and before I could jump back up Mazen ran in there and started holding his hand, singing, and showing Birch stuffed animals. It was the sweetest thing to watch!

I got in a shower during naptime. This is my new favorite sweatshirt from Stitch Fix. It zips down, so it’s breastfeeding friendly and has pockets! Also neutral gray = wardrobe colors.

Thomas came back home for lunch, and we made a double batch of tuna salad. I have just recently discovered the totally addictive Stacy’s Pita Chips. I know other people have been devouring them for years. I don’t know why I’m suddenly obsessed! They are perfect for scooping up tuna or egg salad. Also: clementines are perfection. I’m not sure I want to ever eat (or peel) any other kind of orange.

Look what arrived yesterday! I felt so bad for the nice delivery guys who carried this beast up the hill of my backyard, slipping on ice. But I was so glad that it was not delayed because assembly was scheduled for the next day. (FREE thanks to Amazon!!!) I’ll be sure to update you guys with a post on the new tread and how it compares when she’s all set up and I’ve given her a test ride!

Breakfasts

Other breakfasts this week have centered around Cinnamon Chip from Great Harvest! French toast with coconut butter and almond butter one day.

And toast with almond butter and a small leftover smoothie the next.

Lunches

Typical lunch: quiche, salad, pita chips. (I told you I can’t stop!)

Dinners

Thomas smoked a bunch of chicken on Sunday, and we’ve been eating the leftovers all week. Served on Sunday with asparagus and Instant Pot mac.

We had this salad on Tuesday with chicken, feta, chopped leftover cooked veggies, and pita chips (!!)

And this one on Thursday with kale, blue cheese, candied pecans, and peppers.

And on Wednesday, we had Mazen’s favorite: spaghetti with meat sauce!

Have a great weekend everyone! We’re escaping on a little getaway!

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Arm Workout Without Weights

Jessica Gouthro from Paleohacks is joining us today to offer tips for bodyweight-focused arm workouts. Enjoy, everyone.

Do you ever have those days when you want a good arm workout, but you don’t have any workout equipment?

Curls, presses, tricep kickbacks, and rows are all great for your arms if you’re at the gym with plenty of dumbbells, barbells and cable machines. But what about those days that you just can’t make it to the gym—or simply don’t want to?

Luckily, I’m here to prove to you that a good bodyweight workout is just as good as what you can get at the gym. The best part is, you don’t need anything other than yourself and just 15 minutes at a time to sculpt and tone your arms into incredible shape.

The top three muscle groups we want to focus on when working on our arms are:

  • Triceps: Our largest muscle group of the arm, located on the back of the upper arm. Its function is to extend the elbow joint (straighten your arm).
  • Biceps: The muscle in the front of our upper arm that flexes the elbow joint to bring the forearm towards the upper arm (bend your arm).
  • Shoulders: The muscle primarily targeted in shoulder development is the deltoid. This muscle is responsible for both raising and lowering of the arm as well as overhead pressing movements.

This bodyweight workout focuses on these three muscle groups, helping you form a balanced strengthening approach.

The result of this workout is going to be sleek, defined, strong-looking arms, but even better, you will be gaining real, functional strength at the same time.

Here’s how to do this 15-minute arm workout:

  • Spend 1 minute on each of the five exercises, repeating the circuit three times without breaks between rounds.
  • Beginner (30:30): Follow 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest. (If you need even more rest, you can take it. Good form is always more important than sticking to time!)
  • Advanced (45:15): Follow 45 seconds of work with 15 seconds of rest (Just enough time for a few deep breaths and setting yourself up for the next exercise.)

Diamond Push-Up

This triceps move also shapes your chest, shoulders and core for a full-body functional exercise.

In a push-up position, bring your hands to touching, forming a diamond shape with fingers and thumbs.

Tighten your core, and ensure that your body is in a straight line from shoulders to feet.

Bend your elbows to lower your chest towards your hands.

Stop when you are about four inches away from the floor, then press your palms down into the ground to rise back up to the top.

Keep your elbows close to your body as you lower and lift to put the focus on the arms and shoulders.

Tricep Wing-Backs

This exercise is surprisingly challenging when done with focus and intention.

Get into a low squat, with your knees bent and back straight.

Lift your arms up behind you like you’re reaching for the back wall. Spread your fingers and flex your arms all the way straight.

On an inhale, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle, making sure to keep your arms up high. Focus on flexing your bicep muscles.

Exhale to extend your arms straight again, flexing your triceps.

With each rep, focus on contracting your muscles.

Single Leg Pike Push-Ups

This just might be the hardest shoulder press you’ve ever tried.

Start in downward-facing dog position, on your hands and toes with your hips in the air. Make sure your hands are at least shoulder-width apart.

Lift one leg up high in the air, pointing your toes towards the ceiling.

Inhale to bend your elbows, lowering your forehead towards the ground between your hands.

Exhale to press your palms down into the ground to lift back up to straight arms.

Lower your leg back down and immediately lift your right leg.

Continue to do the same push-up move, alternating lifts of each leg for the allotted work time interval.

NOTE: Single Leg Pike Push-Up is a challenging move that requires upper body strength and balance. If you cannot do it with good form or do not feel comfortable doing it, do push-ups (or modified push-ups on your knees) instead.

Regular Push-Up

Put feet about shoulder width apart with toes touching the ground. Put hands alongside chest and spread your fingers. Begin to push up, keeping elbows close to the body.

Take some of the work off the wrists by making your fingers “grip” the floor as you push up.

Modified Push-Up

A modification of the traditional push-up that lessens the weight on the upper body. Follow the same routine as the traditional push-up, but use your knees as the point of your lower body touching the floor (instead of the toes).

Extend upward just as you do in a traditional push-up.

Superman Lift-Off

This move tones your shoulders and arms while also strengthening your lower back.

Lie belly down on the ground with arms and legs extended long.

Take a big breath in, then on the exhale, lift your arms and legs off the ground like Superman.

Inhale to lower back to the starting point.

Repeat this lifting and lowering, following the pace of your breath.

Downdog Ankle Tap Twists

This shoulder and tricep blaster is also a great spine-lengthening stretch.

Start in a downdog position with hands and feet shoulder-width apart.

Exhale, and reach your right hand towards the outside of your left ankle to tap it.

Inhale to come back to downdog, then alternate and do the same on the other side.

Continue alternating left and right, one move per breath.

Congratulations! In just 15 minutes, and with no equipment, you have worked your arms in the best way possible.

You may feel sore tomorrow, so give those arms a rest and allow at least 24-48 hours recovery before tackling this workout again.

For best results, I recommend incorporating this workout into your routine two to three times per week, spaced apart to allow for recovery.

Thanks again to Jessica Gouthro for today’s tips. Be sure to check out Jessica’s other workout lineups on MDA:“13 Ways To Move More At Work” and “10 Moves To Help Ease Joint Pain.”

Questions or comments about bodyweight exercises or arm strength? Share them below, and thanks for stopping by.

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Minimalist Pots For House Plants

I hope the sun is out where ever you are! Because dem plants need it.

Thomas LOVES house plants. When I met him, he had this whole corner of his house packed with them. To be honest, house plants have always made me feel cluttered. While I love a big fiddle leaf fig filling out an empty corner, smaller plants in colorful pots just catch my eye in a not-so-good way. I get that they are great for air quality and people find them soothing – but I just couldn’t get over the cluttered look. UNTIL we agreed to get some minimalist, matching pots. All white. All modern. And all cool! The geometric Bennie is my favorite. Now I love the window plants in the basement! (We also considered these rounded ones, these marble ones, and this standing one. Anything but terra cotta!)

Floor Pots

We got this double decker pot in the background as a Christmas gift last year. I love the spike plant Thomas chose, as it has a modern feel. And the bigger floor pot was a purchase from a local store.

This pot was a wedding gift from my sister. The white and gray pattern and wooden base. It matches our decor perfectly.

Plant Food

I ordered some vanilla plant-based protein powder made with pea, rice, and cranberry (!?) protein from my friend Brett’s Arbonne business, and it’s really good! I always prefer vanilla to chocolate, and anything to make my smoothies more like vanilla cake and marshmallows. Those are some Cinnamon Puffins on top! The smoothie base is peanut butter + banana + milk + oats + vanilla protein.

Outside Plants

Some of our warmer weather days recently meant some stroller walks with friends. Birch and Fern are growing like weeds!

I CAN’T WAIT FOR SPRING, says everyone this time of year. Especially with a little baby who I don’t want to take to indoor germy places. Getting fresh air is so nice for the both of us.

We’ll be planting soon!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Our Nutrition Client’s Favorite Healthy Snacks

If you follow me on Instagram stories or read through my daily eats posts, you know that I’m definitely a snacker! Whether it’s just a small bite pre-workout or a mid-afternoon snack while prepping dinner, I love a good snack. I generally like eating medium-to-large size meals with snacks in-between. This keeps me from getting hangry in between meals and then going overboard on my portions because I’m starving. This is what works for me, but everyone’s different. For clients on a CNC Macro Plan, we love the back-and-forth communication and experimentation to find the eating habits and lifestyle that best works for them.

As much as I love my snacks, it’s so easy for me to get into a major rut,. I’m always on the hunt for new ideas to keep my eats fun and exciting, so I asked the CNC Nutrition & Accountability Group for suggestions. I received SO MANY great ideas and had to share them on the blog. I am definitely planning a few of these into my meal plan next week, and I hope they give you some new ideas to try out as well!

  • Plantain chips with guacamole
  • Homemade snack boxes: Veggies, fruit, cheese, crackers, boiled egg, and turkey
  • All the bars: Perfect Bar, RXBAR, Health Warrior, No Cow Protein Bars
  • Rice cake combos:
    • Laughing cow cheese and Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
    • Nut butter and cinnamon
    • Avocado and boiled eggs
    • Hummus and cucumbers
    • Mashed banana and PB2
    • Refried beans and bell pepper slices
  • Apple slices nuked with nut butter and cinnamon
  • Greek yogurt with Not-A-Million-Calories Granola and berries
  • Dark chocolate with walnuts
  • French Toast Scramble
  • Roasted broccoli with peanut sauce
  • Protein balls
  • Boiled eggs with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
  • Beef, turkey and salmon jerky
  • Popcorn with chocolate chips
  • Dates with peanut butter
  • Sliced strawberries with Chocolate Donut Seasoning
  • Health Warrior Protein Muffin
  • Hummus chicken salad
  • 3-Minute Peanut Butter Cookie
  • Deli roll-ups with honey mustard
  • Cottage cheese with grape tomatoes and Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
  • Siete chips with guacamole and salsa
  • Steamed edamame

Question of the Day

What snacks are you loving lately? 

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10 Primal Date Ideas For Every Couple

I know we missed Valentine’s Day, but I’ve always said love cannot be contained. Besides: People are always going on dates. People are always searching for new ways to break out of the regular mold, which is completely understandable. Dates are try-outs. You’re spending time with another person to determine how they fit into your life. Unconventional dates that branch out from “dinner, movie, drinks” into more adventurous, creative realms provide excellent feedback for making that determination.

Dates are also a way for established couples to keep things fresh and exciting, to keep the relationship moving. There’s no better way than to try something new.

As it happens, most work for friends, too.

Now, some of these dates are silly or out-of-left field. Some are more serious. And one is a Primal Costanza date—what not to do. But regardless, they are all worth exploring. And—as always—I’d love to hear what you’d add.

1) Watch a Movie and Fill In the Dialogue

You know that scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are watching a drive-in movie without sound and filling in the dialogue themselves? Do the same thing, only make all the dialogue health and fitness-related. For example, The Empire Strikes Back would work great.

Just before Han is frozen in carbonite, Leia speaks. “I love cold therapy, so many benefits. I can send you the PubMed links.” Han replies. “I know.”

Vader gives Luke the bad news. “Luke, I am a vegan.” “Nooooooooo!”

Pick your favorite movie, and try it out yourselves. Drive-ins aren’t necessary (do they even still have those?); you could just put the T.V. on mute.

2) Couples’ Spa Day

A couple hundreds years ago, you didn’t really go to the doctor. You’d go to a spa. Spas were healing centers erected around natural springs of mineral-rich water. People would bathe in it (many were hot springs), drink it, and engage in other healthy pursuits. Many of today’s most popular bottled mineral waters come from springs that doubled as health spas back in earlier days.

The average person may think of a spa as a pleasure center, a superficial luxury. But getting a massage, soaking in hot mineral water, smearing yourself with mud and/or clay, exposing yourself to extreme temperatures in the sauna, steam room, and cold water pool? These are all objectively healthy and pleasurable experiences with measurable benefits.

Go for a hot soak, followed by a cold plunge. Do the mud bath thing. Get a deep tissue massage. Soak in the salty mineral-rich brine. And do it with your date, as your date.

3) Get Physical

No, not like that (necessarily). I’m talking about doing something physically demanding together, like a yoga session, a tough hike, a Tough Mudder, a Krav Maga class, or even a CrossFit workout.

Intense physical exertion—performed together—increases bonding. You’re sweating, you’re touching, you’re working hard toward a goal. You’re a team. Make it a little dangerous and the juices really flow. For the same reason, going to see a scary movie helps couples get closer.

4) Go Dancing or Take Dance Lessons

Dance is the prelude to closer, more intimate physical contact. And it’s incredibly healthy learning to move with cohesion and fluidity and precision through constantly varying ranges of motion. Dancers are some of the most athletic folks around—think b-boys, ballet dancers, practitioners of modern dance. I’m not a follower of the show, but seriously just look at an episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” for plain evidence of their athleticism.

Go dance, or take dance lessons if you can’t dance yet. If the latter, don’t make this a one-off. Keep the lessons going. Build that skill together. Move together.

Dancing together in your living room to music on your smartphone is completely valid, too.

5) Cook the Farmer’s Market

This is a fun little date to try. Carrie and I used to do this at the Malibu farmer’s market every once in awhile.

Go to every stand, ask the farmer what’s best today, and then buy that item. If your market is huge, you don’t need to buy from every single stand. Try to stick to a dozen stands or so just to keep things manageable.

Be reasonable with the quantities. Otherwise it’ll add up fast. If, say, the farmer recommends the leeks, buy a couple leeks. If it’s cauliflower, buy a head. If it’s strawberries, buy a basket.

Go home and create a meal together using only the things you purchased from the market. Use things like oil/cooking fat, salt, pepper, and spices from home (unless you bought them at the market, in which case you get extra points). If your market doesn’t offer any meat, feel free to incorporate store-bought meat. But do your best to use only things from the market.

Prep and cook it together. There you go, that’s your date.

6) Ten-Mile Date

Walk ten miles, at least. It can be through the city, the suburbs, or the forest. You can stop at stores, cafes, museums along the way—it doesn’t have to be ten miles straight without stopping. But get those ten miles in however you can.

7) Roughhouse

Roughhousing is universal. It’s also great fun. You roughhouse. You wrestle, jostle, poke, prod, but you don’t (ever) hurt each other. You keep things light, engaged, dancing on the edge of intensity. I really like Rafe Kelley’s approach. Check out the one where he and his partner act like their wrists are glued together as they move around, roll, push, and pull. Or where they stand on a large log, clasp hands, and try to pull each other off balance. That stuff is really fun. I’d try any of the videos from that link.

Another is one-legged tug of war. You each stand on one leg, clasp the other’s hand, and attempt to pull the other off balance. If there’s a big weight or strength disparity, have the stronger person stay on one foot and the weaker person use both. Put pillows and other soft landing spaces around your perimeter.

If you’re a man and she’s a woman, there will probably be some strength disparities. Use your better judgement. Keep things fair and competitive and fun.

8) Picnic and a Hike

Think back to all the hikes you’ve done, all the wilderness areas you’ve explored. Were there any perfect picnic spots that jumped out at you? Maybe a dry pebbly shore next to a gurgling creek. Maybe a ring of redwoods. Maybe a grassy meadow. Maybe a beach that only locals know about. If nothing comes to mind, Google one.

Then pack a lunch and get moving.

9) Stand-Up Paddling

I’m extremely biased. Stand-up paddling is probably my favorite activity. It’s training, meditation, adventure, and a fantastic core and rear delt/lat workout all in one. I’ve seen dolphins, manatees, whales, and any number of marine life on my board. I’ve hit the flow state on my board. I’ve finally figured out meditation being on my board. I’ve woken up with some of the most intense DOMS after a long day on my board. My transverse abdominals and obliques have never been stronger. It’s an all-around great time—and it makes a great date. We’re no longer youngsters in love, but Carrie and I have had a lot of good times when I can get her out on a board.

Not everyone has access to a paddle-worthy body of water, although more than you’d think—rivers, lakes, and reservoirs all work with a paddle board, not just the ocean. If you can’t paddle, something similar like kayaking or even cross-country skiing will work well.

10) Lecture Your Date At Dinner

Make sure your date knows exactly how unhealthy everything he or she is putting in her mouth.

When he orders pasta, make a face.

When she fails to confirm that the salad dressing was made with extra virgin olive oil, pull the waiter aside and do it for her.

When he orders the fish, let him know the Monterey Bay rating.

If she gets anything deep-fried, tell her all about how restaurants reuse cooking oil, which (by the way) is most likely very high in unstable polyunsaturated fats.

This will ensure a second date.

That’s it for today, folks. If you try any of these date ideas, let me know how it goes. If you have any other ideas, write them in down below!

Take care.

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Feeding You Lies – Share The Truth About The Food Industry!

Last night I went down to my local Barnes & Noble to see Feeding You Lies on the shelves. It was surreal seeing years of research and the truth about the food industry smack dab on the New Releases table at the front of the store (see a live video below)… This information is now out … Read More

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