Monday, November 7, 2016

How Much Protein Do We Really Need?

Day in the Life (Almost 2.5 Years Old)

Hey, hey! Happy Monday! I can’t believe tomorrow is Election Day. It’s such a BIG day, so make sure you get out there and VOTE!

Ok, it’s time for another Day in the Life post. Our sweet boy turns 2 years and 5 months (aka “almost 2.5 years old”) this week, so I thought it was the perfect time to share a look into our life at this age. Our baby is growing up so fast. He’s talking up a storm (he said “I see a bird” the other day) and seems more and more like a little boy everyday. Ok, here we go. FYI: This “day in the life” is from last Friday.

6:19 AM: I hear Quinn on the baby monitor. It’s time to start the day!

6:21 AM: We head downstairs. Qman watches Dinotrux while I pour myself an iced coffee with coconut cream and collagen. I pour some milk into a Lollacup and then head back into the living room to cuddle with my favorite little guy on the couch.

6:30 AM: I’m starving, so I make breakfast for us. I whip up some pumpkin oatmeal with granola and peanut butter for myself. I give Quinn a toasted muffin with butter and jelly and a side of chunked pineapple.

6:39 AM: We eat breakfast in the living room, which is not typical. It’s definitely a special, mama-hasn’t-had-enough-coffee-yet Friday treat. We’re usually pretty strict about eating our meals at the kitchen table since the consistency/expectations have really helped with Qman’s eating issues. He’s done so well at meals lately, I decided to bend the rules a little. Quinn ate almost all of his breakfast, which was awesome, but he had some trouble sitting still, so we ended up with jelly and crumbs all over the couch. Oops. Good thing Dada wasn’t home! Haha!

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7:05 AM: We finish eating breakfast. I clean up while Quinn plays with his Pat Patrol Air Patroller Plane.

8:35 AM: The next 90 minutes are a blur; I have no idea what happened. Ok, well, I do, but I was running around the house and didn’t think to snap photos. Here’s a sampling of what happened during that time: A water balloon explodes on our couch. I change Quinn’s outfit 2 different times. I change 3 dirty diapers, which also includes some potty training time. I start the laundry from the week and load/run the dishwasher with Quinn’s help. (There’s just something about pushing the buttons!) I get myself dressed and ready for CrossFit, which takes me about an hour in between everything else. Before I know it, it’s almost time to leave for the gym.

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8:37 AM: I make a protein shake, fill up my water bottle, grab some milk for Qman, say goodbye to Murphy, and we leave for CrossFit. What a whirlwind morning!

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Squirrels!

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8:40 AM: I stop to snap a photo of the scene in the front scene of my car: Gym bag with “Geet” (the blanket) inside, at least 5 pairs of sunglasses because the sun is “hot,” and a plastic berry basket with all sorts of toys in it. Oh, how life has changed!

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9:00 AM: CrossFit time!

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10:00 AM: Class is over. We play at Salt Shack for a little bit and then head over to the pet store to see the kittens, puppies, and shark.

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10:26 AM: Quinn and I swing by Coffee Shack for Donut Friday. I get an iced coffee and we share a “no-nut.”

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10:40 AM: We leave Coffee Shack and drive to the playground.

10:53 AM: Time to play!

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11:35 AM: We leave the park and drive home.

11:39 AM: We arrive home. Quinn and I play in the kitchen while I make lunch for him. I throw together leftovers (Cheeseburger Salad) for my lunch.

11:49 AM: We sit down at the kitchen table (lesson learned) and eat lunch together.

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12:25 PM: We finish eating. I get Quinn ready for his afternoon nap and put him to bed.

12:30 PM: I clean up from lunch, take a quick shower, and then break out my laptop. Work time.

1:42 PM: I whip up a batch of Cookie Dough Protein Balls. Recipe on CNC soon!

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2:55 PM: Quinn wakes up from his nap. We head downstairs and cuddle on the couch while we wakes up.

3:05 PM: It’s time to take Murphy for a walk, so I put his harness on him and then grab a snack for Quinn.

3:15 PM: Dada comes home, so we invite him to come along for the walk.

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Leaf fight!!

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4:00 PM: We return home from our walk. I clean up the house… switch laundry, fold a load, empty dishwasher, bring recycling down to the basement.

4:45 PM: Qman starts to get hungry, so I make him a PB&J for dinner. Mal and I snack on some crackers and pub cheese while he eats at the table.

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5:10 PM: I get ready to meet Kerrie for drinks and apps.

5:25 PM: I say goodbye to my boys and drive to Legal C Bar.

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Kerrie and I order drinks and apps and talk about some very exciting (yet big and scary!) decisions for Designed to Fit. We’re interviewing a few people to join our team and we have an important meeting later this week, so we just want to make sure we’re on the same page about everything.

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I lovvvvveee the Bang Bang Cauliflower from Legal!

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7:20 PM: I say goodbye to Kerrie and head home. Mal has plans with friends, so we divide the night so we can both go out.

7:35 PM: I arrive home. I chat with Mal for a little bit.

7:45 PM: Mal leaves. I eat some Vegetarian Protein Mix.

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7:50 PM: I head upstairs, get ready for bed, and change into my PJs.

8:02 PM: I come back downstairs and decide that it’s Halo Top time! I watch an episode of the Real Housewives of Orange County.

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8:40 PM: I head upstairs, brush my teeth, apply some UltraLASH, and then read a couple of chapters of Power Your Happy.

9:15 PM: Lights out.

The end.



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Dear Mark: Meditation for Neuroplasticity, Astragalus, and Red Light Therapy

Peaceful woman finding body and mind balance

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First, did I mess up by not mentioning meditation in the neuroplasticity post? Yes, and you’ll find out more below. Next, what are my thoughts on taking astragalus for fighting off colds and flus? Does it work? And finally, does red light therapy have the potential to reduce chronic pain? Does it do anything else?

Let’s go:

I’m sorry that meditation is not mentioned, but magic mushrooms are. Meditation increases white matter in the brain (which influences efficiency of electrical signals in brain), and lessens shrinkage due to age. Meditation also has a positive influence on the preservation of telomere length and telomerase activity (when these shorten, we experience adverse aging effects). I would much rather do it the natural way (via meditation) than taking a chance with hallucinogens.

Susan Grace

Thanks for your comment, Susan. This is why I love my readers. They call me out.

Everything you say is true. Meditation is a powerful trigger for neuroplasticity.

Mindfulness meditation can undo stress-induced changes to connectivity in the amygdala (the “fear” center).

Experienced meditators show enhanced neural plasticity and even structural changes to the brain (both gray and white matter).

Like seemingly everything else out there, the relationship between meditation history and neuroplasticity follows a U-shaped curve. Beginners show less neuroplasticity activation than more experienced meditators, who show more activation than advanced meditators. How can this be?

Beginners aren’t doing much. They’re just trying to learn how to make those connections, so the activity is minimal.

Experienced meditators (average of 19,000 practice hours) are in the active learning phase. To reach the desired state, they really have to work hard. The connections are lighting up.

The expert meditators (average of 44,000 practice hours) already have those changes established in their brains, and it takes less effort to maintain and activate them.

And one thing people should keep in mind: Trying to meditate but “failing” isn’t actually failing. It’s the attempt that’s the entire point. Learning to juggle, walk a slack line, or anything else that feels impossible at the start activates neuroplasticity. Failure is a necessary component of learning and brain remodeling.

As for the psychedelics, I absolutely agree that they can be more risky. Being one of the more powerful inputs a person an introduce to their brain, the psychedelics require more respect, caution, and planning than other plasticity inducers. That’s why I recommend that people wait for legalization (or decriminalization), or at least ensure they’re with someone experienced whom they trust. Note that the majority of psychedelics, including psilocybin, have sky high LD50s; it’s almost impossible to consume enough that you reach toxic levels.

Hi Mark! Last year my family and I were hit hard by cold and flu season, and this year I want to be prepared! A naturopath friend suggested astragalus. Can you tell me more, like whether it’s worth it and the best way to take it?

Astragalus, one of the foundational herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, certainly affects the immune system.

It can modulate the Th1/Th2 cytokine balance in asthma (mouse model), reducing lung inflammation.

Including astragalus polysaccharides to a bird flu vaccine enhances the immune response to the shot (in chickens).

It’s moderately effective against nasal congestion in people with hay fever.

In humans, astragalus tincture activates T-cells, a type of immune cell that helps fight infections.

But we don’t have any hard data showing that it can fight flu or cold infections. I do think it’s very plausible and probably possible.

I’d say it’s worth a try, as long as you’re not spending more than $20-30.

But don’t forget about good old crushed raw (or almost raw) garlic—in my opinion the best anti-cold “supplement” around. Garlic can improve immune function and reduce the occurrence of common colds. Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I’ll crush and dice up an entire head of garlic and lightly simmer it in a big mug of bone brothYou can also try aged garlic, which may be even more potent.

I’ve had chronic pain for years, which has definitely lessened since I went Primal last year! But I still have lingering issues. I keep hearing about red light therapy for chronic pain, and I know some gyms and other facilities market it as a selling point. Have you tried this? Is there anything to the idea?

There’s definitely something to it. It’s not some fringe therapy lacking support in the literature:

In patients with knee osteoarthritis, red light therapy reduced pain scores and increased microcirculation in the knee (which could portend healing).

A 2012 review concluded that red light therapy does reduce joint pain. An earlier review found that it reduces pain specifically in chronic joint disorders, which is good news for you.

It’s even been shown to improve neuropathic pain.

There are other effects, too.

Red light exposure increases blood flow to the skin and improves fracture healing. There’s even evidence that pretreatment with red light prepares your skin for a healthier response to UVB. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Think about those beautiful quiet mornings. You step out the door, gaze toward the sunrise, and everything looks otherworldly. The light has a different quality—it’s actually slightly red from coming in at a different angle and passing through “extra” atmosphere.

Then midday rolls around and the sun is blasting down the bluer, hotter stuff. But because you were there for the sunrise (weren’t you?), your skin is ready.

Go for the red light therapy, and let me know how it goes.

That’s it for today, everyone. I’d love to hear from you. Any experience with meditation, astragalus, and/or red light therapy?

Thanks for reading and take care.

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The post Dear Mark: Meditation for Neuroplasticity, Astragalus, and Red Light Therapy appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.



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Meeting Emerson Grace

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Get ready for a bunch of cute baby photos!! I have just returned from Dallas, where I went to meet my new niece, Emerson Grace.

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I haven’t spent a ton of time around newborns other than my own little one, so I kept thinking how similar Emerson is to Mazen. Maybe all newborns are the same, but I felt major déjà vu when I held her. She is closest in genetics to Mazen, and I to her mother, so maybe we felt that. She seemed to like me right away!

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I arrived on Wednesday in time for a CST lunch. I made egg and avocado sandwiches along with fruit and chips for us all to share. We spent a lot of time talking, watching TV, and relaxing while she nursed and napped in our arms.

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On Wednesday night we went out for pizza. E is so young that she slept the whole time in a wrap on her mother’s chest.

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We had this great autumn salad and shared a few pizzas, but we were so busy talking I forgot to take photos! The pizzas were awesome.

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On Thursday morning I took E so my sister could catch an extra few hours of sleep. I set myself up with entertainment knowing I wouldn’t be able to move much once she fell asleep. I remember those days!

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Plus Survivor on the big screen! Nap time.

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She woke up quite a bit later, and we had some nice play time together.

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She thinks I am a super cool auntie : )

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While the girls nursed, Matt and I went for a quick 5K run around their neighborhood. It was nice to have someone to motivate me to exercise a little on the trip.

Post-run oatmeal with peanut butter!

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I got to wear E in the Solly Baby wrap a few times. I loved wearing Mazen in the same way, so this was so fun!

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For lunch that day we had leftover pizza, and a salad I made from things in the fridge.

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During our run, we passed the Title Nine store! I had no idea they had stores in addition to the catalog, so later that afternoon Larbs and I walked back over for a little shopping.

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I don’t remember my newborn sleeping this much, but she sure did!

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For dinner that night we had crockpot chicken with rice, sweet potatoes, sautéed peppers, cheese, sour cream, guac, and chips.

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Plus ice cream bowls for dessert!

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I watched Emerson again in the morning while her mother went to vote! Larbs had made a quiche for us to have for breakfasts and lunches, so I had some of that for breakfast along with an early-morning banana and PB. Plus, coffee!

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I got some more great faces out of her!

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We walked to Velvet Taco for lunch. YUM! I had a fish ‘n chips and a Cuban taco. I loved the Cuban!

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Late in the afternoon Matt and I did a 20 minute Popsugar bootcamp, showered, and then we all headed out for happy hour at Truck Yard.

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What a cool watering hole!

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We walked to dinner a few blocks away at Rapscallion, and shared a bunch of delicious things. This plate:

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And then a Redfish entree, sautéed sorghum, and a salad (that appeared to be half missing!). As always, wine too.

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We took sundaes home from Motor Sisters for dessert.

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A pumpkin and a salted caramel!!

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I was so sad to say goodbye to this snuggle bug. I’m hoping to visit her again in a few months!

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