Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tell Me What You Want in 2017 (Reader Survey)

Hey, friends! Happy Thursday/almost Friday/almost the weekend! 🙂

First and foremost, thank you so much for reading CNC, especially those of you who have followed along for years now. Your support and opinion means a lot to me, so I am getting ready for 2017 and want your input so I can continue to make CNC a place that you love to come and visit. Using the survey link below, please tell me what you’d like to see (or not see) on CNC next year. Many, many thanks in advance!!!

Carrots ‘N’ Cake Reader Survey


And just wanted to share some updates from our 24 Days of Togetherness. (If you missed days 1-4, you can read about them here.) If you’re participating this year, I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season as much as we are! Smile I love seeing all of your posts on social media! #24daysoftogetherness


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Qman also wore red and black stripped socks, and I wore a red plaid infinity scarf and holiday socks from Brooks!


Mal and I are planning a little happy hour date this afternoon before we pick Qman up from daycare! 🙂


from Carrots 'N' Cake

Make Dinner Easy With This One Pan Dish: Lemon Rosemary Chicken & Root Vegetables

After investigating how food is produced and raised in this country, one of the first commitments to my health I made was to completely stop eating “factory farmed” meat. Whether I’m eating at home, a friend’s house, or at a … Continued

The post Make Dinner Easy With This One Pan Dish: Lemon Rosemary Chicken & Root Vegetables appeared first on Food Babe.

from Food Babe

7 Light and Easy Holiday Cookies for Your Upcoming Swap

These festive sweets are ideal for a holiday cookie swap, and they make great hostess gifts too. If you’re having trouble deciding on just one recipe, go ahead and make them all — it’s totally doable, since each recipe requires just 20 minutes of prep or less. Keep a few for yourself, then bundle the rest in gift bags for your friends and family to enjoy. Holiday “shopping” doesn’t get much easier than that. The fact that they’re all on the lighter side? Consider it a bonus.

No-Bake Chewy Truffle Cookies
Embrace the opportunity to give your oven a rest. These chewy, no-bake truffles are loaded with sweet dried dates bound together by cocoa powder, reduced-fat peanut butter, and a little bit of butter and honey (instead of the traditional combination of milk and sugar).

Triple-Chocolate Cookies
Why settle for one type of chocolate when you can load up your cookies with three? Ellie Krieger uses a combination of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder to create the richest cookie possible — without pushing the sugar content into excessively caloric territory. While you’re at it, go ahead and add some crunchy pecans, which are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fat.

Lemon-Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
With a 5-star rating and nearly 1,000 fan reviews, you can expect Giada De Laurentiis’ light and lemony cookies to be nothing short of outstanding. Using ricotta in the batter results in a cookie that’s exceptionally tender, though the sweet-tart glaze may be the best part.

Chocolate Macaroons
At just 54 calories each, Nigella Lawson’s chewy, chocolatey macaroons are a sweet treat you don’t have to feel guilty about.

Almond Snowballs
Rachael Ray’s almond-flavored cookies contain just 64 calories apiece and are reminiscent of snowy mountain peaks, thanks to the shredded coconut. Once they’re baked, top each cookie with a few slivered almonds and half a candied cherry, for an extra-merry touch.

Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
There’s no need for butter when whipping up Food Network Kitchen’s comforting oatmeal-raisin recipe. Instead, a little bit of apple butter adds moisture, flavor and sweetness to these cakey cookies.

Honey-Pistachio Biscotti
A cup of piping-hot coffee or cocoa is no match for the firm and ultra-crunchy powers of Ellie’s holiday biscotti packed with salty pistachios. Using whole-wheat pastry flour in addition to all-purpose flour yields a pleasantly nutty-tasting cookie with sweet honey notes.

Looking for more festive cookies to pile onto your dessert tray this year? Check out these holiday cookie recipes from our friends:

Devour: Unique Savory Cookies to Throw a Curveball in Your Holiday Cookie Swap
A Mind “Full” Mom: Oatmeal Cookies: One Dough Four Ways
The Fed Up Foodie: Cinnamon Kissed Cocoa Cup Cookies
Creative Culinary: Peanut Butter and Butterscotch Haystacks
Taste with the Eyes: Foie Gras with Sweet and Salty Palmier Cookies, Passionfruit, Pistachios
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Pennsylvania Dutch Spice & Currant Christmas Cookies
The Mom 100: Simple Sugar Cookies
FN Dish: No-Bake Chocolate Cookies to Ease Up the Holiday Cookie Swap

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

Dear Readers: What Do You Want from Mark’s Daily Apple in 2017?

Inline_Ideas_WantedNo doubt, 2016 will go down in the books as one mammoth year for Mark’s Daily Apple. We went through an entire site redesign, a.k.a. MDA 3.0.—informed by your ideas last winter—and loaded it with a host of new resources.

As we close out this year, I’ll have plenty of announcements for what’s coming down the pipeline in 2017. I’ll also take a look back at the best of 2016—as I see it. What have we learned, what have we accomplished, and how has the health and wellness world changed in the span of twelve months?

For now, as I sit down to my New Year’s planning, I want to bring your thoughts to bear—your wish list for article topics, site resources, and all things Primal. And, let’s just throw in a contest for good measure….

This blog from the very start has been a community effort, and I can’t imagine it any other way. Reader feedback throughout the years has propelled everything from what I write about and how the site functions to what products I create and what Primal events we’ve put together. Now’s your chance to make your mark on what’s to come for Mark’s Daily Apple in 2017!

One note before we get going… I know folks have experienced continuing issues with the forum since the site upgrade, and I appreciate the feedback that’s come in. It’s been a frustrating knot to untangle the last several weeks, but I want you to know I consider the forum a centerpiece of Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint community. Getting the forum back to full capacity is a top priority for me and my staff. We’re working on it as I speak. Thanks for your patience on this, gang, and hang tight!

So, all this said, let’s get cracking on taking Mark’s Daily Apple to a new level in the New Year! Without further ado…

The Contest

“What do you want me to write about?” I take ideas and inspiration from you, MDA readers, every week. Today I’m handing you the mike and asking what you’d like to see me research and write about in 2017.

In the comments section below, tell me one topic you’d like to see covered, or one question you’d like to see answered, the title of one blog post that just has to be written this year, or one resource you’d like to see added to our site or weekly newsletter.

No idea is too small or big.

A winner will be chosen at random. Supporting others’ ideas (+1) is allowed (and encouraged), but only the idea comments will be counted for drawing purposes.

The Prizes

The Deadline

Midnight (PST), Friday 12/9/16!

Who is Eligible

Everyone. I’ll ship these items anywhere in the world.

Thanks in advance to everyone who offers an idea. I’ll see what I can do to give you what you want in 2017! In the meantime, Grok on!


The post Dear Readers: What Do You Want from Mark’s Daily Apple in 2017? appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

3-Ingredient, One-Pan Healthy Sweet Potato Hash

Hey, hey!

I’m breathing life into an old recipe, but it’s one that has changed and morphed so much over the years, it’s practically a new one all together. It’s definitely become a tried-and-true meal that we make again and again, so I just had to share the updated and easier (!!) recipe. I swear, this meal comes together in no time at all, especially if you use pre-cut sweet potatoes, and since it only requires one pan for cooking, there isn’t much clean-up either!


Healthy Sweet Potato Hash


  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut cooking oil
  • 2 medium/large sweet potatoes (or 1.75 pounds-ish pre-cut)
  • 1 pound ground beef, turkey, or chicken
  • 1 tbsp garlic (or onion) powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4-5 handfuls of baby spinach

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Dice sweet potatoes (peel them if you’d like) into small pieces and then add them to a large saute pan with oil, garlic/onion powder, salt, and cinnamon. Coat sweet potatoes in oil and spices, cover with a lid, and cook on medium heat for about 12-15 minutes, mixing occasionally.

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When the sweet potatoes are semi-soft, add the ground meat to the pan. (It’s okay if the sweet potatoes aren’t fully cooked; the fat from the meat will help them soften.) Break up the meat as it cooks and toss around the sweet potatoes on occasion.

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Continue to cook the sweet potatoes and meat until it is no longer pink. Then, add the spinach and cook until it is wilted.

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Remove pan from heat and serve immediately.

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I love this meal so much. It’s so easy to make, and it’s soooo tasty! I hope it becomes a staple in your house too! 🙂

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Makes 4-5 servings

from Carrots 'N' Cake

DIY Gel Nails At Home


I am not one of those gals who always has perfect nails. I tend to chip a classic manicure within 10 minutes of leaving the salon. And I am absolutely terrible at painting my nails at home. Once I took a long time to paint all 10 nails a dark shade but it looked so sloppy that I immediately took it all off and just went nail naked.

Earlier this year I had my first gel manicure. I could not believe for how long my nails looked great and that I could carry on with regular life without treating my nails like they were breakable glass. But gel manis are expensive – $45 with tip at my favorite salon – and that’s not something I can justify spending on a regular basis long term. A friend of mine had an at-home kit and did my nails for me once, and it worked quite well! Not quite as long-lasting as the salon, but pretty darn close. I researched what it would cost to buy my own, and I got everything for about $125. Therefore, DIY gel nails would pay for themselves in three manicures.

I bought the essentials on Amazon and have been SO happy with the results!! Here are all the details of my DIY gel nails.

Disclaimer: I am not a nail expert, and this is all just based on my experience doing this for a few months, so if I am inaccurate in any way, feel free to politely chime in to the comments : ) 


You only need a few things to get started. These are the ones that I bought on Amazon. What’s in stock and the prices have shifted around a bit. I bought OPI because I knew it was good based on my salon experiences but I might try some other brands when these run out.

1. Base coat + top coat. (Note: I paid $29 for this set which is no longer available. Now they are sold separately.)


2. Gel nail color. I have found that OPI gel color is pretty hard to locate. I checked at ULTA, Sephora, OPI’s site, and Sally Beauty and there seems to be a shortage of it. Amazon seemed to have the best selection! Ce-less-tial Is More is the color I fell in love with at my local salon. It’s from the 2015 holiday collection, so I think it’s going to be sold out soon. In fact I think it probably already is on Amazon. This one is similar, and it’s in my cart to buy next. I haven’t found anything I like quite as much as Ce-less-tial Is More, as the sparkles are so forgiving and the rosy tint is so pretty, but I bought this silver shade and like it too.


3. An LED light. This is the one I bought, but of course it’s no longer available (ugh – what is with nail things going offline?!) There are lots of other cute ones, but I can’t speak to how well they work. I have read that LED is a lot better than UV. Some of you might be concerned about the LED effects on your hands over time, and to be honest I am a little bit too. I am taking a little risk though, based off of reading this article about a independent study that deemed UV lights safe enough for weekly manicures for 250 years. And that was using UV – I think LED is even lower risk. If they come out with another study that warms people not to use LED lights for nails at all I will immediately stop using it. I also use the minimum light for the curing process and the polish seems to dry just fine. If you really don’t want to use a light, I have read that this product acts the same as light to cure, but I haven’t tried it.


Here are the steps to DIY gel nails:

  1. Clean nails with rubbing alcohol to remove any lotions or soaps
  2. Use a file to buff nails a bit.
  3. Apply base coat and cure each hand under the LED for 30 seconds. I use the bare minimum of light to be on the safer side, and it seems to work fine.
  4. Apply color and cure for 30 seconds. If you’re using a saturated color you probably want to do two coats, but to save polish, time, and money I just do one coat of my sparkly polish.
  5. Apply top coat and cure for 30 seconds.

That’s it!! It only takes me about 10 minutes. I’d say the polish lasts a good week looking great, and then days 7-10 it starts to wear down, chip a little or peel up a little. By day 14 I definitely need to re-do my nails.

I think this photo is around day seven:


So what about taking the DIY gel nails off? Doesn’t it ruin your nails? Not at all! I will say that manis done at the salon are harder to get off than mine (which is why they last a few extra days!) but taking the polish off is very easy. Here’s my little system.

1.Cut five slips of tin foil. (I re-use them for the second hand which saves time and foil!)


2. Soak a cotton round in some strong nail polish remover and then wrap it on the nail.


3. Wrap the foil around the cotton pad and squeeze to secure. They do make re-usable nail covers for this, but I think this is just as easy.


4. Wait 5-10 minutes. The longer you wait the easier it will be. And I do just one hand at a time so I can re-use the foil and have a free hand to do things with in the meantime.


5. At this point remove the foils by sliding them off (so you can re-use them on the other hand!) and use a cuticle pusher to gently scrape the gel off. It should have curled up and sometimes the whole gel piece slides off with the foil! If it’s not coming off easily, give the nail a little more soaking.

foodblog-2-of-7, DIY Gel Nails

6. Repeat on hand two and you’re nails are naked again!

I usually wait a day or two to let my nails breathe before repainting the DIY gel nails again.

So there you have it! Sparkle, sparkle.

The post DIY Gel Nails At Home appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food

When and Why To Use Accommodating Resistance to Get Stronger

Written by: Kevin Cann

The use of accommodating resistance was made popular by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell. Now a days accommodating resistance is not only used by powerlifters, but by high school and college strength and conditioning programs, as well as the general public. When I was an intern at Harvard University, many of the coaches used bands and chains in their programs.

You definitely do not need to use bands and chains to get stronger. Plenty of people have put up huge totals without the use of accommodating resistance. However, a recent meta-analysis shows that the use of bands and chains can lead to faster gains in strength when compared to conventional training (1).

I don’t know about you, but if there is the chance I can put up bigger numbers faster, I am going to incorporate it into my training. Accommodating resistance goes beyond building strength as well. They even serve a purpose with novice lifters.

Having chains hanging from a bar will teach that novice lifter to stay tight because the chains are constantly swinging back and forth. With that said, we want to make sure we have a link or two on the ground at lockout so that we do not have too much swinging happening. Bands and chains also teach novice lifters how to accelerate throughout the range of motion.

Also, it can help maximize technique because the weight deloads in places we tend to see technique breakdown. For example, many beginners will have the hips pop up out of the hole turning the squat into a good morning. Deloading some weight at the bottom can help them keep their chest up while getting some higher intensity work.

So why would using accommodating resistance make you stronger in the big three lifts? For one, we can quarter squat much more weight than we can take below parallel and come back up with. This is due to the various joint angles of each of the movements. Accommodating resistance can match the strength curves of each of these lifts.

The chains or bands deload at the bottom and increase in weight or tension as the lift approaches lockout. This matches the strength curve of the lift, as it is most difficult at the bottom portion and easiest as we get closer to lockout.

With that said, we all have weak spots within that ROM. We call these our sticking points. As a raw lifter, the sticking points will be the same for everyone, as there are more disadvantageous joint angles in each lift. For the squat below parallel is not the problem, but actually a couple of inches above parallel is where the bar will slow down. So don’t cut your squats high! The bench press tends to be a couple of inches off of the chest, and the deadlift has a sticking point right below the knee.

Will some people struggle with locking out the bench press at the top, or the deadlift at the top? Absolutely, but this is an individual weakness. For the bench you need to add in more triceps work, and the glute work for the deadlift. Oftentimes lifters missing at the top of the pull miss the lift because of technical breakdown. They do not use enough legs and the back cannot handle the weight to lock it out.

If everyone has these same sticking points how do we strengthen them to keep our numbers moving in the right direction? We learn to accelerate the bar faster. The more speed the bar reaches those sticking points with, the better chance we have of it moving beyond that sticking point.

Even if you have those personal weaknesses we discussed earlier, bands and chains can help you overcome them. You need to keep accelerating the weight throughout the ROM. If you miss at the top, the bands and chains are constantly adding more tension and weight throughout the movement and forcing you to accelerate the bar through that weakness.

Not only do bands and chains teach us to accelerate the weight, they also teach us how to decelerate the weight. This may be where accommodating resistance has its biggest positive effects on field athletes, as change of direction requires us to decelerate our bodyweight and accelerate in another direction.

More advanced lifters have a slower, more controlled eccentric portion of the lift and a faster concentric portion of the lift when compared to novice lifters (2). Bands and chains are forcing you to learn how to do this. You need to stabilize against the bands and chains when the weight is heaviest at the top. This leads to a slower and more controlled eccentric portion, and due to the deload at the bottom, it teaches you to move the weight faster throughout the concentric.

Now that we know that bands and chains are an important tool to add into our training, here is how I use them. I am a raw powerlifter and I train raw powerlifters. How single ply and multi-ply lifters use bands and chains will differ quite a bit. Geared lifters need to focus on overloading the top portion of the lift a lot more than raw lifters.

A geared lifer may have a 600lb raw squat, but can squat over 800lbs in briefs and a suit. The gear will help pop them out of the bottom of the squat, so they need to be really strong at the top and really good at accelerating the weight throughout the ROM. Technique is critically important here as well. Less bar weight and more accommodating resistance makes sense for them.

As a raw lifter you need to be strong enough to accelerate the weight out of the bottom, but will never have to overload the top of the lift like a geared lifter. We need just enough accommodating resistance to achieve that acceleration, but not so much that it changes the movement and decreases intensity too much at the difficult portions of the lift.

If I squat 600lbs and use 200lbs of straight weight with 400lbs of band tension, the overload at the bottom of the squat is not enough to strengthen that position. It would only be 33% of 1RM. If I am weak at the bottom as a raw lifter, it does not matter how much I can lockout at the top, because I will never even get past that first sticking point.


Looking at the force velocity curve you can see what I am talking about. Maximal strength is at the left end and speed is all the way down to the right. Force makes up the vertical axis and velocity makes up the horizontal axis. As force decreases, velocity increases and vice versa. If we only strength train (blue line) our speed will go down and if we just focus on speed (green line) our maximal strength will decrease. We want to train in a way that allows us to shift this chart to the right.

We want to work with weights that provide adequate velocity and force. Weights that are too light will move fast, but hinder our maximal strength. Weights that are too heavy will move too slowly for us to be able to accelerate that weight through our sticking points. According to this curve we want to stick to weights that are no lighter than 65% and no heavier than 82% of 1RM. This is where the ideal spot is on that curve to develop the biggest total.

We want to develop maximal intent to move the weight fast and not just move the weight fast. If our aim is just bar speed, we run the risk of using intensities that are too low to get stronger. Remember that the overload principle applies here. Speed days for Westside are lighter and allow the lifters to recover from the very intense max effort days that they have, because if they are in their gear, they are lifting more than they are capable raw. This wrecks the nervous system, and light days are critical.

How I utilize chains is that I mimic how Sheiko has used them with me. Mimic those that have done it best, understand why they do it that way, and then make the changes necessary to maximize it. I will program accommodating resistance with straight weight between 65% and 75% of 1RM. The accommodating resistance never exceeds roughly 20% of the total weight on the bar.

When using chains, use one 15lb to 20lb chain per side. The chain should fully deload at the bottom, and finish at the top with one to two links on the floor. I use bands and chains for both deadlifts and bench press, but only chains for squats. Squats with bands can be a little rough on the hips. With all of the volume that I am programmed, and that I program, it is best not to risk it. Chains work just fine for the squats. When using bands, EliteFTS has a chart of approximate resistance for the bands. Make sure that the weight is 20% or less of the total weight on the bar.

Load variation is also important if we want to progress as much as possible as fast as possible. Accommodating resistance allows us to vary the load. It also allows enough of a variation to technique to keep adaptive resistance at bay. In a prep cycle I like to utilize 20% competition lifts and 60% variation. This changes closer to a meet. Within that 60% I will use pauses and accommodating resistance. The goal is to strengthen those sticking points and learn to accelerate through them. You can get stronger without the use of accommodating resistance, but science has shown you can get stronger, faster with it.

from The Paleo Diet