Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I'm moving!

Hello dear readers,

After nine years of blogging on this platform, I've decided to move to a new website at stephanguyenet.com.  This coincides with the impending release of my book, The Hungry Brain, on February 7, 2017, as well as my general desire to have a more professional-looking public interface.  My blog will be there, as well as a book page, a page for the Ideal Weight Program, and other resources.

Thank you all for your support, and I'll see you at stephanguyenet.com.  Sincerely,

Stephan
This post was written by Stephan Guyenet for Whole Health Source.


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Change Your Life In 30 Days?: 30-Day Challenges – The Good, The Bad and Everything In Between

Clean Eating

It’s January and that means the annual onslaught of “New Year. New You.” New Year’s resolution and 30-Day Challenge personal and gym promotions. Facebook is full of folks ‘publicly declaring their 30-day commitments to working out and ‘eating clean’. Gyms are running specials and hosting time-specific contests (usually lasting 30-days…) to see which members can lose the most weight, body fat and/or inches. People are fired-up and seriously, you can do anything for 30 days, right?

Well, the whole “30-day challenge” thing fires me up a little bit. And one day (not so long ago) after getting another email from a potential client asking me to help him lose as much weight/body fat as possible in, you guessed it – 30 days, so that he could win the monetary prize at his gym just pushed me over the edge. Without giving it much thought (because that’s how I roll – and it’s not a good thing…) I posted this on my Facebook page:

Facts of Life: 
Changing your life is not a “30-Day” Challenge and anyone telling you that it is – is selling you something. 
#dontbuytheBS

And that folks, is why you’re being subjected to this and several upcoming posts about the ins, outs, goods and bads of 30-day challenges. In retrospect, I probably should have offered a few more specifics in my post explaining why I said what I did, the way I did. But, as usual, I get fired up about something and BAM! It’s out there before I think about it. (Note to self: Social media is probably not the best outlet for your ‘passion’.) Anyway, it led to a good bit of debate and some, dare I say controversy? (I dared…) I ended up shooting an email to Robb and after some discussion he threw out this idea about a series of blog posts dissecting the whole “30-Day” dash to health. I was all over that like grease on bacon – it was genius. So, thanks to my chronic “diarrhea of the mouth” (and typing fingers), you are being subjected to a series of posts dissecting 30-Day Challenges as follows:

30-Day Challenge Analysis Part 1: Pros and Cons of 30-Day ‘Sprints’ to Ultimate Health

30-Day Challenge Analysis Part 2: Abusing The System – How We Screw Up The Process & Ourselves

30-Day Challenge Analysis Part 3: Changing Your Life For Real – Let’s Do This Right

Stay tuned! Part 1 is coming soon!



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Contest Poll: Grokpose for $1,000

contestpollEarlier in the challenge, I asked people to pose like Grok for a chance to win a pretty epic prize. The rules were simple, but the ingenuity and thought put into every submission were far from it. So after much posing, primping, and staging, here are our finalists!

Picking a short list of favorites was challenging, so the Worker Bees and I threw our favorites into a pot and chose the first six.

What do you think, folks? Who hits the most accurate pose? The most creative? The most intense? I’ve got to say, I’m impressed by each and every one of them. Pick your favorite and vote in the poll below.

Voting will close and a winner will be announced at 6 p.m. PST, Wednesday, January 25.

Karen T.
karen tracy

Kevin Q.
grokpose - Kevin Queen

@paleofam321
Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 11.16.14 PM

@magicaxe13
Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 11.23.24 PM

Justin H.
Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 11.33.09 PM

Sheena F.
Sheena Fowlie

And a big thanks to everyone who sent in a picture! Check out the photo stream here to check out the rest of the entries on Instagram.

Stay tuned. I’ll be publishing reader-created content all week long. In the meantime, Grok on!

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Strategies For Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

We swear off pizza, ditch the cookies and vow to exercise every day. But research shows that this is the time of year when we start backsliding on our resolutions. In fact according to polling, more than 20% of us aim to lose weight and eat better in 2017, but less than 10 percent actually succeed. Here are 5 practical strategies to help you keep your resolutions and reach your goals.

 

Set (small) goals

Stay motivated by setting and accomplishing weekly or even daily goals. Have one less cup of coffee, go an extra half mile on the treadmill or add an extra serving of fruit to your daily diet. Establish some foundational habits you can build on as time goes by.

 

Splurge…occasionally

Dramatic changes almost never last, and giving up on foods you absolutely love typically just breeds resentment. Allow yourself to indulge in a not-so healthy food or beverage from time to time – not depriving yourself completely will set the stage for long-term success.

 

Have a plan B

Have a plan for when things start to slip. If you never made it to the gym, do some sit ups and push-ups at home. Forgot to pack a healthy lunch? Check an online menu ahead of grabbing something to-go to make a comparable choice. Instead of beating yourself up about things not going as planned, get over it and move on. No one is perfect, especially when it comes to eating.

 

Find accountability

Having someone hold you accountable for your actions can have a big impact. Team up with a friend or join a group class for exercise, and trade nutrition goals with someone so you can both stay on point. If you need help getting started, a few sessions with a registered dietitian is a very worthwhile investment (some are even covered by insurance). You can find one near you at EatRight.org

 

Reward yourself (just not with food)

It’s important to celebrate your health and wellness accomplishments, but cupcakes probably aren’t the best prize. When you reach certain milestones on your quest for better health, reward yourself with calorie-free incentives such as a massage, new running shoes or some music for your exercise play list.

 

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.



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Want to Join the Primal Kitchen Team? Become a Brand Ambassador!

IMG_09082016_130008 (1) (1)Calling all Primal Kitchen enthusiasts! Do you love our products? Does the idea of educating others on the benefits of wholesome, healthy, delicious ingredients pique your interest? Looking for some fun, flexible, part-time work? Then today is your lucky day! We’re expanding our Brand Ambassador teams in multiple cities across the United States. If you (or someone you know) meet the requirements from the list below, and you’re looking for work with lots of control over your schedule, please apply by filling out the application and emailing your resume to brittany.young@primalkitchen.com.

Go over our Brand Ambassador checklist and see if you’re a match. If you are, then you might be snagging one of the hottest positions in town.

Requirements:

  • You love hanging out in Whole Foods or your local natural grocery store
  • You have an outgoing personality and can talk with anyone
  • You live a Primal lifestyle
  • You love to share your passion for health and nutrition with others
  • You live in or near San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Austin, NYC, Miami, or Washington, D.C (or another major city)
  • You have reliable transportation and a smartphone

Click here to submit your application to become a Primal Kitchen Brand Ambassador today!

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Darwinian Medicine: How Evolutionary Theory Can Help Heal Our Sick Health-Care System

concentrated-doctor

– By Eirik Garnas, http://ift.tt/2gpqpXI

The health of Homo sapiens is failing. Chronic diseases and health problems such as acne vulgaris, cancer, myopia, and heart disease are today so common that they are by some considered to be a natural part of human life. Only a select few live long lives, free of disease. These healthy individuals are often referred to as lucky, as if the primary reason they don’t get sick is that they are favored by God or the universe, or have inherited a unique set of genes that protect them from disease. Sometimes, food, heritage, and lifestyle are also pulled into the equation. We ask healthy centenarians about what they’ve eaten throughout their life, how much sleep they’ve gotten, and what kinds of exercises they’ve been doing, in an attempt to discover the secrets to healthy living.

If you collect a group of healthy, long-lived people and ask each of them these types of questions, the answers you’ll get will probably vary widely. Some may tell you that a high intake of vegetables is what protected them from disease, others may say that regular exercise is the key to a healthy life, and yet others may say that x food – be it a soup, drink, or some type of solid substance – equipped them with a solid immune system and healthy cardiovascular system. Yet others again may attribute their healthy ageing to divine intervention, saying that their belief in God or some other all-powerful force was what made them stay clear of illness and live as long as they have. In other words, they all seem to have different explanations for why they, unlike many of their peers, aren’t wasting away in a hospital bed.

Based on the answers of these long-lived folks, it seems like there is no clear pattern as to which behaviors and activities that promote health and vitality. There doesn’t seem to be any system, there is only confusion, anecdotes, and disorder. This also seems to be the case for the rest of our medical system. Different doctors, nutritionists, and health/nutrition scientists often have widely different opinions about health and disease: how disease should be treated, what kind of medicines that should be used, and why illness arises in the first place.

There is no conceptual framework in place that underlies medicine and guides and supports clinicians and scientists in their quest for knowledge. This is unfortunate, because without a solid foundation to rest on, the health-care system is prone to get weak in the knees, develop disease, and perhaps even collapse completely.

Healing a sick system

Some people, myself included, would argue that our current health-care system is sick – it’s not working as well as it should or could. Over the past centuries, great strides have been made with regards to the treatment of injuries and wounds, and doctors have learned how to perform surgical procedures in a safer and more effective manner. We’ve also been able to thwart the spread of many infectious diseases via mass-vaccination and interventions aimed at improving public sanitation and hygiene.

However, in other areas, things haven’t been going so well. Modern medicine hasn’t been able to stop the spread of chronic diseases and health problems such as colon cancer, heart disease, obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and autism. These and many, many other health problems have increased dramatically in prevalence lately – not just in the developed world, but also in many developing countries. Not only that, but people’s general health status is on the decline. Virtually nobody is truly healthy anymore; we all seem to be suffering from some type of health problem, whether it’s irritable bowel syndrome, low libido, skin rashes, chronic fatigue, or frequent headaches.

Health exists on a spectrum, ranging from excellent health on the left, to chronic disease and death on the right. Most contemporary humans are probably closer to the right than the left end, a statement supported by evidence showing that hunter-gatherers and other traditional people who live in a milieu that resembles the ones our genus Homo evolved in over millions of years are markedly healthier than those of us who grow up and live in a modern, built environment (1, 2, 3). They set a new standard as to what is normal for our species.

The reference ranges doctors use when they measure and interpret their patients’ blood pressure, cholesterol, iron status, and so forth are not based on what’s the evolutionary norm for our species, rather, they are based on what is normal today. Unfortunately though, what is normal today is typically very different from what was normal in the past. Today, it’s normal to be overweight – more than 50% of people in the U.S. and many other countries are; it’s normal to get acne – virtually all of us do sometime during our life; and it’s normal to never feel fully healthy, experiencing mild colds, gastrointestinal distress, and fatigue on a regular basis.

This begs the question: Should we really strive to be normal? … Isn’t it better to strive to be healthy? If so, then we have to change our approach to medicine. Instead of looking at the world as a picture, we have to start looking at it as a movie; a film that has already been rolling for a very long time.

Seeing the world as a movie, not as a picture

Let’s imagine that you go to the theater to see a movie, but arrive way too late. You don’t know anything about what has happened in the movie prior to the time you show up; hence, you don’t fully understand what’s happening on the screen; why the characters behave the way they do, how all the players ended up at the current scene of action, and how the interactions of the past have shaped what goes on in the present.

How can you collect and assimilate the information you need to understand what’s going on? The movie is already rolling, and you’re in the theater. In other words, it’s too late to go back and watch it from the start. That leaves you with two possible options: 1) You can watch the movie and try to understand, by following what’s going on in the present, what took place earlier in the film, or 2) You can try to collect the information in other ways, for example by asking the guy or girl next to you in the movie theater what’s happened earlier in the film; checking the film magazine you grabbed on the way into the theatre to see if there’s anything written about the film; or searching your phone for information about the movie.

By itself, option number 1 will likely not give you a good picture of what’s been going on earlier in the film; you have to combine it with one or more of the strategies under option 2 to really make some headway. You have to collect as much credible information about what’s happened in the past as you can find, and then use that information to understand what’s happening in the present. Only then can you understand why the current scene of the movie is like it is.

I would argue that this is how we should approach health and disease. If we don’t know or understand what’s happened in the past, we’ll never know or understand why things are like they are in the present: why the human body looks and functions as it does, why some diseases have increased dramatically in prevalence over the past decades, how cancer develops, what we can and should do to reverse the obesity epidemic, and how we can improve our health care-system.

The Evolutionary Health Model: A powerful tool every doctor should possess

Mainstream medicine largely treats symptoms, not disease. It hasn’t done a good job of preventing or curing chronic diseases or addressing the root causes of illness, it typically only suppresses the fire that is bound to fully ignite at some time or another. Sometimes, its treatments may even fuel the fire, thereby aggravating disease processes over the long-term.

I would argue that incorporating evolutionary theory into medical training and clinical medical practice could go a long way towards changing all of this. A rapidly growing number of scientists hold a similar belief. Over the past couple of decades, a long list of studies and review papers on Darwinian medicine has been published (e.g., 4, 5, 6, 7). There is a general consensus among the authors of these articles that it’s long past time that evolutionary health principles are incorporated into our medical system.

Here’s a quote that nicely summarizes the premise of this consensual belief:

Prudence dictates that it is high time medicine broadened its scope beyond an evidence-based epistemology. The evidence-based methodologies are focused primarily on immediate problem-solving and proximate causation. Medicine must embrace the evolutionary paradigm that welcomes ultimate explanations as espoused in evolution into its epistemology. Through this door will enter into medicine the concepts of systems biology, dynamical systems theory, complex systems, complex networks, and chaos theory, to name some up-and-coming analytical methodologies that should pry medicine out of its linear thinking (79). Because H.s. sapiens is the product of an evolutionary process, we cannot hope to have a deep understanding of the major diseases of our age if we ignore our evolutionary past. In the depths of our minds as in our genes, we are all African hunter-gatherers. (4)

A conceptual model designed on the basis of evolutionary/biological sciences would help guide scientists and clinicians in their work, equipping them with invaluable information and tools. The evolutionary discordance model would be an essential part of this foundational structure and would help inform physicians about the origins, etiology, and prevention of various diseases, in particular the ones that develop as a result of evolutionary mismatches.

The Evolutionary Health Model is powerful; however, it doesn’t provide quick fixes. A lot of people are unwilling to put in an effort to be healthy. They don’t go to their doctor because they want advice on how to eat better or sleep more, but rather because they want a quick fix to their problems – a pill or drug that can make them better fast. These people, at least the ones who are completely resistant to change their behavior, will have to make do with the drug-centric approach that dominates medicine today. This solution will never make them healthy, but at least it will keep some of their symptoms at bay.

It’s the people who are willing to put in a little effort to be healthy that will likely benefit the most from widespread incorporation of evolutionary health concepts into clinical medical practice. These motivated patients may find a lot of answers, solutions, and comfort in Darwinian medicine. By combining the best from both Darwinian and mainstream medicine, they may be able to dramatically improve their health status and outlook on life.

Recently, I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Dr. William Parker, Associate Professor at Duke University. The below quote from that interview nicely summaries the key things that need to be addressed if we are to heal our sick health-care system. Evolutionary theory would prove invaluable for addressing these issues.

william-parker-quote

Last words

Our modern environment is very different from the ones our primal forebears occupied. Whereas some things have changed for the better, other things have changed for the worse. Today, we’re constantly breathing in pollutants, processed food is everywhere, rivers, lakes, trees, and singing birds are all but missing from our proximate environment, and we’re constantly exposed to artificial lighting. There are many of these things we can do something about; however, there are also some that we have virtually no control over. Unless we take the drastic step of moving into the wilderness, we will breathe in air-borne pollutants on a regular basis and be exposed to a lot of other stuff that can do us harm. In other words, we’ll never be able to achieve pristine conditions of life.

That’s fine. After all, the goal isn’t to lead a strict, perfect life or be miserable in order to be healthy. The goal, I would argue, is to find a balance between doing what is optimal in terms of health/fitness and what is enjoyable/pleasurable. To some people, these things may seem completely unrelated. They associate health/fitness with strenuous work, effort, sweat, and tears – a perception that may have been imprinted in their minds via TV shows such as the Biggest Loser, which displays fitness as a struggle that involves lots of tears and puking. My experience, though, is that the things that bring about better health are typically also the same things that bring happiness, pleasure, and fulfillment!

 

erik-garnasEirik Garnas is a nutritionist, magazine writer, blogger, and personal trainer. He’s written for several different health & fitness websites and magazines, including Paleo Magazine. He is also the founder and owner of http://ift.tt/2gbnRtn, a website dedicated to ancestral health, nutrition, and evolutionary medicine. Over the years he’s helped clients of all different ages, body types, and fitness levels build a healthier, stronger body.



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Why I Love My Apple Watch

I bought an Apple Watch during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday rush and have loved it every day since. It was one of those things that I always wanted but could never justify the cost of just for the sake of getting text messages on my wrist. “I always have my phone nearby,” I said as I talked myself out of the purchase.

But then when the Series 2 came out, which is totally waterproof with built-in GPS, I asked my friends what they liked about theirs. And that’s when I realized that the Apple Watch is much more of a fitness watch than I ever realized. It has a built-in heart rate monitor, and the activity tracking app is great. I learned that my friends were sharing their activity data with each other, and I could use it to track distance and time on runs and my heart rate and time during workouts. Oh and it showed my texts ; ) Sold!

So here are all the reasons why this was such a great purchase:

  1. Just like when I wore a Fitbit and a Jawbone, I am moving more. I love the activity goals, and have mine set anywhere from 500-800 calories per day. I love that the Move and Exercise goals are different, so I get Move points for doing things like picking up Mazen’s toys or walking downtown but that’s separate from my workouts. Some days I have walked over 8 miles!
  2. The GPS for running is awesome. Remember the days of the HUGE Garmin?! I used to have to set it on a windowsill for 20 minutes to get it to connect to satellites. I haven’t worn my Garmin in years. The Apple Watch works fabulously for distance and speed tracking. You can use it without your phone too (but you need your phone on you to receive texts and emails). You can download music to the watch too, but sadly not podcasts. My one complaint!
  3. The heart rate and workout tracker has been really fun to use during group ex classes, and I love seeing how hard I’m working in the middle of Afterburn.
  4. I love that it’s waterproof and I don’t have to worry about washing dishes, Mazen pouring bathwater on it, and can wear it in the shower!! I know this sounds like a small reason to get an Apple Watch, but I LOVE that I can read a text or email in the shower or skip to the next song on my playlist! Sometimes you’re waiting for something important to come through and of course your phone dings the second you step in the shower! Not a reason alone to buy the watch, but definitely a perk.
  5. “Hey Siri” works better on the watch than on my phone. I have switched from Spotify to Apple Music because I can talk to my watch and say “Hey Siri play Down By The Bay by Raffi” and it works perfectly in the bluetooth of my car. Totally hands free. I also use the timer function a lot.
  6. I love having the time and date on my wrist because I haven’t worn a watch in yeaaarrrrs. Easy one.
  7. You might think that it’s a bit distracting when out with friends and it dings, but it’s so much easier to be discreet glancing down at a watch than it is pulling your phone out to check and having to log in with your thumb, especially in this cold weather wearing gloves! I can keep my phone tucked away and just read updates on my watch.
  8. I have the outside temperature on the home screen and I can’t tell you how often I look down to see if I need to add a layer or not. And the weather hourly forecast is one touch away as opposed to 3-4 clicks on a phone. Again, not something one really needs but just super convenient to be able to glance down.

I bought the 38 mm rose gold Series 2 watch along with this marble band from Casetify.

Casetify has SO many cute bands I want them all! I’d also love a leather strappy one to wear on more formal occasions. The marble band I bought from them on Black Friday is very well made.

Apologies to Android users, but you do have to have an iPhone to use the Apple Watch. But I do hear there are some new generation Fitbits and things that do similar things!

Do you have an activity tracker? Love it?

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