Friday, February 17, 2017

When You Reprogram Your Genes to Become a Fat-burning Beast, Life Can Be Good!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in lineIt goes like this. I married at 23-years-old (180 pounds), and my wife Joanna and I had 3 kids by the time I was 28-years-old (190 pounds). During the kids’ younger years, we did what everyone else did. Run around with the kids, taking them to this sport and that club meeting. All the while not really paying any attention to ourselves. Fast food for dinner, hamburger, hot dogs, French fries, pizza and soda at the games as we watched. Working hard at our work and bearing the stress of moving up in a growing company, again not paying attention to myself. Long hours, a lot of times sedentary at a desk behind the keyboard. All the hard work payed off in my position at the company, but where did it take me?

I then found myself at 45 years old (217 pounds), miserable and feeling terrible every day. My oldest son Bryan was 21 at the time, and he decided to go into the Army. He went away to basic training at Ft. Benning GA. When he graduated we traveled from NY to GA to be with him. This was a life altering trip for me. During this trip all the pictures that were taken of our family with Bryan fresh out of boot camp all toned up and ready to conquer the world were great. I was taken back by the pictures of myself with him and how overweight I really was. It literally scared me to death, because that’s where I felt I was headed.

Chuck 2

When I got home from that trip I told Joanna I need to take care of myself, so I am here for our kids as they get older. I was in a bad place and the only way out was for me to take the bull by the horns and make it happen. Joanna had bought a workout program from Beach Body called Power 90 by Tony Horton. I had been so inactive for so long this was challenging for me. I started very slow and did not overdo it. I also started eating better and made this my new way of life. The pounds started coming off, I called it my “eat less move more” program. The Power 90 program was actually perfect for me as I got started, not too intense and very doable as I could modify the moves as needed.

Chuck 3

Bryan was sent to Korea for his first tour when out of training. When he came back from Korea a year later I wanted to surprise him and be in much better shape than when he went in the Army. I lost about 30 pounds the first year. I felt so much better, and it really put me in the right frame of mind to continue this way of life. I wanted now more than ever to get in the best shape of my life. I was now 46 years young.

Chuck 5Now feeling better, I needed to up my game and went on to P90X from Beach Body. This is actually when I first heard the name Mark Sisson because he did a piece on the video for the Recovery Drink, which I bought a lot of during this period. I now worked my tail off every day and followed the diet plan and used the supplements. I got the results they said I would get. I went from a size 36” waist to a 32” waist and extra-large shirts to medium shirts. I was now at 162 pounds and felt on top of the world, and nothing could stop me. I lost a total of 55 pounds.

Now at 47 years young I just figured I would keep this up for the rest of my life. Boy, was I wrong! After pushing myself harder and harder, I began to burn out. I just couldn’t keep up the pace. I kept the weight off but started getting injuries that set me back, just attributing it to the fact that I was not as young as I used to be. I continued with some Beach Body programs, but I started looking for something that was more sustainable for me.

Chuck 4

One day I was online and came across Mark’s Daily Apple. I immediately recognized Mark Sisson from the P90X program and started reading what he had to say on the webpage. I was very intrigued and ended up ordering the Primal Blueprint book. Once I got the book I just couldn’t put it down because it made so much sense to me.

I have been following the Primal way of life for over 3 years now. I am 50 years young and absolutely feel the best I have ever felt in my life. I have had so many people ask me how I lost all the weight, but more importantly how I am keeping it off. There is no doubt I did work hard to lose the weight before finding Primal Blueprint, but it is because of Primal Blueprint that I have been able to maintain my weight comfortably. Fitness became such a part of my life I decided to learn more and become an AFAA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer. I still have my full time job but I have been helping friends and relatives work on their goals of weight loss. I am currently working on becoming a Primal Health Coach, I am starting Module #4 as I write this story.


Chuck 6A couple years ago my daughter Stephanie had twin boys, Aydyn & Jaylyn. They are my motivation now, and I am working hard to stall the effects of aging by following the Primal Blueprint. I have big plans to be around a long time for them and whoever else may come along in the future. I already have them move frequently when they come over and lift heavy things. I call them a couple of little Groksters. We have plans of building them a play area in the yard this summer. The goal is to make this play area not only for them but for all of us so we can play together and benefit everytime we go out there. So we will be calling it our Primal Playground, for kids of all ages.

cowI want to thank Mark Sisson for breaking the mold of conventional wisdom and showing people there is a better way. I feel like I can follow this the rest of my life comfortably and avoid burnout. Not to mention the food is so much better than anything I have ever had. We now are very creative in our cooking and food preparation. We joined the local CSA and frequent the Farmers Market just about every week. We buy pasture raised chickens and farm fresh eggs regularly, since eggs are my favorite breakfast. The last 2 years I have also raised 2 grass fed steer on my neighbor’s farm. Our freezer is full of the best meat money can buy, and it is all local farm raised.

Chuck 7It has been tough getting everyone in the house to be interested in this way of life but the proof is in the pudding, and I intend to keep steady and to prove the point that when you do the right things and reprogram your genes to become a fat burning beast, life can be good and last a long time. When my kids are eating their pizza and drinking their energy drinks I tell them I am going to pick your nursing home instead of you picking mine. My new line to people is I want to make it to 120, and they say are you nuts, 120 pounds! I then say no—120 years. Live Long, Drop Dead!! I know I have a long way to go, but I am going to give it my all.

Chuck 8Being fit has allowed me to do so many more things and has enhanced my life tremendously. My youngest Son Tony got interested in hiking and wanted to climb the Adiriondack NY High Peaks. There are 46 peaks over 4,000 Ft in elevation. If you climb them all you attain the rank of 46er. We began a couple years ago and now have 7 summits under our belts. Joanna even joined us for one, a great family day out. Once we get to the summit I pull off a set of max rep pushups. Its awesome when you feel like you are on the top of the world!

My Father at 77 years young was having knee problems and needed full knee replacement surgery. Prior to surgery he wanted to get himself as fit as possible to minimize his recovery time. I gave him my Primal Blueprint book and put him to task reading and learning about becoming a fat burning beast. Of course he had watched my transformation but was still a little skeptical about the whole eat more fat thing. Once he digested what he read in the Primal Blueprint he put it into action.

Chuck 9He was 185 pounds when he began, and when he was preparing for his knee surgery he was 155 pounds. He lost a total of 30 pounds following the Primal Blueprint and could not believe the energy he had out on the golf course. He traded his oatmeal breakfast and peanut butter and jelly snacks in for bacon & eggs that ended up getting him through the whole front 9 with plenty of energy to spare. Here I am helping Dad with some upper body strength training after surgery. His knee is coming along fine also. It’s amazing how they can replace parts now a days. He has a golf date coming up in April, and I think he will make it.

Chuck 10I one day would like to meet Mark Sisson and tell him how much I appreciate all he has done for me with this program. Maybe I can make it to a future Primal Con.

Thanks for listening to my story!!

Best Regards, Chuck Ciaccia


The post When You Reprogram Your Genes to Become a Fat-burning Beast, Life Can Be Good! appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Make Whole-Grain Swaps to Burn Calories, Boost Metabolism

A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that people who replaced refined grains with 100-percent whole grains absorbed fewer calories from foods eaten with whole grains and burned more calories. These losses added up to a 100-calorie deficit per day, according to the Tufts University researchers who conducted this 8-week study.

While 100 calories might not sound like a lot, eating 100-percent whole grains consistently could add up to significant savings when spanning weeks, months and years. Losing 700 calories per week by cutting calories with a traditional weight loss plan, for example, could add up to nearly a pound of fat loss per month. A brisk 30-minute walk also burns 100 calories.

Eating intact whole grains like brown rice and steel-cut oats versus those that are ground or milled could potentially offer more calorie-saving benefits, the researchers hypothesized.

If you’re ready to up your whole-grain game, there are a few things to consider.


What 100% whole grain is

A whole grain has the germ and outer bran either still intact, as in the case of brown rice, or ground, like in 100-percent whole-wheat flour. The milling process of refined grains, however, removes the outer bran and germ. During this process, fiber, protein, and other important nutrients decrease. Oftentimes food manufacturers add nutrients back in another form, as is the case for white fluffy bread.


When grains can be deceiving

Confusingly, terms like multi-grain and 9-grain shed no light on whether or not a product contains whole grains. “Enriched wheat” equates to refined white flour with vitamins and minerals added back in. Sometimes grain products are even darkened with molasses or caramel coloring, therefore, you can’t count on brownness to indicate whole-grain content, either. “Organic wheat” is not whole wheat, despite the health halo. To be sure that you’re eating whole grains, look for descriptors like 100% whole wheat, brown rice, whole-wheat flour, whole-grain oat flour, whole white wheat flour, oats, oatmeal and whole [other grains]. “Made with whole grains” means that while some whole grains were used, the amount doesn’t stack up to a full serving, which equates to 16 grams or more of whole grains per serving.


Easy Whole-Grain Swaps You Can Make From Breakfast to Dessert

At breakfast: Toast a slice of sprouted grain bread in place of white bread. Microwave rolled oats instead of pouring a bowl of crispy white rice cereal. Or make a big batch of this Whole-Grain Breakfast Porridge made with steel-cut oats, wild rice and barley. When making pancakes and waffles, it’s super easy to swap in whole-wheat pastry flour, like in these Whole-Grain Waffles made with rolled oats.

At lunch: Fill a 100-percent whole wheat or brown rice tortilla instead of a white tortilla. Add whole grains to salad bowls as is done in Mexican Brown Rice Salad.

For dinner: Use rolled oats in meatballs and meatloaf in place of breadcrumbs. Experiment with different types of whole-grain rice in place of white, like wild and brown rice in pilafs, brown basmati rice with stir-fries and Chinese black rice. When it comes to pasta, opt for whole-grain versions of thin spaghetti, brown rice pad Thai noodles and Japanese buckwheat noodles. This Whole-Grain Pasta with Chickpeas and Escarole is a great place to start.

During snack time: Surprise! Maybe you didn’t realize that popcorn is an intact whole grain. Next time try this Spicy Citrus Popcorn. Use 100-percent whole-grain crackers in place of refined versions. Brown rice crackers tend to be super crunchy and satisfying, especially with seeds. If you buy chips, opt for tortilla chips made with stone-ground whole corn.

When making dessert: Use whole-wheat pastry flour in place of all-purpose flour in muffins, cookies, brownies and cakes. You can even use it in piecrust, as in this Butternut Squash Orange Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream. Grind rolled oats in a blender to make oat flour and use in breading. Oat flour may or may not work in your favorite baking recipes that depend on gluten for structure. Use crispy brown rice in bars in place of white, as you see done in this recipe for Crispy Rice Treats.

Many restaurants now offer whole-grain wraps, rolls, buns, noodles and pizza crust, making it easier to make the whole-grain swap whether you’re at home or away.


Michelle Dudash is a registered dietitian nutritionist, Cordon Bleu-certified chef consultant, and the creator of Clean Eating Cooking School: Monthly Meal Plans Made Simple.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

Why You Can’t Stop Binging: A Missing Link to the Emotional Eating Puzzle

Written by: Lauryn Lax


First it started with just one cookie—actually just a couple bites of a cookie. Then, all you could think about was the whole cookie. So you had the whole cookie, and one whole cookie turned into six whole cookies.

Fresh popped, buttery popcorn sounded like the perfect evening snack. Ten-minutes later, you finished the whole bag.

This whole paleo thing makes you feel really great…However, sometimes a couple spoons of almond butter turns into a whole jar, a handful of plantain chips turns into the whole bag, or a couple paleo muffins turns into four or five.

What gives?!

You don’t want to “over-eat.”

You don’t want to “binge,” but time and time again that Achilles’ heel gets you.

And no matter how much you vow: “Tomorrow is a brand new day. I won’t do it”…

It happens.



Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the U.S., affecting approximately two million Americans, according to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health. Men account for about 40% of binge eaters. In addition, more than half of BED patients have anxiety disorders and/or mood disorders—(indicating some have a trigger to overeat that is greater than will-power alone).

Traditional literature and research have  tried to explain why binging happens, and why it’s so difficult to stop.

There’s a lot of talk about the mind-body connection—with a heavy emphasis more on the mindset than the body—a complete picture.

Even if body physiology is addressed in the literature, research has typically blamed binge eating primarily on ghrelin and leptin levels—hormones that regulate appetite—chalking the whole struggle to primarily be a matter of channeling your mindset.

One of the most commonly cited “reasons” or explanations you can’t stop binging (or why you binge in the first place)?

Emotional eating.

Emotional eating is real.

Defined as “an increase in food intake in response to emotions”(often negative, but sometimes positive), emotional eating is said to occur when we long for something deeper to fill a void we have, or quiet the overwhelming emotion(s) in our head and heart.

Like a crying baby. Give her a bottle, and she calms down.

Sad? Excited? Anxious? Lonely? As an emotional eater, all a “hungry” heart needs (momentarily) may seem like the batch of paleo brownies, a box of Capn’ Crunch or that jar of creamy almond butter to meet its needs.

Stress” is also another common reason why some are wired to eat (more)—or have binge episodes—in spite of not wanting to.

Researchers out of Yale University state that “uncontrollable stress” changes eating patterns, leading to the consumption of more “hyperpalatable foods.”

In their extensive literature review of 120 different studies on binge-eating and stress, they resolved their conclusions from findings, such as:

  • In animals, palatable non-nutritious food (i.e. sugar, additives) suppresses HPA axis activity, impacting cortisol levels (and making you want more of these foods to feed cortisol); and humans similarly turn to hyperpalatable comfort foods such as fast food, snacks, and calorie-dense foods to cope with stress ,
  • Stress makes some people want more food, as food increases satiety (pleasure) and decreases heart rate, anger, and confusion
  • Lack of sleep (stress) impacts our own control of our appetite (makes us want to eat more)



Mindset is a powerful force in our own mental health and well-being.

For instance, “the power of positive thinking” is no new concept. You can probably name at least one or two influential books, videos, or podcasts that have helped you build into your own champion mindset

Research on the “placebo effect” often finds that the placebo effect yields the same results as those who undergo treatment, like Dr. J. Bruce Mosely’s knee-surgery study. Half of knee-surgery patients actually received the surgery—the others did not. Neither group knew if they had the surgery (they were asleep), but both equally recovered in the same amount of time (because of the power of their mind).

And you probably recognize how your mindset and emotions impact your own food choices. Happy emotions for your straight-A’s on your report card as a kid meant “ice cream,” or negative emotions around a breaking up with your boyfriend meant eating a whole box of chocolates (until you felt sick).

The mind IS powerful.

However, little research or resources has addressed why you can’t stop a powerful mind when it comes to binging.

You don’t want to binge. But time and time again, you can’t help it.

Treatment or traditional methods for empowering your mind and kicking your binge habits include things like:

Stress management skills


Powerful life coaching sessions



Strict Meal Plans


In addition, society’s “answers” for helping “over-eaters” or binge eaters include:

Counting points

Carefully measuring and tracking macros and calories

Working out harder (and doing more cardio)

And “just doing it”—willpower, people, willpower


While these methods seem to help and give some answers for things like portion control, self-control, and stress management…

Why can’t you stop binging?!?!

Enter: The brain-gut connection.


The brain-gut connection is no novel idea.

Over the past decade, handfuls of books, lectures and research has emerged, often educating on topics such as: ADD/ADHD, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, OCD, Autism dyslexia and schizophrenia.

The brain is directly connected to the gut, and the gut to the brain.

In fact, your vagus nerve—the nerve that governs your entire process of digestion—is attached directly from the top of your stomach to your medulla oblongata: the part of your brain responsible for your body’s autonomic (involuntary) functions (like blinking, sneezing and digestion).

Your gut uses the vagus nerve like a “walkie talkie”—the gut talks to it to tell your brain how you feel (“those gut feelings” or “butterflies in your stomach”). Conversely, your brain talks to your gut to also tell it how you feel (a la public speaking fears anyone?).

Hence: When your gut health is unhealthy…Your brain is unhealthy.

Bacterial overgrowth, leaky gut, celiac disease, inflammation, parasites, low stomach acid, dysbiosis,, IBS/IBD, bloating and intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) are just some of the imbalances an “unhealthy” gut may explain, making the whole “strong mindset” piece extremely difficult to overcome disordered eating and binge eating episodes.

Couple this with the euphoric chemical brain response, similar to drugs, that our brain gets from sugary foods, and the brain-damaging effects of foods with additives, and it’s no wonder so many stay stuck in the struggle.

You can listen to all the motivational self-help books, talk about your stressors, meditate with the amazing Headspace app, but if there is still a disconnect in your gut to start…the brain (and the emotions or stressors you say explain your binge eating tendencies) struggles to heal.



“Ok, I get it. That gut-brain connection thing is real. But what do I do now?”

Research is just now beginning to emerge around the role of gut bacteria and “healing the gut” for healing eating disorders—including binge eating.

One team of researchers concluded that a “gut healing” approach—inclusive to prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, fecal transplant, and diet changes are beneficial for altering the gut micro biome and decreasing binge eating symptoms.

Another team out of the University of North Carolina is currently recruiting participants to understand more about the gut micro biome’s influence on an unhealthy relationship with food.

In the mean time, here are some simple play-by-play steps you can take today:

  1. Raise Awareness. Knowledge is power. Simple understanding that there is more to overcoming binge eating than willpower or positive thinking alone can be tremendously liberating to address the issue from all aspects—body, mind and soul. The key question: What am I really hungry for? does not change, and a good deep soul-search of what is really behind the hunger is essential. However, don’t neglect the next step for a “bottom up” approach—addressing the roots and brain imbalances beyond your thoughts and emotions as well.
  2. Assess, Don’t Guess. Gut and micro-biome testing help take the guess work (and Google searching) out of the questions: “Do I have leaky gut?” “Do I have SIBO?” “Is it a parasite?” “Am I intolerant to ____?” Connect with a knowledgeable functional medicine or nutrition practitioner who can help you navigate your overall health and set you up for success. There are multiple tests to run—depending on your symptoms—but in practice, I find starting with a comprehensive blood panel (including comprehensive thyroid testing), SIBO test and comprehensive stool (parasitology) test is a good place to begin for those who come to me with histories of binge eating or disordered eating. However, others tests may be helpful for deductive reasoning as well. Aside from lab testing, a comprehensive lifestyle, nutrition and mindset intake can also shed great insight for the client treatment plan—more than a 5-minute visit with your general practitioner may give you—and several simple, but effective conclusions and protocols may come from this intake paperwork as well. (Note: No two doctors or practitioners are alike. Do your research and connect with someone who doesn’t prescribe the same status quo or supplement run-down to all their patients. And if you don’t have any in your area, you’re in luck. Tele functional-medicine is spanning state boarders, and functional medicine practitioners trained by leading experts like Chris Kresser and the Institute for Functional Medicine are more and more common).
  3. Connect to Your Food. Connection to our food is HUGE. How many times do you eat in front of your computer or TV? Eat in the car on the go? Scarf your lunch down in between meetings? Eat straight from the jar or the tray? Hello, mindless-ness (and a complete disconnect from our body and mind). In addition, are you slowing down during meals and chewing your food? Optimal digestion (and peace of mind) happens in a parasympathetic state (think “rest and digest”). Here’s an experiment to try: The next time you’re out to eat, observe others’ eating—and chewing— The vast majority of people do this: “Chew. Chew. Swallow. Chew. Chew. Swallow.” By inhaling our food, not breathing, slowing down or chewing our food (well) in our mouth, we set our digestive process and total eating experience (i.e. peace with food) up for distress.


  1. Try This At Home. Supporting your gut with a basic gut healing approach to start: Chew your food and take five to ten deep breaths before meals, drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water throughout the day, eat real food, take a quality probiotic, and you can even try a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a shot glass of water before meals. In addition, consider incorporating other strategies, such as putting your fork down between meals; Not keeping trigger foods in the house; And retraining the palate (see Robb’s book, “Wired to Eat” for more on this).
  2. Don’t Try This At Home. Self-diagnosis. Random Whole Foods pharmacology treatments. Multi-layered treatments. Doctor hopping. 2 a.m. Google searching for answers. Restrictive and extreme diets (will lead you down a whole ‘nutha rabbit hole). Saving your “cheats” up for cheat meals. Avoiding healthy fats. “Trying to be good.” Putting yourself in situations that you know set you up to fail.
  3. Don’t Forget. The mind is still a powerful force to be reckoned with. Heal the gut, but continue to heal the mind. And coercively, you have a dynamite combination.



You are.

You are wired to eat.

Eating is not a bad thing.

Human beings need food and fuel to function, and despite the push for low-calorie diets, and hype around fasting, intermittent fasting, and “moving more and eating less,” food (and your desire to eat) is not the enemy.

The “problem” herein lies when we condition our brains—and our bodies—to need food to fill us, not nourish us.

The first line of defense to combatting your binge eating struggles?

It starts in the gut.

By targeting your gut health, in conjunction with targeting an empowered mindset, stress management and the art of intuitive eating, you allow your body (and brain) to truly heal—reaching new heights in not only your relationship with food, but also a healthy sense of control.



Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTR, NTP, CPT is the founder of her brand and practice Thrive Wellness & Recovery. As an Occupational Therapist, Nutritionist, and Functional Medicine Practitioner, Dr. Lauryn is passionate about bringing preventative healthcare to society through lifestyle redesign, real-foods nutrition, functional movement, and mindset coaching. She earned her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, her Nutrition Therapy Practitioner (NTP) Certification from the Nutritional Therapy Association, and has received additional training from the world’s leading Functional Medicine Practitioners, both the Institute of Functional Medicine’s training courses and Chris Kresser’s ADAPT Framework. In addition, Dr. Lauryn is a Certified Fitness Professional and trainer.  She currently lives in Austin, Texas, and works with girls and women all over the world to achieve their life, nutrition, fitness and health goals.



Wired-to-Eat-RenderDon’t forget, Wired to Eat is available for pre-order now!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBooks

from The Paleo Diet

What Matters Most

^^^I LOVE this quote. It is the answer to so many questions about life, priorities, and big decisions. And it’s a reminder to not sweat the small stuff.

Speaking of sweating, I’ve been loving the sauna before my workouts lately! I try to get to the gym 15 minutes before class starts and go in there to warm up. It has the same effect that “just put on your workout clothes” does to get you more pumped for a workout. I pretend it’s July and I’m about to jump in a pool! I just wear my workout clothes because I leave before I really start to sweat, so it’s easy to pop in and out. My muscles always say thank you when we start the class warm-up!

Speaking of workout classes, I’ve been lifting less weight this year. Last year I REALLY pushed myself and got a lot stronger. But during the fall, when I was playing in two soccer games per Sunday, I started to take Mondays off of strength class and then still grabbed my same weights on Wednesdays. The result of going from two to one strength training classes a week is that I got a little weaker without realizing it and then hurt myself a few times. So now I’m a notch lower on all weight fronts, but I’m still feeling good and tired at the end of class. The ole guns don’t seem all that much smaller :mrgreen:

Speaking of soccer, I am not planning to play in the women’s league this spring, which makes me really sad. Last spring and fall I was just playing SO MUCH soccer on Sundays – sometimes up to three games – and it was hard to walk at the end of the day. I love both women’s league and co-ed, but, since I am the captain of co-ed and have been with my team for three years now, I decided to let women’s league go. I’m hoping I can still come back and sub for some games though!

And speaking of Sundays, I think Mazen and I are taking a little excursion this Sunday, since there is no school on Monday. Stay tuned!


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from Kath Eats Real Food