Monday, November 27, 2017

24 Days of Togetherness Is Back

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is in full swing, which means it’s time for our 6th annual 24 Days of Togetherness. It officially starts on Friday, December 1st, so be sure to mark your calendars!

Are you new to this 24 Days of Togetherness stuff? Here’s the story of how this tradition came to be, but, basically, it’s a holiday bucket list of 24 festive activities that you do together with your partner, family, or friends during the holiday season. Each day, leading up to Christmas, you randomly pick one thing to do together. (We write each activity on a piece of paper and then randomly select them for a box.) It’s a fun surprise and a little something to look forward to each day. Plus, it’s a great way to slow down and really enjoy the hectic holiday season together. Our family really looks forward to 24 Days of Togetherness!

So what do you put on your list? Well, anything you want! The more personalized and specific it is to you and your partner/family/friends, the better because it’s all about spending time together and enjoying each other’s company doing what you enjoy most. Just to give you an idea what we’ve done in previous years, here’s a sample list:

Day 1: Get a Christmas Tree

Day 2: Share one funny memory and something you are looking forward to

MY LATEST RECIPES

Day 3: Do an anonymous good deed

Day 4: Buy each other $5 gifts

Day 5: Make a Christmas drawing

Day 6: Drink hot chocolate

Day 7: Tell each other a holiday joke

Day 8: Share 3 things you love about the other person + Quinn and Murphy

Day 9: Watch a Christmas movie

Day 10: Donate a gift

Day 11: Take a family photo

Day 12: Get holiday drinks from Starbucks

Day 13: Read a Christmas book to Quinn

Day 14: Drink eggnog

Day 15: Buy Quinn a Christmas tree ornament

Day 16: Top 3 favorite Quinn moments

Day 17: Wear red and green all day

Day 18: Make Christmas cookies

Day 19: Visit Bass Pro Shop

Day 20: Make Christmas pancakes

And here are even more ideas from our past 24 Days of Togetherness!

2016  – 24 Days of Togetherness

2015 24 Days of Togetherness

2014 – 24 Days of Togetherness (Quinn’s first Christmas)

2013 – 24 Days of Togetherness

2012 – 24 Days of Togetherness

The activities can range from something simple like ‘drink eggnog’ to something more involved like ‘buy and decorate a Christmas tree.’ And these activities can change from year-to-year depending on time, interest, and dynamics (i.e. a new baby). The first two years, Mal and I randomly picked activities to do together each day. However, once we had a tiny human in our lives, we planned them out a little more because Quinn was so young and we didn’t have the same flexibility that we did in the past (i.e. ‘go out for a cocktail together.’) This is totally okay and worked great for us. Now that Qman is older, we’ll likely go back to random daily draws, but do what works best for you!

We haven’t made our list for 2017 quite yet, but I’ll be sure to share our experiences over the next few weeks. And, if you decide to participate, I’d love to see how you and your family spend time together this season. If you share on social media, please tag your post with @carrotsncake and #24daysoftogetherness.

Question of the Day

What’s on your holiday bucket list?

P.S. Local readers: The Derby Street Shoppes are hosting these fun (and free) holiday events over the next few weeks. Check ’em out and mark your calendars!



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Dear Mark: New Coffee Study, Letting a Fever Run its Course, Collagen Dosage

Dear_Mark_Inline_PhotoFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First, I give my take on a new, big coffee study, which analyzed several meta-analyses of existing coffee and health data. Second, should you let a fever run its course or try to defeat it at all costs? The body obviously “wants” to get hotter in these situations. Is there a good reason? And finally, how much glycine do people need per day?

Let’s go:

Rudy asked:

Hey Mark,

Did you get a chance to see the latest study on coffee? There are a lot of connections, both good and bad. What were your biggest takeaways?

Here’s the full study.

On the whole, coffee seems to help, not hurt. While there are some associations between coffee consumption and poor health outcomes, they’re outweighed by the beneficial associations.

What’s a bigger scourge our society—type 2 diabetes or childhood cleft malformations? No disease or disorder should be taken lightly, however rare it may be, but if we’re just crunching numbers, the diseases coffee consumption seems to reduce are a bigger threat than the diseases it seems to promote.

The studies that found health benefits for coffee were more numerous and had more participants than those finding negative effects. For instance, there were 27 studies including over a million participants showing benefits against type 2 diabetes but only 6 studies with just under 5000 participants showing links between coffee and acute child leukemia.

What I found most interesting (and telling) was the apparent coffee/LDL/heart disease paradox. One of the strongest protective associations coffee had was with cardiovascular disease. People with high intakes had a much lower rate of death from cardiovascular disease than people with low intakes. It hasn’t been causally linked, of course, as the authors drew primarily on observational studies, but we can at least surmise that it’s not bad for your heart. Yet, despite those protective associations, coffee consumption was also linked to higher LDL levels—and in a dose response manner, meaning the more coffee one drank, the higher their LDL levels.

How could this be? Isn’t LDL supposed to ravage our bodies, clog our arteries, and doom us to cardiovascular disease?

Maybe LDL increases that result from diet are qualitatively different than LDL increases with non-dietary causes (like genetics). I don’t know, but it sure is interesting.

In the end, most of the associations with negative health effects were weak, inconsistent, and they often disappeared when you controlled for other health variables like smoking. There were some standout categories where coffee really did seem to be problematic, like in pregnancy or fracture risk. Even those are easy to solve—don’t drink caffeinated coffee during pregnancy, and be sure to keep an eye on your bone health if you’re a woman who drinks a lot of coffee.

Sara asked:

Hi Mark,

It’s cold and flu season and with three kids, it seems like someone’s always got something. Should I treat the fever or let it do its thing? Sara

I’m a firm believer in letting the fever run its course. That fever is happening for a reason.

And that’s without “hard evidence.” It’s my bias talking, but I tend to assume that if the body responds the same way every time, you shouldn’t just get in the way.

Luckily, you don’t have to take my personal gut instinct as evidence. Actual empirical evidence exists, and the bulk of it supports my bias. Higher body temperatures tend to enhance immune function, while lowering body temperature in the event of fever degrades it:

When mice are injected with an antigen, increasing their body temperature by 2 degrees increases production of CD-8 T-cells, which can attack infected or cancerous cells.

In kids with salmonella infections, those with higher body temperatures expel the bacteria more quickly.

I still don’t quite get why so many people, even many doctors, insist on “getting that fever down.” It wasn’t always this way. Ancient doctors used heat therapy—hot stones, hot baths, hot steam, hot sand, hot mud—to raise the patient’s body temperature. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, doctors induced fevers by injecting malaria to treat syphilis. And it worked.

Okay, maybe I do understand why people treat the fever. Fevers feel bad. You get hot, then cold, then hot again. You wake up soaked, if you can even sleep. It’s manageable when you only have to worry about yourself. It’s downright exhausting when you’re dealing with sick kids.

Unless other troubling symptoms exist (e.g. severe malaise, dehydration, seizures, a stiff neck—suggesting the possibility of meningitis), fevers below 104ºF generally aren’t an emergency. Very young babies (under 3 months) are another story and should be seen and treated for lower fevers.

But in non-acute scenarios, I’d still try to hold out and let the fever run its course.

Caitlin wondered:

Great post! Wondering, if you’re supplementing with a powdered collagen, what’s the recommended dosage? I’ve always just added a heaping tablespoon of the Great Lakes Collagen to my AM fat coffee, but would I benefit from adding more into my daily routine?

The average person requires at least 10 grams of glycine a day for basic physiological repair and various metabolic processes. We can make about 3 grams in house, leaving 7 grams for us to get from diet.

Collagen is roughly 33% glycine, so you’ll need at least 20 grams of collagen protein to hit 7 grams of glycine.

Now, that’s for your basic human being. Other human beings will need more or less glycine than 7 grams/day. Athletes, weight lifters, martial artists, runners, dancers, skiers, snowboarders, and anyone else engaging in intense and demanding physical toll that stresses the connective tissue will need more than 7 extra grams of glycine to rebuild and restrengthen.

If you fit into the above categories, or you’re just overall more active than average, grab some extra collagen—maybe another 5-10 grams.

A heaping tablespoon of Great Lakes collagen hydrolysate contains 6 grams of collagen, or about 2 grams of glycine. A good start, to be sure.

Hope these all helped! Thanks for reading!

Let’s hear from you guys below. Anyone have anything to add (or subtract)?

phc_webinar_640x80

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MDA Cyber Monday Deals

Cyber Monday text on a black tag on black paper backgroundThe staff and I may have taken off Black Friday, but it somehow wouldn’t be right to not offer a deal for Cyber Monday. That said, I’m all about keeping it simple. No zillion ads to scroll through, no half an hour of browsing to catch every discount. Online shopping should save time, not squander it.

Today on both PrimalKitchen.com and PrimalBlueprint.com, receive $10 off any $50 purchase, and get free shipping to boot. It applies to everything there: books, desk calendars, bars, supplements, dressings, oils, mayo, collagen, and online courses. One day, one deal.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 7.06.18 AM

So, whether you’re looking to stock up on a favorite product, do a little holiday shopping, or try something new, today’s a good day to go for it.

For those readers interested in additional Primal-worthy, affiliate deals, let me share a couple of those, too.

Butcher Box Deal

all_layers_consolidated_0000_17I’m a big fan of their meats (and their latest deal—a fitting one for the holidays).

ButcherBox delivers the best 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door on your schedule for less than $6.00 per meal. And shipping is always free!

Sign up as a Butcher Box customer by 11/28, and choose your FREE gift added to your first order:

An Ultimate Steak Bundle (2 Rib Eyes, 2 New York Strips, 2 Filet Mignons)

—OR—

$100 in FREE Dry Farms Wine

It’s your choice, and I’d say either way you’re well set for the holiday.

Dry Farm Wines

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 8.58.08 AMFor those who are set on meat but interested in great tasting wine that doesn’t undercut their health commitment, I recommend Dry Farm Wines and serve it at my own table.

Dry Farm Wines curates only the highest quality natural wines from small, organic family farms that meet strict standards of health. Unlike today’s commercialized and processed wines, this is real wine. Nothing added, nothing removed. No additives, no sugar. Just great flavor and a perfect complement to your Primal holiday meals.

Dry Farm Wines is again offering Mark’s Daily Apple readers their popular deal of the season: a penny bottle of wine added to your order.

Just sign up here to receive your shipment of delicious, Primal-friendly wine—and your penny bottle.

Thanks, everybody. Dear Mark is coming up later this morning. Hope you all had a great holiday weekend.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 7.06.18 AM

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holidaze

^^ Sunrise!

Friday

Grammie and Pea were here through Saturday, so we packed a bunch of fun into the day after Thanksgiving. {The beard is gone!}

Thomas and I snuck off to a 75-minute hot yoga class at Elements. I just love this studio! T has gotten into it too. We’re trying to go 1-2 times a week all winter.

I lied: I actually DID step into Pottery Barn on Black Friday (but I didn’t buy anything!) I just put some cozy fleece robes on my Christmas list!

Brunch was egg, pear, cranberry sauce, toast, and lemon hand pie!

On Friday afternoon we had beautiful weather and headed out to Crozet to King Family Vineyards.

This is Mazen’s cowboy face:

We shared a bottle of Viognier and then went to Smoked for the world’s earliest dinner! I guess since many people eat Thanksgiving dinner at 3:00 pm it was appropriate for us to have Black Friday dinner at 4:30 pm?! We just didn’t want to have to kill another hour or two.

Smoked Kitchen and Tap was awesome and totally lived up to the hype! I got a Blue Plate Special with 4 sides and cornbread. Dad had the best pumpkin milkshake ever, and mom and Thomas both had awesome pulled pork. I used to get Smoked all the time from the downtown mall food cart, and now all of my favorite flavors are available in full-on restaurant form!

Afterwards we went upstairs to the Crozet Creamery. (Birthday cake flavor ice cream for me!)

Because we had such an early dinner, we were home and ready for bed at 6:30 pm. Ha!

The rest of us stayed up a bit watching the UVA – Tech football game. (Thomas went with friends!)

Lap dog!

Saturday

I went to athletic conditioning on Saturday morning at 8:00 am. After toast and eggs, we said goodbye to G+P and had a low-key day.

I went on a special afternoon adventure that I’ll tell you about soon (hint: it involved lots of salt!) and the boys went to the driving range! It was Mazen’s first time, and he did really great!

I had a mish mosh of snacks for lunch – Babybel cheese, peanut butter and carrots, a glass of milk – and then a green juice after my adventure was over!

We played Legos and had leftovers for dinner. The meal that keeps on giving!

I told Mazen that I know Santa and he didn’t believe me. So, I told Mazen to write Santa a letter to ask. He did, and Santa responded – with a cookie trail and a mess in the fireplace! Mazen believes me now! : )

The end.

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