Sunday, August 26, 2018

Weekend Link Love — Edition 518

Research of the Week

Olympic gold medalists die earlier than silver medalists (on average).

Despite increased HPV vaccine uptake, HPV-related cancers are on the rise.

Cardio and weight lifting have different effects on our hormones (so do both).

If you’re sensitive to alcohol, you might be sensitive to sleep deprivation, too.

Sun exposure alters gut bacteria independent of vitamin D.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 273: Seamus Mullen: Host Elle Russ chats with Seamus Mullen, an award-winning New York chef and cookbook author who used diet to cure his rheumatoid arthritis.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Interesting Blog Posts

Parenting an infant can be scary, but at least you know not to give your teething kid opium.

An interesting hypothesis for why those paleolithic Venus statues were so curvaceous.

Don’t count out Monsanto just yet.

Media, Schmedia

Veganism isn’t the answer.

Is a diverse diet actually important (or helpful)?

Everything Else

A Denisovan and a Neanderthal, sittin’ in a cave

Kanye gets it.

It works in monkeys. Now, researchers are going to try reprogrammed stem cells in human Parkinson’s patients.

Army of ticks…”

Teens prefer texting to books.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Study I’m reading: Health coaching works.

Analysis I enjoyed: Regarding the effects drinking (and not drinking) has on mortality.

Concept I’m pondering: Does purported longevity drug rapamycin slow down time?

Announcement I’m pleased to, well, announce: PETA has liberated the animals!

Interesting line in a study’s conclusion: “Hyperlipidemia is not an important cause of coronary atherosclerosis.”

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Aug 19 – Aug 25)

Comment of the Week

“I know the ‘and his dog’ was meant as a joke, but our dog has bone cancer in her humerus. Rather than the recommended amputation, chemo and radiation treatment path, we have her on several holistic treatments and changed her diet to Keto. No glycogen to feed her cancer cells, and cancer cells (which need lots of energy) don’t do well on ketones. We are just months in, but she is enjoying life everyday.”

– That’s dogs for ya, Jan. Good luck!

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Cycle Synching With Food & Fitness

Hi, guys!

So, I’m talking about hormones today! Woohoo! Aren’t they a blast for us gals, especially during *that* time of the month? While I don’t believe that there’s any woman who can say she loves alllllll of the fun side effects that come with the menstrual cycle, I DO believe that taking the time to learn about our bodies and our hormones can make a world of a difference in how we feel!

No clue where to start? I highly recommend reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It’s crazy to think I didn’t learn how my body really works until I was almost 38 years old! This book should be required reading as a teenager! Anyway… 

I’ve talked before about how I went off the pill last August (after some trial and error between switching brands and experiencing all sorts of wackiness). Hormonally, I was not in the best place, but I was committed to staying off the pill to try and learn how to manage my cycle naturally. Needless to say, this quest turned me into a total fertility nerd, and I wanted to know anything and everything about how my body works. Seed cycling was my first jump into a more natural way of balancing hormones – and while I was skeptical at first, I totally noticed a difference. I really thought seeds were magical… until they weren’t, and I stopped noticing all of the awesome effects. 

After that, I thought, what else is out there to try? Awhile back, I picked up a book with all sorts of information about cycle synching called Woman Code by Alisa Vitti, a functional nutritionist and women’s hormone expert – and I am super glad that I did! You’re probably asking yourself – what the heck is cycle syncing, you hippy?! It sounds a little out there, but trust me, once you get the hang of it, it’s not at all.

Essentially, cycle syncing is just adjusting your lifestyle (and food!) to match which phase of your cycle you are in. Interesting, right? At first, I was a little hesitate. Plan my schedule around my hormones? Really? But, hey, I’ll try anything once. And, surprisingly, syncing my lifestyle to my cycle didn’t make things more difficult – it actually simplified life because I began working with my body instead of fighting it.

Instead of trying to force our hormones into fitting into our lifestyles (which is basically fighting a losing battle because nature does what it wants), Alisa encourages women to embrace them and adjust their lives as much as possible according to what part of our cycle we are in. There’s a lot of talk about the menstrual phase and all the fun things that come along with it, but there are actually FOUR phases of our cycle, meaning that our hormones are are constantly flowing and changing:

Menstrual – ‘nuff said.

Follicular – post-period, when your body is gearing up to ovulate

Ovulation – when your ovary releases a mature egg cell

Luteal – when your progesterone increases to prepare for possible pregnancy

And rinse and repeat!

During these four phases, your hormones are shifting- and this can impact all aspects of your life – from the food you crave to your energy during workouts, right down to if you feel like cancelling your Friday night plans. Been there, done that! 

Alisa encourages women to schedule tougher workouts during the follicular phase and go easy during the luteal and menstrual phases. You guys know I’m a sucker for a kick-ass workout, and when I first began my healthy living journey, I would often go hard even if I wasn’t feeling great. Honestly, I saw going easy or taking a break as just another excuse and would push through even when my body was telling me to do otherwise.

Now, I’ve learned through reading Woman Code and my own hormone story that it is so important to be mindful about how we feel and actually listen when that feeling is “blah.” After tuning into my cycles, I’ve noticed that I generally feel great during the first half of my cycle, so I make an effort to try a little harder during workouts. During the second half of my cycle, if I feel like I have low energy or am generally fatigued, I’ll stick to weights and leave the super high-intensity stuff for later (or just not go as hard). I’ve also noticed that I take more rest during the luteal and menstrual phases – and that’s totally ok!

When it comes to diet, I’ve definitely struggled with some not-so-healthy premenstrual cravings. Chocolate? Cheese? ALLTHECARBS. Obviously, I like to indulge, but I sometimes felt like my cravings around my menstrual cycle were kind of out of control. Did you know that there are foods we can eat throughout our cycle that provide key nutrients so we can minimize those cravings? Oh, yes.

I’ve been using this handy list when I go grocery shopping that details the best foods to eat based on which phase of the month you’re in. It’s broken out into several food groups, which makes meal plans and shopping quite easy. Basically, I use this list as a loose basis for meals and snacks during the week. I’m not nuts about it – if I’m grabbing a drink and someone puts down a bowl of follicular phase olives during my luteal phase, I won’t say no if I really want them. Haha! But I do my best to follow the list to make sure I’m fueling my body with what it needs – and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in reduced cravings and my energy levels!

Beyond diet and exercise, our cycle impacts all facets of our lives – from work to friends and family to our creativity. Ever make weekend plans on a Monday because you’re feeling super social, only to find that come Friday you just want to stay in and curl up with a good book? Yep – that could definitely be related to your hormones changing! Crazy, right?

While it’s impossible to structure your whole social and work life around your cycle, Alisa gives us plenty of insight into why we feel one way during one week and differently the next. During the menstrual phase, women tend to be a little more withdrawn and introverted. The follicular phase brings an increase of clarity and creativity, while during ovulation you might find yourself being a bit more social and outgoing. In the luteal phase, women generally have a boost in their assertiveness and problem-solving skills. Personally, I feel creatively charged right before ovulation and want to rest and relax at the onset of the menstrual phase. This book provides so much useful information and answered so many of my questions about why I “mysteriously” felt a certain way – turns out, there was an explanation all along! I swear, hormones are related to everything! 

Clearly, I’m a tad obsessed with Women Code – and not just the book! Alisa has her own website where she offers a TON of resources for hormonal support as well as a super awesome community of women. There’s also an app called MyFLO that not only tracks your period, but tells you what to eat and how to plan your day based on where you are in your cycle. How cool is that? There’s a quiz on the site as well that offers recommendations for solutions to the type of period-related symptoms you’re experiencing. I’ve taken it three times since coming off birth control – and it’s always spot-on and has shown my progress with hormonal symptoms over the past year!

I’ve really enjoyed playing around with cycle synching these past few months. it’s still fairly new to me, but I like to think that I’m helping to balance my hormones and make them happy. If you’re thinking about trying cycle syncing, just remember to be patient. None of these natural hormone tools produce results overnight, but I swear, it was 100% worth it. It’s taken a year to get where I am today, but I can confidently say that I am in a MUCH better place overall!

Question of the Day

Ever heard of cycle synching? 

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Clean Eating Pressure Cooker Tomato Soup Recipe

This clean eating pressure cooker tomato soup recipe is one of the best tomato soups I’ve made to date!

Summer tomatoes are in abundance right now and I had a counter full of them. I needed a way to use them up, but it was 100 F. outside. Gotta love that California heat! (Not!) So I took out my trusty Instant Pot and started chopping veggies. The result was this wonderful, clean eating pressure cooker tomato soup that I served with a crusty, whole grain, garlic bread. Delicious!!

A single white bowl with handles on each side sits on a wooden surface, filled with this Clean Eating Pressure Cooker Tomato Soup. The soup has three croutons sitting in the middle and has a light sprinkle of Italian parsley over it as well.

WHY MAKE THIS RECIPE?

  • Make the entire recipe in one pot from start to finish.
  • Don’t heat up your whole kitchen.
  • Use up the last of those summer tomatoes.
  • Make a few batches and freeze for colder evenings.
  • You don’t have to babysit it while it cooks.

RECIPE NOTES:

  • This will freeze pretty well for up to about 4 months.
  • Depending on your blender, you may get it close to smooth, but not completely. If you can’t get it totally smooth, allow it to cool and transfer to a high power blender like a ninja or vitamix, which can better finish the job. That being said, I didn’t do that and the little bit of texture from the nuts didn’t bother me at all.

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY THESE CLEAN EATING RECIPES:

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry

CLEAN EATING PRESSURE COOKER TOMATO SOUP RECIPE:

Clean Eating Instant Pot Tomato Soup

This delicious soup is a one-pot dish from start to finish. If you can chop veggies, you can easily make this soup!

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 10 medium garlic cloves ((peeled and coarsely chopped))
  • 6 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup raw cashews ((must be raw))
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste ((no sugar added))
  • 1 tsp. salt ((plus more to taste after cooking))
  • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning ((store bought or see link above))
  • 4 cups vegetable broth ((no sugar added))
  1. Pour the oil into the IP insert, place inside the IP and press the saute button.

  2. When the oil has warmed, add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic cloves. Cook until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally to keep things from burning.

  3. Turn the IP off and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine everything and then secure the lid and vent.

  4. Press the Manual button and adjust time to 10 minutes. 

  5. Once the IP has finished, allow a natural release to happen for about 15 minutes. Then you can do a quick release for the remaining steam.

  6. Using a hand blender, blend the soup directly in the IP until it’s completely smooth. (about 1 to 2 minutes).

  7. Season to your liking with salt and pepper and serve with homemade, whole grain croutons or a side of crusty, whole grain garlic bread.

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

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