Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Inside is a Little Bit of Everything

Hi, guys!

This morning, I’m off to Phoenix for Beautycounter’s L.E.A.D. conference, which, in all honestly, I’m still surprised that I’m attending. Even this time last year, I wasn’t doing all that much with this part of my business. Sure, I loved the products, but I felt totally lost with what to do. Fast-forward to today, and things have really taken off. Now, I have a rockstar team of 8, and I’m absolutely loving what I’m doing. I never thought Beautycounter would become such a big part of my life, but I’m sure glad I decided to take the jump. Timing is everything, right?

Anyway, I have a hodgepodge blog post for you today. It’s a little bit of everything, so I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

REMINDER: The April group for Master Your Macros kicks off Monday. If you’re looking to make a change in your diet and mindset about food, now is the time!

We visited the New England Aquarium Tide Pool Open House at Derby Street over the weekend, and Quinn absolutely loved it. The tide pool is coming back during April vacation (4/17), so keep a look out for tickets!

The nice folks from Pamela’s sent me some of their pancake mixes to try. We love a good Pancake Sunday in our house, so we tried the gluten-free protein pancake mix first. There’s 10g of protein per serving!

It was definitely a hit and everyone ate them right up – and we even got some protein in our tiny picky eater!

I stumbled upon this oldie, but goodie recipe and whipped up a batch mid-week since we had some super ride bananas that needed to be used up sooner than later! It still quite the delicious cookie recipe!

Lots of people have asked me about the Chocolate Donut Seasoning that I use, and it’s from Flavor God. I’m obsessed! 🙂 I put it on everything – banana slices, rice cakes with nut butter, strawberries, smoothies, oatmeal, etc.

I found this old photo of Quinn the other day. Ooooh, my sweet boy… I’m really starting to miss the baby days. Does this happen to every mom as their kids get older? It’s kind of heart-breaking. I love seeing him grow, but my heart aches for the days when he was small. It goes by too fast.

I also found this ridiculous photo of Murphy! 🙂

Here’s a vegetarian power bowl that I made for lunch the other day. It clocked in with 21g of protein – thanks to lentils, pumpkin seeds, and good ol’ vegetables!

I’m off to Phoenix! I’ll have a full recap when I return, but, in the meantime, be sure to follow along on Instagram Stories!

 

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The Definitive Guide To Autophagy (and 7 Ways To Induce It)

Biological systems are self-maintaining. They have to be. We don’t have maintenance workers, mechanics, troubleshooters that can “take a look inside” and make sure everything’s running smoothly. Doctors perform a kind of biological maintenance, but even they are working blind from the outside.

No, for life to sustain itself, it has to perform automatic maintenance work on its cells, tissues, organs, and biological processes. One of the most important types of biological maintenance is a process called autophagy.

Autophagy: the word comes from the Greek for “self-eating,” and that’s a very accurate description: Autophagy is when a cell consumes the parts of itself that are damaged or malfunctioning. Lysosomes—members of the innate immune system that also degrade pathogens—degrade the damaged cellular material, making it available for energy and other metabolites.  It’s cellular pruning, and it’s an important part of staving off the worst parts of the aging process.

In study after study, we find that impairment to or reductions of normal levels of autophagy are linked to almost every age-related degenerative disease and malady you can imagine.

  • Cancer: Autophagy can inhibit the establishment of cancer by removing malfunctioning cellular material before it becomes problematic. Once cancer is established, however, autophagy can enhance tumor growth.
  • Diabetes: Impaired autophagy enables the progression from obesity to diabetes via pancreatic beta cell degradation and insulin resistance. Impaired autophagy also accompanies the serious complications related to diabetes, like kidney disease and heart failure.
  • Heart disease: Autophagy plays an important role in all aspects of heart health.
  • Osteoporosis: Both human and animal studies indicate that autophagy dysfunction precedes osteoporosis.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Early stage Alzheimer’s disease is linked to deficits in autophagy.
  • Muscle loss: Autophagy preserves muscle tissue; loss of autophagy begins the process of age-related muscle atrophy.

Okay, so autophagy is rather important. It’s fundamental to health.

But how does autophagy happen?

The way it’s supposed to happen is this:

Humans traditionally and historically lived in a very different food environment. Traditionally and historically, humans were feasters and fasters. While I don’t think our paleolithic ancestors were miserable, wretched, perpetually starving creatures scuttling from one rare meal to the next—the fossil records show incredibly robust remains, with powerful bones and healthy teeth and little sign of nutritional deficits—they also couldn’t stroll down to the local Whole Foods for a cart full of ingredients. Going without food from time to time was a fundamental aspect of human ancestral life.

They worked for their food. I don’t mean “sat in a cubicle to get a paycheck to spend on groceries.” I mean they expended calories to obtain food. They hunted—and sometimes came back empty handed. They dug and climbed and rooted around and gathered. They walked, ran, stalked, jumped, lifted. Movement was a necessity.

In short, they experienced energy deficits on a regular basis. And energy deficits, particularly sustained energy deficits, are the primary triggers for autophagy. Without energy deficits, you remain in fed mode and never quite hit the fasted mode required for autophagy.

Now compare that ancestral food environment to the modern food environment:

Almost no one goes hungry. Food is cheap and plentiful, with the tastiest and most calorie-rich stuff tending to be the cheapest and most widely available.

Few people have to physically work for their food. We drive to the store and walk a couple hundred steps, hand over some money, and—BOOM—obtain thirty thousand calories, just like that. Or someone comes to our house and delivers the food directly.

We eat all the time. Unless you set out to do it, chances are you’ll be grazing, snacking, and nibbling throughout the day. We’re in a perpetually fed state.

The average person in a modern society eating a modern industrial diet rarely goes long enough without eating something to trigger autophagy. Nor are they expending enough energy to create an energy deficit from the other end—the output. It’s understandable. If our ancestors were thrust into our current situation, many would fall all over themselves to take advantage of the modern food environment. But that doesn’t make it desirable, or good for you. It just means that figuring out how to trigger autophagy becomes that much more vital for modern humans.

Here are 7 ways to induce autophagy with regular lifestyle choices.

1) Fast

There’s no better way to quickly and reliably induce a large energy deficit than not eating anything at all. There are no definitive studies identifying “optimal” fasting guidelines for autophagy in humans. Longer fasts probably allow deeper levels of autophagy, but shorter fasts are no slouch.

2) Get Keto-Adapted

When you’re keto- and fat-adapted, it takes you less time to hit serious autophagy upon commencing a fast. You’re already halfway there.

3) Train Regularly

With exercise-related autophagy, the biggest effects are seen with lifelong training, not acute. In mice, for example, the mice who are subjected to lifelong exercise see the most autophagy-related benefits. In people, those who have played soccer (football) for their entire lives have far more autophagy-related markers of gene activity than people of the same age who have not trained their whole lives.

4) Train Hard

In studies of acute exercise-induced autophagy, the intensity of the exercise is the biggest predictor of autophagy—even more than whether the athletes are in the fed or fasted state.

5) Drink Coffee

At least in mice, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee induce autophagy in the liver, muscle tissue, and heart. This effect persists even when the coffee is given alongside ad libitum food. These mice didn’t have to fast for the coffee to induce autophagy.

Certain nutrients can trigger autophagy, too….

6) Eat Turmeric

Curcumin, the primary phytonutrient in turmeric, is especially effective at inducing autophagy in the mitochondria (mitophagy).

7) Consume Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The anticancer potential of its main antioxidant, oleuropein, likely occurs via autophagy.

Disclaimer: The autophagy/nutrient literature is anything but definitive. Most studies take place in test tube settings, not living humans. Eating some turmeric probably won’t flip a switch and trigger autophagy right away, but it won’t hurt.

Autophagy is a long game.

This can’t be underscored enough: Autophagy is a lifelong pursuit attained by regular doses of exercise and not overeating every time you sit down to a meal. Staying so ketotic your pee tests look like a Prince album cover, doing epic 7-day fasts every month, fasting every other day, making sure you end every day with fully depleted liver glycogen—while these strategies might be “effective,” obsessing over their measures to hit some “optimal” level of constant autophagy isn’t the point and is likely to activate or trigger neurotic behavior.

Besides, we don’t know what “optimal autophagy” looks like. Autophagy isn’t easy to measure in live humans. You can’t order an “autophagy test” from your doc. We don’t even know if more autophagy is necessarily better. There’s the fact that unchecked autophagy can actually increase existing cancer in some cases. There’s the fact that too much autophagy in the wrong place might be bad. We just don’t know very much. Autophagy is important. It’s good to have some happening. That’s what we have to go on.

Putting These Tips Into Practice

Autophagy happens largely when you just live a healthy lifestyle. Get some exercise and daily activity. Go hard every now and then. Sleep deeply. Recover well. Don’t eat carbohydrates you don’t need and haven’t earned (and I don’t just mean “earned through glycogen depleting-exercise”). Reach ketosis sometimes. Don’t eat more food than you need. Drink coffee, even decaf.

All those caveats aside, I see the utility in doing a big “autophagy session” a few times a year. Here’s how mine looks:

  1. Do a big training session incorporating strength training and sprints. Lots of intense bursts. This will trigger autophagy.
  2. Fast for two or three days. This will push autophagy even further.
  3. Stay busy throughout the fast. Take as many walks as possible. This will really ramp up the fat burning and get you quickly into ketosis, another autophagy trigger.
  4. Drink coffee throughout the fast. Coffee is a nice boost to autophagy. Decaf is fine.

I know people are often skeptical of using “Grok logic,” but it’s likely that most human ancestors experienced similar “perfect storms” of deprivation-induced autophagy on occasion throughout the year. You track an animal for a couple days and come up short, or it takes that long to make the kill. You nibble on various stimulants plucked from the land along the way. You walk a ton and sprint some, then lift heavy. And finally, maybe, you get to eat.

If you find yourself aging well, you’re on the right track. If you’re not progressing from obesity to diabetes, you’re good to go. If you’re maintaining and even building your muscle despite qualifying for the blue plate special, you’ve probably dipping into the autophagy pathway. If you’re thinking clearly, I wouldn’t worry. Obviously, we can’t really see what’s happening on the inside. But if everything you can verify is going well, keep it up.

That’s it for today, folks. If you have any more questions about autophagy, leave them down below and I’ll try to get to all of them in future posts.

Thanks for reading!

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References:

Yang ZJ, Chee CE, Huang S, Sinicrope FA. The role of autophagy in cancer: therapeutic implications. Mol Cancer Ther. 2011;10(9):1533-41.

Barlow AD, Thomas DC. Autophagy in diabetes: ?-cell dysfunction, insulin resistance, and complications. DNA Cell Biol. 2015;34(4):252-60.

Sasaki Y, Ikeda Y, Iwabayashi M, Akasaki Y, Ohishi M. The Impact of Autophagy on Cardiovascular Senescence and Diseases. Int Heart J. 2017;58(5):666-673.

Florencio-silva R, Sasso GR, Simões MJ, et al. Osteoporosis and autophagy: What is the relationship?. Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). 2017;63(2):173-179.

Li Q, Liu Y, Sun M. Autophagy and Alzheimer’s Disease. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2017;37(3):377-388.

Jiao J, Demontis F. Skeletal muscle autophagy and its role in sarcopenia and organismal aging. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2017;34:1-6.

Schwalm C, Jamart C, Benoit N, et al. Activation of autophagy in human skeletal muscle is dependent on exercise intensity and AMPK activation. FASEB J. 2015;29(8):3515-26.

De oliveira MR, Jardim FR, Setzer WN, Nabavi SM, Nabavi SF. Curcumin, mitochondrial biogenesis, and mitophagy: Exploring recent data and indicating future needs. Biotechnol Adv. 2016;34(5):813-826.

Przychodzen P, Wyszkowska R, Gorzynik-debicka M, Kostrzewa T, Kuban-jankowska A, Gorska-ponikowska M. Anticancer Potential of Oleuropein, the Polyphenol of Olive Oil, With 2-Methoxyestradiol, Separately or in Combination, in Human Osteosarcoma Cells. Anticancer Res. 2019;39(3):1243-1251.

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Gut Microbiome On Low Carb Diet

I recently had the honor to speak at the Symposium on Nutrition and Functional Medicine at UCSF. One of the most fascinating talks was with Erica Sonnenburg on the gut microbiome. She discussed how a diverse gut microbiome means a healthier you.

We also had the opportunity to talk over lunch about things like strategies to achieve a healthier gut and how a low carb diet affects the gut microbiota. Listen to this week’s 10 & 2 Q to hear more…



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Seasonal Eating: 9 Tasty Springtime Recipes

We love comfort food as much as the next Primal type, but it’s something of a relief to welcome the lighter fare of spring. With early crops of greens, berries, radishes, herbs, asparagus, and young onions (to name just a few), there’s a definite call to cooler dishes and lighter cooking. It’s a traditional time, too, for citrusy flavors and springtime classics like lamb.

We’ve got nine of our favorites today—everything from cool drinks to fresh salads to hearty but bright-tasting dinners. Grab some inspiration (and leave a comment with your spring favorites) today.

Fresh Salads

Strawberry Spinach and Basil Salad

Simple, fresh, and sweet, this salad is a perfect accompaniment to a weekend omelet breakfast or a grilled chicken dinner, but it’s also a satisfying light meal in its own right.

Thousand Island Kale and Radish Salad

Combining the classic flavor of Thousand Island with the mild bite of spring radishes makes for an easy, flavorful salad dish. Serve with roast chicken or fish, or enjoy all on its own.

 

Keto Chicken Citrus Salad

It’s no secret that Mark’s (current) favorite dressing is Lemon Turmeric, and there’s no end to the salad combinations he uses it with. With his go-to ingredients, chicken and avocado, this one’s become a fresher take on the Big-Ass Salad tradition.

Savory Main Courses

Lemon and Sage Chicken In Cream

Rich, creamy and citrusy, this recipe blends the best of succulent meat with a smooth and flavorful sauce. The addictive lemon and sage scent alone is reason enough to cook this spring dish.

Salmon Steak Salad With Lemon Turmeric Dressing

Broiled salmon steaks are served over seared tomatoes and peppery arugula for a warm and bright main course.

Leg of Lamb with Pistachio Pesto

Rich and tender, this leg of lamb (cooked with the joules sous vide method or regular oven method) is as foolproof to make as it is delicious to eat. Serve this cut with pistachio pesto and roasted potatoes or a low-carb side of your choice.

Turmeric and Ginger Fish

This recipe is a good reason to grab that bottle of turmeric in your spice rack and put it to work adding bright orange color and extra flavor to mild fish like cod. The slightly bitter taste of turmeric all but disappears when cooked with buttery ghee, ginger and garlic. Serve with a favorite salad or another spring favorite, asparagus.

Cool Drinks

Low-Carb White Mint Julep

With a bright taste and fresh bite, mint juleps are perfect for warm spring (or summer days). Usually they’re made with bourbon and syrup, but here’s a lighter, less potent version of a julep with just as much classic flavor.

Strawberry Rosé Mocktail

Yes, it’ll be strawberry season before you know it (not that most of us with a local grocery store really need to wait…). For now—or later this spring—here’s a refreshing three-ingredient mocktail that includes a healthy dose of vitamin C and collagen.

Have a favorite here, or did a certain recipe inspire? Have other great spring eating ideas to add? Share them below, and have a great week, everyone.

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House Shuffle

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday is something I call a House Shuffle. Really I just move decor from one room to another. Sometimes it’s the smallest tweaks that make me happy for weeks after!

Crock Stock

My mom gave me the two crocks you see – the big one on the floor and the small one on the buffet. The big one has been outside for a year, and the little one downstairs tucked away. I just moved them both to these new locations, and I feel like I have a little bit of country farmhouse in my living room now!

Tray-cation

I’ve also had this tray downstairs on the marble top table for ages. I couldn’t think of a good spot for it, as it’s really heavy and has some nails underneath that can scratch surfaces so I never wanted to put it on anything wood that it might get dragged across. I randomly carried it up to my room and it ended up in my closet holding my perfumes that were all just lined up against the wall. I think this is the perfect spot for it!

Survivor + Chocolate

Ethos Chocolate sent me some samples, and this one is my favorite. Ironically, I enjoyed it while watching Survivor! Fitting too because of the tropical fruit.

Tropical Mocktail

My intern Emily is married to the owner of Caribe Juice, which makes some really delicious cold-pressed juices from tropical fruit sourced in the Dominican Republic. The Starfruit Limeade is my fav! I’ve been mixing a little juice with seltzer on weeknights and it’s taken my mocktail game to a whole new level.

To Black Out Or Sun Share?

I do not yet have blackout curtains in Birch’s room. I know many people swear by them and ultimately if they were already installed that would be great. I’m still wondering if he really needs them. If he never has them, won’t he just get used to napping in daylight?

I’m avoiding them because 1) the cost of curtains and rods 2) drilling the rods into plaster will make a huge mess 3) we already have blinds in there so it’s dim but not dark when they are closed.

So my question is, do any of you NOT have blackout curtains and have great sleepers?

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