Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Father’s Day + Wicked Big Bugs

Quinn was just too excited to sleep on Father’s Day, so we were up and at ’em and ready to make the day a special one for Mal. We had all sorts of presents for Dada, and while he slept, Quinn and I drove over to Whole Foods to pick up ingredients and iced coffee (of course) for a tasty Father’s Day breakfast.

As soon as Mal woke up, we opened presents. Quinn was so excited for him to see what he made!

I mean, c’mon… how adorable is this!? We always tell Quinn that we “love him to the moon and back,” so it was perfect for Dada.

After opening presents, we ate breakfast together. The night before, Mal requested eggs, “good bacon,” toast, and iced coffee for his Father’s Day breakfast. Quinn and I also bought some fruit to make a fruit salad and a chocolate croissant, which are also Dada favorites. It was quite a tasty breakfast, and Mal was happy, so I’d say we did a good job! 🙂

After breakfast, we got ourselves ready for the day and then headed to Franklin Park Zoo to see the Wicked Big Bug exhibit. The zoo offered us complimentary tickets, and I knew Quinn (and Mal) would love it, so I accepted.

Turtle statues at Franklin Park Zoo

The exhibit runs through September 2, and it was like nothing we’ve ever seen before. There were BIG BUGS everywhere! 🙂

Wicked Big Bugs at Franklin Park Zoo

Quinn was absolutely fascinated with the larger-than-life bugs. He told me he was “communicating” with the grasshopper below.

Wicked Big Bugs at Franklin Park Zoo

The big bugs move, make noise, and are super detailed in their appearance.

Wicked Big Bugs at Franklin Park Zoo

Quinn loved trying to scare me as we approached each of the creepy crawlers. It was definitely a cool exhibit and worth a visit!

Wicked Big Bugs at Franklin Park Zoo

After the zoo, we were all hungry, so drove over to Legacy Place and popped into the Yard House for lunch. We ate lunch and did a little shopping before heading home for the evening.

Quinn wanted to build a jet engine that he got for his birthday, and Mal was psyched to help him. The “toy” was intended for kids 8+, so we knew Quinn would need some help. Putting it together ended up taking much longer than expected, but Mal was committed to finishing it! 🙂 The jet engine turned out great, and Quinn loved it, so it was definitely worth the effort. What a good dad, right?

Building Smithsonian Jet Engine Works

All in all, Mal had a very happy Father’s Day! 🙂

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Dear Mark: Increased Red Meat, Reduced Carb, Increased Death?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, what’s the deal with the new Harvard study claiming that eating more red meat increases the death rate? Does it actually prove this? Second, how about the one claiming that reduced carb diets also increase death? Should you worry? And finally, why do I recommend eating locally farmed farmer’s market produce, even if it isn’t organic?

Let’s go:

Hi Mark,

What’s your take on this Harvard study? http://bit.ly/2MY4Src

“those who increased their daily servings of red meat over an eight-year period were more likely to die during the subsequent eight years”

It’s total nonsense with very little applicability to MDA readers.

Red meat eaters were more likely to be smokers.

Red meat eaters weighed more.

What else did people change as they added or removed red meat from their diets over the eight years?

The study doesn’t say much.

What we know:

Those who ate more red meat as time wore on also ate more calories per day—roughly 400 more. Those who ate less red meat as time wore on tended to reduce their overall calorie intake.

Those who ate more red meat as time wore on also gained more weight.

The simplistic urge is to assign blame for these changes to the increase in red meat, since that’s what the study is studying and that’s what they keep mentioning throughout the paper. But there are a million other variables that could have caused it, that likely did cause it, because that’s how cause-and-effect works in this world. Or rather, causes-and-effect.

And remember: this wasn’t an interventional study where one group was told to avoid red meat and one group was told to eat more red meat. This was data pulled from two different studies done decades ago, gathered by asking people what they ate on a typical day and then following up with them at a late date to see who died, who got cancer, who gained weight. It wasn’t explicitly about red meat. So, this is a mishmash of remembrances of what some people think they might have eaten, and the researchers from today’s particular paper homed in on the red meat and tuned out everything else.

This isn’t about individual people. These are abstract numbers.

One of the more interesting notes in the discussion section of the paper was this line:

Unprocessed meat consumption was only associated with mortality in the U.S. populations, but not in European or Asian populations.

I’ll be revisiting that line in the near future. For now, though, any ideas what could be going on?

Mark, do low-carb diets increase all-cause mortality? Hearing from lots of people about this latest one…

He’s talking about this one.

This is another piece of nonsense. Instead of studying legitimate low-carb diets like keto, Atkins, or basic Primal Blueprint, it separated people into four tiers of “low-carb” intake.

  • Tier one got 66% of their energy from carbohydrates.
  • Tier two got 57% of energy from carbohydrates.
  • Tier three got 49% of energy from carbohydrates.
  • Tier four—the one with the highest mortality risk—got 39% of energy from carbohydrates.

Now, I could probably hit “send” and stop the post right now. I mean, that about says it all. In what world is 39% of calories from carbohydrates a low-carb diet? How is that the “lowest-carb” diet? Pure madness.

The study also didn’t discuss diet quality. What kind of fats, carbs, and protein are these people eating? What exactly are they omitting and including? How’s their omega-3 intake? They eating mostly chicken, mostly beef, or plants?

All we know, in addition to their macronutrient ratios, is that people in the “low-carb”/39% carb group:

  • Smoked the second most.
  • Ate the least saturated fat.
  • Drank the most alcohol.
  • Exercised the least.

Really what this study is saying is that eating the high-fat, high-carb Standard American Diet will increase your mortality. This is no surprise.

As I’ve said before, you should pick a macronutrient—fat or carbs—to focus on and go with it. Sure, Michael Phelps could eat 10k calories of McDonald’s and maintain optimal performance, body comp, and health because he’s burning through it all, but you’re not him and you’re not training at an Olympic level for five hours a day. Trying to hang out in no-man’s land where you’re kinda high-carb, kinda high-fat is a bad idea for most people. You could make a 39% carb diet “better” by going with Perfect Health Diet principles, sticking to healthy Primal sources of starches and fats, but that doesn’t work for everyone.

You mentioned going to Farmers Markets every week. I would love someone to explain to me the push for buying local and going to Farmers Markets. Every time I hear them mentioned I cringe a little. I certainly understand buying local, and I agree with that, IF the fruits and vegetables are organic. Usually they are not, so I stay away from local and avoid the toxins/pesticides.
I can only assume that those who buy local don’t mind the pesticides, and if they juice, drinking a glass of chemicals.
What am I missing here? I would love to buy local, but sadly it’s rarely organic. I’d rather buy non-local organic.

Have you ever talked to the supposedly non-organic farmers?

In my experience, the vast majority of vendors at the farmers markets are using organic methods even if they aren’t certified. Reason being, organic certification is quite stringent to attain. It’s a multi-year process.

They have to go chemical-free for years. If they’re at year three of the conversion to organic, they can’t advertise “organic” but for all intents and purposes they’re there.

It costs money. Farming is a hard way to make a living. Going legit might represent a big chunk of cash that they can’t quite justify at the moment.

Go to a market, and go frequently. Get to know the people there. Look the farmer in the eyes and ask how they grow. The majority of the ones I’ve met are doing things right. They’re small operations. They’ve got their kids pitching in and helping out. They’re using man/womanpower and precision and know-how. They aren’t flying crop dusters to carpet bomb the entire field with chemicals.

Another (big) advantage of local produce is the freshness. Fruit and vegetables that travel fifty miles after being picked the day before are a world of difference from produce picked last week and shipped halfway across the country (let alone world sometimes).

That’s it for today, folks. If you have any questions or comments about today’s questions and answers, write in down below.

The post Dear Mark: Increased Red Meat, Reduced Carb, Increased Death? appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.



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Keto Leg Cramps – How to Get Rid of Them for Good

The ketogenic diet is an effective, natural way to burn fat and achieve healthy body weight. This way of eating (best summarized as a low carbohydrate, high healthful fat, and moderate protein nutritional approach) has even proven to prevent and manage of a variety of chronic diseases.

However, oftentimes when people start looking into going keto, they can be dissuaded by the “keto flu”—a particularly ominous sounding side effect of the diet.

The keto flu is a constellation of symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps, which are a direct result of reducing carbohydrates and transitioning your body’s primary fuel source from glucose to ketones.

Want to learn more about keto flu? Go here to read my full article on the keto flu—including symptoms, remedies, and how to avoid it

One of the most painful manifestations of the keto flu is muscle cramps, which can hit out of nowhere and even wake you up from a deep sleep. Some people push through only for the keto flu to make the first three to five days of the transition SO challenging that they throw their hands in the air and quit.

Even though leg cramps are a perfectly normal reaction for a body transitioning into ketosis, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent their onset or, at a minimum, mitigate their severity.

Electrolytes: The Missing Link

There are a number of chemical structures in the human body that are classified as electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, and phosphate.

Electrolytes play a vital role in human physiology, as they conduct electricity from one point in the body to another. This conveyance of electricity allows muscles to contract, synapses to fire, and damaged tissue to regenerate.

Electrolytes are so important that their imbalance can lead to death: hyponatremia describes the condition in which sodium is significantly decreased in the body, and can ultimately lead to heart attacks, while potassium can actually be used to stop the human heart, as is the modus operandi for executions by lethal injection.

While all electrolytes play their own important role in the body’s functioning, the three we are primarily concerned with today are:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

These three electrolytes need to be consumed in a specific ratio to one another to ensure you maintain electrolyte balance.

Every day, in addition to what you take in from dietary sources, you should be consuming 5,000mg of sodium; 1,000mg of potassium, ideally in the form of potassium chloride or potassium sulfate; and 300mg of magnesium, preferably in the form of magnesium citrate.

Drinking Water is Not Going to Help You!

There’s one thing that always shocks people when I discuss the topic of leg cramps and the ketogenic diet: drinking water is not enough to kick the keto flu.

In fact, overconsumption of water can actually exacerbate electrolyte imbalance even further. The only truly effective way to control leg cramps on the ketogenic diet is to properly supplement lost electrolytes as you transition into ketosis.

Short of emergency situations, virtually no one dies from a lack of hydration. However, hyponatremia, the condition in which your body is so depleted of sodium that it can’t function, is a major killer, and one driver of sodium depletion is overhydration with water.

The idea that water will help relieve muscle cramps is a long-standing misconception; most people have no idea that water can often times make cramping worse! A 2019 study published in the journal BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine found that water consumption following intense exercise actually increased the muscles’ susceptibility to cramping, whereas an electrolyte replacement mixture decreased it.

It is thought that water on its own actually exacerbate the exercise-induced electrolyte imbalance by further diluting what few electrolytes are left.  

How Can You Prevent Leg Cramps on Keto?

As mentioned above, water alone will not relieve keto leg cramps because it only further exacerbates the electrolyte imbalance caused by the ketogenic diet.

To get relief from keto leg cramps, get your electrolytes on point! Specifically, this means ensuring you get adequate levels of sodium, potassium, and magnesium. To that end, here are some simple ways to increase your intake of electrolytes on the ketogenic diet and fight off leg cramps:

1. Salt Your Food

Most foods on the ketogenic diet do not contain naturally-occurring sodium at adequate levels, so it is critically important for you to salt your food. Even if it is gustatorily challenging to salt a salad, I’d really encourage you to try it.

Ironically, many people are able to hit our recommended levels of sodium intake and avoid cramping because the processed foods we typically consume contain so much sodium. Transitioning away from these processed and preserved foods towards whole foods is absolutely the right move, but we have to keep in mind that this will reduce the amount of sodium we get through our diet.

So salt it! Any kind of salt will do…I don’t recommend one kind of salt (Himalayan pink, Hawaiian black, etc.) over the other. However, if you have a personal preference for one type of salt, that’s no problem! Just make sure you’re getting adequate salt into your diet to replace that which you’re no longer consuming through processed foods.

2. Consume Bone Broth

You’ve probably heard about the scientific research surrounding bone broth before and are familiar with its status as a nutrient-packed superfood; it is commonly promoted based on its benefits for the gut, joints, skin, and overall health.

Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissues of an animal for ten to twenty hours, which is what separates it from the standard broth or stock found in most grocery stores which is only simmered for a few hours tops. Cooking this concoction for such a long time allows the liquid to absorb all of the collagen, glutamine, and other minerals that give bone broth its nutrient density.

While bone broth is a decent source of sodium on its own, it’s very easy to add some salt, a bouillon cube, or Raw Unflavored LMNT to really turn it into a keto cramp-ending treat.

3. Mix Up Electrolyte Homebrews

One thing that I stress all the time is that you should never retreat to the sugary sports drinks of your youth to combat keto leg cramps. All of the mainstream “electrolyte-replacement” products on the market offer wholly insufficient levels of the electrolytes and are very high in sugar.

The overload of electrolyte-less sugar you consume with these beverages will only spike insulin levels and impede your ability to transition into ketogenesis. Despite the worldwide catchy marketing campaigns and sponsorships of virtually every visible sporting event, these drinks should be avoided–honestly, whether you adhere to a ketogenic diet or not.

4. Stay Salty with LMNT Recharge

The dearth of quality electrolyte replacement beverages on the market drove me to spend countless hours mixing up homemade concoctions with ingredients from my own pantry. After a ton of trial and error, I was able to nail down a few great do-it-yourself drink recipes for anyone who is inclined to mix up their own cramp-killing concoctions.

If you’d like to dive into some of my favorites, you can see a list of my best recipes here.

Additionally, after years of tinkering with these homebrew recipes—some of which were way off the mark—and waiting for someone to come up with a product that wasn’t full of sugar, I decided to take the matter into my own hands…

I’ve worked hard to develop LMNT Recharge, a new product that is precisely formulated to replenish the electrolytes your body will purge in the adoption phase of the ketogenic diet. If I can so say myself, it’s quite a tasty powdered mix full of everything you need–sodium, potassium, and magnesium–and nothing you don’t.

You can learn more about the ingredients here.

I often hear people who have tried and abandoned the ketogenic diet say that the keto flu—specifically the leg cramps—is what drove them away from the diet. It’s an easy process to understand: you start a diet and instantly feel awful instead of feeling energized and wonderful and quickly thereafter decide that the diet just isn’t for you.

It is my hope that a better understanding of the keto flu will help new adherents stick out the initial adoption phase—armed with all the electrolytes their body needs to push back the keto flu—and reap its long-term benefits.

Our bodies have everything they need to fuel themselves with ketones, but years of carbohydrate addiction has allowed them to “forget” how to burn fat for fuel.

All our bodies need is a little bit of time to relearn this natural process, and knowing how to handle the keto flu enables you to give your body the time to adjust without succumbing to cramps, brain fog, and exhaustion. 



from The Paleo Diet http://bit.ly/2KozWy2

Lemon Feta Couscous Salad

This simple pearl couscous salad features lemon zest, feta cheese, parsley, and vegetables and makes a delicious side dish or a main course with grilled shrimp or chicken on top. 

This was my salad of the week last week. I had it for dinner, lunch, lunch, and then dinner again! It’s a versatile, all-in-one dish that can be served warm, cold, or room temp.

Pearl Couscous

I love pearl couscous, also called Israeli couscous, for its size and texture. It’s actually little tiny pasta spheres made from wheat. The texture reminds me of tapioca or even bubble tea! I chose a kind from Whole Foods flavored with turmeric, which is why mine is quite yellow in hue. Pearl couscous is so easy and quick to make – just bring water to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes until it’s all absorbed.

Ingredients

For this salad I combined two of my favorite summer vegetables – cherry tomatoes and zucchini. I cooked the zucchini on the side in a skillet until tender. Then I added feta and parsley and LOTS of lemon zest. Because I am all about the zest right now!

Serving Suggestions

This was so great with shrimp skewers. Grilled chicken would be delicious. Salmon on the side or top.

Or simply in a bowl for lunch!

Take it to a picnic!

Couscous salad in a mason jar

Recipe

Lemon Feta Couscous Salad

This simple pearl couscous salad features lemon zest, feta cheese, parsley, and vegetables and makes a delicious side dish or a main course with grilled shrimp or chicken on top. 

  • 2 cups pearl couscous (dry)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 zucchini (diced)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (crumbled)
  1. Cook couscous according to packing, seasoning with butter and salt.

  2. Meanwhile, cook zucchini in a little olive oil in a skillet, until tender.

  3. Toss cooked couscous with zucchini, tomatoes, lemon zest, parsley, and feta cheese.

  4. For dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil, and honey in a bowl and whisk together.

  5. Drizzle dressing on salad and toss everything to combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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