Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Friday 5

Hi and happy Friday!

Did this week feel like a realllllly long week to anyone else? Holy cow… on Wednesday, I seriously thought it was Thursday… and then I woke up on Thursday morning thinking it was Friday. Well, we finally made it, and I’m so thankful. This is actually our last “boring” weekend before the craziness of the holiday season kicks off. We’re booked straight through the new year with festivities and fun, and I seriously can’t wait for all of it to start! 🙂

In today’s edition of the Friday 5, I’m sharing 5 things I’m loving lately including a new sports bra find, Quinn’s cool bento box, my latest Amazon obsession, and a new TV show we’re loving!

Happy weekending, friends!

1. Hylete Sports Bra

I’m digging this new olive green sports bra from Hylete. I’m super picky about sports bras, so I was surprised how supportive it was during a CrossFit workout. (The nice folks at Hylete sent it to me to try.) It’s super comfortable and very flattering (aka no uni-boob). Even though it doesn’t have adjustable straps, it provides plenty of support. Plus, love the olive green color for Fall!

Get $20 Off Your Next Order at Hylete.com

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2. Macro Tracking Challenge Goodie Bags

Salt Shack CrossFit recently partnered with Carrots ‘N’ Cake Nutrition & Coaching for a 12-week macro challenge, so I made goodie bags for all of the participants… and I have to say, they turned out really well!

Thank you to all of the amazing sponsors!

3. Bentogo Kids Lunchbox

Apparently, bento boxes are the “cool” thing to have at lunchtime at school, so Quinn asked us to buy him one. He’s been lovvvvving it, and I’m enjoying packing his lunches because I find myself adding more whole foods to it – instead of the packaged stuff when he had a traditional lunchbox. I also love this one because you can pop the insert right into the dishwasher (or rinse by hand), which is much easier than washing a cloth lunchbox like I was doing.

Kid's Green Bentgo Box

4. Buying Cards on Amazon

I don’t think I’ll ever buy a card from CVS or Target again – maybe not even the Dollar Store or Trader Joe’s where they’re just $1. Buying greeting cards on Amazon is so cheap, and I love that you can buy them in bulk, so you never have to worry about purchasing a last-minute card on the way to a birthday party or wedding. I mean, 40 assorted birthday cards for less than $12? That’s $0.29 per card! Sign me up! I’ve also purchased thank you cards and Halloween cards, just recently.

5. A.P. Bio

Mal and I randomly stumbled upon this show (that has nothing to do with biology!), and it’s absolutely hilarious. We definitely got sucked in! If you need a new, easy-to-watch comedy, I definitely recommend giving this a watch. We seriously LOL during every episode!

Flashback Favorites

Around the Internet

Sales of the Week

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Dear Mark: Homocysteine, Some Kefir Questions, and the Stress of Worrying

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a bunch of questions from readers. The first one concerns another inflammatory marker, homocysteine. How could CRP be low but homocysteine be high? What could cause that? Next, I answer a barrage of kefir questions, including ones on kefir carb counts, pasteurized kefir, and water and coconut kefir. Finally, I address the elephant in the room: stressing out about your diet.

Let’s go:

How do Homocysteine levels figure in this equation? I have C-reactive protein under 1, but Homocysteine levels of 15, slightly high. Seems odd one so low and one a bit high.

Both indicate elevated inflammation, but they can have different causes. There are many nutrient deficiencies and interactions that go into elevated homocysteine levels—that’s why they indicate inflammation. What are they?

It all comes down to methionine. That’s the essential amino acid most abundant in muscle meats, the one most of you are getting a ton of if you’re eating a standard Primal, keto, or carnivore diet. We use it to perform cellular communication, regulate gene expression, repair cells, and build new tissue. It does some really important stuff, but it needs several different co-factors to work properly.

B12 and Folate—Vitamin B12 is a major one. So is folate. In fact, I lumped them together in one section because they are co-dependents. Vitamin B12 requires folate to do its job. Folate requires vitamin B12 to do its job. Both vitamins are necessary co-factors for methionine to do its important cellular work. Without either one, methionine builds up and contributes to homocysteine.

They even tested this in a controlled human trial. Giving a big dose of methionine without increasing B12 or folate increased homocysteine levels. Supplementing with B12 and folate protected against the methionine-induced increase in homocysteine.

Riboflavin—Some groups may need extra riboflavin to deal with homocysteine levels.

Glycine—After teaming up with the B-vitamins to do the gene expression and cellular repair/buildup, any excess methionine combines with glycine to form glutathione. That’s the body’s main antioxidant, and it’s very helpful to have. If you have low glycine levels/intake, then any leftover methionine goes into the homocysteine cycle.

B6—Vitamin B6 is also used to mop up and convert into glutathione any excess methionine after methylation.

Betaine—Similar to glycine, betaine acts as a buffer for excess methionine. In fact, high intakes of methionine deplete the body of betaine, while supplementing with betaine reduces homocysteine levels.

Choline—Choline is another methionine buffer. High methionine increases the need for choline, while adequate choline or supplementation reduces homocysteine.

If you’re missing those co-factors, methionine fails to assist with cellular communication, gene expression, cellular repair, or new tissue formation. Instead, it generates homocysteine.

For a primer on obtaining adequate B-vitamins, read this post. Meat of all kinds, eggs, organ meats, seafood, dairy, green vegetables, and even legumes are ways to obtain them.

For a primer on obtaining adequate glycine, read this post. You can get it through collagen, gelatin, bone broth, or bone-in, skin-on meats with a lot of gelatinous connective tissue.

To get enough betaine, include some beets and/or spinach in your diet. Wheat germ is the best source, but most of you aren’t eating wheat germ (nor would I recommend you start).

To get choline, eat egg yolks. That’s the single best source. If you’re not going to eat betaine-rich foods (beets, spinach, wheat), eat extra choline; you can make betaine from choline.

Isn’t there a relatively large amount of carbs in kefir, when consumed in quantity?

The fermentation process digests most of the lactose present in milk. The sourer the product, the lower the residual lactose. The sweeter the product (or even just less sour), the higher the residual lactose. At any rate, I wouldn’t worry too much about the carb content of kefir. It’s assuredly lower than advertised, and probably low enough for even keto eaters to incorporate at least a little.

There are even lactose-free kefirs that will be definitely near-zero in carbs. If that’s the case, it will be prominently displayed on the label.

Mark, don’t they at least partially”clean up” kefir? Does it really contain all that good stuff, or is pasteurized?

Commercial kefir uses pasteurized dairy, but the fermentation takes places after pasteurization. This means the finished product is fermented with living bacteria (and yeast, in the case of kefir).

I’ve never seen a commercial kefir that pasteurized after fermentation. If you’re worried, you can always get your own kefir grains and make your own kefir. It’s pretty easy and delicious.

Kefir – I just did a test of dairy and it definitely gives me a reaction. I’d love to read your take on water kefir though I’m not pleased that the recipes use sugar. What about coconut milk kefir?

Don’t worry about water kefir that uses sugar. All the sugar gets consumed by the kefir grains, leaving little to no residual sugar for you. You can tell by the taste (and I admit I’m no fan/expert of water kefir, only because I can tolerate dairy kefir). If it’s sweet, it contains sugar. If not, it doesn’t. Even if it has some sugar left, it’ll be far less than indicated on the label.

Coconut milk kefir is a good option too. Again, I prefer the dairy kefir, but I see nothing wrong with coconut milk kefir. I even put up a coconut milk kefir recipe some time ago.

Funny you mentioned to drink bone broth (for the glycine) to help with sleep. I have been keto-carnivore for 9 months and recently realized that the high level of histamines in bone broth was giving me insomnia. I can eat most foods that contain a moderate level of histamines, but canned fish and long-cooked bone broth have derailed my sleep on carnivore.

If that’s the case, straight glycine can work. That’s what several studies actually used to improve sleep in humans—isolated glycine.

Collagen may also work for you.

Could all this be too much worry from being obsessed with checking if they are doing the keto diet “right” ?

Ha! Yeah. That’s the issue with a certain subset of the Primal/keto crowd. Worrying about every little thing until it becomes a stressor. Ketone numbers running through the head as you lie awake. Waking up at 2 AM to test your urine. “Did I remember to Amazon Prime the MCT oil?” Wondering “Is the olive oil in my canned sardines truly the highest quality olive oil?”

Then there’s the true classic: stressing out about the stress you’re inducing from worrying about your diet. Educate yourself, but don’t forget to enjoy life. There’s only so much diligence we can orchestrate without losing the forest through the trees.

That’s it for today, everyone. Take care and be well, and make sure to leave any comments or questions down below.

Chocolate_Coconut_640x80

The post Dear Mark: Homocysteine, Some Kefir Questions, and the Stress of Worrying appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.



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21 (More) Throw-Together Meals

21 (More) Throw-Together Meals

When I think about how I cook from week-to-week, it’s really basic and definitely not fancy like what you might see on recipe website or social media. Maybe I’ll make one new recipe each week, but, for the most part, I’m mostly cooking family favorites and simple throw-together meals. And, truthfully, most of which aren’t even “official” recipes. Even still, they are nutritious, delicious, and meals that we make again and again.

Back in September, I shared 33 healthy throw-together meals, which went over really well with readers and email subscribers. So, I decided to share 21 (more) healthy throw-together meals for your menu in the coming weeks. When it comes to meal prep, I highly recommend picking 2-3 of these throw-together meals each week and then adding the ingredients to your grocery shopping list, so you’re always ready to “throw together” a quick meal. Be sure to save this email or bookmark the links to have on-hand for easy access.

21 (More) Throw-Together Meals

1. High-Protein Buffalo Blue Chicken Pasta

  • Buy: Banza pasta(or another high-protein pasta), chicken, buffalo sauce, blue cheese crumbles. Bonus ingredient: onion
  • Serve: With a side salad

2. Avocado chicken salad

  • Buy: Chicken breast and avocado (or guacamole)
  • Serve: Serve on top of salad greens, inside a lettuce wrap or tortilla, on a toasted English muffin, or with crackers

3. Lemon & Garlic Shrimp with spinach 

  • Buy: Shrimp, minced garlic, lemon, spinach, butter
  • Serve: SautĂ© shrimp in butter, garlic, and lemon. When fully cooked, stir in spinach. Serve solo or with rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice or pasta!

4. Grilled Pesto Chicken Pizza

  • Buy: Pre-made pizza crust or dough, grilled chicken breast, jarred pesto, cheese of choice (crumbled feta is delicious), sliced tomato
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

5. Apple Cheddar Waffle Sandwich

  • Buy: Frozen waffles, apples, cheddar cheese, honey mustard
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

6. Mal’s Pasta Salad

  • Buy: Pasta of choice (we like Banza), canned black beans, Italian dressing, raw veggies of choice
  • Serve: Add shredded chicken for a protein boost; makes an awesome meal prep dinner since you can eat it cold straight from the fridge!

7. Turkey pressed sandwich with raspberry jam + cheese

  • Buy: Bread, deli turkey, raspberry jam, Laughing Cow cheese
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

8. One-Pan Roasted Kielbasa & Veggies 

  • Buy: Kielbasa (or chicken sausage) + veggies of choice
  • Serve: Solo or with rice, quinoa, or another grain that you like

9. Veggie burger chopped salad 

  • Buy: Frozen veggie burgers, salad greens, choice of veggies and dressing
  • Serve: Cook veggie burger and add to a big salad!

10. Egg white & peppers pitas 

  • Buy: Egg whites, red bell pepper, pita bread
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

11. Hummus & cheddar veggie sandwich

  • Buy: Hummus flavor of choice, sliced cheddar, sprouts, veggies of choice
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

12. Tuna salad plate 

  • Buy: Canned tuna, avocado, plain yogurt, cucumber
  • Serve: Solo or with starchy veggies

13. Sweet Potato Toast with Yogurt & Blueberries

  • Buy: Sweet potato, plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, almond butter
  • Serve: Makes a great breakfast and snack too!

14. Smashed chickpea and avocado sandwich

  • Buy: Canned chickpeas, avocado, bread or pita, lime juice, salt (or seasoning of choice)
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

15. English muffin pizzas 

  • Buy: English muffins, marinara sauce, cheese, toppings of choice
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

16. Chorizo Avocado Lettuce Wraps

  • Buy: Chorizo (or chicken sausage), avocado (or guacamole), lettuce
  • Serve: With hot sauce or veggies of choice

17. Sweet Potato Quesadillas

  • Buy: Tortilla, mashed sweet potato, canned black beans, Laughing Cow cheese, and baby spinach
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

18. Air Fryer Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

  • Buy: Salmon or other favorite fish, grated Parmesan, Dijon mustard or mayo
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

19. Mediterranean Scramble

  • Buy: Eggs, baby spinach, jarred sun-dried tomatoes, bread
  • Serve: With extra veggies of choice and/or avocado

20. Turkey Kale Wraps

  • Buy: Deli turkey, kale, hummus, veggies of choice
  • Serve: With a bowl of creamy or lentil soup or chili (canned)

21. BLATs 

  • Buy: Bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, bread
  • Serve: With a big salad or along side your favorite steamed or roasted veggies

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What’s the best way to stay hydrated? (And other news you should never believe)

I was instantly suspicious when I saw this recent headline on a major news outlet: “Which drink is best for hydration? Hint: It isn’t water.” They reported the results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which found that milk, soda, and sports drinks are all MORE hydrating than water. Water was ranked down as 10th on the list. (1)(2)

The first thing I did, was research who funded this study. 

I always follow the money trail when reading something that goes against my common sense about food and promotes junk food or sodas as healthy options. As I wrote about in Feeding You Lies, a major way that the Big Food industry fools the public is with shady paid-for science, producing studies that are actually thinly veiled marketing ploys. They’re also really good at manipulating the media into reporting messages that support the processed food industry. 

To suggest that sodas and sports drinks filled with high fructose syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, and caramel color linked to cancer are a good choice is outrageous. If anything, these toxic concoctions are destroying your health one sip at a time. 

I just knew that the soda industry had to be behind such a study that would ridiculously promote that idea that guzzling down Coke and Powerade is a good way to stay hydrated. 

And it turns out my suspicions were right…

I clicked on the study, scrolled down to the footnotes, and bam! — Right there it disclosed that the study was “Supported by a grant from the European Hydration Institute.”

The European Hydration Institute (EHI) is nothing more than a front group for Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola spent £4.86 million setting up the EHI – a group that promotes the consumption of soda and sports drinks. Coca-Cola remains listed as a founding partner on EHI’s website. (3) EHI’s Director, Jane Holdsworth, worked in marketing for the dairy industry and founded her own marketing consulting firm. She counts Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Kraft, and Pepsico as previous clients. (3

None other than Rhona Applebaum, former chief health and science officer for Coca-Cola, sits on the Board of Trustees for EHI. (3) Rhona famously retired Coke in 2015 after the New York Times and Associated Press exposed how Coke funded another front group (the Global Energy Balance Network) to fool people into believing sugary drinks don’t cause obesity. (4)

The lead researcher in the hydration study had worked hand in hand with the soda industry as well. Ron Maughan was an emeritus professor at Loughborough University, which received almost £1 million from Coca-Cola. (5) He is currently sits as chairman on the EHI’s scientific advisory board. (3)

You would think the major media outlets reporting on this study would have at least mentioned these ties between this study, the European Hydration Institute, and Coca-Cola… but they didn’t!

I know it’s frustrating when there is so much conflicting health information being fired at us from all directions. Here are some tips for how to separate the TRUTH from the FICTION in health news:

  • Look to see who is funding the research. Even if it sounds like reputable scientific organization, research who they are, who funds their work, who sits on their board of directors, and what types of health claims they’ve made in the past. 
  • Check whether any researchers disclosed a conflict of interest. Most academic journals require researchers to disclose any conflicts of interest in published studies. This information typically appears at the end of the study, following the concluding section.
  • Conflicts of interest aren’t always listed honestly however, even in prominent journals. Look up which boards the scientists serve on and who has paid them to be a consultant. You can often find this in their public Curriculum Vitae or online profile. 
  • The same goes for journalists in the media. If you find an article that seems suspect, they may be working in cahoots with Big Food or Big Ag. Research what types of articles they’ve written in the past and who they use as sources. Are these sources front groups?
  • Determine whether all viewpoints, for and against an issue, are presented. If everything is squarely on one side of an issue, you can bet that you are not getting the whole story. 

Yes it often takes quite a bit of time and effort to figure out the facts. However, when it comes to your health, it’s absolutely worth it to determine what’s real and what’s not. At the end of the day, it’s nobody else’s responsibility to tell you what’s true.

You alone are responsible for the news you consume. We must become our own health investigators. 

If you know anyone who needs to hear this, please share this post with them. And don’t forget to check out my latest book, Feeding You Lies, to learn more about the lies we are being fed about our food!

Xo,

Vani

Feeding You Lies - Book

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Pumpkin On The Porch

Remember when Pumpkin the cat hung out on my porch all the time!? Now I have a sweet little pumpkin baby plus some nice fall pumpkins AND a pumpkin yogurt parfait!

Pumpkin or crab, he’s the cutest!

Pumpkin Parfait

This jar had layers of slightly sweetened pumpkin, greek yogurt, and granola. Almost as good as pie!

Screened-in Porch Update

On the topic of porches, the back porch is sporting some fresh white paint!! I am crossing fingers that Thomas will be able to install the screen tracks and railings this weekend. The shiplap against the house is still going up, and we’re not that close to be done but getting MUCH closer by the day!

Birchie is still getting his upper teeth which made for a clingy week. I did a lot of baby back wearing. I can’t believe I never wore Mazen on my back! I have a great technique for getting him in the carrier from the couch so there is no risk of dropping him. I need to share this to IGTV ASAP!

New Usborne Book Fav

Birch is wild about this Woodland Sounds book Morgan sent us from Usborne! Birch even mimics the cuckoo!

Sensational Salads

I had a few this week, including one from Roots and this one with chicken, walnuts, parmesan crisps, and orange dressing from the farro salad this week that I froze in an ice cube tray and thawed. Worked like a charm!

Our Favorite Dinner

Was this Broccoli Cheddar soup from Plenty!! It’s my favorite soup, and Della’s version was 100% awesome. Thomas and I split a grilled cheese on the side!

See You Monday!

I’m a bit behind in blog posts right now (because I’ve been working ON KERF instead of writing posts!) and am skipping a Friday post tomorrow, but I’ll see you here next week with this epic how-to in the works!!

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Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

This healthy sweet potato casserole is the perfect addition to any holiday table. Nobody will miss the marshmallows!

I have to admit, I’ve never made the traditional version of this dish before, much… Read more →



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