#222: Straddling The Line Between OCD and Properly Disciplined
The Primal Blueprint Podcast
#222: Straddling The Line Between OCD and Properly Disciplined

Host Brad Kearns, leverages the previous show, by acknowledging that we don’t want to be orthorexic and uptight about dietary patterns and biofeedback numbers, but we also don’t want to exhibit a loosey-goosey, “Hey, everything in moderation” attitude where we make an excuse or rationalization for our frequent departures from ideal dietary and lifestyle patterns and from our stated goals. Living in a manner incongruent with your stated goals is a source of massive pain to the human psyche. For keto to work, you have to be methodical in your approach, patient with your progress, and precise at times when it comes to macronutrient intake and awareness of where you stand on the stated keto guidelines. However, it’s very possible to cultivate a precise approach without being uptight. This show will give you some good pointers to chill and succeed while you’re at it!
Does the Fasting Mimicking Diet Live Up to the Hype?
Mark's Daily Apple
Does the Fasting Mimicking Diet Live Up to the Hype?

Image/photoValter Longo is a leading fasting researcher. Since the early 2000s, he’s been one of the top guys running legitimate fasting studies in cancer patients, regular people, and, of course, rodents. He’s gotten great results, elucidating the idea that fasting causes human cells and tissues to enter “survival mode” which allowed them to survive the withering effects of cancer treatment. I’ve cited many of his studies in previous posts.

Several years ago, he came up with an “easier” way to induce the fasting effect in people: the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD). Instead of having people skip food altogether—which may not sound crazy to readers of this blog, but probably does to most people—he designed a low-calorie 5-day diet for people to follow at periodic points throughout the year. Longo thinks the FMD is the best way for people to reduce their risk of aging-related diseases, extend lifespan, and live healthier, longer lives. It’s designed to give cancer patients and other people access to the benefits without the mental deprivation that often accompanies true fasting.

The 5-day FMD is a low-protein, high-moderate-carb, moderate-fat diet.

The first day is 1090 calories, with 10% from protein (27 grams), 56% from fat (68 grams), and 34% from carbohydrates (93 grams).

The next four days are 725 calories, with 9% protein (16 grams), 44% fat (35 grams), and 47% carbohydrates (85 grams).

Most of the fat is polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. The protein is plant-based. The carbs come from nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains.

He even came up with a shelf-stable package of FMD food called ProLon. Instead of weighing and measuring your carrots and mac nuts and olives, you could just buy the 5-day supply of dry food and be on your merry way.

It’s certainly an attractive idea—a shortcut to fasting.

Does it live up to the hype? Does it truly improve lifespan in humans?

There’s certainly nothing wrong with it. Let’s get that off the table. It’s a fine idea. Certainly better than what most people do.

I just don’t know if it offers unique benefits to healthy people interested in extending their lives that other eating plans, like keto or Primal or intermittent fasting, don’t offer.

Let’s take a look at some of those benefits.

In rodents, the FMD has been shown to do some pretty cool things:
  • Improve lipids numbers.
  • Reduce body weight (and fat).
  • Activate autophagy.
  • Rejuvenate damaged organs, like the pancreas in type 1 diabetes.
  • Reduce cancer occurrence.
  • Extend life.
The one human trial, done last year, also got positive results.
  • Improved lipids.
  • Reduced body fat and body weight.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Lower fasting glucose.
  • Reduced CRP, a marker of inflammation.
  • Reduced IGF-1, insulin-like growth factor.
But there are some issues with the human study.

The subjects weren’t quite healthy at baseline. They were “generally” healthy, and there’s a difference. Over half were obese or overweight. The average body fat percentage was 34%. No one was about to keel over, but these weren’t lean, athletic types.

We don’t quite know what they ate before starting the trial, but the average American doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to dietary quality. They may very well have been going from a standard American diet full of junk food to the healthier approach promoted by the researchers.

They got healthier. They lost weight and body fat. Their biomarkers improved, suggesting a reduction in risk for some of the diseases that characterize aging. That’s real. But it’s also not unique to the fasting mimicking diet.

Furthermore, the people who were the most overweight and unhealthy at baseline reaped the greatest benefits. The lean, healthy people saw fewer benefits, which is understandable—they had fewer problems to solve.

The meatiest results came in rodent studies. The human study shows that overweight and obese folks can really benefit from the proprietary fasting mimicking diet, but that’s about it. It doesn’t show increased lifespan (study was too short). It doesn’t show organ rejuvenation (didn’t measure). It doesn’t show reversal of type 2 diabetes (didn’t try). All those things could very well happen in humans, and I wouldn’t be surprised—but for the time being, those effects have only been shown in rodents. We are not rodents, as I’ve made explicitly clear before and you can hopefully surmise from your own lived experience.

I see another major problem to Longo’s approach and the crux of his argument: It’s predicated on the idea that lower IGF-1 is a Good Thing.

Older folks with lower IGF-1 levels have a lower risk of cancer. That’s true. That’s important, assuming the connection is causal. There’s good reason to believe that it is.

IGF-1 participates in the etiology of ovarian cancer, is involved in breast cancer, helps sustain cancer cell viability, and affects the prognosis of non-small-cell lung cancer, just to name a few. As a growth-promoter, IGF-1 has the potential to promote the growth of cancer cells.

But IGF-1 levels also have a curious association with all-cause mortality. It’s U-shaped, meaning both super low levels and super high levels are linked to increased mortality risk, and that there’s a sweet spot somewhere between where IGF-1 is helping, not hurting. Lower isn’t always better. Somewhere in the middle is the best for longevity.

And for quality of life and overall health, IGF-1 does some good things after all. We don’t manufacture it in order to kill ourselves.

Resistance training, for example, spikes IGF-1. The increase in IGF-1 actually mediates the increase in strength—the beneficial adaptation to the training. Is Longo or any other longevity researcher going to suggest that lifting weights is bad for lifespan and health? (Oh, I’m sure there’s someone…)

IGF-1 counters age-related muscle wasting. I can’t think of a more important physical characteristic for older adults than lean muscle mass.

IGF-1 builds bone strength. Older women with higher IGF-1 levels have stronger bones, and IGF-1 is necessary for bone formation. This goes hand in hand with increasing muscle strength, as resistance training famously builds both muscle and bone.

IGF-1 is necessary for metabolic health. When you inject type 2 diabetic patients with IGF-1, their blood sugar drops, insulin sensitivity increases, and lipids improve.

Dying from cancer is awful. Dying in general, from any number of other maladies, is also bad. We can all agree that we want less of both types of death. We also want good muscle strength, bone mass, metabolic function, and all the rest.

Perhaps I’ve come off a bit too harsh on FMD. I don’t intend to. Longo is a great researcher, and the fasting mimicking diet obviously works. Where I take issue is the assertion that it is uniquely beneficial for longevity and health, or that “lower IGF-1” is what we should all be striving for. That simply hasn’t been proven. It may be true.—but I suspect the reality is far more complex than that.

Thanks for reading, folks. Take care, and be sure to let me know what you think about the FMD down below!


The post Does the Fasting Mimicking Diet Live Up to the Hype? appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 research analysis  prevention  Diet & Nutrition
Midweek Quick Cooking: Chocolate Collagen Hot Cocoa
Mark's Daily Apple
Midweek Quick Cooking: Chocolate Collagen Hot Cocoa

Image/photoMidweek means fast and simple ideas for good Primal eating, and this Chocolate Collagen Cocoa from the Primal Kitchen blog is the perfect antidote to the February chill. With the health-boosting effects of collagen—including enhancing skin’s elasticity and improving joint resilience—as well as the nutritional goodness of other whole food ingredients, this treat is a great way to warm up your morning—or afternoon.

  • 1 scoop Primal Kitchen® Chocolate Collagen Fuel
  • 2 Tbs raw/organic cocoa powder
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk* (or 2 cups homemade nut milk)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon honey
  • *Save the coconut cream as a “whipped cream” topping
  • Blend ingredients together.
  • Top with coconut “whipped cream” (optional)
  • Enjoy!
For more great recipes (including a delicious Vanilla Collagen Fuel Latte), check out the Primal Kitchen blog.


The post Midweek Quick Cooking: Chocolate Collagen Hot Cocoa appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 Treats  Recipes
10 Basic Human Skills the Younger Generation Isn’t Learning

Mark's Daily Apple
10 Basic Human Skills the Younger Generation Isn’t Learning

Image/photoThere are many reasons to be thankful for the cushy existence modernity affords us. War and other extenuating circumstances aside, you probably don’t fear for your life on a daily basis. You have clean water to drink. Food is widely available, and it’s affordable. You survived infancy, childhood, and adolescence, which is quite special on a historical scale.

But there are downsides. Food has gone industrial. We increasingly live our lives in the digital realm and ignore the physical. Perhaps the most recent change relative to that shift has been the physical neutering of our kids. This has happened more broadly across all ages as countries shift away from manual labor toward more of an information economy, but it’s become incredibly pronounced in the generation coming up. At least when I grew up kids still wandered the streets in search of adventure, testing themselves out physically, undergoing mental and physical challenges, breaking bones and straining muscles, and learning about movement from the best teacher of all—hands on experience. Now? The lucky ones will get gymnastics or martial arts or dance training a couple days a week. But most languish indoors, prevented from the kind of free-form exploratory play human children have enjoyed for thousands of generations.

What are they losing? What physical skills —basic human abilities—will they lack?


The recent complaint from an Army general illustrates this nicely: New recruits are so terrible at throwing grenades that they’ve nixed the requirement for graduation altogether. And it’s not just a strength thing, although I’d imagine that’s often a problem. It’s a technique thing. They didn’t grow up throwing.

Throwing on a regular basis when your brain is still developing establishes stronger neural pathways that persist into adulthood. It’s why learning languages and riding bikes “sticks” more when you do it as a kid. Throwing is no different.

Throwing is a human universal. Hell, the ability to lead a target, to subconsciously triangulate all the variables and figure out where to throw in order to hit the running antelope (or streaking wide receiver) is uniquely human. It may have made being human possible. We have those long arms, hyper mobile shoulders, upright postures, big brains, and powerful posterior chains that allow us to generate incredible power on and accuracy with our projectiles.

Weighted Carries

Twenty thousand years ago, we carried foraged and hunted food incredible distances on a regular basis. Two thousand years ago, we wore a hundred pounds of kit on months-long military campaigns. One hundred years ago, we carried slop out to the hogs and pitched hay bales. Fifty years ago, I lugged wheelbarrows of dirt around the yard helping my dad with the garden.

Today, kids carry their mandatory iPad to school and complain when Mom or Dad tries to get them to help with yard work.


The world is unstable. Things teeter. They get wet and slippery. Sometimes the walking surface is too narrow for our feet, or for more than one foot at a time. We need to be able to traverse it safely and effectively.

Ideally, kids should seek out these unstable, narrow surfaces. Park bench? They should hop on and walk along the back. Curb? Way better than a sidewalk. But their attention is elsewhere, and I think it’ll come back to bite them in the future.


I did a lot of impromptu climbing as a kid. And not just large rocks, trees, and mountains. I’d climb fences, so many fences. There were multiple ways to scale a chain link fence. My favorite was going head first and flipping over onto my feet followed closely by perching along the top and jumping down.

Can’t recall the last time I saw a kid climb a fence, let alone a tree. Climbing gyms are growing, so there’s a real desire for it. Rock climbing is a different beast though. It’s more methodical and strategic. What I’m interested in is the ability and confidence to just get over barriers. You see an obstacle. You climb it, without really thinking or planning. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.


Jumping is an act of faith. In your own abilities. In the stability of the landing surface.

You can see it in kids who’ve never quite jumped before. They approach the edge, look down, look over at you, look back down. They pump their bodies, priming for the jump. Their eyes get a glint of anticipation. They know it’s a big thing, the first jump. A momentous occasion. Then they leap, and it works, and they’re hooked. They’re believers.

A jump is an explosive hip extension, utilizing the glutes and hamstrings. You know, the muscle groups that grow flabby and atrophied when we sit down all the time.


The most important part of jumping is the landing. Landing correctly protects your joints from injury and allows you to smoothly transition into the next movement (running, jumping again, dodging). It’s a foundational skill for most sports and non-sport athletic endeavors, like dancing or parkour.

How many broken hips, sprained ankles, and knee injuries are coming down the line for future adults who never learned how to land a simple jump?

Rock Scrambling

Bouldering is great and all. Rock climbing is fun. But my favorite thing to do on and around large deposits of rocks and minerals is scramble up and down them. You go without any equipment. No special shoes. No fanny pack full of chalk. No ropes. And unlike the insane free climbers, no real risk of death and dismemberment.

Rock scrambles get you into situations hairy enough to get your blood pumping and force you to reckon with your own mortality, but manageable enough that you can usually get out without adult assistance. That’s a huge thing for kids to experience—the realization that life can be dangerous and risky while still worth doing.

Creek Walking

One of my favorite pastimes as a kid was walking up and down creeks by jumping from rock to rock, making sure never to touch ground. We’d sometimes do creeks miles long this way. This is no easy task. You have to be willing to go barefoot (or sacrifice grip and stability and risk getting your shoes filthy). The rocks are slippery and mossy. The water’s cold. And you have to actually go to a functioning creek.

Creek walking forces focus. You can’t sleepwalk your way through a creek walk. Every step is different, presents new challenges. It’s mentally and physically draining.


I can’t tell you the number of gangly 5-year-olds I’ve seen being carted around in strollers, legs hanging over the side, face craned toward the tablet in their laps, oblivious to the world occurring around them. Or the kids whining about how “their legs hurt.” One study from 2013 found that today’s kids take a minute and a half longer to run a mile than kids of the same age from 30-40 years ago. How do you think their endurance will be as adults?

The reason why is simple. Kids have fewer opportunities and inclinations to walk. As mentioned earlier, kids aren’t roaming around neighborhoods like they used to. They’re not putting in the miles. The rise of smartphones has also contributed. If part of your daily allotment of hours is dedicated to something entirely novel on the historical timeline—staring into a handheld electronic device—you will necessarily have fewer hours available to do physical things like walking.


Kids are more likely now to be weaklings than they were twenty years ago. Between 1998 and 2008, ten-year-olds in one British town suffered huge losses in strength:
  • 27% fewer situps
  • Arm strength dropped by 26%, grip strength by 7%
  • 10% of kids couldn’t hang from a bar, compared to just 5% in 1998
Who wants to bet the problem is even worse today?

This is a problem. Child weaklings grow up to be adult weaklings. Their physical inabilities perpetuate themselves. If physical movement isn’t rewarding because you’re bad at it, get winded easily, and fail at the skills required to excel, you’re less likely to pursue it into adulthood. That’s when the health issues mount, your appearance declines, and things fall apart. A society of physically inept and weak people cannot stand for long.

You don’t “need” these skills to live in today’s world. That’s the whole point, in fact: Kids are coming into adulthood never having needed to learn how to do this stuff. But being able to jump, balance, throw, climb, and walk while carrying heavy loads makes life easier, more enjoyable, and more rewarding. It opens doors. The disappearance of these skills is a tragedy.

But it’s fixable. I’m not calling for rigorous training sessions. Humans are built to do these things. They just have to do them.

What can we do to fix the problem? Are there any other skills today’s younger generations just aren’t developing?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Take care, everyone.


The post 10 Basic Human Skills the Younger Generation Isn’t Learning appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 mobility  Fitness  Raising Healthy Children  Primal Lifestyle
Primal Starter: Retrospective Truths

Mark's Daily Apple
Primal Starter: Retrospective Truths

Image/photoThe fact is, life teaches us. I’m not talking just about the collection of data—more information gathered, more studies skimmed. I mean the self-knowledge acquired, sometimes through hard-won means as well as the priorities that have come into focus over time. It’s often about the lessons learned through a variety of epic mistakes and frustrating dead-ends. Beyond the neat world of “good life” theory exists the full dimensional backdrop of living feedback.

Still, I wonder what it would mean if we could take certain viewpoints on faith earlier in our lives. Maybe we do once in a while. While you think on how that’s worked in your own life, let me throw out a few pieces of retrospective truths I’ve found or friends and clients have shared over the years.
  • Let yourself rest more. Seriously, there’s plenty of time.
  • Find something you really love to do as a way to move every day. Make it something you look forward to – a want rather than a should.
  • Learn to cook. No, really. Learn to enjoy it. Enjoy experimenting with it. Value your time in the kitchen in a way the culture doesn’t encourage as much anymore. You’ll be healthier for it – and a kick@$$ host.
  • Pretty much 90% of what you’re stressing about will mean nothing in ten years – most of it nothing in 10 days. Learn to let it go.
  • Play more. But don’t make it an official, planned, self-conscious exploit: “Hey, I’m going to play now!” Just stop taking your life so seriously. Look for ways you can make everyday life more in the spirit of play – exercise, parenting, work, cooking, etc. Loosen up and embrace your inner fool.
  • Tithe your time – to yourself, to your own joy.
  • Look for a job that doesn’t take all your time and energy. Think about the conditions that will make or break your happiness here: long commute – no, long vacation time – yes.
  • Meditate – not because it’s supposed to be “good” for your health as you get older but because it will help you enjoy your life more exactly where you’re at.
  • Don’t think of health in terms of components – like add-ons you can incorporate one after the other. Give up the divisions in your life. Live from a healthy center, and make everything else – all your other – choices reflect that value.
What are yours to share? And to read more this morning, check out “What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?”.


The post Primal Starter: Retrospective Truths appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 Virtues  Self-Perception  Self-Experimentation  Habits  Personal Improvement  Mindfulness
Dear Mark: More Embracing Your Wildness

Mark's Daily Apple
Dear Mark: More Embracing Your Wildness

Image/photoLast week’s Q&A about cultivating wildness was a lot of fun, but there were some questions I didn’t get to in the original post. Today, I’m going to answer some more. From stirring stories of a father and son pursuing and living their dream after experiencing extreme tragedy to how to go barefoot more safely to the balance between creativity, progress, and Primal values to accepting the reality (and beauty) of having work to do to the value of sun exposure in winter to circadian entrainment. In short, we’re covering a ton of ground today.

Let’s go:

First I’m going to include Jonno’s comment, even though it wasn’t a question, for reasons that become obvious once you read it:
Being thought of as a weirdo can be a mark of success. The last thing my wife said to me before she died of cancer was that our then infant son and I should live a free, fit, healthy and fun life, the opposite end of the scale to what society norms dictate and very different to our previous 10 years where we worked every hour to pay for things we didn’t need with which to impress the friends we didn’t have. Watching a loved one die young inspires you to do all in your power to learn how to live an optimum life. So my son and I moved to the other side of the world so that we could maximize our sunshine hours, surf lots in warm, clean water, walk and run barefoot on the beach every morning, sleep outside in fresh air all year and grow our own organic food. Keeping our overheads to a minimum means we don’t have to earn so much money and reduces stress – our living accommodation is very basic and pollutants are minimal. No sprays, no WIFI, no power lines. We home-school so learning is continuous, for both of us! No school means maximum surf time, freethinking, free imagination. Simple but not too simple: LCHF; Intermittent fasting; HIIT; Functional strength. Yes it’s a long and winding road with plenty of pitfalls and yes it takes courage and risks to make a stand and be different but the health and fitness results for both body and mind are fantastic. And yes, everyone thinks we are weirdos!

I mostly wanted to highlight Jonno’s incredible story. There isn’t much more to say about that. Moving on after your wife dies, being present for your child, bearing the suffering and turning it into a positive force in your lives—that’s incredible. You honor not just your late wife, but everyone else as well. Thanks.

Gertch asked:
Calls to simple cleanliness to reduce impediments to creativity and activity are always good. With a large family, I could use hearing them hourly!

There are many posts I haven’t read, but something on working into more barefoot time would be good. Is barefoot good for everyone, or how does one determine if it is not ok for them? Is sock-footed of the same benefit? Is a painful adjustment period normal? etc.

Barefoot is good for most people, but not everyone. There are no absolutes here.

The longer you’ve spent wearing shoes, the longer it’ll take to acclimate your feet. Shoe-wearing (particularly thick-soled, stiff, prominent-heeled shoes) atrophies the musculature and weakens the connective tissue of the foot. It’s like placing your feet in casts—casts that you wear almost all day, every day. Most of us who try barefooting are coming off years of wearing a cast. It just isn’t smart or feasible to immediately launch into full-blown barefootedness.

I have a post from several years ago explaining how to transition to barefoot walking, running, and training.

Socks are fine. They may slightly blunt the proprioceptive feedback you receive from the soles of your feet interacting with the micro-topology of the ground but not enough to make any real difference.

David wondered:
The suggestion to increase the create:consume ratio resonated with me, in part because I think of creativity as a core element of human nature. I am curious how to fit that idea within a primal perspective. On the one hand, there is evidence for very early creative activity among humans and pre-humans, so there are reasons to say that a primal lifestyle is a creative one. On the other hand, civilization seems to be the accumulated product of human creativity, an ongoing movement away from wildness. It’s as if the lifestyle of our ancestors contained the seed of its own undoing.

I like that: “the lifestyle of our ancestors contained the seed of its own undoing.” That’s a fairly common theme with human endeavors. We get so good at things that we go overboard and end up swinging back around to realize our error of overextension. Many religious scholars, for example, propose that Christianity’s focus on truth seeking led to the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, and the materialist world view that ended up undermining it.

You shouldn’t be concerned though. Primal isn’t about clinging to the past. It’s about going back and sifting through the past for valuable knowledge, wisdom, and hypotheses about diet, fitness, and health—then bringing them with us into the future. And yes, we often butt up against the future as it unfolds, but we also shape it. I’m convinced the ancestral health community is partially responsible for the increased awareness of the dangers of digital addictions, the perils of excessive sitting, the rise of standup desks, and all the other stuff sweeping the high-tech world. That’s not even mentioning the effect we’ve had on the way people think about food and exercise.

Creation isn’t always about bringing tangible objects into the world. There are thousands of ways to be creative, especially given the tools at our disposal.

Besides: The future is happening. We’re here, we’re in it. There’s no escaping it. We might as well try to make the best of it. We certainly shouldn’t make it worse by disengaging and throwing in the towel. That’s no way to live.

Kelli wrote:
Thank you for mentioning a messy house. My house isn’t messy but life gets busy & we spend so much energy cleaning up.

That reminds me of the story of Sisyphus, the guy eternally relegated to pushing a huge boulder up a hill only to have it reach the top and roll down back the other side. Many people reference Sisyphus as a tragic reminder of the utter pointlessness of most human endeavors. I see it differently. I see it as motivational commentary on the undeniable.

Your job is never done. Not as a parent, a citizen, a friend, a lover, an employee, an entrepreneur, a human. There’s always something to be done. That’s why we all have that kernel of discontent simmering within, no matter what we accomplish or how much money we make.

When I’m writing a blog post, I focus entirely on that post. Nothing else exists for those hours I’m writing. When I finish, I’m relieved. But the next day, there’s the blog waiting for me all over again. Back to square one.

If I try to hold on to that relief, it vanishes. I can’t help but worry about the next project hanging over my head—the one I’m trying to ignore and deny. The trick is to not do that. The trick is to accept my responsibility, to willingly embrace it.

I can either accept my fate, the lot in life I’ve built for myself, the fact that my work is never done and there’s always something else to work on, some task to complete. That’s actually a beautiful reality, isn’t it?

Or I can build up to a crescendo of false contentment—”It’s finally over; now I can rest!”—and crash every day when I realize I have to do it all over again.

I’d choose the first option every single time. You should too.

Karen asked:
About getting sunshine in the winter…it’s plenty sunny out there but it’s also cold.
(You’ve seen the new work on Vit. D and sulfonation, yes, no?) Do you uncover head and neck, or unwrap legs. Or bravely unwrap arms and legs? Is one better for exposure?

If it’s vitamin D you’re after, it’s really hard to make any appreciable amounts through sun exposure in winter time. Don’t rely on it.

But wait: There’s still a great reason to get outside in the cold sunny weather. Natural light exposure entrains your circadian rhythm—it helps tell your body that it’s daytime, so that the millions of circadian clocks we house in our cells, organs, and tissues know the time.

You know what? Expose your skin to the air anyway. It’s a good way to build cold tolerance and force your body to upregulate its own temperature regulation, which may activate brown fat and improve metabolic health.

Wendy requested:
More on resetting the circadian system, please. I’ve been trying without much luck on mine.

I’ve done a few posts on the various circadian entrainers, but perhaps I’ll do another post in the future summing up everything we’ve learned. It’s a big topic.

Thanks for the idea!

That’s it for today, everyone. Take care and be sure to add your comments or questions down below!


The post Dear Mark: More Embracing Your Wildness appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 Primal Lifestyle  Play  Personal Improvement  Creativity  Barefooting  dear mark  Sun Exposure  Sleep
#221: Ken Berry, MD

The Primal Blueprint Podcast
#221: Ken Berry, MD

Elle Russ chats with Ken Berry MD, author of Lies My Doctor Told Me about the health benefits of the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting  Dr. Berry has been practicing Family Medicine in rural Tennessee for over a decade.  He is board certified in Family Medicine and was recently awarded the degree of Fellow by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Having seen over 20,000 patients of all ages over his career, he is uniquely qualified to advise on both acute and chronic diseases. Dr. Berry has focused on chronic disease caused by the Standard American Diet and Lifestyle and has made it his mission to turn the tide on the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes, chronic inflammation and dementia.  Dr. Berry has a variety of free YouTube videos on various topics.
Primal Starter: Drive Your Day—Or Your Day Will Drive You

Mark's Daily Apple
Primal Starter: Drive Your Day—Or Your Day Will Drive You

Image/photoWhile few if any of us get to choose everything that will happen in our days, the morning, in particular, has the power to determine who/what will be leading the way and how much we give to our own interests—versus simply responding to others’ as the day progresses. As psychologist Roy F. Baumeister suggests in his Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, our willpower is greatest in the morning before we’ve had to fend off the slew of issues and choices that come our way. In other words, if you struggle to keep a given commitment to yourself/your well-being, you’ll likely be more successful making it part of your morning routine as opposed to holding off until later in the day.

From a physiological standpoint, too, the morning hours offer some extra benefits. Working out in a fasted state, research shows, offers better benefits for fat burning and insulin sensitivity. There’s also the advantage of the natural a.m. cortisol surge. That means extra energy to offer the day’s workout or to tackle the most challenging tasks. How many of us postpone our exercise and certain responsibilities as long as we can—only to face them during our least energetic and driven hours of the day. By that point, it takes seemingly ten times the physical and mental wherewithal to make ourselves follow through (e.g. the thousand pound workout bag).

What’s more? You’ll be more invested in making healthier choices throughout the day if you’re already on a roll with an a.m. workout, meditation time and/or other positive behaviors. You’ll already have some skin in the game for living healthily that day. You also won’t be subject to that nagging sense of restlessness that can dog us all day. Our bodies are waiting to move and ready to stage an uprising at having to sit at a desk for eight hours first. Our minds likewise grumble at having to wait to get some personal time to do something they enjoy as opposed to what they must do to collect a paycheck and go along to get along.

Why should we put off everything we want in our day? Why should we come last and not first? With this and other posts’ messages, I know I come off sometimes as promoting a selfish revolution, but the solid fact is, life works better for everyone when our needs are taken care of. We work harder. We play better with others. We eat less crap and can be healthier for it.

Developing a morning routine allows you to assert your own authority over the day. You take charge of your own work-life balance by, in effect, paying yourself first. Too many of us do it the other way around and are left with no time and energy to invest by the time we get to ourselves. As a result, too many people end up feeling at the mercy of their work and family demands. Responsibilities overwhelm, and they end up continually stuck.

When you lead with your own peace and well-being, however, much more is possible. Something essential changes when you begin directing your day rather than responding to it. However we choose to design our morning routine (as long as it truly feeds our needs – and more than just the mundane logistical check-offs), we stake our claim on the day before anything/anyone else can. Our actions—and the pattern of action over time —can effect a powerful shift in our personal sense of self-efficacy and fulfillment.

What would it mean for the rest of life if you devoted a morning routine to your own interests? How would your relationships change if you began your day in ways that brought you joy and health? How would it impact your attitude at work if you started your job with a solid two hours of time invested in yourself? There’s some food for thought this morning.

For more on setting a morning routine, keep reading here.


The post Primal Starter: Drive Your Day—Or Your Day Will Drive You appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 Personal Improvement  Habits
Weekend Link Love — Edition 491

Mark's Daily Apple
Weekend Link Love — Edition 491

Image/photoResearch of the Week

Eating “ultra-processed foods” linked to cancer.

Studying outdoors is more motivational, and therefore more effective.

A brain implant that increases memory.

Weight gain triggers changes in hundreds of genes.

Patients who stopped taking statins fared no worse (and may have even fared better) than those who continued.

Awe breeds humility.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts


Episode 219: Adam and Vanessa Lambert: Host Elle Russ chats with the dynamic personal training and coaching duo, Adam and Vanessa Lambert.

Keto Episode 220: Avoiding an OCD Approach to Keto: Keto shouldn’t be needlessly regimented and analytical. Brad Kearns explains how and why to cultivate your intuition.

Interesting Blog Posts

For more neural entropy, drink coffee.

What are the toughest winter sports? Curling, for one.

Media, Schmedia

There aren’t enough Army recruits able to throw a grenade.

Some reasons human birth is so hard.

Everything Else

Accidental lactose intolerance.

Impressive long-term planning (and revenge hopefully served cold).

Chopping cruciferous vegetables 90 minutes before cooking increases the sulforaphane content of the dish.

Scotland was serious about their porridge.

Neanderthals forged tools in fire.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

I’m impressed: Polish cow escapes slaughterhouse fate, breaks a man’s arm in the getaway, swims to island, attacks anyone who comes near, will die a natural death.

I was so optimistic until midway through the second paragraph: The Great Muffin Makeover.

This is awesome: A 4-year college dedicated to traditional trades using traditional tools.

I’ve been cooking like this for years now: Chopping food using your mouth.

Article I contributed to: 30 easy keto recipes.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Feb 18 – Feb 24)

Comment of the Week

“How much do you think Mark liked writing, ‘really coat those nuts?’”

– Let’s say I didn’t dislike writing it, paleofam321.

The post Weekend Link Love — Edition 491 appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 weekend link love  News
Clams in Creamy Mustard Broth

Mark's Daily Apple
Clams in Creamy Mustard Broth

Image/photoIt’s easy to forget that a pot of steamed clams (or mussels) makes a perfect weeknight dinner. It’s one of the easiest seafood meals to cook, and also one of the healthiest. Shellfish cook in 5 minutes flat once they’re in a pot of simmering liquid. That’s a quick meal, even on the busiest of weeknights. Shellfish even tell you when they’re done, by opening their shells and revealing plump meat inside. That morsel of meat is a uniquely dense source of nutrition.

Clams and mussels are one of the better sources of manganese, which is a common nutrient deficiency. Manganese (different from magnesium) regulates dozens of enzymatic reactions in the body and figures prominently in the production of a vital endogenous antioxidant. Shellfish are also rich in minerals like zinc, selenium and iodine along with A and B-vitamins (especially B12).

Cooking mussels and clams can be as simple as sautéing garlic in butter, adding a cup of liquid, and then simmering the shellfish (covered) for 3 to 5 minutes. Changing the flavor is as simple as changing the liquid. White wine and beer are often used to steam clams and mussels, as are coconut milk, cream and broth.

In this recipe, whole cream and Dijon mustard swirl together into a broth that’s especially flavorful. The pungent flavor of the mustard is mellowed by whole cream, but the mustard still gives this creamy broth a distinctive flavor. It’s equally good with mussels and clams, so choose whichever is your favorite.

Servings: 2

Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes


  • 2 pounds clams (any size or variety) (900g)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted tablespoon butter (15 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (30 ml)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dry white wine (60 ml)
  • ½ cup heavy cream (120 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (30 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill (or parsley) (15 ml)


Soak the clams in a large bowl of cold water while prepping the rest of the ingredients. Rinse the clams briefly after draining the water.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan with a lid. Add shallot and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until shallots begin to soften but aren’t brown.

Add wine. When it begins to simmer, add half of the cream. Add clams and cover the saucepan with a lid. Simmer gently 3 to 5 minutes, until the clamshells have opened. Discard any shells that don’t open.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the clams. Bring the broth to a simmer. Whisk in the remaining cream and the mustard. Add dill.

Place the clams in a bowl and pour the broth on top.



The post Clams in Creamy Mustard Broth appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 Soups  Seafood  Recipes  Lunch/Dinner
The Primal Blueprint Was Just a Natural Fit For Me

Mark's Daily Apple
The Primal Blueprint Was Just a Natural Fit For Me

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Image/photoI started to notice all the weight I was gaining towards the end of my sophomore year and beginning of my junior year of college. I mainly just wanted to lose the weight I had gained because I was embarrassed. But I also didn’t realize how high my blood pressure was getting for someone my age. Little did I know that this would start me down an amazing path.

I started dieting like everyone else seems to be teaching and preaching. I counted calories, ate and drank tons of “diet” approved stuff. Like diet sodas, fat free sweets and the like. I did see weight come off but I felt horrible. I was in the gym everyday, I had no energy and was grumpy. This lead to the typical yo-yo dieting. I thought to myself I’m way too young to be feeling this miserable. I knew there had to be a better way.

Thus, I looked and researched everything in the realm of dieting & nutrition. It eventually lead me to Paleo. I didn’t think I needed to eat this way in order to be healthy. I thought I could just count calories and still be a flexible dieter. But I decided to give it a try and the first couple of days were rough. But that was to be expected. Once I got over the first couple of days, I was amazed how amazing I felt. So I dove deeper into paleo.

I found Mark & Primal Blueprint when he was on a paleo podcast. I originally was interested in him because of his dressings and mayo. After finding them in a store & realizing how amazing they tasted, I decided to give the updated Primal Blueprint book a read. For a book that big I almost read it in two days. It was so good, and was just easy to read. A lot of paleo/primal books can be overwhelming. Mark did such a great job making it easy to understand and the primal blueprint was just a natural fit for me.

I incorporated the entire lifestyle. Not only did I finally lose all the weight. I felt amazing. I was way more productive in school, I was reading almost two books a week (outside of required reading for classes), I didn’t watch anymore tv, I started an online business, my relationships were better and I was just all around a more pleasant person. I wasn’t anxious anymore, my blood pressure was at a healthy level, I had tons of energy and also tons of motivation to the best I can be AND I still haven’t even graduated college! I’m getting ready to graduate in May with a double major in accounting & finance. I started trying to lose weight about a year and half ago and have been living a primal lifestyle for about 5 months or so now. I cannot thank Mark and everyone at Primal Blueprint enough!!

-Ryan Baumgart


The post The Primal Blueprint Was Just a Natural Fit For Me appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 Weight Loss  Success Stories  Heart Disease  18-24  reader-created content  Male
Last Call For the Success Story Giveaway!

Mark's Daily Apple
Last Call For the Success Story Giveaway!

Image/photoAt the beginning of the month, I announced that the bees and are looking to share your stories of success in changing your habits, losing weight, reclaiming your health, and enjoying more vitality with the help of Primal and/or keto living—and that I’m offering a giveaway to sweeten the pot: a year’s supply of PRIMAL KITCHEN® Starter Keto Kits.

Tonight is the submission deadline! (While you can always submit a success story, we’re closing the giveaway this evening February 16, 2018, at midnight PST. Remember, anyone in the world can enter. Additionally, everyone who has submitted a Success Story to Mark’s Daily Apple in the past is free to submit an updated story and new photos.

Just submit your story along with pictures. Please use the subject heading “My Primal Story.” Otherwise, there’s a good chance we might miss it.

For more info on success story guidelines and giveaway rules, check out the previous post, and for inspiration to write your own story, you can read past Success Stories here.

I’ve got another amazing success story coming up this morning, so stay tuned.

The post Last Call For the Success Story Giveaway! appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Rapid Fire Questions and Answers: Getting Wild

Mark's Daily Apple
Rapid Fire Questions and Answers: Getting Wild

Image/photoLast month, you asked a ton of great questions in the comment section of my post on reclaiming your wildness and being less civilized, covering everything from rock climbing to role playing games, grappling to kung fu, walking meditation to grounding. For today’s post, I’m answering as many of them as I can.

Let’s get right to the questions.

Anthony Munkholm asked:
How about some tips for indoor rock climbing. Really been getting into this lately as great cross-training. Went outside in Colorado last summer and I’m hooked.

How do I increase finger strength? What about how being outside on a rock brings you so present?

I’m no expert in climbing, but from what I’ve gathered from friends who are, the best way for relative beginners to improve finger strength for climbing is to climb. Climbing places a specific type of stress on the fingers that is hard to replicate without actually climbing.

You can make it more systematic, of course, by moving back and forth between holds.

The same concepts that apply to training in general apply here as well. Don’t overdo it. Don’t train to failure every time. Stop short of the point where your grip totally fails.

On the rock, death or serious injury are serious possibilities. You slip, you fall. Even if there’s a pad underneath or a rope hitched to your waist, the lizard brain within perceives the situation to be dangerous. It forces the flow state. Riding the wave of the present and staying in the flow becomes a lot easier when death is on the line.

Chad Clark asked:
From your experience with grappling drills, how would you adopt martial arts into Primal aligned fitness endeavors? Also, what is keeping you from becoming more involved in the martial arts you listed? Or Dungeons and Dragons, for that matter?

I’d treat it like a high-intensity interval or sprint day. Grappling is seriously exhausting—and I wasn’t even going very hard at all!

I’m not sure. I may look into it a bit more. There’s certainly no shortage of training facilities these days. Keep you posted.

Ha! I was a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi earlier in life (Tolkien, Dick, Dune, etc), but never did dip my beak into D&D. These days, I frankly don’t have the time to get into something as involved and time-consuming as pen and paper role playing games.

Georgina wrote:
Excellent ideas. How about an article on “walking meditation in nature.” This is a formal practice with a blueprint to follow. this can be done solo or holding the hand of another. It connects us with the earth. It cultivates joy and gratitude. It places us in the present moment. Peace from n.c.

I love walking meditations. It’s the closest thing to an actual meditation I can sit (or walk) through. Beginners should probably start with Tara Brach, a Buddhist teacher who publishes guided meditations and lectures on her fantastic podcast and is a proponent of walking meditation (PDF). She suggests walking along a short predetermined path of 20-30 paces somewhere quiet and familiar. This creates boundaries and reduces distractions. Once you’re more confident in your ability to maintain focus, you can go on unstructured, longer walks through unfamiliar surroundings. The important thing is to pay attention to the shifting weight of your body as you walk, the feel of your footfalls, and the sensation of gliding through the air. As with sitting meditation, allow thoughts and other distractions to come and go; acknowledge but do not dwell on or judge them.

I find it much easier and more effective than sitting meditation.

There’s even a study which showed that a walking Buddhist meditation practice reduced depression, improved fitness and vascular function, and lowered stress hormones in depressed elderly patients to a greater extent than the same amount of walking without the meditating.

Alan requested:
Good article. I would like to see you write more in the future about finding balance between living less civilized and still within society. For example, whether love or hated the reboot of Point Break, there is a line in there that Bohdi says that really resonated with me. He said “We live on the grid, just on our own terms.” I would like to see you write about how that applies to the primal lifestyle. Thank you! Alan

Oh boy, this could turn into an entire post. I’ll keep it short and perhaps revisit it later.

As I allude to in the original post, for civilization to flourish and progress, we need both wildness and dependability. Creativity and diligence. In fact, each person must embody both energies.

First, figure out what you’re doing here on the planet. What are you trying to accomplish? Who or what are you responsible for? What gives you meaning? What’s best for you, your loved ones, your friends, your community?

Keep those in mind. Aim toward them. Then, indulge your wildness, but make sure it serves your ultimate goals of doing good, meaningful things, taking care of yourself and those around you, and improving your corner of the world.

Shake off the silly parts of civilization, like “taking the safe path” or “doing what you’re told,” and start thinking bigger, crazier.

bamboosmith asked a clear-cut one:
I live out in the country and do a lot of hanging from trees type pull ups. i’m older and wondered about going back and learning karate. i studied the martial arts in my 30’s for a few years and miss it. i feel like i may be too old 30 years later. any thoughts?

Just one: You’re not too old. Go, now.
I totally love this. I have 6 year old (wild) twins and it seems that this is what they do all the time. All I need to do is join them:)
I also like to break out in dance or song spontaneously, and then the kids join me:)

Yes, follow them and do what they do. Funny story: A buddy of mine, Angelo Delacruz (master bodyworker, personal trainer, miracle worker, ninja, and PrimalCon star), was hosting a friend and his two young children at the gym one day. After noticing how much varied movement the kids did just inadvertently by being kids, he and a couple other trainers decided to follow them for ten minutes and do whatever they did.

After ten minutes, they were warm and loose and ready to train. Every joint had been articulated through every possible angle. It was the perfect warmup. For many, it’d be the perfect workout.

Sue Moore said:
Great article! New goal for 2018 is to take the road less travelled and be more spontaneous.

How’s that going for you? Don’t wait!

Megan said:
I work with elementary aged children with behavioral issues. Your post, especially the parts about embracing your inner weirdo, really spoke to me today. I’m going to take my students outside this week (or around the building if it’s still 15 degrees out here in Chicagoland) and look for ways that we can empower creativity and diversity of action inside the educational setting.

Beautiful. I know that standing desks have been shown to reduce behavioral issues and improve focus in elementary school students, so you may get good results! But there’s so much more to be found outside the desk space.

Ethan asked:
I’d like to see posts on how we normal, full-time workers, with kids, and all of that chaos, can find time to create, or play, or get involved.

What are the practical ways to do this?

The things you’re going to create, the ways you’ll play, the things you’ll want to involve yourself in are personal. You have to decide what appeals to you. However, there are a few ways you can increase the opportunities you have to create/play/involve yourself.

Figure out how much time you’re wasting on things that aren’t increasing your happiness, furthering your goals, or allowing you to express your wildness. Get a rough number—hours per day—and work on eliminating those wasteful practices. This will free up hours for you to do cool stuff.

If you haven’t started planning the week’s meals ahead of time, do that. Knowing what you’re going to make and having the ingredients ready to go (or even prepared ahead of time) saves a lot of time, reduces meal-time stress, and makes dinner a more harmonious, enjoyable. When you’re not stressed out from rushing to get dinner ready and on the table, you’ll have more mental energy to have a real conversation with your family, to discuss the day, to make plans for the weekend. That’s creation—positive energy where none existed before.

Don’t waste time on devices or social media. Don’t abstain entirely. Just don’t be one of the statistics who uses their phone for 4 hours a day just to avoid being alone in your own head.

Get to bed early and wake up early. Waking up before everyone else is magical in a quiet, simple way. It also gives you a nice chunk of free time to pursue any creative endeavors—working on a new side business, writing, reading (which I consider to be a kind of creation), exercising.

Gus Frey asked:
I have always wanted to learn a martial art, and was happy to read your lifelong desire and recent dive into it. Why do you recommend a grappling style as opposed to something like Kung Fu or something less about grappling? Thank you

As a kid, I loved roughhousing. This consisted mainly of wrestling, throwing, rolling around, pretty low skill-level stuff. It was intense and personal and hyperreal. It was also safer than throwing punches at each other. Fewer bruised egos, damaged friendships that way.

As an adult, grappling still seems safer to me than striking, though I know it’s all in how you train.

Brad wondered:
I’m interested in your take on grounding.

I wrote about it several years back. Check out the post.
Ive said it before on these pages, but I hunt.

It takes you off tracks, because that is where the game is. There is a pattern dictated by terrain, weather and vegetation – wild stuff – and there is a randomness, because you are pursuing something that you cannot know perfectly.
Instead of following that trail that others have walked, you go where the situation dictates… even if no other human has set foot there for centuries, if ever!

There is sitting around a fire with your “tribe”. People who are there for the same purpose that you are, with whom you have a memory of shared experiences….. and who have shown time after time that they will put themselves through hardship to help you.

There is rolling out of the swag before dawn in lousy winter weather, knowing that the domesticated people couldn’t face that…..

Beautifully said, Peter. It hit me hard. That’s all.

Dugan said:
Honestly, based on the thoughts Mark laid out here, LARPing is firing on all cylinders. It takes creative thought to make a character, roleplay, and come up with armor and weapons. Then, depending on how serious you get, you can study and train in real martial arts in order to better your in-game play. You interact with a group of people equally zealous as you are. It takes time and organization to be efficient in crafting your needed items. And, depending on what LARP you do (anything from high fantasy to zombie apocalypse is out there) you can definitely interact with the environment in atypical ways. Heck, I’ve played a straight barbarian before, about as primitive as you can get. It’s great exercise and you can do it barefoot (in most cases.)

For all the jokes, LARPing really does sound like a good time and a perfect summation of the spirit of the post. If you ever watch those videos that people like to laugh at, you can’t help but notice the participants are ALL IN. Great comment.

Jason said:
Create vs Consume. While I may not have the right plan in place for create, I have had a large frustration with the amount of consume. I have been working towards consuming less (TV, phone data…useless stuff). A good way to get my butt in gear more often.

Yes, the ratio doesn’t have to be 1:1 or anything like that. The world wouldn’t work if everyone created more than they consumed. The trend is what to watch, and what to focus on changing. Do a little more creation and a little less consumption. Get it in where you can. Small steps.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading and asking. Be sure to follow up down below with any further questions you might have.

Take care!

Want to make fat loss easier?  Try the Definitive Guide for Troubleshooting Weight Loss for free here.

The post Rapid Fire Questions and Answers: Getting Wild appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 mobility  Play  Nature  Self-Experimentation  Primal Lifestyle  Mindfulness  Creativity  dear mark  Stress Management
Primal Starter: Embracing Keto As Evolutionary Default

Mark's Daily Apple
Primal Starter: Embracing Keto As Evolutionary Default

Image/photo“Right now, skeptics are looking at keto and calling it the latest fad diet that will likely fade over time. From an evolutionary perspective, this observation is objectionable. Robb Wolf, former research biochemist and author of the bestselling The Paleo Solution and Wired to Eat, makes the observation that keto is very likely the default Homo sapiens factory setting. This is because a steady supply of food—especially a high-carbohydrate load—was not part of our experience until civilized times. At the same time, the complex and rapidly evolving human brain desperately needed a massive percentage of our daily calories (20-25 percent) in the form of glucose or the glucose-like substitute of ketones. If we didn’t evolve to make ketones, we would have been forced to resort to the highly inefficient process of gluconeogenesis every time our brains ran short of fuel. Stripping down lean muscle to fuel brain function is no fun when you trigger fight-or-flight reactions during the afternoon blues, but it’s really no fun when you are starving with no guarantee of your next meal.”

From The Keto Reset Diet


The post Primal Starter: Embracing Keto As Evolutionary Default appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 keto  Diet & Nutrition  Carbs
The Definitive Guide to Chocolate

Mark's Daily Apple
The Definitive Guide to Chocolate

Image/photoAh, chocolate. What a life.

According to the Aztecs, the great feathered serpent god of wisdom and creation known as Quetzalcoatl introduced the cocoa bean to mankind. It’s likelier that it originated in the Amazon rainforest and wound its way north to Mesoamerica, whose inhabitants figured out they could domesticate, ferment, roast, crush, and mix cocoa with water, chilies, and spices to produce a bitter, intoxicating drink. It then took a boat across the Atlantic, learning Spanish along the way. Europe wasn’t sure what to make of the bitterness until someone spilled a little sugar into the drink. Cocoa quickly swept across the continent, giving rise to large corporations that persist to this day, like Cadbury, Nestle, Hershey, and Lindt.

Today, chocolate is everywhere. It’s part of the fabric of human experience.

Why’s it so good?

Let’s start with…

The Health Benefits

Chocolate Contains Healthy Fats

Cocoa butter is mostly monounsaturated and saturated fat, with very little polyunsaturated fat. And because most of that saturated fat is stearic acid, which turns into oleic acid in the body and is well known for having neutral effects on LDL, even avowed lipophobes can happily and heartily gobble up cocoa fat.

Cocoa butter has been shown in animal studies to protect the liver against ethanol-induced damage.

Dark Chocolate Contains Lots of Flavanols

Flavanols are an important class of polyphenols, the phytonutrients that have beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammation, and help produce beneficial hormetic stress responses. When it comes to polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity, cocoa trounces the “superfruits” acai, pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry and almost everything else. The most studied polyphenol in chocolate is epicatechin, a flavanol.

Dark Chocolate and Endothelial Health/Blood Pressure

Epidemiological studies pretty consistently show that dark chocolate consumption is related to lower blood pressure readings. In Jordan, among Kuna Indians living in Panama, among pregnant women, and among elderly Dutch, this holds true.

Controlled trials suggest this observation is probably causation:

Cocoa consumption improved arterial flow in smokers. That’s not too surprising, as smokers have higher oxidative loads and high-polyphenol foods help fight oxidative stress. What’s really fascinating is the study that found fifteen days of eating dark chocolate, but not white chocolate, lowered blood pressure (and improved insulin sensitivity) in healthy subjects. The main difference between white and dark chocolate is the polyphenol content; both types contain cocoa fat, so cocoa fat isn’t enough to improve blood pressure.

In another study, flavanol-rich dark chocolate consumption improved endothelial function while increasing plasma levels of flavanols (which indicates the flavanols had something to do with it). Another study used flavanol-rich cocoa to increase nitric oxide production in healthy humans, which increased vasodilation and improved endothelial function. In another, the highest dose of cocoa flavanoids caused the biggest drop in blood pressure. Still another found that while dark chocolate did not reduce blood pressure, improve lipids, nor reduce oxidative stress, it did improve coronary circulation.

Dark Chocolate Is Prebiotic

Chocolate is a good source of polyphenols and fiber, both of which act as prebiotic precursors for healthy gut bacteria.

In “spontaneously hypertensive” rats, cocoa soluble fiber lowered blood pressure, perhaps by reducing weight gain.

Dark Chocolate and Cardiovascular Disease

In humans, both with normal and elevated cholesterol levels, eating cocoa powder mixed with hot water lowered oxidized LDL and ApoB (a good barometer for LDL particle number) counts while increasing HDL. All three doses of high-flavanol cocoa powder – 13, 19.5, and 26 g/day – proved beneficial. If you’re wondering, 26 grams of powder is about a quarter cup. It also works if you drink it with milk.

Given the effects of chocolate on lipid peroxidation, we can probably surmise that it will also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. And indeed, epidemiological studies suggest that this is the case. In a sample of over 2200 patients (PDF), chocolate consumption was inversely associated with progression of atherosclerotic plaque. The association held for chocolate in general, and I don’t think it’s likely that everyone was consuming 100% raw cacao powder brimming with polyphenols. A study from this year from the same group got similar results: chocolate consumption was inversely associated with cardiovascular disease.

Dark Chocolate and Insulin Resistance

For fifteen days, hypertensive, glucose-intolerant patients received either 100 daily grams of high-polyphenol dark chocolate or 100 daily grams of zero-polyphenol white chocolate. Diets were isocaloric, and nothing differed between the groups besides the type of chocolate. Dark chocolate improved beta cell function, lowered blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved endothelial function, while white chocolate did none of those things. Again, this indicates it’s the polyphenols, not just the cocoa butter.

Dark Chocolate and Fatty Liver

As mentioned earlier, cocoa butter is hepatoprotective in the context of ethanol consumption. These benefits seem to extend to other areas of liver health.

Daily chocolate consumption is linked to lower liver enzymes.

Dark Chocolate and UV Damage

One study found that feeding high levels of dark chocolate to healthy people over twelve weeks doubled their MED, or resistance to UV damage; feeding low levels of dark chocolate had no effect on the MED.

Similarly, another study found that a people who ate high levels of cocoa flavanols had greater resistance to a given UV dosage than a low-flavanol group over a six and twelve-week period.

Dark Chocolate and Aging

It seems like every time you read about the dietary habits of a centenarian, they’re big chocolate lovers. That may not be a fluke, as chocolate has been shown to improve many aspects of the aging process.

In postmenopausal women, high-cocoa dark chocolate improves blood flow to the brain and periphery. It also reduces arterial stiffness.

A 40 gram hunk of dark chocolate improves the ability of older patients with peripheral arterial disease to walk unassisted within 2 hours of consumption. That’s wild.

Older folks who eat the most chocolate have better cognitive function and a lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

It’s pretty clear that the older you are, the more chocolate you should eat. I’m certainly operating under that assumption.

How Chocolate Is Made

What are we talking about when we talk about chocolate? How’s it made?

After the cocoa bean is scooped out from its pod, it sits in piles for about a week to cure. This is heap fermentation—the first step in cocoa processing. During heap fermentation, yeasts degrade the mucilaginous pulp that surrounds the beans into ethanol, bacteria turn the ethanol into acetic acid and carbon dioxide, and this raises the temperature enough to eventually “kill” the cocoa bean. Now dead with its cell walls breaking down, the bean experiences chemical reactions that develop flavor and color. Fermentation also reduces bitter compounds and phytic acid.

Then the bean is dried for a week or two, then roasted, then pulverized to form nibs. Sometimes that process is flipped—they pulverize the dry bean into nibs and then roast the nibs. The nibs are ground into a paste called cocoa liquor or chocolate liquor, which is combined with sugar, vanilla, and other ingredients to form the actual chocolate. This is also the point at which they make cocoa powder by pressing the liquor and extracting the cocoa butter.

They’ll further refine the cocoa, trying to reach the point at which the human tongue won’t perceive individual particles. Once it’s smooth, they’ll “conch” the chocolate, which involves mixing and aerating the stuff at high temperatures to improve texture and mouthfeel. Soy lecithin improves emulsification and cuts down on the amount of conching required.

Each step of the processing, um, process reduces the flavanol content of the chocolate. This means the rawer the chocolate, the higher the flavanol content. But except for the explicitly raw bars, almost every finished chocolate bar undergoes fermentation, roasting, and conching. There’s really no way around it. And even the “raw” chocolate probably isn’t even raw. And if it were, is that even desirable? Fermentation and roasting all reduce phytic acid content, after all. Even the ancient Mesoamericans roasted their cocoa beans before eating or drinking them. And it’s not clear if “more polyphenols” are always desirable.

Besides, all those chocolate researchers aren’t using obscure cacao products. They’re not using raw unfermented cacao beans handpicked by Aztec elders. They’re using commercially-available cocoa products subjected to significant processing, like 85% dark chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder. And they still work great and produce excellent benefits.

Powder: There are different powders out there. I won’t discuss pre-mixed sugary hot cocoa powders; avoid them.
  • Raw cocoa powder comes from dried, fermented, unroasted beans. As the beans haven’t been roasted to extract all the cocoa butter, some residual fat remains.
  • Roasted cocoa powder comes from fermented, roasted beans. This tends to be lower in fat, as the roasting process allows greater extraction of cocoa butter.
Nibs: Nibs are like chocolate gravel, unsweetened. You can add them to smoothies, eat whole, or grind down to make your own cocoa liquor.

Liquor or mass: Cocoa liquor/mass is ground up cocoa nibs/beans in solid or semi-solid form. It’s about equal parts cocoa solids and cocoa butter. You can eat this straight up like a maniac or use it to make your own chocolate.

Bars/chips: The finished product. The percentage of cocoa in a bar (100%, 85%, 70%, etc) indicates the amount of cocoa mass and butter. An 85% chocolate bar is 85% cocoa mass and cocoa butter, 15% other stuff like lecithin, sugar, and flavorings.

How to Eat

There’s the obvious way: Place in mouth and chew. I like to go a square at a time, and really just let it sit on my tongue, slowly melt, and envelop my taste buds. This way, chocolate lasts longer and you need less of it to get the desired effect.

You can also get creative in the kitchen.

Stu Can’t Stop Bark: Stu is my writing partner and buddy Brad Kearns’ dog, and Stu can’t stop barking once he gets going. Stu Can’t Stop Bark is Brad’s edible, polyphenol-rich homage to Stu.
  • Take a pound of 80%+ chocolate and break it up into pieces. Add half to a double boiler or glass bowl set above a boiling pot.
  • As chocolate melts, add 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Stir to combine.
  • Add two cups of chopped macadamias or other nuts to a large mixing bowl along with the rest of the chocolate.
  • When chocolate/oil mixture is completely melted, pour it into the mixing bowl. Stir until everything is melted and evenly distributed. Really coat those nuts.
  • Spread half the mixture evenly into a 15 x 10 inch glass baking pan. Drizzle three tablespoons of almond butter across the top. Optional: sprinkle coconut flakes or coconut butter across the top.
  • Spread the rest of the mixture across the top. Sprinkle sea salt. Optional: sprinkle coconut flakes or coconut butter across the top.
  • Refrigerate until solidified. Remove from pan, cut into squares with large chef’s knife. Keep refrigerated or frozen until ready to eat (immediately).
Do not give Stu, or any other dog, Stu Can’t Stop Bark. They can’t process the theobromine in the dark chocolate. To a dog, chocolate bark is way worse than a bite.

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Hearts: Just posted earlier today. Go read it and make it.

Spiced Cocoa: Heat water, coconut milk, regular milk, nut milk or a blend of some of them and whisk in cocoa powder, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, and sweetener if desired. Top with real whipped cream (no sugar needed).

I’ll sometimes do a tablespoon of powder in my coffee, blended.

Next time you make chili, throw a bar of 85% dark chocolate in.

How to Choose Chocolate

Stick with dark chocolate.

Milk chocolate is, for all intents and purposes, not a health food. The milk and the extra sugar crowd out the cocoa. Some chocolatiers are starting to make milk chocolate with a greater percentage of cocoa content, which is an improvement—but you’re still left with the huge sugar dose milk chocolate inevitably provides. There is one company making chocolate (both dark and milk) sweetened with erythritol and stevia and a large dose of prebiotic inulin that tastes great and has just a few grams of digestible carbs per bar; I’ll grab one of their salted milk chocolate bars when I see it.

Similar story with white chocolate. It’s got the cocoa butter but no cocoa flavanols. Not a health food.

I won’t say “never eat white or milk chocolate!” Just don’t make them a health staple.

When I’m talking about chocolate, I’m talking about dark chocolate.

Aim for 85% cocoa content or above. You can still enjoy 72% cocoa chocolate. I won’t throw you out of the tribe just because you eat 66%. But 85% cocoa chocolate is really that sweet spot when good things start to accumulate. The sugar content becomes negligible. The fat and fiber go up. The cocoa flavanols start gathering force. And, if you can learn to appreciate it, the flavor is unmatched. Try your best to develop the taste.

The first ingredient should be cocoa. Cocoa (or cacao) bean, cocoa mass, cocoa liquor, cocoa powder are all acceptable. If “milk” or “sugar” or anything else comes first in the ingredient list, it’s not high-quality chocolate.

Avoid Dutch process cocoa. The Dutch process alkalizes cocoa, reducing the acidity and bitterness but also the bitter flavanols responsible for many of its health benefits. There are a few potential “tells” if you don’t know the Dutching status of your chocolate.
  • Dutch process cocoa will have a little residual sodium (from the alkalizing agent sodium carbonate) in the nutrition facts.
  • Dutch process cocoa will be darker in color and have a richer “classic” chocolate flavor.
  • Un-Dutched cocoa will be lighter in color and fruitier in flavor.
Look for Fair Trade chocolate. Cocoa production has a long and storied history with slave and child labor, and some of that continues to this day, particularly in West African countries—where most of the world’s chocolate originates. Sticking with Fair Trade chocolate helps avoid this ethical issue, increasing the chances that the people who grow, harvest, and produce your chocolate are adults receiving fair compensation.

What to Eat

There are thousands of boutique chocolates out there. Most are probably good, so eat what you like. Some of my preferred brands and products:

Santa Barbara Chocolate Company: These guys sponsored PrimalCon from the very beginning, and their awesome chocolate they provided was, for many people, the highlight of the experience. I still remember Brad walking around with a big sack of their dark chocolate and being surrounded by a Vibram-clad mob.

Hu Kitchen: I love their salty chocolate bar.

Addictive Wellness: Tasty chocolate with functional ingredients. They pair high quality cacao with adaptogens and herbs like reishi mushrooms, chaga, ashwagandha. Sweetened with stevia and xylitol.

Theo: Theo 85% chocolate is one of my favorite bars right now.

Eating Evolved: The coconut butter dark chocolate cups are out of this world. Treat as a treat.

Bare: Their chocolate coconut chips. Just try them. Treats, not staples.

Trader Joe’s: The Montezuma 100% chocolate bar is the smoothest 100% cocoa bar I’ve ever had. You can actually eat this straight up and enjoy it.

Green and Black’s: Their 85% bar is widely available and still one of the best I’ve had.

What About Toxicity Concerns?

What about heavy metal toxicity? A recent report from As You Sow, a consumer advocacy group, claims to have found dangerously high levels of cadmium and lead in many leading chocolate brands.

Cocoa is often grown in volcanic soils which are relatively high in lead and cadmium, especially in Latin America. Cocoa trees are especially good at absorbing lead and cadmium from the soil and distributing it throughout the beans. Those metals persist throughout processing and wind up in the finished product, albeit, according to this study, at relatively low levels.

I’m not sure how important this is. After all, the benefits of chocolate are clear and well-studied. It seems to improve health and longevity, not curtail it. And some chocolate experts express skepticism at the reports, suggesting that the assays used to determine the heavy metal levels in chocolate are superficial and not definitive, criticizing the refusal of the advocacy group to publish their specific results, and pointing out that previous studies into lead and cadmium levels in cocoa found low levels. At any rate, many Primal foods and spices, like garlic, ginger, onions, green tea, as well as probiotics, spirulina, and chlorella have all been shown to reduce lead and cadmium absorption and toxicity.

Chocolate is good for you, but it’s still candy. I consider it to be a supplemental food, a medicinal ingredient to be used regularly but sparingly. Don’t obtain a significant amount of calories from chocolate. If the heavy metal issue does turn out to be a significant problem, treating chocolate as a supplement will mitigate the consequences.

That’s it for today, folks. Now go eat some chocolate!

What’s your favorite chocolate brand, type, or mode of ingestion? Got any great recipes? Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.


The post The Definitive Guide to Chocolate appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 definitive guides  Diet & Nutrition
Keto Episode #220: Avoiding an OCD Approach to Keto

The Primal Blueprint Podcast
Keto Episode #220: Avoiding an OCD Approach to Keto

Yes, there is such a thing as an overly analytical approach to keto and health and fitness goals in general, where you compromise your intuitive abilities and obsess too much on the details. The massive amount of information we are exposed to on a daily basis and can obtain with a few clicks can result in the disease of TMI—too much information! Host Brad Kearns talks about how to avoid the traps of an overly obsessive, overly analytical approach, instead focusing on the big picture items. For example, if you are precise about macronutrient intake guidelines but are skimping on sleep, you don’t pass Go nor collect $200. Instead, cultivate an intuitive approach and trust yourself as the world’s #1 expert on your own diet, fitness and lifestyle practices. Learn from experience and recalibrate without feeling too stressed or like you failed in a quest for perfection.
Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Hearts

Mark's Daily Apple
Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Hearts

Image/photoShow yourself some love on Valentine’s Day by indulging in these heart-shaped dark chocolate candies. These treats are truly irresistible, with intense bittersweet flavor and a smooth, creamy texture that slowly melts in your mouth. There’s nothing questionable added, just health-giving ingredients like cacao butter, raw cacao powder, avocado oil, maple syrup, sea salt, and hazelnuts.

If you think making chocolate at home is too complicated, you’ll be surprised by how easy this recipe is. Simply melt cacao butter, then whisk in cacao powder, and PRIMAL KITCHEN Avocado Oil with a little sweetener, and you’ll be in chocolate heaven. What’s really fun about making chocolate at home is experimenting with all sorts of flavors. Nuts, nut butters, coconut flakes and coconut butter, spices, dried fruit…the flavor variations are endless.

This recipe is for purists, though, who like dark chocolate with just a hint of added flavor. In this case, it’s hazelnuts, which pair perfectly with chocolate and are also good sources of vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.

You’ll end up with more dark chocolate hearts than you can (or should) eat alone, so share the love. Your Valentines will be thrilled to get homemade chocolate, instead of a box of sugary store-bought candies.

Servings: 18 to 20 1.5-inch hearts

Time in the Kitchen: 25 minutes, plus 1 hour to set


  • 1 cup finely chopped cacao butter (120 g)
  • 1 cup cacao powder (100 g)
  • 2 tablespoons PRIMAL KITCHEN® Avocado Oil (30 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or more to taste (30 ml)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (1.2 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or other flavoring extract) (5 ml)
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped (75 g)
  • Kitchen Equipment: 18 to 24 -cavity silicone mold (can be heart-shaped, square, round or whatever shape you want the chocolates to be)


First, create a double broiler (which keeps direct heat away from ingredients to prevent scorching). To do so, add several inches of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Set a smaller saucepan on top, making sure it’s not touching the water.

Add cacao butter to the smaller saucepan, stirring as it melts. When cacao butter is completely melted, turn off the heat. Slowly whisk in cacao powder, avocado oil, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

At this point, stir in the hazelnuts or any other flavoring ingredients you want.

Taste the chocolate–if it’s too bitter, add more maple syrup.

Pour the chocolate into silicone molds (using a bowl with a pour spout works best). Refrigerate 1 hour until solid. Note: there chocolates keep best in the refrigerator.


The post Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Hearts appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 Treats  Recipes
Goodies Against the Grain: Sadie’s Story (and 2 Amazing Recipes) + IG Giveaway

Mark's Daily Apple
Goodies Against the Grain: Sadie’s Story (and 2 Amazing Recipes) + IG Giveaway

Image/photoToday’s guest post is offered up by Sadie Radinsky, whom I had the pleasure of chatting with on a recent episode of her podcast, Jump For Joy. I think you’re going to love her story and be inspired by her success—in reclaiming her health and in following her passion. And the recipes she’s serving up? Grok never had it so good. Just in time for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy, everyone! And be sure to check out the giveaway at the end.

Hi, Mark’s Daily Apple! I’m Sadie, a 16-year-old food blogger, Paleo dessert chef and writer. I am so excited to share my health journey with you today, as well as two scrumptious Valentine’s Day treat recipes.

A little background about me: I grew up a vegetarian, with a diet that consisted mainly of whole grain products, beans, veggies, fruit, and the occasional fish. All of this would soon change because at the age of nine, I had to miss six months of school due to health issues. Every day I would wake up with intense stomach pain, fatigue and nausea. Most days it was hard to get out of bed. Pretty fun, right?

My parents knew something was wrong, but they just didn’t know what. My mom took me to countless Eastern and Western doctors, and still… no diagnosis. One day, she had the brilliant idea that I should go gluten-free for a little while and see how it made me feel.

Two months later, I was completely healed.

Food has an immense power on our bodies. As a nine-year-old, it was empowering to see how changing my diet made me a healthy and happy person, free from pain. Oh, but the change did not stop there!

When my family stayed at a farm in Vermont that summer, I tried beef for my first time. This was beef from cattle who had spent their days munching on green grass pastures at the farm. It was then my family realized we could eat meat while still upholding our belief that animals should be raised humanely, in good conditions. Plus, our meal options were rapidly decreasing as gluten-free vegetarians, and my mom needed some darn food to put on the dinner table!

However, there was still a problem: I loved baked goods, but all the gluten-free treats in stores were overly processed and dry. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands! I began making gluten-free dessert recipes that I found online. I soon stumbled upon a Paleo recipe for Sugar Cookies, and I was enthralled; the cookies used nutrient-dense ingredients like coconut and almond. I realized this Paleo diet was the same thing my dad had been so excited about recently! Eventually, I began concocting my own recipes. This led to the creation of my Paleo dessert blog, Goodies Against The Grain, when I was twelve.

Soon, it was not only treats. My family began eating almost completely Paleo, save for some occasional grass-fed butter and cheese. We all felt amazing! Any bellyaches I used to get from rice and corn went completely away.

Now I am an avid runner and yogi with loads of energy and not a stomach ache in sight! Going Paleo truly changed my life.

Image/photoAlong with creating Paleo treats for my blog, I have written articles about teen empowerment and food for Justine, Shape, and Paleo Magazine. I am now writing a healthy lifestyle cookbook for teens (coming soon!). You can also listen to my podcast, Jump For Joy, and the episode I recorded with Mark here. Make sure to follow @goodiesagainstthegrain for more healthy recipes and lifestyle tips!

Oh, one last thing: always remember to treat yourself (literally). I believe you should never deprive yourself of fun desserts just because you’re on a gluten-free, Paleo or Keto diet. That’s why I’ve created some DELICIOUS, chocolaty, healthy recipes for you today! Let’s get into those now…

Red Velvet Raspberry Fudge Bombs

They’re rich, fudgy, raspberry-y and just about the best thing ever. They have a few secret ingredients that you’d be surprised of: avocado and Chocolate Collagen Fuel. Yup, that’s right! These truffles get their smooth texture from avocados, and an extra boost of protein from the collagen. So basically, by eating these treats, you’re making yourself a healthier person! The white chocolate drizzle is totally optional, but I think it adds a romantic flare and amazing flavor.

Makes 12



  • ¾ cup avocado meat (approx. 1½ avocados)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 scoops Chocolate Collagen Fuel (or other favorite protein powder)
  • 1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons cacao powder
  • 3½ Tablespoons freeze-dried raspberry powder (see below)*
  • 3 teaspoons granulated monk fruit sweetener**
  • 5 Tablespoons freeze-dried raspberry powder*
Drizzle (optional):
  • ¼ cup finely chopped raw cacao butter
  • 3 Tablespoons full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon granulated monk fruit sweetener**


1. Using a food processor or high-speed blender, pulse the cashews and coconut oil until smooth. Blend in all the other fudge ingredients until creamy.
2. Scoop mixture into a bowl and freeze for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, for some extra flare, make the drizzle: melt the drizzle ingredients together in a small saucepan over low heat until they’re all combined and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
4. Scoop the chilled fudge dough into 12 balls. Roll in the raspberry powder coating and place on a plate. Drizzle the white chocolate coating on top, then serve.
5. Store leftover fudge bombs in the freezer and defrost for 5 minutes before eating.

*To make raspberry powder, smash the contents of two small bags of freeze-dried raspberries using a mortar + pestle or spice grinder. I used two 1.2 oz bags of freeze-dried raspberries from Trader Joe’s. Then, push the powder through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Now, measure the powder for the recipe.
**You could also sub maple sugar here, but I cannot guarantee results will be the exact same.

Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes

Don’t you wish you could enjoy a special Valentine’s day bundt cake while still sticking to your Keto or Paleo diet? Oh, wait… you can! These legit cakes are sweetened with monk fruit, so they don’t have any sugar. Plus, they use avocado oil as a fat, so you’re simultaneously eating chocolate cake while boosting every cell is your body. Pretty rad, if may say so myself! The texture is exactly that of a traditional chocolate cake, so I’m sure you will adore it.

Yields 6 mini bundt cakes (which are quite larger than a normal cupcake).



  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons almond milk
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon avocado oil (or sub melted butter), plus more for greasing
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups blanched almond flour
  • 3 Tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated monk fruit sweetener**
  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Use avocado oil to grease a mini bundt pan (mine had 6 wells) or a muffin tin.
2. Using a double boiler or a small saucepan on low heat, melt the chocolate, then let it cool for 10 minutes.
3. In a stand mixer or using handheld mixer, whisk together the eggs until frothy. Add in the other wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Slowly, whisk the dry into the wet and stir until smooth.
5. Pour the batter evenly into the bundt pan wells. Bake for 20 minutes. Then, let them cool for 30 minutes before flipping the pan over to remove the cakes.

Note: **You could probably substitute coconut sugar here for a non-Keto version, but I haven’t tested it yet.

Now for the Giveaway…

Follow @goodiesagainstthegrain and @marksdailyapple on Instagram. Then comment on my Instagram post with Sadie to share your favorite paleofied treat for a chance to win my entire line of PRIMAL KITCHEN® collagen protein products (U.S. and Canada only). For additional entries, tag friends on Instagram. The winner will be announced February 19th at 10 a.m. PST. Good luck!


The post Goodies Against the Grain: Sadie’s Story (and 2 Amazing Recipes) + IG Giveaway appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 Treats  Success Stories  Recipes  Female  Digestion  Career Development  12-17
Primal Reflection Point: Marketing Versus Meaning In Human Love

Mark's Daily Apple
Primal Reflection Point: Marketing Versus Meaning In Human Love

Image/photo“Maybe a Primal lens (at least in the anthropological sense) doesn’t make for the most sentimental post about romantic love. But there’s plenty of authentic awe, and maybe some thought-provoking sense, to be had….

[It]’s more than the emotional narcotic that makes us forget about everything else (in a wonderful and sometimes disorienting way). It’s more than the affirmation of conforming to social norms or the sensible sharing of household duties. Rudimentary desire and dispassionate reason might bring people together, but seldom do either (or both together) offer enough to make a long-term partnership enjoyable. Those might seem to be the ultimate primal motivations, and they certainly had their part, but I’m guessing there was more to Grok’s humanity than those.

As the neuroscience suggests, romantic relationships aren’t just about immediate gratification, but about the construction of memory. Our chosen mates become hormonally and cognitively imprinted in us in ways few other kinds of relationships do. It’s why we can recall the small details of our partners from early courtship (even those we haven’t seen in decades). It’s why when we lose the one we’ve loved our entire lifetime, the most mundane reminders of their presence and routines (e.g. finding their glasses years later in the back of nightstand or catching the scent of their cologne) can send us into simultaneous euphoria and grief.

This is the dimension that Primal logic may not fully explain but human experience teaches. It’s why there’s no manual you can study that comes close to encompassing a life fully lived and how—no matter the cleverness of holiday marketing—the most romantic stories are those you’ll never find in a store.”

Thanks for stopping by today, everybody. Share your own thoughts below, and for more on this topic, read the rest of the past post here.


The post Primal Reflection Point: Marketing Versus Meaning In Human Love appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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 Virtues  Personal Improvement  Emotions
#219: Vanessa & Adam Lambert

The Primal Blueprint Podcast
#219: Vanessa & Adam Lambert

Elle Russ chats with Vanessa & Adam Lambert of Bee The Wellness - an innovative personal coaching company based in California. This couple has been living and working in the Paleo/Primal world for nearly 10 years now, helping to educate and empower clients on their personal journeys to optimal health. they have amazing and and some exotic bee the wellness retreats, and a lot of ways to support you on your health journey. welcome back...or...welcome home.

Selected Links: Bee The Wellness Website Bee - Fest 2018

Connect with Show Host Elle Russ: Twitter Instagram Facebook The Paleo Thyroid Solution ElleRuss.com