This has got to be one of the most frequent questions I see:
“Does coffee break a fast?”
To begin with, I’ll make the case that you shouldn’t worry too much about this stuff. That you’re even willing and able to go without a meal or snack for 12-24 hours places you in rarefied company. That’s 95th percentile stuff. You’re ahead of the game simply by being open to the idea of not eating every hour. Take heart in that. Some coffee with cream midway through doesn’t take away from what you’re accomplishing.
But I know you guys, and I know you love the minutiae. I know it because I love it, too. It’s fun, even if it gets us into trouble sometimes. So let’s dig right in.
First, does black coffee break a fast?
Put another way.. Does coffee interfere with the benefits we’re seeking from a fast? Depends on the benefits you’re seeking (and what you put in the coffee).
Let’s look at some of the most common benefits first and if/how coffee affects them.Common Benefits of Fasting: Does Coffee Help/Hinder? Ketosis
Fasting is a quick and easy (or simple) way to get into ketosis. You have little choice in the matter. Since you’re not eating anything, and your body requires energy, you break down body fat for energy. And because you’ve only got fat “coming in,” you’ll quickly...
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. I’ve come down hard against phones in bedrooms in the past. Is there a “good way” to use your phone in the bedroom? Reader Kathy offered some good reasons for keeping a phone there; what do I think? Next, HealthyHombre laments having to take antidepressants (but he shouldn’t lament). And finally, I cover the differences in omega-6 between pastured eggs and conventional eggs.
I use my phone in bed in airplane mode to generate a binaural beat and a rainy night white noise. Grok would not do that but Grok would not live near a busy railroad and a neighbor with outdoor chihuahuas. Grok would not crank up an old favorite story on audiobooks when he couldn’t sleep but I do. The phone has a very dim red light at night (Twilight app). Is that really bad or does the no-phone advice refer instead to radiation from operating radios or attending to email, calls, and Facebook pings?
That’s an excellent question.
A ton of evidence indicates that dim light at night is bad, even just a little bit. It disrupts our cellular circadian rhythm (every cell in our body has a circadian component) and metabolism, leading to weight gain. It increases REM sleep and the number of times...
Today marks our 500th Weekend Link Love.
It’s a big day. This is our 500th edition of Weekend Link Love. 500 Sundays. And it’s actually a bit more than that—because before WLL became the official name and slot, we did other links posts. There was “Friday Link Love,” and “5 Links You’ll Love!” (talk about setting the bar a little too low), and “Hit the Links!” My personal favorite was “Los Linky Links.” I still regret not sticking with that one. The alliteration is just killer.
Things have changed so much. Take a look at the very first WLL from all the way back to June 7, 2008. Check out that crisp, clean URL. See how the content has grown, the interest has expanded, and the quality has improved.
Many people write to me saying that WLL is a favorite part of their week, something they look forward to every Sunday. A vocal minority even claim it’s their favorite post on MDA itself, better than the feature articles. I love writing them. I love learning new things, learning that what I thought last week might need rethinking. The world is such an interesting place right now, and the Internet is a powerful tool for exploring it.
Here’s to 500 more…. And thanks for taking the ride with me.
Cooking large batches of vegetables makes it easier to eat veggies throughout the week. Pre-cooked veggies can be added to salads or served as a side dish, making both lunches and dinners easier to throw together.
Roasting large batches of vegetables on sheet pans is a great way to stock your fridge with ready-to-eat veggies. Another easy strategy is filling up the slow cooker and walking away for a couple hours.
Slow cooked vegetables don’t have to be soft and mushy. In this recipe, bell peppers, summer squash, zucchini and green beans emerge from the slow cooker tender with a little crunch left in them. These veggies are still fresh and brightly colored, and keep well in the fridge for several days.
Time in the Kitchen: 15 minutes, plus 2 hours to cook
Servings: 6 to 8
As a 50-year-old attorney I had let my desk job win. I knew my diet, sleep, fitness and overall stress levels were out of control, but I didn’t quite know what to do and definitely didn’t have the motivation. Until I read Mark’s 10 Primal Laws on his blog, which changed everything. What Mark was saying just made sense. I rushed out to get the Primal Blueprint and the the Primal Connection and my life has not been the same since. A few years later, down from 260 to 175, I can say, without hesitation, that the Primal lifestyle (as supplemented now with the Keto Reset) just works! I am the fittest I have ever been, my sleep and stress levels are great, and I have more energy than ever. With my wife as a partner in healthy living, we are a dynamic duo and have, to a great extent, the Primal lifestyle to thank!
I had lost weight before, but on a higher...
Paleo f(x), my favorite holistic health and fitness event in the world, returns to Austin, TX, April 27-29th! Yup, that’s right around the corner! In case you missed it the last 6 years, Paleo f(x) is the ultimate Who’s Who gathering of the ancestral health movement—as well as the best Primal party you’ll ever go to hands down.
I’ll be one of the speakers in several Mastermind Panels, including “State of the Paleo Union” and “The Smart Art of Endurance Training,” and I’ll be giving a talk on “The Evolution and Future of Ancestral Health Coaching.” Our very own Elle Russ, host of the Primal Blueprint Podcast, will also be speaking about her continuing research and experience with The Paleo Thyroid Solution. And my friends, coauthors, and fellow keto aficionados, Brad Kearns and Lindsay Taylor, will be there doing Q&A and other activities (be sure to check out their Keto Happy Hour), as will our Primal Health Coach and Primal Kitchen teams.
You’ll also be getting deep inside the brains of other world-class speakers including New York Times bestselling authors, physicians, scientists, athletes, health entrepreneurs, fitness professionals, biohackers, and more. Robb Wolf will be joining me, along with Chris Kresser, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, Ben Greenfield, Sarah Fragoso, John Durant, and dozens upon dozens more. You can register for...
I get the question all the time: “So, what does a regular day of eating look like for you?”—particularly since I went keto. I get asked when I typically start eating and how I schedule my workouts around fasting periods? What do my meals themselves look like? Do I ever snack? Today I’m answering all of these—and sharing more about my own personal approach to ketogenic living.
In fact, I’m laying it all out there. Get a (literal) glimpse of some of my favorite meals and find out why I consider my Big-Ass Salad the basis of my keto eating strategy. I’m sharing one of my favorite snacks and how I negotiate my eating window each day.
But I also talk about the little appreciated principles of a sustainable keto diet—how to do it so you’re enhancing your gut health rather than compromising it, how appetite and cravings self-regulate in the first 1-3 weeks, and why after a thorough reset I’m not fully keto all the time anymore.
I have a lot to say about the lasting impact of a reset experience on metabolic flexibility and protein sparing in the body as well as on the common mistake people make in focusing exclusively on fat intake rather than broad spectrum nutrition.
Finally, I explain why I consider ketones the body’s (too often) untapped superpower—and just how...
I can’t complain about my existence in modern culture. My life is great. I have a loving family. My kids are happy and successful. My wife is a friend and lover and confidante and partner. Business is good and interesting. I care about what I’m doing. Every day is meaningful—and unburdened by concerns around mental well-being. Depression isn’t an issue for me.
But it’s not the case for everyone. The numbers don’t lie. Depression rates are climbing. Antidepressants are among the most common drug prescriptions, even among children. And because it can be embarrassing to admit you’re depressed—like there’s “something wrong” with you if you say as much—many people with depression never seek help, so the real numbers could be even higher. Depression isn’t new of course. The ancients knew it as “melancholia,” or possession by malevolent spirits. But all evidence suggests that depression is more prevalent than ever before.
What’s going on?
First of all, the way we speak about depression makes getting to the root of the issue harder.
“It’s all brain chemicals.”
“You have a neurotransmitter imbalance. There’s nothing you can do but take this pill.”
“You were born with it.”
This is an admirable attempt to de-stigmatize depression, turning it into a medical condition that “just happens” and “isn’t your fault.” Some people get brain tumors, some have type 1 diabetes,...
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions from readers. First, should someone homozygous for the FADS variant that increases PUFA conversion eat less or more PUFA? Next, what’s the deal with all the mushroom coffees out on the market? Are they actually beneficial? Third, when looking for a healthy decaf coffee, what should you watch for? And finally, how should a breakfast skipper/intermittent faster deal with increased morning hunger caused by morning workouts?
Let’s find out:
I’m confused. I’m 75% Norweigan, the rest mixed european. My FADS (myrf) is homozygous. My genetic report says this variant has “higher than average levels of arachidonic acid, LDL and total cholesterol levels due to upregulated elongation of omega 6 PUFAs to pro-inflammatory compounds. Consider limiting sources of omega 6 PUFAs especially AA.” So this says PUFAs are bad for me because they are pro-inflammatory, but you are saying they aren’t bad because they get converted to Omega 3’s which are anti-inflammatory. Is this not the FADS gene you are talking about, but one of the others?
It is confusing, I agree.
If you have “upregulated elongation,” you should limit omega-6 PUFAs in the form of linoleic acid. A large amount of the linoleic acid you eat will be successfully converted to arachidonic acid, a precursor for inflammatory compounds. You’ll also be better at converting alpha-linolenic acid...
Giving experiences as gifts rather than things fosters better relationships.
Caffeine causes brain entropy (thankfully).
A new blood test might identify Alzheimer’s before symptoms appear.
Consistent meditation training may lead to enduring improvements in sustained focus and response inhibition.
Sitting might not be great for your brain, either.
New Primal Blueprint Podcasts
Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.
The unparalleled efficiency of the human brain may be one of the biggest hurdles for AI researchers.
Cell-to-cell, we’re only about 43% human.Media, Schmedia
Why one man kayaked across the Atlantic not once, not twice, but three times.
You gotta love a meal that can be cooked and served on the same sheet pan, and will dirty only 3 other things in your kitchen. Maybe you’ll have to wash a food processor (if you rice your own cauliflower instead of buying cauliflower rice at the store) and maybe a garlic press and a spatula, but that’s about it—not bad for a healthy and tasty home-cooked meal.
The “recipe” for sheet pan chicken with cauliflower rice, olives and feta goes like this: Spread cauliflower rice out on a pan with olive oil, garlic and chicken. Bake. Add spinach, olives, feta and herbs. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.
How’s that for simple?
Time in the Kitchen: 10 minutes hand-on, plus 30 minutes to cook
My name is Andrew Mencher. I am 29 years old. I’ve been following a Primal lifestyle for a little over two years now. I am writing this as a follow up to my previously published success story, which details my introduction to the Primal Blueprint, my struggles with starting, and the initial benefits I found while maintaining the lifestyle. I have since made adjustments, experimented, and undergone personal struggle and growth, all of which were influenced by and benefitted from the Primal Blueprint principles.
I’ll pick up where I left off, fall of 2016. Everything was going well until I had a surgery in Jan ’17 for an issue which could not be resolved otherwise and during the recovery I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. The diagnosis sparked something in me. It was part fear and part wake up call. I was engaged to be married that August, and I had (have) full intentions of starting a family. I was not going to let this disease interfere with my life...
According to the stats, more than 80% of American adults use coffee to get going in the morning. Increasingly, we’re getting collectively pickier about what we drink, too. A report released this year by the National Coffee Association found that, for the first time in 67 years, more than half of all coffee consumed daily was classified as “gourmet.”
But let’s be honest. There’s a lot of junk in that category—syrups and whipped toppings, soy milk and sugar galore. It’s a damned shame because coffee can offer big health benefits when done right. When done even better? Well, let’s take a look.
Buying the Best Brew
Whether you’re getting your coffee to-go or brewing a batch at home, know which sources are best. What certifications should you look out for? What questions should you ask your barista? What’s worth avoiding altogether? Let’s dive in.Organic
Coffee has one of the highest pesticide application rates in the world, with studies showing full-spectrum pesticide residues (including DDT) in many conventional coffee beans are more common than not. It seems like an easy win, but some research shows that washing and roasting together remove most of the pesticides residues from coffee beans. So, I wouldn’t sweat it for the sake of...
One of the more exciting developments over the past few years has been the explosion in population genetics research. People are a diverse lot, and even though we’re all people who essentially want the same things out of life (and we’re working with the same basic machinery), there’s a lot of wiggle room. It’s not just information for curiosity’s sake. The information researchers are uncovering about human ancestry can have real ramifications for how said humans should eat.
A couple years ago, I wrote a post laying out a few guidelines for using your personal ancestry to inform your diet. Today, I’m going to talk about another one: polyunsaturated fat metabolism.
For years, it’s been “common knowledge” in alternative health circles that most people just aren’t very good at converting the omega-3s (ALA) in plant foods into the long-chained omega-3s found in seafood (DHA, EPA), and that everyone should just eat fish for their omega-3s. This remains solid advice, but the reasoning needs a little tweaking. It turns out that the genes that encode the proteins responsible for conversion of ALA into DHA/EPA (and linoleic acid into arachidonic acid)—known as FADS—have a couple variants. Some variants make conversion less effective and some make conversion more effective. Furthermore, the distribution of these variants vary across populations.
For instance, the variant that increases conversion of ALA...
If you don’t already keep a few cans of high quality tuna packed in olive oil in your pantry, this recipe is a great reason to start. The meal comes together quickly, with dazzling results. Cherry tomatoes and garlic are seared in a generous amount of olive oil, then comes the tuna and even more olive oil to make a richly flavorful sauce.
The sauce can be tossed with your favorite zoodles (zucchini noodles) or other vegetable-based zoodle varieties, but noodles aren’t necessary to make this meal great. If you don’t want to deal with noodles, just grab a spoon and dig in. The tomatoes and tuna are delicious on their own.
Servings: 3 to 4
Time in the Kitchen: 20 minutes
Most people learn about ancestral health through books and blogs, which makes sense—Primal folks tend to be big readers, and the complexity and depth and constant evolution of the knowledge almost requires the written word for proper transmission. But a well-produced, beautiful film with great content has a unique effect on viewers. The combination of video and audio are more convincing than prose to our lizard brains, making documentaries a great vehicle for the introduction of a radically new idea. Skilled creators in the paleo space have taken note, producing some excellent ancestral health documentaries.
Doesn’t hurt that we’re right, of course.
And though “ancestral health documentary” is definitely a sub-genre that’s on the smaller side, trends are emerging. Earlier documentaries were celebrations and explorations of (and introductions to) the relatively young lifestyle, intended for individuals hoping to gain control of their own health. Future documentaries are looking at the bigger picture—how ancestral health can help the entire world and the natural environment get healthier. In today’s post, I’ll go through some of the standouts, explain what they offer, look to some upcoming movies, and track the trends.
Pigeonholed by critics as a satirical response to Supersize Me, Fathead begins by disproving the other film’s tendency to infantilize the public and lay the entirety of the blame for the obesity epidemic at the feet of fast food conglomerates. But...
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, is power yoga—a more “intense” version of yoga that includes strength exercises—a suitable alternative to strength training for aging women? Probably not, but that doesn’t make it bad or wrong to do. Second, what’s the deal with pelvic floor dysfunction after menopause? What’s the best way to improve that situation? And third, is the Keto Reset right for older women with osteoporosis?
Let’s find out:
Would you consider power yoga “lifting heavy things”? I do power yoga 2-3 times a week and it involves a lot of standing strength and arm/hand stands? Thanks and I love everything on Marks Daily Apple!
Not quite. Nothing can really compete with strength training and high-intensity work for building bone resilience and strength. Your bones need impact and intensity, and yoga generally doesn’t supply enough of it.
That’s why hopping in place can help strengthen hip and thigh bones in older folks. The jarring impact of landing—even from a modest height of six or eight inches—triggers bone resorption and remodeling in the legs.
That’s why lifting heavy things makes bones strong. The bone acts (along with the muscle) as a lever during the lift, which places a lot of stress on the bone. To recover from the activity and be ready...
Two years of 15% calorie restriction slowed metabolism and reduced oxidative stress in older adults.
Food allergy linked to nature and nurture.
Creating art—even if you aren’t great at it—lowers stress.
Chronic nicotinamide riboside supplementation increases NAD+ (an important anti-aging marker) while being well-tolerated.
Mindfulness meditation lowers blood pressure via gene expression (if you do it).
A five-day break from Facebook reduces stress but also life satisfaction. I think they’re just doing the whole “life satisfaction” thing wrong.
How some early life factors associate with resting heart rate later in life.New Primal Blueprint Podcasts
Episode 233: Arriane Alexander: Host Elle Russ chats with Arriane Alexander about the potential benefits of putting yourself out there in video form on social media.
Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.Interesting Blog Posts
One guy’s experience with extreme endurance training on ultra-low-carb.
When a 100 year-old running champion offers training advice, you...
The whole point of sheet pan meals is to make life easier by delivering a flavorful, balanced meal to your table with very little cooking and cleanup involved. These sheet pan steak fajitas deliver on all counts. Strips of steak, bell pepper and onions served with avocado and salsa is a delicious mix of protein, colorful vegetables and healthy fat. Everything cooks together at the same time. After dinner, a cutting board, one bowl and two sheet pans are the only cleanup you’ll be stuck with.
The only “cooking” required is slicing the meat and veggies, but even this step can be made easier by asking your butcher to slice the meat for you. Fajita meat and peppers cooked in the oven don’t have the blackened edges that regular fajitas do, but sheet pan fajitas are still really, really good. Cooking this whole meal in the oven so that you can step out of the kitchen gives you twenty-minutes of precious time to relax, or say hello to your spouse, or play with your kids. This meal is a win for everyone!
Time in the Kitchen: 20 minutes, plus 20 minutes to cook
To say our lives have been impacted by the Primal Blueprint and Mark Sisson would be a ridiculous understatement. The fact of the matter is, our lives are a direct creation from the influence that Primal Blueprint has had on our lives. We are Adam and Vanessa Lambert, creators of Bee The Wellness, an innovative personal coaching company based out of Los Angeles. This is our story.
We have all read the stories of success with weight loss and improvements to health and longevity here on Mark’s Daily Apple. What we don’t often get to hear is how the magic of this community and way of living can make a profound impact on the rest of your life. That is what the The Primal Blueprint has done for us, and we know it can do it for you too.
We were already paleo when we found Mark’s Daily Apple years ago. We had been living in the same small town and being coached by Robb Wolf and had already...