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Dear Mark: Ketosis and HIIT, Keto After Menopause, Inuit and Ketosis?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark , I’m answering a few questions from you folks. First, can a person maintain their high intensity interval training while starting a ketogenic diet? Is there anything you should watch out for? Second, is keto a good option for postmenopausal women? Though we don’t have any direct research on the subject, there is hope. And then we discuss the peculiar case of the Inuit and the missing ketones.

Let’s go:

First, Matt B asked:

I’d also like to know if HIIT workouts can be properly fueled during ketosis. My swimming coach is convinced that ketogenic diets are terrible for HIIT workouts and therefore advises against ketosis entirely.

As I said in last week’s post on keto caveats and contraindications , starting a ketogenic diet while in the midst of a season or when you’re about to start one probably isn’t advisable.

Here’s what you can do:

Once the season ends, go keto for at least six weeks. Try to stay in full-blown ketosis—low carbs, high fat, moderate protein—for those six weeks. Maintain your normal training schedule and realize that your performance will suffer for the first 3-4 weeks.

After those six weeks, incorporate carbs before or after intense training efforts. Note their effects. Do the carbs help your performance? Keep eating them, making sure to time them with your workouts. Do the carbs have no effect? You may not need them after all.

The season is a different story. You’ll probably need some carbs around your workouts and meets. If you still want to remain in ketosis, don’t worry too much; as long as you use the carbs you eat, they’ll go toward refilling your muscle glycogen stores without impacting your ketogenic status too much.

Luckily, the benefits of full blown ketone adaptation don’t just disappear. Your muscles will still be good at burning fatty acids and ketones. You’ll still have higher mitochondria density to produce more energy. And as long as you revisit ketosis on occasion, you should maintain most of the metabolic benefits.

Regarding keto, Louise asked:

Would you recommend it for perimenopausal/menopausal women?

That’s tough to answer based on the literature. There aren’t any dedicated ketogenic diet studies on post-menopausal women. Though what we have on low-carb diets, which are often ketogenic by accident, is quite positive.

For instance, post menopausal women on a low-carb, high-fat cheese-and-meat-based diet fared better than women on a low-fat, high-carb diet. Their blood lipids improved, including lower LDL particle numbers and higher HDL. There’s no word as to whether this was a ketogenic diet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they attained ketosis.

In another , post-menopausal breast cancer survivors were randomized to either a low-fat diet or a low-carb diet. Although average weight loss was similar in both groups, more individuals on the low-carb arm lost a greater percentage of their body weight.

A full-blown paleolithic diet is also quite good for post-menopausal women. In one study , going paleo helped post-menopausal women lose more body fat, more abdominal body fat, more inches on the waist, and achieve lower triglycerides.

As many

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Fab Four Collagen Smoothies

Today’s awesome recipe post is served up by Certified Celebrity Health Coach and friend to Mark’s Daily Apple, Kelly LeVeque . I’m thrilled she’s with us today, and I hope you enjoy these four incredible recipes as much as I have.

The Fab Four is the light structure for eating healthy without “eat” or “do not eat” lists. Simply look at your plate and ask yourself—”Do I have all four components?” Protein ups collagen, supports muscle tone, and metabolism; fat benefits hormones, skin, and cellular health; fiber promotes gut microbiome proliferation and detoxification; and greens (or veggies deep in color) provide cancer and inflammation fighting phytonutrients. This combination is a fail-safe for my clients to stop fighting not to eat and instead mix their nutrients to regulate over 8 hunger hormones in their body! They easily go 4-6 hours without thinking of food or snacking on processed foods and report increased energy, clearer skin and overall Body Love !

I created the Fab Four Smoothie formula to help my clients learn how to build a low sugar meal replacement smoothie. This is very different from the many juice shops, grocery smoothie bars and smoothie recipes online, which can be loaded with sugar, specifically fructose sugar from excess fruit, agave, dates and juice. When it comes to weight loss and energy, the #fab4smoothie is the key! For some new clients, I spare them the science and simply ask them to start every day with a Fab Four Smoothie. Within the first week I am getting exciting texts about how their skin is glowing, energy is high and the scale is down.

The Fab Four smoothie limits fruit and instead helps you fill up on protein, fat and fiber, which naturally help to elongate and balance your blood sugar curve. This combination keeps you from crashing before lunch and sabotaging your healthy eating efforts. When you arrive at your next meal alive, you can easily make conscious decisions to put the Fab Four on your next plate.

Looking to kick chocolate cravings? Start with a Chocolate Collagen protein, almond butter and flax seed smoothie. Sneak in a handful of spinach—you won’t even taste it! Looking to increase nutrition? Not a fan of super green smoothies? Opt for a small handful of micro greens: they contain up to 14x the nutrition of the full-grown plant.

Fab Four Acai Flax Master

Acai berries are extremely high in anthocyanins, a plant antioxidant associated with the ability to lower cholesterol levels, fight oxidative stress and help prevent aging. With twice the antioxidants as blueberries and loaded with vitamin A and fiber this berry is a skin superhero!

Broccoli sprouts can deliver up to 14x the nutrition as the full grown vegetable without making your smoothie taste green. Broccoli spouts are rich in sulphoraphone a potent anti cancer chemical!

Pineapple Green Dream

Adaptogen Effects: American and Asian Ginseng

I’ve been using adaptogens for quite some time, but in the last year I’ve been experimenting a little more with them. You may have caught my mention of a few adaptogenic varieties in one version of my daily big ass salad  (not for a flavor hit). I’ve also briefly highlighted  ashwagandha and holy basil, and I’ve always been a big believer (and user) of Rhodiola rosea for  normalizing stress response .

All well and good. But what’s the backstory on adaptogens? What is there to gain? And what about the other options? 

What Are Adaptogens?

The essence of adaptogens, natural substances that help the body adapt to various stress inputs , is this: they don’t make a name for themselves for the specific ailments that they might resolve, but for their ability to restore balance and banish stress from the body and mind. They’re the golden boys of holistic medicine, purely because they are themselves holistic.

Let’s dive into some real-world scenarios. Your average functional herb—let’s say ginger —has a finite number of beneficial functions when ingested. Those functions might include boosting digestion, relieving nausea, aiding immunity, and fighting infection. All very commendable outcomes.

But then let’s look at an adaptogenic herb. When ingested, the pathways on which it acts within the body are virtually infinite—by its very nature, it works to alleviate stress of all kinds, the chronic version of which we know is often the root cause of most diseases and common ailments. 

It’s an exclusive club. In their comprehensive volume on adaptogens , David Winston and Steven Maimes set out three key requirements for a herb to attain that all-important adaptogen badge:

1. An adaptogen is nontoxic to its recipient.

2. An adaptogen produces a nonspecific response in the body—an increase in the power of resistance against multiple stressors including physical, chemical, or biological agents.

3. An adaptogen has a normalizing influence on physiology, irrespective of the direction of change from physiological norms caused by the stressor.

What’s in It for You?

Stress is all around us , but chronic stress does us no favors

Taking our cue from Grok, most of what we do is all about alleviating that stress by both traditional and modern means. We clean up our diet to reduce inflammatory stress and avoid toxic stress, we simplify and streamline our lifestyle to minimize emotional stress .

That’s all very well, but there’s only so much you can sidestep stressful circumstances. Even the most avid Primal enthusiast is still going to come up against any number of difficulties and demands over the course of a day, and it’s for this reason that we might turn to adaptogens.

Back in 1958, the idea of adaptogens was  first introduced to the scientific world (having been present in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years) as substances that increase the “state of nonspecific resistance” to stress. By their very nature, adaptogens are generalists—their role is to protect against stressors of all kind and to maintain a state of homeostasis within the body. This makes them very

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6 Healthy Eating Tips for First Trimester Pregnant Mamas

Today’s post is served by good friend to Mark’s Daily Apple, Stephanie Greunke. Stephanie has teamed up with Melissa Hartwig of Whole30® to create the Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program .

Food aversions and nausea plague up to 80% of women during the first trimester of pregnancy, which can be really frustrating for the mama who is trying to eat a healthy, nourishing diet. While there is no one specific cause of food aversions and nausea, some of the proposed factors include increased hormone levels (specifically estrogen, progesterone, and hCG), hypoglycemia, thyroid dysfunction (specifically increased serum free T4 and decreased serum TSH), a woman’s enhance sense of smell, stress, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, and physiological changes of pregnancy such as delayed gastric emptying and constipation.

One of the largest studies to date of pregnant women, the Collaborative Perinatal Project , found nausea and vomiting in pregnancy to be more common in younger women (the incidence is highest among women younger than 20 years old and drops significantly after age 35), women pregnant for the first time (primigravida), women with less than 12 years of education, women with multiple gestation, women carrying female infants, and women who are obese. Also, women whose mothers experienced nausea and vomiting with pregnancy are more likely to experience it.

If your “morning sickness” progresses to severe and persistent vomiting with substantial weight loss, you may be experiencing a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is a much more severe form of this common pregnancy concern and requires management and follow-up with your provider. Please, don’t try to tough it out on your own!

At Whole30 Healthy Mama, Happy Baby , we understand that morning sickness can put a halt on your dedicated efforts to eat healthy! The good news is that most women find the worst morning sickness symptoms usually end around 12-16 weeks, and typically nausea is a good sign that the pregnancy is progressing well. Researchers have found that the presence of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is correlated with lower rates of miscarriage. Hopefully, that fact makes you feel just a little better!

So, keep your head up, mama. Today I have six tips to help you eat healthy despite aversions and nausea.

Bring the whole darn grocery store home with you.

This tip comes from Whole30 Headmistress and HMHB co-creator Melissa Hartwig. She experienced lots of food aversions during her pregnancy and used this strategy. That’s why we love Primal Kitchen® products—you can stock your pantry and fridge with them, so you’ll always have flavorful and delicious options to make meals based on what sounds good to you in the moment. The more stocked your fridge and pantry are, the better chances you’ll have that you’ll be able to find something you can stomach. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner or a friend to run out and grab something for you when the mood strikes. You might be at the grocery store a bit more often during this time, but it usually only lasts a few weeks.

Capitalize on what and when

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 457


High cholesterol, lower Parkinson’s risk.

Cities are evolutionary hotspots.

19-year-olds are as sedentary as 60-year-olds.

Bariatric surgery creates an entirely new microbiome.

Many surgeries rely on the placebo effect.

Fried potato consumption raises mortality risk. Is it the potatoes, the frying, or the oil?


New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 173: Tero Isokaupilla: Host Elle Russ chats with Tero Isokaupilla, founder of Four Sigmatic and evangelist for medicinal mushrooms.

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

How the top Ultimate Frisbee athlete in America eats, trains, and lives.

Media, Schmedia

Between Rafe Kelley and Katy Bowman, the Pacific Northwest’s movement scene is quite strong.

Maine woman drowns rabid raccoon with her bare hands. Way to represent my home state. 

Everything Else

7%’s not that bad.

“His parents didn’t think his condition was serious.”

Hugh Jackman sure does enjoy dancing.

The case for waiting to bathe newborns.

A man, his sword, and his dog.

Reason #1027 not to eat fast food.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Father’s Day giveaway contest you should jump on: The Primal Kitchen® Father-Daughter package, including signed copies of both my and Devyn’s new cookbooks, plus our full line of dressings, oils, and condiments.

New discovery I found fascinating: How memories form.

News I decided to misrepresent: Brazil is creating tilapia-human hybrids.

Important to read before you go swimming this summer: How much pee is in that pool?

I assume this happens daily in Brazil: Man drops groceries.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Jun 18 – June 24)

Comment of the Week

“‘Man can’t live on bacon alone.’

The most horrific words ever spoken. ?”

– I know, Ontario. A few of my workers caught wind and tried prying my fingers off the keyboard. I almost wish they’d succeeded. So it goes.

And Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

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This Is Not a Story of Weight Loss, but of Health

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!

This is not a story of weight loss (I’ve always been thin), but of health. I grew up on a diet of ramen noodles, pasta, potato chips, pizza rolls, and Dr. Pepper. So it’s no surprise that I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease by the time I was 19.

When I was a teenager, nutrition consisted of reading prevention magazine for tips on “heart healthy whole grains”. My first real step towards health was when I was about 14 and decided to give up soda for my New Year resolution. It was HARD. My family thought I was strange when I got water instead at a fast food restaurant, especially since the soda was “already paid for” with my meal. But I did it. Of course, that wasn’t the end all cure for my health problems. I had a lot further to go.

When I was about 13 the health issues I’d been dealing with all my life got worse. Constipation, inability to tolerate heat, canker sores, fatigue, etc. If we went out shopping, I couldn’t stand or walk for more than about an hour without having to sit down. My mom took me to the doctor and had some tests run. Negative for thyroid problems. If only I’d known how wrong that doctor was.

When I was about 15, I started having issues with my heart racing. I would be at school, sitting at the computer, and suddenly I could FEEL my pulse in my neck. I tried to describe it to my doctor but he didn’t understand what I meant. Still, I was given an EKG (small murmur but nothing too out of the ordinary) and a heart monitor, but I was never able to catch an episode and record it.

Around this time I somehow got my hands on It Starts With Food, read it voraciously, and started a Whole 30. I lasted a day before the carb flu was too much and I quit. “See,” people said, “this is just proof that you need some carbs and grains in your diet!” I continued to eat junk for the next 4 years of my life, but I also began to read websites on paleo and primal diets (including Marks Daily Apple) and make small improvements here and there.

Finally, when I was 19 (2012), I went to a normal yearly check up. As my doctor was feeling my throat she told me my thyroid felt enlarged, and she was going to order some blood tests. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was extremely fortunate, because my doctor had an autoimmune thyroid disease called

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My 16 Favorite Fat Sources (Plus My Latest Big-Ass Salad)

Going ketogenic has made me hone in on my fat sources even more than before. This is an essential practice for anyone seriously pursuing a ketogenic diet. As fat will comprise the majority of your calories, you need to maximize the nutrition you’ll obtain from the fats you choose. You could technically go keto using canola oil, refined coconut oil, and MCT oil powder—many of the ketogenic formulas used in epilepsy clinics are highly processed and refined—but I wouldn’t recommend it. Micronutrients still matter. They arguably matter even more when your food sources are restricted.

I try to get whole food fats. If the fat is isolated and extracted, I try to make sure it’s rich in micronutrients. If it’s low in micronutrients, I make sure I have a good reason to consume it.

There are many reasons. Some rooted more in nutrition, some more in pleasure, some convenience.

So what are my favorite fat sources? How do I use them? What do I find so appealing?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

From the historical precedent (1000s of years of heavy use in the Mediterranean and Levant), the clinical support (hundreds of trials showing beneficial effects), and the light peppery finish, it’s difficult for anyone to deny the beauty and enduring utility of a good bottle of extra virgin olive oil . I’ll. Even though EVOO is quite robust in the face of high heat , I still prefer using it in certain dressings and for lightly grilling fish, just to preserve the delicate flavor.

Go to a farmer’s market and buy the local olive oil that tastes best to you. Absent that, the EVOOs from California are usually quite good (and real ).

Extra Virgin Avocado Oil

I rifled through dozens of avocado producers to find the perfect source of extra virgin avocado oil so that I could sell the best product, sure, but also because I wanted the best for myself. That’s ultimately how I come up with any of my projects and businesses—to scratch my own itches. It seems to be working, because I haven’t had a tastier oil that asserts itself without losing its capacity to work with other foods. EVOO doesn’t work with everything. EVAO, in my experience, does.

This one’s quite good . And all our Primal Kitchen dressings are made with avocado oil.

Coconut Milk in Smoothies and Curries

In powder form, coconut milk creates the creamiest, smoothest protein (whether whey or collagen) powder I’ve ever tasted, which is why I added it to Primal Fuel and Collagen Fuel . Plus, it’s a great source of medium chain triglycerides, special fatty acids that convert directly into ketones.

The fact that it’s a traditional fat used by many successful Pacific Islander cultures, sometimes in copious amounts, without any indication of poor health consequences is another mark in its favor.

I like Aroy-D in the small cartons .

Egg Yolks

Gram for gram, egg yolks are the most nutrient-dense fat around. And they’re not just something you scramble. They’re legitimate culinary fats. No, you won’t sauté your veggies in egg yolk. That wouldn’t work. Egg yolks can provide the backbone of a salad dressing, like classic Caesar or one of my personal favorites (yolks, sesame

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Dear Mark: Keto Follow-Up

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering some questions from the comment board of last week’s Definitive Guide to Keto . You folks came up with some great ones. Is counting carbs in non-starchy vegetables still unnecessary on a ketogenic diet ? What’s the connection between ketosis and “starvation mode,” and should we be worried? What if you don’t want to lose weight on a ketogenic diet—what modifications should you make? Are you in danger of blowing a breathalyzer test due to ketone metabolites on your breath? Can endurance athletes benefit from keto? Is cyclical ketosis preferable to constant ketosis? Are sugar alcohols ketogenic-friendly?

Let’s go:

I got a very important question. In terms of standard, not ketogenic, low/moderate carb diets I’ve read where you shouldn’t count low calorie green veggies considering most of their glucose is burned during the digestion process. This method has worked for me very well, when I count carbs I think of fruits, tubers, berries, honey, etc., not broccoli and kale. But if I were wanting to experiment with ketosis should I count broccoli, kale, spinach, and other green veggies? Or does the same method apply in ketosis?

— Jackson

It applies to ketogenic diets, too. You can still eat non-starchy vegetables freely. One way to think of it is that vegetables that grow above the ground are safe while vegetables that grow beneath the ground can knock you out of ketosis.

Some might say, “What’s the harm in counting?” After all, you’re only being accurate. A diet should be as effortless as possible. You want to remove as much unnecessary stress as you can, and counting the carbs in broccoli is about the silliest thing to stress over.

Never heard of this diet before Its very interesting what got me confused was that I have always read that making your body in a ”starving feel” if i’m understanding right it’s basically the purpose of this diet your body lowers your metabolism as your body is scared that there is no food. But this diet is saying it helps you lose weight which contradicts with what i just said. I am no nutrition expert by all means if anyone could explain to me if what I said is basically a myth or why this diet works different I would be really grateful heck il even give it a try and see how it goes haha :3

— Pineapple Deficiency

A ketogenic diet tries to mimic the beneficial effects of starvation while limiting the negative effects. Ketones mimic the life-extending effects of caloric restriction, for example. Ketosis also  induces autophagy , just like fasting. But because there are still ample micronutrients coming in, and you’re eating enough protein to provide the amino acids you require from meat (rather than your own muscle and organ tissue), most of the negative effects are reduced.

Thank you for this information. For many of the health benefits you list, I’d like to get into ketosis for a time. But I do NOT want to lose weight. I don’t have any pounds to spare. The past

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How Being Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes Improved My Entire Life!

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!

If you’re reading this story in the hope of seeing drastic before and after photos, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed (unless of course I could wear my body inside-out, in which case the transformation would be pretty damn impressive!), but rather my story is about completely changing my life in every single aspect to become the healthiest and happiest version of myself.

Here we go…

I better start by introducing myself. My name is Drew Harrisburg, and I’m 28 years young. I’m from the beautiful Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. Ever since I was a young kid I’ve been intrigued with the human body, as well as had a keen interest in science and nutrition. My love for all of those topics is what sent me on the path to becoming a qualified health professional. By the age of 22, I had earned my title as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, and I was on my way to opening my own private practice.

I’ve always been a very active and sporty guy, but that didn’t mean I was holistically healthy. I used to exercise for mostly aesthetic purposes. Put simply—I wanted to look like the guys on the cover of the fitness magazines. I used to eat a diet fairly high in refined carbohydrates with most of them coming from packets of gluten-containing grains. I was a ‘glutaminated’ from inside-out (yes, I made up that word). I thought I was doing everything right because I was following the conventional wisdom of healthy eating guided by the old food pyramid.

When I was 23 years old I started noticing some pretty serious changes happening. Over the space of about 6 months I lost 13 kgs (29 lbs). I withered away from an athletic and muscular 82 kg (181 lbs) physique into a 68 kg (150 lbs) stringy ectomorph. To say I was constantly tired would be a vast understatement – I was absolutely exhausted! I often fell asleep whilst driving my car. I remember one time having to pull over and sleep on the side of the road despite being only 10 minutes away from my house. I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open no matter how hard I slapped myself, pinched myself, or yelled at myself. I even fell asleep in a job interview face-to-face with the head of the company, despite sticking a pen into my thigh under the table.

My strength was deteriorating in the gym. My muscle mass was melting away. I was hungry, thirsty, and frequently waking up in the night to urinate multiple times and drink from the tap.

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21-Day Check-in (and Plug for Instagram)

I’ll be serving up a traditional post soon, but I thought I’d check in and see how everybody is doing. I know we have a LOT of folks participating in the 21-Day Challenge led by my excellent staff. It’s been exciting to watch from the sidelines this week—to see them share their best tips and connect with our audiences.

If you aren’t joining the crew on Vimify (or if you are!), you can check out their Instagram Story videos and photos from the Mark’s Daily Apple, Primal Blueprint, and PRIMAL KITCHEN® Instagram accounts. (Just click on the circle logos when you pull up the app to see the latest additions.) The staff and videos are all different, so you’ll get the most by following all three channels. Definitely worth popping in and seeing what they’re up to!

Have a great day, everybody, and Grok on!

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