Nature, Stress, and Salivary Cortisol

Nature, Stress, and Salivary Cortisol

That’s a really sexy title for a paper.

(That wasn’t actually the title, but maybe it should have been. Who am I kidding? It’s the worst title for a paper ever.)

Stress is one of those things that we all know we need to control, but very few of us make significant progress.

In many ways, it’s harder to fix than diet, exercise, or sleep.

Nature Kills Stress

In the April Issue of Landscape and Urban Planning (not a journal I usually read, but Mark Sisson linked to the study, so here I am), researchers published this paper:
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How to Improve Your Digestion and Also Save Money

How to Improve Your Digestion and Also Save Money

If you follow many Paleo blogs at all, then it probably seems like there is an unhealthy obsession with bone broth.

Whenever someone is feeling sick…bone broth.

Want to cure digestive issues…bone broth.

Healthiest food ever…bone broth.

What’s the big fuss?

The Huge Benefits of Bone Broth

If you don’t know, bone broth is simply what it sounds like.  It’s broth that’s made by slow-cooking water with bones (and often some veggies, apple-cider vinegar, etc.).

When cooled, it usually thickens into a substance that looks like Jello.

There are no “magic” Paleo foods, but here’s why bone broth is so great:
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The Scientific Way to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies

The Scientific Way to Get Your Kids to Eat vegetables

This is an age-old problem.  

What four-year-old really wants to eat his or her vegetables?

Apparently, a large portion of the children in this study decided that they did:

Conceptual Change and the Potential for Increased Vegetable Consumption

How To Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies

The researchers in this study got some of the kids to voluntarily double their vegetable intake during snack times.  

How did they do it?
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You’re Going to Love This. How to Use Chocolate as Sunscreen!

chocolate as sunscreen

Yeah, I really couldn’t resist writing about this study as soon as I saw the title:

Long-Term Ingestion of High Flavanol Cocoa Provides Photoprotection against UV-Induced Erythema and Improves Skin Condition in Women

(Not as catchy as Chocolate as Sunscreen, but pretty much the same thing.)

Chocolate is Delicious. And Protects Us from the Sun???

Obviously, I immediately imagined smearing myself in chocolate, but the study is actually much more fascinating than that (and has a conclusion that you’ll like more).
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Natural Alternatives to Sunscreen: Can You Use Coconut Oil?

coconut oil sunscreen

I’ve heard that Pacific Islanders have used coconut oil as sunscreen for many thousands of years.

However, I’ve never been able to find any solid evidence of this.

And over the past few years, this study from India has also been discussed a lot.

In that study, however, coconut oil was shown to block only about 20% of the UV radiation from sunlight. For reference, SPF 15 sunscreen blocks about 94% of UV radiation.

So on the basis purely of how much UV radiation is blocked, coconut oil appears to be a very poor sunscreen.

Natural Alternatives to Sunscreen

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What’s So Bad About Soy? Don’t Asians Eat a Lot of It?

What's So Bad about soy

I’ve talked about legumes before.

They’re definitely not the worst things you can eat, but you certainly don’t want to make them a big part of your diet.

However, soy (which is a legume), along with peanuts, is probably the most problematic legume you can eat.

Why Soy is So Unhealthy

Like other legumes, soy is generally low in nutritional density compared to many other foods (veggies, meat, fruit, etc.).

It also contains various proteins which tend to irritate the gut.

However, there are 2 issues that are particular to soy:
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What’s the Difference between Paleo and Clean Eating or a Real Foods Diet?

What's the Difference between Paleo and Clean Eating or a Real Foods Diet?

Depending on where you live, what you watch and/or read, and who you talk to, you might hear about many different ways of eating that seem to be the same or very close to Paleo.

And, to be fair, there may or may not be any difference.

It’s almost impossible to pin down every single type of diet/eating plan that comes along.

More and more of the most effective plans/diets are extremely close to Paleo.

Why?

Mostly because it’s what works.

Paleo Versus “Clean Eating”

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Why I Changed Up My Skin Care Regimen After Going Paleo

Why I changed my skin care regimen after going paleo

Why I Changed Up My Skin Care Regimen After Going Paleo

I’ve never been big into makeup, not for any health or ideology reasons. It was simply because I had no idea how to apply make up!

Even now, my ventures into makeup typically make me look like a panda!

But I wasn’t ever very careful about what I did apply to my skin (like soaps, moisturizers, deodorant) – I thought the stuff everyone buys at the store was fine (at least from a health perspective). After all, how much difference could there be to my health?

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The Holiday Tango: 10 Essential Tactics for Eliminating Holiday Stress

The Holiday Tango - 10 essential tips for eliminating holiday stress

I thought that, by quitting the job I didn’t like, I would dramatically decrease my chances of dying.  

That’s not the actual reason why I quit that particular job, but it makes sense.  After all, there are numerous studies showing that chronic stress can increase your chances of dying of heart disease by 50% or more.

What I didn’t count on was that I’d often still be stressed while running my own business.  To be honest, I am less stressed now and greatly enjoy what I do, but we often look forward to certain things without properly preparing for the stress that they might bring.

Which brings me to the holidays…

Looking Forward to the Holidays

You’ve probably been looking forward to the holidays for quite some time.  And you should.  There are so many great things about the holidays.  

Time off from work, time with family and friends, lots of great food, and a generally great time.  But if you want to make your holidays extra-special, then there’s something that you need to be prepared for…
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How Going Gluten-Free Can Give You the Best Sex of Your Life

How Going Gluten-Free Can Give You the Best Sex of Your Life

103

Do you know what that number is?

103 is the number of times that the average American has sex every year.

You’re trying to figure out how you measure up, right?

It doesn’t matter, though.  Not really.  

We all want to have more sex, or at least better sex (when we’re being honest with ourselves).

Sex Starts with What You Eat

Forget all about Oysters and Wine.  Aphrodisiacs should be the least of your concern.  Food is much more important than that.
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Types of Sweet Potatoes (With Images) and Why You Should Eat Each

Sweet Potato Varieties

Confused about the types of sweet potatoes?

I lived on this island off the Southern coast of China for 3 months, and I partially survived on sweet potatoes(in addition to salted duck eggs, roasted duck, and fresh fish!).

One of the things that always bothered me when living in China was I couldn’t tell what type of sweet potato I was buying. My friend, who is living in Okinawa, expressed the same problem. So, when we discussed our favorite sweet potatoes (I know, it’s the sort of geeky conversation foodies indulge in!), we’d result to laborious descriptions of what the skin looked like, what color the flesh was, how sweet it was, etc.

So, when I spotted these 5 types of sweet potatoes in Whole Foods the other day, I decided to document these sweet potatoes with photographs and notes!

Here are the results (note accurate nutritional data on each type of sweet potato was difficult to obtain so please use it with a grain of salt):
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The Microscopic Danger Lurking in Grains and Peanuts

the microscopic danger grains peanuts

Maybe you’ve already given up corn, wheat, peanuts, or and other grains.

After all, they’re not very nutritious to begin with.  

But if you are still eating any of those foods, here is a bit more cause for concern:

Masked Mycotoxins Are Efficiently Hydrolyzed by Human Colonic Microbiota Releasing Their Aglycones

What Are Mycotoxins?

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Paleo Diets Solve Gut Issues

Paleo Diets solve gut issues

For the past few years, we’ve been hearing about more and more research into human gut bacteria.  

But we’re still only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s a paper that adds to the depth of our understanding:

Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity

Modern Folks Eat Too Many Simple Carbs

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We All Just Need to Chill Out!

we all just need to chill out - paleo stress

I love reading studies and science.  

I’m a geek like that.  

But very few articles have fascinated or entertained me as much as this article from the Scientific American:

Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime

This article, which is a surprisingly easy and enjoyable read, goes through more science and research into the brain and the need for downtime than I’ve ever seen.

I can’t possibly regurgitate everything that the article covers, but here are a few of the more salient points:
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