Archetypal Resting Positions: How Sitting Like Your Ancestors Could Save Your Health

Tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis, osteoarthritis, and other connective tissue injuries are on the rise. Athletes have always gotten them, but it’s only in the past few decades that regular folks are getting them too. For some connective tissue injuries, non-athletes outnumber athletes. That shouldn’t happen if the conventional wisdom—injuries to tendons, ligaments, and cartilage occur only because of overuse or overloading during intense physical activity—were true.

Now, of course the way we train affects the health and function of our connective tissue. Acute injuries absolutely occur. Overuse injuries absolutely develop. But that’s to be expected. Athletes put their bodies through a lot, and there is going to be fallout from that. Where those injuries shouldn’t be happening is in regular, everyday folks who don’t train for a living or engage in intense physical competition on a regular basis. And yet that’s exactly how it’s going down in the world today. In one recent study, the majority of patients with Achilles tendon injuries couldn’t attribute their condition to working out or playing sports. In other words, they just got it.

Part of the problem is our nutrition. We eat too many of the inflammatory foods which contribute to connective tissue degradation and deconditioning, like grains and refined seed oils and sugar, and too few of the nutritive building blocks our bodies use to buttress and repair damaged connective tissue, like collagen. For over a decade, I’ve sought to address these deficiencies in the modern diet by laying out the Primal eating plan and creating non-inflammatory versions of existing products (like mayo and salad dressings) and products that replace some of the foods we’ve been missing. This is why I started selling collagen powder—because it’s the greatest source of gelatin, provides the necessary building blocks for collagen construction and repair, and provides the glycine that balances out the methionine in our meat-heavy diets and makes them less inflammatory.

This is all standard stuff at this point. It’s no surprise to most of you. Eat healthy, exercise, sleep, and most other things fall into place, including the health of your connective tissues. But it can’t explain everything. There’s more to it.

I’ve been suspicious of stretching in the past, especially static stretching. You don’t see Hadza tribes people doing the downward dog, hitting the couch stretch, or doing toe touches every morning. They simply move around a lot and avoid sitting in chairs for ten hours a day, and it’s enough. Right?

But over the past few months, I’ve become acquainted with Matt Wallden, the Global Head of Education for the Chek Institute. Like me, he’s obsessed with taking lessons from human evolution and applying them to humans living today to help them thrive. We really hit it off, so much that we collaborated on a pair of papers that appear in the April edition of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies that discuss the power of “Archetypal resting positions” (several positions depicted in the article) and the crisis (and solution) of “Modern disintegration and primal connectivity.”

In the papers, we posit that it’s not just our tendency to sit in chairs way too much that’s destroying our health, movement quality, and tissue quality. We’re also failing to utilize the archetypal resting positions that humans have been using for hundreds of thousands of years. Sitting in chairs isn’t ideal, but far worse is our neglect of the dozen or so permutations of ancestral floor positions.

  • The full squat, with heels down.
  • The high kneel.
  • The low kneel.
  • The side sit.
  • The long sit.
  • The cross-legged sit.
  • In each of these positions, some tissues are lengthened (stretched) while others are compressed.
  • The squat stretches the back, glutes, quads, and calves.
  • The high kneel stretches the quads, Achilles’ tendon, and foot fascia.
  • The low kneel stretches the feet and quads.
  • The long sit stretches the hamstrings and wrist flexors.
  • The cross-legged sit stretches the hip adductors and rotators.
  • The side sit stretches the external and internal rotators of the hip.

If you alternate between all the positions, every limb will receive the stretch/compression treatment that has been shown to improve tissue healing and maintain tissue viability and function.

Many of these positions also restrict blood flow to specific areas of the body, a practice that has been shown to enhance connective tissue healing. You restrict the blood flow and then restore it, and the tissue gets a “rebound” effect.

Now imagine doing this all the time, whenever you’re at rest. Imagine not having any chairs at all. Imagine how you’d feel—and move, and perform, and recover—if instead of spending 10 hours a day hunched over in a chair you spent 2 hours a day exposing your body to these archetypal stretch/compression positions.

Not only that, but sitting in these archetypal resting positions may even improve glucose tolerance.

We cite research showing that a gentle passive stretching program (10 different stretching positions, 4 30-second “reps” each for a total of 20 minutes) lowers blood sugar in diabetics. That’s a possibility, but I’ve always found dedicated stretching or mobility routines to be the hardest to maintain. And I’m not alone—pretty much everyone hates stretching. A more evolutionarily-congruent method would be to integrate these resting positions into your daily life.

Hanging around at home or at the park or beach? Sure, getting down into these positions on the floor is cinch. You could easily make that work. But what about at work? What if you work in front of a computer? I’m picturing a floor-based workstation that enables the archetypal resting position as you work, sort of a low-lying modular “desk” that can be manipulated into various shapes to adhere to your particular resting position. That would be very cool and very interesting. We haven’t done the research on the cognitive effects of chair sitting vs archetypal resting positioning, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they offered some performance-enhancing effects for knowledge workers.

In the next couple weeks, Matt and I will be releasing a podcast discussing the archetypal resting positions and other topics in full.

For now, why don’t you make it a point to spend the next month doing at least one hour of archetypal floor sitting every day? See if you notice any improvements to your tissue function, and report back. I’d love to hear your results.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care!

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References:

De jonge S, Van den berg C, De vos RJ, et al. Incidence of midportion Achilles tendinopathy in the general population. Br J Sports Med. 2011;45(13):1026-8.

Wallden M, Sisson M. Modern disintegration and primal connectivity. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2019;23(2):359-365.

Wallden M, Sisson M. Biomechanical attractors – A paleolithic prescription for tendinopathy & glycemic control. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2019;23(2):366-371.

Taheri N, Mohammadi HK, Ardakani GJ, Heshmatipour M. The effects of passive stretching on the blood glucose levels of patients with type 2 diabetes. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2019;23(2):394-398.

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30 Keto Recipes Ready In Under 30 Minutes

Thanks to Courtney Hamilton at Paleohacks.com for today’s recipe.

Have food ready and on the table in under half an hour with these keto-friendly weekday meals!

One of the hardest parts about sticking to any diet is the amount of time you have to dedicate to preparing food. Gone are the days when you could run through the drive-thru on a particularly crazy day—at least, not without ketosis-wrecking consequences.

The next time you’re in a pinch, forget the fast food and check out this list. If you have a well-stocked pantry, you’re guaranteed to be able to make many of these 30-minute, keto-friendly meals at any given time. In other words, you can feed yourself in the amount of time it would take to run through the drive-thru.

You’ve got options for every meal of the day. Whip up delicious keto breakfasts like bacon and avocado burritos or stick-to-your-ribs keto “oatmeal” first thing in the morning, assemble a satiating Tex-Mex salad or three-ingredient salmon zucchini pasta for lunch, make a Korean beef bowl after work and indulge in a creamy bacon and shrimp skillet for a post-workout dinner.

Whatever time of day, there’s a keto meal on here for you.

Psst: If you’re looking for low-carb munchies in between meals, look no further than these 23 keto snack ideas!

#1 PaleoHacks | Easy Low Carb Keto “Noatmeal”

Start your morning off right with a warm bowl of oatmeal without all the carbs. This version simmers cauliflower rice in coconut milk with hemp seeds and chia seeds for a cozy breakfast.

#2 The Nourished Caveman | Keto Creamy Shrimp and Bacon Skillet

Few things are more succulent than the combination of shrimp, bacon, and coconut cream. Bonus: This meal comes together in minutes.

#3 PaleoHacks | Keto Breakfast Burrito with Bacon and Avocado

This ketosis-fueling burrito is technically made for breakfast, but we’d scarf this down any time of day.

#4 Healthful Pursuit | 5-Minute Cream of Tomato Soup

If you only have five minutes to spare, look no further. This creamy soup gets its richness from a surprise ingredient: macadamia nuts.

#5 PaleoHacks | Keto Breakfast Burger with Avocado Buns

Looking for a way to jazz up your keto breakfasts? Make “buns” out of avocado! Yes, this is a fork and knife burger.

#6 I Heart Umami | Paleo Filipino Skirt Steak with Cauliflower Rice

If you’re craving Filipino comfort food, give this low-carb version of steak and rice a try.

#7 PaleoHacks | Easy Buffalo Chicken Salad

This creamy, bright and spicy buffalo chicken salad is wrapped in crunchy lettuce cups for a healthy lunch your coworkers will surely envy.

#8 Wholesome Yum | Crispy Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar

How do you pack a ton of flavor into Brussels sprouts? You pan-fry them with crunchy bacon and top with tangy balsamic vinegar.

#9 PaleoHacks | Keto Turkey and Egg Breakfast Skillet

Ground turkey and eggs make for a quick and delicious breakfast any morning, but this recipe works for any time of day, too.

# 10 Wholesome Yum | Italian Marinated Artichoke Salad

This artichoke salad is super close to antipasto—go ahead and add some meat if your macros can take it!

#11 PaleoHacks | 15-Minute Pesto Shrimp Pasta with Zucchini Noodles

Put a spin on pasta night with these zucchini noodles, slathered in Paleo pesto and topped with succulent shrimp.

#12 Nom Nom Paleo | Paleo Sausage Egg McMuffin

Craving fast food? Opt for this ketosis-fueling version, which builds a “McMuffin” out of fried egg patties and nixes the cheese for creamy avocado.

#13 Keto Summit | 3-Ingredient Keto Salmon Pasta

Filled with satiating fats, this three-ingredient “pasta” requires only zucchini noodles, cooked salmon, and your favorite mayo. Top with your favorite seasonings, and dig in!

#14 Wholesome Yum | Keto Coconut Curry Chicken

Before you head out to an Indian restaurant to gorge on rice and naan, reconsider: Can you make a low-carb version at home? This recipe proves you can.

#15 PaleoHacks | Kale and Mushroom Sausage Patties

These savory sausage patties are so versatile—use them to make a sandwich with this keto bread, serve them alongside eggs, or dip in your favorite keto sauce.

#16 Wholesome Yum | Oven Roasted Mushrooms with Balsamic, Garlic and Herbs

You can serve this hearty side alongside a thick steak, but these mushrooms are meaty enough to work as a main dish all by themselves.

#17 The Nourished Caveman | Kale and Eggs Benedict

Skip the English muffin and top hearty kale and fatty eggs with a creamy, keto-friendly hollandaise sauce. Perfect for brunch!

#18 Wholesome Yum | Broccoli Cauliflower Salad with Bacon and Mayo

All you need is 10 minutes to whip up this hearty cruciferous salad with creamy mayo and salty bacon, and you’ll be fueled for hours.

#19 Diethood | Steak Fajita Roll-Ups

Here’s a fun way to serve up your steak and veggies: make steak wraps out of them!

#20 Bulletproof Blog | Low Carb Beef Stir-fry

This Asian-inspired beef stir-fry with zucchini noodles boasts tons of flavor with very few carbs.

#21 Little Spice Jar | Garlic Butter Baked Salmon in Foil

This easy-peasy, low-mess dinner cooks up quick and produces the most flavorful salmon, ever. Be sure to opt for grass-fed butter.

#22 Bulletproof Blog | Poached Cod in Tomato Broth

Looking to switch up your seafood intake? Try poached cod in a vibrant, fragrant tomato broth. The whole meal comes together in just 20 minutes!

#23 Eat Well 101 | 15-Minute Cowboy Butter Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

Grass-fed butter elevates the humble butter chicken in this 15-minute recipe.

#24 That’s Low Carb?! | Bok Choy Chicken Stir-Fry

It’s hard to beat a quick-cooking stir-fry, thanks to its ability to pack in tons of flavor in just a few minutes.

#25 Life Made Sweeter | Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

Packed with fajita chicken and veggies, this hearty and filling salad is always a safe bet!

#26 Primavera Kitchen | Shrimp Avocado Cucumber Salad

This colorful salad is just what you need on a warm day.

#27 A Sweet Life | Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Grab a sheet pan for a super quick meal with easy cleanup. Then, grab some lettuce leaves and instead of tortillas and dig in!

#28 Happy Body Formula | Low Carb Korean Beef Bowl

Ginger, garlic, chili, fish sauce—while quick, nothing about this meal is boring.

#29 All Day I Dream About Food | Lemongrass Chicken with Cilantro Cauliflower Rice

Fragrant lemongrass gives this 30-minute keto meal a distinctive Asian flair. Use whichever keto/Paleo sweetener you’d prefer here.

#30 Physical Kitchness | Easy Paleo Greek Chicken Skillet

If you’re a fan of Mediterranean food, you’ll love this chicken skillet with Greek seasonings, lemon, olives, and artichoke hearts.

Thanks again to Courtney Hamilton from Paleohacks.com. Interested in seeing a certain recipe or roundup of a certain category—Primal or Primal-keto? Let us know below!

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Primal Cooking Series: Cheese Crisps

Last week I launched the beginning of my Primal + Keto Cooking Series. (Check it out here if you missed it.) Today I’m back with Lindsay Taylor for another great Primal + keto snack that will take you less than a minute to prepare and less than ten to cook.

One of the things people seem to miss the most when they give up grains is crackers—cheese and crackers especially…. But what if the cheese could be the cracker? (Mind blown, right?) You can pay a premium for ready-made versions in the store, or you can spend less than ten at home making your own for a small fraction of the cost. Just see how easy is it.

Cheese Crisp Recipe

Servings: 6 crisps

Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 7-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 ºF/205 ºC.

Line a metal baking sheet with parchment paper.

Finely shred a cup’s worth of cheddar cheese (or use bagged finely shredded cheese). We’re using cheddar here, but this recipe works for other hard cheeses such as Parmesan, colby-jack, etc. Note: finely shredded cheese will melt more quickly and evenly.

Take a generous pinch of shredded cheese and spread out in an individual circle on the sheet. Gently press down. Repeat until parchment sheet is full, leaving a couple inches between cheese circles.

Heat in oven for 7-10 minutes. Take out and let cool at least 5 minutes.

Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, sliced meats or sauces.

Thanks for stopping in, everybody. Be sure to check back next Monday for more Primal +Keto Cooking Made Easy. Have an awesome week!

Nutritional Information (per crisp):

  • Calories: 36.6
  • Net Carbs: 0 grams
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams

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Salmon Teriyaki Bowls

Teriyaki is a classic accompaniment for salmon, but concerns about soy may have kept you away from enjoying this combo. No more. Primal Kitchen® No-Soy Teriyaki brings the taste to new life. And it goes perfectly with this Primal- and keto-friendly cauliflower rice mix. Scallions, carrots, garlic and orange add all the nuance and brightness you’d expect from this Asian-inspired bowl. It’s a perfect dinner any night of the week (or leftovers lunch).

Servings: 2

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

Salmon:

Cauli-Rice:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen® Avocado Oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 3 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
  • To garnish: sesame seeds, green onion, sriracha

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 ºF/176 ºC. In a small bowl, combine the Primal Kitchen Teriyaki Sauce and ½ tablespoon sesame oil. Brush the salmon all over with the sauce and allow it to marinate at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

Place an orange slice on top of each pieces of salmon and place them on a parchment covered sheet pan on top of the crushed salmon. Bake until the salmon is just opaque in the center. The length of time will depend on the thickness of the salmon pieces, but estimate around 15 minutes. Remove the salmon from the oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

While the salmon is cooking, whisk the eggs together in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the avocado oil and shortly after the whisked egg. Use a rubber spatula to carefully flip the egg over once the omelet sets. Once the egg has set, remove it with the spatula, place it on a plate and cut it into make small strips.

In the same pan, add the remaining ½ tablespoon of sesame oil and the chopped carrot over medium heat. Saute until the carrot starts to soften, then add half of the green onion. Stir for 30 seconds or so and add the garlic and ginger. Heat until fragrant and add in the cauliflower rice. Heat over medium-high heat quickly for 2-3 minutes, until the rice begins to soften. Add the coconut aminos in 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring in between so the cauliflower can absorb some of the liquid. Once the cauliflower is browned and has softened, add the remaining green onion and the chopped egg and toss. Remove the pan from the heat and add any garnishes you like. Serve alongside the salmon.

Nutrition Information:

  • Calories: 408
  • Net Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fat: 20 grams
  • Protein: 37 grams

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Weekly Link Love — Edition 29

Research of the Week

Scientists can’t quantify what makes a good liar.

Medieval English peasants ate mostly meat stew, cheese, fruits, and vegetables.

Bowel cancer rates rise among young adults.

Researchers identify two gut bacteria linked to mental health.

In mice, a keto diet lowers schizophrenia symptoms, partially by modulating the gut biome.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 339: Jeffrey M. Smith: Host Elle Russ chats with healthy GMO advocate Jeffrey M. Smith.

Episode 340: Dr. Cate Shanahan: Host Brad Kearns chats with Dr. Cate Shanahan about becoming cancer proof.

Health Coach Radio Episode 11: Dr. William Davis: Dr. William Davis of “Wheat Belly” fame talks about the gut microbiome and drops a recipe for oxytocin-rich yogurt.

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.

Media, Schmedia

These days, health plummets after age 27.

Don’t bring CBD to airports (yet).

Interesting Blog Postsd

How small farms can feed the world.

Pete Attia on breakfast research.

Social Notes

Egg consensus.

I agree with this assessment of grilling essentials.

Everything Else

Low-carb endurance athletes should eat extra protein.

Ketones may help developing brains recover from trauma.

Why one person (and, increasingly, millions of others) wears noise-curating headphones all the time.

The many ways we can break our fasts.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Event you need to attend next year: The 2020 Metabolic Health Summit in Los Angeles.

Article I found interesting: “When time became regular and universal, it changed history.”

Research that fascinated me: Sweat protects against sun damage.

Line that horrified me: “She said the 20-month-old weighed just 4.89kg, looked like a three-month-old and had no teeth…

Important research: Ultra-processed diets increase calorie intake and weight gain.

Question I’m Asking

Has anyone found good results eating an ultra-processed diet—I’m thinking one based on powders and pills and slurries?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (May 12 – May 18)

Comment of the Week

“Ok, so it’s not exactly Keto popcorn, but our local movie theater offers an appetizer called, ‘Buffalo Cauliflower.’ It’s toasted bits of cauliflower with salt and oil. Totally works for me and I’m not tormented by the delicious aroma of popcorn when I see a movie, anymore.

I like it so much that I adapted a recipe on Cooks Illustrated called Roasted Cauliflower. I cut the cauliflower in smaller bits than it suggests, then make sure each piece is covered in plenty of olive oil and salt. So delicious. I think we eat it once per week. And, my husband and son never really liked cauliflower until I made it this way.

We all have to order our own dish at the movie theatre these days because we like it so much.”

– That’s amazing to hear. Where is this place, Barb?

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Postpartum Body Image: Primal Perspective

Today’s post was inspired by a question that came in from a reader who is struggling with depression and body image issues after having children. I asked my colleague Dr. Lindsay Taylor, being a psychologist and a mother herself, to step in.

Having witnessed all the wondrous changes that women’s bodies go through during and after pregnancy with my wife Carrie, I’d like to add my support and encouragement to my readers who struggle with these issues.

This post is for all the mamas and mamas-to-be who are struggling with the ways in which their bodies have changed, grown, stretched, and been marked by pregnancy. For you mothers who have suffered a loss, I see you, and you are included here.

It’s really a shame, but not a surprise, that so many women are plagued by negative body image around pregnancy. A strong predictor of negative body image during and after pregnancy is negative body image before pregnancy. Body image is, of course, something so many people struggle with every day, women in particular. Volumes have been written about the ways in which our cultural standards of attractiveness, media and social media, and social factors conspire to make us feel unattractive, unworthy, and dissatisfied with our bodies. That doesn’t need to be rehashed here.

Then when you’re pregnant, you and everyone around you is hyper-focused on your body. Are you gaining the “right” amount of weight? Eating the right things? Moving in the right way? Strangers are commenting on your size and shape, and probably touching you too. (PSA: Don’t do this.)

Some women love this time and revel in the changes their bodies undergo. Other women feel completely alienated from and even disgusted by their bodies. Probably many women feel different and conflicting emotions at different times. No matter what your experience has been, let me assure you that it’s normal. The whole gamut of experiences is normal and valid.

If you feel confused, conflicted, sad, disappointed, or discouraged about the ways your body has changed because of pregnancy, it’s OK. Your body is different, your relationship to it is different. There is no right or wrong here. My goal for today is to help if you do feel distressed by persistent feelings of negative body image and self-worth after pregnancy. It needs to be addressed. Poor body image correlates with symptoms of postpartum depression (it’s not clear that one necessarily causes the other, but some data suggest that poor body image predicts later depression). This can interfere with your relationships with others, including your partner and, very importantly, your baby.

Sometimes when we talk about this, the first reaction is, “Great, I already feel like &%$! about myself, and now I feel worse because my feelings are going to mess up everything.” That’s not it. Most of all, you simply deserve to feel good about yourself. You deserve to have peace with your body. You don’t need to waste your precious mental energy on tearing yourself down. For many women, their postpartum body image issues are extensions of lifelong feelings of insecurity. Let’s interrupt the cycle now.

Accepting Your Postpartum Body

Most people who want to change how they feel about their bodies take the approach of trying to change their bodies. This rarely works. Postpartum bodies (and bodies in general) often don’t respond how we want, and anyway many of us have constructed ideal body images in our minds that aren’t realistic.

If you want to change how you feel about your body, you should be working on how you feel about your body. There is a lot of well-meaning messaging in the meme-o-sphere about how you should love your body, but I prefer to start with appreciating your body and practicing self-compassion and self-care. If you’re ready to jump right to self-love, by all means go for it! However, this can feel daunting for some women who are stuck in a cycle of self-deprecation and even self-loathing.

The first step in all this is acceptance: accepting the fact that you probably can’t control the size and shape of your body right now, not like diet culture tells you that you can. Yes, there are some women who “bounce back” and flash their postpartum abs in magazines and on Instagram, but they aren’t the norm. Your body is in recovery. If you’re nursing, it’s focused on continuing to keep another human alive. You probably aren’t sleeping, and you might be finding the transition more stressful than you anticipated. Even months or longer down the road, these can still apply. This is hardly the ideal scenario for controlled weight loss.

Moreover, the truth is that your body probably won’t look the same ever again. Even if you go back to wearing your pre-pregnancy clothes, your shape will likely be different. You’ll probably be sporting some new stretch marks. The idea that you can and should “get your body back” is unrealistic and unfair for most women. (Health is something different here.) Your body has done something new and fabulous. It’s not the same body it was.

It’s O.K. to feel sad about that at first. It’s O.K. to mourn the loss of your pre-baby body even while you also appreciate and respect the hell out of your body for growing another human. Denying those feelings or, worse, feeling guilty for them and spiraling into self-criticism and shame doesn’t help. Be open and honest with yourself, and talk to other people who will listen non-judgmentally.

I can’t stress enough that you should ask for help if you need it. If your partner or your friends can’t give you the support you need, or you just feel like you need an impartial ear, find a therapist who specializes in body acceptance and postpartum issues (including depression, even if you don’t think you are depressed, since they are so often linked).

I hear some of you saying, “There is just no way I could ever get to a place where I accept, let alone like, this body.” If you’re feeling too mired down in self-negativity to believe that this is for you, consider this: Self-acceptance allows you to care for yourself and the other people in your life. Imagine if you could model a healthy, happy self-image for your baby as he or she grows. Which of your friends would benefit from someone who speaks in body-positive language and who models self-compassion? How would your partner respond if you could believe that you are sexy and deserving of physical affection?

You don’t owe it to other people to work on yourself if you’re not ready, but sometimes a little outside motivation is what gets the gears turning when the inner motivation is hidden under layers of fear, shame, or self-doubt.

Steps You Can Take

Have I mentioned that I strongly advise anyone who is struggling with mental health and well-being to seek professional help? Good, and I’m saying it again for the record. Therapy rocks.

Self-appreciation, self-compassion, and self-care are things we all deserve and we can actively cultivate. I recommend checking out the book Self-compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff, Ph.D., as a starting point.

Quit Negative Self-talk: As I’m sure you know, we are usually our own worst critics. We say hateful, belittling things to ourselves that we would never say to someone else. If you want to deal with negative body image, this has to stop.

When you find your inner voice saying something self-critical, interrupt it and replace the disparaging comment with one that expresses kindness and compassion. Mantras and affirmations can be helpful here. (If you think they’re cheesy, humor me and give it a try.) The trick is to find one that feels authentic to you. One that I like, which I found here, is: I will accept that my body may never be exactly the same as it was before I had the baby, just as my heart will never be the same. Some others you might try are: I deserve to treat myself with kindness and respect, I am learning to be gentle with myself, or My body is beautiful and deserves all the love I can give it. It’s O.K. if you don’t quite believe it yet; still say it whenever a negative thought intrudes.

You can also actively redirect your attention from how your body looks to how it feels. Maybe you actually enjoy the feeling of softness is new places. Maybe pregnancy and childbirth made you feel powerful. When a negative thought appears, crowd it out with Hell yes, this body is strong and capable and awesome.

Again, if this feels forced at the beginning, that’s all right! Body positivity and self-acceptance take work. Many things feel awkward when they’re new, but over time they become second nature.

Negative Body Talk with Others: As a veteran member of multiple moms’ groups, I know that when a group of moms gets together, more often than not we end up kvetching about our bodies. I think social support from other moms is hugely important, but if I could go back in time to when my kids were babies, I’d really try to shut down the self-deprecating body talk.

If you have friends who do this, speak up! Honestly, this is a gift to the other women as well. Complaining about our mom bods is such a common form of bonding, sometimes we need permission to break the cycle. Try, “I’ve noticed we spend a lot of time criticizing ourselves, but I think we are all strong and beautiful rockstar moms. I’ve started a personal project to try to stop negative self-talk and replace it with compliments. What if we tried that here?”

And by all means, if there are other people in your life—family, your partner, co-workers—who try to engage you in body or diet/exercise talk that perpetuates your bad feelings, shut it down. Boundaries are fantastic; draw them often.  

Of course, I’m not suggesting you suppress your emotions. Find a friend or counselor you can talk to about your feelings, one who won’t respond with, “Ugh, I know! My belly button looks like a Shar Pei too, I hate it. That’s why I started this new diet, have you heard of it?” Processing and dealing with your feelings is one thing. Using language that keeps you stuck in a cycle of body hatred is something else altogether. You can tell the difference.

Curate Your Social Media: Think about the images you see on your social media. Are they mostly #fitspo accounts that depict a narrow range of what it means to be “healthy” and “fit?” If so, consider seeking out the many people who are spreading the word that bodies of different sizes and shapes can be strong, healthy, and attractive. Find other women who are at your stage of motherhood and who are also promoting positive self-image.

Move Your Body: Your body is so much more than what it looks like! Move for the joy of movement and to connect with your body on a physical level. Exercise to feel strong and powerful, not to try to force your body to “lose the baby weight.” Movement should be self-care, not punishment.

Wear Clothes That Fit: Dress up your body in clothes that fit rather than hiding in too-big clothes or squeezing into uncomfortably small clothes.

Step Off the Scale: I know this is a hard one for a lot of people, but if your daily mood depends on the number on the scale each morning, this is bad for your well-being. You don’t need to be aware of the daily fluctuations in order to take care of yourself.

Other Forms of Self-care: The sky’s the limit here! Let someone watch the baby while you take a nap or go for a coffee date with your partner. Get a pedicure. Ignore the laundry and watch a TV show. Taking care of your emotional well-being and feeling more positive overall can help you avoid the negative self-talk trap.

How You Can Help Support a Mom

If there’s a mom in your life whom you want to support, a good way to start is by not commenting on her body, period. (This is a good policy in general.) “You’ve lost weight!” is generally considered a compliment, but sometimes people lose weight because they’re ill or depressed. Plus, it draws attention to her body and reinforces the notion that she must be hoping and trying to lose weight. Better ways to engage her in conversation: Ask how she is feeling, and express excitement about the baby. Ask her if there is anything she needs. Offer to bring her coffee or a meal, go for a walk together, or watch the baby so she can shower or run to the store.

Resources for Finding Help and Support

If you feel like you could use help or support in this area, please don’t be afraid to ask. Below are some resources that cater to postpartum women specifically. There are also some great individuals and organizations that promote body positivity and self-care more generally.

Postpartum Health Alliance

Postpartum Support International

Pacific Postpartum Society

After the Baby is Born: A Postpartum Series — A collection of photos and commentary from new moms as part of The Honest Body Project.

“It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now… with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” – Pema Chödrön

“Treat yourself as if you already are enough. Walk as if you are enough. Eat as if you are enough. See, look, listen as if you are enough. Because it’s true.” – Geneen Roth

Thanks for stopping in today, everybody. Comments, questions, experiences to share? Include them on the comment board below, and have a great end to the week. Take care.

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Keto Convenience Foods: What To Try (and What To Skip)

If you read any of those “10 Reasons Keto is the Worst” articles out there, the common anti-keto argument you’ll see is that it’s too hard. The premise: keto must be unsustainable because eating meat, eggs, avocados, veggies, nuts, coconut, etc. is just too arduous long term. I’m sure you can guess how I feel about that.

Nonetheless, when you switch from a SAD diet to Primal or Primal-keto it genuinely becomes harder to grab convenience foods. It’s not that you can’t. The selection of packaged foods being marketed to keto folks has exploded in the past year or so. Rather, your growing awareness of ingredient quality, coupled with a desire to control your food and nutrition, makes it feel harder… and probably less desirable.

For that reason, many people end up doing more cooking at home, which means more time devoted to grocery shopping and meal prep. This is good news. But once in a while, especially during busy weeks, it’s nice to give yourself a break and grab something easy. Plus, sometimes you find yourself stuck somewhere without a lot of food options. And then there’s the craving for foods you once loved and wish you could find keto-friendly versions of….

So, while I think that preparing your own food is a great ideal, I also want to cover keto where keto dieters actually live—in the (generally speaking) non-ideal world. I’ve always said, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” How can we apply that to keto convenience food? 

My readers know I’ve always advocated for the 80/20 principle: aim for 100% compliance, but give yourself the freedom to respond to your circumstances and (occasionally) your desire for wisely-chosen indulgences. Primal and keto eating have to be enjoyable to be truly sustainable. If this means you sometimes incorporate convenience foods, so be it.

Convenient “Whole Foods”

Pre-made frozen hamburger patties and pre-cooked chicken skewers were in heavy rotation when my kids were deep in the school-sports-homework-friends circus. Rotisserie chickens are usually not the “cleanest” (look for “naked” organic options if you can), but they aren’t the worst thing in the store by far.

Bone broth is easy and economical to make, especially if you have a slow cooker or pressure cooker, but there are several companies now offering high-quality bone broth that I enjoy sipping on throughout the day.

While fresh is best when it comes to vegetables, I haven’t riced a head of raw cauliflower in ages now that frozen organic cauliflower rice is available in every market we frequent. Frozen veggies retain most of their nutrients. Pre-cut vegetable noodles are an easy time-saver.

With all these foods, you’ll definitely pay a premium over doing the work yourself. However, if you can afford them, and it buys you some time in your busy schedule, don’t let concerns over small nutritional trade-offs get in the way. Grab that rotisserie chicken and a bagged salad, or pre-made zucchini noodles and a jar of (extra virgin olive oil) pesto guilt-free.

Convenient “Packaged Foods”

Basically I’m talking here about eating food with labels, foods specifically meant to make your life easier or to quell a craving for a SAD food.

Spoiler alert: I’m not going to give you a straight up NO to any of these. If you want to eat them, ingredients should be your primary consideration. There are plenty of foods being marketed as keto and low-carb that are not at all Primally aligned. Carb count doesn’t matter to me—if a product contains hydrolyzed wheat gluten and canola oil, I’m out. Yes, some of these you can make yourself—and I’ll provide some recipes for alternative options within each category even though I know this misses the point of convenience foods.

Breakfast Foods

Breakfast is such a sticking point for people when they go Primal or keto. It’s the area in which folks seem to feel the most “deprived.” One of the most common questions we get in our Facebook groups is, “What do I eat for breakfast if I’m sick of eggs?” It’s no surprise then that you can now buy keto pancake and waffle mix, and grain-free “oatmeal” and granola. There are even keto cereals creating quite a buzz in the marketplace. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with these products occasionally. While you can find a thousand ways to do keto-friendly breakfasts that offer more nutrition, I know Americans have a particularly nostalgic attachment to our conventional breakfast foods. If eating keto cereal once in a while is the thing that makes the rest of your diet smooth sailing, go for it.

Easy homemade option: Chia Flax Hot Pudding (or anything on this list or this one).

Bars

I’m not a neutral bystander here—Primal Kitchen makes a keto-friendly protein bar. Primal Kitchen or not, however, I’m not opposed to bars as a snack, as a quick pre- or post-workout bite, or as a lunchbox treat. Personally, I like to take a bar during a long paddle or bike ride. This is a category, though, where you really want to check labels. A lot of manufacturers fill their bars with fiber (to drive down the net carbs) and sweeteners, which some folks are sensitive to. 

Make-it-yourself alternative: Vanilla Coconut Collagen Bites

Meal Replacement Shakes and Powders

Again, I have skin in the game here, since Primal Fuel was one of my flagship products. I still love and use it regularly, so obviously I have no problem with whey protein shakes. At the same time, I’d offer this caution: if you’re consuming a protein shake most days but otherwise aren’t eating a variety of complete proteins—ideally animal based—you should aim to diversify your protein sources.

You’ll find a variety of keto shakes on the market being sold as complete meal replacements. I have to admit I’m leery of these, perhaps because they harken back to traditional diet shakes promising quick weight loss, nutrition be damned. A popular diet brand that shall remain nameless—you know the one—is even marketing keto shakes now.

Since whey protein powder is already so convenient, I’d suggest whipping up a quick smoothie with veggies and a few high-antioxidant berries, plus some MCT oil if that’s your thing. However, if you can find a meal replacement shake with ingredients that pass your personal bar, I’m not going to tell you no. Just use them sparingly, not to regularly replace meals of whole foods.

My favorite basic smoothie: Keto-Friendly Chocolate Protein Smoothie (I usually add a big handful of baby spinach too!)

Snack Foods

If a plate of cheese and crackers is what you crave the most, a couple brands make seed-based crackers that are actually pretty tasty. On the other hand, you can just get crackers made of dehydrated cheese and double down. Every year at the various conferences I attend there are more and more chip substitutes made with unconventional ingredients like chicken. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to make popcorn keto (sorry), and I’ve yet to see a good keto pretzel, although I’m sure someone’s working feverishly on it.

My sense is that when people want snack foods, it’s really the crunchy texture and salty taste, and the easy, even mindless, quality that they crave. Unlike the breakfast foods, it’s not so much an emotional or nostalgic attachment to specific foods. For those reasons, I think this is one category where it’s usually just as easy and satisfying to find different snack options altogether rather than seeking out keto-fied versions of the old SAD foods.

Try this instead: Bacon Guacamole with Cheddar Chips

Keep It In Perspective

At the end of the day, it’s all about choices. We live in a food environment where temptation is everywhere. Our lives are too often over-busy and over-stressed, and sometimes reaching for a convenience food option is something we depend on. 

Let me be very clear: I’m not suggesting that these are on par nutritionally with whole, “real” foods, nor do I think they should be staples in your diet. Of course, it’s best to treat these foods like occasional treats or fallback rations. If being able to grab convenience foods here and there makes keto living possible for you, then go for it. Just be intentional about it, and don’t let it become a slippery slope. As you become more accustomed to keto, you might find yourself reaching for them less frequently.

What say you? Which keto convenience items, if any, do you enjoy? Have your choices changed over time? Thanks for reading.

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Join Us For the FREE June Keto Reset! (Plus, Take Advantage Of An Incredible Deal!)

Have you been thinking about going keto—or recommitting to a keto routine? Are you looking to lose extra pounds? Enhance your fat-burning ability and metabolic flexibility? Improve your energy levels and general well-being to kick off summer?

Then you’ll want to join us for the June Keto Reset. It’s one month of personal guidance, exclusive resources, and fantastic giveaways. Best of all, it’s totally free. All you do is sign up.

I wrote The Keto Reset Diet to help people reach the pinnacle of metabolic flexibility, where they can harness the power of fat and ketones for energy (along with glucose as needed, of course). It’s another level of metabolic flexibility even beyond the scope of the Primal Blueprint fat burning. I strongly believe that it’s in most people’s best interest to periodically dip into ketosis and do a Keto Reset at least once or twice per year. Of course, as so many of you have learned, it’s possible to achieve tremendous gains to health, body composition, fitness, cognition, and general wellness by following a traditional Primal eating pattern (which puts most people in the range of 50 to 150 grams per day of carbs, give or take). Nevertheless, research and anecdotal evidence continues to shed light on the unique benefits that come from being in a state of ketosis at least some of the time.

My team and I put together this June Keto Reset to offer clear guidance and helpful resources as you go keto, so you’ll begin summer set up for total success….

What You’ll Get

Throughout the month of June you’ll receive two emails a week from yours truly with exclusive guidance, tips, and recipes for going keto the right way. You’ll learn how to optimize fat burning and get the results you’ve always wanted. Heads up: You won’t find these resources on the blog. (And for those of you who did the January Keto Reset Kickoff, the June experience is completely new—from top to bottom, so join us again!)

But that isn’t all. I’ll also send you other food lists, recipes, a Keto Reset Journal and Keto Reset Guide To Calculating Your Macros (a printable guide that you can hang on your refrigerator). You’ll have everything you need for a successful Keto Reset.

Plus, the whole month of June I’ll be running prize giveaways on our social channels and bringing you new Primal- and keto-friendly recipes from Mark’s Daily Apple, Primal Kitchen, and select partners. Finally, I’ll be giving away one GRAND PRIZE (look for the announcement soon!) to one lucky person who signs up for the June Keto Reset.

Simply sign up now at www.primalkitchen.com/pages/keto-reset. Enter your email to register. (You don’t need to purchase anything to participate.)

But don’t delay! Registration closes May 31, 2019, at midnight PDT. 

Now For the Deal…

But wait, there’s more! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) I’m giving everyone who enrolls a chance to get the Keto Reset Online Mastery Course for FREE (that’s a $147 value) with the purchase of a Primal Kitchen Advanced Keto Kit. You get my absolute favorite keto-friendly products, plus the most comprehensive multimedia educational experience around, designed for anyone interested in the ketogenic diet. It’s an unbelievable deal. If you missed the chance to grab your free course in January, here’s your shot. 

Note: You don’t need to purchase anything to participate in the FREE June Keto Reset experience. You can sign up for the Keto Reset Month without taking advantage of the Mastery Course deal.

If you participated in the January Keto Reset Kickoff and took advantage of the Mastery Course offer then, we hope you still join us for the entirely new Keto Reset experience. You’ll find new resources and supports to enhance your keto transition. Plus, through the end of the sign-up period (5/31/19 midnight PDT), you can grab a free box of keto-friendly Coconut Lime Protein Bars free with any $30 purchase on Primal Kitchen.com (a $32.95 value!). Click here to take advantage of that offer or use code FREECLBARS at checkout.

Thanks for being here today, everybody. I hope you join us for the June Keto Reset. I’ve got another post coming up this morning, so stay tuned.

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The post Join Us For the FREE June Keto Reset! (Plus, Take Advantage Of An Incredible Deal!) appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

Dear Mark: CBD Edition

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll be answering your CBD questions from the past few weeks. CBD, or cannabidiol, is exploding in popularity, but there are many unknowns. People have a lot of questions and there aren’t many definitive or comprehensive guides, so today I’ll do my best to make sense of it. We’re all piecing things together based on limited data—which, I suppose, is the fundamental human experience.

Let’s go:

What’s the difference between hemp and CBD?

Hemp is a (recently legalized) industrial form of cannabis used in the production of paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, and overpriced Bob Marley shirts sold along Venice Beach. Hemp seed can be eaten (and is a fantastic source of magnesium, one of the best). Hemp is the plant.

CBD is cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in both hemp and cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD won’t get you high.

Due to legal issues, most big name online retailers won’t allow sellers to list “CBD oil” or “CBD” products, let alone CBD content. Descriptions like “full spectrum hemp extract” often mean CBD is present in the hemp oil, but it’s tough to know exactly how much. I recommend investigating the product, searching for the company that makes it, and seeing if they give more explicit details on their website. Even then, make sure the company is the actual seller on Amazon or else you may end up with a counterfeit product sold by wholesalers.

The best bet is to buy directly from the product website.

Is there oil for diabetics??

Although there aren’t any human trials that give CBD to diabetics to see what happens, there are some reasons to think it could be helpful:

Lowering stress. As stated in previous posts, CBD is an effective anti-stress agent. Stress is awful for anyone with diabetes. It increases blood sugar levels. It induces insulin resistance. And if you’re a stress eater, it can increase cravings for high-carb junk food that you really shouldn’t be eating in the first place. In other words, stress exacerbates all the physiological conditions a diabetic is already experiencing.

Improving sleep. Perhaps the most popular use of CBD is to improve poor sleep. Just about the best way to induce some serious glucose intolerance is to get a bad night’s sleep. A diabetic already has poor glucose tolerance; it’s pretty much the defining characteristic of diabetes. What’s worse, a bad night’s sleep has been shown to make a person more susceptible to the allure of junk food.

Inadequate sleep is a strong and independent predictor of type 2 diabetes risk. The less sleep you get, the higher your chance of developing diabetes.

Anything that reduces stress and improves sleep will improve a diabetic’s health. If CBD does that for you, it’ll probably help someone with diabetes. So in a roundabout, not direct way, CBD oil has the potential to help reduce the risk of diabetes and improve the symptoms.

Good MDA folks … does anyone have any experience using CBD oil in lieu of an SSRI to help with anxiety and panic? I’m using CBT techniques to deal with anxiety and panic episodes, and cutting back on my dosage of my SSRI with the intent to eliminate over the next couple of months. I was considering giving CBT oil a try (organic, full spectrum), starting out with just a drop or two and building up to a therapeutic dosage. Also, does CBT oil cause fatigue for anyone? It’s the last thing I want to happen as it’s a big reason I want to eliminate taking the SSRI?

Give it a try, making sure you keep your doctor in the loop.

There are several parallels between anti-depressants and CBD. Both antidepressants and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid receptor systems in the brain. Both antidepressants and CBD can stimulate neurogenesis and counter the depression-related reduction in brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Any compound that’s used for sleep has the potential to increase fatigue. Sleep is fatigue at the right time. Fatigue is sleep at the wrong time. In an Israeli study of 74 pediatric epilepsy patients using CBD to quell their seizures, 22% reported unwanted levels of fatigue, so it’s a common complaint. Just consider that these were kids taking fairly high dose CBD to quell seizure activity, and that you may not have the same issue taking lower doses at a higher body weight.

Does CBD oil break my fast?

The dosages involved in most CBD oils include at most 1/8 teaspoon of carrier oils, so that’s not enough calories to impact your fast in any meaningful sense.

I haven’t seen any evidence that CBD itself inhibits or impedes ketosis, autophagy, or fat-burning. So, no, there is no indication that CBD oil breaks your fast.

How do I figure out how much cbd is in hemp oil?

As I indicated earlier, it’s impossible to know unless you buy a hemp oil that explicitly states the CBD content.

CBD oil is so expensive. Are there any other options for getting CBD?

You could make your own. It’s actually legal to buy “CBD flower,” which basically looks exactly like the cannabis or weed you’d buy on the street or at a legal dispensary, only it contains little to no THC and tons of CBD. One recipe I saw involved slow-cooking an ounce of the CBD flower in a cup of coconut oil for 8 hours, then straining out the solids. Whatever method you use to cook it, it requires fat, as cannabinoids are fat-soluble.

Here’s a place you can buy CBD flower online. (Note: I don’t have any experience with that company or any other that markets CBD flower or CBD products, so buyer beware.) There are many such places. Just search for them.

CBD is everywhere these days. Should I definitely use it?

Not necessarily. Like anything, it has its uses, there’s great potential, and as new research comes out I foresee the discovery of new modes of action and new applications. However, in all fairness, it’s being overhyped when promoted as a cure-all or panacea.

For what it’s worth, I’m not using it myself. I don’t feel the need, haven’t felt a “CBD deficit.” Don’t assume it’s yet another essential supplement that you simply must have. The basics are the important things—sleep, food, exercise, community, love, micronutrients.

CBD is best used for people who have an established need for it. Chronic pain patient who wants to stop using so many opioids? Great candidate. Kid with epilepsy for whom keto and meds aren’t working? Give it a try. Anxiety and insomnia? Better than just going with narcotics right off the bat. (But as always, work with a physician for any medical issue.)

That’s it for today, folks. If you have any more CBD questions, write them down below and I’ll be sure to answer them!

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References:

Rudnicka AR, Nightingale CM, Donin AS, et al. Sleep Duration and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Pediatrics. 2017;140(3)

Mcneil J, Forest G, Hintze LJ, et al. The effects of partial sleep restriction and altered sleep timing on appetite and food reward. Appetite. 2017;109:48-56.

Fogaça MV, Galve-roperh I, Guimarães FS, Campos AC. Cannabinoids, Neurogenesis and Antidepressant Drugs: Is there a Link?. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2013;11(3):263-75.

Tzadok M, Uliel-siboni S, Linder I, et al. CBD-enriched medical cannabis for intractable pediatric epilepsy: The current Israeli experience. Seizure. 2016;35:41-4.

The post Dear Mark: CBD Edition appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

Introducing the Primal Cooking Series!

As I mentioned in last week’s Success Story post, I’m unveiling something new today—a new cooking series I call “Primal + Keto Cooking Made Easy.” My co-author for the Keto Reset cookbooks and leader of the Keto Reset Facebook group, Dr. Lindsay Taylor and I are in the kitchen preparing a great set of Primal and keto recipes you can easily make for your own enjoyment. We’ve got everything from snacks to dinners on the docket, so join us each Monday morning.

(And for your success story fans out there, we’ll be back with more this July. In the meantime, check out our archives—and submit your own story for Mark’s Daily Apple here.)

Without further ado, let’s get right to it. Check out this introduction Lindsay and I put together for the cooking series, and keep reading to see our first Primal+keto snack video below. I’m excited to share this project today.

Today Lindsay and I are kicking things off in the series with one of *my* favorite Primal snacks (which also happens to be totally keto-friendly): deviled eggs.

Here’s an expert tip: make more than you think you’ll need. These tend to disappear—even if you’re the only Primal type in the house. And, yes, it doesn’t get much simpler than this crowd-pleasing classic, but it just goes to show how easy great keto eating can be. Enjoy, everybody!

Deviled Egg Recipe

Ingredients:

 


Instructions:

Place your eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

Drain, cool in ice water and peel.

Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolk to a small bowl with a spoon and place the egg whites on a plate.

Mash the yolks with a fork and add the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir everything together.

Use a spoon to add a portion of the deviled egg mixture back into the hole of each egg white. Sprinkle on paprika for garnish.

Thanks for stopping in, everybody. Be sure to join us next Monday for more Primal +Keto Cooking Made Easy. Have an awesome week!

The post Introducing the Primal Cooking Series! appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.