Paleo for Women
Evolutionary Health, Revolutionary WomanhoodNavigation
The modern notion of womanhood, in which women eat little, exercise a lot, have eating disorders and body image issues, and are expected to look like rails, fails women time and time again. The solution to that failure–to all of the pain, to all of the confusion, and...Read More
Our genes are the blueprint with which we were born, generated by millions of years of evolution. In this way, genetics provides the spectrum of health in which we get to live out our lives. Genes provide the text of each of our own Choose Your Own Adventure stories; we, in...Read More
Much like the wider society in which we live, the health world is biased. In the past, this was an overt bias, but today, it’s much more insidious. It’s hidden, and it’s sneaky. But it’s there. Researchers are mostly men. Doctors are mostly...Read More
I have never been a woman who likes yoga all that much. I have done it a few times, and I do enjoy it whenever I do – but I have never considered myself a connoisseur, acolyte, or practitioner the way, seriously, no less than 95 percent of my female friends do.
Nor do I think, necessarily, that yoga specifically can accomplish the physiological feats many of its proponents claim. For example, in the ebook “Natural Fertility Yoga” yoga coach Hethir Rodriguez (CMT, MH), asserts that yoga “has an effect on reproductive health.” (Which it does. My skepticism lies in the specificity of the claims. She goes on:) ”Every posture in this series has a supporting and nurturing effect on the reproductive system or the endocrine system – the hormonal headquarters.”
-”resetting your endocrine system and balancing your hormones,
-clearing adhesions and blockages in the reproductive areas,
-increasing circulation to your vagina, uterus, and ovaries,
-increasing your immune system and moving toxins out of your body,
-bringing peace and vitality to your conception journey,
-and creating an environment of clarity and self-exploration.”
So I have always been a skeptic, and I remain a skeptic, much as I remain a skeptic of other alternative health practices such as acupuncture. How can I really know if acupuncture is re-aligning my qi or not?
But whether or not certain practices demonstrate tangible effects the way Western medicine does is not a part of the question. Hethir’s claims are credible when you take into account that yoga is a phenomenally relaxing, rejuvenating, and cleansing practice. Health is holistic, and it is important to remember that we cannot reduce our health to bloodtests. The most important thing I ever did for the sake of my ovaries, for example, was stop feeling so anxious. I imagine yoga works much in the same way.
So if you are into yoga, into alternative health, and curious about what women might be doing to increase bloodflow in certain areas and achieve better integration with their bodies and minds, this book is pretty kickass. It is simple – all it details are the movements of the program. But complete with 31 poses and an ovarian massage, ranging from the most beginner to the most complex, you could do far worse for a program to enrich your fertility and your relationship with your ovaries.
Much as I have never become a yoga regular, I recognize it has a profound power to unite us with our natural selves. It’s not the only thing that helps with fertility – Hethir does advise you to undertake other diet and lifestyle modifications – but it does have a unique power to work at the interface of the psychological and the physiological.
Natural Fertility Yoga is a part of the unique, one-time holy crap is this for real Harvest Your Health Bundle Sale, which includes up to 84 natural health e-resources for just 37 dollars. My own, new Birth Control book is included in that package. Grab it now – only available until October 14!
AND, if you don’t like Yoga, there are still five other fitness options to choose from! One focusing on body weight exercises, how to run without hair by Ben Greenfield, Sandbag training (I think that is what it sounds like), Dog Yoga (!!) and Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness by Sarah and John Fragoso and Jason Seib.
Most readers of my blog know that while I love to move, I’m not a huge fan of fitness. “Go do stuff that feels good” is usually the advice I give women, and I stand by that. Personally, I’ve never felt better or been happier, and I go to the gym now about once every 10 days to do a bit of heavy lifting.
Nonetheless, I know that fitness routines is a big deal for a lot of us, and I want every woman in our community to do whatever it is that works for her to feel empowered and strong and sexy (if she so desires.)
So, please, do whatever it is that works for you to feel empowered and strong and sexy (if you so desire.)
To that end, while I have adored the high emphasis this Harvest Bundle has placed on fertility and women’s health (Aside from my Birth Control book it has NINE OTHER fertility and women’s health books), and while I am crazy about all of the cookbooks, I would be remiss to not share a little bit about the fitness packages with you.
SO. There are five totally unique and kick ass fitness programs available, ranging from the “sounds hardcore” to the “you said whaa?”
The “sounds hardcore” award goes to “Sandbag Training,” which is exactly what it sounds like. How to be a beast with a sandbag. I imagine a bag of rice works just as well. Grab the heavy thing and throw it around. How to do it so that it makes you healthy and strong? That’d be Ben Hirshberg’s realm of kicking ass.
Another kickass book is “Run With No Pain” by Ben Greenfield. I haven’t read this book, so I cannot make any promises. Nonetheless, Ben is a lovely human being, and I know from hanging out with him briefly at paleo fx last year that he is a long term fitness and running junkie, and has overcome pain issues. Think Born to Run. Very cool if you’re into this sort of thing.
My favorite of the bunch — or the one I would probably use most myself — is “Bodyweight Overload: A Six Week Training Program to Help You Build muscle and Lose Fat Without Weights” by Todd Kuskulis. It’s all about bodyweight exercises. You can do these at whatever pace you want, and in the privacy of your own home, and on your own schedule. I’m a big fan of bodyweight exercises, as evidence by the fact that the card game / push-up game my roommates and I played three nights ago is still making my pecs ache when I push open doors.
The standard of the bunch of “Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness” which is a beautiful and beautifully structured program that can kick start your fitness and keep you on track. These people know what they’re doing. Quick, effective, injury-free (as much as it can be), and full of the kinds of exercises that energize and empower you, I’m a big fan. AND this one isn’t as male dominated as the others appear. I mean – the others are still absolutely 100 percent for women, but its nice to have a woman listed as the first author, so you know your needs are being met.
The “you said whaa?” award goes to “Dog Yoga with the Lightfoot Way” by Allison Culver. This book is far and away my favorite that I have ever encountered in the alternative health world, ever, period, ever, ever, ever. This book alone is worth the 37 dollars of the Harvest Bundle. Maybe more. It’s daring and lovely and sweet and funny as all hell. The photos speak for it better than I ever can. See below.
Anyway, as you can well predict, all of these cool fitness resources are a part of the Harvest Your Health Bundle Sale, which now has three days left! 71 ebooks. 3 magazines. 5 fitness plans. 14 discounts. For 37 dollars — thats 44 cents a piece!
Crazy, I know.
Go to http://harvestbundle.com or click the banner below to read more.
Though I have fervently loved all the fertility and female-specific health books I have found in this absurdly large bundle sale, my favorite book ended up being a dark horse candidate, in the form of kale.
My favorite book of the bundle? The kale-centric cookbook Crazy for Kale: Glow from the Inside Out with 40 Gluten-free and Dairy-free Recipes by Hallie Klecker.
The book opens with a “Kale Primer.” What do we learn here? Way more than I thought I would.
First: kale is the member of the cabbage family that most closely resembles wild cabbage since the leaves do not form a head.
Second, there are many varieties, with the three most common being Curly Kale (also called blue kale by people like Whole Foods, and which comes in green, red, and purple varieties), Lacinato Kale (also called dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale, is flatter, more tender, and milder in flavor than curly kale), and Red Russian Kale which is the most delicate variety and better suited to things like salads as opposed to stews and soups like the other kinds. Hallie professes to loving Red Russian Kale the best, and now I want to get my hands on some.
Then Hallie talks about the health benefits of Kale. Nutritionists have talked our ears off about the health benefits of kale for ages. But they were right to do so. Kale is wicked high in antioxidants, and also in vitamin K… one of the best and only sources of vitamin K in the diet. Also vitamins A and C and manganese and iron and so much more. Kale is glorious!
Then comes tips on how to store, prepare, use kale in cooking, and use kale in smoothies.
And then: the recipes! They include salads, smoothies and juices, side dishes, main dishes, snacks and sweet treats (oooooh!) which include delights like:
-Orange Greensicle Smoothie
-Green Breakfast Chiller
-Spiced Pear and Sunflower Smoothie
-Green Flu Fighter Juice
-German Meatballs with Kale, Carrot, and Rutabaga Hash
-Rainbow Humms Tostadas
-Sesame Kale and Beet Toss
-Kale and Strawberry Breakfast Salad
-Salmon Kale Croquettes
-Garden Pasta Toss with Creamy Horseradish Dressing
-Curried Carrots and Kale
-Cauliflower Couscous with Kale Pesto
-Sweet Potato and Kale Balls
-Pistachio Banana Ice Cream
-Kale Walnut Pesto
-”Milk” Chocolate Icing
-Pumpkin Confetti Cornbread Muffins
and Cinnamon Sugar Kale Chips.
Kale is just about essential for optimizing kickass health and fertility, not to mention radiant skin, and for that reason I could not recommend more highly these absurdly nutritious and easy recipes. Very. Cool. Stuff.
Crazy for Kale is a part of the unique, one-time holy crap is this for real Harvest Your Health Bundle Sale, which includes up to 84 natural health e-resources for just 37 dollars. My own, new Birth Control book is included in that package. Grab it now – only available until October 14!
If you spend any amount of time in the blogosphere at all, you know that ebooks have overrun the place. There are a number of different things that can make an ebook good or bad. Content is one. The aesthetic experience of it is another.
A fair number of you have read my PCOS book and even more, I think, will read the Birth Control book. All of us would probably easily admit that aesthetics is not necessarily my strong suit. These ebooks come in the form of Word-formatted PDFs, and they, I hope, rely on their stellar content, (wink), rather than design for satisfying my readers. My hope is that you don’t notice what boring aesthetics I have because the content has just bowled you over.
Funny, I know.
Anyway. I just read the ebook “Fertilize Yourself” by Nat Kringoudis — I always go for the fertility books when I dig into bundles (like this one! http://harvestbundle.com) – and I came across both a fascinating take on natural health that combines Eastern medicine and ideas with WAPF-type principles that also happened to be one of the most delightfully beautiful ebooks I have ever seen.
To share with you my experience, therefore, I’ve taken a few screen shots.
This book is divided up into Fertility Foods (highlighting some unique gems, such as figs), Your Fertile Body, which goes all into the importance of regular sex and the impact of sexual practices on both your and your partner’s physiology, Your Fertile Pantry, and a Your Fertile Recipes, a series of recipes and food photos that rivals any published cookbook I’ve ever seen.
Here are some more gems of information I picked up:
-Alcohol consumption lowers zinc in your bloodstream, which – aside from being crucial for your own health and specifically your immune activity and insulin sensitivity – is also crucial for sperm production.
-Acupuncture, at least according to this acupuncturist, increases fertility “by 70 percent.”
-Sexual activity after the close of your fertile window in your luteal phase can help supply a budding embryo with nutrients.
-Increased rate of ejaculation and sexual activity helps men’s bodies streamline sperm production and develop healthier, more robust sperm. This flushing-rejuvenation process takes, according to Kat, approximately four months of regular sexual activity. Focused attention on male sexuality and sexual health was one of my favorite parts of this book. It’s not something that I personally understand all that well, but it’s equally as crucial for your ability to conceive children that your men have strong fighting sperm as you having strong fighting eggs.
It doesn’t hurt, moreover, that fertility enhancing practices for both you and your husband will demonstrably increase your vitality and sex drive.
Fertilize Yourself (check it out here!): from a smart woman with unique information on sexual activity and natural foods, with an obviously talented designer that makes the experience even more beautiful and exciting.
4.6 out of 5 stars.
[The 0.4 deduction is for claiming that 50 percent of your diet should be from animal protein. I would happily accept that 50 percent could be from animal sources (which I'd guess is what she means), but I am a firm believer that protein should be no more than 20 percent of your diet. A bit more clarity on this point would be awesome. Nonetheless, I fell in love with this book the moment I opened it.]
Fertilize Yourself is a part of the unique, one-time holy crap is this for real Harvest Your Health Bundle Sale, which includes up to 84 natural health e-resources for just 37 dollars. My own, new Birth Control book is included in that package. Grab it now – only available until October 14!
Many of you will probably remember that I wrote a review of Matt Stone’s “Eat for Heat” several months ago and then took the review down. It has been on my to do list for a long time to go back and resurrect the post. The reason I took it down was that I was unsure of the science I was articulating – and the absolute last thing on the planet I want to do is share information I don’t endorse.
Matt had a kick ass point, though, and I will go back to it eventually.
I am one of the few paleo bloggers out there who likes Matt Stone. I don’t agree with his diet and methodology all of the time, but he’s got some important principles, most of which revolve around the dangers of under-feeding and orthorexia and such.
So I was delightfully surprised and happy to learn he was participating in our sale this week, and to take a peak at his book “The Vegan Solution: Why the Vegan Diet Often Fails and How to Fix it.”
That the vegan diet sucks first and foremost because it neglects calories, and then that it neglects macronutrients.
Matt says, first, which demonstrates where my love for this blogger comes from: “What happens is that the single-most important nutrient that we derive from food is completely forgotten and left behind. That is the CALORIE. The primary reason we eat is to obtain energy. If we do not obtain sufficient energy from the food we eat, the body compensates for this by lowering metabolic rate. When metabolic rate drops, virtually every system in the human body starts to function poorly.”
And secondly: ”If you get one thing out of this book, it is to obey the laws of physiology first and foremost. A 500,000 dollar car will not drive if there is no fuel in the tank. You should, especially as a vegan on a restricted diet that excludes so many rich sources of the Primary Nutrients [all the macronutrients], pay particular attention to what is primary.”
You know, we spend a lot of time talking about the specific nutrients vegans miss out on. B12, DHA… there’s lots of good stuff. But we cannot forget what comes even more basically than that: basic caloric intake. Basic macronutrients. Says Matt “many assume that problems come from a lack of animal products in the diet…sometimes it probably is. Many times it isn’t… I think many people are just freaking starving and may also be suffering the metabolic consequences.”
Matt goes on to talk about what starvation looked like in some of Ancel Keys studies back in the day, to articulate his theory of metabolism, to describe vegan mistakes, which include things like toxicity from omega 6 seed oils, overconsumption of cruciferous vegetables, drinking too much water (a la the last book “Eat for Heat”), too little sodium, too many raw foods, too much exercise, and a dozen other super smart insights.
Seriously. Super smart.
He tells you how to fix it with something called “The Net Warming Effect.” It’s Matt’s solution to veganism and other starvation-related health problems, and argues that we eat a lot of salt, fat, and starch, among other things.
I don’t want to spoil the details. But they’re good ones.
Kudos to Matt for pointing to some elements we forget as perfectionisty paleo dieters who love eating meat, and for keeping us on track regarding the important of calorie intake and the metabolic fire.
The Vegan Solution is a part of the unique, one-time holy crap is this for real Harvest Your Health Bundle Sale, which includes 84 natural health e-resources for just 37 dollars. My own, new Birth Control book is included in that package. Grab it now – only available until October 14!Read More
You may remember Seppo Puusa from the guest post he wrote on acne for the blog back in August. I heaped on the praise then, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to do it again. Seppo has the most comprehensive view of acne of any health advocate I’ve yet worked with on the issues of acne, and is so well read in the science of acne it would take me years to catch up to him.
So usually when a health advocate works on acne they focus on one aspect of it, failing to account for the whole picture. The gut, for example. Or stress. Or topical care. Or antibiotics. Not Seppo, however. Seppo demonstrates with his work how genetics, hormones, inflammation, detox, oxidative stress, anti-oxidants, emotional health, gut health and topical care are all crucial for clear skin.
With, as he says, an “action-oriented” approach, packed with more concrete acne advice than any resource I’ve ever come across. Very often in the health world acne advice amounts to “eat real foods” – but the vast majority of us who are looking for help on my site and others already do that. What else can we do, and how can we best leverage those foods? Seppo knows all the about the gut, but he knows all about lotions and antioxidants, too.
Seppo says: don’t treat acne with just one trick, something that I tried for so long. I wanted low carb to be my trick. Then I wanted it to be low fiber. Here’s the thing, though: you’ve got to attack it from all angles. Seppo says: “Some people suffer from the extremely dangerous I will do this one thing and it will get me clear syndrome….but the thing is is that with this mentality you’ll end up trying a lot of things, the vast majority of which won’t make much of a difference. So you’ll chalk that up to the ‘I tried it and didn’t work for me’ box. Not only is going from failure to failure very taxing psychologically, but you’ll also end up discarding many useful approaches.”
So do all of the important stuff, or lots of different tricks at the same time, and do it with patience and care.
And you’ll kick ass.
Here are my two greatest ways to demonstrate endorsement: 1) Seppo is the only person I credit with helping me with my acne, remember these beauties:
and 2) Seppo’s blog is the only blog on the whole internet I regularly check for updates. [To be fair, it's actually that and Huffington Post's "Entertainment" section.] Why? Because his advice helps, and also because I learn something every time I read from him.
For example, the chapter “What causes acne” opens with this paragraph:
“Let’s start by looking at the acne formation process….The process starts with excessive growth of keratinocytes, which are cells that produce keratin and make up a large part of the skin. Keratin is a strong protein that binds cells together to form the structure of the skin. In healthy skin, the cells die as they separate and are pushed out of the skin follicle. In acne-prone skin, excess keratin hinders this post-death separation of cell, and the skin follicle accumulates larger clumps of dead skin cells. Faster than normal growth of these cells means acne-prone skin accumulates more dead cells than healthy skin.
Skin follicle is like a tube made of skin cells. In areas of hair growth they are also called hair follicles as hairs grow through them. Sebaceous glands, the glands that produce sebum, are attached to the sides of the skin follicle. They push sebum into the follicle which, in healthy skin, flows through the follicle and onto the surface of the skin.
Think of it like a river. In healthy skin the river flows freely. In acne-prone skin the mixture of excessive sebum production and clumps of dead skin cells blocks the flow.”
Some other snippets I pulled from the section “what causes acne:”
-”Studies in acne patients have shown lower levels of anti-oxidant vitamins, both in sebum and in blood, and higher levels of inflammatory markers.”
-”Vitamin E is of course the major antioxidant in the skin…” “Vitamin A is 33 percent lower in acne patience; vitamin C is 40 percent lower; vitamin E is 45 percent lower; beta-carotene is 65 percent lower….low levels of zinc and selenium have also been found in acne patients.”
-”There’s also some evidence that hyperkeratosis is linked to malnutrition…this is common in gastric bypass surgery…”
-”In 2010, Indian researchers tested an antioxidant blend supplement on acne. The supplement delivered a daily total of 45 mg zinc, 180 mg vitamin C, 18 mg mixed carotenoids, 45 IU vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopheral acetate) and 0.4 mg chromim. After 12 weeks, a dermatologist evaluated improvements in acne. In the evaluation, 38 out of the 48 (79 percent) were judged to have an 80-100 percent improvement.”
-”Benzoyl peroxide application in one study showed a 95 percent reduction in vitamin E And a 70 percent reduction in vitamin C in skin sebum following application. With sch drastic effect on skin antioxidants its easy to see how overuse can cause skin problems rather than solve them.”
-”Sebum in acne patients has lower levels of linoleic acid than that of healthy controls. This deficiency is also thought to contribute to hyperkeratinization. There’s also some evidence that androgens play a part.”
-”Acne-prone skin produces proportionally more squalene [the fatty acid that oxidizes into clogged pores] than other fatty acids in sebum. For example, a 200- study showed squalene makes up 15 percent of total sebum composition, while the average total for acne patients was 20 percent. The study also showed that acne patients produced 59 percent more sebum. Putting these figures together, acne patients have 112 percent more sebum than people without acne.”
-”Animal studies show that squalene peroxide applied to rabbit ears produces a comedo [the clogged pore], and the size of the comedo is related to the degree of squalene suffered.”
-”A massive study of 458 pairs of identical twins and 1099 pairs of fraternal twins found that genes explained 81 percent of the difference in acne prevalence. Only 19 percent was explained by non-shared environmental factors such as diet and stress.”
-”IGF-1 deficiency prevents the occurence of acne. The findings suggest that an interaction between IGF-1 and androgens is necessary for the development of acne.”
-And, furthermore, that “insulin levels affect IGF-1.” and “Insulin also stimulates release of IGF-1 from the liver.” So “chronically high insulin levels mean more bioavailable IGF-1.”
And, get this, Seppo demonstrates the power of hormones with sex change studies:
-”Male to female transsexuals treated with estrogens and anti-androgens showed sharp drops in both testosterone and sebum levels. At the beginning of the study six of the participants (29 percent) bt after four months of treatment, the acne had cleared in all of these subjects.
The opposite happened in female to male transsexuals. At the beginning of the study only 31 percent had facial acne, but after four months of androgen treatment that figure shot up to 94 percent. “
All of which happens, and so much more, before page 41. Pages 42-263 comprise chapters
-The gut-skin axis
-Stress and emotional health
-Emotional healing – here be dragons
-Strategic supplements (This is where Seppo’s work sings the loudest – he talks about causes of acne and internal mechanisms I have never heard of, and demonstrates why different vitamins or food choices or pharmaceuticals or moisturizers are good for each)
-Other lifestyle factors
-External skin care
And to be honest with you, my favorite chapter is the one on emotional healing, which talks not just about the active, conscious mind, but also how powerful the subconscious mind is in decision making and emotional health, whether we know it or not. Very cool stuff.
So. If you want to reduce your squalene oxidation, your testosterone-mediated sebum development, your SIBO, your inflammation, or just about anything else, Seppo Puusa’s 332 page acne guide is the best way to do that.
And to understand the real science of what’s going on behind it all.
Seriously. If you don’t invest in the Harvest Your Health Bundle (check that out at harvestbundle.com) – you must at the very least check out Seppo’s site AcneEinstein, and seriously consider this ebook I just reviewed, which, again, is on ridiculous sale in this Harvest Bundle. If you want both that ebook and my own on Birth Control, that alone would meet the price of this bundle. Plus 69 other ebooks.
Clear for Life is a part of the unique, one-time holy crap is this for real Harvest Your Health Bundle Sale, which includes up to 84 natural health e-resources for just 37 dollars. My own, new Birth Control book is included in that package. Grab it now – available only this week!Read More