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How to Stop Drinking Coffee, and Why You Should Consider It

Posted on September 30, 2020 By In Fitness With disabled comments

Thank you for reading past the title of this post. I wasn’t sure anyone would. After all, here I am offering advice on how to quit the world’s most beloved beverage. (“Hold my beer,” says Beer.)

The love of coffee transcends national and cultural borders. Around the world, most of us start our day with coffee. Folks take pride in sourcing the best beans and pairing them with the ideal grind and brewing method. We meet friends, clients, and first dates for coffee because coffee shops are comforting, safe spaces.

As good ol’ Anonymous observed, “Humanity runs on coffee.”

Yet here I am suggesting you might want to quit. Before I get into why, let me assure you that by and large, I still think coffee has more benefits than downsides. It improves workouts and memory, fights fatigue, and epidemiological evidence links coffee consumption to a host of health benefits. You can check out my Definitive Guide to Coffee to learn more.

There are downsides, though. In the pursuit of optimal health, it’s essential to examine our choices and behaviors and ask which of them might be undermining your health and longevity goals. That’s what I’m suggesting you do today.

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Why Would You Want to Quit Coffee?

Because you’re a masochist.

Kidding, of course. Really, if you think quitting coffee will be that painful, that’s a sure sign that you need to take a break. No substance aside from water or air should hold you so firmly in its grasp. I want to enjoy, not depend on, my morning coffee (and maybe a glass of red wine at dinner).

As to whether coffee is truly addictive, we clearly shouldn’t be talking about coffee in the same breath as something like heroin. However, there’s no question that it shares common features with other addictive substances. It stimulates dopamine release in the brain, creating a “feels good, want more” effect. With repeated exposure, you develop a tolerance such that caffeine no longer exerts the same effects. Plus, as many of you know if you’ve tried to kick the habit before, the withdrawal can be brutal.‘>2 For people dealing with a lot of stressand who isn’t right nowdrinking too much coffee may not be wise. It can interfere with your body’s ability to regulate cortisol and cope with the stressors.‘>4‘>6 On the other hand, two recent meta-analyses concluded that coffee actually helps with symptoms of depression.‘>8

If you’re a menopausal woman, think twice about drinking too much coffee. In two studies, caffeine intake was associated with increased vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes.‘>10 Those were correlational studies, but in a separate experiment, researchers administered caffeine to pre- and perimenopausal women who were or were not on estrogen therapy. Perimenopausal women’s blood pressure rose significantly after taking 250 mg of caffeine (equivalent to two to three cups of coffee), regardless of estrogen status.‘>12

Many of these side effects are dose-dependent, meaning they get worse the more coffee you drink. For most people, modest coffee intaketwo or four cups per dayis probably fine, maybe even desirable. Nevertheless, there’s always the possibility that you could quit coffee and feel better than you do today. Wouldn’t you want to know that?

Other Potential Benefits of Quitting Caffeine

Anecdotally, people notice all sorts of benefits once they significantly reduce or give up coffee. They promise glowing skin, whiter teeth, and better digestion.

They also promise you’ll save money, but in my experience, I just end up reinvesting those supposed savings into trying new teas, so that’s a wash. That said, I also don’t buy multiple frappe drinks from Starbucks every day. If you do, you might put some cash back in your pocket.

Who Should Take a Break from Coffee?

For the sake of self-experimentation, I’m going to go ahead and say: everybody.

It’s especially pressing if:

  • Your inner voice is telling you that you have become dependent on caffeine
  • Your sleep is anything other than deep and plentiful
  • You have health issues that might be exacerbated by coffee

Also, if you’ve built up a toleranceand you certainly have if coffee is a regular habittaking a break means you should be able to return to your beloved coffee and actually feel the desirable effects of caffeine again when you use it strategically. That would be nice.

Anyway, aren’t you a little curious?

How to Stop Drinking Coffee

Time It Right

Unless you have an urgent health concern that means you should stop ASAP, consider waiting until a lower-stress period. Normally I’d say vacation is a perfect time, but we’re not taking many vacations right now. Perhaps a staycation is in order (for more reasons than one).

I wouldn’t advise ditching coffee the same week you have to deliver a big presentation at work, your kids are starting a new schedule at school, or you’ll otherwise be stretched thin enough as it is. Coffee withdrawal can lead to some pretty miserable symptomsmigraines, fatigue, irritability. Pick a week where you’ll have the mental capacity to deal with those, the ability to sneak away for naps, and ideally, fun distractions to keep your mind off the suck.

Pick Your Strategy

Some people have no problem quitting cold turkey, but tapering down your caffeine intake will probably be more pleasant. Start cutting your regular coffee with decaf, and slowly decrease the amount you consume altogether. Make your coffee weaker, and stop adding cream and sweeteners so it’s not as appealing. If you’re drinking coffee in the afternoon, cut that first.

Whatever you do, don’t compensate by adding caffeine back in the form of energy drinks or caffeine pills. Don’t drink energy drinks anyway, but definitely not now. That defeats the purpose entirely.

How Long Will it Take to Get off Coffee Completely?

The half-life of caffeine is about five hours, so within a day of quitting, your body should be free of it. However, withdrawal symptoms can last significantly longera week to ten days or more, though some lucky people don’t experience any noticeable withdrawal.

Beyond the chemical dependency, there is also a behavioral component to coffee. For most coffee drinkers, it is a habit, and habits are harder to break. You might find yourself headed to the coffee pot in the morning, or reaching for the mug that’s usually on your desk, well after the initial weaning period.

Worthy Alternatives to Coffee

For some people, coffee is merely a caffeine delivery system. Others enjoy the rituals around coffeepreparing it in the morning, breathing in the aroma, sipping a hot beverage while they work, and communing with coworkers and friends over a cup. You can still have all those things if you strategically replace coffee with an alternative that fills the hole coffee leaves.

The most obvious answer is switching to tea. There are so many different types of tea, each with its own benefits and flavor profile. If you were a snob about your coffee, you can easily channel that energy into tea. Brewing tea is an art unto itself. Just watch your caffeine intake. Teas vary considerably in caffeine content, though they are still lower than the average cup of joe.

You might also consider mushroom coffee, which has about half the caffeine of regular coffee, or chicory root coffee or dandelion tea, which offer some of the coffee flavor with none of the caffeine. Fans of these options swear they get a lift similar to the one they got from coffee without the jitters.

My go-to hot or iced option is Primal Kitchen’s Matcha and Chai Collagen Keto Lattes, and not just for the obvious reason. Caffeine can inhibit collagen synthesis in the body.‘>1 and if you combine it with caprylic acid, the anti-seizure effect seems to increase.‘>3 is the most ketogenic medium-chain triglyceride of all.‘>5 while all three are effective against oral bacteria.‘>7

  • Lauric acid reduces hunger. In one study, people who had lauric acid shot directly into their guts ate less food than the people who had oleic acid shot in.[/ref]

    • Stearic acid is one of the saturated fats that even SFA-phobes admit has a neutral effect on cholesterol levels. If anything it boosts HDL.‘>15
    • Diets based on either red meat or cheese—two foods high in stearic acid—improve metabolic and blood markers.‘>18 That’s not good.

      Or the fact that palmitic acid is toxic to skeletal muscle cells, impairing glucose uptake and increasing insulin resistance.

      Or that palmitic acid induces inflammation‘>20 And arachidonic acid,‘>22 And finally, if you throw in a little oleic acid alongside that “inflammatory” palmitic acid, you obliterate the inflammation.‘>1 Nothing we do as humans proves to be as fulfilling as lending a hand to someone else.

      To test this theory, researchers had participants write either a supportive note to a friend or write about their route to school or work before undergoing a lab-based stress task.‘>3 which refers to “a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors.” Which, in real language, means that when a person does a favor for someone they don’t like (or feels neutral about), it creates a mismatched feeling between their actions and their attitude. To avoid cognitive dissonance, your mind essentially makes you believe that you must really value this person in order to do such a nice thing for them. When you ask someone for help, it builds likeability and trust, and starts to form a bond between you and the other person.

      On top of that, asking for help makes you stronger. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to unapologetically ask for help when you need it. While that might feel outside of your comfort zone right now, I can tell you from personal experience that growth happens when you start to get comfortable with a little discomfort. Any time you force yourself to do something outside your norm, you become a stronger person for it.

      How to Get Better at Asking for Help

      Honestly, most people underestimate how willing people are to help them. It could from a limiting belief they have from their past. Or maybe it’s the negative self-talk that creeps up now and then. Or perhaps you’ve had some less-than-awesome people in your life that literally weren’t able or willing to help you. Even if those scenarios ring true for you, it doesn’t mean you can’t get better at asking for the help you need. Keep in mind that these are for non-emergency situations. If you need immediate help, please reach out to a crisis hotline.

      Here’s a quick look at different ways you can make asking for help easier. Hang tight, I’m going to unpack these strategies down below.

      1. Make small requests
      2. Ask people you trust
      3. Be clear about what you’re asking
      4. Focus on the end result
      5. Remove any judgement

      1. Make small requests.

      Big asks can feel daunting, especially at first. So, start by getting comfortable with making smaller ones. Ask your significant other to cook up a pan of eggs and bacon in the morning. Or get your kids to walk with you so you stay on track. Seeing yourself ask for — and receive help gets the ball rolling on building your confidence in this area.

      2. Ask people you trust.

      The risk of being rejected or dismissed drops dramatically when you request help from people you have a solid rapport with. It’s much less scary to be vulnerable with your spouse or family members than it is with your boss or the new guy at work.

      3. Be clear about what you’re asking.

      Assuming people know what you need is the fastest way NOT to get it. Sure, it would be great if people immediately offered to help the second the thought entered your mind, but that’s not how it works. Instead, get clear on what you’re struggling with and what exactly you could use help with (i.e. I’m following the Primal Blueprint, so please don’t bring home donuts). The more you practice asking for help directly, the easier it gets.

      4. Focus on the end result.

      Imagine for a minute that you got all the help you needed. What benefit would that bring you? Would you be less stressed out? Less grumpy? Less apt to skip your workout? By focusing on the outcome, you take the attention away from the uncomfortable feeling of asking and put it on the fantastic feeling of having gotten the help you need.

      5. Remove any judgement.

      Don’t assume you know what people are thinking about you. It’s so easy to presume that you’re a burden or being perceived as weak when you ask for help, but you have no clue what’s going through their mind. Also, don’t compare your struggles to someone else’s. Everyone processes things differently and at different paces.

      And remember, you can always hire a professional to help — in practically any area of your life. That’s what we’re here for!

      Are you good at asking for help? Or is it something you struggle with? Share your experiences in the comments below.


      The post How Do You Start Asking for Help? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

  • Type I, II, or III Collagen? Different types of Collagen and How to Choose the Best One for You

    Posted on September 24, 2020 By In Fitness With disabled comments

    When a person goes looking for information on “collagen” supplements, they often come out more confused than they went in. There are seemingly dozens of different varieties. There’s gelatin. There’s animal collagen. There’s marine collagen. Hydrolysate and peptides. And then there are all the “types” of collagen: type I, type II, type III, type IV, type V, and on down the line, each with unique properties and applications. Everyone seems to say something different.

    What are you supposed to believe? How does a person make sense of it all? What are differences between them?

    Let’s do that right now.


    Gelatin is heat-treated collagenous animal tissue. Whether you’re a food manufacturer turning raw skin and bones into powdered gelatin for use in jello or a home cook slowly simmering beef knuckles in a pot on the stove to make rich bone broth that gelatinizes when cold, you are using heat to convert collagenous tissue into gelatin.

    Gelatin is partially soluble in water. While its chemical structure prevents it from dissolving in cold or room temperature water, it does dissolve in hot water.

    The health benefits of gelatin are equal to collagen. They have the same amino acid profile — lots of glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, alanine, lysine, and others. Inside the body, they’re all broken down into those same amino acids and utilized.

    Gelatin is fantastic to have in the kitchen. While you can’t just mix it into cold drinks or throw it in a smoothie like you can collagen hydrolysate, you can use it to thicken pan sauces, enrich store bought stock and broth, and make healthy jello treats or luxurious gelatinous desserts.

    Whenever I make a curry with coconut milk, as one of the final steps I whisk in a tablespoon or two of gelatin to thicken it up and give the curry that syrupy mouth feel. This is a game-changer, folks. Try it and you’ll see. This is also works in spaghetti sauce, soup, pretty much anything that includes liquid. Frying up a burger? Add some water to the pan, scrape up the fond (brown bits attached to the pan that are full of flavor), whisk in some gelatin, and reduce until it’s a thick sauce.

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    Collagen Hydrolysate and Peptides

    Collagen hydrolysate and peptides both mix readily into hot and cold liquids, and they give your body what it needs to assemble its own collagen. Hydrolysis is the process, peptides are the end product. Collagen hydrolysate refers to the process of using enzymes to break the peptide bonds to produce collagen peptides.

    Animal Collagen

    All collagen you see is animal collagen because there is no collagen that comes from non-animal sources. Plants do not contain collagen. I’m sure some startup is hard at work on producing lab-grown collagen, which ironically might be far less problematic than lab-grown steaks, but it isn’t available for purchase yet. It’s all animals.

    What most people mean by “animal collagen” is land animal collagen—by far the most common type. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the collagen you encounter on the market comes from land animals like cows and pigs.

    Animal collagen is the most evolutionarily congruent type on the planet. Because for as long as we’ve been eating animals (well over a million years), we’ve been stripping them of their collagenous tissue for consumption. Even when the collagen wasn’t visible but rather entombed in weight-bearing bones, we would smash those bones with stones and boil them in ruminant stomachs to extract every last drop of fat and collagen.‘>2 But I wonder of its relevance.

    One pro-marine collagen paper that makes a strong case for the use of marine collagen in wound repair, oral supplementation, and other medical applications does not mention increased bioavailability. It may be slightly more bioavailable—the lower the molecular weight, the more true that is—but I don’t think the effect is very meaningful. We know mammalian collagen is plenty bioavailable because most studies use collagen from cows or pigs, even if it’s a few dozen kilodaltons heavier.

    Collagen Quench: a refreshing way to get your collagen

    Collagen Types I, II, III, IV, and V

    Collagenous tissues are not uniform. Cartilage doesn’t look or feel like tendon, which doesn’t feel like skin. They’re all slightly different because there are different “types” of collagen that constitute them. Over two dozen, actually. But if we’re talking about supplementary or dietary collagen, there are three primary types we encounter.

    Type I Collagen

    Found in skin, bones, tendons, eyes, and many other tissues type I collagen constitutes almost 90% of the collagen in the body. That goes for humans but also cows and pigs and other mammals, meaning throughout the course of meat-eating human history, the vast majority of dietary collagen we’ve consumed has been type I collagen. As such, type I, though “boring and unexciting,” is the form of collagen we should be focusing on.

    Type II Collagen

    Cartilage is made of type II collagen. If you’re a gristle eater, an end-of-bone scraper, you’re getting type II collagen. You can also get a nice dose of type II collagen by eating the sternum of the chicken carcass—that’s the unctuous morsel of chewy cartilage lying at the end of the chest bone between the ribcages and one of my favorite parts of the chicken.

    Type III Collagen

    Type III collagen appears alongside type I in skin, bones, and also can be found in blood vessels and other hollow organs throughout the body. Most collagen supplements are type I with a bit of type III.

    Types IV and V

    Types IV and V aren’t as abundant in the body, and aren’t as widely used in supplements. You may see these in supplements as part of combination collagens. If you eat a varied diet, you’ll probably get enough in your food.

    Focus on Types I, II, and III for skin, hair, joints, and other benefits you’re after. How much of each? To be quite honest, it’s not a big deal either way if you get more Type I than Type II or Type III. They’re all made up of the same basic amino acids, and your body knows what to do with them once they’re digested and assimilated. You don’t need to micromanage various collagen types as long as you’re eating some form of the collagen, whether through collagen peptides, gelatin, or gelatinous meats and bones.

    I wish it were different. I wish you could get crazily specific effects by eating a lot of a specific collagen type. But, as far as my research shows, you can’t.

    Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope it clears some things up and makes your decision a whole lot easier.


    The post Type I, II, or III Collagen? Different types of Collagen and How to Choose the Best One for You appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

    Why It’s So Hard To Make Goals A Reality

    Posted on September 23, 2020 By In Fitness With disabled comments

    Why It’s So Hard To Make Goals A Reality

    Natalie Jill Why it’s so hard to make goals become realityWhy is it dang so hard to bring your “goals” into fruition?

    I am hoping this will help you! I’ve seen and shifted over and over again with clients…

    DECISION. You may not have fully DECIDED it’s happening. You may be trying it on, thinking about it, wishing for it, dreaming about it, but DECIDING means it’s happening and you are level 10 committed.

    You aren’t clear on WHY you want what you want. Getting clear on that driving core motivator as to why you want the goal gives you CLARITY and clarity is what helps you focus on creating it and making it a reality. Knowing your why outsmarts distractions and willpower.

    False assumed truths , the wrong beliefs and especially FEAR. It’s real. It holds us back. It’s in the way. It keeps us from getting hurt, it protects us from disappointment, it keeps us “SAFE” but it does not help us live the creative, fun, expanded life we WANT. This is especially true when it is TRULY YOUR GIFT AND CALLING. Yup. When we are truly onto our GIFTS and strengths , the risk of failure feels PERSONAL. When it is just a skill, or something you’ve learned or studied, the risk of failure is not personal. It doesn’t attack YOU as a person. Read that again. When you feel the fear you are headed in the right direction!

    VISION: you haven’t fully thought through what it is you WANT and what that will look, feel and smell like when you get there! It’s like getting in a car and driving without knowing the destination! Who knows where you will end up.

    You are loan wolfing it. Stop! You are making it so much harder on yourself. Find that mentor, that coach, that person who has accomplished what you want and hire them, learn from them, study them and follow a METHOD. Dang it makes things so much easier…

    Go HERE!


    Natalie Jill

    The post Why It’s So Hard To Make Goals A Reality appeared first on Natalie Jill Fitness.

    Parental Burnout: What to Do If You Feel Overwhelmed as a Parent

    Posted on September 23, 2020 By In Fitness With disabled comments

    Last year, an article in the New York Times described “The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting.” That word struck me at the time and has stuck with me ever since. Speaking as a mom of two, the expectations and pressures weighing on parents can indeed feel relentless.

    It’s not enough to keep our children clothed and fed, get them to school, and take the occasional family vacation. Parents today should provide optimal nutrition from birth and ensure that kids have the best educational opportunities. We’re told to enroll them in sports, extracurriculars, and tutoring to give them a competitive edge for college, then we’re obliged to volunteer as assistant coach, snack mom, and classroom parent. By the way, you’re already saving money for college, right?

    Don’t forget, we’re also in charge of arranging playdates, monitoring screen time, and searching Pinterest for unique birthday party ideas and fun hijinks for the Elf on the Shelf.

    No wonder parents are succumbing to burnout.

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    What is Parental Burnout?

    For academics, the term parental burnout has a specific meaning. In 2018, Belgian researchers developed the Parental Burnout Assessment, which comprises four factors:‘>2

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    Risk Factors for Parental Burnout

    Some of the factors that make a parent more vulnerable to burnout are:

    • Holding themselves to unrealistic standards
    • Difficult family situations due to socioeconomic pressures, strain with co-parents, or children with special health or developmental challenges, for example
    • Not wanting to be a parent in the first place
    • Lack of social support, not having a “village”
    • Personality traits like neuroticism, general lack of coping skills

    Is Parental Burnout an Especially Modern Phenomenon?

    Since research into parental burnout is fairly new, there’s no longitudinal data that speaks directly to this. Intuitively, though, it feels like parents today must experience more burnout than previous generations.

    Parenting is continually evolving. Both mothers and fathers spend considerably more time interacting with their kids than they did 50 years ago.‘>4 The financial cost of raising a child continues to rise. Social media presents a host of new challenges—cyberbullying, mommy wars, and FOMO, oh my!

    More to the point, parents face social pressure to be constantly “on” like never before. Sociologists refer to this as intensive parenting, so named by Sharon Hays in her 1996 book The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood. Parents, especially mothers, are expected to invest heavily in their children, devoting nearly unlimited time, emotional energy, and money to parenting. Intensive parenting holds that parents are responsible for managing every aspect of kids’ lives, preventing all manner of potential harm, and ensuring the best possible outcomes for their children.

    Clearly, these standards are unattainable for many—perhaps most—parents. In particular, wealth heavily impacts the types of opportunities parents can access for their kids and the amount of time they can devote to parenting. Yet parents across the spectrum endorse intensive parenting ideals.‘>6 Not surprisingly, intensive parenting beliefs are associated with greater stress, depression, anxiety, and guilt for mothers.‘>8‘>10 That doesn’t take into account extenuating circumstances such as having a child with chronic illness, which is known to increase parental stress.‘>12‘>14 At least one study found that mothers and fathers experience parental burnout at the same rate.‘>16

    Are Primal Parents Especially at Risk?

    I’ve been going back and forth on this. On the one hand, isolation and lack of social support are huge risk factors for burnout, and parenting outside the norm can feel lonely. Repeatedly explaining—and defending—your choices to family members, pediatricians, teachers, and fellow parents can be exhausting, especially when they challenge you and call your parenting into question.

    On the other hand, Primal parents may be more comfortable with the idea of free-range parenting—exempting ourselves from the pressures of intensive parenting and opting instead for a more relaxed, less “helicopter-y” style. For these parents, I’d expect burnout to be considerably lower.

    Pandemic Burnout

    Not to ignore the elephant in the room, parenting through a pandemic takes the notion of parental burnout to a whole other level. It’s terribly hard to rely on our villages while adhering to social distancing guidelines. The stress of trying to keep everyone safe, working from home, and carving out time for ourselves can become overwhelming.

    Ironically, though, the pandemic and lockdowns probably alleviated burnout for some parents. We’ve been forced—or rather, given the opportunity—to slow down and spend more time with our kids. In a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association at the end of May, 82 percent of parents said they were grateful for this extra time.‘>18 So, how about we all try to stop holding ourselves, and each other, to unrealistic standards that make us miserable, okay?

    Stop parenting on social media

    Another big one. Don’t spend valuable time and energy curating a parenting facade on social media. More importantly, stop following people who make you feel “less than” in comparison. You don’t need to compete with other parents to see whose kid is having the most magical childhood. Keep your eyes on your own paper.

    Get help

    You deserve to feel good about yourself as a parent, period. If you don’t, whether it’s because you are overwhelmed or need help developing effective parenting tools, don’t wait until you’re totally underwater. Ask for help now.

    Burnout isn’t an inevitable consequence of modern parenting. Many parents shield themselves from the weight of the expectations and find everyday joy in raising their small humans. It’s not easy… but nothing about parenting is, is it?

    I usually end by asking for feedback, but today I’d just like to offer a virtual high-five, fist bump, or hug to my fellow parents out there. Parenting is tough, but you’re tougher! You’ve got this.


    The post Parental Burnout: What to Do If You Feel Overwhelmed as a Parent appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.