YOUR BIG CRAZY HUGE GOAL IS LIKE THIS… Do you remember the day you learned as a kid to ride a bike? It was likely a huge pivotal moment for you… the day you learned you COULD.
I was super young and my dad taught me. I was “SO SCARED” for him to let go. I remember crying and hiding in my room saying “I don’t want to do it!” I DID want the result (to ride the bike without training wheels like a big kid) but I was so dang scared.
Scared I would fall
Scared I would get hurt
Scared I’d fail
Scared I could not do it.
My dad persuaded me to try and eventually I DECIDED the trust the process. As I pedaled on my banana seated glittery big girls bike, I felt ok because I ‘believed’ my dad was holding onto the back. When I looked back and saw he had actually let go and was standing there instead proud and grinning and cheering me on I realized that I was DOING IT! Not only was I riding but I was safe and doing it well!! Go little me!
Now, at almost age 49 I still remember that day so vividly as it was pivotal.
I never “forgot” how to ride a bike after that day so many years ago. And likely you didn’t forget either after you learned.
Alllll of our big scary goals can be like riding that bike. It STARTS with trusting the process and asking for support.
When you couple your decision, vision and ACTION with someone cheering you on and supporting you you become unstoppable.
What is that big goal you have been avoiding? What if you knew that it would be just like riding that bike.
After cutting back on sugar and carbs for a while, you understandably start to miss sweets. A common misconception is that you have to skip sweets to meet your goals, which isn’t the case at all. There are plenty of sugar alternatives that fit within the Primal and keto lifestyles, and stevia is one of them.
Stevia is widely used in the low carb community to satisfy sugar cravings or simply add a touch of sweetness to a hot beverage or dessert, but should it be? What is stevia? Is it safe? What is its effect on insulin, if any, and does it have a place in a Primal Blueprint eating strategy? Let’s investigate.
What Is Stevia?
A lot of people categorize stevia as an artificial sweetener, but it’s important to note that stevia is not an artificial sweetener at all – it’s a plant-derived natural alternative to sugar.
Stevia is an herbaceous family of plants, 240 species strong, that grows in sub-tropical and tropical America (mostly South and Central, but some North). Stevia the sweetener refers to stevia rebaudiana, the plant and its leaves, which you can grow and use as or with tea (it was traditionally paired with yerba mate in South America) or, dried and powdered, as a sugar substitute that you sprinkle on. It’s apparently quite easy to grow, according to the stevia seller who tries to get me to buy a plant or two whenever I’m at the Santa Monica farmers’ market, and the raw leaf is very sweet.
The Sweet Compounds in Stevia: Stevioside and Rebaudioside
Most stevia you’ll come across isn’t in its raw, unprocessed form, but in powdered or liquid extract form. The “sweet” lies in the steviol glycosides – stevioside and rebaudioside – which are the natural compounds isolated in these extracts. Some products use just one, while others use both stevioside and rebaudioside. Stevioside is the most prevalent glycoside in stevia, and some say it provides the bitter aftertaste that people sometimes complain about; rebaudioside is said to be the better tasting steviol glycoside, with far less bitterness.
Most of the “raw or natural” stevia products use the full range of glycosides, but the more processed brands will most likely isolate one or more of the steviol glycosides. The popular Truvia brand of stevia products uses only rebaudioside, as do both PureVia and Enliten. Different brands provide different conversion rates, but compared to sucrose, stevioside is generally about 250-300 times as sweet and rebaudioside is about 350-450 times as sweet.
Is Stevia Safe, or Bad for You?
The government has approved only isolated steviol glycosides as safe to use in food. Whole or crude stevia is not Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) according to government standards.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5591507/table/Tab1/‘>2 This is due to lack of safety information, not so much the presence of known harmful effects.
Does Stevia Affect Insulin?
I wrote an extensive piece on whether artificial sweeteners spike blood sugar a while back. There is one in vitro study that showed stevioside acts directly on pancreatic beta cells to stimulate insulin secretion and another which shows similarly insulinotropic (insulin-producing) effects of rebaudioside, which may give you pause.
Insulin secretion sounds like an insulin spike, no? And since we tend to be wary of unneeded insulin spikes, maybe we should avoid stevia. It’s not so simple, of course. For one, this was an in vitro study, performed in a super-controlled laboratory petri dish type setting; this was not an in vivo study of animals or people eating stevia in a natural, organic way. The results of in vitro studies do not always match results when you try to replicate them in vivo (in a person).
Secondly, insulin secretion isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I mean, we need it to shuttle nutrients into cells, and we’d die without it. As I mentioned in the dairy post a while back, insulin is millions upon millions of years old. It’s been preserved throughout history because it’s an essential hormone. It’s not always the bad guy, especially if your insulin sensitivity is where it should be.
In fact, the evidence is mounting that stevia actually is an insulin sensitizer that can aid in glucose tolerance and clearance after a meal. The Japanese have been using stevia for decades in the treatment of type 2 diabetics. Let’s look at a few recent studies. In fructose-fed rats, a single instance of oral stevioside increased insulin sensitivity and reduced postprandial blood glucose in a dose-dependent manner. The same study also found that diabetic rats given stevioside required less exogenous insulin for the same effect. Taken together, these results suggest that stevia may not just be a good sugar substitute for diabetics, but an effective supplement for treatment of their insulin resistance.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20303371‘>4 Another strike in stevia’s favor.
Allergy to stevia has been reported, but it is rare.
Most people do not experience side effects when using stevia, but some people do experience effects like:
Most often these effects are from using stevia that is mixed with sugar alcohols, like erythritol or xylitol. If you can tolerate sugar alcohols, you will probably be okay using combination stevia and sugar alcohol products. To be sure, start slow, and watch for symptoms.
Stevia is considered safe for the diabetic population, but sometimes it is combined with ingredients that affect carb count, like dextrose and maltodextrin. If you’re diabetic, check your ingredients label and carb counts before adding it to food.
Historically, stevia has been used as a form of birth control, so use of stevia may contribute to fertility issues.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21089163‘>6 Alone, low-dose stevia lowered cholesterol without the potentially beneficial effect on HDL. It’s also useful to note that high-dose stevia negatively affected some toxic parameters – so don’t eat spoonfuls of stevia (not that you would) – but long term low-dose stevia was deemed safe.
Lipid numbers are fun and all, but we’re really interested in avoiding atherosclerotic plaque buildup. In mice treated with stevioside, oxidized LDL was reduced, overall plaque volume was reduced, and insulin sensitivity increased. Overall, atherosclerosis was reduced in the stevioside-treated mice.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20871768‘>8 Clinically relevant? Perhaps not, but it’s interesting.
Although the above statement is true, call this less science more anecdotal but it’s my observation that men need to lift heavy objects every now and then. Lean muscle mass is healthy, fat mass is not. Obesity is a leading cause of low testosterone while pumping iron raises it. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or gym junkie but you do need to lift some weights, carry some heavy objects, climb a rope, do some body weight push-ups, pull ups, sit ups or simply join a CrossFit class for two times per week. The reason, blood flow.
Promising Approaches to Erectile Dysfunction
Ok, now that we know some of the leading causes of ED let’s dive into fixing it, the natural way without having to reach for the little blue pill.
Step 1: Improve your sleep.
Tips to improve your sleep:
Keep you bedroom between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit
Eye mask to sleep
Room darkening shades
Cover all lights in room with electrical tape (you know those little red and green lights that your laptop or LED TV have)
Phone face down or on airplane mode or off
CBD with Melatonin
Ear plugs to block noise
Blue light blocking glasses if looking at a device before bed
Step 2: Lower Stress
Tips to to Lower Stress:
Meditation, prayer, breathing exercises, stillness or yoga are all wonderful ways to relieve stress. The best part is you don’t have to take up large amounts of more time with traveling to a yoga class for an hour and a half class and then drive back to the office home thus taking up a total of two hours of your precious time. I recommend this site and thus you can do yoga right from home or even the office. The best part, you get to choose how much time you have. Often, i will select the 10 minute session, that’s all you need to lower that blood pressure and get blood circulating again.
One other tip, I highly recommend the book “Stillness is the Key” by Ryan Holiday.
It’s not as hard as you think. You are already here at Mark’s Daily Apple so you have already taken the first step!! Next, if you haven’t already is to dive into the Primal Blueprint Laws. Eating primally provides your body with the building blocks it needs to create and balance hormones.
Step 4: Eliminate Inflammatory foods
Eating in a way that minimizes inflammation will help get roadblocks out of the way. Take massive action and throw out any and all inflammatory foods from your cupboard. Going Primal and eliminating industrial seed oils (like corn, soy and sunflower) will help a lot! Replace them with avocado and olive oil.
Guard your health because well, your bedroom time and your life may depend on it. Eat more whole foods, and learn, study and live Primal. Have a sweet tooth? No problem, you can still have dessert! Just choose healthy ingredients. For example, here is my go-to almost daily after dinner dessert:
One cup organic berries
One Primal Dark Chocolate Almond Collagen Fuel Bar cut up
Organic Cinnamon, ginger, or whatever spices you like to sprinkle on
Organic vanilla unsweetened almond milk
An occasional teaspoon of organic honey
Step 5: Lower Inflammation
How to support a healthy inflammation response
Cold shower of ice plunge. Doesn’t sound like fun? Well, start out with just 10 seconds at the end of your shower and work your way up from there.
Daily moderate exercise
Research supplements such as Curcumin and CBD
Step 6: Get Moving!
Although I advocate for pumping iron, at the end of the day just move! Take up whatever form of exercise you like whether it be swimming, biking, hiking or tennis but get moving, get that blood circulation in high gear and oh, get out in the sun a little! That Vitamin D is also good for raising your testosterone. https://blog.insidetracker.com/can-vitamin-d-restore-low-testosterone-levels
Lastly, as a bonus here are a few herbs and other “hacks” as they say in the biohacking community that may help with libido issues:
Foods high in nitric oxide, arginine and citrulline such as arugula, beets pistachios and watermelon
Peptides, particularly PT-141. or if you want an erection while also getting a tan, Melanotan 2.
Always work with a qualified medical professional when choosing supplements and health regimens.
Tthanks for reading everyone. I hope this helps and at a minimum opens your eyes to addressing bedroom woes through healthy lifestyle choices and perhaps reducing your reliance on pharmaceuticals while still remaining in poor habits. You can do it! You are a Champ!
About Peter Montpelier, Health Coach/Longevity Expert at Team Appollon LLC
I am the co-founder and lead health coach of Team Appollon ( teamappollon.com) a peak performance and health company. I help people lose weight, build strength and create energy in their life to do the things that they love. Sign up for my free weekly health newsletter here.
We can generally get our hands on a watermelon any time of year, but these are the months when they actually taste sweet and juicy. As soon as watermelons come into season, my Summer Watermelon Salad comes out of hiding. It’s a late summer treat that reminds us that even though we’re hearing the first whispers of school starting and pumpkin spice, it’s still summertime.
This watermelon salad is a sweet, crunchy, tangy accompaniment to any summer meal.
Tip: feel free to leave the feta cheese out if you are dairy-free, or replace it with goat cheese or fresh mozzarella.
Navigating Anxiety and Depression with Dr. Leah Katz
Anxiety and Depression is a big deal in normal times. But, during quarantine, shut downs, changes and the fear or the virus and economy it is running rampant. How this affects adults and teens is eye opening.
Today, I have Dr. Leah Katz, Ph.D., She is a clinical psychologist practicing in Portland, Oregon. Originally from New York, she completed her doctorate training at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. While living in New York, Dr. Katz worked at a community clinic where she led several groups, treated individuals and couples in therapy, and taught at Stern College for Women.
She currently works in a group practice where she specializes in working with teenagers and women, with a focus on treating anxiety and depression, amongst other things. She utilizes a hybrid of cognitive behavioral, ACT, and mindfulness techniques in her therapy work. She has gone on several mindfulness retreats and incorporates mindfulness concepts into the therapeutic work she does. She also facilitates mindfulness groups for the broader community and gives talks related to mental health and wellness.
Dr. Katz is passionate about girls’ and women’s mental health, and helping women navigate challenges to live deeply connected and fulfilled lives. She is in the process of publishing her first book. She frequently writes for Psychology Today. You can find her on Instagram @dr.leahkatz, where she shares mental health related tips and insights.
Join in today and learn exactly how Dr. Leah Katz suggests leveling up and out of anxiety and depression during challenging times.
In this episode, you will learn:
Where anxiety and depression comes from
How you can navigate it the right way
What you can do today to help
PS. Like Leveling up? Leave us an honest review (a good one I hope!) and get my FREE DSR Journal delivered to your inbox HERE!
The good news is, it works the other way too. In a trial funded by the National Institute of Health, researchers looked at the ripple effect of healthy behaviors in a household. Participants and their spouses were placed into two groups: an intensive lifestyle intervention (which included a specific diet and physical activity) and a care plan that included only education and support. Researchers weighed the couples at the beginning and end of the trial and found that approximately 25% of the spouses in the intensive intervention lost 5% more of their baseline weight compared to less than 10% of the spouses in the other group.https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1997-04812-007‘>4 In this case, a more gradual approach might be more beneficial if you want your partner to follow your lead.
5. Get your priorities in order
Another thing to keep in mind is that this is YOUR health journey. You’re the one who’s embarking on this change, not your significant other, your spouse, or even your kids. That’s why it’s crucial that you get clear on what message you’re putting out there. Sure, it would be great if everyone in your household ate the same thing (who likes to make two dinners anyway?) and no one ever brought cookies or Halloween candy or artificially colored and flavored juice drinks into your home, but that’s not necessarily realistic. It’s not necessary to your success either.
So, asking yourself: is your partner being difficult because they’re not supporting you? Or because they’re not eating and moving their body exactly how you’re doing it? Good questions to ponder. Someone can be supportive yet choose to not live a Primal lifestyle. And that’s okay.
6. Find common ground
Assuming that your SAD-loving partner would prefer to eat Twinkies and mac-n-cheese all day isn’t just unfair, it’s unproductive. Take a step back and figure out what foods you both enjoy eating (there’s got to be at least one, right?). Maybe you both like eggs or salmon or grilled asparagus. Or a great rare steak. By finding a favorite food in common, you can come up with meals that satisfy both of your eating preferences. Plus, the effort of wanting to find common ground with your partner can reduce the tension of a ‘my way or the highway scenario’.
7. Join a supportive community
If you’re not getting the support you need at home (or not enough support), there are tons of online groups you can engage with. Right now, the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group has more than 200,000 members. Keto Reset has 32,000 members. And Primal Blueprint has more than 20,000 members. If that’s not enough, reach out to a friend, a family member, or one of our expert health coaches.
Participating in a group gives you the opportunity to be with people who have a like-minded purpose. Not only will you be interacting with those who understand what you’re going through, it can help you feel less isolated, less anxious, and less stressed out.
8. Reflect on your own journey
You might be all-in when it comes to your keto or Primal lifestyle now, but think back to the beginning of your health journey. Transitioning away from a morning toast and OJ routine, or sandwich-and-chips-on-the-go isn’t always easy. And it’s not something to take lightly. So, if your significant other isn’t diving into Primal in one fell swoop, relax a little. They may need an approach that feels less scary — where they’re less likely to fail. Just remember that everyone’s journey is different. Even the people who live under the same roof as you.
What’s worked for you? Tell me if you’ve used any of these tactics or other strategies, when dealing with a difficult or unsupportive partner.