Be Healthy, Be Happy # 11

Our “Second Brain” – Your Gut Microbiome

Happy Friday All Primal Friends!

A new topic this week – as many of you may not be aware …. our “gut” is actually thought to be our “second brain.”

First, here is an explanation from a past article in the Primal Blueprint archives:

“Second Brain”
“Within the human gut lies a “second brain”: a vast network of neurons located along the intestinal lining. It’s called the enteric nervous system—enteric as in “pertaining to the gut”—and for years researchers assumed its sole province lay in regulation of the digestive process. Researchers now know that the enteric nervous system also relays and sends neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, responds to emotions, and has a direct conduit to the brain via the vagus nerve.

The gut is not the site of higher-level cognition. The neurochemical processes responsible for writing emails, doing trigonometry, and reading this blog post occur solely in the brain. But though decision-making and conscious thought happen up top, the gut has a lot of input on how those thoughts and decisions develop. About 90% of traffic along the vagus flows from gut to brain, and it’s not all information about intestinal contractions. The second brain is likely the province of instinct, subconscious response, and emotion. In other words, gut feeling, gut instinct, butterflies in your stomach, and got the guts? aren’t just figures of speech. They hint at real physiological processes occurring along the gut-brain axis.

Emerging evidence is showing that our enteric nervous system, and the gut bacteria, probiotics, and prebiotics that comprise and affect it, have effects on how we think, feel, perform, and respond to the world around us.”

AND – more from a definition standpoint:
“The word microbiome is defined as the collection of microbes or microorganisms that inhabit an environment, creating a sort of “mini-ecosystem”. Our human microbiome is made up of communities of symbiotic, commensal and pathogenic bacteria (along with fungi and viruses) all of which call our bodies home. We are dependent on these bacteria to help digest our food, produce certain vitamins, regulate our immune system, and keep us healthy by protecting us against disease-causing bacteria.”

Next – impacts of various bacteria on our health

AND, one more – how this second brain can affect our mood and well-being ….

A bit lengthy this week, but all on this one topic. This gives me some pause as to how I sometimes advise people to “Go with your gut feeling!”


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Be Healthy, Be Happy # 10

N.E.A.T. & Some Uncommon Exercises

Greetings Healthy & Happy Friends,

A new topic this week – N.E.A.T. – which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This article gives you some ideas on how to keep our metabolism working without having to do an actual “workout.”

Next, some different types of exercises/movements for keeping up your strength, agility and power as we get older. These are actually good suggestions for anybody at any age​!​


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Be Healthy, Be Happy # 9

Nutrient Density & Low-Carb Diet Effectiveness

Good morning!

First topic today – Nutrient Density
Here is one list (of many out there) of the most nutrient dense foods for us to consume. A definition of a nutrient-dense food:

“Food that is high in nutrients but relatively low in calories. Nutrient-dense foods contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.”

I currently consume most of these foods, except for liver/seaweed/oysters – I hope to try and incorporate these also into my diet in the coming months/years. Note that cacao is on the list – I try to have 1-2 squares of some good dark chocolate every day; should be up to 85% cacao. The Lindt bar is a good choice – available at Villa and other places. It may take a while to get used to the slightly bitter flavor, and you could also add a little almond butter for sweetness and increased nutrient density – almonds are on this list also and almond butter is a wonderfully healthy fat!

Next – Regarding diets/weight loss, etc … there are many different plans/programs to lose weight. From what I have researched in the past several years, a low-carb (primal) diet has the most benefits for overall health and weight loss, if desired. This article is a good explanation of the effectiveness of a low-carb nutrition plan. There is also a lot of research which shows that people who have lost various amounts of weight on a low-carb plan typically keep the weight off, instead of gaining it back – which often happens in numerous other diet plans.


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Be Healthy, Be Happy # 8

Sprinting & Hiking

Happy Weekend Primal Friends!

This is the third message somewhat “in order” ….
Two weeks ago the topic was walking; last week was running; and we conclude this week with sprinting & hiking!

For those of you with good memories, you will recall that SPRINT is at the top of the Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid – shared with many of you in earlier emails and attached again here.

There are many benefits we can gain from a sprinting-type exercise/movement.

Additionally, sprinting does not have to mean running fast, as there are many different ways to “sprint.”

Hiking is also included at the base of the PB Fitness Pyramid – Move Frequently at a Slow Pace. Unfortunately, there are not too many hills here in Bangkok, so we need to plan our trekking getaways! As for hiking/trekking, this is currently my absolute favorite type of exercise, as I believe it also offers numerous health benefits. During the summer months, I frequently go off for half-day and day-long hikes in the mountains in upstate New York. Nothing like fresh air, some sunshine and mother nature to get the juices flowing!

Here are some great tips for hiking!


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Be Healthy, Be Happy # 7

Running: How Much / How Fast is Beneficial ?!

Greetings Healthy, Happy Friends!

So, last week we talked about the many benefits of walking ….

Moving on this week, we get into running – as I am sure many of you may run/jog at times, or you have run in the past. I used to run/jog 40-50 miles per week, and I often enjoyed the endorphin rush people get during a nice run/jog. These days, I do not run too much – except maybe on a tennis court, or doing some sprints once a week or so, or maybe some very light, easy jogging in the park. I believe, and much evidence shows, that I can still get “cardio” benefits from my regular strength training sessions and/or HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.

This Tedx Talk features Dr. James O’Keefe, a cardiologist in the U.S. –
It is 18 minutes long, so I hope you can find that much time sometime soon, to watch and learn some interesting things about running.

“The fitness patterns for conferring longevity and robust lifelong cardiovascular health are distinctly different from the patterns that develop peak performance and marathon/superhuman endurance. Extreme endurance training and racing can take a toll on your long-term cardiovascular health. For the daily workout, it may be best to have more fun and endure less suffering in order to attain ideal heart health.”

As I have mentioned several times in previous posts, my main goal is to live long and live healthy – for as many years as possible. I am basically moving/exercising for longevity, which is different than training for peak fitness. My current level of overall weekly exertion is enough to keep me in an optimal conditioned state. For all of you runners out there, I know that many of you are consciously supplementing your training with strength workouts, stretching or activities like yoga. That is highly commendable. And for you “non-runners,” remember last week’s post and keep walking as much as you can. AND, when possible or the opportunity presents itself (not likely here in BKK), go for a hike up and down some nice hills. For me, going for a nice, long hike is my favorite form of exercise – more coming on hiking/trekking benefits soon ….

Please take some time to watch this Tedx Talk, and as always, feel free to send any questions/comments/concerns regarding the content.

If you do go out for a run or jog this weekend, think about going a bit slower and for a shorter distance also …. if you believe this message from Dr. O’Keefe, that is ….


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