The 15 Terrible Coffee Side Effects You Need to Know About

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Last Updated: 28th September 2016

You’ve just read the title, and now you’re thinking “What? How could anyone say anything bad about coffee? My precioussss…”

Gollum comparison aside, most coffee drinkers are pretty passionate about their Java. Being a coffee snob is pretty much a way of life these days. With so many different cultivars of coffee in so many different recipes, it’s hard not to love coffee.

But don’t get up in arms just yet!

We’re passionate about coffee as well. I’ve been known to down my fair share of Joe–everything from a proper espresso to a cappuccino latte to frappes and even the lesser-known drinks (like Bulletproof Coffee).

Note: I REFUSE to try Pumpkin Spice Latte. Sue me.


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You know the old saying, “Too much of any good thing can be bad for you”? Coffee is so delicious and wonderful that there HAS to be downsides to it!

In this post, we’re going to take a look at coffee side effects to answer the question “Is coffee bad for you?” once and for all.

Set aside your passion for coffee for a moment so you can critically examine the side effects of coffee listed below.

Even if you know everything there is to know about coffee, you may learn a few things about the potential drawbacks of coffee…

Coffee Side Effects


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Here are some of the reasons that drinking coffee ruins you:

  • Makes all other beverages bland and boring by comparison. I mean, really? A cup of tea after drinking espressos for years? You’re better off drinking hot chocolate, or maybe a mocha. Oh right, that’s coffee again.
  • Becomes an important part of your life until you can’t function without it. Morning is probably not a great time in your household, not until the first cup of Joe is nearly empty. (This might lead to relying on it to stop snoring and other related sleep apnea issues!)
  • Makes you prone to fits of rage if someone is taking too long at Starbucks. “Come on! Do you really have to customize your order? You’re here for a cup of coffee, not a low-fat, soy milk, odd-flavored dessert!” Sound familiar?
  • Increases your tendency to scoff at people who drink regular coffee. You’re so used to slow-brewing your own home-ground Arabica that you can’t imagine how anyone can drink the pathetic stuff brewed in the break room.
  • Your head is stuffed with useless information. You know what a “cupping” is, what a “microlot” batch is, you understand terms like “leguminous”, and you say things like “tastes like Kenya”.
  • You’re going broke. Regular store-bought coffee just doesn’t cut it for you anymore! If it’s not way overpriced, free-trade, organic, specialized coffee, you won’t let it touch your palate.

Pretty nasty side effects, right? And that’s before we even get to the effects coffee has on your body…

The Real Side Effects Of Coffee


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Humor aside, coffee does, unfortunately, come with some unpleasant side effects. We may not be talking “sprouting warts on your tongue” or “breaking out into hives”, but the coffee side effects are very real.

Here are some of the side effects of coffee you need to know about:

Increases blood pressure — It’s a well-documented fact: caffeine raises your blood pressure. However, did you know that the increase in blood pressure is caused by vascular resistance, and not by an increase in your heart rate or blood flow?

This means that caffeine makes your heart work harder to pump blood through your body.

High blood pressure is one of the most common risk factors in coronary heart disease. Roughly 70 million American adults (29%) suffer from high blood pressure. If you are one of these adults, drinking coffee will only make the problem worse.

Essentially, it will force your heart to work double-time just to pump oxygen and nutrients through your body. For those with high blood pressure, perhaps it’s time to cut back on the Java.

Increases acid production — Specifically hydrochloric and gastric acids. Both of these acids are necessary to break down the food in your stomach. However, too much acid can cause problems in your stomach.

The acid can eat into the stomach lining (causing ulcers), or it may increase your risk of acid reflux.

This is even more of a problem if you drink coffee first thing in the morning, when there is no food in your stomach to mitigate the effects of the acid.

Oddly enough, it’s not the caffeine’s fault! One study discovered that the roasting of the coffee is most likely responsible for the increased gastric acid release.

Men who consumed regular and decaf coffee had higher levels of gastric acid than men who consumed non-coffee caffeine supplements.

Worried about an increase in stomach acid? Either drink your coffee on a full stomach, or cut back on the acid-producing foods in the meals where you have a cup of Joe.

Causes stomach/digestive problems — Not everyone who drinks coffee experiences digestive problems or a “rumbly tummy”, but most people suffering from IBS, ulcerative colitis, gastritis, peptic ulcers, and Crohn’s disease will find that the coffee irritates their digestive system and makes their stomach/digestive problems worse.

You see, when you drink coffee, you increase the production of acid in your stomach. This increase in acid weakens your stomach lining, making it easier for bacteria (like the H. pylori bacteria responsible for ulcers) to burrow into the stomach tissue.

And the effects aren’t limited to your stomach! Coffee can also irritate your small intestines, causing cramps, abdominal spasms, and alternating constipation and diarrhea–a condition known as IBS. Thankfully, this is a fairly rare side effect of caffeine!

Contributes to heartburn/acid reflux — Have you ever felt a burning, stabbing pain in your chest after drinking coffee? How about a feeling like the top of your stomach (mid-chest) is on fire? If so, coffee may be causing acid reflux or heartburn.

Caffeine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that stops food from coming back up your throat once it hits your stomach. When the sphincter relaxes, it allows food and acid to come back up the esophagus, and the acid burns the unprotected tissue of your esophagus.

Coffee isn’t the only drink that can cause heartburn and acid reflux–caffeinated sodas and teas are also responsible. Still, if you’ve got that stabbing, burning pain, perhaps it’s time to give your body a break and cut coffee/caffeine for a week or two.

Affects brain and central nervous system — We all know that coffee makes us feel awake, but do you know why?

Coffee doesn’t actually cause your body to produce more energy; instead, it shuts off the part of your brain that registers tiredness.

Coffee antagonizes the receptors in your brain that recognize adenosine, the chemical that signals fatigue. By turning off these adenosine receptors, coffee tricks your brain into thinking that you are more alert, awake, and focused than you really are.

This blocking of the adenosine receptors will make you feel awake and alert, but woe to you when the caffeine wears off. Because these receptors have been shut off, they become MORE sensitive when the caffeine stops blocking them. Hence, you feel the “coffee crash”.

Caffeine also affects your central nervous system, and it can cause problems like:

  • Anxiety
  • Jitters
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness

Something to be aware of as you sip your Java!


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De-sensitizes your body to caffeine — We all know what happens when you drink coffee regularly: you have to drink more and more to get the same effects.

Caffeine is as addictive as nicotine and recreational drugs, and it affects your body the same, meaning no matter how much you drink, you never get the same “high” you got the first time.

The more coffee you drink, the more you need to drink to get that same effect. This is why so many coffee drinkers go from mild Americana-style coffee to cappuccinos and espressos. For espresso drinkers, there are few options–like Death Wish Coffee (the name speaks for itself…)

Not only is it hard to get the same “high”, but you develop a dependence on caffeine in addition to the tolerance. If you stop drinking coffee, you get the “shakes”, a headache, and other downsides.

Affects nutrient absorption — One of the most notable examples is coffee’s effect on calcium absorption. Coffee essentially interferes with your body’s ability to absorb calcium, preventing it from reaching your bones.

Excessive caffeine intake can lead to bone thinning and osteoporosis. (For those taking green coffee bean supplements, this is also one of the green coffee bean extract side effects…)

Excess body fat — Now, to be clear, this isn’t a side effect of coffee, per se. Just drinking black coffee can actually stimulate weight loss, and will increase your energy at the gym.

However, how many people actually drink their coffee black and ENJOY IT? A large majority of people add milk, sugar, or both to their coffee. And don’t get me started on the fancy coffees you get at Starbucks!

Between the cream, whole-fat milk, high-sugar flavorings, and whipped cream toppings, you can end up consuming upwards of 500 calories in a single cup of coffee. Drink two or three of these per day, and you’re talking about A LOT of extra calories.

It’s a bit of a hard saying. To keep your coffee healthy, you have to keep it simple. However, this makes it bitter and harder to drink. Tough call, right?

Laxative and diuretic — This one is a bit of a mixed bag. Many people depend on coffee for their regular bathroom trips, thanks to the fact that caffeine triggers peristalsis–or the contraction of your bowel muscles that send the waste material toward the exit.

By triggering peristalsis, coffee helps to empty your digestive system, eliminating waste.

However, it’s not all good. First, your body may become dependent on the caffeine to trigger this muscle activity, meaning it will be unable to excrete waste without the aid of caffeine.

It also acts as a diuretic, making your body flush water–fluid that may be necessary for a healthy body. To make things worse, a lot of the food emptied from your intestines as a result of the caffeine isn’t fully digested. You end up missing out on vital nutrients thanks to the fact that coffee empties your bowels before they’re ready.

Add to that an increased risk of irritation/inflammation, and you’ve got a good reason to hesitate before drinking coffee.

For a normal, healthy person, coffee won’t cause problems with your digestive tract. However, if you suffer from gastrointestinal disorders (like IBS, gastritis, Crohn’s disease, etc.), it may be a good idea to check with your doctor before drinking coffee.

Other negative side effects — Here are a few more minor side effects of caffeine and coffee:

  • Coffee, if consumed in excess, may increase your risk of gout.
  • Coffee drinkers between the ages of 18 and 45 have a higher risk of mild hypertension, potentially increasing their chance of developing cardiovascular disorders.
  • One study discovered that women who drink up to 250 milligrams of caffeine per day had a 150% higher chance of developing fibrocystic breast disease than non-coffee drinkers. If the caffeine intake increased to more than 500 mg per day, the chance of FBD increased to 230%.
  • According to the University of Alabama, women who drink a lot of coffee have a 70% higher chance of developing incontinence and leaky bladders.
  • Headaches aren’t only caused by coffee withdrawal, but can be result of too much caffeine.
  • Women going through menopause often notice more vasomotor symptoms thanks to coffee.

Also, intake of at least two caffeinated beverages a day of men and women prior to conception increases the risks of miscarriage. Studies show that male preconception consumption of caffeine was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as that of females. This leads to the conclusion that caffeine intake of both parties during this time directly contributes to pregnancy loss. 

A lot of negatives, right? Sounds almost more harmful than good, doesn’t it?

So, now it’s time to answer the question, “Is coffee bad for you?” Are the side effects of coffee a deal-breaker, or can you keep drinking regardless?

In the end, it comes down to individual choice. You know what the coffee side effects are, and you can see how caffeine affects your body. You’re a grown-up able to make a wise, informed decision for yourself!

8 Healthy Ways to Deal with Terrible Co-Workers

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I am really fortunate to have co-workers who don’t make me cringe, but that wasn’t always the case.

There are few things more frustrating than working with rude, negative, disrespectful people and feeling like you can’t do anything about it because you’re in a professional setting. I have had to endure the lazy co-worker who doesn’t get their job done, the insensitive co-worker who constantly offends everyone, the co-worker who sends emails in all capital letters, and the worst, the co-worker who tells the boss nasty, untrue rumors about the rest of the staff.

We have all had to deal with the co-worker from hell at least once in our lives, but fortunately there are ways to manage so that your work environment is still a healthy one and a stress free work place!

Here are 8 types of terrible co-workers and how to keep your cool:

1. The Drama Queen

The Drama Queen (or king as the case may be) is always visibly upset about something minor that most of us would just brush off. This co-worker usually doesn’t realize they’re being annoying, or at least doesn’t mean to be, but the constant drama is really distracting in the office. If left to their own devices, they may not move on from their crisis of the day (read: neither can anyone else in the office)

Keep your Cool:
The best way to deal with them is to be empathetic without reacting too much. Offer minimal advice only if and when you can (and especially only when it’s appropriate). You want to help improve their mood without encouraging their behavior.

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2. The Slacker

The Slacker is the co-worker who would totally work on that project they asked you to do if they weren’t “so busy” doing…well, nothing.

Keep your Cool:
If the slacker’s bad habits affect you and your work directly, try confronting them calmly about the issue and be sure to tell them your work load is already piled sky-high and you don’t have time to take on more projects at that moment. If they don’t change, have a private conversation with your supervisor so the situation can be addressed. If The Slacker’s laziness doesn’t impact your work – just let them continue their behavior. Eventually your boss will become aware of the problem and put a stop to it.

3. The Complainer

The Complainer can take nearly anything big or small and make it extremely negative. It’s beyond frustrating to listen to them groan about every little task but fortunately The Complainer should be pretty easy to handle. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to cheer them up because they don’t want to hear it and they probably won’t feel that it’s genuine.

Keep your Cool:
The best way to deal? Sincerely (no sarcasm allowed!) tell them that whatever they’re dealing with sounds really frustrating and that you admire them for being able to handle it. The shock of you listening to them and being empathetic should shut them up… just be sure not to complain along with them.

4. The Thief

No, The Thief won’t actually steal your things, just your spotlight. This co-worker will brag about their totally awesome idea to the whole office, including your boss – the only problem is, it was your idea first.

Keep your Cool:
The only way to deal with The Thief is to have proof on hand. Keep a record of all your work and ideas and regularly shoot your boss an email with status updates so the next time your insecure co-worker steals your thunder, you can confidently correct the issue.

5. The Gossiper

The Gossiper is the one who has no problem making up lies and sharing personal information about everyone else behind their backs. Don’t be surprised if you wind up in your boss’s office because The Gossiper told him you said something you never even thought about. You’ll never be able to put a stop to their behavior but you can actively defend yourself and protect your reputation.

Keep your Cool:
The number one thing to remember is to never, ever gossip with them. If they say something bad about a co-worker, say something nice in response then “suddenly remember” you have an important email to send out and remove yourself from the situation.

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6. The Control Freak

The Control Freak is more annoying than terrible. They will constantly try to perfect everything and want everything done to their standards even though they’re not the boss.

Keep your Cool:
Often their behavior will leave you feeling insulted so when dealing with this co-worker you need to keep calm and hear them out. If you listen to them they will be more likely to leave you alone and annoy someone else. Added bonus: The Control Freak will be so busy obsessing over something minuscule that you can handle the important projects.

7.  The Screw-Up

The Screw-Up is the co-worker that means well, but is completely incompetent. Regardless of how long they’ve been on the job, they have no idea what they’re doing and you constantly have to fix their mistakes (read: take on extra work) and you often find yourself wondering how they still have their job.

Keep your Cool:
Since this co-worker is struggling and not just lazy like The Slacker, offer them some guidance and most importantly, be patient with them. If you help them, your boss will notice and think more highly of you.

8. The Bully

The Bully is the co-worker who never matured past high school and constantly demeans everyone else. They’re just mean and they don’t care if they hurt your feelings – in fact, they’re probably trying to.

Keep your Cool:
Don’t let their comments get to you. Instead, recognize that they’re internally very insecure and that by staying confident and holding your ground you ruin all their fun. If The Bully says something completely untrue, feel free to calmly and professionally stand up for yourself and correct them with the facts. The key is to stay strong and appear unaffected by their words.

The most important step in dealing with annoying co-workers is identifying who they are and why they do what they do – when you understand them, you can handle any situation that may arise accordingly and coexist with them in peace so you still have a healthy and happy work environment!

See Also: 9 Ways to Handle a Sucky Boss

Do you have a terrible co-worker that lands in one of these categories? How have you dealt with them in a professional, healthy way? 

Can The “Terrible Twos” Become “Incredible Years”?

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Source: Luiza Mali, used with permission

This guest post was written by Luiza Mali, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Southern California.

“You are mean! I hate you! I hate these vegetables!” Plate shatters on the ground. Creamed spinach splatters everywhere. “I want a different babysitter – a fun one, not you!” Anyone who has spent time with preschoolers has witnessed one form or another of disruptive, disrespectful, and at times hurtful, behavior. From temper tantrums and defiance to full-out aggression, most caregivers at some point have questioned (and ultimately doubted) their ability to address these challenging behaviors.

Whereas all kids have demonstrated oppositional behavior at some point in their lives, for some parents this is a stressful daily occurrence. Disruptive behavior and conduct problems are among the most common problems affecting young kids. Close to 10 percent of preschoolers meet criteria for a disruptive behavior disorder. These are the kids whose tantrums frequently gather an audience at the grocery store, and who tend to be repeatedly reprimanded, and occasionally expelled, from their preschool. Disruptive behavior disorders have been associated with many negative long-term consequences, including mental health difficulties, family stress, academic problems, and criminal behavior. In order to avert these long-term risks, it is imperative to detect and intervene early with kids who show signs of defiant and aggressive behavior. Research has demonstrated that the younger a child is at the time of intervention, the less entrenched their behavior, and the more positive treatment response can be.

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Source: Mindaugas Danys, Creative Commons license

So how should we handle kid’s disruptive behavior? Worryingly, a growing number of very young kids are being prescribed potent medications without proper psychiatric or psychological evaluation. A meta-analysis conducted by Mark Olfson, Stephen Crystal, Cecilia Huang, and Tobias Gerhard, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, suggests that the use of off-label antipsychotic prescriptions in the treatment of aggressive behaviors and temper tantrums in kids ages 2-5 is on the rise. The rates of antipsychotic medications prescribed to young kids almost doubled between 1999-2001 and 2007, despite the fact that controlled evaluations of the efficacy of such treatments during early childhood are either lacking or very limited. Alarmingly, kids who were prescribed psychotropic medication had very limited access to psychosocial services – less than half of them received some type of mental health assessment or treatment from a psychotherapist or psychiatrist during the study period.

The lack of psychosocial services for young kids with conduct problems is staggering considering we know these treatments work. Based on a synthesis of 36 controlled empirical studies evaluating 3,042 children, Jonathan Comer and colleagues from the Early Childhood Interventions Program at Boston University proposed that psychosocial treatments, and behavioral treatments in particular, should be considered the first-line of treatment for early disruptive behavior problems. Psychosocial treatments had a large and sustained effect on externalizing problems, oppositionality, and noncompliance. Psychosocial interventions had a weaker, but significant effect on symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity, suggesting that though there might be a role for stimulant medications in the treatment of such difficulties, psychosocial treatments should remain the preferred treatment for preschool-aged youth.

So what do we mean by “psychosocial interventions”? One of the most frequently studied examples of such an intervention, Incredible Years (IY), was developed by Carolyn Webster-Stratton at the University of Washington 33 years ago, and has been successfully used to treat kids’ problem behavior. The IY training series is designed to strengthen protective factors and counteract risk factors known to contribute to child conduct problems. Some of their areas of emphasis include coaching parents to be more effective and helping to prevent vicious coercive cycles, wherein parents’ over-the-top response to a disruptive kid actually fuels the disruptive behavior. With three types of training interventions (i.e., parent-, child-, and teacher-focused programs) that can be used alone or in combination, IY uses video vignettes and group discussions to teach specific parenting skills. In particular, IY helps parents learn to forge more positive relationships with their kids by modeling empathy and being attentive and involved in their play. Parents of difficult kids often feel like they’re stuck in a loop of correcting, punishing, and saying “no.” Instead, IY teaches parents to hone in on, and reward, kids’ positive behavior and to engage in child-directed play sessions where the kid gets to feel in control. After building a base of positive connection, parents find it easier to set and reinforce logical consequences when difficult behavior does crop up. Numerous randomized controlled trials, the gold standard for evaluating an intervention’s effectiveness, have demonstrated the positive effects of the IY training program in the prevention and treatment of childhood disruptive behaviors.

Given its demonstrated efficacy, how can we explain the continuing trends away from psychosocial interventions and toward off-label medication use in treating early disruptive behavior problems? The answer lies in dissemination and the many barriers in accessing psychological care. Many cities in the U.S., particularly rural towns, don’t have enough qualified treatment providers who have been trained to deliver treatments that have been proven effective by research. Lack of funding and long waitlists in community mental health clinics also contribute to the bleak picture of mental health care in America. Given the positive results obtained by cost-effective group interventions like IY, it would be great to see mental health agencies fund the dissemination of psychosocial treatments known to be effective with very young kids.

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Source: Luis Marina, Creative Commons license

In the long run, it’s costly to prescribe medication rather than behaviorally treat disruptive behavior. Antipsychotic treatments in childhood have been associated with a number of dangerous physical health side effects, including metabolic, endocrine, and cerebrovascular risks.

Many of these medications haven’t been studied for the purposes that they are being prescribed, and more often than not they haven’t been properly tested in young kids. So if you are a caregiver struggling with a difficult child — and wanting to avoid a faceful of creamed spinach — keep in mind a few tenets of IY’s training program: 1) use specific and enthusiastic praise liberally; 2) ignore, distract, or redirect inappropriate behavior when needed; and 3) administer natural consequences and loss of privileges sparingly. Frequently using the teaching and positive interaction skills that are at the base of the IY Parenting Pyramid (see picture) and limiting the use of corrective techniques that are at the top can go a long way. Remember, the foundation for effective correction is effective teaching! We are all deserving of a time-out if we continue to fail to search and utilize the many validated treatment resources and techniques that are at our disposal.

If you would like to learn more about Incredible Years go to www.incredibleyears.com for checklists, handouts, and program inquiries.

References

Comer, J. S., Chow, C., Chan, P. T., Cooper-Vince, C., & Wilson, L. A. (2013). Psychosocial treatment efficacy for disruptive behavior problems in very young children: a meta-analytic examination. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(1), 26-36.

Egger, H. L., & Angold, A. (2006). Common emotional and behavioral disorders in preschool children: presentation, nosology, and epidemiology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(3‐4), 313-337.

Olfson, M., Crystal, S., Huang, C., & Gerhard, T. (2010). Trends in antipsychotic drug use by very young, privately insured children. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(1), 13-23.

Webster-Stratton, C & Reid, M. J. (2010). The Incredible Years parents, teachers, and children training series: A multifaceted treatment approach for young children with conduct disorders. In J. Weisz & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.), Evidence-based psychotherapies for children and adolescents, (pp.96-161). New York: Guilford Press.

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Source: Incredible Years, Used With Permission

This Famous Food Blogger’s “Healthy” Diet Was Making Her Feel Terrible. Here’s What She’s Changing

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Sarah Britton is one of the biggest names in healthy food, with a blog, My New Roots, that’s been inspiring and educating people for nearly a decade, and multiple best-selling cookbooks under her belt. She’s renowned for her plant-forward fare and deep dives into why we should eat buckwheat, or how, exactly, leafy greens are powering the body. So it came as a surprise to her hundreds of thousands of fans when, in a recent blog post, she announced that her diet had been making her feel, well, terrible.

“I had a particularly gnarly couple of months with manic mood swings that rivaled my adolescence, acne flare-ups, bloating, low energy, night sweats, and all-around malaise,” she writes, despite eating a diet that was “organic, whole, plant-based and totally ‘healthy’ by most people’s standards.”

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Photo: My New Roots

Ever the nutritional detective, Sarah examined her diet for the source of her suffering and quickly identified what she believed to be the culprit: grains.

“The reason I suspected the grain thing was because of the unique relationship that blood sugar has to our hormones,” she explains. “If we’re consuming carbohydrates at a faster rate than our bodies are utilizing them for energy, that extra glucose gets stored in the fat cells of the liver, which decreases its ability to break down excess estrogen and allowing it to hang around in our systems longer than it should. This excess circulating estrogen causes a whole host of symptoms, including, you guessed it: mood swings, bloating, sluggish metabolism, tender breasts, fatigue, foggy thinking, PMS, and many more less-than-desirable issues.”

Sarah then set about de-graining her diet, which, as a plant-based eater, can present a larger challenge. “Eating this way for me has required more organization and planning,” she told mbg, “but I also know that any time I make adjustments to my diet there is a period of awkwardness before it just becomes a new routine or habit.”

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Photo: My New Roots

The key to her success? Meal prep.

“Having things on hand that I can grab when I’m hungry has eased the transition,” she says, “but then of course I have to make more time in the kitchen for that!” Her diet at present consists mostly of vegetables, sprouts, low GI fruit, nuts and seeds, and legumes. She keeps her seed-and-nut-based Life-Changing Loaf of Bread (made with quinoa flakes subbed for oats) on hand and has veggies and greens washed and ready at all times.

I think we all need to look at our eating habits as works-in-progress, and take it one meal, one day at a time.

 

Her grain-free lifestyle isn’t absolute. “Some days I won’t eat any grains at all; other days I’ll have sprouted buckwheat and almond waffles for breakfast, or a quinoa salad for lunch,” she says. “I digest pseudo-grains quite well, and let’s remember that these foods are very good for us if prepared properly! I try to keep my grain consumption to the morning or early afternoon, and eat quite light at dinnertime, which helps my digestion.”

The important take-away? Even the healthiest eaters need to be careful to listen to their bodies, to continue to adjust and tweak to feel their absolute best. “I think we all need to look at our eating habits as works-in-progress and take it one meal, one day at a time,” Sarah says. “And when we feel ready to make a change, we should do so slowly and celebrate small victories.”

Want more awesome tips from Sarah? Peek inside our cookbook club, where she told us why we need to sprout our grains, her go-to healthy travel supplement, and tons more.

Have You Been Sitting All Day ? It’s A Terrible Idea

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Let’s read about some simple & easy exercise you can do in your office space. Sure, there are various recommendations such as get a standing desk or move about every hour, the matter of the fact being, if you sit for long hours you are sure to invite health complications. However, you can still get your muscles moving while seated on your desk.

Give that pain in the neck a stretch

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Neck exercises are great because when you are staring at the computer screen for hours, your neck gets stiff. Neck stretch is a simple exercise – touch your ear to your shoulder and hold it for few seconds, and repeat it with the other ear. Be gentle in your approach or you might land up hurting yourself.

When you’re feeling a bit stressed, just roll the shoulders

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Shoulder rolls help in improving your posture. And the right postures can do wonders for you in the long-run. This exercise also eases the tension off your shoulders. Roll them clockwise then anti-clockwise in tandem. Do this simple exercise for 5 minutes and see the difference for yourself.

A lot can happen under the table. Start stomping your feet

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Get your chair as close to the table as you can. Relax and sit in a 90-degree posture. Breathe in and quickly stamp your feet to the ground. Exert force and repeat this exercise. Continue this for more than a minute and do it at least twice a day to start with.

Imagine a chair and sit on it

14 1 - Have You Been Sitting All Day ? It’s A Terrible Idea
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Well, not literally. Rest your back on a wall for support and maintain a seating posture. Make sure your legs are 90 degrees like a chair. Hold this position for as long as you can. Return to your upright position and repeat. And ignore the funny guys. You do your thing and feel energized all day long.

Certainly, there will be day’s when you think of ways to reduce stress , some days might feel like a never-ending story, but make sure you train your body and mind to take care of your body. A good body is the first towards happiness. The more you workout in your office space the more productive and positive you will feel. So even if you have a desk job, no worries. Now you know what needs to be done. Right?

 

Dear Mark: Grok’s Terrible Genes; Fasting, Starvation, and Metabolism

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Inline DM 08.28.17 - Dear Mark: Grok’s Terrible Genes; Fasting, Starvation, and MetabolismFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions from readers. The first one concerns a study I linked to in this week’s Weekend Link Love. It appears to suggest that ancient humans had worse genes than modern humans have, that they were at greater risk for many different disorders and diseases. How can this be? Last but not least, Pierre expresses skepticism at the notion of fasting or starvation causing metabolic slowdowns. I agree, but only to a point, and I explain why.

Let’s go:

Mark, what’s your take on the ancient human gene study you mentioned in weekend link love today? This one: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol_preprints/115/

I found it really interesting.

Jared

The paper has a lot going on.

First, we find that the genetic disease load has not been increasing in modern humans. Many have proposed the opposite: That the rise of modern medicine and technology has relaxed the selective pressures of everyday living and allowed genetically “unfit” people to survive and reproduce, thereby increasing the rate of deleterious mutations. This paper seems to contradict that.

We find that the genetic load in certain disease categories was higher in ancient humans. Looking at individual samples, we find that the Altai Neaderthal and Otzk the Iceman had some issues. The Neanderthal had a higher genetic risk for neurological disease, immune issues, cancers, gut disorders, and metabolic disorders. The Iceman had a higher genetic risk for cardiovascular, immune, gut, and metabolic disorders.

There are several ways to interpret the results. The most common interpretation will probably be that the genetic disease load was greater in ancient humans because they weren’t living long enough for the diseases to take root and impact reproductive fitness. I think that’s part of it, but my take is different.

Maybe ancient humans carry more genes that in modern environments increase risk of diseases, but in ancestral environments were neutral or even increased fitness. Heart disease wasn’t an issue because he wasn’t chowing down on packaged cupcakes, Panda Express, and Pepsi. 

If you transported Otzi the Iceman or the Altai Neanderthal to the present day, set them up with an apartment on the Las Vegas Strip with neon signs blaring into their room at all hours of the night and ensured they spent their days hanging out at the slots and pigging out on the buffets, they’d be fat, diabetic, and feeble more quickly than most modern humans in the same position.

This is why traditional people get hit so hard by modernity. It’s perhaps why the Pacific Island nations are among the fattest in the world. It’s why native peoples all over the world, when influenced by industrial food cultures and modern sedentary lifestyles, tend to be fatter and sicker than the broader population of their countries, whether it’s Canada, the US, or Australia.

Consider the genetic predisposition to alcoholism. It’s far higher in American Indians than Americans of European descent due to a lack of protective genetic factors and higher incidence of deleterious genetic factors (and, of course, environmental factors). If you dug up some American Indian graves from the 1400s and ran DNA tests on the remains, they’d show up as having a high risk of alcohol dependence. But back then, when they weren’t exposed to alcohol, those “deleterious” genes weren’t actually deleterious. 

I suspect the same thing applies to the Neanderthal and Otzi. They had the genes for cardiovascular disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Media headlines say “Otzi had heart disease.” I’d say “Otzi had the genetic predisposition that increases heart disease risk in modern people living in modern environments.”

What’s really fun to think about is if these “deleterious” genetic variants offered protective or beneficial effects in other areas. What do you think?

Next, Pierre comments:

Not sure about the statement that metabolism slows down when you are starving. That doesn’t really square with my fasting results and it doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Seems that slowing down when you need to chase down some food would lead to your extinction.

I agree with your thinking. Fasting as most people practice it does not slow the metabolic rate. It takes at least 3 days of pure fasting for minor slowdowns to the metabolic rate to occur. Some studies even find that short-term fasting (48 hours) boosts metabolic rate by almost 4%. Others find similar results. This jibes with your results and hypothesis—”slowing down when you need to chase down some food would lead to your extinction.” It seems you’ve got about 3 days of full (or even extra) energy to acquire food before energy starts dropping. That should be plenty.

At some point, though, things break down. It doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary standpoint for humans to die when a European cave bear eats their face, since that leads to the human’s extinction, but die they do. There’s only so much the body can handle. Evolution can’t contend with a giant bear mouth chomping down on your head, nor can it contend well with a lack of food for six days straight. You just run out of juice.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading. Take care, and be sure to add your own comments, questions, and answers down below!

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