Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
11 Apr

Dear Mark: Apple Cider Vinegar, DNA Damage, Lactaid, and Miracle Noodles

vinegarI’m really liking these Monday morning rapid fire question-and-answer sessions – are you? At some point, I’ll get back to the musings, but as long as you keep sending in great questions, I’ll probably keep answering them. We’ve got four this week: vinegar and its effect on insulin levels, sugar and DNA damage, the nutritional merits of lactose-free milk, and whether Miracle Noodles are Primal. So let’s get started.

Dear Mark

I have read that apparently cider vinegar influences/ reduces insulin level after a high carb meal. I was wondering what Grock’s view on this point is?

Thank you for looking into this & your time.

Viktoria

Apple cider vinegar does display some interesting benefits for diabetics. In one study, ten type 2 diabetics, eleven insulin resistant non-diabetics, and eight insulin sensitive non-diabetics were given 20 grams of apple cider vinegar (or a placebo) two minutes prior to a bagel, butter, and orange juice meal. The vinegar drink reduced postprandial glucose and insulin spikes in the insulin resistant, and both diabetics and insulin resistant non-diabetics enjoyed greater total body insulin sensitivity in response to the high carb meal after drinking cider vinegar. In another study, a pre-bedtime snack of two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a bite of cheese led to slight improvements in waking blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics.

For all its folkloric renown, I doubt the “apple cider” is all that important compared to the “vinegar,” at least when it comes to diabetes and glucose tolerance. Plenty of other studies show that it’s the acetic acid (that’s the organic acid that gives all vinegars their sour taste) that helps. Here’s one, using plain ol’ vinegar, in which eating bread with vinegar lowered glucose/insulin responses and improved satiety compared to eating bread alone. Hmm, maybe there’s something to dipping bread in balsamic after all… And finally, a comprehensive review of the purported health benefits of vinegar found that while evidence for most of the stuff people claim it does is nonexistent or equivocal, multiple studies have shown that vinegar combined with carbohydrate exerts a beneficial effect on glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and even satiety.

A tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar before a carb-heavy meal sounds fine by me, especially if you’re insulin resistant. Maybe an olive oil and vinegar-dressed green salad before dinner? You might also try making vinegar-based dishes. I make a mean balsamic and butter reduction that goes well with just about anything.

I remember reading in the Primal Blueprint about an Australian study that concluded that sugar can cause DNA damage 2 weeks after consumption. Does this also apply to fruit? Would eating a banana or a papaya have the same affect on DNA as eating a chocolate bar?

Andrew

If I recall correctly, the lingering effects occur as a result of hyperglycemia. So, if whatever you’re eating leads to a massive elevation of blood glucose levels, whether it be a chocolate bar or a couple bananas, you may be doing serious damage. That’s a big “if,” though. A bowl of blueberries rarely has the same effect on blood glucose as a Snickers. If you’re really worried about it, get a blood glucose monitor, eat a papaya, and test your blood sugar levels at one and two hours post meal. At one hour, you should ideally be below 140 mg/dL, and at two hours, you should be below 120 mg/dL. Three hours should see you return to baseline levels.

I highly doubt reasonable amounts of fruit, especially lower sugar ones like berries, will cause most people to incur much damage, but the only way to know for sure is to test.

Mark,

I purchased the Primal Blueprint in Hardcover, and I love the book. I have a question though about milk. It seemed like the major complaint about milk had to do with lactose intolerance (which I do experience with regular milk)…I am highly active 27yo male, I lift weights as well as run. For me the inexpensive delicious protein source of whole milk seems indispensable. Since I discovered the Lactose Free version I can drink as much as I want without getting an upset stomach. I guess I am just wondering what are your opinions on Lactose Free Whole Milk from the standpoint of a healthy diet. Does the process of making it Lactose Free do anything negative or detrimental to the Milk?

Thank you for your time!

Brandon

Lactose free milk simply has added lactase, the digestive enzyme that’s responsible for breaking down lactose and that your body no longer produces. This doesn’t affect the nutritional merit of the milk, but if the nutritional merit of the milk is low or questionable to begin with, you’re not left with much.

Still, whole milk (conventional, raw, or otherwise) is undoubtedly a powerful tool for the young, active athlete. If you’re trying to put on size and recover from heavy lifting, milk will help. I don’t like the stuff myself, and at this point in my life I don’t need to be GOMADing it up, but it can be used effectively for a specific purpose. If I were you and dead set on drinking milk, I’d keep my eyes out for raw milk, or even just a high quality pasteurized, non-homogenized milk from grass-fed cows. Trader Joe’s has a cream-top, non-homogenized milk that comes from better cows than you’ll get from Lactaid – pastured but supplemented with a bit of organic grain and hay. These tend to run on the pricier side of things than Lactaid, but you can add your own lactase, or take lactase tablets. I wouldn’t go through all this trouble, but then again, I’m not big on milk. If I had to take a tablet to enjoy butter, though? Yeah, I’d do it.

To answer your question – lactose free whole homogenized milk is just as as safe (or not) as homogenized whole milk.

What are your thoughts on these Asian noodles with no calories or carbs (brand name Miracle Noodles but also sold in Asian markets)? I know that Grok wouldn’t eat them, but if you’re craving pasta, are these a reasonable alternative?

Yasmine

You’re thinking of shirataki, a traditional Japanese noodle made from the extremely fibrous konjac root. The powdered konjac root is mixed with water and pickling lime to form a gelatinous mass, which can then be cut into noodles and added to soups or stir frys. The noodle itself is fairly tasteless, from what I understand (I haven’t tried them myself), making it an innocuous addition to dishes as far as flavor goes. Whether the miracle noodle is suitable nutritionally depends on your situation.

Konjac root is almost entirely glucomannan, a kind of soluble fiber, or prebiotic. Is that a good thing, necessarily? Well, glucomannan seems to encourage the growth of butyrate-producing gut bacteria in human subjects on a low fiber diet, and more butyrate production is generally positive: as Stephan explains in an older post, butyrate appears to improve insulin sensitivity and blood lipids, decrease intestinal permeability, and provide protection against the development of certain gut disorders. Heck, our bowels even use the stuff as fuel. All in all, butyrate – which is also in butter – is a nice little short chain fatty acid with some nice health effects. On the other hand, soluble fiber can lead to absolutely epic bouts of in-house gas production. If you live alone, this may not be a problem. Just don’t order shirataki noodles and meatballs in red sauce on a first date, yeah?

You know, I’ve never actually had the urge to try them myself, but I don’t see anything wrong with konjac noodles. They might (okay, probably will) give you gas as the glucomannan is broken down in your gut, but they might also provide some butyrate production. Give ‘em a shot and see what you think. If the gas is bearable or nonexistent, I see nothing wrong with eating shirataki noodles when pasta cravings strike, or even on a regular to semi-regular basis; just don’t let them displace more nutritious (macro- and micro-nutrient wise) foods.

Keep the questions coming, folks! I love answering them. Feel free to ask any followups in the comment section, and thanks for reading!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Instead of pasta noodles, I use a food processor and make zucchini “noodles” – they are especially delicious with sauteed shrimp and a pesto sauce. Another pasta alternative is spaghetti sqaush, which little taste (not like traditional squash) and is stringy like angel hair pasta.

    Jaime wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • The Pampered Chef has a julienne slicer for about $10 that rocks my World for a similar “noodle”. I’ve used it on squash, zucchini and eggplant. YUM!
      Oh, and I’ve tried the shiritaki noodles and found them to be creepy. They sort of pop when you chew them and totally remind me of pale white worms. Ick.

      AustinGirl wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • I’m sure those are tasty for people who actually like squash. I vomit at the smell of the stuff. Can’t even look at pumpkin pie. :(

      That being said, the second of the two packages of shirataki noodles I bought in February is still in the fridge. They’re not gross, they just don’t taste of anything. And I’ve found that when I want pasta, I usually want the sauce. So I just make the sauce and pour it over chicken. :)

      Miss Annie wrote on April 11th, 2011
      • I boil my shiratake noodles in salty water and it gives them flavor.
        Here’s a fun tip: pulse them in a food processor to break them into rice-like bits (good with coconut based curries;) I did a post last year on shiratake. There are lots of fun ways to prepare it (Shirakiku is my fave. brand- it has the best texture).
        http://prettyinprimal.blogspot.com/2010/06/primal-pasta.html

        PS- I’ve never had any bloating or gas from shiratake or konnyaku (same ingredients in block form) and I’ve eaten them quite a bit.

        Erin wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • The Benriner Cook’s Helper also makes great veganoodles out of zuccini, squash, and other hard vegetables. Its hard to describe, but if you Google it you can see it. It runs about $40.00 US.

      As a former pasta addict, it was just what I needed.

      Duncan wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • I cook a very thin layer of beaten egg in a pan, let it cool, roll it up, and slice it very thinly into ribbons – Bob’s your uncle – noodles.

      M. Pile wrote on April 13th, 2011
  2. If you want to drink milk, but have trouble with the lactose, why not make it into kefir? It’s very easy to do at home – just get some kefir grains- and introduces billions of beneficial probiotics into your gut. If you let it ferment long enough ( I do 48 hours) there will be negligible lactose left.

    Tricia wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • Have you ever made or tried coconut milk kefir?

      Primal Toad wrote on April 11th, 2011
      • So Delicious makes a coconut milk kefir. We have had it at our house when a stomach bug has made the rounds. We like it in several different flavors (even the kids, one of whom won’t take probiotics, hence the kefir)

        Elisabeth wrote on April 11th, 2011
        • Where do you find it? Supermarket? Whole Foods? I looked it up on Amazon and was not able to locate it. I currently buy ALL of my coconut products from Amazon.

          Primal Toad wrote on April 11th, 2011
        • I’ve got it at Whole Foods before.

          Vicky wrote on April 11th, 2011
        • I’ve seen it at Whole Foods before, but I’d rather make my own. You can use regular milk kefir grains to make coconut milk kefir. Sooooo much better than purchased stuff!

          Sue wrote on April 11th, 2011
        • Of course you have both seen it at whole foods. The closest whole foods is about 2 hours from where I live!

          Another reason to move out of GR, MI :)

          Primal Toad wrote on April 12th, 2011
      • Hey Toad, I’m too lazy to zipcode search right now, but if you have any of these stores near you… they should have kefir.

        Wegmans
        Price Chopper
        House of Nutrition
        Vitamin Shoppe

        Primal Dave wrote on April 17th, 2011
      • I second the So Delicious Coconut Kefir recommendation. I don’t live near a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s either, but my local co-op carries it. Do you live near one of these places? http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm#Michigan

        Otherwise, So Delicious Coconut Milk is even sold at Super Walmart now, so maybe they’d stock it if you request it?

        NKatz wrote on May 26th, 2011
  3. I tried shirataki noodles – once. Firstly, I found that they have a slightly fishy odor. Secondly, when I changed my toddler’s diaper afterwards, I found that they went through his system almost entirely undigested, and the result was a horrifying diaper that resembled massive intestinal worms. That was enough for me. I’d rather just live without pasta.

    Diana wrote on April 11th, 2011
  4. Never heard of those shirataki noodles — now I’ve got something to order when I’m out for Asian food.

    Nicky Spur wrote on April 11th, 2011
  5. “I make a mean balsamic and butter reduction that goes well with just about anything.” – Mark, do you just mix the 2 together? How much of each one? I would LOVE to try this!

    I am enjoying the Q and A segment on Mondays more then your musings… just sayin’.

    Primal Toad wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • I’m looking for a recipe for this as well-it sounds awesome!

      Laurel wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • I’d love to hear Mark’s recipe too. I make a balsamic reduction for steak that sounds similar. If I cook the steak in a skillet, I remove the steak when its done cooking, reduce the heat, and add a few TBSP of Balsamic Vinegar and let it reduce with the fat from the steak. If I’m not making steak or I cook it on the grill, I just melt a few TBSP of butter on low heat, then add the Balsamic and reduce it.

      Katie @ Wellness Mama wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • Well since there are a few other curious folks I will try my best to ask Mark at Primal Con ;)

      Primal Toad wrote on April 12th, 2011
      • My thought on the balsamic reduction is this:

        Put balsamic in a pan with any aromatics (onions/shallots/herbs,etc)
        Reduce it until it is slightly thick
        Add a touch of heavy cream (optional) and reduce again
        Mount in cold butter (meaning to whisk in the butter continuously until the butter melts)
        do NOT bring back to a boil as it will break the butter.
        Season with salt and pepper.

        Mldami wrote on April 12th, 2011
  6. I think the general idea with whole milk is that it is great if you’re trying to put on muscle.

    That said, drinking lots of milk for an extended period of time probably is not the healthiest thing. Using liquid food sources as a long term staple in one’s diet cannot replace the benefits that come from eating whole foods.

    Finally, its really hard to find good quality milk these days, so you have to be careful in deciding what to buy.

    Jeremy Priestner wrote on April 11th, 2011
  7. Konnyaku noodles would be a miserable substitute for flour noodles – the consistency is all wrong. But they are good for asian cold noodle salads.
    I’m fond of making them sichuan style:
    simply rinse and boil the konnyaku noodles for a few minutes, then rinse and drain, then toss with a dressing made of:
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (preferably Chinkiang)
    • 2 teaspoons Sichuan-pepper oil , or ground sichuan peppercorn to taste
    • 1 teaspoon red-chile oil
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
    • One or more chopped green onion
    You can also use some sort of sugar substitute – most recipes call for a teaspoon of sugar.
    I also like to add chopped sichuan peanuts on top, and mix in some sichuan chili paste and chopped cilantro into the dressing. Feel free to adjust ratios of ingredients to taste.

    Not exactly primal, since it uses soy sauce and vegetable oils, though it’s possible to make one’s own chili and sichuan peppercorn oils with olive oil.

    A.West wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • sounds delicious — gonna make these later — thanks!

      more generally, i like shirataki noodles just as a vehicle for toppings like Stroganoff, Shrimp Diavolo, and Beef Lo Mein….

      tess wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • Thanks for this great recipe. Always looking for marindes/sauces for my Shirataki!

      deb b wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • Once you get used to the texture they are a fine substitute for pasta, at least for me. I’m actually on a low carb diet and I love making Fettuccini Alfredo with Fettuccini-style shiratake. I also have no problem with gas from them.

      Rosemarie wrote on August 24th, 2013
  8. You need to thoroughly rinse the noodles before using them due to the brine they are packaged in. Rinsing washes away that “fishy” smell.

    juliettegold wrote on April 11th, 2011
  9. I find Shirataki hard to digest. That in turn makes them unpleasant at the other end. Sorry if that’s TMI. On the other hand, think of the calories I wasn’t digesting! As the kids say, Your Mileage May Vary.

    ShortWoman wrote on April 11th, 2011
  10. Raw Milk should contain the enzymes necessary for Lactose Intolerant people to drink it:
    http://www.organicpastures.com/whyraw.html

    Kris wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • This is not really true. However, some people are intolerant (or allergic) to pasteurized milk.

      Truly lactose intolerant people (of which there are many) cannot tolerant raw milk or raw milk cheese … until they take some lactase. Then they tolerate it just fine.

      If you turn your raw milk into kefir or yogurt then, yes, the lactose will be consumed by the bacteria. (I believe buttermilk also comes under this category?)

      Perhaps I should say that fresh raw milk would not be well tolerated, but spoiled (heh) raw milk might be… assuming the spoiling agent is not something wicked like listeria, giardia, or e. coli.

      On that note, NEVER feed raw milk to a child.

      Another Halocene Human wrote on April 24th, 2011
  11. Ever since I started eating Greek yogurt, milk hasn’t given me any problems. I used to get tummy grumbles within a few sips, but now, a big glass after my CrossFit class doesn’t do anything but make my tummy happy. Granted, I’ve been drinking organic whole milk instead of the crappy skim milk or ice cream I had been eating before. But I think it’s the yogurt that’s made the difference.

    mrsmoesy wrote on April 11th, 2011
  12. I find apple cider vinegar to be very effective in eliminating occasional heartburn. I’ll mix about a tablespoon in with a glass of sugar free lemonade. (Yes, I know. Grok didn’t have sugar free lemonade.) The acidity of the lemonade helps to mask the ‘bite’ of the vinegar.

    Tim wrote on April 11th, 2011
  13. I thought apple cider vinegar was malic acid…is that the same as acetic acid?

    junebu8 wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • Malic acid is a super tart acid found in wine and hard cider. Usually it is broken down through malolactic fermentation (using certain strains of bacteria) to a softer lactic acid to make wine and cider more palatable.

      Bo wrote on April 11th, 2011
  14. Mark,

    I love the website, and thank you for introducing me to a new way of eating that has made me feel better and lose 15 lbs in the last 3 months!

    My question for you comes with a link to an article in today’s LA Times titled, “Eating more carbs at dinner may help with weight loss and cholesterol levels, a study finds.”

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/08/news/la-heb-carbs-at-dinner-20110408

    Basically, the study did a test where participants ate 1300 – 1500 calories per day, and those calories represented “20% protein, 30% to 35% fat, and 45% to 50% carbohydrate.”

    Participants were split into two groups. One evenly distributed the types of calories throughout the day, the other saved the brunt of the carbs for their evening meal.

    The conclusion from the study seems absurd, to me. How could it not equally be interpreted that, “eating high-fat and -protein meals during the day” result in all the positive effects noticed by the carb-dinner diners?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts and analysis! Thanks!

    JerseyPete wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • If they had the carbs at night, then they had low carbs breakfast, when insulin sensitivity is at his highest, its lower in evening. Thats the idea behind carb-back loading, and carb nit diet.

      Meni wrote on April 6th, 2012
  15. I always get a kick out of butyrate fueling the butt. :D

    Too much fiber can possibly be a bad thing since it does make bacteria flourish but also bad bacteria which needs to be killed my the immune system, causing inflammation. But some prebiotic fiber is surely a good thing.

    Stabby wrote on April 11th, 2011
  16. We burn carbs differently, one reason diabetes is a tough nut to tackle on a group level. I test my BS from 5-9 times a day, mostly to learn what foods do what. I test for a HIGH number, anyone can work a low number out of the process but what do you learnn from that?

    So for me a piece of candy on a cheat- say Halloween stuff gives nme a quick spike and then its gone- I level back BUT one of those “good for you” slow burning complex carbs like oatmeal or (gd forbid)a whole grain product keeps my numbers UP high for several days. My test prove it time after time. Needless to say, oatmeal and the like are OUT and a Butterfingers once in a while without a panic. go figure.

    pjnoir wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • Interesting. I’m the same way. I start to “fatten up” on any grain products-let alone the insulin spike. They are also out with me. No wonder ranchers trying to get their livestock ready for market feed their animals grain!

      Susan wrote on April 11th, 2011
  17. kelp noodles are pretty tasty. http://www.kelpnoodles.com/index.html i made pancit (http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/04/06/everyday-paleo-pancit/) i added the noodles because i bought them a while ago but still hadn’t used them. they were great! raw they were crunchy, but no real flavor. when i tossed them in towards the end of cooking they took on the flavors of the dish and were a-mazing!

    amarie84 wrote on April 11th, 2011
  18. Try kelp noodles, not only are they a good substitute for pasta (like them way better than spaghetti squash), but its also a good source of healthy seaweed.

    Ryan wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • I’ve actually been looking for kelp noodles locally, in order to try them (not a fan of ordering them from the internet) but I’ve tried Whole Foods aswell as the local asian grocery, and I can’t seem to find them…

      SteverGunn wrote on April 11th, 2011
      • i got mine at whole foods. they’re in the soy/tofu section.

        amarie84 wrote on April 11th, 2011
      • Also, they’re refrigerated, so they won’t be in the “Asian aisle.”

        Wilbo wrote on April 12th, 2011
  19. I’m in the process of a two-week 4 times a day blood glucose test. This was a compromise with my midwife instead of the oral blood glucose test, which I refused.

    I was actually glad for the chance to see the effect of different foods on my blood sugar. I haven’t tried grains this time around, but I’ve noticed that dairy raises my blood sugar and keeps it up much longer than fruit or dark chocolate. I’ve also been drinking water kefir and kombucha, and the those don’t raise my blood sugar much at all (the sugar ferments out, from what I understand).

    I definitely second the recommendation to test your own blood sugar and see how your body reacts to different sources… it has been fascinating!

    Katie @ Wellness Mama wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • FYI- If you (or anyone who is basically eating Paleo) has to take an OGTT, be sure to eat 150 g. of CHO for 3 days prior. Otherwise you will “fail” the test.

      deb b wrote on April 11th, 2011
      • My OB wants me to take a oral glucose test and I have yet to schedule it. Sorry for my ignorance, but what is CHO? And I’m not strictly paleo at this point so would it still apply to me?

        natnat wrote on February 9th, 2014
  20. As a nutritional therap[ist, I find that overconsumption of refined (easily assimilated/nutritionally empty) carbohydrates has suppressed hydrochloric acid in the stomach in a bout 90% of my clients. the protocol, rather than cider vinegar, to normalize stomach acid is a gradually increasing dose of HCl, ideally with betaine and pancreatin as well, mid-meal, until there is a sense of warmth, then gradually decreasing as your own stomach acid takes over. I think you will find the insulin sensitivity increasing as digestion normalizes. If carbs are man ged well (below 100 gms daily from fibrous veg) then the fix is permanent.

    Zennia wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • That’s my chiropractor’s protocol! I never had a big problem with suppressed HCl, but followed the protocol anyway. I was talking to my mother about it and she informed me that her grandmother followed a similar protocol! It’s been around for decades. And, if followed, it works to correct the problem, unlike all those lousy GERD medications.

      fritzy wrote on April 11th, 2011
  21. I have a question. What is a way for a nursing mom to get calcium without eating broccoli while on this sort of diet? I can’t do broccoli or similar foods, because they make the baby colic. Anyone?

    Sarah wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • Almonds?

      Shawn wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • The best source of calcium, by far, is home
      made bone broths. You can make these from
      a whole chicken carcass, or beef marrow
      bones. Be sure to simmer the bones for at least
      four hours. You will end up with a rich,
      gelatinous and mineral rich broth that you can
      use for soups, sauces, pot roasts etc.

      Sabrina wrote on April 11th, 2011
      • I just threw away a bunch of chicken bones. Dangit! Do you put any kind of spices in this?

        Sarah wrote on April 12th, 2011
        • I use two onions, a couple of garlic cloves, some carrots, celery, sea salt and peppercorns. Some people add coriander seeds, fresh or dried herbs or any other favorite spices. There’s no recipe really–just add whatever flavors appeal to you.

          Sabrina wrote on April 12th, 2011
    • Seaweed! Wakame flakes are great added to soup, especially miso! Seaweed is one of the best plant sources of calcium. Make sure you are getting plenty of VitD either from sun or supplementation as well as VitA and K2. All three are important for calcium absorption. If you are eating lots of high quality animal fats you should be getting enough though possibly not while nursing?? Cod liver oil will give VitA and D although some say too much VitA. You can a get K2 supplement or eat aged cheeses, but if your avoiding dairy the supplement will do. :)

      Robin wrote on April 11th, 2011
      • Where I live K2 is a synthetic pot-like drug. What is it to you?

        Sarah wrote on April 12th, 2011
        • a VITAMIN! LOL!

          Robin wrote on April 12th, 2011
    • Sardines, canned salmon (bones). there is a mineral water data base, some mineral waters are pretty good source of CA (Calistoga and Pellagrino, I believe). Asian “snacks” of tiny dried fish (bones again).
      Not sure if blackstrap molasses is paleo (I only use Stevia). Rhubarb is apparently high in CA (but too much oxylate so you are unlikely to get the calcium, this can be the problem with some of the greens, as well). At nutritiondata, you can sort foods via the calcium content (look under tools). I would encourage you to have kefir and greek yogurt as a nursing mom.

      deb b wrote on April 11th, 2011
  22. once in a while…I succumb to the incredible pizza that is available in the NYC metro area (forgive me). drinking a shot glass of organic apple cider vinegar beforehand allows me to consume some without that nasty sugar spike. it works for me..!

    rik wrote on April 11th, 2011
  23. I had bought a truckload of the miracle noodles prior to going primal. Because I’m stuck with literally 80 packets and can’t seem to give them away, I’ve been eating them once or twice a week with an Asian stir fry, or mince bolognaise dish. I’m so sick of eating them now haha.

    Isis wrote on April 11th, 2011
  24. There was a (CBS?) special on the longevity of Japanese living just outside of Tokyo. They had great skin and minimal arthritis. This, attributed to their diet (a sticky type potatoe, miso and KONJAC). They help to produce hyaluronic acid, very lubricating for joints/connective tissue (attracts water). So yet another benefit of the noodles.
    Do not treat them as a pasta replacement. As others have written, drain, rinse, heat first. They need to marinate (will absorb flavor). Just got to try them in traditional japanese dish (sukiyaki). I think they would also be great in Pho.
    They are very filling, so will help you feel full with less food.
    Remember, they attract/absorb water – so be sure to drink extra, or they will cause constipation (when the normal effect of soluable fiber would be the opposite).

    deb b wrote on April 11th, 2011
  25. The Miracle Noodle website at http://www.miraclenoodle.com has lots of recipes for shirataki noodles!

    Joseph wrote on April 12th, 2011
  26. Meat sauce + broccoli slaw = Delish!! You don’t even miss the pasta. :D

    mangosmom wrote on April 12th, 2011
    • Do you have a recipe?

      Sarah wrote on April 12th, 2011
    • Do you cook the broccoli slaw?

      Robin wrote on April 13th, 2011
  27. Here’s one for you, Mark:

    Is drinking black coffee while IFing still IFing? I know LeanGains says it is, but his focus is more on leaning out. Mine is more along the lines of keeping blood glucose levels healthy. I’ve read some studies that indicate caffeine will raise blood glucose levels and decrease insulin sensitivity. Seems like fasting needs to be water only. Do you concur?

    Jennifer wrote on April 12th, 2011
    • A lot of effects of caffeine wear off once you are on a maintenance level of it. That’s why performance experts recommend not drinking caffeine so your system resets, then using caffeine carefully to boost performance.

      That said, I don’t know the answer to your question, but I would guess you’re probably not sabotaging your efforts if you’re addicted and accustomed to that cuppa every morning… your body is expecting it and has already adjusted. (Hence the headache when you try to skip it.)

      Another Halocene Human wrote on April 24th, 2011
  28. Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and grass fed ground beef is one of my favorite meals.

    Nicky wrote on April 12th, 2011
  29. How much dairy should someone following the primal diet be eating?

    Tanya wrote on April 12th, 2011
    • Whatever works for you. This matter is controversial. If I were you I would read around and consider various opinions on this. I would also consider my own body’s response to dairy products. There are a lot of good health benefits to consuming dairy products, although the vitamin content can vary greatly with properly pastured cows in a summer field vs. grainfed. Some avoid milk due to lactose intolerance or the annoyance of the extra mucus it generates or because it may be fattening at their time in life. (On average, milk is slimming.)

      Many primitive peoples consume dairy, but others in the paleo movement are opposed to anything neolithic. I tend to see this as more of an ideological stance than anything rooted in solid science.

      Just keep in mind that if you eschew dairy products, you still need good sources of A, D, K2, Ca, and saturated fat. Do your research!

      I recommend reading “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” by Price (it’s available free with photos on the internet). It includes case studies of a number of healthy diets, with and without dairy.

      Also, check out “Whole Health Blog”.

      Finally, if you suspect you are having problems with dairy, you can try an elimination/challenge diet and see if it alleviates your symptoms. Besides lactose intolerance (which may be temporary in the case of Celiac sprue, or permanent if genetic) there are a number of common allergens in dairy.

      Another Halocene Human wrote on April 24th, 2011
  30. Dear Mark: I wanted to alert you to a column printed in my local newspaper on Sunday by Carolyn Hax. It is about a vegan couple who initially shared their thoughts about not eating animals, etc. However, the hubby changed to eating meat and she feels betrayed. Carolyn’s answer is interesting but her last sentence made me laugh: “Is ‘ethical omnivore’ an oxymoron?” “After all, we’re equipped with those pointy teeth. Cheers

    Pam wrote on April 13th, 2011
  31. I posted a recipe for balsamic reduction above..

    Also, I have been drinking apple cider vinegar about 2x/day for a couple of month and it has helped my peroneal tendonitis immensely! Also, a friend has been suffering with a MRSA infection for the last 4 years. A month on ACV has pretty much cleared it up…not to mention changed her bowels for the better! It has become a bit of a miracle substance in my circle. My Dad uses it too and has helped him with general aches and pains. It is amazing stuff. I don’t know why it helps, but man, a day or two without it and I am feeling it!

    Mldami wrote on April 13th, 2011
  32. COW’S MILK IS FOR BABY COWS

    While there are literally thousands of research studies, each revealing at least one of milk’s hazards, the dairy industry goes to great lengths to stifle any damaging rumors. Blanket statements, such as, “There is simply no scientific research to back up these claims,” are easily made. With a long and successful history of dairy promotion, these are readily accepted by the public. More people need to go to the real research and learn the truth for themselves. They should be very suspicious of these foreign foods being pushed on their children. They should question motives as well as possible outcomes. Although some of the dangers of cow’s milk consumption relate more to adults than to children, parents’ actions form the basis for lifelong dairy-consuming habits in their children.

    The harmful components of cow’s milk include all the major parts of it, as well as some more minor elements. Lactose is a sugar meant for babies, but it’s generally harmful to adults. The proteins in cow’s milk are different from human milk proteins and cause problems of digestion, intolerance, impaired absorption of other nutrients, and autoimmune reactions. Few of the proteins meant for baby cows are found naturally in human mother’s milk, and none are found in any natural adult human food. Even the high protein content in cow’s milk creates problems. Human babies need the saturated fats and cholesterol in mother’s milk. Bovine milk fat is not appropriately composed for human babies and is only deleterious to the health of children and adults. Cow hormones are not meant for humans, and older children and adults are not meant to consume hormones. And, cows have been selectively bred over time to create high levels of these hormones—those being the cows that grow the fastest and produce the greatest amount of milk. Cows also concentrate pesticides and pollutants into their milk fat, from their high dietary food and water requirements. The high amount of drugs now given to cows adds to this chemical soup. But we need milk to build strong bones, don’t we? Actually, heavy milk consumption leads to increased osteoporosis.

    BARBBF wrote on April 13th, 2011
    • Thats not necessarily truth.
      Its highly individual for one. Lactose intolerance (LI) is not common among people who regularly, for entire life, drink milk. You can become LI fast after total omittion of diary products for a month. The more different foods you can tolerate, the bigger the benefit (i.e. evolution).

      Now, commercial milk is junk, just as any other industrialized food. Don’t say milk is bad because industry made it bad. It makes no sense. Its like saying that chocolate is bad if I put 80g of fructose in it – ofc it is. The real chocolate is mostly cocoa.

      Cow milk might not be the berst choice, especially for infants. Goat milk is FTW, and fermentation by various organisms provides well known longevity benefits around the world (i.e. kefir, yougurt etc..). If I use cow’s milk, I use raw, then ferment it using different fungal cultures.

      Proteins from any other food are different from human proteins, so that is not a concern. Plants have bunch of them, including hormones.

      Other then that, whey is well known good stuff in milk. Its medicinal use is known for thousands of years.

      There is still not consensus about milk no matter what people say – there are evidence both pro and con – some say its entire milk that is dangerous, some say its only specific form of casein, some say its hormones, others claim raw milk is beneficial (i.e. weston price) etc… The only way to know is to avoid milk and see if it makes a difference.

      For infants and children, people should definitely avoid milk (which means nothing for adults) and use goat (whey or milk).

      majkinetor wrote on April 14th, 2011
  33. I used apple cider vinegar as part of a regiment to treat GERD and get off Prilosec. Great for the gut. Also seemed to loose more weight when drinking it. Switched to brewing kombucha for the same purpose but the vinegar was fab. Always got raw ac vinegar. Bragg is my fav.

    Deena wrote on April 13th, 2011
    • Do you know if consuming raw apple cider vinegar (like Bragg) is safe for pregnant women? (Was advised by OB not to consume any raw/unpasteurized dairy products. I’ve been having HORRIBLE heartburn since pregnant and really want to try a natural approach instead of taking the zantac (which according to doc is safe, though I have my doubts). I’ve tried rolaids (some relief, but not completely), and homeopathic remedies (no relief, sadly since it was my first choice for natural remedy).

      natnat wrote on February 9th, 2014
  34. About fruits and sugar, the one needs to know that fruit contains bunch of other stuff like enzymes and beneficial carbohydrates (like olygofructose or fiber). Other stuff like quecertin, rutine, rasveretrol etc. block GLUT4 transporters so sugar is not ingested.

    On the other hand I wouldn’t suggest eating too much of fruit because fructose is well known poison that brings HDL down and LDL-B/Trygs up, also makes fatty liver. Much better option is to use vegetables which can be ingested in nearly infinite amounts.

    majkinetor wrote on April 14th, 2011
  35. Green beans, I’ve heard you talk about their benefits… Paleo.

    Christina wrote on September 2nd, 2011
  36. That was a question…

    Christina wrote on September 2nd, 2011
  37. Wow again with the informative articles, but this one has recipes, you astound me!

    Robert wrote on September 29th, 2011
  38. There’s a ramen place near my work that has a high quality fatty pork broth and substitute shirataki noodles for the ramen noodles. I love shiraki noodles with cream sauces as well like alfredo and a low-carb mac and cheese. You can also purchase glucomannan powder and use it as a thickener instead of arrowroot starch, cornstarch, or flour.

    mmmpork wrote on January 23rd, 2012
  39. The Miracle Noodles made me feel like I consumed a beach ball. I didn’t feel sick… just very weird. I didn’t have a BM for two days and retained this very full feeling for much longer than I would have liked. Honestly, I think they’re just another crutch food that prolongs cravings for crap you don’t need anyway.

    Marcy wrote on July 19th, 2012
  40. Just tried miracle noodles in our stir fry. Loved it. They would be terrible as an Italian dish but fantastic in curries and Asian food. We sauteed chicken, tons of veggies and then added coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and the noodles. Rinsed noodles for 15 seconds in cold water then boiled for one minute per package instructions. It was delicious and my kids and husband all loved it.

    Kelsey wrote on September 21st, 2012

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