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  • Popcorn?

    Hi all,

    I have been a fervent MDA reader, sometime comment participant, and fairly successful primal adherent for more than a year now. I've never participated in the forums before, but I've had this question burning in me for a little while now and, rather than waiting for it to come up in a post, thought I'd take it directly to a jury of peers!

    My CF gym is in the middle of a paleo/primal challenge that started Jan. 3 and runs until April 3. I am going strong and have been nearly 100% since day 1. Of course, I feel amazing and, as usual, once I'm on track I wonder how I ever let myself stray.

    But, there is *one* indulgence I have been allowing myself each weekend, and I'm wondering if it's A) really so bad, from a primal perspective, and/or B) possibly hindering optimal success in the challenge. As you may have guessed from the title, it's popcorn, but with a primal twist.

    I take 1/3 c. of raw popcorn, and pop it on the stove in a good amount of coconut oil. I top it with plenty of melted grass-fed butter, and a bit of salt. It's *delicious*, it tastes like theater popcorn used to when I was a kid in the 80's. The carb count is a bit high; based on the nutritional info it's probably about 30. But I am generally well under 100 each day and assume this is fine for a weekly indulgence.

    So, what do you think? I have not heard that corn has the same issues with gluten, lectins, or other anti-nutrients. I assume it doesn't cause any particular gut issues, the problem with it is basically that it's just plain starch/carb/sugar. Can it be a small part of an otherwise non-hormonally deranged diet, the way that occasional rice or potato could? Or am I missing something more insidious about it?

    Thanks for any thoughts!
    Last edited by KrisZ; 02-04-2011, 11:33 AM.

  • #2
    i think you're going to hear a lot of the inevitable "corn is not a vegetable, it's a grain" and "it's starchy and loaded with sugar". there are other problems with corn as well, like how almost all commerical corn you buy is now GMO...but is it toxic? probably not. it's definitely not like gluten grains, so overall i think overall corn is pretty benign.

    that being're only eating it once a week. you're preparing it yourself, it's not like you're buying that nasty microwave crap. the rest of your diet is golden. so why obsess over something so small? if you enjoy eating it, then eat it! micro-managing your diet to the point where you are debating cutting out something you obviously look forward to every weekend seems counterintuitive to what i have learned about the primal lifestyle.

    but that's just my $.02


    • #3
      This doesn't sound too bad.

      Some people's "cheat meals" consist of things a lot worse than popcorn fried in coconut oil and grass-fed butter


      • #4
        Yeah, this doesn't sound like anything to worry about.


        • #5
          I avoid all corn products like the plague because, as stated above, it's basically a sugary grain. But if it doesn't bug you, go for it.
          I'm really not trying to sound superior about it or anything. It's just going to be one of those things: yes, it's not remotely primal.
          But if you really dig it it's not the worst thing you could be putting into your body.
          carl's cave


          • #6
            Corn is just a worthless empty starch, thats about it. Your non primal treat doesn't sound that bad, once a month or so. At least its not wheat.
            I confess I occasionally have a burrito (primal filling) with a corn tortilla. I tell myself "at least it not wheat!"
            Fear of the unknown...They are afraid of new ideas. they are loaded with prejudices, not based upon anything in reality, but based onÖ if something is new, I reject it immediately because itís frightening to me. What they do instead is just stay with the familiar.


            • #7
              I would look for organic non-GMO popcorn but I guess it's aight.
              My food blog ~
              My primal success story

              "Boxing seems to contain so complete and so powerful an image of life -- life's beauty, vulnerability, despair, incalculable and often self-destructive courage -- that boxing IS life, and hardly a mere game." --Joyce Carol Oates


              • #8
                Any food with the USDA Organic label, by law, must be GMO free. Arrowhead Mills is a good option for organic popcorn (and probably one of the easiest to find) even if your local grocery store doesn't carry it currently they probably carry other Arrowhead Mills products and can get it in if you bug them. Eden is another vendor most stores carry. They also offer an organic popcorn, but I haven't tried that one.

                Newman's Own does an organic popcorn but it's that microwave crap, which at the very least would require the unnecessary sacrifice of your coconut oil - and we wouldn't want that. ;-)
                Last edited by brahnamin; 02-04-2011, 07:34 AM. Reason: because apparently I have issues spelling *popcorn*


                • #9
                  Still carby...


                  • #10
                    I don't think it's a big deal - I typically will eat half an ear of grilled corn a couple times during BBQ season, and have no intention of giving it up entirely.

                    But, I personally feel less than optimal downing 30 carbs in a snack. Make sure you're listening to your whole body and not just your taste buds
                    The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

                    You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do. - Kilgore Trout


                    • #11
                      I think there are far worse things you could be doing, and if you consider it part (or all) of your 20% and you're staying true to plan otherwise, why not? We all gotta do what we gotta do to make this WOE sustainable and enjoyable. I mean, you could be eating Twinkies, although I guess somebody lost weight eating Twinkies once. :-D
                      Last edited by duckmama; 02-04-2011, 01:47 PM.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the replies, everyone! My confidence is shored up, you all pretty much confirmed where I was at with this.

                        I'm not really worried about GMO, especially the tiny amount I'm eating. But I bet the organic stuff tastes better, as usual. brahnamin, thanks for those suggestions, I will look for them!

                        Oh, and I guess I should add that I am not trying to lose weight. This is about performance gains and health for me. (Specifically for the gym challenge, it's leaning out, gaining muscle, and improving benchmarks). Knowing that it's really just a carb hit and little else, I will call it a refeed and not stress.


                        • #13
                          if its popcorn you want for the airy crunch, your be better served to break up some rice cakes IMO
                          Get on my Level


                          • #14
                            Don't think that would work as well as a delivery mechanism for coconut oil and butter.

                            Are you suggesting that because of calories, or because of something that's inherently bad about the corn? I only implied it, but I'm not really worried about calories. Glycemically, I seem to recall that rice cakes cause one of the highest/fastest insulin spikes of any food (source: various Zone books). I doubt popcorn is great on that scale either, but I assume/hope that the fat content mitigates that somewhat?


                            • #15
                              And actually, a limited amount of popcorn has fewer carbs than you might think, given that it's mostly air. I'm too lazy to look it up, but it's really much less carb-dense than many snacks.

                              I love the taste of crunchy corn and do tend to cheat with a limited number of corn chips at a Mexican restaurant -- but homemade popcorn would probably be a much healthier option.