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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 03, 2012

Is It Primal? – Coconut Water, Chocolate Milk, Glycomaize and Other Foods Scrutinized

By Mark Sisson
186 Comments

Perhaps the most common question I get from readers is some variation on the classic “Is X Primal?”  Probably a half dozen times a day, “Is this Primal?” or “Is that Primal?” pop up in my inbox, often attached to some ridiculous food or product. My personal favorite was “Is whole wheat bread Primal?” (it’s not), closely followed by “What’s more Primal, red or black licorice?” But that’s not to suggest that all I get is nonsense. Some – most, even – are actually quite reasonable queries about foods that either seem to reside in Primal limbo, get talked up by people who you’d think would “know better,” or just taste really good and have people hoping that somehow, someway they’re compatible with Primal living.

Today, I’ll be scrutinizing ten commonly asked-about foods. Let’s go:

Coconut Water

It often feels like the coconut enjoys deific status in the Primal community, and for good reason. It’s rich in medium chain triglycerides, a relatively rare type of fat with some intriguing health effects, particularly for weight loss and brain health. Its flesh can be pulverized and combined with water to form a creamy, milky beverage that works well in curries, coffee, and with berries, or dried and ground to form a useful flour. But what about the water? The water is where all the sugar lies (16 grams in 12 ounces), so it’s natural for some people to be suspicious. Sugary drinks, whether they be soda or juice, are generally frowned upon.

But coconut water has some cool stuff going on. It contains five electrolytes the human body needs to function – potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphate, and calcium. In a pinch, it can double as a short-term IV hydration fluid. It’s good for a hangover (or so I hear). It can rehydrate athletes after exercise, and though it isn’t particularly more effective than something like Gatorade, it’s certainly tastier and healthier.

Verdict: Primal, but kinda sugary, so go easy on it unless you’re in Thailand sipping on fresh young coconuts (because there’s nothing quite like cold coconut water straight from the coconut), nursing a hangover, or training hard and need the hydration.

Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk? You’re probably wondering why this one didn’t get tossed out as nonsense, and I don’t blame you. For one, it’s dairy, usually low-fat and ultra-pasteurized. Two, it’s full of sugar. Three, it’s chocolate milk. What’s the deal here?

Chocolate milk is actually enjoying a renaissance in the fitness community. Over the past several years, a number of studies have teased out the recovery benefits provided by post-workout chocolate milk:

  • Muscle protein turnover and performance enhancement after endurance training – Following a 45-minute run, trained subjects who consumed fat-free chocolate milk (as opposed to a carbohydrate only beverage, like Gatorade) experienced improved muscle protein turnover and a higher treadmill time to exhaustion.
  • Improved recovery after prolonged endurance exercise – Following several cycling sessions, subjects who consumed chocolate milk were able to recover more quickly for a subsequent session to failure. They lasted 51% and 43% longer than the cyclists who had a carb-only beverage or just water. An earlier study found similar results.

It seems like it’s the protein content of chocolate milk, paired with the sugar content, that provides the benefits over just water or Gatorade. I’ll agree that if there’s a “good time” to consume sugary beverages, it’s immediately after a long workout, because the sugar will be primarily (if not completely) used to fuel your energy-sapped muscles. Throw in some high quality dairy protein and you have yourself a decent recovery drink. Better than Gatorade, at least.

But really? If I were you, I’d just eat some meat, a piece of fruit, and have some water. Or if you do milk, have plain whole milk, preferably raw, skip the “chocolate,” and eat a banana. That way you get the dairy protein and some fast-acting sugar.

Verdict: Not Primal.

Milk Chocolate

We tout dark chocolate over milk for several reasons:

  1. Dark chocolate generally contains more cacao, which is the source of all the polyphenols and other antioxidants that provide most of the health benefits associated with chocolate.
  2. Dark chocolate generally contains less sugar than milk chocolate, making it healthier and giving it more of a complex flavor profile (rather than just cloyingly sweet).
  3. Dark chocolate contains healthy fats, like stearic acid (which has a neutral effect on LDL), while the milk in most milk chocolates comes from powdered dairy. It can also be adulterated with vegetable oils (because using cocoa butter in milk chocolate when soybean oil is available is just crazy talk, right?).
  4. Dark chocolate is more filling than milk chocolate. For the most part, you don’t see people going on three-bar 85% cacao dark chocolate binges. Polishing off a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, though? Who hasn’t done that at least once?

That said, in recent years a new wave of “dark” milk chocolates has surfaced, sporting higher cacao contents, complex flavor profiles, and lower sugar counts. Slitti’s Lattenero 70%, for instance, is 70% cacao. If you go with one of these bars, and you’re okay with dairy, I don’t see a problem with it, especially since the presence of milk proteins do not seem to affect absorption of polyphenols. Besides, it’s not like chocolate – dark or milk or dark milk – should be anything but a treat.

Verdict: Potentially Primal.

Cocoa Mass

Everything that’s good in good dark chocolate can be found in cocoa mass, which is simply the fermented, roasted, ground, crushed cocoa beans. Cocoa mass has both the cocoa solids and the cocoa butter, but that’s it. No sugar, no flavorings, no binders, no emulsifiers. It’s the last step before undergoing either Dutch processing or Broma processing, the former of which removes most of the phenolic content and the latter of which preserves it (along with some bitterness). Cocoa mass, then, contains all the antioxidants, all the phenolic content, and all the bitterness. It’s great stuff if you can handle it. If you can’t, you might try melting a nugget in a small saucepan with some coconut milk. Add a bit of cinnamon, some cayenne, and a teaspoon of sweetener (honey, maple syrup, stevia), and you have yourself a delicious way to eat real cocoa mass.

Just make sure you’re really getting 100% cocoa mass and nothing else. Here’s an example of a good 100% product. Or you could dig up some unsweetened baker’s chocolate, which is high in antioxidants and is basically just cocoa mass formed into bars.

Verdict: Primal.

Cocoa Butter

If dark chocolate and cocoa mass are Primal, then cocoa butter definitely qualifies, too. It’s mostly saturated (stearic acid) fat, with about 30% monounsaturated, and a paltry amount of polyunsaturated fat.

From what I’ve seen, cocoa butter as a cooking fat hasn’t really gone mainstream, so you’ll probably have to pay a premium for it. I don’t see any huge advantage to it (besides maybe the LDL-neutral stearic acid content), but if you can get a good price, go for it.

Verdict: Primal.

Goat Whey Protein

If cow whey is Primal – and I think it is, which is why I use it in Primal Fuel – then goat whey is also Primal. In fact, I strongly considered using it and might have were it not for the high price of goat whey. You see, there’s simply not as much goat milk whey produced in this country. It remains a niche product, a product with low supply and high prices.

However, if you’re willing to pay for goat whey protein, there are a couple potential benefits that could distinguish it from cow whey:

  • It tends to be less allergenic than cow’s milk. Oftentimes, folks who can’t tolerate cow dairy protein will be able to tolerate goat dairy protein. If you have problems with cow whey, but still want a quick and easy protein source, goat whey will probably work well.
  • Goat milk oligosaccharides have displayed intestinal anti-inflammatory effects in animal models of colitis. If the goat whey protein you’re using retains these oligosaccharides after the purification process (and one study confirms that raw goat whey at least starts out with oligosaccharides present), it may not just be less inflammatory than cow milk whey, but positively anti-inflammatory.

Verdict: Primal.

Sacha Inchi Seeds

The next South American superfood (I for one am sick of these superfoods always being a berry or a bean or a root of some sort; I hereby nominate capybara glandular extract in juice form as the next big South American superfood/MLM scheme), sacha inchi seeds are omega-3-rich “Incan peanuts” that have been eaten for hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of years by people living in the Amazon. How rich in omega-3? Well, one site boasts that their sacha inchi seeds contain 13 times more omega-3s than salmon (ounce for ounce), without those “unpleasant fishy flavors and aftertastes.” Yeah, I hate life every time I eat a big piece of wild-caught Alaskan salmon, too. I practically have to hold my nose and force it down to avoid that disgusting fishy flavor.

Problem is that the omega-3 in a sacha inchi seed – 50% of the total fatty acids – is all alpha linoleic acid. It’s not the EPA or DHA that our omnivorous bodies utilize best; it’s the ALA that we have trouble converting. There’s nothing inherently wrong with ALA, and it’s probably beneficial to people who don’t get any actual animal-based omega-3s, but it can’t beat a simple, tasty can of sardines. Oh, and the fatty acid composition of a sacha inchi is about 34% omega-6 linoleic acid, a pretty hefty dose.

I think sacha inchi seeds are fine as a snack. Just don’t think they’ll replace marine-based omega-3s.

Verdict: Primal to a point.

Hominy

The bad is that hominy is corn, a grain with questionable health effects. We generally avoid grains, and they are definitely not Primal. The good is that hominy is nixtamalized, a traditional corn preparation process which increases the protein availability, breaks down phytic acid, kills off mycotoxins, and increases the calcium content.

I often talk about foods existing on a spectrum of suitability, and corn is no different. If wheat, barley, rye, and other gluten-containing grains are at one (bad) end, and rice is at the other, nixtamalized corn lies somewhere in the middle, perhaps sharing a ride with oats.

Verdict: Not Primal, but “less bad” than some other grains.

Glycomaize

Glycomaize is just a catchy name for waxy maize, a type of corn-based starch that looks like wax under a microscope and contains high amounts of amylopectin. Amylopectin is the plant equivalent of glycogen; its glucose subunits are highly branched and easily digested. This quality has earned it a reputation among gym rats as the quickest way to SLAM GLYCOGEN INTO YOUR STARVING MUSCLES TO THE POINT OF ENGORGEMENT. Even if waxy maize were able to supranaturally pump you full of glycogen (which it doesn’t appear to be any better at than other sources of starch, according to this well-researched article from Bodybuilding.com), I question its value for most people.

If you want some carbs after a workout, eat a sweet potato. Unless you’re training twice a day and getting paid for it, you don’t need to have fully-replenished glycogen stores immediately after a workout. The potato, maybe some coconut water, maybe a banana, and a bit of meat will do the trick just fine. And, they’re actual food that you have to cook, chew, and swallow. They will sustain you, satisfy you, and keep you full, whereas tossing some corn starch down your gullet will only add cheap (yet expensive) carb calories that your satiety hormones probably won’t even acknowledge. Helpful for an elite athlete training two or three times a day, but not for the average (or even above average) fitness fan.

Verdict: Not Primal.

Banana Flour

Banana flour is actually plantain flour, meaning it’s made by grinding up the banana’s starchy, less-sweet cousin. It’s not going to be very sweet, and it’s usually combined with standard flours because of the difficult texture and consistency.

According to the FAO, neither plantains nor bananas contain significant levels of any known antinutrient or food toxin. They are the very definition of a “safe starch,” then. If you’re looking for something starchy and you engage in sufficient activity to warrant its inclusion in your diet and you’re able to come up with something edible without adulterating it with wheat flour, go ahead. Just don’t let banana – or plantain – flour become a gateway to daily Primal approximations of baked goods and you’ll be fine.

Verdict: Primal, but likely easy to abuse.

Well, that’s it for today. If you’ve got any foods (or food-based items) that you’ve been wondering about, feel free to drop a comment in and I’ll try to do a follow-up next week. Thanks for reading!

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186 Comments on "Is It Primal? – Coconut Water, Chocolate Milk, Glycomaize and Other Foods Scrutinized"

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Miranda
Miranda
4 years 4 months ago

Hi Mark. Thanks for the post. Maybe you can clear up some confusion on this one, since no one else seems to be able to:
Quinoa.

It’s not a grain. It’s a seed, the seed of the goosefoot plant, to be specific. Wikipedia calls it a “pseudocereal,” as it is not a member of the grass family. However, most people who choose to/try to eat Paleo avoid it. That seems like a shame to me given quinoa’s amazing nutritional properties. What gives?

leida
leida
4 years 4 months ago

Quinoa iirc listed along with white and wild rice as a safe starch of choice in Mark’s new version of BP. Buckwheat is another pseudo-cereal with great nutritional profile, but it can be allergenic on its own.

Milla
4 years 4 months ago

I love buckwheat. I just make sure to sprout it first. Buckwheat&raw milk is heaven.

greg
greg
4 years 4 months ago

Hmmm interesting.Do know if brown rice is listed too and if not why not?
Thanks

jake3_14
jake3_14
4 years 4 months ago

Even though it’s a seed, it’s a high-carb food (39g/cup). I found that it was just like eating any other starchy food, causing a sugar high, crash, then cravings. I need to avoid it, even on strength training days.

katie
4 years 4 months ago

I love snacking on baker’s chocolate. It took a little while to adjust to the grittiness but now it serves as a good snack on the go.

The Primalist
4 years 4 months ago

I thought I would be able to handle bakery’s chocolate since I typically eat at least 85% dark, but I just couldn’t do it. I’m willing to try again with another brand (I tried Camino organic), but might be trying Mark’s coconut milk concoction so that this bar doesn’t go to waste.

Jo
Jo
4 years 4 months ago

The problem I’ve found with most baker’s chocolate is the texture – and yes, the bitter taste. But I do love some good 100% chocolate & have been extremely happy with Dagoba’s baking bar, which I buy by the 6-pack from Amazon since my local grocery shops don’t carry it.

Harry Mossman
4 years 4 months ago

+1 Yes, I love Dagoba!

Harry Mossman
4 years 4 months ago

I can’t quite handle baker’s without something to cut the bitterness. Sometimes I add a dab of almond butter. I also break up baker’s and pour cream on it. Either way, maybe a dash of cinnamon.

SueB
SueB
4 years 4 months ago

I discovered how to eat high % dark chocolate without grittiness. I take my hot coffee, and dip the corner of my piece of dark chocolate into the coffee for about 2 seconds. This melts the surface. I then suck it off like a lollipop. Delicious, heavy with smooth chocolate and coffee. I then dip the piece in again for another hit.
I feel very satisfied with the treat- andof handling the food extends the experience, and makes a smaller piece of chocolate satisfying.

JP.
JP.
4 years 4 months ago

Have you tried Ghirardelli?

Diane
Diane
4 years 4 months ago

No chocolate milk???

I make my own with good cocoa, a bit of stevia and raw milk. Primal in a dairy sort of way.

I also make mayan cocoa occasionally, with raw milk, stevia and cocoa powder with a bit of chili powder. Maybe a little unsweetened whipped cream on top.YUM!

Harry Mossman
4 years 4 months ago

+1 Sounds like a tasty “if you can do dairy” primal option.

Lara
Lara
4 years 4 months ago

This sounds really good, especially the chili version! I’ll have to try that tonight. I would think making your own (knowing your ingredients are raw/organic) is probably more primal than buying a store bought brand.

mars
mars
4 years 4 months ago

we make chocolate milk with coconut milk and unsweetened cocoa mmmmm

mary
mary
4 years 4 months ago

Primal Hot chocolate… coconut milk, cocoa and honey. It’s what heaven would taste like if you could eat it.

sondra
sondra
3 years 8 months ago

omg, im going to go make this right now~!!!

Violet
Violet
4 years 4 months ago
I love dark chocolate + coconut. Primal hot chocolate is cocoa powder (unsweetened) mixed with coconut milk. (For ease of blending, I mix 1 tbsp cocoa with boiling water in a mug, then whisk in coconut milk, heat in microwave [not primal! but you could heat in a pan, if you prefer] then whisk again. Delicious. I also make a primal snack by mixing cocoa nibs (which are 100% chocolate, and very strange but satisfying to eat plain) with coconut cream (skimmed from the top half of a can of coconut milk) and refrigerated. This has the consistency of ice… Read more »
Lucy Cook
Lucy Cook
3 years 5 months ago

I do this but with almond milk!

masage
4 years 4 months ago

Me, too, I make my own cocoa, only I don’t sweeten it – I don’t have any problem with the taste. Thanks for the chilli suggestion, I might try it one day and see if it tastes good (which I think does, since “I like it hot”. 😉

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
4 years 4 months ago

I used to make this too but it would always make me feel sick to my stomach afterward. Turns out I don’t tolerate stevia very well. I just now use a bit of honey and I’m good to go.

Marie
Marie
4 years 4 months ago

That’s exactly what I do as well, I have my own Jersey cows so going “dairy free” is a bit of an impossibility, especially when I’m getting 10 gallons a day! We enjoy “chocolate milk” a lot, I blend it with cocoa powder and a touch of stevia, oh so yummy. It’s even better with extra cream and a spoonful of instant coffee 🙂

Erica
Erica
4 years 4 months ago

I also make my chocolate milk homemade. I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cocoa powder, and a bit of honey or agave. I make it mostly for my daughter (she is 3 and hasn’t kicked the chocolate milk habit yet). I occasionally have a sip or two. It’s pretty close to primal and way better than indulging on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or something equivalent.

leida
leida
4 years 4 months ago

Well, a relatively clean version of chocolate milk might be milk (as good as one can get) with raw honey and pure chocolate powder. I heard this one to be recommended as a start-up for a carb up.

liberty1776
liberty1776
4 years 4 months ago

In baking, one ripe banana can be substituted for one egg if someone has an egg allergen.

Heidi
Heidi
4 years 4 months ago

Thanks for this!

Erik
Erik
4 years 4 months ago

I still want to know which color licorice is the most primal.

JMH
JMH
4 years 4 months ago

The one you ripped from the plant.
But then, I love real licorice, especially in teas. (Which is to say, licorice tea not the candy)

One could probably make a case for real, potentially home-made, black licorice, with all the other “ware sugar” disclaimers.

voingiappone
4 years 4 months ago
In my country (Italy) we used to eat tons of licorice… but nowadays a huge part of that is unfortunately of the “candy” style. We still also have a traditional “pure black licorice” which is a 100% licorice crystal-like preparation made only by infusion/evaporation/extrusion of the plant’s roots. It is incredibly bitter but it has wonderful, wonderful (!!) taste… I think you should try this if you can find it but I believe it’s impossible to produce that at home! We also have the dried plant’s roots you can chew as a treat! Well, they’re regarded more as a natural… Read more »
andrea
andrea
4 years 4 months ago

Sprouted grain bread?

Alex
Alex
4 years 4 months ago

Contains gluten. Not primal.

Joshua
Joshua
4 years 4 months ago

How do you think geography should be factored in to compiling an individuals food list? To follow your model, I would think a north american Grok would have had resources different from what a central asian Grok would have. Or are we extrapolating to what Grok would have eaten if he had access, from what Grok did eat of what he did have access?

Josh
Josh
4 years 4 months ago

I think the answer depends on what you are looking to get out of PB. If you want to live a very healthy life while experiencing the many flavors of Grok’s time, feel free to eat primal foods from around the world. If you want to perform at you highest potential level, you should eat food that YOUR grok ancestors would have consumed. PB is an individual lifestyle, because although we all evolved to a similar place, the journey through generations may have been drastically different.

momof6
momof6
3 years 5 months ago
This is the question I ask so often. I am an American living in South Korea and following a primal/paleo is impossible, without making major concessions. For example, the Korean meat is the highest antibiotic filled meat in the world. There is hardly any beef here so we get a lot of our beef (if we can afford it and I’m not talking about grain fed price vs grass fed price) from Austraila which proudly states it is grain fed. I have yet to find grass fed beef in the six years we have been here. We have not found… Read more »
Ashlee
Ashlee
2 years 10 months ago

Can you get New Zealand beef there? It’s pretty much all grass-fed.

David William Edwards
David William Edwards
4 years 4 months ago

Lindt is now making a 99% cocoa bar. It’s a little shocking at first, but a nice bite once in a while.

Paul
Paul
4 years 4 months ago

Lindt’s 90% is a favorite of mine. I’d love to try the 99% but it doesn’t seem to be widely available…

Keefe
Keefe
4 years 4 months ago

I LOVE lindt 99%. So much so, I can’t keep it in the house anylonger. I devour it in such a manner that leaves small children looking like the model of restraint by comparison.

when im asked by my wife how I can stand how bitter it is, I say “Bring on the buttery, silky bliss!”

Isabel
Isabel
4 years 4 months ago

A few weeks ago I decided to give Lindt’s 99% a try. To my surprise, it didn’t even taste bitter, but sour and it stuck to my tongue like crazy. Honestly, I can’t eat this stuff^^

Maybe I should melt it the way described above, so that it wasn’t a complete waste of money…

Gayle
Gayle
4 years 4 months ago

Well I have given up all grains and legumes (for almost 2 years) and am VERY satisfied with that. However seeing Hominy is not being ‘as bad’ perhaps I can have a tamale at Christmas…:) or maybe not it might get me started back down a bad road..

Decaf Debi
Decaf Debi
4 years 4 months ago

As a Southern Belle, I was a little excited to see hominy, too. Maybe now when I go back South for family visits, I can enjoy a bowl of grits without feeling so guilty.

Kathleen
Kathleen
4 years 4 months ago

Coconut water becomes much more primal if you KEFIR it! Depending on how long you let
it culture, the sugar content goes down to almost zero, and you’re left with an incredibly
delicious and nutritious probiotic beverage. Absolutely heavenly.

Girleegirl
Girleegirl
4 years 4 months ago

How do you KEFIR coconut water?

Ashley
Ashley
3 years 11 months ago

Put kefir grains in it, or water kefir grains (regular kefir grains will have to go back to milk after you use them in a non-milk substance a few times or they will start to die, water kefir doesn’t need milk).

Abigaillyn
Abigaillyn
4 years 4 months ago

Two years in Guatemala left me a coco ADDICT. And there is nothing better for a hangover on the beach than a fresh coconut wiht a straw popped in it. Then later in the day you can add rum and it’s a whole other world of ohmygodthisshitisdelicious

samui_sakana
4 years 4 months ago

Phew…. I have been stressing for the longest time about the milk in my smoothies blocking the adsorption of the raw cocao I put in there.

Mark Cruden
Mark Cruden
4 years 4 months ago

The whole point of all this stuff is to NOT STRESS!

Andy
Andy
4 years 4 months ago
“It’s not the EPA or DHA that our omnivorous bodies utilize best; it’s the ALA that we have trouble converting.” Not sure where you got this info, but there are only two essential fatty acids known to humans: ALA and LA. And we absolutely have the capability of converting whatever DHA and EPA we need to function from ALA in our body. Of the ALA we take in, only about 5% is converted to derivatives, because that’s all we NEED — not because we have trouble converting it. I highly recommend you take a look at Brian Peskin’s research on… Read more »
Erin
Erin
4 years 4 months ago
I’ve read over some of this too. He kind of slams fish oil though, because we’re giving our bodies more than we’d “naturally” produce, but that’s like saying not to eat prized liver or butter because it gives us much more vitamin A than we’d naturally produce by consuming carotenoids… I don’t think we need to supplement with fish oil, but I DO think eating fatty fish is healthy… there’s a reason so many of the historical populations thrived by the sea (among other reasons). I personally notice much better health when I consume larger amounts of fatty fish throughout… Read more »
Erin
Erin
4 years 4 months ago

Apologies, I mean the fermented cod liver oil, not butter oil.

cancerclasses
4 years 4 months ago
Try taking pharmacological overdose levels of vitamin A and see what happens, it’s toxic & you die. EPA & DHA in fish oil taken in pharmacological overdose levels can do the same thing, too much thins out your blood & causes excessive bleeding & risk of stroke, ischemia & infarction, and imbalances the whole eicosanoid production pathway, not good. The reason “so many of the historical populations thrived by the sea” is because fish are easier & a hell of a lot less work & dangerous to hunt & catch. The best thing about fish is the protein, NOT the… Read more »
cancerclasses
4 years 4 months ago

Oops, and extra i in there, it’s homeoviscous adaptation, as in viscosity

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
4 years 4 months ago
Our 3 year old had to stop taking cod liver oil as it would cause her to vomit for hours and multiple times per hour. (Her episodes started a month apart and gradually moved to 1 week apart over a 3 month period.) I suspected the cod liver oil and stopped giving it to her. No vomiting for one month. I gradually added it back into her diet (3x/week at 1/4 tsp) and within 2 weeks she was vomiting again. Yesterday we saw a pediatric gastroenterologist and he thinks her tolerance of vitamin A is very low. She takes vit… Read more »
Tom
Tom
4 years 2 months ago

I’m not sure i understand how it’s possible to make unsaturated oils only 2-3 pecent of total calories.. you recommend bacon and butter but bacon fat is predominately unsaturated and butter is almost half unsaturated… Your argument doesn’t match with your reccomendation.

mars
mars
4 years 4 months ago

I too would love to know Mark’s views on Peskin’s research.. especially Peskin’s thoughts on fish oils..

Mark Sisson
Mark Sisson
4 years 4 months ago

@mars et al, short answer is that I disagree with much of Peskin’s reasoning. I guess I’ll need to do a longer post.

cancerclasses
4 years 4 months ago

That means Mark’s gonna trot out Chris Masterjohn’ s article about why he thinks O-6 linoleic acid is not essential.

Yawn. I’m already bored.

Alexander
Alexander
4 years 4 months ago

Mark, what do you think of the Green & Black’s Organic Milk Chocolate? Is that one of the higher grade ones at 34% cacao, or is that still too sugary?

einstein
einstein
4 years 3 months ago

I can’t wait to see that post. There is something to what he says and he is mostly consistent with your opinions, but his “scientific” reasoning is pretty flawed at places. Like how exactly does fish oil decrease insulin sensitivity when it contains no sugars? And many more like this. Guys a bit half baked.

Amy Love @ Real Food Whole Health

It’s Essential- meaning we have to get it from our diets, and the primary form we would have gotten it (primally) is from fish. EPA and DHA are the active forms, and it is a long, messy conversion from ALA to DHA and EPA and many (most?) people are missing the complementary nutrients to make the conversion. It makes sense that it wouldn’t convert as much (5% or whatever) because primally, we were getting the remainder from food.

Just skip the conversion of ALA and eat DHA/EPA containing products.

Greg Miller
Greg Miller
4 years 4 months ago

how do you feel about wm-hdp? 20 grams pre and post workout

The Primalist
4 years 4 months ago

I love coconut water! (i actually just wrote a post about it today) But I only drink it as a treat so I don’t go overboard with the sugars.

Marilyn
Marilyn
4 years 2 months ago

I tried coconut water and just couldn’t do it. I almost had to throw away the whole thing after a small glass. I drank it but diluted it using a 1-to-4 ratio with plain water.

drew dukes
drew dukes
4 years 2 months ago

coconut water flavor changes from one brand to another, from one pack to another and even from temperature (colder has less coconut flavor) try a taste test on a few different ones before you give up.

Erin
Erin
4 years 4 months ago

Possible solution to aversion to salmon? Eat it raw!!!! 🙂
I personally hate cooked salmon with a passion, but I’ll live off of it raw. It’s sweet and fatty that way.

Kristy
Kristy
4 years 4 months ago

Me too!
I ate WAY TOO MUCH cooked salmon at one point in my life but now my day is made (once every 10-14 days) when I treat myself to raw salmon. One of my top three favourite foods, for sure. And it has a completely different flavour and texture than cooked salmon.

Marilyn
Marilyn
4 years 2 months ago

I could never stomach salmon of any kind, even the canned back when I was on a weight-reducing program. Too bad, because relatives live in Alaska and dry their own fresh-caught salmon.

Kiki
Kiki
4 years 4 months ago

I can NOT eat cooked salmon either but I LOVE raw salmon!

voingiappone
4 years 4 months ago

As an adopted japanese I feel to suggest you to try raw salmon with a little bit of wasabi paste and 1 drop (literally) of soy sauce on top of it. It is an all time favourite.
Want another secret tip? Eat it with a small (!) stripe of cut parsley on it… it emulates “japanese shiso” and you get an idea of how we get delighted here!

Tony Frezza
4 years 4 months ago

I’ve grown to LOVE the 85% and 86% dark chocolate bars by Lindt and Ghiradelli. As much as we try to not make food emotional and we try to separate feelings from eating, food will always affect more than just our tastebuds. If anyone is having trouble with “willpower”, you will grow to LOVE these dark chocolate bars with high cacao content, and they will be just as rewarding as any old treat you use to have.

Kim S.
Kim S.
4 years 4 months ago

I love these dark chocolate bars too. I sometimes put a smear of good almond butter on my daily piece. Also, if you haven’t tried the recipe on this site for the dark chocolate macadamia nut bark with sea salt, you should definitely try it. It’s delicious!

Paul
Paul
4 years 4 months ago

+1 We’ve made it. It’s awsome. Just don’t overdo the sea salt…

Holly
4 years 4 months ago

Banana flour!? Wow, that is exciting! I am struggling with what to use for a special baked-good treat for my husband who is allergic to nuts and coconuts (so,obviously no almond or coconut flour). If anyone else has some good flour ideas for me, I would appreciate it! He’s allergic to eggs too so a flourless option doesn’t work either! He enjoys dark chocolate though and thankfully, there are a couple good ones out there that are made in a nut free facility! Hooray for dark chocolate!

Molly
4 years 4 months ago
Hi Holly ! Try these guys : http://beta.primal-palate.com/category/treats-and-cheats/ They have a neat little thingy at the side that lets you filter recipes according to ingredient. According to this your Hubby could still have their Chocolate and Peppermint swirl Truffles. The other, slightly odd, advice I can give you is to search for “Vegan” recipes, as they have no eggs (which is usually the tricky bit – although more tricky with no nuts as well…). I used to have a killer recipe for Vegan brownies made with zucchini, mashed bananas, baking powder and dark chocolate, although I can’t for the life… Read more »
Amy Love @ Real Food Whole Health

When we ate raw vegan (yikes!) we made an avocado based chocolate pudding that was fabulous. I am sure there are several versions online, but it was basically avocado, cocoa, & agave (ick) (I would use only maple syrup or honey now). Anyway, it was really tasty and a lot of our friends, who did not eat that way, loved it too. Maybe worth a try!

Magda
Magda
4 years 4 months ago

Can he eat seeds? Some people grind sunflower or pumpkin seeds into flour and that can be subbed for nut flour.

Linda
Linda
4 years 4 months ago

Sweet potato flour is a good option. I find it at Whole Foods. You could also try potato flour (if you eat potatoes) or tapioca flour/starch (both are easy to find). Rice flour is an option is you are OK with rice.

Meg
4 years 4 months ago

Maaaan… banana flour? If you keep introducing primal foods I haven’t heard of before, I will never get this grocery budget under control.

Jake
Jake
4 years 4 months ago

haha fo real

Chrissy
Chrissy
4 years 4 months ago

LOL, true that!!!

Chuck
Chuck
4 years 4 months ago

You might want to rethink eating raw salmon.. http://tinyurl.com/5m8fn5

Doug
Doug
4 years 4 months ago

The tapeworm risk is so low that i wouldn’t worry about it. If you try to eliminate all risks from your food you often create a greater risks from nutitional deficiencies, carcinogens, etc…

Amy Love @ Real Food Whole Health

If you freeze it for at least two weeks, you usually destroy most little beasties.

Ouida Lampert
Ouida Lampert
4 years 4 months ago

Hi all,

Newbie question: Vinegar. I’ve seen some say that it is NOT allowable, but I also see almost constant reference to Apple Cider Vinegar. So, is vinegar good? If so, is all vinegar good?

Thanks for your time.

mars
mars
4 years 4 months ago

why is vinegar not primal? aside from some balsamic made with caramel coloring.. vinegar is just old wine 🙂 mark has recipes for making your own red wine vinegar..

Marta
Marta
4 years 4 months ago

Many white vinegars are now made from distilled grains. Red wine vinegar, balsamic, apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar…those are all okay from what I’ve gathered (and awesome ways to add flavor in marinades or dressings).

Jim
Jim
4 years 4 months ago

Almond milk?
Black eyed peas?

Gayle
Gayle
4 years 4 months ago

Almond milk – primal
Black eyed peas – not primal they are legumes

Kathy
Kathy
4 years 4 months ago

Almond milk- check the content list on the brand you buy. Usually contains sugar- not primal.

Gayle
Gayle
4 years 4 months ago

Good point, that is true some are sweetened. Juat be sure to get the unsweetened variety they are easy to find.

MamaB
MamaB
4 years 4 months ago

Or make your own – Soak 1 cup blanched almonds overnight. Strain, rinse, strain, rinse, strain. Put in blender with 2 cups water blend, blend, blend some more. Add 2 more cups water blend some more. Strain through nut milk bag.

Kathy
Kathy
4 years 4 months ago

What are your thoughts on Carob Powder over Cocoa Powder?

Michael B
4 years 4 months ago
The combination of an authentic Chinese cookbook and Wikipedia has been swelling my list of is it Primal nuts and tubers for some time now. I don’t trust the name “nut” or “seed” anymore and there’s a dizzying amount of root vegetables out there with equally confusing names. Some are included in your recipes, Mark, but I’m not sure what the metric is. So here’s a few that I’ve encountered (and eaten) lately that I’d like to know about: Gingko nuts Lotus seeds Cassava/manioc/tapioca/yuca/yucca (Yes, I’ve seen all these names and spellings. Eating it in arepa form with curried goat… Read more »
Violet
Violet
4 years 4 months ago

Good list. I’d add chia seed.

pam
pam
4 years 4 months ago

i got some ginkgo nuts in an organic Japanese grocery. they have very hard & inedible shell. so my guess is its defense system is probably in the shell.

my guess (as a layman) is the inside of ginkgo is probably ok. but i don’t have it raw.

i dont’ know about lotus seeds. maybe you need to soak it for a long time. you can try lotus roots. it’s also very pretty.

regards,

ingrid
ingrid
4 years 4 months ago

How about coconut and/or almond flour treats made w/ “natural” sweetners? I’m as weak as anyone with these but it doesn’t seem very “primal” and a lot of bloggers out there/authors seem to say it is. I personally think of it is as less negative cheat than something with grain based flour and white sugar, but a cheat nonetheless. And if eating it means you’re cheating on PB/paleo, is it really primal?

Astrid
Astrid
4 years 4 months ago

Oh, I make almond flour pancakes ( silver dollar pancakes, http://www.elanaspantry.com) a couple times a month here- I use one or two T. of honey- they are fantastic!

So good, I would consider them a treat, but the kids consider it breakfast.

Primalmontana
Primalmontana
4 years 4 months ago

I am also curious about coconut and almond flour. I would love to make some pancakes or muffins

Gayle
Gayle
4 years 4 months ago

almond flour and coconut flours are primal. They just ground up coconut and almonds, coconuts and almonds are both primal. I want to make some muffins made with almond flour soon.

mars
mars
4 years 4 months ago

btw, coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid so know that in advance before baking with it. it’s best to use in combination with other flours/meals

Linda
Linda
4 years 4 months ago

Coconut flour is very high in fiber. Be careful consuming it until you know your tolerance or your gut may complain to you.

Phocion Timon
Phocion Timon
4 years 4 months ago
I basically ignore fish oil and fish. I think of all the humans for the last 2 million years that lived far from the oceans, receiving no fish nutrients except for fresh-water fish every now and then. For me, high protein (meat and whey protein isolate, eggs, etc.), moderate amounts of natural fats, and maybe a handful of leafy greens every couple of days, does quite well. (What does me in are carbs, whether from a candy bar or from blueberries.) I have nothing against the fish oil supplements or salmon, mind you, I personally don’t find them necessary. I… Read more »
marika
marika
4 years 4 months ago

Other interesting non-grain flours are buckwheat which can be bought sprouted and chestnut flour which has a long history of use in southern france and italy.

Mamachibi
Mamachibi
4 years 4 months ago

“capybara glandular extract”

Capybara!? NO! They’re the bigger cousin of my sweet little cavy!! (aka guinea pig) I know they’re a food source in South America, but let’s not go overboard here. 😉

Linda Sand
4 years 4 months ago

Those of us who are lactose intolerant can drink chocolate milk with fewer side effects than white milk so these are not equivalent substitutions as you implied when you wrote, “Or if you do milk, have plain whole milk.” Please, do more research on this.

SophieE
SophieE
4 years 4 months ago

Why can you drink choc milk with no side effects if you’re lactose intolerant? Adding sugar and cocoa does nothing to reduce lactose content. Just curious to know.

Kris
Kris
4 years 4 months ago

My wife has this thing about peanuts and peanut butter. Is there any type or situation where these are ok? From what I’ve seen they are mostly frowned upon due to the various fungi that are found on peanuts that persist through processing, correct? If you could find a “clean” source, let’s even say roasting and grinding your own, what effects do peanuts have nutritionally? Are they high Omega 6?

Michael B
4 years 4 months ago

Peanuts are not primal because they’re a legume. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/beans-legumes-carbs/#axzz1tqQQ6k4g

Kris
Kris
4 years 4 months ago

So, basically, I can take from that post that a little bit could be ok? As part of your 20? (Assuming, say, you get the highest quality stuff you can – no industrial oils, organic, etc.)

Adam
4 years 4 months ago

Just get some Almond butter to satisfy that peanut butter craving.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/top-ten-protein-sources/#axzz1tuyIpuhB

Kathy
Kathy
4 years 4 months ago

Is baby corn primal? You can eat it raw in a salad, stir-fry it or steam it. Can I use it as a vegetable or is it considered a grain?
I cook a little rice or potatoes with supper. Is that acceptable?
And oats in say baking or cooked as a porridge?

Michael B
4 years 4 months ago
Philmont Scott
Philmont Scott
4 years 4 months ago
At least this time Kathy is posting it on an appropriate thread. I did a search for the phrase “baby corn”, and all I saw for the first several pages was Kathy asking about it. Maybe answering her will satisfy. So here goes… No Kathy, baby corn is not primal. It is a grain. Is it acceptable? That is up to you. This is all about choices. I eat some Chinese food stir fry dishes now and then, and I don’t pick out the baby corn. That is my choice. I figure it is probably a less bad choice than… Read more »
Jake
Jake
4 years 4 months ago

how about corn on the cob? i know its gotten a bad rep cause of HFCS but there’s something about a nice ear of corn slathered in butter at a summer bbq…

Susan Alexander
4 years 4 months ago
Primal Hot Chocolate Melt your fave dark chocolate in a double boiler (chocolate chips melt quickly). Stir or whisk until smooth. Put 1 to 2 TBS in a cup and fill with boiling water. Delicious just like that (albeit not creamy). You could play around with coconut milk and or whey powder if you wanted to 🙂 Note to Lindt lovers: A mom friend told me a few years ago that it caused a reaction in her celiac daughter. She (the mom) looked at the label, and sure enough, there was gluten in it. Not sure if there still is,… Read more »
Mary
Mary
4 years 4 months ago

What about hummus?

Christa
Christa
4 years 4 months ago

Hummus is not primal. It’s made from garbanzo beans – legumes.

Casey
Casey
4 years 4 months ago

Mark has said that legumes are OK on occasion…

Lisa
Lisa
4 years 4 months ago

Meh, I eat hummus occasionally. Legumes don’t bother me. Just had some with lunch yesterday — nothin’ like it with a veg stirfry and some eggs!

Bill Berry
4 years 4 months ago

I get up 3 or 4 times during the night. I grab a few almonds and a date. 2 or 3 nights of the week I swap the date for dark chocolate. This started recently. It’s the only “non” paleo food I buy. I want to try the cocoa mass out. Thank you. And yes, after a long run a Thai coconut will replenish electrolytes(instantly). The rare chocolate milk is also awesome after the run.

Gydle
4 years 4 months ago

Does the date get jealous of the dark chocolate?

Casey
Casey
4 years 4 months ago

My town just started a farmer’s market for local produce, eggs, and meat (yay!) and there is a booth selling local raw honey and pollen. I bought some honey but I decided to wait on the pollen. The seller says to eat 1 tsp/day and let me sample it. I like it, but I was wondering about your take on it.

AlyieCat
AlyieCat
4 years 4 months ago

Whole milk + cacao won’t have the same effect if used for post-workout recovery because the fat content slows the absorption.

Fine for other times, I suppose.

David
David
4 years 4 months ago

Seems like covering wild edible foods is a natural extension of covering primal foods. I’m new hear so maybe that has been already covered in the past – I suspect it has. But in case it has not been covered very well it should be, because there are a lot of free highly nutritious wild edible foods which are very worth ultilizing, starting with many of the weeds on an organic farm.

Gydle
4 years 4 months ago
Rob
Rob
4 years 4 months ago

I feel comparing chocolate milk with a carb only recovery/energy drinks is apple and oranges. A more relevant analysis would be recovery times between chocolate milk and a more natural (healthier) protein + carb alternative such as grilled chicken + quinoa. I’m sure once exists with the bodybuilding community being so obsessed with maximising protein synthesis.

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Gary
4 years 4 months ago

What about amaranth and millet?

Magda
Magda
4 years 4 months ago

These are gluten free grains – but still grains. My guess is not primal.

martin
martin
4 years 4 months ago
I live in Sweden and up here in scandinavia we have some primal foods that i don´t think have been covered on this site yet and that i think may have some interesting properties. Birchsap and cloudberrys. Traditionally birchsap has been used in northern Europe in all kinds of ways. Drinking, baking, etc. My personal favourite is to add yeast to it and…. well, you get the point:) Cloudberrys was the only source of vitamin c for samis in the north for thousands of years, and they are also very tastefull. It would be interesting to hear Marks take on… Read more »
Violet
Violet
4 years 4 months ago

I have tried cloudberries while in Finland, and loved them – also love lingonberries. All berries are primal (blueberries, cranberries, etc.). Cloud/lingonberries are very sour. (For me = yum!) But if you add sugar when cooking or make them into jam or syrup, then they are no longer primal!

martin
martin
4 years 4 months ago

Yes, without sugar of course. Berrys tastes better raw and without sweetener. Only excemption i know of would be buckthorn, that is almost impossible to eat in a primal way. By the way, my grandmother occasionally eats a few rowanberrys as a way to keep urinary infections at bay. I find that interesting. She claims it works.

Violet
Violet
4 years 4 months ago

Cranberries are famously helpful for UTIs, and I can attest to this working. So it would not be surprising if rowanberries have the same effect.

Liz
Liz
4 years 4 months ago

I live in Cumbria in the UK. We have cloudberries and also an abundance of bilberries here in summer – deliciously sweet, but they take ages to harvest and you usually arrive back home with a very few at the bottom of the basket, and a blue-stained mouth. My father-in-law used to make birch sap wine too, it was very sweet but extremely potent. Interesting about the rowan berries, I always thought they were poisonous, but perhaps they are just very bitter.

Maryanne
Maryanne
4 years 4 months ago

So, where do you guys stand on beer? It’s got all sorts of grainy goodness going on…anyone partake occasionally?

Kenny
Kenny
4 years 4 months ago

Well, yeast is a fungus, so it’s primal. Hops are a vegetable, so that’s primal. Malt sugar metabolizes slow, and most of it gets consumed by the yeast. Water is primal.

Your liver needs vitamin B to metabolize alcohol and yeast is high in vitamin B, so cask and bottle conditioned beer and home brew is more primal than the massed produced stuff that have corn, rice or wheat. 😉

Meghan
Meghan
4 years 4 months ago

My favorite “treat” involving super dark chocolate (91% plus) is to put a square of it in a little dish with a little almond butter and a little coconut butter. I warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds. It tastes like a warm almond joy. Awesome for those times when I’m having a craving for something naughty. 🙂

Chrissy
Chrissy
4 years 4 months ago

That sounds deeeelishhh.

Joshua
Joshua
4 years 4 months ago

New favorite condiment: Garlic cloves long-simmered in real lard. Oh my good heavens amazing! That’s primal right? Garlic is wild and certainly lard is.

ZippyChick
ZippyChick
4 years 4 months ago

Where do you get the lard?

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Lisa
Lisa
4 years 4 months ago

I just bought a little snack bag of sacha inchi yesterday. Not bad. They tasted like those sesame stick things you can get at bulk food stores, just not as salty or wheaty. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get them again, but a neat thing to try.

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