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

Is It Primal? – Chia Seeds, Black Rice, Refined Avocado Oil, and Other Foods Scrutinized

chiaseedsThe questionable foods just keep flowing in. As soon as I write a new “Is it Primal?” post, I’m inundated with new stuff to scrutinize. It’s like cutting the heads off the hydra (speaking of which, what are the nutritional qualities of hydra? talk about a sustainable animal food source). Luckily I like writing these posts, so they are probably here to stay. I hope you enjoy them. Well, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Today we’ll delve into the sordid inner world of the chia seed (of Chia Pet fame, yes), the dark underbelly of black rice, the hidden agendas of the refined avocado oil consortiums, the Communist North Korean plot to brainwash minds via sweet potato vermicelli consumption, and how strawberries might actually be trying to kill you (yeah, strawberries). Actually, we’ll just figure out if said foods are Primal or not.

Let’s go:

Chia Seeds

Even though I’ve written about chia seeds already on two separate occasions, people keep asking me about them. So, to start with, read those two posts. They’re high in plant omega-3, ALA, which, according to most evidence, we humans are not great at converting into EPA and DHA, the long chain omega-3s that our bodies truly require. However, I’d like to add a couple new thoughts to the subject:

There’s some recent evidence that moderately-longish term chia seed supplementation (7 weeks long) can actually increase plasma ALA and EPA levels in postmenopausal women. That ALA increased isn’t a surprise, since ALA is the predominant fat in chia, but the 30% EPA increase was a bit of a shock. Perhaps the conversion rate can be higher (although DHA levels slightly decreased). It’s worth noting that these were milled chia seeds, which are easier to digest (and, presumably, absorb the nutrients within) than whole seeds. That could have had a measurable impact.

I’ve been down on fiber in the past. Still am, in fact, provided you’re talking about insoluble, bowel-rending, toilet-bowl-filling fiber. But soluble fiber? Fiber that feeds the gut flora? Fiber that actually promotes gut health? Fiber that gets fermented into short chain fatty acids with a host of health benefits? I’m okay with that kind of fiber, and chia seeds have plenty of it. However, since soluble fiber is “active” in your gut, it can cause gastrointestinal distress, especially if you aren’t used to eating plant matter rich in the stuff.

Verdict: Primal, but be wary of any superfood claims (unless they’re talking about liver and pastured egg yolks), closely monitor your fiber tolerance, and don’t rely on them for your omega-3s.

Black Rice

In previous posts, I’ve suggested white rice as a fairly inoffensive grain. As grains go, rice ranks close to suitable. I don’t recommend its consumption for everyone, at any time, but it can be a valuable arrow in the quiver of the hard-charging athlete in need of dietary glucose, and no longer fearing white rice can definitely make dinner at your favorite sushi joint that much more enjoyable. But what about black rice?

Black rice is actually closer to purple than pure black, with a slightly sweet flavor that lends itself to coconut milk desserts. It is similar to brown rice in that it retains the bran, which means it retains lots of the nutrients, but also lots of the antinutrients. Of course, rice is fairly nutrient-and-antinutrient-sparse either way you go, with few lectins and no gluten, but there is a fairly significant amount of phytic acid in the bran. This website indicates that black rice bran is known for its considerable phytic acid, although I wasn’t able to obtain a solid figure. At any rate, I’d be willing to wager that black rice is also similar to brown rice in that proper fermentation eliminates almost all of the phytic acid (96% of it!), so if you’re willing to do the work, the negatives can be mitigated.

Yeah, yeah, that’s a lot of work, though. Couldn’t I just eat white rice, or, you know, a sweet potato if I was interested in glucose? True, but consider that in nature, color tends to mean polyphenols. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are notorious repositories of antioxidants, and black rice – though not a vegetable – is no different. In fact, the anthocyanin content of black rice rivals that of the blueberry. Anthocyanin, also found in other darkly colored fruits and vegetables like red grapes, blackberries, and purple sweet potatoes, display dozens of beneficial health effects.

Verdict: Not Primal, but if you’re willing to soak and ferment it, it can be a potentially healthy way to get some glucose and polyphenols in your body.

Refined Avocado Oil

As I’ve mentioned before with regards to coconut oil, not all refined oil is unhealthy.

Interestingly, refined avocado oil is even more oxidatively stable than unrefined avocado oil, and this difference in stability comes primarily down to the difference in chlorophyll content. That is, the chlorophyll in unrefined avocado oil – it’s what makes it green (and admittedly attractive) – reacts with light to form oxidation products. Refined avocado oil, which is a pale yellow bordering on clear, contains almost no chlorophyll and shows essentially zero traces of oxidation – 0.1% free fatty acids (in order to qualify as “extra virgin” in the eyes of the International Olive Council, olive oil must register below 0.8%) and a peroxide value of 0.1 mEq/kg (the IOC demands less than 20 mEq/kg of its extra virgin olive oils).

With a neutral flavor, a similar fatty acid profile to olive oil - 70% MUFA, 12% Omega-6 PUFA, 1% Omega-3 PUFA, 12% SFA – and a smoke point suitable for high heat cooking, refined avocado oil can be a useful addition to your Primal kitchen.

Verdict: Primal, so long as you’re using expeller-pressed refined avocado oil.

Korean Sweet Potato Vermicelli

I love sweet potatoes. If I’m going to eat some starch, chances are I’ll reach for a sweet potato. Maybe it’ll be a purple Okinawan. Maybe it’ll be a Japanese white. Maybe it’ll be an orange garnet yam, or a classic yellow sweet potato. Whatever it is, it’s probably a slightly sweet tuber. Why, you might ask?

They’re delicious. They’re loaded with minerals (especially potassium), antioxidants, and vitamins. They’re “cellular carbohydrates,” starches made up of actual, cohesive cells, as opposed to “acellular carbohydrates,” which a recent paper (PDF) fingers as a potential cause of the obesity epidemic. That paper’s a great read, by the way.

But sweet potato noodles are not quite sweet potatoes. They’re made up of sweet potato amylopectin, the fast-digesting, fast-absorbing starch that’s been connected with the development of insulin resistance. Sweet potato starch is just that – starch. It doesn’t have the fiber or the micronutrients. Heck, sweet potato starch noodles don’t even look like they’re made from sweet potatoes; in their uncooked state, they’re dull, grey lifeless looking things. And since it’s been dried and extracted and pounded into oblivion, sweet potato starch is a prime example of an acellular carbohydrate, a dense carbohydrate that may promote an inflammatory intestinal microbiome (like I said, read the paper!).

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a little dish of acellular carbs now and then, especially if your training and your glucose tolerance support their consumption. Just don’t make them a staple if you’re trying to lose weight. Don’t have soybean oil stir-fried sweet potato vermicelli just because it’s from a “safe starch”. Don’t think the fact that they come from sweet potatoes will make any difference to your insulin resistant body.

Verdict: Not so Primal.

Strawberries

You might be wondering: why are strawberries even deserving of scrutiny? I mean, these are berries, the fruit that pretty much everyone agrees is good for you. You get Dean Ornish, Gary Taubes, one of the banana fetishists, Sally Fallon, and any Primal or paleo person in a room and, once the dust has settled, each and every one of those people will nosh on some strawberries.

Well, a reader asked a question. When that happens, I like to answer, especially when it concerns the strawberry. The reader had heard that before the 19th century, the strawberry was a small, sour, oft-ignored wild fruit that no one really cared about until an enterprising farmer decided to breed the sweetest ones for several generations, eventually ending up with what we know and love today. If that was the case, and the modern strawberry is a recent “invention,” shouldn’t we scrutinize its place in the modern Primal fruit platter?

Sure, let’s scrutinize. References to the strawberry date back into antiquity; in one of his writings, Pliny the Elder counts it among the natural products of Italy, while Ovid’s Metamorphoses contain a reference to “the soft strawberries growing beneath the woodland shade.” By 1300, the strawberry was being formally cultivated in Europe, by 1597, Shakespeare was dropping lines about strawberries into Richard III (I know, I know, Shakespeare liked to coin phrases, but I don’t think he coined the strawberry), and by 1820, what was once just three varieties of strawberry had ballooned into thirty.

I’ve had wild strawberries, and they’re small, sure, you can’t dip them into chocolate too well, of course, and the stems are longer than the berry, but they are sweet and tasty nonetheless. As for nutritional differences, wild strawberries are generally higher in antioxidants than cultivated strawberries (probably because they deal with a lot of oxidative stress out in the great outdoors). I’m not sure this matters a ton, however, since cultivated strawberries still rate higher than other fruits like kiwi, apples, apricots, and peaches. Plus, a recent study found that strawberries activate a uniquely beneficial antioxidant pathway in those who eat them, and I’m pretty sure they used cultivated strawberries.

Verdict: Primal.

Thanks for reading today, folks. I hope you learned something. Let me know your thoughts on these foods (and any other foods you’ve been wondering about) in the comment section!

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. Today I posted a recipe for purple potato cakes (this isn’t a plug, it’s going somewhere I promise). I assumed they were worth including in the diet because, like you say, the more colourful food tends to be the most nutritious. That said, is it primal?

    Also, strawberries? You’d have to prise them from my cold, dead hands. LOVE those suckers.

    Another awesome ‘Is It Primal’. Please keep ‘em coming :)

    Cat wrote on September 4th, 2012
  2. Interesting article, especially the bit on Chia sees, which have been written about as “super foods.” I’ll have to go back and review the claims I’ve read on this, but I guess there’s always 2 sides to the coin.
    Great rationale, as always. Thanks!

    Scott wrote on September 4th, 2012
  3. Interesting article, especially the bit on Chia seeds, which have been written about as “super foods.” I’ll have to go back and review the claims I’ve read on this, but I guess there’s always 2 sides to the coin.
    Great rationale, as always. Thanks!

    Scott wrote on September 4th, 2012
    • I enjoyed reading the chia seed section too. To me they are far from a superfood but can be useful for some.

      I wonder now… what about adding them to smoothies? Does the action of blending make the nutrients more bioavailable? If you enjoy them in a smoothie will you convert more of the ALA to EPA?

      From my accumulated knowledge I am assuming yes.

      I’d love for others to chime in on this question.

      Primal Toad wrote on September 4th, 2012
      • not sure, but ground chia seed is delicious in a smoothie, as Im sure you well know, Toad.

        Max Ungar wrote on September 4th, 2012
        • Didn’t some posters say that if you don’t drink the smoothie right away, chia seeds will turn it into a gelatinous mess?

          DarcieG wrote on September 4th, 2012
        • Not even necessarily ground. They get all fluffy and squishy when they’re wet and if you don’t dislike the texture they’re great just dumping them in.

          Morghan wrote on September 4th, 2012
        • I use chia seeds as bread crumbs for meats. Last week I coated chicken breasts in them, pan fried them in olive oil and turned them into a delicious salad for lunch the next day!

          I don’t eat them very often, mostly because they’re hard to find up here.

          Charlayna wrote on September 4th, 2012
      • Chia seeds will “jell up” smoothie if you let it sit for 5-10 minutes. For a snack, I will mix coconut milk (from a can) with a few scoops of pumpkin puree, chia seeds, and a drop of stevia. Turns into a great pudding after 5 minutes on the counter.

        Unlike flax seeds, you don’t need to grind chia seeds to get the nutrients. Your body can handle them whole.

        Hannah wrote on September 4th, 2012
        • That sounds pretty good, though I have yet to get used to the taste of stevia…

          DarcieG wrote on September 4th, 2012
  4. So anyone for a plate of strawberries drizzled with expeller pressed refined avocado oil and sprinkled with ground chia seed?

    Seriously, thanks for the post Mark. It’s always interesting to know where different foods stand in the primal hierarchy.

    Joanna wrote on September 4th, 2012
  5. Nice post, hope people dont go out and start eating rice though lol. People are crazy about the stuff on the forum.

    Another thing about strawberries is they are the highest sprayed fruit on the market, so if you eat them make sure the are organic. Otherwise you satisfying that sweet tooth doesn’t end well. You have now put tons of toxins in your body.

    BennettC wrote on September 4th, 2012
  6. Wild picked strawberrys are the best with a little cream. AH! the childhood memorys.

    Debi wrote on September 4th, 2012
  7. When I was growing up, we had a huge patch of wild strawberries in the glen behind our house. They were the best strawberries I have ever eaten.

    Eric Evans wrote on September 4th, 2012
  8. nom nom I love black rice! they are so good especially for making dessert like coconut milk sweet rice. They are harder to find and more expensive but very delicious. they have chewier texture than other sticky rice.

    Gift Clumsywarrior wrote on September 4th, 2012
  9. I made a smoothie this weekend with strawberries and coconut milk. Delicious. Two cups whole strawberries, half cup coconut milk. Blend until smooth – add a little water if it comes out too thick to pour (served 2 people). You could probably lower the strawberry amount and up the coconut milk if this sounds like too much fruit-based carb.

    Mark A wrote on September 4th, 2012
  10. I have fermented black rice, along with plums, into a quite rich-tasting and fairly drinkable wine. Gotta get some enzymatic action in there to break up the starches into sugars, and you’re all set for yeasty goodness!

    Erok wrote on September 4th, 2012
  11. Thanks for the update. But why aren’t regular (white) potatoes primal? I realize they are not in the form of french fries, but what about yukon gold cooked in duck fat with a little salt? That seems primal to me…thanks for the great info.

    Donna wrote on September 4th, 2012
    • They’re off my personal safe-to-eat list.. I’ve linked eating them to painful boils and zits. I also noticed it aggravated my swollen joints while recovering from parvo virus (aka fifths disease aka slapped-cheek). Thank God for epsom salts. And there is a section in “Fat and Cholesterol are Good For You” by Uffe Ravenskov that stays with me — he discusses an alternative theory of what a heart attack is. Roughly, an infected boil in the artery bursts whereupon cholesterol rushes to stick and repair. He even has a line like “this is no boil on the butt…”

      Oly wrote on September 4th, 2012
  12. Donna, white potatoes are primal. Search potatoes in the search engine and read Mark’s post on potatoes.

    Luke wrote on September 4th, 2012
  13. I was considering adding chia seeds to my diet to get a little bit more fiber. I know that Mark says the optimum amount of fiber is that we get from fruits and vegetables (and nuts, I guess), but I’ve noticed a little bit of a…lack of action since going Primal for a few months. I’d be curious to see how much fiber people are getting in their Primal diets. Anyone?

    DarcieG wrote on September 4th, 2012
    • For fibre (and other goodies like minerals & vitamins) I eat kale (I cook it very lightly in my daily bone broth)… yes the works do get a little clogged on primal. I guess Grok didn’t have a port-a-potty!

      Danae Sinclair wrote on September 4th, 2012
    • I suppose we have all experienced some “clogging” when going primal, I know I did. From personal experience I can tell you that when I keep nut intakes to a handful a day (c/o Richard Nikolay) and when I eat at least 4 servings of colorful veggies daily that I am more “regular”. Also, replacement goodies such as almond-flour pancakes (Elanaspantry.com has an EXCELLENT recipe) and primal breads/mufffins etc. seem to bind me up a bit more. I should add that my “movements” are generally less frequent (abt. 1/day) since the whole primal conversion, probably due to the fact I just eat less food – cuz I’m full!

      Kyle wrote on September 5th, 2012
      • It seems that Grok wouldn’t have wanted to feel clogged up, either, even if he wasn’t filling a…hole in the dirt?

        I *have* noticed less bloating and other unpleasantness since going primal, but I’m still looking for that nice empty feeling. :-)

        I’ll have to review my serving sizes, but I generally have a piece of fruit, a large salad with lunch, and either another large salad or some cooked vegetables at dinner. Plus about 1/2 sweet potato. Maybe I should ease up on the nuts slightly. Haven’t yet tried removing the full-fat yogurt, which would be rather tragic…

        DarcieG wrote on September 5th, 2012
        • DarcieG, it might be worthwhile to reduce veggies for a while and see what happens. For me too many vegetables spells toilet problems. I suspect it might be because of FODMAPs but haven’t gotten around to really testing it yet.

          Seppo wrote on September 5th, 2012
  14. I cook volcano rice ( I’m told it has additional mineral content from being grown in volcanic soil), red rice, and forbidden rice. Never been much on white or brown.

    Chia seeds and Quinoa are in my top non-nut foods.

    Can’t stand Avocado in any form though, it’s one of the few foods that even looking at it ruins my appetite.

    Morghan wrote on September 4th, 2012
  15. Chia seeds are great if one needs to substitute an egg in a recipe because of food allergies. Not a superfood – but helpful.

    Hannah wrote on September 4th, 2012
  16. Meh, I never understood the fixation people have with rice. And grains… It is so much simpler to really let go of it all than constantly trying to find a healthier substitute…
    Not that I do not appreciate the ‘is it primal’ posts, don’t get me wrong, they are great and extremally useful, but I find that for me things flow more naturally without trying to find substitutes for non primal foods ex.: paleo bread, cookies and all the other things that mimic the “real” thing.
    If there are people out there that are trying to go primal but just can’t get those muffins and whatnot out of your mind, I may suggest substituting with a steak rather than with something that mimics the form/taste/texture. Might just put an end to those cravings (being psychological in part-when you eat paleo bread it registers as “bread” and then you will end up wanting more of this “bread” paleo or not) . That’s what worked for me, anytime I craved sweets or pastry I ate something radically different in its taste, form, nutritional value and even color!
    So… No more muffin and muffin lookalikes for me:) try it, might work for you too!

    Primal Wanderer wrote on September 4th, 2012
    • Woha! Loooong comment, sorry guys:)

      Primal Wanderer wrote on September 4th, 2012
    • How enthusiastic were you about bread and/or pastries before going primal? :-p

      DarcieG wrote on September 4th, 2012
      • Let’s say they were my all time favorite :) Had the whole amateur baker thing going on even baked home made bread and pizza crusts and cakes and puff…. oh man!
        Pretty enthusiastic I’d say ;)

        Primal Wanderer wrote on September 4th, 2012
        • So, you don’t feel any sort of desperation in the face of, say, a good-quality almond croissant? I only eat wheat at weddings, and I don’t generally crave the stuff if it’s not right in front of me, but I’ve had a few difficult moments… :-)

          DarcieG wrote on September 5th, 2012
    • I’m with you on that one, Primal Wanderer.. to my mind hunting down substitutes for starchy baked goods is akin to quitting smoking and taking up nicotine gum.

      Danae Sinclair wrote on September 4th, 2012
      • Basically. The more I see people trying to “edge” back to some of the things they used to eat, in finding excuses and/or reasons, the more it just looks like those things are not worth it, IMO.

        As far as potatoes goes, again IMO, sweet potatoes which I discovered when going paleolithic have made me not look back to the inferior white potatoes (at least I can leave the skin on, and they taste better).

        Archaeloidic wrote on September 5th, 2012
    • I completely agree. I went primal just recently (best decision I ever made) and fell off the wagon from lingering too close to the edge. I like the fact that I don’t eat anything like I did before, and stay much more focused when I’m completely all or nothing with primal (and get better results).

      Horsecrazygirl42 wrote on September 4th, 2012
      • Hey! I’m so happy for you that you decided to switch to primal!
        Anyway, what you said about lingering on the edge: I couldn’t agree more! I was there too for a couple of moths, eating mostly primal but with the occasional dish of pasta:( until I started listening very carefully to what my body signals me… I also noticed, that after more than 8 moths of 80/20 primal diet it began to be more like 70/30 or even 60/40, and the negative results weren’t late to come… And the cravings returned, and so did the tiredness and sluggishness, although not as much as before primal but I could definitely feel it.
        For the past two months I switched to almost 100% primal (as much as I possibly can afford) and I have never felt better in my life!
        I guess for some people it’s best to go all in, at least in the first couple of years, and who knows, maybe I won’t want to return to the 80/20 at all, as I really enjoy my health and energy levels.

        Primal Wanderer wrote on September 5th, 2012
  17. Now I’m curious about rice noodles (like in pho) or other rice pastas.

    PK wrote on September 4th, 2012
  18. Really enjoying the “Is it Primal” section (saves me from spending hours in Medline and Google scholar :)

    If only I had a Hydra to analyze in my lab…we could finally figure out the question on everybody’s lips these days – “what is the nutritional value of a Hydra??”

    Isaac Warbrick wrote on September 4th, 2012
  19. I have seen avocado oil in the grocery store recently and I was thinking about buying it.

    I love avocado already because of the healthy brain food concept. So trying it as an oil should be good for my diet.

    Justin Mazza wrote on September 4th, 2012
  20. Nice to see an article about strawberries and its place in the primal mindset. Unfortunately since most strawberries, organic and conventional are cultivated in soil treated with methyl bromide its best to avoid them altogether unless its been certified MeBr free. http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/2013_nomination.html

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/methyl-bromide-toxicity-what-is-on-your-strawberries.aspx?page=3

    Tom Jenkins wrote on September 4th, 2012
  21. I’ve always wondered about these: http://nuts.com/cookingbaking/grains/quinoa/puffs.html .

    Colin wrote on September 4th, 2012
  22. Interesting about chia seeds. Just yesterday I was reading several studies about omega 3 eggs. In the process I also looked over studies about human conversion of ALA to EPA.

    One review study was particualrly revealing. They showed a chart where they plotted data from studies with different ALA intakes. The chart shows a clear correlation with dietary ALA intake and blood EPA levels. This study was also done with women, and women convert ALA to EPA much better than men. Omega 6 levels also affect the conversion. Given high omega 3 intake from chia seeds 3:6 ratio probably improved.

    Here’s the link to the study:

    sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0952327806000834

    One of the studies also mentioned that humans can ‘retroconvert DHA into EPA’, but I’m not sure if that’s a factor here. Given how human conversion of ALA to DHA is minimal at best.

    Seppo wrote on September 4th, 2012
  23. Concerning strawberries, there exists different species of wild tiny strawberries in Europe, North America and South America. I believe the big ones we usualy find are actually derivating from hybrids between two wild species, made in the 18th or 19th century. So I guess paleolithic people did not eat those hybrids, but you could say the same thing of almost every fruit and vegetable out there!

    Ophelie wrote on September 5th, 2012
  24. Great post Mark!

    I really feel like the information about the detrimental effects of grains is slowly starting to get out into the public. Just found this good article: http://www.naturalnews.com/037073_gluten_food_pyramid_grains.html , and in general it seems like the ifnormaiton is starting to spread not only in the Paleo community.

    Keep up the good work!

    Alex Fields wrote on September 5th, 2012
  25. Chia seeds …IF I was a bird I might be interested in them…..BUT as a GROK…I can live without them and get the same benefits elsewhere.I feel there is no need to buy into this product at all.
    Rice is not GROK..
    Expeller pressed Avocado oils are GROK..
    and As far as Starches go…if it didnt come from a local dirt farm..
    DONT EAT IT>>>

    Dave PAPA GROK Parsons wrote on September 5th, 2012
  26. WILD Strawberries are excellent when fresh picked out back in the meadow>>>

    Dave PAPA GROK Parsons wrote on September 5th, 2012
  27. Hi

    “increase plasma ALA and EPA levels in postmenopausal women”

    Is this a good or a bad thing? I don’t know. Being in the process of menopause I’m interested to know.

    seekingsolutionsue wrote on September 5th, 2012
  28. Wild strawberries…tiny, for sure. But sour? Not in the slightest. My back yard is covered with them, they’re near-weeds in their inability to be hindered. But they produce a single crop of pee-sized, quite sweet wonderful little berries.

    Lisa wrote on September 5th, 2012
  29. just don’t eat too many strawberries in one sitting… they have a truckload of fiber in them

    MarcTheEngineer wrote on September 5th, 2012
  30. I sent you an email a few days ago, and would still LOVE to learn more about supposed sourdough breads that are fermented sometimes for weeks before baking, and “magically” is safe for gluten-sensitive folks?!
    It was a subject of a wholeliving.com post recently:
    http://www.wholeliving.com/183942/our-daily-bread

    Shawn wrote on September 5th, 2012
  31. Gotta love those strawberries. I love a banana strawberry smoothy in the morning…

    Ed wrote on September 5th, 2012
  32. Perfect “Is It Primal” blog for me this week! I am happy to let go of the grains and all but I have some lingering packages of food that I just can’t let go of. One of them is black rice and another is chia seeds. I use the chia seeds to thicken my smoothies and only eat them occasionally so I seem good on that count. Now I’m just wondering how the heck do I ferment rice?!
    ~Ang

    Angela @ The Chicken Scoop wrote on September 7th, 2012
  33. Great post, i really enjoy reading the “is it primal?” series.

    Question time :D what about lupin or lupini beans? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupin_bean)

    I know they’re a legume and that’s not good, they also require some amount of refining before being suitable to but still they’ve got some impressive nutritional info (http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4345/2.).

    I don’t know if it’s easy to get them in the US, or if you guys even eat them at all, but here in Portugal they’re a widely appreciated snack. So i would love to hear your thoughts.

    Hugo wrote on September 8th, 2012
    • * suitable to be eaten, but…

      Hugo wrote on September 8th, 2012
  34. For some reason strawberries upset my stomach, even though they are low in fructose and sugar alcohols (I am fructose intolerant). This annoys me to no end, as they are supposedly a safe fruit. Why the upset stomach/indigestibility?

    Marisa wrote on September 8th, 2012
    • Maybe you are allergic. Not every allergic reaction is hives, breathing problems, etc. My daughter is allergic to shellfish – but has no symptoms other than vomiting if she eats it. And I have the same reaction to raw almonds (which is related to my apple,peach,plum allergy) – they make my stomach upset but with no other typical allergy symptoms.

      Do you have the same problem with other berries (black, rasp)?

      wicked opinion wrote on September 9th, 2012
  35. I have opinions on most of these.

    While we know darned well that we need EPA and DHA, I keep running across studies that show advantages to ALA in flax and chia.

    As such, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s similar to vitamin A; we need the animal form, but the plant form does good stuff too.

    Avocado oil is good stuff. Like olive oil, it’s healthiest raw; but also like olive oil, some foods just taste better if you use it. Eggplant is never going to be as good cooked in anything but olive oil; peppers and onions for fajitas are never going to be as good cooked in anything but avocado oil.

    My lawn is full of wild strawberries. They are sweet. Problem is, it’d take an hour to pick a cup of them, as they’re tiny. So while I do pick and eat a few now and then, most of them just get mowed and I buy strawberries.

    jpatti wrote on October 5th, 2012
  36. I currently use High potency fish oil and borrage(GLA).Great energy,keeps me lean, vascular,mentally clear,and focused. Ive tried flax and hemp. Bad reaction to flax, breakouts and not very good energy boost plus other pros mentioned above. This was Udos(very reputable brand). Hemp, great energy, prob from its high GLA source but experienced breakouts. Only thing that keeps my skin glowing and clear is my current combo mentioned above however Id like to switch to a plant source omega 3 such as chia. Theres much data claiming poor epa/dha conversion from ALA sources. I did come across one person claiming chia is different though because of its ultra slow absorbing capabilities allowing nutrients it holds to absorb in our bodies. I think ALA provides other benefits besides the well studied epa/dha benefits.Im gonna report back and reply to my comment after my experience with chia seeds and see if they compare to a high potency fish oil(ascentra) that I use.

    Rob Dean wrote on December 24th, 2012
  37. “There’s some recent evidence that moderately-longish term chia seed supplementation (7 weeks long) can actually increase plasma ALA and EPA levels in postmenopausal women.”

    In regards to the above comment I would say that most things that happen in the human body happen over a long period of time. The likely process in which increased conversion to EPA is due to the substrate(ALA) activating expression of its required enzyme(s) thru a positive feedback mechanism. This mechanism entails not only different gene expression but epigenetic changes as well. I would say that taking ALA on a regular basis can dramatically increase endogenously synthesized EPA.

    Imouthes wrote on June 8th, 2013
  38. Which is best to add to protein shake, chia powder. Chia seeds or making a gel. I use chia for the fiber content.

    Carmen wrote on September 22nd, 2013

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