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

Is It Primal? – Paleo Bread, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, Psyllium Fiber, and Other Foods Scrutinized

I love doing these “Is It Primal?” posts. For one, the supply of topics is virtually limitless, because you guys are constantly sending in new foods and products for me to research. Two, I’m learning a ton of new stuff. And it’s not just specific foods I’m learning about; it’s also forcing me to think about health and what Primal actually means in new ways. There are plenty of times where I approach a particular entry with the assumption that it’s definitely going to be Primal, or definitely not going to be Primal, only to be surprised by what a little more research shows. It can be disconcerting to have your beliefs challenged or even scrambled, but so be it. That’s a small price to pay, right?

Let’s get to the foods. We’re doing five today – Paleo Bread, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, psyllium fiber, expeller pressed refined coconut oil, and unflavored gelatin.

Paleo Bread

Paleo Bread is actually a specific product. Now, I haven’t tried it myself, and while I’m generally against using paleo or Primal approximations of neolithic foods as staples, Paleo Bread looks like an extremely solid, ideal choice. Here’s why:

  • Choice of either coconut or almond meal-based bread. Coconut is the Primal darling, but not everyone likes or is compatible with it. Same goes for almonds. Giving folks a choice means pretty much everyone can find something they enjoy and tolerate.
  • The almonds used are blanched, with the skins removed. Since one of the major problems with eating a lot of nuts (like in breads made from them) is the mineral-binding phytate content, and phytate lies in the skin of the almonds, Paleo Bread should be safe on that front.
  • It’s made from actual food, with a short list. Almond/coconut flour, egg whites, psyllium (more on that below), apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and water are the ingredients. There’s nothing particularly offensive or hard-to-pronounce (which isn’t definitive, but a rather useful guideline for a food’s healthfulness) there.

If you have a hankering for bread, I’d say go for it. Just don’t make it a daily thing.

UPDATE: It’s recently come to my attention that there’s some contention over whether the nutritional claims of Julian Bakery, the folks behind Paleo Bread, can be trusted. A recent post from Jimmy Moore, in which one of Jimmy’s readers reports excessively elevated blood sugar from eating a few slices, suggests that the “net carb” claims for their Smart Carb bread were misleading (or downright incorrect). Later on in the post, independent lab testing (ordered by the reader) shows nutritional data that contradicts the data on the label. Whether Julian Bakery’s Paleo Bread has the the same issues remains to be seen, but I’d caution any potential buyers to run their own tests.

UPDATE 2: This is a an email from a representative of Paleo Bread:


I wanted to contact you to set the record straight about Paleo Bread as we pride ourselves on nutritional accuracy and test all our bread. Also the blog post Jimmy Moore referenced is complete slander as that women (sic) did NOT test for Inulin in our bread so her test is not accurate. We proudly test all of our breads with Medallion Labs.

Test for Paleo Almond:
Test for Paleo Coconut:

Please let me know if you have any questions and we would appreciate you fixing your most recent post about our Paleo Bread.

Thank You,

Heath Squier
Julian Bakery, Inc.

Verdict: Primal. Undecided.

Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

A “soy sauce alternative,” Bragg’s Liquid Aminos still contains soy as the primary ingredient. What sets it apart, though, is the production process, the lack of wheat, and the lack of added salt. So it’s a sauce made from soy, but it’s not a soy sauce.

Bragg’s isn’t fermented, unlike most soy sauces. Instead of fermentation, the folks at Bragg’s apply hydrochloric acid (the same stuff found in your stomach) to soybeans, “predigesting” them and releasing free amino acids (like glutamate). To counter the acidity, they add sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), which combines with the “chloric” part of hydrochloric acid to make the salty taste. I’m actually a tentative fan of fermented soy as a condiment (miso, natto, that sort of thing), because it seems to have different effects on humans than processed or unfermented soy. I outlined some of the apparent benefits in this older post, if you’re interested.

I’ve heard of MSG-sensitive and soy-sensitive people having issues with the free glutamate in Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. I’m not convinced that naturally-occurring free glutamate is a problem, but I can’t argue with people who report sensitivities.

That there’s no wheat is a good thing, but you can get wheat-free tamari sauces that taste great. Heck, even regular soy sauce (which has wheat) might be “free of wheat allergens,” owing to the fermentation. Personally, I don’t like the taste of Bragg’s. Not sure how to describe it, really.

Verdict: Not Primal (unfermented soy), but it doesn’t appear very threatening.

Psyllium Fiber

Psyllium fiber comes two different ways, with each having a different effect on your bowels and their movements. Psyllium husk, which is the popular type of pysllium fiber found in most supplements, comes from the exterior of the psyllium seed and is almost entirely insoluble fiber. It bulks up your poop and can help move things along, but it’s pretty much an inert polysaccharide. Your gut bacteria can’t do much with it, let alone your “own” digestive system. If you need to fill a toilet bowl, psyllium husk will do it.

Psyllium seed powder, however, is mostly soluble fiber. That means it’s a prebiotic, fermentable fiber that can feed and support your gut flora and spur the creation of beneficial short chain fatty acids like butyrate. In fact, psyllium seed has been shown to increase butyrate production by 42%, an effect that lasted for two months after treatment.

I’m not a fan of pounding out massive dump after massive dump just because you can. I mean, sure, you don’t want to be stopped up and unable to go when you want to, but there’s nothing inherently good or beneficial about padding your bowel stats and rending your bowel walls with insoluble fiber. Soluble, prebiotic fiber? Via the production of short chain fatty acids, that stuff can actually help reduce colonic inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, protect against obesity, serve as an energy source for the colon, and possibly even protect against colon cancer. Thus, a case for psyllium seed fiber supplementation can certainly be made.

Verdict: Cautiously Primal, so long as you’re using the seed powder. But I’d rather you get your fermentable fiber in whole food form. Psyllium husk? Not Primal.

Expeller Pressed Refined Coconut Oil

There’s that word: “refined.” Not so bad when you’re talking 16-year single barrel Scotch, monocles, The New Yorker, and finely oiled mustaches, but extremely suspicious when you’re talking edible fats. Most refined oils are processed using chemical solvents like hexane, some of which may show up in the finished product. Expeller pressed coconut oil, however, is physically processed. They literally press the coconut flesh to squeeze out the oil.

Refined coconut oil doesn’t taste like coconut, thanks to the deodorizing steam-treatment it receives. If you want that coconut flavor, go for virgin coconut oil. But if you’re doing a stir-fry, cooking up some eggs, maybe oven baking some sweet potato fries, and you don’t want everything to taste like Thai food, expeller-pressed coconut oil is a fantastic choice. It’s more resistant to high heat than virgin coconut oil, too, making it the go-to fat for those times you want to cook something on high.

The other benefits of coconut oil, like the medium chain triglyceride content, are not affected by the refining process. They remain intact and present.

Verdict: Primal.

Unflavored Gelatin

The protein powder-, squatz-, oatz-, and gainz-obsessed online lifting culture may frown upon gelatin as a source of protein, but it has its place in a healthy diet. Sure, gelatin, with its unanabolic amino acid profile, can’t be relied upon as a primary protein source – it’s not going to get you huge – and early attempts at protein fasts using gelatin instead of more complete proteins resulted in the most permanent weight loss method of all: death. But as an adjunct to a protein-replete diet? Gelatin is great and underappreciated.

Hard clinical evidence of its benefits are scant. Anecdotes report benefits to bone, joint, and skin health. I’ve found that a warm cup of gelatin broth just before bed gets me incredibly sleepy. Perhaps its the glycine in the gelatin, which one study found to be effective for improving sleep in humans. Another study found that dietary gelatin reduced joint pain in athletes. At any rate, it seems helpful, if not essential.

Of course, I’d rather you get your gelatin through bone broth and gelatin-rich cuts like chicken feet, oxtail, ribs, and shanks. These will offer nutrients and complete protein along with the “incomplete” gelatinous protein, and they taste incredible. But if you’re not eating those cuts, if you’re not making broth, if the only meat you eat is completely free of gristle and bone and cartilage and sinew, incorporating a little unflavored gelatin is a worthy consideration to make. Before the days of shrinkwrapped sirloins, 95% lean ground beef, and discarding over 50% of the live weight of a cow carcass as “inedible,” humans utilized the entire animal – tendons, bones, feet, hide, cartilage, head, skin, and all the rest. That’s a lot of gelatin we evolved eating, gelatin that you’re no longer eating. Think of unflavored gelatin as a replacement for that.

For optimal digestion, gelatin should be dissolved in warm water before drinking (in one study, hydrolyzed collagen, but not undissolved gelatin, improved bone health in rats). This isn’t a very interesting way to eat it, though, so you might try adding a little fruit juice or tea to the mix and refrigerating it until it gelatinizes. Then you have a fairly healthy jello.

If you’re worried about the source of the gelatin, for ethical or nutritional reasons, you can always use a grass-fed bovine gelatin, like this one.

Verdict: Primal.

That’s it for today’s list of questionable foods. I hope I didn’t break any hearts or crush any spirits. Keep on sending more foods and I’ll try to eventually get to all of them. 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. Good post :) I was wondering about the Paleo bread.

    doghug wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Me too!

      Carla wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Agreed. “Paleo” bread has always seemed kinda sketchy to me, but if all the ingredients are as simple as mentioned above then it definitely seems like a great treat!

      Josh Singer wrote on July 18th, 2012
      • Finally got around to reading this. Mark utterly contradicts himself in saying Paleo bread is (probably) primal, yet psyllium husk is not. Umm…what exactly does he think the main fiber/large part of the paleo bread is made of?? It’s not an insignificant ingredient in their breads.

        Elizabeth wrote on July 29th, 2012
        • I think he’s referring to SUPPLEMENTING with psyllium husk for digestive reasons as being non-primal because it doesn’t do the good you intended for it to do but it’s not that big a deal if you’re having it as part of a meal meant for enjoyment.

          SophieE wrote on November 13th, 2012
    • Hello:
      just wanted to say I ordered the almond and the coconut paleo bread for my autistic son the coconut bread is wet and sticky so he wont eat it I called the company several times and left messages on email and the phone and noone will return my calls i must say very dissapointing and my son wont eat it well who would wet and sticky bread
      thanks !

      kimmy wrote on August 7th, 2012
      • Agreed. Just got my first shipment from Julian Bakery and it’ll probably be my last. I do have to hand it to them, though, they managed to make a gluten-y, sticky bread without any gluten. I’m hoping that some refrigerator time will dry the bread out a bit, but I have my doubts.

        Blake wrote on August 10th, 2012
      • I disagree. If you’re looking for paleo alternatives that are exactly the same texture and flavor as the nonpaleo versions, you should just stop trying to be paleo. It’s not going to be the same. A moist, sticky bread substitute is a different food, just like yams are different than potatoes. I happen to like moist sticky bread, but it was weird when I first tried it.

        If your position with your son is that he can have moist, sticky bread or NO bread, he may eventually change his tune. Or he may steal bread from members of the household that aren’t paleo. Or you may have to make the decision that there will be no wheat bread in the house.

        It’s no good trying to feed a person with a specific problem a special diet while everyone else eats the unhealthy, nonpaleo versions of things. No child, autistic or otherwise, would put up with that. It needs to be a household decision, not an individual decision for someone you’re singling out for special treatment.

        Paleo is the way to go for everyone’s well being. If you have rebellion among others, you don’t have a solution that’s going to work long-term, anyway.

        Cougar Brenneman wrote on January 17th, 2015
  2. omg I am DYING at the “massive dump after massive dump” comment.

    Jessica R wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • +1 I forwarded this on to everyone I know, paleo or not

      Ted wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • I really shouldn’t check this website in the washroom. Pretty embarrassing when I couldn’t stop laughing.

      James wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • Sometimes I laugh spontaneously when I’m talking to myself in my head and it’s happened more than once standing in front of a urinal.
        I must appear ticklish

        Animanarchy wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • +1. ahahahahahbamhahahahahha…

          Ma Flintstone wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • +1 I really did lol.

          mntnmom wrote on July 19th, 2012
    • it was certainly a “LOL”… needs to go on the “things i never thought i would ‘hear’ mark say” list!

      but as usual… great info!!

      Notch wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • That was funny for me too though I suppose people who thoroughly like to stretch their glutes thought that comment was a bit of a bummer.

      Animanarchy wrote on July 17th, 2012
  3. I’m feeling rather gelatinous myself.

    Groktimus Primal wrote on July 17th, 2012
  4. I’m happy to hear about the refined coconut oil. I made almond butter using virgin coconut oil and it tastes like coconuts, rather than almonds. My daughter doesn’t like it. I do! So I just bought some refined oil and will make more almond butter. Trying to pull my daughter into the primal world bit by bit!

    pbbrown61 wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • You add oil when you make nut butters? Why not just use almonds and nothing else? Doesn’t this work?

      Primal Toad wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • Agree. Weird. Maybe a patience problem?

        Graham wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • It just turn into a flour if you don’t add any fat to it. Sure, it doesn’t require much fat, but at least a little bit to make it more “buttery” :)

        Primalisten wrote on July 18th, 2012
        • I had tried to make nut butters many times, but always found them rather thick and not all creamy. I was amazed at what was lacking in making these butters . . .time. If you have patience you will see the nuts or seeds, slowly release the oils and then voila creamy (no need for oil) butters. Have patience and you will create amazing nut and seed butters.

          Lynda wrote on June 15th, 2016
    • All you need to do to make almond butter is run the food processor until it’s butter. No oil necessary. Can’t see how it would add anything. Admittedly, when you’re working with raw almonds, it can take a while…just have to wait through many stages until it makes the gloopy, liquid sound.

      Graham wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • Probably, using coconut oil will benefit almond butter oil composition.

        Galina L. wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • the blades in the food pro need to be sharp for this to achieve a good smooth texture. you can have them sharpened by a knife guy.

        noodletoy wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • Yeah he could have been impatient or just wanted a much creamier, smoother butter, which you will achieve using a little oil if you don’t have the best quality blender.

        Josh Singer wrote on July 18th, 2012
    • Me too. Just bought another gallon of the stuff from Tropical Traditions. I LOVE that it’s unflavored so you can use it with any dish and not have an overpowering coconut taste to deal with :-)

      TokyoJarrett wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • By the way, thanks for the link on the soy sauce, Mark. I can’t get enough of thinly sliced grass-fed beef dipped in soy sauce with wasabi and I’m glad to know it’s not allergenic and has some health benefits.

        TokyoJarrett wrote on July 17th, 2012
  5. Aspics. And no, I am not implying a racial epithet. Aspic dishes are not only lovely looking but leftovers can be plated into a work of art. I recommend all amazon prime paleo users to watch Julia Childs “The French Chef” show on aspics. She uses left over duck meat and other tasty items. I think it is in season 1.

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Or is you are hard core, go for the head cheese. Charcuterie! woot woot!

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • I learned to eat head cheese in Germany. Great little deli down the street. ahh…. I miss it.

        mntnmom wrote on July 19th, 2012
  6. I do have a question about soy sauce. I found a soy sauce in a Korean store that is JUST fermented soy and water. No wheat, no sugar. I am assuming it is primal. I’ve tried the coconut amines as a substitute for soy but REAL soy sauce has a great taste. What do you think?

    pbbrown61 wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Yep, that would be fine (assuming the ingredients list is actually correct) :)

      Misabi wrote on July 17th, 2012
  7. Never heard of Paleo Bread, but its cool that there are some products coming out now that are paleo friendly. Just hoping they don’t start adding preservatives and additives like Atkins did. But I have faith.

    I was also wondering about the refined coconut oil. Isn’t that the stuff they use on popcorn? Good to hear that its primal because I bought some by accident and its been sitting in my pantry for months. Time to get cooking!

    Max Ungar wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • I think the stuff they use on popcorn is partially-hydrogenated coconut (or palm) oil. Definitely not good. I think that’s different than refined coconut oil.

      Mark wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • Thanks For the Clarification! Good thing Im not eating popcorn anymore!

        Max Ungar wrote on July 17th, 2012
  8. I get sick if I eat regular soy sauce. Tamari (which is just wheat free soy sauce) is fine for me. It makes it difficult to eat at a Chinese restaurant, because I can get them to make everything without soy sauce but then it just tastes bland. I will make a stir fry at home about twice a month, I figure that small amout of tamari won’t hurt me.

    Pam S. wrote on July 17th, 2012
  9. I had been wondering about Paleo bread and refined coconut oil. Thanks!

    Stormi wrote on July 17th, 2012
  10. I used to take psyllium husk for cleansing from candida. Stuff was disgusting to drink. One big goopy mess. I am so glad not to take that stuff anymore. Also glad to read that it’s not primal.

    Happycyclegirl wrote on July 17th, 2012
  11. Whoa whoa whoa. Hold up a minute. Phytate is only found in the SKIN of the almond? If that’s true then this makes my life a whole lot easier. I’ve been soaking and dehydrating my almonds for the past two years. All I have to do is blanch them!?! Can anyone confirm this?

    Rob wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • I have secretly known this for a while. I kind of assumed that everyone knew a fair share of plant toxins reside in the skin.

      I don’t know if all of the phytic acid is in the skin but a lot is. I’m sure there are other harmful substances in the skin too.

      I now only eat blanched almonds. My body has really thanked me.

      Oh, and they are better for smoothies too :)

      Primal Toad wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • Primal Toad, how has your body thanked you? What have you noticed? (if it’s not too graphic :-p)

        DarcieG wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • You know, the usual…dinner, a movie, some awkward over the pants type stuff….

          GeoMike wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • Just easier digestion. If I eat almonds with the skin my stomach does not feel normal. When I eat them without it most definitely feels normal.

          That’s all. It’s just a feeling thing as I digest said food.

          Primal Toad wrote on July 18th, 2012
      • I wonder how much a body thanks the mind when it decides to eat nuts. Even almonds, lowest of all nuts, give you 5X your daily requirement of omega-6 fats in just 1/4 C. According to the lipid researcher Chris Masterjohn,the daily requirement for Omega-6 fats is just 0.5% of your daily calories. For a 2,000-calorie day, that’s 10 calories, or just over 1g. If you eat a Brazil nut for its selenium, you also eat that 1g of O-6 fats.

        jake3_14 wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • I wonder how much a body thanks the mind when it decides to eat nuts. Even almonds, lowest of all nuts in omega-6 fats, give you 5X your daily requirement of omega-6 fats in just 1/4 C. According to the lipid researcher Chris Masterjohn,the daily requirement for Omega-6 fats is just 0.5% of your daily calories. For a 2,000-calorie day, that’s 10 calories, or just over 1g. If you eat a Brazil nut for its selenium, you also eat that 1g of O-6 fats.

          jake3_14 wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • That seems a bit odd, though I don’t know how salient “daily requirement” is. I mean, that would pretty much nix nuts altogether, even macadamias, wouldn’t it?

          DarcieG wrote on July 18th, 2012
    • I believe that the protein content of almonds is also enhanced by the sprouting that you are doing. I also soak/dehydrate almonds before using, OR I use the blanched almond flour.

      What you are doing is not a waste of time, but for an additional reason.

      RaeVynn wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • No authoritative sources, but a quick search suggests that at least most of the phytate can be removed by blanching.
      I discovered today that soaking almonds in hot water (almond “tea”) makes the almonds blanch-ready and makes the water turn brown with stuff leached from the skin in three hours or less. No idea about the nutritional comparison of this method.

      Bill C wrote on July 17th, 2012
  12. Sometimes I get lazy and don’t use warm water when mixing my gelatin. Nice to see a study about that.

    Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on July 17th, 2012
  13. “It can be disconcerting to have your beliefs challenged or even scrambled, but so be it. That’s a small price to pay, right?”

    My beliefs are challenged on a daily basis. The changes going on in the Paleo/Primal world regarding “safe” starches were driving me crazy at first and I kept trying to follow them exactly. Then I realized that being a prediabetic (can’t fix the damage due to genetics), although a lean and healthy one now, there’s just no such thing as a “safe” starch for me, only “safe” portions of starch.

    Heather wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • I believe paradoxes, it’s a conundrum.. sounds like Conan drum. That’s a conundrum in itself. Don’t mind me, I’m a little drunk. I almost hope the church ladies aren’t reading this.

      Animanarchy wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • I believe you are a curious case Animanarchy.

        Ma Flintstone wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • Yes I do wonder what’s inside me.

          Animanarchy wrote on July 17th, 2012
  14. I don’t like the taste of Bragg’s either. I get a chemical taste from it. And hydrolyzed soy protein just doesn’t sound good.

    Heather wrote on July 17th, 2012
  15. -Expeller Pressed Refined Coconut Oil
    -Paleo Bread
    -Bear Meat
    -Buffalo Kidney
    -Etc., etc….

    I have big a problem with “exotic” paleo foods. After spending time on Reddit’s r/paleo site, it became apparent that many (if not the vast majority) of people new to paleo/primal believe that eating paleo/primal is all about eating these “exotic” foods.

    All meals, 365 days a year, cannot be “exotic.” Not even close.

    Sustained, everyday paleo/primal involves ordinary foods. It’s about removing the bad from the diet more than adding some miracle food.

    I eat 100% paleo. And I do it 100% with foods obtains from a chain supermarket and the local farmers market.

    Yesterday was sweet potato, carrot, spices, banana, and frozen mango from Kroger, plus peaches and grass fed lamb from the farmers market.

    So simple.

    Dan wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • I don’t think any of those foods are really exotic. Not as much as seal oil, whale meat, kangaroo, frog legs, etc.

      It’s very hard to believe that most newbies to this way of eating think that everything they eat has to be exotic. Why do you assume this? I am extremely curious.

      Primal Toad wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • If you live in Australia, kangaroo is not exotic. If you live in France, frog legs are not exotic.
        Depends on where you are from.

        Bronwyn wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • Grass fed Lamb – simple
        Paleo Pizza – exotic

        Joe wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • I didn’t intend to say newbies think *everything* they eat must be unfamiliar, new (to them) foods.

        I’m just saying that the newbie focus often seems to be more on:

        (1) adding previously untried…and often difficult to obtain…foods than on

        (2) replacing (a) grains, dairy, added sugar with (b) familiar and plain ol’ boring veggies, meat, etc.

        Dan wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • Apparently novelty promotes the exitation of anandamide.

        Animanarchy wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • excitation*

          Animanarchy wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • Anandamide? Isn’t that the stuff Wolverine’s bones are coated in?

          Leah wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • Leah techinically adamantium.

          Animanarchy wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • @Leah- your Wolverine question was worthy of a standing ovulation.

          Trav wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • Giggling at the thought of the ‘standing ovulation’ Trav. Got to admit I stand and ovulate quite regularly 😉

          Yvette wrote on July 19th, 2012
    • I think a lot of people who start eating primally just start exploring options they may not have had before. Even though it’s completely local and not that “exotic” I’ve had family members get a little weirded out when I started cooking offal.

      And then there’s the “foodie” factor, to which I admit I am prone to. It’s our own way of collecting experiences, I guess and just the sense of adventure when you taste something new or rare.

      I think what’s nice about this community is no one is saying you have to eat these things, just sharing what they’ve tried and questioning things they’re not sure of. It’s helped me learn a lot as I started to eat primally.

      Grok Fox wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • I don’t now consider offal exotic, at least if it comes from a domestic farm animal or one regularly hunted in your area. I added “now” b/c I now realize that my offal-free suburban American upbringing was a historical oddity.

        I say this because offal has been eaten regularly by virtually all peoples at all points in history, including my Kentucky farmer great-great grandparents. Also, I can get grass-fed beef liver and heart at my local farmers market, a small market with not 20 vendors. I’m not making a special order of bear liver from far away Alaska. Early peoples ate what they had.

        On the other hand, a paleo cupcake made from almond flour?

        Or Liquid Aminos? Psyllium Fiber? I don’t even know what these things are.

        Dan wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • Dan wrote “Or Liquid Aminos? Psyllium Fiber? I don’t even know what these things are.”

          You may not recognize the words Pyllium Fiber but I’m sure you’ve heard of Metamucil…the main ingredient is Pyllium husk. A product that my family doctor recently recommeded I start taking to “ward off hemorrhoids” and he said also has “the added benefit of lowering cholesterol”.

          Although it may sound exotic…it’s a very main-stream product and I am so thankful that Mark gave his take on it.

          steffturner wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • After my cooking fire failed I had to make myself eat a few handfulls of raw beef liver. That was exotic and I think worth a try if you’re willing to get your hands dirty! I felt like a (insert exciting adjective) savage.

        Animanarchy wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • I have actually heard of eating raw liver to balance out your liver “yin” in chinese medicine. Aside from that I have only eaten cooked so I might have to give that a go sometime. :)

          Grok Fox wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Nothing exotic about eating a wolverine’s testicles.

      rob wrote on July 17th, 2012
  16. Heated, rancid almond flour = primal?

    OOOoooook then………..

    Patrick wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Let’s not categorically demonize almonds for baking, without all important qualifiers. Not all heated almond flour HAS to be rancid. If it’s store-bought & in packages, ok, it most li

      Betorq wrote on July 17th, 2012
  17. Anyone know if Konsyl is “primal”?

    A good amount of it is soluble fiber, but some of it isn’t.

    I’d really, really hate to give this stuff up.

    It’s wooooonderful, if you know what I mean.

    Joe wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • I would say NOT Primal…

      Active Ingredients: Inulin (a water soluble fiber), refined psyllium husk (a natural vegetable fiber) Inactive Ingredients: maltodextrin, citric acid, flavor, aspartame, silicon dioxide, FD&C Yellow #6, D&C Yellow #10

      Sugars, aspartame and fake colors. I’ll pass.

      John wrote on July 18th, 2012
      • Me too! But that’s not for the “Original Formula 450” version, it’s for one of their flavored versions. I should have been more clear, sorry.

        And for the original version, these are the only ingredients:

        Active Ingredients: Per Rounded Teaspoonful: Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid 6g.

        There are no additives, no aspartame, no dyes, etc.

        Anyway, I looooove the stuff, and it just keeps the plumbing in great working order. I’m probably going to keep taking it. I eat a rather low-carb version of paleo, and I don’t want any plumbing problems.

        Thanks for the reply!

        Joe wrote on July 18th, 2012
  18. Separate link I saw today folks might want to check out:

    Matt wrote on July 17th, 2012
  19. I love these installments. Have been wondering about refined coconut oil, as we use on a daily basis in my house.. thanks for the excellent info!

    mars wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Personally I think extra virgin oil would be more primal. Stands to reason Grok wouldn’t go to too much trouble to refine his sustenance (speaking of whole foods). According to the science I’ve read we’re still adapting to the use of machines. What does that say about the use of things crafted by machines? Perhaps the optimal is impossible. It doesn’t mean we can’t limit the distance by which we miss the mark. The last three words in the previous sentence are the original definition of the word “sin”. Hmm, this website is an encyclopedia of sorts. Don’t go getting a god compex now. You might do something awesome.

      Animanarchy wrote on July 17th, 2012
  20. OMG! Thankyou I had not heard about Julians Paleo Bread!!! I used to eat there low carb bread years ago and of course quit it when I went paleo. So now I will try the almond bread.
    I have some almond flour already that I was planning to make muffins with

    Gayle wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Yeah, I hate to be Debbie Downer, but I’d avoid it. I ordered it as soon as it was available. Three weeks and about 30 bucks later for two whole loaves, it’s almost inedible. Texture reminds me of foam board. Flavor is … well, there really is no flavor.

      Quite a bummer.

      HillyRu wrote on July 20th, 2012
  21. Everyone is getting excited about the coconut oil part. But “expeller pressed refined coconut oil” is not the same as plain “refined coconut oil”.

    Gabby wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Yeah, Mark made it clear – most refined coconut oil is made with solvents or partially-hydrogenated or whatever.

      Expeller-pressed coconut oil is minimally refined, in a relatively safe way.

      It’s great for stuff you don’t want to taste coconutty.

      jpatti wrote on October 8th, 2012
  22. Glad for more psyllium information! For 25 years I have been on ever increasing psyllium husk supplements. Got off it in September and am 100% primal. However, things just don’t “move” like they are supposed to since “dumping” psyllium. Any suggestions other than more veggies???

    Erik wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • Magnesium or vitamin C (preferably ascorbate rather than ascorbic acid) supplements will help.

      Pamsc wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • How much vit c and magnesium?

        Erik wrote on July 20th, 2012
        • 400 mg of magnesium supplement is usually good for most. Up that if you aren’t getting results. Vit. C differs with each person. Keep upping the amount until you start to get diarrhea, the back off a bit. Take it to start in 60 mg tablets if you wish. Most people find they get no diarrhea until they hit the 2000mg threshold. But, every system is different. Just depends on your plumbing. Also, many might have a slight bowel impaction at the ileocoecal valve. Place thumb on the navel, pinky on the middle of your hip bone. Press down and up. This relieves the pressure there, and you should start to feel some movement immediateley in some cases. In rare cases it may take as long as 3 minutes, or more. For full movement, it often takes 5 for me. All depends on the person, but I don’t eat paleo, so I’m not sure if any of this would work for any of you. The valve problem was noted by a very good chiropractor I had who is now dead. Damn I miss him.

          Horses Douvers wrote on July 28th, 2012
    • I have found that a handful of dried prunes followed by a glass of water is very helpful.

      Ejayne wrote on July 18th, 2012
      • Thanks to both of you! I will give them a try…

        Erik wrote on July 20th, 2012
  23. I have stayed away from Bragg’s since realizing it is made with soy. I have found the coconut aminos are even better and taste more like soy sauce. Delicious in marinades!

    April wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • What are and where do you find Coconut Aminos? Are the packaged like Bragg’s?

      Barbara wrote on July 17th, 2012
      • I found coconut aminos at my local health food store, right next to Bragg’s liquid aminos. The same company, Coconut Secret, also makes coconut vinegar. Good hunting!

        BJML wrote on July 17th, 2012
        • Coconut Secret’s coconut aminos ROCK! Found this at my local health food store too. Tastes absolutely delicious and is a great substitute for the soy and Maggi sauces that I’ve now eliminated from my pantry :)

          Jo O wrote on July 7th, 2014
  24. Any recommendations on how much gelatin someone should supplement with if they aren’t making bone broths regularly?

    Pooka wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • My hunch is that this is an individual thing, based on your current condition, your genetics, age, gender, ability to utilize the gelatin, etc. Personally, I find that 1T/day, mixed in with my other foods, keeps my nails from breaking from the sides and greatly reduces my knee pain. If I forget to take this much for even 2 days, my knees remind me.

      jake3_14 wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • The Great Lakes brand suggests one tablespoon before breakfast and one tablespoon before dinner dissolved in water. I just add 1 T. to my coconut milk smoothie in the morning, thickens it up a bit, which I like.

      Amy wrote on July 17th, 2012
  25. I’m glad I don’t believe everything paleo bloggers have to say. Other than the gelatin, the rest of the “food” on this list is crap.

    tina wrote on July 17th, 2012
    • I agree. Sounds like processed food to me. As long as we do not understand well why processed foods are bad, I would be careful saying that some processed foods are okay.

      Victor Venema wrote on July 18th, 2012
      • I buy almost entirely unprocessed food. I bring it home. Then I process it. 😉

        IMO, it depends on what the processing is. Raw apple cider is a processed food, and not having a press, I’ll take their processing.

        The eggs I buy are washed. The chickens butchered. All sorts of processing.

        jpatti wrote on October 8th, 2012
  26. …I just declined to purchase some refined coconut oil yesterday. I think one of them was expeller pressed.
    Dang it.

    Bill C wrote on July 17th, 2012
  27. Good points. I haven’t actually heard many bloggers out there tout the benefits of gelatin, but I can tell you guys first hand, gelatin is where it’s at if you’ve got some aches.

    I have a couple fissures in my right knee cartilage which were probably the result of years of abuse playing sports as a kid. I’m 28 and training for an Iron Man, so any bit of pain (and subsequent time off) is a big problem for me. An MRI, ultrasound, and Xray later, my doctor decides to recommend a tip he picked up years ago…gelatin. I was skeptical, but I can honestly say, taking gelatin a few times a week has almost completely eliminated any knee pain. I can train pain free 90% of the time and when I do experience pain, it’s much more bearable. Nice to know some other people out there are preaching the benefits!

    Matt P wrote on July 17th, 2012
  28. I have a couple fissures in my right knee cartilage which were probably the result of years of abuse playing sports as a kid.

    I’m 28 now and training for an Iron Man later thisyear, so any bit of pain (and subsequent time off) is a big problem for me.

    Went to my doc, and an MRI, ultrasound, and Xray later, I get a tip from a resident at the hospital…..gelatin. I was skeptical, but I can honestly say, taking gelatin a few times a week has almost completely eliminated any knee pain. I can train pain free 90% of the time and when I do experience pain, it’s much more bearable. Nice to know some other people out there are preaching the benefits!

    Matt P wrote on July 17th, 2012
  29. I second (or third) coconut aminos. We love the taste and no longer miss soy sauce.

    Thomas wrote on July 17th, 2012
  30. So Bragg’s is a hydrolyzed soy sauce, just like Chung King and many super market brands. With hydrolyzing there is no need to add wheat to speed up the fermentation, given that there isn’t any.

    In fact in most super markets the only brand of soy sauce you’ll find that isn’t hydrolyzed is Kikkoman.

    Gluten does not survive either the fermentation or hydrolyzing process. As a celiac I choose not to trust that, but for people merely avoiding gluten on principle I wouldn’t worry about it.

    San-J makes a wheat free, fermented Tamari (in other words what soy sauce was before they invented “soy sauce”) that is quite decent and widely available from the usual unusual sources; and even a few super markets.

    kfg wrote on July 17th, 2012
  31. Thanks for the info. I’ve tried one recipe for almond bread muffins. I think i had some user error with the recipe. They turned out very heavy. I try to limit these types of things as i wasn’t sure if it was very paleo. Now i know and i may try some more on occassion.

    Taren wrote on July 17th, 2012
  32. re. Paleo Bread, I don’t really see the need to find a substitute for “real” bread. In my opinion, it’s best just to break the physical/mental/emotional bond
    with bread- get over it- and get on with your life, there a so many other great foods you can eat. To me, this is similar to the way “low-carbers” seek artifical sweeteners, or vegans search for fake burgers made with textured vegetable protein/soy.

    Paul wrote on July 18th, 2012
    • I agree with you Paul!

      mars wrote on July 18th, 2012
  33. When, once per month (btw, it is this evening 😉 ) I want some bread to spread my foie gras onto, I go for homemade sourdough. It’s real bread, tastier and healthier than any bread alternative I have seen so far.

    Some people here think that going paleo is some kind of crusade against grains eaters that we decided to embark on just for the sake of feeling part of a elite club.
    For me it is not this, it’s about being healthy. And bread surrogate made of rancid overcooked ground almonds is far from being healthy. As for coconut, I have better uses for it.

    primal_alex wrote on July 18th, 2012
    • I agree with Alex about bread and motivations for being Paleo. Personally I figure if I am 80% or better while growing my knowledge on Mark’s blog on how to be as close to 100% as possible,and make positive movements in that direction, I am doing great.

      I sometimes really want bread. About every few months, so I eat it for a few days. I love it at first, get sick of it, then stop.

      Cheryl Boswell wrote on July 19th, 2012
  34. Nutritional Yeast?

    Peter Soliman wrote on July 18th, 2012
  35. Soy in any form is unhealthy for many reasons. It has an estrogenic effect on the body and increases the risk of breast cancer. It causes the now very common Estrogen Dominance Syndrome – lots of symptoms but in general – irritability, exhaustion, mental sluggishness, short tempers, etc. Also, when estrogen is too high, often testosterone takes a dive and is too low, causing plenty of its own problems including abdominal fat, gynecomastia, exhaustion, muscle atropy, etc. Soy also extracts lots of manganese from soil, so depending on where it’s grown the manganese content can be very high -manganese is a heavy metal that can deposit in the body – specifically it deposits in the brain and causes dementia, Parkinson like syndromes, aggression, depression, and rage/homicidal/suicidal tendencies. We are a soy free home in general but LOVE Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and have been looking for a sub – thanx to those posting about the coconut aminos, can’t wait to find it!

    K Mac wrote on July 18th, 2012
  36. After reading this post, I ordered some psyllium seed powder from Amazon. I’ll be interested to see how it works. wrote on July 18th, 2012
  37. I make myself panna cotta out of coconut milk, gelatin, vanilla and stevia. delicious! :)

    Luke wrote on July 18th, 2012
  38. Thoughts on Konstantin Monastyrsky’s opinion that too much fiber is bad for us? Like over 25g? I’m the kind of person who, once I get an idea in my head, it’s difficult to get out, so that’s been in the back of my mind for awhile. I remember Mark commenting on his book once. I could see his point, but then he says to eat white bread and weird stuff like that…

    Lisa wrote on July 18th, 2012

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