July 08 2015

10 Primal Foods You Aren’t Eating Enough Of

By Mark Sisson
118 Comments

sardinesFor the most part, your diet seems pretty solid. You’re eating eggs on a regular basis. You’ve got, like, six ways to make really good cauliflower. That subtle humming reverberating through the house is just your chest freezer full of half a grass-fed cow. Leafy green vegetables are staples, sweet potatoes appear post-workout, and you’re first in line to buy fresh wild salmon when in season (plus extra for the chest freezer). All your bases are covered, right? Maybe not. From all the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve spotted a few consistent blind spots in the diets of the Primal community. In today’s article, I will reveal the 10 Primal foods you probably need to eat more often. After each entry, I’ll tell you the easiest (and tastiest) way I’ve found to integrate said food into your diet; no excuses.

Let’s get to it:

Chicken liver

Beef (and other ruminant) liver is often called nature’s multivitamin, and for good reason. It provides about a week’s worth of pre-formed vitamin A (retinol) and copper while being perhaps the best source of B-vitamins in town. Only problem? That’s a lot of vitamin A and copper. You can’t, or at least shouldn’t eat it too often. A quarter pound, maybe a half pound per week is just about enough. Any more is probably a bit much. This focus on beef liver also keeps a lot of people from eating what is in many respects a separate yet equal liver: chicken. Lower in vitamin A (but still a fantastic source) and copper, chicken liver can be consumed more regularly than beef liver. Plus, chicken liver is even higher in folate than and about equal in zinc to beef liver.

Another benefit of chicken liver is that it’s relatively mild. Even the liver-averse who’ve tried and failed to enjoy beef or lamb liver often find they can eat chicken liver. Just make sure to choose pastured when available and select the darkest (bordering on burgundy) livers you can find; avoid pale livers.

How to do it: Chicken liver is great sautéed quickly with ginger, shallots, and garlic with a splash of rich chicken stock (reduced to a syrup) and a dash of lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Brazil nuts

Selenium is a tricky mineral. We need it, but its presence in food depends entirely on its presence in the soil, and there’s kind of a worldwide shortage of soil selenium. So even if the USDA claims lamb liver is rich in selenium, if that animal was grazing on selenium-deficient soil, the liver’s not a reliable source. That’s the thing about Brazil nuts: they hail from a notoriously selenium-replete region. Just a couple nuts provide more than enough selenium.

However, some are scared off by the phytic acid. Others worry about the linoleic acid. Or maybe it’s the radiation, or the mold, or the excessive amounts of selenium. The risks are overblown. Besides, you’re not eating these nuts for the calories. You’re eating one, two, maybe three at a time for the selenium. If you’re looking to maximize your nutrition, these are essential nuts.

How to do it: Eat a small handful a couple times a week, or 1-3 each day. Store in the freezer. Grab Brazil nuts in the shell if possible.

Small oily fish

Small oily fish — sardines, small mackerel, smelts, anchovies — cover just about every Primal base. To wit:

  • They’re low on the food chain, meaning they’re a more sustainable source of calories and have had less time and inclination to accumulate marine toxins and heavy metals.
  • They can be consumed whole, meaning they provide calcium (bones), ample micronutrients (fish offal and heads), and all sorts of fermenting goodness (whatever the fish ate, probably algae or something, which makes them vegan I think).
  • They’re a great source of omega-3s, which we all need even if we’re eating low omega-6. Furthermore, said omega-3s are more stable when consumed in the whole package (the fish).
  • They’re cheap, at least for now. Don’t wait until the foodies latch on and the price jumps.

Eat them, guys.

How to do it: Salt, pepper, lemon juice, fresh herbs (I like tarragon and/or oregano), olive oil, hot grill, one/two/three minutes a side depending on size.

Blackstrap molasses

It’s a sweetener, yes. It comes from sugar cane, sure. With less sugar than either white sugar, brown sugar, regular molasses, or dark molasses, but far more minerals and electrolytes, this isn’t your mama’s sugar. It’s your great grandpappy’s sugar, the stuff he’d pour slow over his grits or steel-cut oats or cream of wheat or [insert regional porridge]. See, sugar cane is a plant with roots that stretch six meters down into the soil to extract nutrients. It puts hair on your chest, stuffs potassium into your serum, shoves magnesium past your cellular membranes, and makes a killer barbecue sauce. Eating just a couple tablespoons of blackstrap molasses gives you more than twice the potassium of a banana, more calcium than a cup of raw spinach, and almost 100 mg of magnesium. Blackstrap’s got so much potassium that it’s caused hyperkalemia. So don’t go crazy with it. A tablespoon goes a long way.

How to do it: A tablespoon taken straight if brave, mixed with the milk (animal/coconut/almond) of your choice if not. I also use it on the rare occasion I make my energy drink for extreme physical pursuits, which contains raw honey, coconut water, sea salt, and blackstrap molasses.

Extra virgin olive oil

Even though I tried to reassure you folks years ago, some people are still convinced extra virgin olive oil is terrible for cooking, oxidizes as soon as you open the bottle, and contains too many polyunsaturated fats to be good for you. As much as I love coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, grass-fed butter/ghee, and all the others fats the mainstream maligns, I always return to a good bottle of EVOO. Just because it’s a darling of the conventional health community doesn’t mean it’s overrated. It’s not. So here goes:

Olive oil is remarkably stable in the presence of heat.

Olive oil is primarily monounsaturated fat. You can confirm this by sticking your bottle in the fridge. See how it solidifies after half a day? That’s the MUFAs.

Extra virgin olive oil doesn’t oxidize as quickly as you think. And you know how the expensive bottle you just bought burns the back of your throat? That’s not rancidity; those are polyphenols (a good thing!), and they protect the oil from oxidizing.

How to do it: Toss with salads, pour into and drink from teaspoons (slurp to really taste it), use for light to medium sautéing. I’ve even fried thin cut yukon gold potatoes in extra virgin olive oil (the California EVOO from Trader Joe’s, to be exact) and they were great. Didn’t even smoke.

Blueberries

I’m a sucker for blackberries (and really great meaty strawberries), but blueberries aren’t far behind. And in a head to head to head competition, blueberries win out on health benefits. I’ve seen Kaiser Permanente posters that basically amount to close-ups of moisture-flecked blueberries. Everyone agrees these guys are healthy. They’re so good for us that people often use blueberries as a measuring stick for a food’s healthfulness. “Ten times as many antioxidants as blueberries!” the ad for the superfood du jour cries out. Yeah, blueberries can:

And even if they weren’t so good for us, even if they were just neutral sources of a few calories of fructose and glucose, they are dang delicious. There’s nothing quite like a taut berry exploding between your teeth, coating your tongue with tangy-sweet nectary explosions. ‘Tis the season here in the US, so go get you some.

How to do it: Fresh and in season is best. If you go to farmer’s markets, hit the stands as the market closes for last minute deals. Some stands also give “jam berries” for cut-rate prices. Frozen blueberries are also great and there’s actually interesting research suggesting that the ice crystals in frozen blueberries rupture cell walls and make the anthocyanins more bioavailable.

Oysters

Oysters have a long and storied reputation as potent aphrodisiacs, and there’s something to it. Oysters are the richest source of zinc, a mineral that humans need to make testosterone. If you’re deficient in zinc, eating zinc-rich foods (like oysters) will boost your testosterone level. Red meat is also a good source of zinc, but there’s something special about a half dozen of briny oysters served with lemon. Every time I hit the farmer’s market and the oyster guy’s there, I eat a tray and it just energizes me. Is that peer-reviewed? Nah. But so what.

How to do it: Oyster stew, schmoyster stew. Pop ’em open and eat raw. Trader Joe’s also carries a great smoked oyster in BPA free packaging.

Mussels

Two shellfish on the list, Sisson? What’s the deal here? Is it really necessary?

Yes, and here’s why.

Mussels are one of the better sources of manganese, a mineral that helps oppose iron overload and figures prominently in the production of a vital endogenous antioxidant that protects against the kind of oxidative stress that leads to diabetic complications (whew!). Most people get manganese through whole grain intake, but our pre-agricultural coastal-living ancestors likely obtained their manganese through shellfish consumption. I suggest we do the same. Since you’re probably not eating grains, you should probably eat mussels because you only need an ounce of them, cooked, to hit your daily requirements.

How to do it: I know it can be disappointing when you pay twenty bucks for a bag of beautiful black shells only to end up with shriveled little teaspoons of chewy meat, but they are worth the few minutes it takes to cook the properly. Here’s what to do:

  • Get some aromatics (garlic, shallots, onoins, leeks, that kinda smelly-in-a-good-way vegetable) and cook until soft in olive oil or butter in a pot.
  • Add a splash of broth, white wine, coconut milk, hard cider, an orange juice/lemon juice mix, or even just water. Not too much, maybe a quarter cup per pound, as mussels naturally expel a lot of liquid.
  • Bring to a boil, add mussels, and cover.
  • Once the mussels start to open, give it another minute or so. Enjoy (and drink the liquid!).

Fermented food

I’m keeping this general because the genre is so broad and not everyone can eat or enjoy dairy or kraut or natto. But everyone can enjoy something. Me? My favorite is a good bowl of grass-fed, full-fat yogurt, possibly littered with blueberries, blackberries, nuts, and sometimes a drizzle of raw honey. I’ll also drink kefir from time to time. When I get around to it, I’ll whip up a batch of sauerkraut and have enough for a few weeks until it runs out and I drag my feet for another few months. If I’m ever in an Asian market, I’ll pick up a jar of kimchi. I also grab natto whenever I see it. My point is I’ve always got something fermented in my fridge, ready to be eaten. Probiotics, even my own, don’t replace them. Why?

Especially when they’re homemade, fermented foods are rich sources of diverse and often unknown strains of probiotics. No batch is the same, so nothing else can replicate it but that specific batch. Some would say that makes it inherently risky, but as long as you’re thriving on the stuff, I’m not worried. Heck, I even like the idea of playing God and creating your own unique strain via natural selection over thousands of generations.

How to do it: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles are relatively easy to make at home. To eat, just, well, eat.

Sea vegetables

Iodine is a Primal bugaboo. Most of you are using fancy pink sea salts without added iodine and avoiding processed food made with standard iodized salt. All good moves, but you still need that iodine. I’m not saying you’re going to suffer from regressive cretinism, but what about your thyroid hormone production? What about the IQ of your gestating child? Sea vegetables, like kelp (kombu) or wakame, are the best sources of iodine in the world. The Japanese eat a ton, so much that their gut bacteria have learned to efficiently digest the otherwise hardy seaweed polysaccharides. Not everyone should eat that much. We should, however, be eating some.

How to do it: Anytime you make broth, add a slab of dried kombu. The iodine and other sea minerals will leach into the liquid.

As I said earlier, these are the dietary blindspots I’m seeing out there. It’s not true for everyone, and your standard Primal way of eating is usually quite complete, but I’d guess that almost everyone out there could use a little more of something from the list.

But let’s hear from you folks: Am I right? Was I wrong? What are the food you see Primal people forgetting to eat?

Thanks for reading, everyone.

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118 thoughts on “10 Primal Foods You Aren’t Eating Enough Of”

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  1. I love using a T. of blackstrap molasses in my oatmeal every morning! That and a splash of vanilla. Delicious.

  2. Great article. My surprise was the molasses. I thought all sugar was out on P.B. I will have to add some to my smoothie in the morning..

    1. That’s exactly what popped into my head! Adding it to my smoothies.

  3. A generous teaspoon of blackstrap in chicory coffee is the way to go. Add cream for a luscious mid-morning pick-me-up.

    When I was a kid buttermilk with sorghum syrup was a big treat. Not quite the same nutritionally but a very similar taste.

    1. Ohh, in coffee? I even have chicory but I’ll try it in my regular coffee first. 🙂 I wonder if it would do well for making a salad dressing or in a curry…?

  4. All right, I’ll pull out the blackstrap molasses, and then the Nair for the hair it’ll put on my chest.
    Nair is primal too, right?

    1. Beth – Nair is primal, but for god’s sake, don’t put it on your chest!! lol

    2. Cavemen had to use Nair! I understand they were pretty hairy. How else could they look good and get dates?

  5. Just thought of a great Kefir recipe to incorporate 5 of the above:

    Blend the following:
    500ml Raw Milk or Coconut milk/water
    1-2 teaspoons Blackstrap Molasses
    Handful of Blueberries
    2-3 Brazil Nuts
    102 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive Oil

    Pour over kefir grains and ferment.

    This would negate most of the phytic acid in the Brazil nuts and most of the blackstrap sugars would be eaten by the Kefir in it’s souring process.

    I would personally pour the finished kefir over some gluten free oats and leave to further ferment and reduce phytic acid in oats (I know oats are not primal) – to make a healthy and sustaining breakfast.

    1. Sounds good. Ima gonna start with 101 tablespoons though. Just in case. lol.

    1. I like a good liver pâté but don’t particularly like it fixed any other way.

    2. It’s goose liver so it should have all the exact same benefits of chicken liver. If you can afford it, though… 😀

    3. If you don’t mind the fact that Foie Gras involves incredible cruelty to the goose…

    4. If you don’t mind the fact that Foie Gras involves incredible cruelty to the goose… Just Google it if you don’t know how it’s made.

      1. A few French raise free-range geese for foi-grad, they’re natural scroungers and will gorge on nuts, botanicals, etc. (Geese, not the French). And the flavor of free-range raised goose liver is supposedly more complex, given the natural diet. A New York chef tried to duplicate the technique in the States, but the geese were susceptible to large predictors not existing in France, and wouldn’t gorge, naturally, in enclosures. Hopefully, the chef will continue to persevere in expanding the availability of humanely sourced foi-gras.

  6. A fun and yummy way to get your liver is to make pate – we make a huge batch for parties and then have lots left over. I put it on cucumber slices or make crackers out of flax, chia, and sunflower seeds.

    Another delicious way to eat mussels is get the smoked ones and then put one on a sweet potato chip, then eat. Crunchy, smoky, mussel-y, super great.

    For iodine, I think nori has lots? I have nori every morning, by taking a couple of eggs and making a flat omelet, slicing thinly and placing on a couple of nori with a scant handful of spinach. I roll it up like sushi and dip in spicy mayo, and that’s breakfast.

  7. All that kelp in your back yard, Mark, and you’re buying dried seaweed? Jus’ having fun with you…..

  8. I eat many different types of liver (lamb, beef, veal, pork, chicken…). I find that the best is rabbit: same mild taste as chicken, but much better texture.

    Rabbit kidneys are also a superior choice, the taste is less strong than beef and veal and lamb.

  9. One of the best way for me to eat liver is to make pate. It’s fairly easy to make, and the added flavors of herbs, etc., help make the liver taste not as prominent.

    A good way to get anchovies or sardines is to add them to stews, soups, or even tomato sauces. They add a briny taste, but because they end up dissolving mostly, you’ll never realize they’re there. I also will add an anchovy when I am sauteing vegetables for my morning omelet.

    1. +1 on adding anchovies to broth and tomato sauce.

      I get anchovies packed in olive oil. Open a can an pop the contents in with every batch of bone broth.

      Likewise with every batch of tomato sauce.

      Just wish I could find ’em with the heads still on.

    2. Hadn’t thought about substituting sardines for anchovies. Not much stew served around here in the summer, though.

      I wonder about subbing sardines for tuna in tonnato sauce. Would certainly taste stronger.

      If you’re a chicken liver beginner make a pate that’s half bacon and half lovers by weight. Don’t cook the bacon up real crispy though. You can cook the bacon then use the rendered fat to sauté your onions and chicken livers. Make sure the lovers are still pink in the middle. Over-cooked livers will make the finished pate grainy.

  10. Forget the hair on my chest. I want something to put hair on my head!

  11. Great post. I’d also like to see a list of what we may be eating too much of.

  12. I ran across a show on TV called Naked and Afraid. Basically people are dropped off in a remote place somewhere around the world and have to live off the land for 21 days. What I have learned from that show is that our primal ancestors ate what they could find, which depends of where you live, and what resources are available. The only thing missing in nature no matter where you live is processed foods. As long as I am staying away from man-made foods, I am going to be okay. I refuse to become anal about what I am getting or not getting into my diet. Since going primal, I let my body tell me what I am missing, and so far, it has done a pretty good job of doing that. I get hungry for certain foods that have the nutrients I need.

    1. That’s what I’ve always thought too – if I haven’t had beef in a while, I”ll crave that. If I’ve been eating poorly, i.e. lots of processed food, or lots of wheat with my anti-paleo husband, I’ll start craving fresh fruit and even salad, which I normally don’t like. That’s how I KNOW I’ve gotten really toxic…when I start craving salad. 🙂

  13. Chopped chicken liver Jewish style is mild and delish. Saute with onions in lots of chicken fat or butter, chop up with hard boiled eggs.

  14. Re sardines, your recipe sounds like you’re commenting on fresh sardines, which I’ve never seen. What about canned, and does their “caught” location matter?

    1. If you live near a marina where there Is a bait barge, you can buy live sardines and/or anchovies. They are also easy to catch of a pier or even a paddle board with simple line with a sabiki rig. Throw them live and whole in a egg wash diluted with sea water to slow them down. Then coat with almond flour and fry in olive oil until crispy Eat them head first as soon as they are cool enough to hold the tail with bare fingers.

  15. Great article! I am an endurance athlete—do you have a recipe for this energy drink?
    “I also use it on the rare occasion I make my energy drink for extreme physical pursuits, which contains raw honey, coconut water, sea salt, and blackstrap molasses.”

    Thank you!

    1. Agreed! I was amazed the article didn’t have a link back. If this recipe doesn’t exist on the blog, can you make it so, Please, Mark??

      1. It does exist in the blog! It is in the marathon training section; I read it just the other day! Either the training tips or the nutrition one.

  16. Just a note for those with Hashimodos, they are to have no iodine till it is under control.
    Most of what you mentioned is good for the thyroid and hormone health.
    My sister wasn’t loosing weight after eating primal for a yr. I asked her to try putting ferments into her diet for good gut health. She lost 13 lbs in 1 month. She is continuing to loose weight. She is so happy now.
    You could be eating good, just not the right foods.

  17. Guilty of all missing foods except for evoo- great ideas from all of you about how to incorporate some of them! Can’t wait for winter and “dump it all in there” stews and soups…I have definitely fallen into the chicken, steak veg and salad rut!!

  18. Fermented foods at this time of year? You must be trying to kill all of us with hayfever lol

    1. If it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for you. Listen to your body.

      BUT at times of year when you get less upset, get your body used to the ferments. I expect they will CURE your allergies. Allergies ain’t natural. If your doctor doesn’t think allergies can be cured, that is because he was trained in medical school to consider only drugs–substances that neither God nor evolution ever made. I consider that Blasphemous quackery.

  19. Try full fat, grass fed plain yogurt drizzled with blackstrap molasses – super yums! I had some just last night, so naturally I am quivering with a self-righteous thrill of paleo nutritional superiority – great way to start the day!

  20. Question. I bough a jar of sauerkraut. Unlike most of the stuff around here, there were no added preservatives or vinegar….just cabbage and salt. Since I’m lazy, will this suffice as a fermented food. Oh, it’s imported from Germany and sold at Aldi’s

    1. It depends on whether it was processed so much that it killed the probiotics. Bubbies is one brand that is good.

    2. If it is refrigerated there is a decent chance it is raw. If it’s shelf stable there is 100% chance it is pasturized (dead).

    3. In Oregon and Washington, there is OlyKraut (Olympia, WA) and in Oregon, Oregon Brineworks (Hood River, OR). Both are lacto fermented, no vinegar and amazingly delicious. I did go a bit overboard and spent some time in the bathroom (I know, tmi). Both companies sell refrigerated.

      In addition, it is literally child’s play to make your own. See recipes at https://oregonfermentationfestival.com/, specifically: https://www.fermentersclub.com/garlic-dill-cucumbers/. Sooo simple. put in quart jars, put lid and ring on, leave on counter, ‘burp’ once daily, pickles in about 7 days. There are pretty expensive tops you can buy and ceramic weights to keep the veggies in the brine, but when I got home, I found I had 2 oz size porcelain butter pats that fit perfectly into the wide mouth jars and had enough weight to keep the veggies submerged.

      We made a jar of cucumber and a jar of beans. They are LONG gone.

  21. For the energy drink recipe, check out Mark’s post titled “How to Fuel a Marathon.”

  22. the only one I have difficulty getting in regularly is sea vegetables! I actually quite like sea weed, but most of the stuff around here comes with preservatives, or prepared in canola oil :p

  23. Sue, most lacto-fermented vegetables are prepared with only salt. That sauerkraut is perfectly fine, and is probably prepared in a more traditional fashion. Eat as much as you like!

    1. Well, it’s made in Germany and shipped over. It’s likely to have been high heat processed for shelf stability. I bought it the first time I saw it at Aldi and didn’t see bubbles. It tastes better than canned kraut, though.

  24. Could the MDA administrator help me please? I’ve tried signing on and I have forgotten my password. I have gone through the struggle numerous times and each time when I answer the needed question it says I am incorrect; even the Mark Sisson one.

    Please send me a new password to the above email address.

    Many thanks. I’ve been here over 5 years.

  25. An easy way to use blackstrap molasses is make switchel. Just combine ACV, fresh ginger, molasses, sea salt and boiled water. Switchel makes a really great addition to your “long, hot, sweaty day” activities. There are a million recipes out there. Have fun googling!

  26. Great list! And I am happy to say that I eat all of these foods (some more regularly than others) except blackstrap molasses. So of course I just put it on my shopping list! I’ve been on a sea weed kick lately with the dried nori sheets that are sold for sushi. Only ingredient is seaweed…no added salt or oil. I’ve heard it can help with hair growth…anyone have any experience with that?

  27. I take 1T of the black strap molasses in the afternoon for leg cramps. It has potassium, calcium and iron.

  28. Not sure if I would chance it with the Molasses (too much sugar for me) and the liver. Regarding the liver, I don’t want to heave all over my dinner plate – I don’t care how many onions you drown it in, liver will never be edible to me. The other suggestions are doable for me. 🙂

    1. ahahahahah. Your liver comment brought back memories of me NOT eating liver as a child. I always fed the dog really good bits from dinner so she sat by me EVERY dinner (there were 5 of us kids) so when liver, squash or any other disgusting food was served she would be there for me….. I eat some squash now but liver? Cha….. probably not.

      1. Ha ha, we didn’t have pets growing up so that option wasn’t on the table. Thankfully my mother wasn’t big on liver herself.

  29. What brand of sea vegetables is good? I am concerned about stuff coming from China and maybe Japan having too much pollution.

    1. Maine Coast Sea Vegetables – they are from the Atlantic, but may be a regionally available thing.

  30. Well, I do okay on the olive oil, but you are right on the rest. I don’t really buy chicken liver, and I noticed that starting a couple of years ago, I can’t even get them in the whole chickens – even at the farmer’s market, they don’t give you the giblets anymore.

    I need to eat more sardines.

  31. Blackstrap molasses! An old stand by of my grandmother’s! I love it!

  32. Enjoyed the post, Mark.

    I wanted to share a tip, learned from the alligator farm in St. Augustine Florida. As this is primarily a family destination they feature a live variety of reptile shows, complete with fun facts and Q&A. During one of the alligator and croc shows it was mentioned that the food source the farm provides is frozen chicken. Naturally, a young child asked, “Why do you feed them frozen chicken”?. The response was that, by freezing meat, it destroys vitamin B12. Naturally, an adult quickly came back with, “Why is vitamin B12 removed from their diet”?. The response was, “For population control, we can only house so many gators at a time”.

    So, I’m rolling this over in my mind. B12 and folate deficiencies, MTHFR etc…..

    Wondering if your inquiries have led you to the same information. I shared this story as perhaps B12 or fresh vs. frozen meat may need to be added to the list of what we may not be getting enough of. Curious on your thoughts and thank you in advance to your response.

    1. All vitamins, minerals and amino acids are important for health. I take a product that contains all of them. I have to to control a health problem I have called “Charcole Marie Tooth Syndrome”. A form of MS. I don’t get enough nutrients from a healthy paleo diet to control this so I have to supplement. Knowing this tells me that everyone should supplement since if I am not getting enough nutrients from food that means neither is anyone else. If you want to know what I take just e-mail me.

      1. Hi Bruce, Curious as to what your supplements are.
        Thanks, Darlene

  33. I would be seriously wary of mussels. I watched a documentary where they’d been used in marine pollution studies because they’re a filter feeder and are found in oceans globally. Most populations evidenced cancerous tissue.

  34. Molasses is great in a nice hot cup of tea! And I must be the only person on earth who does not like blueberries in any way, shape or form. Not raw, not in salads, dressing, smoothies or anything. Just something sets off my gag reflex!

  35. “(whatever the fish ate, probably algae or something, which makes them vegan I think.)” hahaha ???? yes!!

  36. Braunschweiger is my favorite way of getting a little pork liver. It has lots of spices, and topped with mustard,saurkraut or other fermented vegetable, it’s delish!

  37. The iodine is a great point….however, I’d avoid Pacific seaweed due to Fukushima…..there are better options i.e. North Atlantic…

  38. I have chicken liver once a week for breakfast about 80gms serving. I gently fry it with either coconut oil or any decent dripping from a joint. Then serve it with some scrambled egg and fried tomatoes. Its a very mild taste. The livers I get are organic as well and I buy them in Waitrose. I also try to remember to eat a couple of brazil nuts with my lunch time salad. Sardines I sometimes buy canned in olive oil, I guess they are OK, need to eat more of them. I have dried seaweeds in the cupboard which I mean to sprinkle on my salads and forget. Its a long time since I have seen blackstrap molasses recommended. Blueberries I have been eating a lot of but I now have raspberries ripening in the garden and the blackberries are nearly ripe as well, so will be eating them instead.

  39. This is Sally Fallon’s fantastic Chicken Pate recipe from her book Nourishing Traditions. It is delicious! Scoop it up with raw or roasted vegetables.

    1 lb chicken livers
    1/2 lb roughly chopped mushrooms
    2/3 cup dry white wine
    1 bunch chopped green onions
    1 clove garlic (mashed)
    3 Tbsp butter
    1/2 Tsp dry mustard
    1/4 Tsp dried dill
    1/4 Tsp dried rosemary
    1 Tbsp lemon juice
    4 Tbsp butter (softened)
    Salt to taste

    Start by melting the 3 Tbsp butter in a large skillet and then added the mushrooms, liver, and onion. Let this cook for about 10 minutes (until the liver was mostly brown) and then added the garlic, wine, lemon juice, mustard, dill, and rosemary. Stirring occasionally, let this boil until all of the juices were gone.

    Then let the liver mixture cool down almost completely before adding it into my food processor along with the 4 Tbsp of softened butter. I added a little bit of sea salt and processed the pate until smooth.

    Enjoy!

  40. Why eat molasses? It is the end product of sugar production. Sugar cane is grown with chemicals such as organochlorines. The chemicals used in sugar production such as sulphur dioxide will no doubt be left in the residue (molasses).

  41. I remember growing up with night time glasses of raw milk warmed up with molasses in it….. we called it “Molasses Milk” and thought everyone drank it as a night time treat. I may try it in coffee tomorrow if I remember. However, I like the idea of it drizzled over my full fat yogurt….. mmmmmmm
    Maybe I’ll make that right now.

  42. Are there good clean oysters without a lot of toxins? What brands? Where are they from? Are farmed or wild better? I love canned oysters but am hesitant to eat them because of the toxins.

  43. I loved this post Mark. Thanks. It coincided with my Primed Muffin Duo that included Sardines, Anchovies, Olive Oil, Sea Veg (kelp or nori) and Fermented Veg (kimchi). If I had read this article before hand I would have included blueberries and ground Brazil nuts. Haha. Thank you for all you do to help enrich people’s lives. I, for one, am forever grateful that I took the time to listen to your podcast last February 2014 that helped change my life. Cheers, Chad. http://primedforyourlife.com/2015/07/09/primed-sardine-anchovy-kimchi-and-sea-vegetable-muffin-duo/

  44. If you’re using dried kelp, try this Japanese method:
    – about a quart of water
    – a 5″ square piece of kombu (dried kelp)
    * wipe the kombu/kelp with a damp towel
    * put it in a pot with cold water
    * let stand for at least half an hour, up to an hour to allow the flavor to be drawn out of the kelp
    * cover and cook over medium heat. Before the water reaches a full boil, remove the kelp to keep it from leaving too much odor. You can reuse this kombu once.

  45. Woo-hoo! Natto is allowed, despite it being made of (fermented) soy beans. Thanks Mark! I’m moving it from my “guilty pleasures” list to my shopping list. (Don’t worry, I always throw out those little sachets of sauce and mustard composed almost entirely of E-numbers.)

  46. What about cane syrup? I’m from south Louisiana and we’ve always subbed cane syrup for anything calling for molasses. Are they nutritionally comparable? Love me some Steen’s!!!

  47. Yo Sisson! Great read.

    I understand you’re on the pre-emptive strike against the “paleo is expensive!” whiners, but IMHO providing “bargain-hunter” tips at the farmers market is a little over the line. If anyone deserves full price for their damn blueberries it’s someone who woke up before dawn on a weekend (!) to sell produce that they believe in. Plus, in season they’re cheap anyway! My recommendation for the true cheapskates is to pick-your-own, which is astonishingly inexpensive and fun to boot.

    Re frozen blueberry skins –> ruptured cell walls –> more anthocyanins, you have Napa winemakers to thank for the research. Those who are trying to make the most massive, dark, and concentrated Cabernets have been experimenting with insane amounts of dry ice (mucho $$$) in order to “unlock” more anthocyanin (in addition to adding color, it also fixes tannin). First ASEV paper was published about ten years ago, IIRC.

    This longtime reader says thanks for all you do! You’re the best.

  48. Vegan fish, I like it. But the foodies are already on to sardines, and mackerel’s on the radar too.

    Another big win for mussels – they’re among the most sustainable sources of protein we know:
    – They don’t need to be ‘fed’: they feed on phytoplankton. 500m downstream from a mussel farm the phytoplankton has re-multiplied to upstream levels.
    – There’s no way to get more protein out of less space than mussels.
    – They (& other shellfish) are the only marine farmed species that don’t need to be basted in antibiotics etc as they’re produced.
    – Because they’re produced in open water, there’s a massive incentive to keep those areas contaminant free.
    – Having said that, the little buggers thrive in areas with lots of farm runoff. You can actually extract a benefit from all that goddamn phosphate running off farmland into rivers.

    Luke

  49. Liver disappears if you put it at modest doses into your ground meat. I’ve been making sausage like this:
    Food processor 1 lb mushroom and 1 lb onion. Saute in butter until a lot of the water is gone.
    Grind together: 8 oz chicken liver, 1 lb beef heart, 8 oz bacon, 1 lb pork, 1 lb lamb.
    Add 1/3 cup arrowroot, 1/4 cup gelatin, and whatever spices the recipe says to.

    Sardines:
    Mash together 1 can sardines and 1 avocado. Add 1-2 green onions (chopped), one grated carrot, 3ish leaves of romaine (chopped), a big scoop of chopped black olives (or tapenade) and whatever other veggies you like in a salad, and peas and/or plaintains if you want.
    I’ve been making gobs of avocado/ plantain/ sea food salads.
    I cut the plaintains into strips (cut plaintain into half crosswise, then into quarters lengthwise), then slather with coconut oil and cook until light brown. Cool and chuck into the freezer. Pull out number desired and thaw before chopping and nuking.
    Try with crab and artichoke, with shrimp/orange/ginger, or with lox and horseradish.

  50. Twice a week … sardine omelet for breakfast. Great for the omega 3s. Wisk three eggs, mix in a tin of sardines broken into pieces (I prefer brisling sardines packed in olive oil – drain the oil before adding to the eggs), add some tarragon and cook.

  51. I was flipping through an old cookbook and came across a recipe for Cowboy Coffee. It was a cup of black coffee with blackstrap molasses, stir and drink. It’s delicious! Rich and complex, try it!!

  52. Two days ago I bought chicken liver for the first time. It was on sale for 62 cents a pound. Sauteed in butter with onions it is a great improvement in taste over beef liver.

    I don’t blame people for not liking oysters, they never had a good one. I had them a few times in the past and they about as good as ipecac.

    Last spring friend took me with him gathering out in the Gulf Coast. We ate them alive with veggie chips and hot sauce. OMG. By his calculation we ate over $250 at oyster bar prices while gathering and we took home two quarts apiece of shelled oysters that disappeared rapidly.

    I can’t wait until fall when they are back in season.

  53. Love that you offer simple ways to eat more of these often neglected foods. A nice reminder for me to diversify a bit from my own primal standbys…and offers fun, easy ideas to share with patients in my eating program. Thank you!

  54. Beets.
    Especially for men. They increase nitric oxide levels. Which is the same thing Viagra does. So, uhm….BEETS!

  55. I absolutely loved this post. So informative, yet so simple and useful. You’ve just inspired my next post on HealthyStacey.com. Thanks for continuing to be the gold standard in Paleo Bloggers 🙂

  56. Mark you missed mushrooms.

    You covered plants, animals, and bacteria… but left out fungi! How could you? 🙂

    I’ve been primal for 3 years now and I recently started adding raw and sauteed mushrooms to my meals, as well drinking mushroom tea. I really feel a difference and boost in terms of vitality and being able to relax my body and mind. They really help dissolve tension and stress for me. I won’t ever omit them again.

    Of course, they’re also full of the trace vitamins and minerals you talk about as well!

  57. Ummm hellloooo??!! INSECTS!!! 80% of the world still eats em and enjoys em. Grok ate waaaay more bugs than he ever did large game. They take less energy to gather and are less dangerous to “hunt.” Not to mention high fat, protein, B12 and amino acid levels. It’s time that the neo-Paleo community got back on the bug trail!

  58. I get that molasses has beneficial nutrients but how is it Primal? What would Grok’s source have been?

  59. I love raw oysters. I live in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico and grew up eating lots of fresh local oysters. But I have been apprehensive since the uses of Coexit oil dispersant after the 2010 Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. I have not been able to find any information about how long it would effect the local seafood. Has anyone heard about this?

  60. “Don’t wait until the foodies latch on and the price jumps.” Ain’t that the truth? If my mother could see the price of cauliflower nowadays she’d die again.

  61. Note: The Primal Blueprint Cookbook has a good recipe for chopped chicken livers.