Month: January 2010
Slate digs up some dirt on grass fed beef. Is no cow sacred?!
Cake or fruit cup? Do you have the guts to shoulder your way through this no-brainer? NPR has a fascinating piece on willpower and the war going on in your head.
Remember that awesome rib video from the 30 Day Primal Challenge? Well, Dan and his wife started a blog called Sweat. Give it a read.
Is it just me, or has the NY Times been getting things right recently? This week they dish out six meaningless claims on food labels.
When many people hear the world “chips” the next thing that pops into their mind is “potatoes.” As we all know here, however, chips can be made out of any number of vegetables. Parsnips, beets and rutabagas work well and as Diana pointed out with her snack recipe submitted to the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Challenge (current theme: Primal Snacks), so do zucchini and yellow squash.
Diana uses a dehydrator to make her chips. But since not all of us have a dehydrator, let’s start with the kitchen oven. Although we’ll be honest: making chips of any kind in an oven is tricky. To get a crispy, crunchy chip that isn’t burned, the slow method is best. And by slow, we mean practically a whole day at your oven’s lowest possible heat level. Some people recommend leaving the door slightly cracked so air can circulate. If you don’t have that kind of time, try this fast method: slice zucchini thinly, dip in egg white and then a light coating of coconut flour. Bake in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes, flipping once. This will make a flavorful and fairly crunchy chip. For even more flavor, add onion powder or grated parmesan to the coconut flour.
You’ve heard about the virtues of coconut oil over and over again and just last week we were extolling them again. You know its got a ton of saturated fat, may strengthen mineral absorption and is associated with improved blood sugar and insulin control. The rich flavor of coconut that goes along with it is just another added bonus for most of us. We know, however, there are some of you out there who love everything about coconut oil except the flavor.
If you don’t always want to feel like you’re heading off to the tropics when you cook with coconut oil, but you still want the health benefits, try making “coconut ghee.” Reader Jeanmarie mentioned that this was her favorite fat to use in pretty much every cooking situation, so we couldn’t help but try it ourselves. Coconut ghee is a blend of coconut oil and clarified butter (butter with the milk solids and water removed).
I knew going in this was going to be a tricky one, because dairy, especially raw and/or fermented full-fat dairy, resides in a Primal gray area. The literature, the evolutionary reasoning, and the anecdotal reports all unanimously point to sugar, cereal grains and legumes, processed foods, and industrial vegetable oils as being net negatives on the human metabolic spectrum, but dairy is somewhat different. The other Neolithic foodstuffs we can rule out because the science condemning them is fairly concrete and they weren’t on the menu 20,000 years ago. Heck, they weren’t just off the menu; they were basically unrecognizable as food in the raw state. Dairy, on the other hand, is a relatively recent food chronologically, but it is most assuredly and obviously a viable nutritive source in its raw form. It’s full of highly bioavailable saturated fat, protein, and carbs – in equal portions. You could conceivably survive on milk alone (I wouldn’t recommend it, but you could technically do it; try doing the same with honey or raw millet). Milk is baby fuel. It’s literally meant to spur growth and enable a growing body. Our bodies definitely recognize dairy as food, even foreign bovine dairy. But is it good nutrition?
Effective, healthy weight loss isn’t only due to the simplistic calories in, calories out paradigm. Nor is it solely reliant on diet and exercise. It’s everything – it’s all the various signals our body receives from the environment that affect how our genes express themselves and thrive. How we approach the subject matters, too. Our mood, our methods, our temperament. Our conscious decisions and our willpower. It’s setting good habits and expunging bad ones. Most of all, it comes down to keeping our genes happy by providing an environment that approximates evolutionary precedent.
In last week’s Dear Mark I took up a reader question about trans fats. While we’re on the fat subject, I figured it was a good time to keep the conversation going and cover an email I got last week about polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Thanks to Brent for this one.
I loved your posts on trans fats last week, but now you have me wondering about all the other truths I know but can’t explain. How about polyunsaturated fat? When I was reading the Definitive Guide to Oils, I was having a rough time remembering exactly why PUFAs aren’t recommended. Can you jog my memory, Mark?
Let me take this one apart – separate out the good PUFA from the bad from the downright ugly. We’re talking everything from grains to nuts, corn and canola oil to fish oil. When it comes to PUFAs, it truly is a mixed bag.