Meet Mark

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

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July 17 2012

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

By Mark Sisson
145 Comments

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:

Mark,

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:
http://www.julianbakery.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/paleoalmond.pdf
Test for Paleo Coconut:
http://www.julianbakery.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/paleococonut.pdf

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!

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145 thoughts on “Is It Primal? – Paleo Bread, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, Psyllium Fiber, and Other Foods Scrutinized”

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    1. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

    2. 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 !

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

  1. omg I am DYING at the “massive dump after massive dump” comment.

    1. I really shouldn’t check this website in the washroom. Pretty embarrassing when I couldn’t stop laughing.

      1. 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

    2. 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!!

    3. 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.

  2. 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!

      1. 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” 🙂

        1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. Probably, using coconut oil will benefit almond butter oil composition.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

    2. 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 🙂

      1. 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.

  3. 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.

      1. I learned to eat head cheese in Germany. Great little deli down the street. ahh…. I miss it.

  4. 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?

    1. Yep, that would be fine (assuming the ingredients list is actually correct) 🙂

  5. 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!

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. I had been wondering about Paleo bread and refined coconut oil. Thanks!

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

    1. 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 🙂

      1. Primal Toad, how has your body thanked you? What have you noticed? (if it’s not too graphic :-p)

        1. You know, the usual…dinner, a movie, some awkward over the pants type stuff….

        2. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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?

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  10. “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.

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. -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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. Anandamide? Isn’t that the stuff Wolverine’s bones are coated in?

        2. @Leah- your Wolverine question was worthy of a standing ovulation.

        3. Giggling at the thought of the ‘standing ovulation’ Trav. Got to admit I stand and ovulate quite regularly 😉

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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. 🙂

  13. Heated, rancid almond flour = primal?

    OOOoooook then………..

    1. 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

  14. Anyone know if Konsyl is “primal”?

    http://www.konsyl.com/

    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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  15. 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!

    1. 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.

  16. 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

    1. 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.

  17. Everyone is getting excited about the coconut oil part. But “expeller pressed refined coconut oil” is not the same as plain “refined coconut oil”.

    1. 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.

  18. 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???

    1. Magnesium or vitamin C (preferably ascorbate rather than ascorbic acid) supplements will help.

        1. 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.

    2. I have found that a handful of dried prunes followed by a glass of water is very helpful.

  19. 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!

      1. 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!

        1. 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 🙂

  20. Any recommendations on how much gelatin someone should supplement with if they aren’t making bone broths regularly?

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  22. …I just declined to purchase some refined coconut oil yesterday. I think one of them was expeller pressed.
    Dang it.

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

    1. 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.

  29. 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!

  30. I make myself panna cotta out of coconut milk, gelatin, vanilla and stevia. delicious! 🙂

  31. 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…

  32. I have a hard time finding Psyllium seed powder. Most of the products referred as seed powder is actually a husk powder. Any suggestions?

  33. where can i find psyllium seed fiber? i checked whole foods and all they have is psyllium seed husk powder. is that the right stuff? can someone please clarify exactly what to buy?

    1. I’d like some guidance on this, too. All the powders I’ve found in stores are psyllium husk. Online, the use for the item named psyllium seed powder says “It is the main ingredient in the commercial dietary supplements ‘Metamucil’ and ‘Citrucel.'” This implies that the powder is actually the husk, not the seed.

    2. Psyllium Husk is 70% soluble fiber and 30% insoluble fiber. This is the husk not the seed.

  34. Just curious why one would want to limit their intake of paleo bread, or “not make it a daily thing”? All of the ingredients sound okay / Primal approved to me, so what gives?

  35. For those of you who think you can’t live without the new Paleo Bread from Julian Bakery, think again. The almond bread came and it is so soggy it falls apart. the coconut bread was moldy and tastes a little like styrofoam. The wait time for the bread id way too long and the mailing price is almost more than the bread. Use lettuce leaves instead. Much tastier!

    1. Agreed. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten something this nasty. Wow.

  36. Just an aside (perhaps an update) The paleo bread now says “. *Nutritional Information Provided By An Independent Lab For Accuracy* “

  37. Isn’t gelatin, i.e., pectin, also available in many fruits, such as apple?

    1. Pectin & gelatin are so not chemically related. Pectin is a fiber, an indigestible carbohydrate.

      You may be thinking of Agar – a plant based gelatin used (among other things) in petrie dishes to grow bacteria.

  38. The reason I turned primal/paleo was owing to a spinal injury & resulting sciatica that left me totally sidelined. Unable to do routine gym stuff & eligible for a disability parking pass! I was worried about gaining weight, spiralling downward & having control over my life slip away. Fortune smiled & I learned about evolutionary nutrition.

    But gelatin! What an idea. We just made a bone broth with the mounting pile of poultry carcasses in the freezer. Rather than some fancy recycle-soup I’m just taking mugs of this bone broth medicinally until it’s gone. Something to add to the arsenal to heal my spine.

    Four months on primal, hardly a lick if exercise, female & creeping middle age & guess what? The weight is coming off (slowly) anyhow. Awesome.

  39. Aw, maaan. I have fallen in love with the Coconut Paleo Bread! I have been a little sketched out on Julian Bakery’s fairly vague ingredient labeling and their similarly vague inquiry about the quality and source of their egg whites. Plus it contains psyllium, which is also vilified in this post. Hmm, so I guess I should consider getting off my new paleo sandwich routine. Boooo.

  40. Just got this product today. HORRIBLE texture. I’m asking for a return but i’m not holding my breath going by other comments below.

    No wonder my local Whole Foods has stopped carrying Julian Bakery.

    1. Glad I am not the only one who was VERY disappointed with the much anticipated Julian bakery paleo bread. I found it (the coconut one) to be tasteless, damp(!) and a rather repugnant texture! The coconut one went in the bin! Still got the almond version in my freezer. Not sure if it will be any better!

  41. I make my own ‘paleo’ bread once in a while. Initially from here: http://www.rocofit.com/2011/11/24/simple-paleo-bread-recipe/ and I keep tweaking it. My last little loaf also had 2 Tablespoons whey powder (‘MyProtein’) in it.
    I found this handy when low-carbing: slice thinly, keep in freezer, use occasionally.
    Since I’ve been reading Mark’s blog I realise a little refinement is necessary. I will blanche the almonds next time (oops), and perhaps swap the flax for coconut flour.. I won’t use ‘Coconoil’ as I don’t particularly want a tuna salad and coconut sandwich! (for instance) 😮

  42. Mark,

    Re: Julian Bakery-False Nutritional Labels-The FDA- Diabetes

    I am “that woman” that had three of the Julian Bakery breads tested through Exova Laboratories. If Heath Squier so “proudly tests all of his breads through Medallion Labs” then he should “proudly” display ALL his Medallion Lab results. As of today October, 19th 2012 Heath has “proudly” displayed one Julian Bakery bread product which is his ‘signature bread name’, the newly re-formulated Smart Carb#1. If you care to notice at the top of his posted lab results for the Smart Carb#2 Cinnamon Raisin it actually says Smart Carb#1. On the Julian Bakery website he does not even display lab results for either of his new Paleo breads. All it says is: “Nutritional Info Provided By An Independent Lab For Accuracy” but there is no link to view any lab results. It is my contention that the only reason he has even the one set of lab results posted is because I filed a formal complaint with the FDA. One note: Heath Squier has touted chicory root inulin for years in his advertising, u-tube videos and on his website. Questions: If chicory root inulin is such a great additive why is it not in his newly re-formulated Smart Carb#1 and Smart Carb#2 breads? Has fiber suddenly lost its appeal? With all the success Julian Bakery has had selling what are probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of loaves of bread throughout the United States for many years, with it’s false nutritional labels, why in the world would they completely change the recipe? I believe it to be for one reason-an impending FDA complaint. Heath is now saying forget chicory root inulin, it’s protein that people want. Really? Would any company change a (falsely advertised) wildly popular product for no reason? I doubt it.

    As for Exova not testing for inulin fiber? Get real. When any laboratory does testing it tests for all fiber. Fiber is fiber whether is it psyllium husk or chicory root. To keep it simple, for each gram of carbohydrate there is an attending gram of fiber thus one cancels the other. For some reason Heath Squier seems to think he had some corner on chicory root inulin fiber. I believe he has been trying to bamboozle the public for years with his claims of inulin fiber. Personally, I use both. I buy inulin fiber from chicory root made in Belgium through Swanson’s and I buy psyllium fiber (Metamucil 100% inulin) which is also made in Belgium, through Proctor and Gamble’s on line store.

    Julian Bakery 5621 La Jolla Blvd. La Jolla, CA 92037 has been lying on their nutritional food facts labels for years targeting diabetics and people looking to live a low-carb lifestyle. I have had three of their breads tested for carbohydrate, fiber, and protein content through Exova Laboratories. The test results showed the carbohydrate content to be 17 times greater than what was stated on the label of the Smart Carb#1 bread. All three results were not even close to what Julian Bakery has been stating for years.

    I have formally filed 2 complaints with the FDA. First complaint #127509 was filed on July 30th, 2012 and the Second Complaint #128637 was just filed on October 8th, 2012. Information on either of these actions may be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. I have been advised that it may take several more months for anything regarding the second complaint since it has just been filed.

    As a result of my first complaint Julian Bakery has completely re-formulated their two best selling breads: Smart Carb#1 and Smart Carb#2 Cinnamon Raisin (two of the three breads tested). They have, and are continuing to sell the original Smart Carb#1 bread recipe under the label Health Express sold on the internet nationwide via the website Viva Low Carb.

    Julian Bakery has a line of 25 breads that they aggressively market and sell nationwide. I contend that most all of their nutritional labels are false but it costs nearly $700.00 per bread to be tested so for obvious reasons, I am unable to have all 25 of them tested.

    It has taken many months of discovery and now I have myriad pages of all this information, complaint letters filed with the FDA, all test results, all original ingredients and labeling from the Julian Bakery website and careful directions how to untangle this massive web of deceit.

    I know this problem (false nutritional labeling) is rampant in the low-carb and diabetic community, but Julian Bakery has literally been poisoning diabetics 1 slice of bread at a time and has been promising that “silver bullet” long enough.

    Sincerely,

    Deborah Krueger
    4110 NE 42nd Ave
    Portland, OR 97218
    503-282-1299
    quiltmaker@kingsizequilts.com

  43. I don’t mind the Paleo Bread but it is definitely something that you dont eat every day/ Rather dense, but I dig it and like the fact I can make myself a sandwich late at night when I come back from work. So aside that people not liking the texture…is it Paleo?

  44. You can buy Collagen direct from Great Lakes Gelatin, a case of 12 1 lb bottles is $169 + $20 shipping = $15.75 a bottle. The beef kosher mixes in hot or cold, it’s mostly tasteless so I drop a big spoonfull in my morning coffee. Great for joint pain.

  45. I wanted to try Paleo Bread but it showed up LATE and MOLDY – yuk!

    I just make my own now, feel better that it is fresh out of the oven.

    Thanks for the info on Psyllium, the use of fiber in the diet isn’t just for producing bowel movements but is also beneficial in removing cholesterol from the body – a fact that I did not see in your post. n 😉

  46. Did anyone else catch the mistake? Psyllium husks are mostly SOLUBLE fiber. That’s why they gel up when they are added to water. INSOLUBLE fiber doesn’t work as a supplement to add to water because it is INSOLUBLE. Even the wikipedia page says that psyllium husks are mostly soluble fiber, the same as dietary fiber.

    Soluble fiber is a gel like mass that adds bulk to stool. Found commonly along with starch sources, potatoes, rice, carrots, zucchini, squash, etc.
    Insoluble fiber is roughage that sweeps everything up in your intestines and colon. Kale, spinach, broccolli, greens, etc.

  47. Psyllium husk according to several nutrition sources is 2/3 soluble 1/3 insoluble fiber not all insoluble as your post indicates.

  48. Mark says: “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…”

    All mentions of psyillium husk on the web indicate it is soluble fiber, not insoluble. Does anyone have a science based reference for to support Mark’s claim?
    Sven

  49. Metamucil is psyllium husk, I believe. My experience has been very favourable. I’ve had issues with both diarrhea and constipation since I had my gall bladder removed (“no side effects” said the surgeon beforehand) to the point where I’ve been afraid to leave the house, much less go camping. Pain, bloating, you name it. Metamucil makes everything nice and smooth and predictable for me, and just generally pleasant and easy. They say maybe it reduced bowel cancer, I dunno about that, I just know I like having metamucil poops. (Are you familiar with the term “zero”? Meaning almost no cleanup required) I had one the size of my leg the other day, not something I would normally strive for, but it was painless and it was a zero. Any day that starts with a zero is a good day.

  50. I have taken about everything you can buy for losing weight. Remember…I have bought a lot of supplements and some did show some results but not like the psyllium husks. I did not buy Lady Soma for that but after about three weeks of being on the Lady Soma Fiber Cleanse….the results were amazing!!! My energy level went up the roof and after three weeks…with of course sensible meals, I have lost a total of 15 pounds.

  51. Where the heck can I find psyllium seed powder? Everything I’ve found so far is the husk form. And when I searched on amazon for ‘psyllium seed powder’ it came up with one result from a company called ‘Frontier’ that says it’s seed powder in the product name, but then on the package label it says it’s ‘powdered psyllium husk’. I’m not sure if that’s what I’m looking for. Is psyllium seed powder the same thing as psyllium seed husk powder? Pretty confusing….

  52. This article is very confusing (particularly the psyllium fiber part) because I’ve done some of my own research and all of those websites say that psyllium husk is soluble fiber, whereas Mark says it is insoluble.

    http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/healthy-eating/what-is-the-difference-between-soluble-and-insoluble-fiber

    http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/psyllium-provide-insoluble-fiber-7737.html

    http://www.webmd.com/diet/fiber-health-benefits-11/insoluble-soluble-fiber

    So really which is it?

  53. Insoluble / soluble: does this post need correcting?

    Re Psyllium is available as 2 forms: 1. seed husk which is ” insoluble” fibre & 2. powdered psyllium seed which has soluble fibre.

    see http://www.livestrong.com/article/288048-psyllium-husk-gluten/

    which contradicts the above and states that both available forms are actually husk 1. as natural 2. powdered (ground finely) . The husk swells many fold in water i.e. very soluble! It is a prebiotic.

  54. And here I thought I was a late arrival, consider it’s an article from 2012 (-;
    Which comes to prove that there’s still unclarity on the issue of Psyllium (other then creating “bulk”).

    I recently came across a recipe for nut bread which called for Whole Psyllium husks. So I’ve ordered some (NOW Organic). For one, it has a fine powder texture. Two, 10 grams of Psyllium include 7 grams of dietary Fiber out of which 6 grams are Soluble and 1 gram is Insoluble. Three and most importantly, is the following manufacture statement: “Organic Psyllium husks (Plantago ovata) (Seed).” that tells me that it is seed based after all; or am I misinterpreting this?

    I’ve also looked at other worthy suppliers and they all state the same.

    On a different matter: Mark, How about displaying again the list of recent backtalk, that used to appear on the right side of the screen? Thanks!

    1. My container of phsilum husk states 4 grams of fiber of such 2.7 are soluble

  55. Doesn’t Mark have it backwards with respect to psyllium husk and soluble vs insoluble fiber? I’m pretty sure psyllium husk is almost entirely soluble fiber. I mean, it dissolves in water extremely well,