Tag: monounsaturated fats

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

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

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

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Powdered Egg Alternatives and Heating Olive Oil

Say you’re a guy or gal that travels for business. With jerky, nuts and other Primal snacks in tow you hit the road resolved to do your best while away from home. You employ your best modern foraging skills at the airport, gas station and at your hotel breakfast buffet. Everything is fine and dandy until, wait, there’s something not quite right about these eggs. The consistency is a little… off. Could they be powdered eggs? Yes, yes, they could be. Does it matter? I’ll tell you what I think on this and the topic of safe cooking temperatures for olive oil in this week’s Dear Mark.

Let’s jump right in.

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How to Eat More Fat

The leaders of the dietary establishment either keeled over or started arming themselves with pitchforks as I wrote that title. (It’s a good day to enjoy the subversion, I think.) On a serious note, let me unpack this worthy question – one I tend to get often: how does one incorporate more fat into a day’s eating? This common inquiry usually comes from someone new to the Primal way of eating; someone that has just started ditching grains and sugars and is having a hard time replacing carbs with the fats they’ve always been told to avoid. And replace, at least in part, they must, or experience the inevitable crankiness and hunger (and possible failure) associated with not eating enough food.

Of all the things we do for our health, I think we all find this to be one of the more enjoyable efforts – at least once we get the hang of it. Go as clean as you can of course – pastured and organic or as close to it as you can obtain and afford. (It ensures better nutrition and fewer toxins.) But let’s not get caught up in details today. I’m ready to dig in. Are you?

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Dear Mark: Calcium Supplements, Goitrogenic Foods, High-MUFA Seed Oils, and Jogging

Today’s edition of “Dear Mark” covers a variety of topics. We’ve got calcium supplementation – does it make sense and is it safe? Then, I briefly discuss cruciferous vegetables, which are said to have negative effects on thyroid health. Some studies support this, but are they an issue for healthy people? I also look at seed oils high in monounsaturated fats (yes, they exist) and low in the much-maligned polyunsaturated fats, and I discuss their suitability in a Primal eating plan. And finally, a reader asks if jogging is ever okay and, if so, how to do it the right way.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the questions.

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Defending Olive Oil’s Reputation

Olive oil’s reputation has been besmirched. It isn’t the magic life elixir fueling the teeming hordes of Mediterranean-dieting, crusty bread-eating, moderate wine-drinking centenarians, but it doesn’t deserve to be tossed in the trash heap with soybean, grapeseed, corn, and canola oils. I sense that it’s fast becoming a “fallen fat” among our crowd and I think it’s a darn shame. Are a few extra grams of linoleic acid, one or two unfortunate incidents of adulterated oil, and gushing praise from vegans, vegetarians, and the American Heart Association alike enough to turn us against a staple, phenolic-rich food sporting several thousand years of storied history?

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Is All Olive Oil Created Equal?

To begin with, there are several types of olive oil, each determined by the method of processing.

Virgin olive oil is produced only by physical means, rather than by chemical treatment. The best stuff comes from only ripe olives (as green and overripe olives produce bitter and rancid oil, respectively) ground into a paste using millstones or steel drums. By definition, a virgin olive oil has not undergone any processing other than washing, decanting, centrifuging, and filtering (although none of these are required for virgin oil, nothing else is permitted). Some heat can be applied and, as long as it doesn’t alter the composition of the oil, the process can still be dubbed virgin pressing.

Refined olive oil is poor quality (either due to acid content or other defects) virgin oil that must be refined if it is to be edible. Refining is usually done with charcoal filters or chemical processes. Refined olive oil is more shelf-stable, but it’s also essentially flavorless.

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The Definitive Guide to Fats

Whereas cholesterol usually gets the gold for most demonized nutritional substance, fats undoubtedly take the silver. We recently covered the cholesterol conundrum, and this week it’s time to confront the fervor over fat. Thanks for joining us today. Please make yourselves comfortable.

As you know, I’ve always been a friend to many fats. But the fact remains, ladies and gentlemen, that not all fats are created equal.

A few fats, including but not limited to trans fats, deserve every bit of disparagement they get and then some. However, we feel for those other little guys in the group. Many of them are, assuredly, a good lot, and we’d like to put in a good word for them.

Everyone ready? Servers are coming around with crudite platters as we speak. Let’s begin, shall we?

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Olive Oil Does It Again

Those Mediterranean people have it all: a perfect climate, gorgeous beaches and terrain, incredible food, and pretty darn good health. Aren’t we getting a little tired of hearing good things about them?

Yes, we know: it’s the olive oil. Countless studies have analyzed the beneficial properties of the much lauded E.V.O.O., and this one is no exception. The cooperative study specifically targeted olive oil’s antioxidant properties and its benefit for those with degenerative diseases.

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