One of the core pillars of health is eating the best quality food possible, whether that means choosing organic, local, pesticide-free, grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild-caught, or non-GMO. Realistically, though, most people have to choose non-organic (or otherwise conventional) food sometimes. The top-tier options may not be available year-round where you live. Even if they are, they might not fit your budget.
I’ve previously covered the top foods you should strive to buy organic. Today, I’ll try to make things a little easier by providing a list of the foods which are fine in their conventional form.
This isn’t to say that there’s no difference between organic and conventional. Even though the following non-organic foods are relatively safe, some would argue that you should always buy organic if possible to support organic growers and reduce agricultural chemicals in the environment. That’s valid—and part of the reason why I try to buy organic—but it’s also a topic for another time. The goal today is to help you prioritize where to spend your hard-earned money while maximizing your and your family’s health.
So, what Primal staples can you buy conventional?
We talk a lot around here about taking care of your body, but what about your home? The cleanliness and safety of your environment play a big role in your overall health. You’re already doing the work to make sure the food and water that goes in your body are as clean as possible. The next step is to examine the substances you’re using to clean your home.
In honor of National Cleaning Week, today I’m offering all-natural, non-toxic solutions for cleaning your home from top to bottom. A host of companies now make greener cleaning products, but you don’t need to invest in a bunch of specialty supplies.
For years, the ancestral health community has shunned the humble peanut. I did so myself in fact. Why can’t I have peanuts? you may ask. Because they’re legumes, would be the standard answer. And that was that. The status of legumes was decided in the Primal and paleo world. Too many antinutrients, case closed.
In recent years, however, my stance on legumes has softened.
The lectins and phytic acid we worry about, it turns out, are mostly deactivated by heat and proper preparation. A bit of phytic acid can even be a good thing, provided you have the gut bacteria necessary to convert it into beneficial micronutrients. All in all, legumes turn out to be a relatively nutrient-dense source of resistant starch and other prebiotic fibers. If you can swing the carbs and you feel fine eating them, legumes are on the table.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a reader question about beans. But it’s not just about beans. It’s about something called the Bean Protocol, a rather new dietary approach that many of my readers have expressed interest in. The Bean Protocol is supposed to improve the liver’s ability to clear out toxins, thereby preventing them from recirculating throughout the body in perpetuity. Today, I’m going to discuss where it fits in a Primal eating plan. Let’s go: Hi Mark, Have you heard about this “Bean Protocol”? From what I can tell people are eating tons of beans and getting great results. It’s supposed to remove toxins from the liver or something else that only beans can do. What do you think? Thanks, Matt I did some digging around. I read the Bean Protocol coverage over at PaleOMG, where Juli has been following the bean protocol for several months now and seeing great results. There’s a Bean Protocol E-course that I did not sign up for, but I think I have a decent handle on the topic. How to Do the Bean Protocol Here’s the gist: No caffeine No sugar No dairy No gluten No processed food No factory-farmed meats; no fatty meats Eat 3 half-cup servings of beans or lentils a day (varies by person) Fill the rest of the food with lean meat, leafy green vegetables, alliums (onion, garlic, leek, etc), and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower). What’s Supposed to Happen on the Bean Protocol The soluble and insoluble fiber in the beans binds to toxins which the body can then flush out more easily. Without the fiber from the beans, your body can’t process and excrete the toxins, so they simply recirculate, stay in the body, and sometimes express themselves in the form of acne and other diseases. Adherents credit the bean protocol for fixing longstanding issues like acne, Crohn’s, and many other conditions. Bored with beans? We have 41 ways to make them more fun. Is this true? Is there any evidence of this in the scientific literature? Well, there isn’t much direct evidence for beans improving liver clearance of toxins, but there is circumstantial evidence. For one, prebiotic fiber is good for liver health. There are plenty of studies to support this. Synbiotics (a combination of probiotics and prebiotics) and BCAAs taken together improve hepatic encephalopathy, a feature of liver failure where the liver fails to detoxify excess ammonia. However, it does not do so directly. The fiber isn’t necessarily “binding” to the lead and excreting it. Instead, it does so by increasing levels of lead-binding gut bacteria which in turn bind and excrete it, shoring up the gut lining so that lead can’t make it into circulation, increasing bile acid flow, and increasing the utilization of healthy essential metals (like zinc and iron). The bacteria are essential for the effect; pre-treatment with antibiotics abolishes the benefits. So we can’t say for sure that the fiber itself is “binding” to the toxins. Allium, Inulin … Continue reading “Dear Mark: What’s With The Bean Protocol?”
Water, water everywhere… and so many ways to mess with it!
You’ve got your bottled water, alkaline water, structured water, deuterium-depleted water. It turns out the water can be pretty darn complicated—and contentious. People have strong opinions about what makes the healthiest, most hydrating water. I’m glad to see folks care so much about what they put in their body, but it can be overwhelming.
Today I’m starting with the basics: filtering your water, why you might want to, and how to choose the best water filter for your household. Let me know in the comments if there are other water-related topics you’d like me to cover in the future.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few questions. First came in from an email and regards a new study showing a link between chicken eating and several types of cancers (melanoma, prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) among British adults. What do I think of the study? Second, did I really tell people not to neuter or spay their dogs? Third, can dogs take collagen powder, and if not, are there any alternatives? And last, I address a comment about early time restricted feeding.
With the last few weeks’ definitive guide and follow-up on fish, a reader asked me about trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO. What is it?
TMAO is the latest justification given for why eating meat just has to be bad for you. Saturated fat didn’t take. Animal protein didn’t work. Iron was a dud. IGF-1 hasn’t panned out. Methionine isn’t enough. So now they’re using TMAO to convince you not to eat that steak.
How’s it supposed to work?
In nutrition, there are very few universal consensuses. Conventional wisdom says that fat makes you fat and whole grains are essential, and millions of people agree, but the ancestral health and keto communities (and reality) disagree. Primal and keto folks don’t worry much about saturated fat and limit polyunsaturated fat; conventional health advocates do the opposite. The opinion on meat intake varies wildly, with some people suggesting we eat nothing but red meat, others recommending “palm-sized” pieces of strictly white meat, and still others cautioning against any meat at all. Pick a food and you can find a sizable group that hates it and a sizable one that loves it. You can find researchers who spend their lives making the case against it and researchers who spend their lives making the case for it.
But not fish. Fish is about as close to a universal as any food. Barring the vegans and vegetarians (some of whom, however, are sneaking wild salmon when their followers aren’t watching), everyone appreciates and extols the virtues of eating seafood. Including me.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few questions from recent comment boards. First, with all the scary tick-related news coming out lately, are there any non-toxic tick repellents that actually work? Are there essential oils that repel and/or kill ticks? Is there a safer way to use insecticides? Next, were the people in the Mediterranean keto study actually eating a kilo of fish on their fish days? And is the wine an important part of the Mediterranean diet? Is the wine therapeutic or just for pleasure?
Let’s find out:
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, can LDL actually infiltrate the arteries, or is there more to the story? Malcolm Kendrick says there’s more to the story, so I dig into some literature to see if they corroborate his position. Second, is New Zealand farmed salmon good to eat? And finally, what should you do about elevated ferritin levels—and why else might they be elevated if not because of your iron?